News for December 2005


Radiation tri-blade symbol 31.dec.2005 - A new year brings new beginnings. Out with the old, in with the new.

This year I have a hankering for simplicity. After the complications of 2005, my theme for 2006 is: keep it simple.

Yet simplicity (I've found) isn't easy. Life has a way of becoming complicated. Takes diligence to keep life simple.

I've already done much spring cleaning this month and thrown out boxes of things I'll never use (that bread machine I bought 5 years ago and used twice). If I haven't used it in the last year, out she goes.

It's difficult to part with things you paid good money for, but I've found down-sizing remarkably liberating. There's something psychic about it (not merely physical). I feel lighter inside, too.

Feels great not being encumbered by so much junk. And getting rid of the old has a way of making room for the new. So I'm expecting - and will be looking for - new things from life in 2006.

I never do the resolution thing, cuz then I just get bummed at myself for not keeping them. And why wait until the new year to make changes, anyway?

The only resolution I have - made long ago - is not to drink so much that I feel like krap on New Tears day, praying to the great porcelain god: Ralph.

Of course, I want to get in better shape. But I always feel that way. The club will be packed for the next two weeks with folks who made resolutions to shed unsightly pounds. The folks who work at the club have a name for this phenomenon and also these people (I forget what it is). By February tho, it will return to normal.

I'd also like to do more hiking and camping this year .. get back to nature. Breathe more fresh air. Climb more mountains. The new laptop, cell phone, tent & sleeping bag I got recently should make that easier. Maybe someday soon you'll see a Rad update made from some cyber-cafe on the outskirts of Joshua Tree.

The *coolest* New Years I had was in Pennsylvania, where a buddy (Michael Matto) rented a Winnebago for the evening and drove a dozen of us from party to party (after picking up everybody at home).

Parties tend to liven considerably when a dozen people walk in, single file. You could actually hear the noise volume climb. We'd stay an hour, then head to the next party. That night was a blast.

Most importantly tonight, don't drink & drive. It's not worth the risk.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 29.dec.2005 - RADIFIED earned more money today than any other day, since Google's AdSense ads (Javascript) were first coded into the site's pages (back in March). The numbers have continued to climb steadily.

This time of year - the holiday season, when people have time off from work, and more time to surf the web, and more time to play with their new toys - has traditionally been the site's busiest. (Last month, November, the site logged over 3 million hits.)

Unfortunately, number of *clicks* does not always correspond to a phat payday, cuz different ads pay differently. Some ads pay pennies, while others pay dollars.

Unfortunately I do not control which ads get displayed (Google does), nor do I know which ones pay more. But today also saw a record number of clicks. So that's doubly encouraging.

I'd gladly tell you exactly how many clicks (while beating my chest like a silverback), but Mr. Google says he does not want program members revealing those numbers.

I try to ignore the ads (clicks-n-dollars) and focus on *content* cuz it seems the closer I watch the income, the slower it grows. It's like grass, which grows awfully slow if you watch it.

Anyway, record revenue helps me feel appreciated. And if this keeps up, I might be able to move out of the homeless shelter next month. =)

Radiation tri-blade symbol 28.dec.2005 - Got a laptop today. It's a Gateway. Heck, I didn't even know Gateway was still in business. Thought they went belly up last year.

Got it at Best Buy. Good after-Christmas bargains there. The place was mobbed. Had to tackle a Geek Squader to get any service. (Traffic was horrible.)

It's just a modest unit, for those times when I need to hit the road. Didn't want to spend much.

Celeron M, 512-MB DDR2 memory, 60-GB hard drive, 15.4-inch wide-screen display (1280x800, never seen that resolution before), combo CD/DVD burner, wireless 802.11g, PCMCIA. Looks like an Intel mobile 915GM/GMS chipset.

There was only one laptop which cost less (a Toshiba), but it came with hardly anything: only 256-MB memory (yuk), a puny 40-GB hard drive, no wide-screen display, no DVD burner.

So for just a little extra, I got the Gateway and all the things I really wanted/needed. The sales kid (one I tackled) agreed it was definitely the way to go.

