News for September 2005


Radiation tri-blade symbol 22.sept.2005 - Monday the 26th, PBS is airing a documentary on the life of Bob Dylan, titled No Direction Home, done by one of my favorite directors: Martin Scorsese.

Dylan has been called the greatest songwriter of his generation. His song Like a Rolling Stone (1965) was voted Greatest Song of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine. The title of the documentary is taken from a verse in that song:

How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

The remainder of today's entry is blogged here: Bob Dylan Teams with Martin Scorsese: No Direction Home

Radiation tri-blade symbol 21.sept.2005 - Last (full) day of summer. Tomorrow = autumn equinox, when hours of day = hours of night. Autumn officially begins at 3:23 PM Pacific Standard Time.

This is my favorite time of year. I grew up in Connecticut (New Haven area), where the smell of leaves fills the air. The night-air becomes crisp and invigorating, encouraging you to take a deep breath.

I heard the brain operates most efficiently at 55-degrees Fahrenheit (13-C). Not sure if that's true, but things do seem to become clearer when autumn arrives. Never felt like doing much Integral Calculus during the dog-days of summer.

Here in Southern California, one season blends into the next much less conspicuously. The biggest difference is the ocean gets cold. Time to break out the wet-suit. In Laguna, the tourists retreat, at least during the week. In town, you can actually find a parking space again.

Mark the passing of another summer by spending time with Mother Nature. Here's a poem (Wordsworth) discussing how Mother Nature can teach you things you can't learn anywhere else.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 19.sept.2005 - Met Kobe Bryant today. On my way to see the bug, for my weekly visit, I stopped into a little Mexican restaurant in Corona del Mar, called La Fogata, for a bite to eat. Kobe was standing at the counter.

Being 3:30, we were the only ones there. Kobe was there with a short, guy-friend, who looked not very athletic. While Kobe paid his bill, I pointed and mouthed words to one of the guys behind the counter, asking, "Is that Kobe?" The guy smiled real big and nodded.

I usually don't bother celebrities, cuz it must get annoying for them, but he is such a mega-star, heir to the Jordon throne, I couldn't resist. I said, "Kobe, I hate to bother you, but could I get your autograph?"

The remainder of today's entry is blogged here:> Met Kobe Bryant today - Got his autograph

Radiation tri-blade symbol 18.sept.2005 - Happy birthday to the dog. He's my best friend. We've been best friends since we first met in Hawaii (island of Oahu) some 25 years ago, while both stationed aboard the same nuclear submarine, home-ported at Pearl Harbor there. He's the *only* person from my years in the military I stayed in contact with.

The dog is originally from Hoboken, New Jersey (nation's most densely-populated state). Hoboken is also home to Frank Sinatra & The Boss, as the dog will proudly tell you.

He used to live up the road here in the Hollywood Hills (walking distance from the sign), but now lives right across the river from Manhattan. You can see the city from his bedroom.

The remainder of today's entry is blogged here:> Happy Birthday to the Dog

Radiation tri-blade symbol 13.sept.2005 - Symantec has released version 10 of Norton Ghost. (Thanks to Mr. Pleonasm for the heads-up.) We're still trying to determine an official release date and what differentiates it from previous versions, other than the number printed on the box. Features posted here.

However, I still recommend Ghost 2003, which is the last version of real Ghost, the program originally developed by Binary Research (a wonder-company based in Auckland, New Zealand).

The remainder of today's post is blogged here:> Symantec Releases Version 10 of Norton Ghost

Radiation tri-blade symbol 12.sept.2005 - Have a new guide for you today: Guide to Buying & Selling on eBay. Written by a reader: Wizard Prang, who has much experience buying & selling.

Well-written, well organized. Entertaining. Has two more pages to add when he gets a chance, but you have the basics:

The remainder of today's entry is blogged here:> Guide to Buying & Selling on eBay

Radiation tri-blade symbol 08.sept.2005 - The old hard drive died today. Gone. Kaput. Hasta la vista, baby. No SMART warning, no nothing. Nice of it to give me a week to back-up everything first. I think the summer heat contributes to a drive dying.

Installed the new one (200-gigger). No problems. Partitioned 60+60+80GB. Formatting right now (NTFS). Takes forever to format 200 gigs.

What to do with all that space? If there's one thing I learned, it's: you can never have too much disk space. Can I get an amen? Maybe I will store my entire CD collection as lossless audio.

Made rezers for Two Bunch Palms today. Need to get away for a few days. The past few months have been a little stressful.

Two Bunch has a 50% off deal until the end of the month, cuz it's hotter than h3ll out in the desert right now. That's okay. I'll bake and soak my troubles away.

So, if you don't hear from me for a few days, you'll know where I am. If you've ever seen the movie The Player, starring Tim Robbins, Two Bunch is one of the locations in that movie.

Maybe I'll stop by Joshua Tree while I'm there, which is nearby, and do a little hiking in the high-desert & some serious soul-searching.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 07.sept.2005 - The hard drive I ordered yesterday arrived today. Dang, that was fast. I don't know how Newegg can ship so fast. I didn't even put a special rush on it (costs an extra $2.99).

Bought a crib today, a Bellini, made in Italy, from Italian beechwood (light color). Hoping to be able to see the bug in the future. Seen him 3 times in the last 65 days (sigh).

Went to this lady's house In San Juan Capistrano to look at the crib (pre-owned). Biggest house I've ever been in: 8,000 sq feet. It was like 3 houses in one.

