Closed

I had another day at home due to snow. I had another day of being productive. Too bad I wasn’t productive at all today. I got almost nothing done at all, and that’s kind of sad. Honestly, I’m not sure why the post was closed. The weather wasn’t all that bad except when I would have already been there, and the commute home would not have been all that bad either. But I am not complaining, a day home is a day home.

However, I had friends who still had to go into work. One, a government contractor on post, was told that she had to report even though no one else was going to be on post. Assuming that she was told to go to corporate headquarters, or one of their offices, that still seems risky. And, to top it all of, she was sent home with no pay for the day. So, she was made to start to head to work, and after she was on her way, she was told it was too dangerous, and to go home and not get paid. No, depending on how the contract was written, I am pretty sure that the company gets paid anyway since the government closed down the post.

The other one of my friends that I talked to is a teacher, and she still had to go into work. This is a private school, so they made the call to be open. And even they sent people home without pay while the owners, who I am sure will still get their money, did not go in. Have to love private schools. The same private schools who underpay their teachers already.

All this makes me grateful I am a government employee, although, I am the one who got furloughed.

Snowfall

The first snowfall of the season fell, and it was great. I didn’t even notice when it started falling. Apparently, when I am on my computer I am oblivious to everything around me. I went food shopping around 8am, and the weather was fine. A little cloudy and a little cold, but it was fine. Got to ShopRite and back with no problems. I logged onto my computer and surfing the web and chatting with friends. One of them commented about going out in the snow, and I honestly said, “What snow?”

I was shocked when I looked outside to find 2 inches of snow already on the ground, and it continued to pile up fast. I had no idea it was snowing at all! So, I got off my butt and shoveled for the first of three times. I even helped the neighbor since he has much more sidewalk than I do. I love the snow. I love skiing, the cold, and even driving in the snow. But the problem with shoveling is that you find muscles you didn’t even know you had. So much hurt.

Also, having nothing better to do, I baked one of the sweet potato pies I bought. Drank some dessert wine. Watched some TV. Read a book. Apparently, I can be very productive when I am snowed in.

I even tried to drive to a friend’s house. Since he is on vacation I thought I would shovel the driveway for him. Took me half an hour to drive a few miles, and I realized that this was going to be a mistake. The MINI didn’t even want to go up a hill. It was a mess on those roads. Even doing a U-turn the MINI slid through the turn. It was fun.

And yet, I love this time of the year. Everything looks amazing.

Finally Did It

Yesterday, I did something that I never thought I would do. I packed up my “Magic the Gathering” cars and brought them down to the local game store. I used to play this game back in high school. That seems like so long ago, and it was, it was over 15 years ago. I used to play with my friends, but as soon as I left for college, I stopped playing.

I don’t know why I kept the cards, but I never got rid of them. They moved from house to house with me, and I even brought them down to Maryland. I never played again, but I jut couldn’t bring myself to get rid of them. I just was no longer interested.

Well, yesterday I brought them all down to the store. Hung with some friends, chatted, and did not play. I had a friend flip through them to see if he thought any would be worth anything. I expected most to be worth ten cents, if I was lucky. I had hopes that some would be worth more, but I never really expected anything to worth all that much.

But yesterday, I sold one card for fifty dollars*. The asterisk is because I sold it for store credit, I was offered forty dollars cash or fifty dollars store credit. Knowing that I would spend more money at that store again, and probably sooner rather than later, I took the credit. More bang for the buck. Today, I am having someone else look at the rest of my cards. I am sure that most will still be worth pennies, but you never know. There might be a diamond in the rough in my collection somewhere.

Now, if I can just find someone to do the same with my baseball cards.

Hacked

It finally happened. After being on the web for just over two months, posting nearly every day, my server was hacked. The hack was pointless, and only caused some frustration, nothing spectacular. Basically, it just told me that I was hacked by a bunch of people who obviously have too much time on their hands. I know it was not just my site that went down; it was all of the sites attached to my server. However, I am not sure that taking down this server did anything special, and I am not sure that my server hosts any sites of note.