I'm connected with it right now to one of the neighbor's wireless networks: "Apple Network 04dfad" ("signal strength: very good"). Didn't think I could connect to an Apple Network, but it works no problem. Go figure. Installing all the Microsoft critical updates as I type.

There were several other local wireless networks for me to choose from. But only one of them was 'secured'.

This thing is certainly no speed demon. A few times already I thought it was locked up, only to see it responding normally shortly thereafter. Requires a little patience.

The stuff that Google sent is coming in handy. (See entry below for the 19th.) I'm making use of their mini-mouse, the light (positioned over the keyboard, so I can see the keys) and the flash drive to swap files back & forth from my desktop PC.

The worst part is all the trialware these new computers come loaded with .. that you need to uninstall, such as AOL (A Oh Hell). This is how I configure my laptops .. see here:> Radify Your Laptop. This will take a while. Takes a long time just to uninstall all that krap.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 27.dec.2005 - Got a cell phone today. Held out long as I could. Don't like the idea of being so available.

Went with Cingular. They're the more-bars-in-more-places people. I heard Verizon has better sound quality, but Cingular was the first store I saw, and I needed the phone asap.

The girl (Egyptian) said I must've been the last person in Laguna without a cell, and asked where I'd been hiding.

Took a few hours for Nefertiti to show me how everything works. Complicated little buggers, they are.

She even gave me a spare demo model ("Shhh, I don't want my boss to know") for the little guy to play with, cuz he loves playing with anything big people use (especially the phone & remote control).

I got the Motorola RAZR (all black). Not much bigger than a credit card. Has a weighty, metallic feel. Seems solidly built.

Cingular lets you "roll-over" unused minutes to the next month. They have no long-distance or roaming charges. Calls to other Cingular users are free.

I love that one commercial - not sure who sponsors it - where the dad walks into his son's room, and the son is dressed like a girl, wearing lipstick, and the dad says, "Have you seen this phone bill?!?!" .. so distraught that he doesn't notice the dress his son is wearing. Cracks me up.

Also got a library card today (free). Been wanting one of those for a while. Speaking of the library/books .. been reading Into the Wild .. in concert with material about the life of John the Baptist, who supposedly lived in the desert (also in "the wild," without a cell), where he "ate locusts and wild honey" (bee stings?). Unfortunately, he ended up getting his head chopped off for p*ssing off the wrong people.

Tomorrow I'll be looking for a basic wireless laptop, to maximize the mobility factor. Hopefully there will be some good deals after the holidays. Probably just run up to Fry's and grab whatever they got.

Gonna try to go totally-freeware with the laptop (except for the operating system), as sort of a science experiment .. to see if it can be done. There's so many good freeware and open source programs available.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 25.dec.2005 - Merry Christmas. In the spirit of giving this holiday season, we have a new guide for you, compliments of Mr. Magoo.

He posted it late last night, after the kids went to bed, so you'd have it waiting under your tree when you woke this morning, along with the rest of your presents. See here: Magoo's Guide to Wireless Networking (7 pages). Comments & criticisms welcome.

You might recall Mr. Magoo is the proud author of two other popular features:

He feels his guide to Wireless Networking is his best yet. I'd have to agree. It's obvious he's practiced at the art of crafting tutorials. Over the last few months, he has read everything there is to read about WiFi and distilled it all into a single source. Kudos.

Magoo lives in the great Southwest, which will see a high of 75-degrees today (24 C). No white Christmas there.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 22.dec.2005 - RADIFIED set a new single-day usage record last Friday (the 16th) with nearly 25,000 visits. See HERE (10-KB).

If my math is correct, 25,000 visits per day corresponds to slightly more than 1,000 visits per hour .. which breaks down to about 20 visits per minute, or a visit every 3 seconds.

Of course, visitors do not visit uniformly. Peak hours see triple the traffic seen at slower times of the day. At peak hours, that would extrapolate to (roughly) a visit every second.

And every visitor generates multiple hits, depending on how long he stays, where he goes, and how many web-pages he views .. all of which end up producing some 3.2 million hits each month.

