Saturday, January 26, 2008

Letter from Hell...Response!

Readers!! If you haven't already check out this post about this video.

If you don't do it than none of the comedic value of this post will matter one darn bit!!

And now for your reading pleasure, a number of responses to the Letter from Hell courtesy of Zack the mystery xian!!

Reply 1: The Evangelical Response.

Dear Josh,

I just received your letter regarding a recent trip to hell. I hate to say I told you so but...dude, I told you so. Why are you so surprised I mean you drove home drunk you dumb shit! Is it my fault? If you weren't on the way to bone Kelly than none of this would have happened (not for a while anyways)

So I hope your life of sin was worth it, buddy. I would pray for your soul but we all know that's a lost cause. See you in eternity buddy.


PS The power of Christ compels you, bitch!


Reply 2: The literal response:

Dear fuckhead,

My best friend just died in a car crash YESTERDAY and you sick ass fucks are already trying to guilt me into believe not only that his death and trip to hell were deserved but that this is somehow MY fault?

Have you assholes ever heard of books, tv, newspapers, THE INTERNET perhaps? Josh had access to all the information he needed it's not like I was holding out on him. Excuse me but I assumed that my high school friend was literate.

You guys are assholes and if I find you sneaking more of this shit mail into my mailbox I will come flying out of my house with a hatchet in one hand and a can of tabasco sauce in the other.


Reply 3, The atheist response:

Dude, come on, your rotting corpse is less than two miles from school.

Reply 4, The Ok-I'll-pretend-for-a-second-that-this-is-real-and-if-I-were-a-christian-how-I-would-respond response:

Dear Josh,

At long last we discover which of us was destined for the light and which for darkness. Now, knowing which path you have chosen I am certain to choose the opposite. No doubt as the fires of hell consume your very soul whatever goodness once dwelt within you will turn to ash. This I lament but we are mere pawns you and I.

No doubt the dark one will soon tire of your ceaseless agony and the choice will once again be upon you. Be once damned and suffer until the end of time or be twice damned and rebel against the Order of the universe. I know you, Josh. I remember the time you broke that kid's wrist to score an extra goal in the closing seconds of the game. We were already up by 6 points and you put him down for months, just so we could win by 7.

It is clear from your postscript that you hope to join me. Well, my former friend, one day I shall indeed stand before you. However when our paths cross again we shall not meet again as friends, or men or even corporeal beings. No doubt you will see my shining armor glinting in the hellfire. My wings will bristle, yours will reflect the hellish blackness from whence they were stretched upon your frame.

And we shall do battle from the high plains of Gorgoroth to the very core of Hell itself. And just as the forces of darkness once broke upon the Crystal Arch we shall strike at your deepest fortress. Unlike the Charge of Iblis we shall not falter, we shall not fail.

When I see you again you will not see me in my current form. If anything you will see nothing but the point of my holy sword and the wry smile as you once again precede me into damnation.

Do not fear, dear friend. I will see you soon. I will see you very soon indeed.

Reply 5, The World of Warcraft Response:


You newb. Just start back over at the graveyard. Your corpse got pwnt by that truck.

PS you got any fused wire?


Reply 6, My response (having intercepted the letter)


Your death has deeply affected everyone at school, especially the team. We are all very sad that you are not with us anymore. However knowing that you are no longer alive brings about a selfish fear not for your safety but for my own mortality.

I know that one day I myself will make that journey from this world. Where there is to go, if anywhere, has plagued my mind for more hours than I care to think about. However the simple truth is that no one who is alive now has ever died and stayed dead for a time and then returned to tell about it. No one who has ever been alive at one point has ever made a true account of death and whatever consequences it may entail *besides the obvious.*

However. I am a rational person who happens to be a Christian. I believe that death is not the end. We can only hope that there is more to life than just life. My own fears and convictions can overwhelm reason at times. Sometimes the fear of hell is the only way other, less secure, Christians can make an impact.

I never thought that I would lose you as a friend because death is a rare occurrence in this time and in this nation. Kelly and Coach Adams came back to school and you didn't. I can't spend the rest of my life in a panic that my friends and family and anyone whose life brushes against mine. I have to hope that if there is a God that this God will realize that by living my life as a good and honest person that I have done well in this world.

Your attempts to guilt and shame me have only hardened my resolve. Life is too short to waste living in fear for that which might await us beyond this mortal coil.

I intend to live. If that brings me damnation then Josh, I will see you soon one day.

-Your friend, Zack.

Letter from Hell Transcript

I am no stranger to the grotesque and the absurd but rarely does one stumble across such a tragic undertaking as the "Letter from Hell" video. I came across it after it was posted here.

The original video, if you can even call it original, is posted at this godforesaken shit heap.