So, these people did this just for the fun of it, there was no political agenda at all. They did it just because they could. Well, you all should thank them, they prevented one day’s worth of posting of useless thoughts from me.

Sometimes I understand the agenda of the hacker. I understand why Anonymous does what they do, even if I don’t always agree with their tactics. Now, being on the other end of the hack, I also understand, to a smaller degree, what those who have been hacked go through. Admittedly, I felt it to a much smaller degree since I am not important enough to be hack by Anonymous.

Well, the server was fixed, and my pointless rants are back on the web.

Thought Process

A few days ago, I noticed that someone dropped off a book I am currently reading into my offices kitchen. The leaving of books has been happening for a while now. I presume someone is trying to reduce the size of their library, but they books usually left are romance novels, not books I would read. Well, the other day, I noticed that someone left “Star Wars: Rogue Squadron” by Michael A. Stackpole.

Now, the first thoughts to go through my head was “Who stole my book?” and “Did I leave my book here?” Now, these are really stupid thoughts for me to have. This book is one of my favorite books, and I have read it multiple times. I’ve read it so often that I cannot even tell you how many times I have read it. My book is all beat up. My book is currently being held together by tape and hope. I have read this book so often that I could pick it up, open it to a random page, and not miss anything cause I know the book that well. The copy in the office kitchen looked like it was read once. It almost looked like it was brand new. I have no idea why those thoughts would have gone through my mind.

The last thought though, that I understand. The last thought I had was “I should take that copy for myself.”

Too bad I didn’t.

Pampered

Arthur C. Clarke, my favorite writer, once wrote, “It is possible that we may become pets of the computers, leading pampered existences like lapdogs, but I hope that we will always retain the ability to pull the plug if we feel like it.”

Think about that for a minute, computers taking care of us as we take care of our dogs and cats. We would not have to worry about our food, drink, or our shelters. If computers ever evolved to the point where they were taking care of us, they may come to the conclusion that we are our own worst enemies. They may decide that removing our free will may be the only way to protect us as a species. I admit, these are not new thoughts, even “I, Robot” by Isaac Asimov covered these thoughts. At least the movie version did, I’m not too sure about the books.

We have a long way to go before we reach that point. Yes, computers can play chess and do complicated equations, but they have a hard time navigating a room or actually understanding what a chair is and is for. Yes, progress is being made, but to make the final jump, computers may need to evolve. Silicon may not be the final stage in computers. We may need atomic computers, or even DNA computers. When we reach the next stage in the life of a computer, that’s when we may need to begin to worry. Who knew that doing things we consider easy, like walking and talking actually takes more “brain” power than chess or math. Of course, listening to politicians, you realize how much can be done with no brainpower.

What would become of us? Would we become a fat lazy species? Would we actually be happy? Would we retain the ability to pull the plug? Would we want to? Would we become as bored as the animals we keep in zoos?

Would we be neutered?

Another Attack

The last few weeks have been pretty tough for the shark species. In recent weeks, we have had 2 fatalities, and the death of a huge supporter of shark conservation. Now, one may ask, how can shark attacks be hard on sharks? I mean, it’s not like they were the ones who died. But trust me, the reaction of the human race is going to be much harder on the sharks than 2 deaths will be.

Now, if you are going to act in a way that attracts sharks, you should not be surprised when you are attacked. If you look like dinner to a shark, it’s going to check to see if you are dinner. Now, sharks have no hands, arms, or any other way to check if you are food or not, except to a quick bite, a small nibble. And guess what, the guy in Hawaii was bitten on his foot. The shark was probably curious, and sadly a man died from that curiosity.

I am not trying to down play the situation, the man died and that is regrettable, but the man was fishing from a kayak in shark infested waters, with his feet dangling in the water. So, not only do you have bait bloodying water, you have the fish being caught and, I would presume, struggling. Well, this is a dinner bell to a shark. Dangling one’s feet in the water is just stupid.