I like that the site's popularity continues to grow .. especially after more than 5 years online. Five years is an eternity in Internet time, as sites die daily.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 21.dec.2005 - Winter solstice today. Shortest day of the year (here in the Northern hemisphere, anyway). Least hours of daylight, longest night. Winter has arrived. (Shiver me timbers.)

Starting today, the days continue to grow longer (hours of daylight) .. until June 21st. If you live down under (where today is the first day of summer), you're probably loving life about now.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 20.dec.2005 - Here's a holiday idea: to your morning espresso, add a dollop (or so) of Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream. Tastes so good you'll swear it's illegal.

Warm the ice cream in the microwave for 20 secs or so. Don't boil it; heat it just enough so it doesn't cool your espresso. (I fill my cappuccino cup with water and stick it in the microwave until the water boils, pre-heating the cup prior to concocting the elixir.)

Needn't add sugar, cuz the ice cream is plenty sweet. If you have a sweet-tooth, use Sugar-in-the-Raw. (I pocket a handful when visiting the local coffee shop.) Avoid the refined white stuff. Raw sugar makes a noticeable difference.

You might be tempted (like I was) to use another brand of ice cream. Don't be fooled. Even Starbucks own coffee ice cream is disappointing compared to the ultra-richness of Haagen Dazs.

Takes a few tries to dial-in exactly how much ice cream to add for your taste buds. But when you get it just-right, it's a religious experience. Hallelujah! [Everybody who I've made one for has seen the light and been instantly converted.]

Note: if you have a bowl of coffee ice cream at night, don't be surprised if you find yourself lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, wondering why you're not sleepy.

If you're looking for a nice espresso machine for dad for Christmas, may I recommend the Expobar (good bang-for-the-buck) or my favorite, the (stylish) Pasquini Livia .. or ECM Giotto (drool).

Radiation tri-blade symbol 19.dec.2005 - The nice folks at Google sent a Christmas present. At first, it looked like a boring CD case. But inside I found an assortment of goodies...

.. such as a 4-port USB hub (size of a harmonica), a light attached to a flexible cable (size of a drinking straw), an optical mouse (not much bigger than your thumb), and a 3-MB "flash disk" (storage device, size of your pinky).

Everything, including the cute little mouse, is USB. And everything sports the classic Google logo.

They also included a lanyard, with quick-release attachment, for carrying important stuff around your neck (such as top secret documents stored on the flash disk).

My favorite item was the flash disk, which makes it easy to transport (and transfer) data. The small size of everything makes the case an ideal companion for traveling laptop users. I've always heard Google was a good company to work for.

In other news, you might've heard that Bill Gates (& his wife Melinda) were honored as TIME Magazine's Persons of the Year. That's encouraging. (U2 lead singer Bono was also included.)

You might recall, just two weeks ago (before the award was announced) I mentioned Bill's contributions to world health - at the end of the piece on Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child - where I wrote:

Along these same lines (of hope for the world), we have Bill Gates using his billion$ to confront the problem of world health. But we'll save that discussion for another day. (I can only handle so much good news at one time.)

Seems that day is here. I admit to feeling a little intuitive, especially since (at the time) mentioning Gates in the Negroponte piece seemed out-of-place (I considered removing it), and nobody had mentioned the work he was doing for many months. (The idea just popped into my head.) TIME is super-secretive about their selections.

Bill takes an engineer's approach to charity. Most organizations simply throw money at a problem and hope for the best. Bill takes a hands-on approach to *ensure* his money is doing its intended good. You probably know the management credo: You get what you inspect, not what you expect. (And Bill knows a little sumptin' 'bout management.)

We Americans, you might've heard, consume an embarrassingly disproportionate percentage of the world's resources .. while, in other parts of the planet, millions go hungry, and lack even the most rudimentary health care.

How do you justify such inequality? Mostly, I try to ignore it. Reminds me of the verse in Dylan's Back Pages (4th set):

"Equality," I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

I have donated to charities, but quit when I learned how little, percentage-wi$e, actually goes to feed the poor.

Perhaps I should also note that I am not comfortable with my government's decision to invade & occupy another country, which posed us no immediate threat. I feel those re$ources could have been spent far more wisely, and done far more good than they are doing ..