Now I could spend a good bit of my day destroying the validity and lack of conscience put forth but the makers of this dismal and poorly produced 'video.' It's really just a kludge of crappy powerpoint slides and some scrolling text hacked together with a 6 minute monologue about how hell is so dark scary and how it's all Zack's fault.

Before I say another thing here's the transcript *as promised, people*

Letter from Hell transcript. The bulk of the text is red on a black background. Some of the dialog is not written, those parts are in parentheses.

(Slide1 – Black background with red text)

What if you had a friend
Who died without
Knowing jesus as their
Personal savior

What if he or she went
To Hell?

Slide2 – What if one day

You received a
Letter in the
Mail from

Slide3 – A letter from Hell

Slide4 – A letter from your
Friend in the flames
Of eternal torment

(Star-wars-style scrolling text, also black background with red text)

The following is a dramatic


It was written by a fictitious High

School Student named Josh, to a

Friend named Zack.

Although Zack had every

Opportunity to tell Josh about


…he didn’t.

They were best friends.

They played soccer together.

They went to classes together.

They partied together.

They shared their lives with each


Slide5 – But there is one
Thing Zack held
Back from Josh…

Slide6 - …His personal
Relationship with
Jesus Christ.

Slide7 – The rest of the story
Is simple and sad... [like so much of christianity]

Slide8 – A few too many

Slide9 – A tragic drive home…
A crash…

Slide10 – a death
A funeral

Slide11 – A Letter (big text)

Slide12 – Here is that letter (in its entirety)

Slide13 – A letter from Hell.

(Slide14 – Blue background, white text)

Dear Zack,
I died today
It’s a lot different than I expected.
You see,
I always thought that dying would bring
Me to a world that is foggy and hazy.
But this place is crystal clear…
It’s even more real than my life on

Slide14 (slightly bigger text here)
I can think.
I can talk.
I can feel.

Slide15 – Cops at accident, no text.

Right after the accident I could feel my spirit leaving my body. It was the weirdest thing, Zack. I thought I heard you screaming out to me, man. Must have been just imagining things. (white fade into next slide)

Slide16 – People walking towards bright end of square concrete tunnel, no text) At first I was just standing in line, getting registered I guess. They asked me for my name…and began to look in this thing they called the book of life (Fade into next slide)

Slide17 - wrought iron gates in foreground, overcast sky in background) I guess they couldn’t find it though (his name) because this huge angel standing next to me grabbed me by the arm and started dragging me away. I was terrified. I had no idea what was going on. I asked the angel where he was taking me, but he didn’t answer. So I asked him again… (fade into next slide)

Slide 18 – Blue background, white text.) (He told me)
Only those, whose names were
Written in the Book of Life, could
Enter into Heaven…

Slide19 – Red background, white text) …the rest would be condemned to Hell forever.

Slide20 – (picture of lighted clouds, no text) Man I was scared. The angel threw me into some kind of holding cell. Where I’ve been sitting and thinking for a long long time (since he died today it stands to reason this means less than 24 objective hours) Do you want to know what I’ve been thinking about?

Slide 21 –(black back ground, red text) I’ve been thinking about YOU.

Slide22 – (Zack,) You’re a Christian.
You told me so yourself.
(I mean we talked about it three different times today.)

Slide 23 – (Kelly brought it up and) You laughed it off.

Slide 24 – (Coach Adams brought it up and) You changed the subject.

Slide 25 – (I mean,) It came up… (right before the wreck. Well the question I can’t get out of my mind is this, Zack.)

Slide 26 – Why haven’t you ever
told me about how to
become a Christian?

Slide27 – I mean) You say you are my friend…

Slide 28 – If you were you would have told me about (this) Jesus. (and told me how to escape this terrible place that I’m headed for.

Slide 29 – Fade to white, black red excetera) (I can feel my heart pounding in my chest, the angels who have been chosen to cast me into hell are coming down the hallway. I can hear their footsteps)

Slide 30 – (Black background, red text again)

I have heard of this
They call it the
Lake of Fire

Slide 31 – (I can’t stand it, Zack.) I am terrified. (No! The angels are at the door. Oh no, no! They’re coming in and they’re pointing at me. They’re grabbing me and carrying me out of the room.

[How does he write while being dragged off by huge angels, one wonders.]

Slide 32 – I already can smell the

Burning sulfur and brimstone.

(I can see the edge of the cliff where Hell burns)

Slide 33 – (this is it) I am without hope.

Slide 34 – (We’re coming closer, closer,) Closer.

Slide 35 – (My heart is bursting with) Fear.

Slide 36 – (They’re holding me over the) Flames.

Slide 37 – (I am damned,) forever.

Slide 38/40 – This is it. They are throwing me in.) Fire, Pain, HELL

Slide 41 – (Why Zack) …Why didn’t

You ever tell

Me about…

Slide 42 – (White background, Black text) …Jesus. (hurt breathing sounds.)