Now, here is how Hawaii might react. They may react the same way Western Australia wants to react. By killing as many sharks as possible. First, there is no evidence that sharks become man-eaters once they attack one person, but that is the belief, thank you “Jaws.” There is also no evidence that culling the shark population actually reduces shark attacks. In theory, yes, there would be fewer sharks, and therefore fewer attacks. But in practice, it is not likely to work. Finally, there is no way to know you killed the correct shark.

Hopefully, Hawaii will react with more thought. More education and better practices would be a better way to handle the situation. Teach the people how to not appear as food to the shark. Teach people what to do and, more importantly, what not to do when in shark infested waters. So many things are more lethal to humans, like vending machines, that we should not have to worry about sharks. We are in their territory, and last I heard, sharks do not walk on land to get us.

The loss of Paul Walker is also a blow to the shark community.  This actor, who majored in marine biology, was a huge supporter of shark conservation. He was even scheduled to dive in Guadeloupe this year, and it wouldn’t have been his first. Paul Walker will be missed.

Best Time of the Year

I love this time of year. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. All those memories, all that food, and all that time with the family, it’s just a great time of the year. Well, except for all of that Black Friday nonsense where your friendly neighbors will kill you for a great deal.

Of course, the best thing about this time of the year is the pumpkin pie. Oh, the pumpkin pies I have eaten through the years. And this year was no exception. My mom baked one pie in advance of the feast. But after some discussion with my aunt and me the day of the feast, she had to cook an emergency pie, just in case. I mean it was also my Aunt’s B-day as well. So, another pie was baked. I only ate one slice at my Aunts house, but I had another two when I got to my parents house. And then, to top it all off, I had another 2 slices for breakfast. That’s right, I ate pumpkin pie for breakfast. I not only ate pumpkin pie on Friday for breakfast, but also on Saturday, and on Sunday. Pumpkin pie is a fantastic breakfast. Make fun of me if you will, but don’t knock it till you try it.

I will admit to something that has never happened before. I can honestly say, I may be sick of pumpkin pie. I keep getting a quote from a movie in my head every time I think of this fact. “I am experiencing a sensation all together new to me, and frankly, I hate it.” Ok, I paraphrased the quote, but it’s fitting. Being sick of pumpkin has never happened to me before. I am still in shock. I don’t know if I can handle that. I guess it’s a good thing I bought three sweet potato pies instead. Get some variety in my very odd diet.

Annoyance

Not many things annoy me. Ok, I take that back, a lot of things annoy me, and will probably continue to annoy me, but yesterday two things really got to me while I was at BJ’s getting some shopping done.

When I pulled into the BJ’s parking lot, I saw a car parked covering two spots. You know the type, park in two spots to protect his car from scratches. Now, I don’t mind if they park far enough away that they take two spots that no one will use anyway, but this individual parked pretty close to the store. I will also say that while I understand wanting to protect one’s car from damage, can you at least protect a nice car? This was a Chevy Malibu. Nothing special, it didn’t even look that new or good. So, maybe this guy wasn’t even trying to protect his car, maybe he was just an ass.

The second thing that got to me yesterday was the placement of the shopping carts. They have these areas dedicated to carts so that you place them there and they won’t run away. And it bothers me that people can’t place the carts in these areas they way they are supposed to go. How hard is it to push them all the way into the spaces, push them into a place where they will be neatly filed away? When I can, and when there are only a few carts creating a mess, I’ll actually take the time to straighten them up. But it bothers me that people are so lazy that they can’t push their cart another 5 feet and make it easier on the rest of us. I’d rather not have a cart I pushed around the store cause damage to anyone’s car.

And why do I feel that the guy who took up two spots is either the type of person to just carelessly push his cart into the proper area, or not even push the cart there at all. I guess he could be the guy who leaves his cart in the middle of the parking lot.