.. which isn't to say no good has come of those resources. It's just that bombs tend to co$t far more than grain (on a per pound/kilogram basis), and they often seem to do more harm than good. Which statement contains more virtue?

We got rid of Saddam [or]
We fed and immunized hungry children around the world (for fraction of the cost)

To be honest, I'm often *embarrassed* by many of the decisions my government makes, and the priorities it has adopted. This isn't the kind of stuff that makes me proud to be an American.

I heard George's most recent 'Stay the Course' speech (Sunday night). Had to change the dang channel. It was like listening to nails on a chalkboard. Contrary to many here, I feel the administration actually means well, and their problem is more a question of judgment and of competence (or lack thereof).

I know I alienate readers when I speak my political mind (I get mail), but at least you know I'm honest enough to share my true feelings and avoid saying only what I think readers will like to hear. (Hits are not a priority here.) Of course, it's true that many more Americans agree with me now than did last year, during the elections.

Running a moderately popular website gives me the opportunity to exchange ideas with people from many different countries. Like a child of alcoholic parents, I sometimes feel the need to apologize for the actions of my leaders, and let people know not everyone here agrees with what's going on.

My Christian friends are the President's staunchest supporters. I try to tell them, "Haven't you heard? .. you shall know them by their fruits .. open your eyes and see what's blooming..."

I sincerely believe his years of drinking pickled one-too-many neurons, affecting his judgment (permanently). Of course, this doesn't make him a bad man, just dangerous .. and maybe misguided. <dismount soapbox>

The work Bill is doing (as an American) gives me hope (as a human being), and TIME's recognition of his efforts - if nothing else - lets me know I'm not alone.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 17.dec.2005 - Friendly reminder for those of you living locally: tomorrow (Sunday) is the last night for the Christmas Boat Parade in Newport Beach. Very cool experience. Gets cold on the water. Dress warm. Closing night is always the best. Grande finale.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 16.dec.2005 - Have a special treat for you today. Took my digital camera down to Crescent Bay Point Park (right down the street), where I take the little guy for walk whenever I have him. (Used to carry him there every night at sunset.)

A group was meeting there to do some spiritual-type stuff, which included "toning". I think they meet there every Friday morning, cuz I've seen them there before. (They love the little guy.)

They were burning incense, praying, meditating, visualizing, and various other things. I used to think this stuff weird, but after living in Laguna for a while, you get used to it.

The best part was when they all started "toning" .. making the same tone. It really does have a remarkably calming effect. I held the little guy in my arms, while walking around the group, slowly and quietly, trying to be respectful of their meeting...

.. and he passed right out. I felt him go limp in my arms. Took 10 minutes. Combination of the hypnotic toning and sound of the waves crashing on the rocks below. (Could hardly stay awake myself.) The incense smelled cool, too.

Anyway, the pictures are posted here:> Crescent Bay Point Park, Laguna Beach. Enjoy. Kinda neat the way the two semi-circle pictures form a whole .. I didn't plan that.

I visit that park most every day. Sunsets are spectacular. Some folks bring along a bottle of wine and two glasses. A family of seals and sea lions live out on the two big rocks. You can hear them barking at sunset. THIS is what Crescent Bay looks like in the summer.

In other news, the little guy started walking today. I mean, he was walking before, but never for more than a few steps. Now he's motoring like a madman. It has become his preferred mode of transportation.

He gets particularly motivated when there's something to pursue, such as a puppy, or pigeons or a brave seagull. Then he's off with a vengeance, fast as his little legs will carry him (not very fast). It's a sight to see him come motoring around the corner, wearing a big ol' smile, proud of himself. (He's 11 months.)

Radiation tri-blade symbol 15.dec.2005 - I'll be playing Rad dad today (later). The little guy will be a year old next month. Can you believe that? How time flies. I usually go to Disneyland for my birthday every year (happiest place on earth). His birthday is the day before mine. Initiation into the tradition?

I showed a recent photo to a friend, who said, "Dang, he's getting big. He'll need his own web site soon."

That statement contains a joke. Well, kinda. Only regulars (familiar with my tale of woe) will get it, tho. Wish I could expound.