Slide 43 – (Signed) Your friend, (Josh) [demonic voice, presumably Satan, welcomes Josh in the background]

Slide 44 – P.S. Wish you were here. [demonic voice echoes this sentiment] (repeats a few more times)

Slide 45 – Black background, white text, music is drastically different) Don’t bother me.

Slide 46 – Smaller text) Don’t bother me
With souls to save
I have my on [sic] agenda
There’s school to do,
Sports to play,
Important stuff to attend to.

Slide 47 – Don’t bother me
With my friend at work,
He’s got his own religion
I don’t have time
To change his mind
He’ll make his own decision

Slide 48 – Don’t bother me

With that little girl,
The girl playing in the street
She’s much too young
To understand
That the Savior she could meet.

Slide 49 – Don’t bother me
With the sounds I hear
The sounds of people shrieking
Although I wonder who they are
Who are these victims

Slide 50 – Don’t bother me
With who they are
I really don’t want the blame

Slide 60 – Cause [sic] it’s my friend at work
And that little girl

Slide 61 – Who from Hell,
Scream out my name.

Slide 62 – (But) Don’t bother me.

Thus concludes the transcript. Read more about the responses from Zack in the next post.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Letter to Sam Harris

Sent: 2008 01 16

Mr Harris,

Recently I watched the video of your speech at the AAI 07 in DC posted by the RRS on youtube. Your message about not falling into the atheist label struck a deep chord because it is something I deal with on a personal basis every time I see my in-laws. Without soaking up too much time I mean that my fiance and I had a child out of wedlock and her extremely conservative christian family doesn't like or understand me. More's the pity.

However rejecting the term atheist for ourselves is a half measure. If we are truly going to make a dent in the pervasive ubiquity of religious belief I believe our words should reflect how we truly feel. As such I have stopped using the terms 'God' and 'Bible' and replace them in writing and conversation with 'christian deity' and 'christian holy text' (lowercase deliberately) to reflect a more objective appraisal of import.

This has been a recent change in my habits so the outcomes are undecided. I hope you'll consider this if you haven't already. Forgive me if that sounds terribly presumptuous.

Good day and good luck to you, sir.



The motivation for this contact relates to my new semi-long term project to answer and analyze a creationist propaganda series on youtube. Part one has so far yielded 4 pages of notes, comments and problems as I have seen. To be more accurate the first 7 minutes yielded 4 pages of notes, features both Kent Hovind and Ken Ham as 'scientists' and blithely accepted the bible as 100% true and accurate.

That was in a previous video which I may indeed comment on at some point. Until then my satire will remain focused on the 8 part (as far as I know at this point) series regarding evolution vs creationism.

Oh and the gloves...the gloves are off.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


He doesn't matter.
His inaccuracy in the role of mutation/natural selection doesn't matter.
Whether he recanted (he didn't) on his death bed doesn't matter.
Whether he ate babies and drank the blood of virgins does not matter.

The idea is what matters. Even if the man who first proposed it later thought they had unleashed terrible evil upon the world it does not matter. The idea is what matters.

I can't think of a single creationist argument that at some point doesn't cast aspersions upon Charles Darwin at some point or another. I'm just at a loss as to why people are still using such a ridiculous ploy!

It's like defending why people used to think the world is flat. I can't believe that out of all the sea-faring nations in the world no one ever bothered to just look at the horizon. YOU CAN SEE THE CURVE OF THE EARTH just look at the horizon.

People, look at the horizon!!

Also... Check this Out!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

A pint-sized epic journey.

Anyone who knows me is sure to have heard at least one of the epic tales. I list them briefly here now in no particular order.

Fireworks Quest in Myrtle Beach
Street Fighter II with all Characters
The Bamboo jungle epic.
The ultimate swimming comeback story - 12 month intro
Bloody Whitney
Worst trip ever
Arms Race
High Risk, High Reward - The last Halloween
Quitting the Spiritual Addiction
Quitting the Physical Addiction
The End of the World (of Warcraft)
Fair Coin original draft.

I'm sure these dozen tales, all which can no doubt compete with the 12 labors of Hercules or Finn McCool's similar tasks, are worthy of at least one post. Some have already been addressed. These are the stories that live in memory and are told and retold many times before.

The other day, after reminiscing about the bygone days of bomb building and gallivanting around in the woods I decided to pay a visit to google earth and revisit the third item on the list.
The ill-fated expedition to the bamboo jungle. Care to hear more?

Well settle in dear reader, for this is no small tale. Read on to discover heartache, bloodshed, fear, panic, cows, exploration and finally conquest. We begin, like most child hood stories, with a very bad decision.