Took her 20 minutes to show me everything. Decorated by House & Garden. Lots of browns and tans. She had triplets (and wasn't a very big woman).

The nanny cried when I took the crib. Spoke very little English. I assured her it would be put to good use. Had to disassemble it to get it out of the room. Maria let me use her pick-up truck. Now I have to reassemble.

Also bought one of those backpacks for kids, at the Sport Chalet. That would be a lot of fun. I miss the little guy. Everybody agrees: I'm a great dad .. well, almost everybody.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 06.sept.2005 - Been having trouble with one of my hard drives: a 120-GB IBM 120-GXP. It's several years old and contains 3 partitions (30+30+60).

When I boot up in the morning, the drive is fine (cold). But after using the system for some time (warms), it eventually disappears. The 3 partitions disappear, like they weren't there, and when I look at the drive in the BIOS, it shows 0 cylinders, 0 sectors, 0 megabytes, 0 everything. The drive is used for back-up (contains no operating system), so it's not critical.

This morning, when I booted, the first screen of my BIOS flashed a SMART warning. (SMART is a monitoring system used on hard drives.)

The warning said: Hard drive failure predicted on Secondary Master. Immediately back-up data and replace drive. I mean, the words were actually flashing .. in the BIOS no less. Never seen that warning before. Pretty cool (except I'd known the drive was dying for a week now).

The ironic thing is, I have one of those old IBM deathstars: the worst hard drive in manufacturing history. And this drive is still running. Can't kill the thing with a dang sledgehammer. I've replaced several other drives since getting that deathstar. Go figure.

I am going to replace the failing drive with one manufactured by Seagate, maybe a 200-gigger, cuz I've found them (Seagate drives) to be the most durable & reliable.

I'd love to build something new, except all my money is going to lawyers. I wonder if my attorneys would barter: computer work for legal fees.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 05.sept.2005 - Note from another survivor of Katrina: one of the moderators for the Rad forums. See here:

I am a refugee in the home of a friend here in Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana, located on the Mississippi river, 60 miles upstream of New Orleans. I sleep on the floor in air-conditioned comfort.

Back home, there is no electricity, no running water, no sewage removal, no trash collection, no phone service, no police patrols nor response, no manned fire stations, no way to summon emergency services, and - most distressing - no commerce of any kind. If lucky, you might find bottled water and MREs at a couple of deserted shopping centers.

My neighbors who remain back home - those valiant few - are sitting in the dark, sweating, nervously fingering their repeating shotguns and Magnum revolvers, wondering if tonight will be the night the looters return, who have already vandalized half the homes on our street. Serious looting going on north of Lake Pontchartrain by Central American gangs.

Government at every level has failed. Any citizen who opposes the notion of decent Americans exercising their 2nd Amendment Right to Bear Arms reveals himself an utter fool here, and will receive only contempt from me, for I have seen the proverbial elephant.

Out there, we're on our own, without the ability to contact emergency services beyond the sound of our voice - with the exception of signaling with gunfire, I suppose. Should the goblins turn to arson, as they often do during times of widespread lawlessness, we'd be in a serious jam.

To paraphrase Rudolph Giuliani, "the number of casualties will be more than any of us of can bear." If the storm had tracked a mere 30 miles to the west, Louisiana would had suffered casualties tenfold.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 03.sept.2005 - Saw The Constant Gardener last night, on the big screen at the Big Newport. Theater was packed. Opening night.

Enjoyed it. Easy to recommend. Only thing I didn't like was the title, which sounds stupid to me. Rotten Tomatoes rates it highly. Certified Fresh. Based on the book by Britsh spy novelist John Le Carre. (I loved The Russia House.)

Takes you to Africa. Hauntingly beautiful tribal music. (See it at a theater with a good sound system.)

The remainder of today's entry is blogged here:> The Constant Gardener

Radiation tri-blade symbol 02.sept.2005 - Received mail from a friend who survived hurricane Katrina. See here:

I survived, but Biloxi will never be the same. Ended up riding it out at home, 2 blocks from the beach. It was close. The water kept rising until it got within a block of my house. 

Almost embarassed to say I had only one broken pane and the drip edge (overhang) of a shingle was rubbed flush with the facia. The yard was thick with branches and limbs. Any one of them could have easily come through the roof and down on my head. Or an entire tree. But didn't.

Services weren't being restored anytime soon and I was not willing to spend the next 2 weeks in the heat and stink. So I blew town the day after Katrina hit. It was a convoluted trick navigating my way out.

I've traveled up to the north side of Atlanta to visit with a friend. Today I checked into a motel with a reasonable weekly rate and anticipate giving home a try in two weeks.

Say a prayer for us southern folks.

Best regards,
Joe S.

So far, Joe is the only one I have heard back from.

Radiation tri-blade symbol 01.sept.2005 - RADIFIED set another new site record last month, logging more than 2.8 million hits. See here: site usage statistics. Indeed, all five metrics recorded new monthly highs.

Maybe September will be the month we break the 3 million mark. Three million hits-per-month .. has a nice ring to it. Five million would sound even better. I can recall when the site didn't see a million hits all year.

A friendly reminder for those of you who live locally here in Laguna Beach (LaBeana Gooch): today is the First Thursday Art Walk.

Hope to see you out on the town, sucking up a little culture as the summer winds down. Three weeks remain until the autumn solstice (22.sept).