I've spend countless hours discussing the situation with family & friends. The *best* advice that helped most was: It doesn't matter how much time you spend with your son. Rather it's the *quality* of time that counts.

I've drawn much comfort from that advice. But, to be honest, I can't even recall who said it.

It's very un-natural to not be able to see your children whenever you want. Feels like a weird dream you can't quite wake from. Doubt I'll ever get used to it.

I still get butterflies the night before, like before a big date. Everything is set up before-hand, so I can devote maximum time & attention to the little guy, lavishing him with as much love & affection as he can stand.

Sometimes I have trouble falling asleep the night before (like tonight), especially when there's a full moon (like tonight). Already had a cup of Sleepytime tea. If that doesn't work, I have a glass of Australian port (Penfolds, tasty stuff).

I've developed a routine: wake at 5, make a cup of tea, check the Rad forums, answer any questions I can (leave the rest for smarter people), shower & leave by 6. Pick up the little guy at 6:30. Woohoo!

Last thing I do before leaving the house is dab some lavender scent around (like we had in his hospital room), so he walks into a familiar-smelling house when we return. Lavender is supposed to be calming.

Since I can't sleep anyway, lemme tell you what happened last week. We were down at Shaw's Cove in the afternoon. Spectacularly gorgeous day, and came upon a flock of seagulls. I raised my arms and they all took flight.

He thought that was the sh!t. Squeals of delight. So I did it again. And again. The seagulls were none too happy, but the little guy loved it. Big ol' flock, too.

After an hour or so of playing at the beach, he buried his head in my chest, which means he's tired and wants to sleep. So instead of taking him back to the ranch, I found a secluded spot there at Shaw's, and laid down with him on my chest, where he slept for 90 minutes ..

.. in the warm sun .. sound of waves crashing closeby, gulls squealing above. None of those sounds seemed to bother him .. not even the biggest waves, which shook the ground.

Heck, I even napped myself. It was suh_weeet. The nectar of life. Upon waking, he rose up to look around and see where he was. Then he looked down, saw me and smiled. Big ol' smile. Priceless.

When we were leaving, a sun-bathing grandma stopped me to say she'd been watching us, and thought it was "so precious" that she was going to do the same with her grand-daughter, who would be visiting the next day.

Now when *grandmas* copy your stuff, you know you're onto something. Maybe I'll be able to get some sleep now.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 14.dec.2005 - Received a call today about a job (temp) at Chernobyl (Unit 4). How cool would that be! ("Let me tell you boys how we did it at Chernobyl.")

Heck, I already know some Russian words: Komrade, Na zdorovye, Stolichnaya, Kournikova, gulag, KGB. I *love* Dostoyevsky (read The Brothers Karamazov twice). Opportunities like this are tempting.

I'd have to change the byline of the blog to Live from Chernobyl .. and probably learn to play hockey.

Update: I guess Chernobyl is no longer in Russia, but actually part of the Ukraine (which I hear is beautiful), near the Carpathian mountains (where Dracula is from). They said they'll know more in January.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 13.dec.2005 - Today I want to be a good host and pimp the site's hosted guides. They are:

Magoo's BitTorrent guide (new age file-sharing)
NightOwl's Bootable CD/DVD guide (surprisingly popular)
Magoo's guide to Eliminating Spyware (Spyware suks)
Wizard Prang's eBay guide (well written, with lots of personality)

It's ironic, cuz the popularity of these guides turned out exactly opposite how I imagined they would.

For example, I though Prang's (well-written) eBay guide would become the most popular, since zillions of people use eBay every day, and NightOwl's Bootable CD/DVD guide would end up with fewest requests (a very specialized task). Not so.

There's a lesson to be learned there somewhere, but I'm not sure what it is. Maybe: (on the Internet) more specialized = more popular.

RADIFIED has a standing offer to host guides and share the wealth (two for you, one for me), altho money is a poor reason to write a guide, cuz they require a lot more work than might appear, and require endless revisions to keep current (a perpetual pain in the a$$).

I hear rumors we might have another guide coming near the end of this month .. about how to configure a wireless (WiFi) connection for wireless security.