As a 12 year old I thought myself reasonably intelligent. It seemed the biggest issues I ran into were not those of my own making, not yet, but rather when I decided to do something without first thinking about the consequences.

In this case it was too late in the day for an epic undertaking. When Brian and Paul showed up with younger brother Wade around 5 o'clock and announced their intention to go to the bamboo jungle I knew for a fact that we would be turned back. All we had were our clothes and no food, water, flashlights or anything else should the worst happen. But I was bored and decided to go along. We might be able to make it, I thought. If we move quickly...
If you look at the first picture closely, and I don't expect anyone to do so, you can see the crucial details. Basically the Bamboo jungle was a clump of rocks and trees where small stalks of bamboo were plentiful and more or less free for the taking. To get there one simply had to follow the creek from behind our house downstream past the big pipes, through the bendies and past the little blue pipe.

After the pipe the creek joined with another and at that point became about 30 feet wide and mostly shallow. There were a few points where sand banks or fallen trees or even some big rocks would carve the flow into deeper and narrower channels.

We began by walking south down the road and then headed west through woods. At the time there were a few less houses. The one we cut through was under construction at the time.
The area described by the blue arrow is our path through the woods. Remember that house was nothing but a frame and it was fall so the surrounding woods were sparse and easy to traverse. I know they look impenetrable but this part of the journey provided no serious challenge.
The above picture is simply the next chunk of land to the west of where we left the road. After the woods there were some cleared fields and if you notice the long strip of field above the yellow push pin icon *placemark, whatever you call it* you see the airfield. It's weird but it is actually a grass landing strip that our neighbor would take off and land from. We headed south, over the blue pipe.
If you look closely at this picture you can see where the pipe stretches over the creek. If I remember correctly it was about 8 feet over the creek bed and there was some underbrush to contend with. Paul was scared and we had to cajole him to walk across the pipe. I believe we usually walked on it but at least once I know I shimmied across to avoid falling into the nastiness of the creek.
From there it was a straight shot to the Bamboo Jungle. We skirted the woods along side the creek looking for a place to cross the whole way down. Normally we would have knee-high waterproof boots to make it easier but this was spur of the moment so it was nothing but sneakers. We looked and looked and finally we were there, staring across at the object of our quest. So close and yet so far. There was still nowhere to cross just yet. We decided to go with a fairly narrow part of the creek.

The Red X indicates approxiamtely where things turned decidedly against us. Those three trees played a role in a different story, one alas, for another day. The cows merely bore witness to the unfolding tragedy as we began to cross the creek.

I wish I had a picture to illustrate exactly the terrain that we faced here. Instead you get a crappy illustration via MS Paint.

It was a good 6-8 feet down to the sandy creek bed. This was easy enough to get down. Brian and I crossed first, taking off our shoes and socks to keep them dry. At this point it was already twilight and we should have already forged our way back to civilization. Brian blazed the first trail and for his troubles got a HUGE thorn stuck inside his foot.

I mean the thing was in at least an inch and it was almost as thick as a friggin' pencil. Panic and Chaos ensued. I told Wade and Paul to get back up the bank (easier said than done) and that I would pull out the thorn and Brian and I would head back on the other side.

The logic wasn't exactly there but at least I was making decisions...the first was probably the best. Removing a HUGE thorn in a friend's foot is something to be done with the utmost care.

"I'm going to count to three," I said. Brian nodded, he was in hell with pain. "Ok, 1...2...[yoink!]"

Screaming followed. We had watched "Alive" recently and I remembered one of the guys did something similar so the person wouldn't be expecting it. Brian tied his bloody gaping puncture wound off with his muddy sock (medical community cringes) and we set off back up the way we came.

Paul and Wade climbed back up. As we were leaving Wade had already made it and Paul was struggling to get up the embankment.

The cows, now on our side of the creek watched passively. It was hard to see much of anything now. We ran, fueled and fanned by adrenaline over the plains dodging rocks and cowpies with admirable dexterity.
This might be hard to see but the red lines indicate our journey homeward. Those three lines of trees each happened to coincide with a 4 foot tall barbed wire fence. There were three total, no injuries were sustained by them.
In the dark of new night and our maddened state of panic and fear we didn't quite notice that we passed the fork and just kept running up the creek. After passing another 4 fences we calmed down enough to realize that we were lost and panicked all over again!

After the 4th fence we noticed some lights and decided we'd take our chances rather than spend the night groping through the dark knowing full well the smelly and prickly horrors we would face. Cautiously we stepped out onto an open space with regularly spaced lights along each side.

The airfield! Life and liberty at last! There was just the problem of sneaking past a well-lit mansion. I think they had some dogs and we were fearful of getting mauled after such a harrowing escape through the woods.
Creeping carefully, and ridiculously, we made our way past the tennis courts and around the huge imposing house. House noises and the weirdness of being able to see more than just vague gray outlines. Finally we were able to creep out to the driveway at which point we launched ourselves back towards the road. The 'end point' is a stone ring that served as a decorative roundabout. I never used it once I started driving. Brian's mom, mounted 'top her mini-van found us here and we were shuttled back to safety. Wade and Paul had to make their way back another way.

Everyone made it home safe and sound, Brian got a tetanus booster and no one was seriously traumatized by the events. However in the interest of objectivity I wanted to see just how far we traveled to come across such a memorable ordeal. The result...
Yeah. 2.08 miles. STUNNING.

Now here we are faced with a decision. Do we decide that the journey was still epic in scope and detail subjectively but not objectively? Or do we, confronted with the inescapable evidence determine that it was not a worthy tale to tell?

(Stop here if you don't want to read my inescapably atheistic reasoning below.)

This tale, one of many many many experiences I have faced is the strongest personal argument I can muster to answer the question: If there is no God, Heaven or Hell then what's the point of life on Earth?

Pessimistically one could argue that there is no point and it makes just as much sense to be good as evil. Or negating those concepts one could say that life exists only to serve self and that any other goal is detrimental.

I'm not renowned for my optimism but age is mutating my personality in ways I did not expect. This tale was not just an idiotic trot through the woods. Nor was it some heroic deed worthy of song and praise. It was a learning experience. Yes looking back it was laughable and anti-climactic but it stands out in great contrast to the rest of middle school.

I'll never forget the next day. On the bus to school Brian recounted the whole tale to Tabitha, a girl our age, who listened to a truncated version and then immediately changed the subject back to more sociable matters. Never mind that brush with tetanus and danger, forget the turbulent adrenaline rampage through the woods and fields of our neighborhood. No what Sally thinks is so much more important.

I already liked girls at that point but I have never given up on the idea that they are just really weird. I still think so.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Buy crap!!!

In case anyone stumbles along you might want to check out some tasty goodness in the form of...




Odds are against this helping but whatever, I can deal with it.

Ignoble gases...

Friends and dear readers, I am livid.

There are a lot of minor annoyances suffered in life with a wince and a shrug but very few demand concerted force and will.

For the past few months I have been toying around with So far I have written something like 27 articles concerning myriad topics ranging from video game violence to novel writing. After posting one during my lunch break about the 'power of prayer' I noticed that you can donate the proceeds of a certain article can be donated to one of a list of possible sources. One such 'Charity' listed was none other than the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Listed below is my challenge to Helium staff to justify this egregious choice.


"PETA is a possible source for donation. PETA is not a charity by any stretch of the imagination. At best they are an activist group at worst they are domestic terrorists. Why on Earth would Helium support such a group?

The whole idea behind Helium is to gather and accumulate knowledge (and revenue of course) and, I would guess, to promote the pursuit and understanding of that knowledge. PETA is not a knowledge friendly organization. They are a criminally overbearing and fascistic group laced with vile rhetoric and bedecked with pure hypocrisy.

If PETA remains on the donation list beyond noon on January 12th, 2008 I will withdraw myself from this site and condemn Helium as conspirators of a malicious political agenda.

There will be no reconciliation nor negotiation on this point."


Ironically enough if PETA weren't such weird violent fucktards then I would agree with a lot of their stances.

I don't believe in needless suffering of animals.
I am opposed to something like seal fur because its disgusting and decadent.
I disapprove of pointless animal captivity or any type of cruelty that does not benefit humanity.

Meat is the petroleum of the food world. It's not the best thing in the world for us but it's energy rich and people demand copious quantities. Most animals have to be killed before eaten and I do not consider that cruelty. It is necessity. PETA's army of fur-hating vegans and I are only radically different on a single point.

I would never step on the gonads of personal liberty to oppose something as frivolous and inconsequential as animal fucking rights.

Wake the fuck up, PETA. If you're so concerned about animals concern yourself briefly with the important ones: people.

I don't believe for a second that concern for animals extends uniformly. If that were true than fur and meat and bovine insulin wouldn't be prime targets. Exterminators would be hated by PETA.

That's right the Orkin man would be public enemy #1. I'm sure people have done more scathing and thorough jobs poking holes in the PETA beehive so I'll save my scorn for another day. Penn and Teller, proud and wonderful men that they are, have already taken a much harder swing than I will ever be able to. And you notice they strike not with stones or swords or bombs...but with truth!

Truth and Mockery go together like fertilizer and diesel fuel. (In a good way.)

However my disdain will smolder until the deadline. Helium is free to act as they will but should this bullshit continue then I will go fucking APE.

Literally I will petition the scientific community to consider me a rare form of chimp masquerading as homo sapiens sapiens and PETA won't be able to touch me even if I literally pound feces into their corrupt and gaping faces.