For the site in general, the Ghost guide is still the single most requested feature, followed by the ASPI guide (very specialized), the FDISK guide (also specialized), the guide to Ripping & Encoding CD audio (i.e. MP3s, not so specialized), the Windows XP Installation guide (a very general task) and Partitioning Strategies (somewhat specialized).

The most recently published guides are the Black Beast 2006 (build your own nasty PC) and the Rad Mini-guide to Digital Cameras (having fun with digital photography).

In other news, received a note this morning from The Dog (Dogbrother) saying: I'm sitting in an internet cafe in Amsterdam. Coolest city I've ever been to. Be home tomorrow. No sleep in 24 hours. Must be jet lag. Feel great. Hope all's well.

Coolest city I've ever been to
.. that's quite a statement .. seeing the Dog has been around. Reminds me of Travolta playing Vicent Vega ("My man from Amsterdam") in Pulp Fiction.

The Dog is a big-city dweller (regarding yesterday's post). That's where he feels most at home. Nature makes him nervous. No hiking boots for that boy (who hails from Hoboken).

Radiation tri-blade symbol 12.dec.2005 - Camped out last night, at a local campground. Wanted to test my new tent & sleeping bag. Slept like a baby. Something about sleeping outdoors knocks me out.

The bag is rated for 20-degrees F (-7 C). It was toasty inside, tho not very cold out - nowhere near the bag's 20-degree rating.

It's important (I feel) for those of us who live immersed in technology .. to get out and spend time in nature .. to help break the addiction and rejuvenate the soul.

Like with that morning cappuccino, we don't realize how addicted we've become until we try to do without. And likewise, I always appreciate technology (and that morning cappuccino) more after doing without for a spell. Balance is the key.

The poets had much to say about the beneficial influence nature has on us. Emerson, for example said things like:

In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through man, in spite of real sorrows. Nature says, he is my creature, and maugre all his griefs, he shall be glad with me.

In the woods too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child. In the woods, is perpetual youth.

In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel nothing can befall me, no disgrace, calamity, which nature cannot repair.

I never feel so good as after spending a few weeks in the mountains. Why is that? (I always look for a river to camp beside, so I can hear its babbling while falling asleep & first thing upon waking).

Seems ironic that I always return with scratches, cuts & bruises galore, tho feeling healed & whole on the inside.

I purchased this particular tent cuz it's designed to assemble easily. And that it did, with its external pole-clips. Took only minutes.

In Hawaii, the Dog always ran at the hottest hour. When I asked why, he responded, "If you can run in the heat of the day, you can run any time." Likewise .. if you can camp in the middle of winter, you can camp anytime. Cool dude

Next I'd like to camp the high desert, where it *does* get cold at night.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 11.dec.2005 - Maria's 15-year-old son (Nikolai) came over last night to work on a paper he had to write for his high school History class (sophomore year). The paper is badly past due, so she sent him to my torture chamber to get it done.

I told him, "We're going to keep working until it's done .. however long it takes."

The paper examines how the ideals of the Enlightenment affected public opinion and helped start the French Revolution. (Off with their heads!)

What surprised me most is that he had to submit his paper to a website called turnitin.com, where papers are scanned for plagiarism (compared against thousands of others). I said, "Wow. That's cool." He said, "Uh, not for me."

We finished pretty late. When he wanted to sleep, I said, "Sleep is for people who turn in their papers on time." He slept over last night (on the couch, still sleeping). But the paper is done (1000 words).

At first, it was difficult for him to type wearing thumbscrews (How better to embrace the spirit of the French Revolution?), but he eventually got the 'hang' of it. I'm confident he'll turn in future papers on time. =)

Update: sleepy boy woke and (surprisingly) asked to do his next paper here. Go figure. I must not have tightened those screws very well. Sometimes it's easier to focus away from home, where there are less distractions.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 09.dec.2005 - Posted a photo from a reader (Jacques) who lives in beautiful Quebec City (refer to yesterday's post). See HERE (100-KB).

Saw Syriana this eve. Have to pay attention to figure out what the heck is going on. The consensus at Rotten Tomatoes is, "Ambitious, complicated, intellectual, and demanding of its audience."