I wait and bristle with anticipation. Your move PETA.

Your move.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Random Tutorial #2 - Upgrading RAM in a Dell Inspiron 6000 Notebook PC.

It hasn't been long since the last post but only because I had already written it during my lunch break and just posted it now because I realized a picture contained the XP key for Natalie's laptop and that's a bad thing to post on the Blog even if no one has a chance in hell of ever reading it.


So now, America, with an open eye socket and an empty head I give you...Silicon Chef America!

Allez machine!!

Intro: RAM is a fundamental part of modern computers. Most of today's commericial RAM is what we call dynamic or volatile RAM. This is a real shame because if one had a large quantity of non-volatile RAM you wouldn't need a slow stupid spinning hard drive. And when I think of Under Siege 2 when the villain proclaims 'about a gig of ram ought to do the trick' I distinctly remember thinking 'no one will ever have a gig of ram in a laptop' well today Natalie got 2 gigs. Take that Eric Bogosian!!

If you want to know more dig it up somewhere else.

Here goes.

It's important to remember that I am not a laptop expert and if I say something wrong (and I go pretending anyone reads this with such mad hope) no one else is going to call me on it. Heigh-ho the tale goes on!

Step 1: For me I double checked the Dell online user manual for Nat's laptop just to save time by only unscrewing the necessary panel(s). If you've never worked on laptops before I will say that it is half a mile and half a world away from say...Build I or Build II. Wade's build throws out about as much heat as dad's gas grill. It's never a good idea to cook on your motherboard. Tasty though.

Don't be afraid to read the directions. If you're unfamiliar it'll save time. If you're not in a rush but are worried about things not going back together then the directions will save you a world of trouble.

After you peruse the manual remove the battery (the pc should be off beforehand) and flip the doodad over so you can see its exposed underbelly.

Step 2: Remove the relevant panel. In this case it happens to be the one with the product key sticker on it. Once opened you can take a look and see how the RAM is oriented. This is very different than the top down light-insertion-force style DIMM's you'll find in a desktop. Instead the sticks are laid out Flat and held fast with clips.

Step 3: Remove the old RAM. But be careful, you never know when shit will break *like with Mike's PC and me* So don't do anything prematurely. There's always Ebay. To do so I found that using a micro screwdriver and my thumbnail to divide the clip did the job nicely. Doing so popped the RAM into a 45 degree angle. Removing was as simple as pulling gently.

Step 4: Add new RAM. It's not everyday one gets to quadruple the capability of anything they own. If I did the same thing to my car it would be like bumping up to a 500hp engine or stretching the mileage out to 130mpgs. In this case I replaced 2x 256mb sticks of ddr2 533 mhz with 2x 1024mb sticks of low latency ddr2 667. The frequency difference might play a small role but volume counts for more as far as I am concerned.

To install the new ram simply insert at a 45 degree angle and press down. Make sure you line up the notches and be gentle so you don't hear a snapping sound. Fear of static shock is one thing but hearing any component of your PC or notebook snap...well that's the kiss of death.

Luckily lady demise kept her lips dry today and the system booted up with no sweat. The BIOS immediately recognized the new amount of system memory and windows loaded flawlessly. With only 512mb it took 76 seconds to load from off to full desktop. With the new RAM this time dropped to a respectable 61 seconds. Not bad for an aging single-core machine running XP Media Center Edition.

More importantly playing around with the system proved it to be snappier and more solid feeling than before. Natalie has a nasty habit of banging my mouse around when the computer, usually limited by internet speeds, takes its sweet time doing something. I've never seen her flick the touch screen in anger but now she won't have to.

Step 5: Bolt it all back together!

Step 6: Beer! Yuengling to be exact!

Random Tutorial #1 - Adding DNS info to a Cisco PIX 501

Hi kids!

Today's random tutorial comes about after dealing with a minor issue regarding some faulty DNS info for a client. I can't reveal details but the short version of the story goes like this: the ISP had changed their DNS info and the PIX wasn't handing out the correct info via DHCP.

The solution: Append the correct info to DHCP. But how...

Step 1: Luckily most features are available to change via the PIX web interface. It can be a hassle to deal with the Cisco IOS sometimes. You can access it via secure http *that's https* simply by opening up a browser and slamming out https://pix.ip.address. (Note: You will need the actual IP address not just what I typed just now.)
Note: In this example, as you can see from the address bar, the IP Address is a typical private IP address in the Class C range. (I blanked out the WAN IP for obvious reasons) So you enter your username and password (lolcataz in this hypothetical) and if you have the correct info it takes you to the welcome screen.
From here it's a simple matter to check your settings and review pertinent data before making changes. To access DHCP options click on the configuration tab, select system properties and select DHCP Server under DHCP services from the left hand drop down menu.

You should see something like this, albeit sensitive info won't be crudely blanked out or circled in red. To manually input new DNS numbers: type them in standard IPv4 format. To select auto configuration for your PIX just check the box with the little red circle around it.

Easy money. Make sure to save changes or all will be for Naught. Thus concludes random tutorial #1 be sure to stay tuned for further randomness.

End Post

PS It has been nearly 8 months since I quit smoking.


First and foremost let me just comment on this travesty.

100 names and mine doesn't even make the list. Look at some of that shit! In eighteen years there are going to be more people named Liam, Xavier and Caden (where the FUCK did that come from!?!?)

I mean holy shit people. Who is naming all these babies!?

Now incredulity aside I am more than displeased that Lucas is 22 on the boys list and Natalie is 31 on the girls (no Alex but several suffixed variations) and Neither Wade nor Seth on either.

At least Wade and I can be unpopular together. Guess what, random tutorials later on!!!

For now let us delve a little deeper into name popularity. Surely we can draw some inference from the distribution of common names not just of infants but of people in the world at large. For this endeavor we begin with the inevitable springboard just before we land in the pool of kuh-nawlege.

Being a good sport I fingered my keyboard in a less than random fashion to arrive at THIS PLACE. I base the rest of my post on the accuracy of that site though I cannot speak to it. The results for significant people in my life.

seth is the #292 most common male name.
0.048% of men in the US are named seth.
Around 58800 US men are named seth!

(Almost no females named Seth)

natalie is the #216 most common female name.
0.098% of females in the US are named natalie.
Around 124950 US females are named natalie!

(Almost no males named Natalie)

It's already interesting to note that Natalie is nearly twice as popular by percentile and more than twice as popular by number. Let's continue.

Alex is the #2660 most common female name.
0.002% of females in the US are named Alex.
Around 2550 US females are named Alex!

Vindication! A mere 2500 females to share a name with. I wish I knew enough about social interaction, actual name distribution and the actual course of the midget's life to calculate the odds of her meeting another female named Alex. Seth is a pretty rare name but I have met a few guys in my day.

Seth Gunn the psycho from camp.
Seth the dork from Wingate
Seth the son of a classmate at New Horizons

And...a couple celebrities but I don't know any of them in person.

Let's continue with the rest of my immediate family.

Lucas is the #381 most common male name.
0.031% of men in the US are named Lucas.
Around 37975 US men are named Lucas!

It's on the list though so it must be rising in popularity.

Wade is the #300 most common male name.
0.045% of men in the US are named wade.
Around 55125 US men are named wade!

Vincent is the #116 most common male name.
0.168% of men in the US are named vincent.
Around 205800 US men are named vincent!

Eileen is the #205 most common female name.
0.105% of females in the US are named Eileen.
Around 133875 US females are named Eileen!

So Dad's the most common and Alex is the most rare. I wonder how some of Nat's family fares on the list...

Arthur is the #48 most common male name.
0.335% of men in the US are named arthur.
Around 410375 US men are named arthur!

Sabrina is the #312 most common female name.
0.057% of females in the US are named sabrina.
Around 72675 US females are named sabrina!
(Around 98 US teenage witches are named sabrina!)

Courtney is the #245 most common female name.
0.086% of females in the US are named Courtney.
Around 109650 US females are named Courtney!

and Interestingly enough...

Courtney is the #488 most common male name.
0.019% of men in the US are named Courtney.
Around 23275 US men are named Courtney!

Courtney and Alex were the only names that yielded both Male and Female responses.

As far as last names are concerned (replaced by X's for info hygiene)

(Artie, Sabrina and Courtney's xxxxxx) is the #62 most common last name.

My XXXXXXX didn't even rank.

Natalie's XXXXX was #4 on the list. 4!!!

As to the relevance of all this...who knows and who cares. I checked most of my fictional character names and suffice to say there are no steelcraft's in the USA, maynard was less popular than my name by far, ander and enara didn't make the cut (neither did the more exotic basque names) but its all good in the hood.

There's nothing to be ashamed of if you got a common name. Still it's nice to know that odds of anyone sharing my name out in the wide world are extremely improbable.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Shrapnel tinkling off my invulnerable hide makes such sweet music...

How to become positive if you're a(n)...

Atom: Lose an electron!


Ick, the dangers of lolcats loom ever present

Rather than focus on the existing torments of a life 1/4 to 1/3 lived I figured I would delve into something a little more warm and fuzzy. Namely, self help and or motivational lists. I know you've seen them.

Ten ways to improve your life
The seven habits of highly sexed up people
How to improve your day in five minutes (42 solutions)

Now I admire anyone who attempts to make the world a better place or pep talk complete strangers if the only side benefit is ad revenue but let's take a slightly better approach to it. So I put together a list of my own to counter act all that touchy-feely 'you can do better if you try' bullsmack.