Uh, yeah. Have a double-espresso before you go. You'll need all your brain cells operating at peak efficiency for this one. If you're tired or had a bad week, fuhgettaboutit. Features many famous actors. Directed by the same guy who wrote Traffic.

Got there early, so I sat in on the first 20 minutes of Narnia while waiting for Syriana to start. The scenes in Narnia *looked* beautiful, but the story didn't grab me. Admittedly, it was only 20 minutes and I was planning to see a different type of movie.

Some of my Christian friends bash Harry Potter for being a story about witches and things they claim are not good to watch. But they promote Narnia as a good movie, even tho (to me) it seems both movies have similar themes (magic in an enchanted world).

The only difference I can see is that the author of the Narnia series (CS Lewis) professes to be a Christian, whereas the author of the Harry Potter series does not. Someone will have to explain to me .. why one movie is supposedly good to watch, while the other is not. I don't see much of a difference.

Yesterday (I hear) a church group rented the *whole* theater (all 1100 seats) to see Narnia. When I was a kid, boys read the Hardy Boys series and girls read Nancy Drew.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 08.dec.2005 - Spent the day playing Rad dad, having fun with the little guy. The time goes by so fast. Seems like I pick him up and take him right back.

He's becoming a regular at the coffee shop where I procure my morning cappuccino. They have big, cushy, comfy couches there, with a great view of the ocean.

The regulars are always glad to see him, especially the high school girls, who stop by on their way to class and fuss over him: "I want one *just* like this," one of them told her girlfriend today .. altho he seems to prefer puppies and pigeons.

I tell you, they didn't have girls like that back when I was in high school (when dinosaurs roamed the earth). These girls look 25. When *I* was in high school, the girls used to run from me. ("Wait! Come back!")

The bug slept on my chest for 90 minutes this afternoon, at Shaw's Cove, in the warm sun (gorgeous day), with the sound of waves crashing in the background, and seagulls squealing above.

Heaven on earth. His little breath sounds precious when he's sleeping. Upon waking, he raises up to look around and see where he is. Then he looks down, sees me and smiles. Priceless.

In other news, here's a letter from the Rad inbox you might enjoy:

Sir, I am a French Canadian from Quebec city, who makes many mistakes when writing English but who wants to thank you for your help.

I discover your site when searching the Web for Ghost 2003, two years ago.

Through your guide, I found a friend who help me learn to make images of my drives. Occasionally, I need the hand of a friend on my shoulder.

Last night for the first time, I had a bad experience with "mssearchnet.exe" spyware. Try to boot in Safe-mode, delete the file, restart, and see I'm in deep trouble.

So I decide to restore my C drive from my Ghost image. And..... a large smile of satisfaction appears on my face.

So once again, my grateful thanks. Best wishes for the holiday season. Have long and great moments with your son in your arms. I check your site almost daily with great pleasure.

Jacques L.

Rad note: I heard Quebec city is enchantingly beautiful.

Restoring an image to solve a problem, particularly when nothing else will work .. now, there's a sweet feeling. The closest thing I know that compares to the way you feel when you boot up and everything is working properly again is the way Muhammad Ali says, "I'm a baaaad man."

Radiation tri-blade symbol 07.dec.2005 - Pearl Harbor day: "A day that will live in infamy." (1941) Here's an interesting perspective from the Japanese viewpoint. (Every story has two sides, and history is written by the victors.)

I was stationed at Pearl Harbor (Honolulu) for a couple of years. Worked on Ford Island, in the middle of the harbor.

After driving thru the 'cane fields to the north, I took the 7:20 ferry every day past the Arizona Memorial, as the sun rose over Diamond Head. Not bad for a 20-year old punk from the East coast. (I hear they've since built a road to the island. What a shame.)

Hawaii was, for me, the first place away from Connecticut (where I grew up) that felt like home. I'd lived other places (Florida, Maine, Illinois, Idaho), but never long enough for those places to become home.

I remember the moment well. It happened suddenly. While walking down Ala Wai Blvd (in Waikiki), fast as you snapped your fingers, it hit me: Hawaii suddenly became my home. The experience surprised me. And in that instant, Connecticut became some far, foreign, obscure, tiny place. Those roots were uprooted.