I submit that a healthy dose of reality is always good for the...perhaps I should explain. While I tend towards an extremely atheistic world view I do not totally discount that which cannot currently be hacked out and stuck into beakers or petri dishes or test programs. While I think the soul is a bit of a stretch I do in fact believe in what I will call 'the Human Spirit' (+5% to spirit in WoW)

So while I deny supernatural forces of any way shape or form I can still admit a certain sense of mystery when it comes to human dignity.

That being said here's the list in all its glory. Note if you're accustomed to seeing motivational lists then perhaps you should just go ahead and be afraid now.

1) Ignore other people. There I said it. I also say 'hey fuckwad, get a life' but that's ok because you're ignoring what I said. I firmly believe the happiest people among us are raving psychos with little or no regard for their fellow humans. Rather than shun and degrade them...why not try becoming them for a few weeks. It's the easiest thing in the world. My only caveat is that you restrain yourself inside the house. If you live alone...go forth and troll upon the quivering jowls of society!!

2) Eat a turkey sandwich. Get some tryptophan. When your body breaks it down the brain will be greatly benefit from the seratonin. Cut out as much phenylalinine from your diet as possible. That means cut out the corn, simple starches (in general) and diet sodas made with saccharine or aspartame. Splenda is much better.

3) Jack out. No that's not a typo. Finish reading this post then go outside and walk around in the sunshine. The human body thrives on it and if you ask the old man (who deals with old people and their failing health as it fails - side note [what a cutthroat look into the future aging geriatrics doc's must face!] activity level and exercise are THE key factors in how good you feel about yourself, how healthy you are and how long you're going to live.

I have a subnote for #3 because its important to elaborate with an example from evolutionary biology. Consider the dodo. Dodo birds, now extinct, lived all by their merries on tiny islands with little or no predation or competition for food. When animals are subjected to this they, as a species, dwindle. Their teeth dull, their muscles slacken and the minimum effort required to survive is what gets put out. Look at the stupid flimsy marsupials in Australia. You think Koala bears would still be around if they had to contest with the placental mammals of say...Africa?

You think about the lesson and reconcile it with your own life. Doing the easy droll things makes life seem calm and cozy but after enough time it darkens your spirit and melts away your soul. I'm only twenty five and every day I don't live like I want to I hate myself because if you just go with the flow then life doesn't come to a crashing halt but one day you'll wake up and you'll be forty-five and by then it's too late.

I'm sure at one point or another everyone has wasted a day. Think of your whole life. What if that day was your whole life. It would be easy, I have no doubt of that. But would it be worth it?

4) There is great joy to be found in the misery of others. I say this knowing full well the implication but there it is. Maybe its not true for you but for me I admit a certain sadism towards both the beloved and bemoaned characters in my life. I restrain myself only for Alex. And I say that not because I think she's too young to handle it but she's too young to do anything but cry. You don't become a great fencer by sticking pigs all day long. If there is no one to answer back, to riposte and retort then you're just wasting time. Now I'll freely admit that due care should be exercised. I have spent a large part of my life feeling out the gossamer curtain between how far you can push someone before they push back. It doesn't always work. However when I was 23-24 I got sucker punched for trodding too far. It sucked but I lived. And since that was only once in more than two decades I consider that a pretty sweet record.

5) Aging is inevitable. Deal with it. I'm not saying drop your fun guns and reach for middle age but nor am I saying that living solely in the moment is the way to go. If you're young, be young. Don't end up being the thirty year olds that hang with high-schoolers though. If you're older, enjoy it for what it is, you miss out on the hot young jailbait ass but at least you get MILF action.

There are trade offs surely but most people say life only gets better into your later years. I don't see how but I look forward to the day when I can finally wave good bye to my darling daughter (as she leaves for NC State, muyahaha, take that Natalie!) and then KICK IT with my then happy-but-starting-to-get-sick-of-me-tickling-her-for-twenty-years wife.

6) Some people will never like you. That's a shame, it really is, but then again there are a lot of assholes out in the world. By using some fuzzy math you can conclude that those people who don't like you are statistically more likely to be assholes than non-assholes. Take comfort. If the people who don't like you are assholes then the people who do...well they're still probably assholes but at least they like you.

7) You will never sleep as comfortably as your dog. This is a rarely discussed facet of life which brings me great swells of envy. Have you ever watched a dog just flop out onto a wooden or concrete floor? It's not fair!! Our stupid bipedal kludge of an adaptation fucks up our ability to enjoy sleep like that. Sure medicine and abundant resources are a good thing but come on...I have to drop 5k on a tempurpedic mattress while Tika can get the same deal on a busted up piece of cardboard.

The point of all this is that life's not fair for you but it's not fair for anyone else either. So in a way it all balances out.