I enjoyed that cranial reorientation, cuz Hawaii is a great place to call home. At least, back then it was ('80's). The Dog has since returned and sadly called it seedy.

I have many good stories from that era. You might think it difficult to lose your car in Hawaii (a dang island). But it's not. You wouldn't believe how many people lost their cars in Hawaii. Some found them, and some never did. =)

One of the most lasting memories came following a 3-month tour at sea...

Remainder of today's nostalgic entry is blogged here:> Pearl Harbor Day 2005 & Aloha Memories from Hawaii

Radiation tri-blade symbol 06.dec.2005 - Been meaning to mention the 100-dollar laptop. (You probably heard of it.) A program to seed the world's poorest children with inexpensive laptops.

What a cool idea! The news gave me new hope (after all the depressing news we keep hearing). I'd love to get my hands on one.

Brainchild of Nicholas Negroponte. He's the guy who founded MIT Media Lab (1985). He also wrote Being Digital (translated into 40 languages, worth reading for the excellent mind-torque), and founded Wired magazine (back when it was worth reading). If this laptop thing flies, what a legacy he'll leave.

To this end a non-profit group called One Laptop Per Child has been formed. The project isn't a done-deal yet, but several companies have ante'ed-up $2-mil each, including Redhat, AMD & Google (the RADIFIED website makes money for Google every day).

Remainder of today's hopeful entry is blogged here:> Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child

Radiation tri-blade symbol 05.dec.2005 - Copy-n-pasted Saturday's entry (03.dec) into a web page, creating a new Radified guide (presto!): Mini-Guide to Digital Cameras. That's how all RAD guides began: with a simple copy-n-paste (usually from an email written to a friend).

Once in the form of a web page, they slowly begin to grow, as comments & suggestions start to come in. The Ghost guide, for example, is now 15 pages. That's why I'm reluctant to start a new Rad guide. They never stay short-n-sweet for long.

Today is my brother's birthday. He's an Orthopaedic surgeon in the Chattanooga area, where he specializes in FEET (which contain many bones). So if you need an operation, I can get you a good deal. =) Happy b-day, broface.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 03.dec.2005 - Digital cameras. With so many manufacturers & models, how do you select the right one? You could spend days researching them (like I did), comparing a myriad of features & specs. Heck, entire books have been written on the subject of digital photography.

Over the years I've received many requests for a Rad Buyer's Guide to Digital Cameras. But the subject is simply too large to do it justice, and there are already many good resources available, designed specifically for that purpose. No sense in re-inventing the wheel.

But, with Christmas approaching, the question has become common. My recommendation remains the same: Canon.

Unlike some other companies, Canon is (and always was) a camera company. It's what they do. Some points to consider:

Remander of today's entry is blogged here:> RAD Guide to Digital Cameras: Having Fun with Digital Photography

Radiation tri-blade symbol 02.dec.2005 - RADIFIED set another new site record last month, with more than 3.15 million hits, despite November having one less day, compared to October (previous record-setting month). See HERE.

Traditionally, January has always been the site's busiest month, which I'm guessing is cuz people tend to take vacations during the holiday season, and therefore have more time to peruse the web in general, and RADIFIED in particular.

Now that we've broken the 3 million mark, I'm thinking 5 million hits-per-month would sound kinda nice .. has a nice ring to it, doncha think?

Heck, I can remember when the site didn't see a million hits all year (ah, the good ol' days, when I didn't have to worry about lawyers scrutinizing my entries, and I could say whatever I wanted).

Long-time readers know RADIFIED has always been more concerned about having fun than racking up hits. But it's still nice to see the numbers grow.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 01.dec.2005 - Adios November, hola December. Friendly reminder for those of you who live here in Laguna (Lagunatics) that today is the First Thursday Art Walk. Things get underway ~6PM, and wrap up around 9 or 10. Maybe we'll see you out on the town, sucking up a little art, along with the free hors d'oeuvres and Chardonnay.

The secret to a good art walk (I've learned) is five-fold:

Remainder of today's entry is blogged here:> Tips for First Enjoying the First Thursday Art Walk in Laguna Beach