Wednesday: 31.December.2003

Hangovers: Avoiding & Surviving Them

Abstinence. You know what Augustine said about abstinence.
Moderation. You know what Aristotle said about moderation.

Avoid colored spirits, such as whiskey and bourbon. They contain higher levels of toxins. Bourbon is the worst. You have a better chance of surviving New Years eve if you drink clear spirits, such as vodka. I treat myself to Polish volka every New Years eve. (I know it's trendy, but I was drinking Polish vodka before it became cool.) Vodka is the spirit lowest in toxins.

Drink quality stuff. Spend a little extra and get the premium booze. If you're going to drink a bottle of El Cheapo rot-gut tequila, you will wish you were dead. Trust me. Been there, done that.

Don't drink on an empty stomach. Have a good dinner. The greasier, the better. It slows down the absorption of alcohol into your system.
Take a multi-vitamin with your dinner. Vitamins B & C help the body eliminate toxins. Vitamin E helps protect your liver, which is about to get a thrashing.

Drink plenty of fluids. It takes your body 5 parts water to process 1 part alcohol. So keep the fluids coming.
Drink a pint of Gatorade before bed. Gatorade has electrolyes, which will help restore balance.

Don't mix. I'm sure you've heard the age-old maxim: "Liquor before beer, you're in the clear. Beer before liquor, you've never been sicker." [I first heard this from Lani.] And "Don't mix the grain with the grape." (don't mix anything with wine)

Get plenty of fresh air. Step outside and take deep breaths. Alcohol turns into a gas at body temperature. That's why police are able to use breath analyzers, and don't have to rely on blood tests. The alcohol gas displaces oxygen in your lungs and suffocates your brain. Which is why people do stupid sh!t when they're drunk.

After your body processes it, alcohol turns your blood into a basic (pH >7) solution. In other words, your blood chemistry gets whacked out. Drinking tomatoe juice, or any other acidic drinks (pH <7) such as Coke, can help restore you blood's pH to normal levels (pH = 7 = neutral). This is the science behind the Bloody Mary. Better living through chemistry, baby.

If you feel like crap the next day, Alka-selzer has been known to help. Plop, plop. Fizz, fiizz. Oh what a relief it is.
Drink lots of gatorade the next day. The electrolyes help restore balance.

Remember that alcohol is a poison. It contains toxins. (They don't call it inTOXICation for nothing.) It makes you liver work hard to process it.
If you're in *really* bad shape (got the shakes), nothing works better than a little hair of the dog that bit you.

My own remedy? The day before New years (today), I make (in a juicer, remember this is Southern California) 2 quarts of a juice concoction from fresh apples, carrots, parsley, ginger & beets. I drink 1 pint before i go out. Another pint before bed. A third pint when I wake, and the last pint throughout the day. I like sushi for my New Years eve dinner. Seems to work.
Last, but not least (and most importantly): don't drink & drive.

A similar guide is posted here.
HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Monday: 29.December.2003

The Last Samurai & Native American Indians

Took the kids to see The Last Samurai last night. I liked it. A lot. Enough to add it to my official Recommended list. The theater was packed. In fact, we had to wait and see a later show, cuz the one we planned to see was sold out.

Stars Tom Cruise. I thought he was washed-up after his last few performances, most notably the one he gave in the horrible Vanilla Sky. But he makes a strong come-back as The Last Samurai. It's certainly possible that *anyone* would have succeeded in this film, since the story is so strong. But Cruise fits the part nicely.

Gorgeous scenery. Caught myself muttering, "Wow," a few times. Several parts threatened to wax corny, but segued away nicely with each of these scenes ending cleanly. Only the ending wallowed in sentimentalism. But that is probably where that kind of thing needs to happen.

Rich characters. Many thought-provoking lines. My favorite was: "A man does what he can until his destiny is revealed." Another was: "Too many minds," referring to the need for single-minded concentration.

Interesting how the story compares the Samurai of Japan with the Native American Indian. Both embraced values of courage, loyalty & honor. And both were mercilessly slaughtered by superior technology and political greed.

Speaking of the Native American Indian, I've been watching the Ken Burns specials on how the West was won (PBS), which shows how the Native American Indian got screwed royally.

They were a beautiful people. European settlers (invaders) stole their land and nearly wiped them from the face of the earth - like they did the buffalo, *millions* of them. All my life I've watched John Wayne on Hollywood TV fighting "savages".

The truth, I'm sad to say, is closer to the opposite. I found the Burns' documentary so disturbing that I had to change the channel. Couldn't bear to watch anymore. Too depressing. It's an unsettling feeling when long-standing beliefs are shattered before your eyes. I'll never be able to watch another Western. So now we throw them a few casinos & want to call it even.

I spent a year in Idaho, where I was surprised to learn that many of the Indians living there were drunks. We would see them staggering down the street all hours of the day, even in the morning. Makes more sense now. They were probably trying to numb the pain passed down thru several generations. In fact, TODAY is the anniversary of the massacre at wounded knee (they slaughtered unarmed women & children, not a very noble thing to do).

In The Last Samurai, Cruise plays a war hero who fought at Little Big Horn with Custer, a man famous for slaughtering Native America Indians. Anyway, the film was most enjoyable. But remember: the key word in the title is *LAST*. So that should give you some idea of how it ends. Not pretty. But, at least I didn't have to walk out mid-movie.

Long film: 2 hours. Didn't seem long, tho, cuz the story moves right along. Surprisingly, there was no ongoing love/romantic interest on the side. But this worked. I hate when movies try to cover too many bases and wind up doing nothing well. Good use of humor. I laughed out loud several times. Altho, admittedly, I have a warped sense of humor. Reviews ala Rotten Tomatoes can be found here.

Sunday: 28.December.2003

Meet the Parents

We're back. If you've ever seen the movie Meet the Parents [starring Ben Stiller & Robert De Niro], you have some idea how I spent the holiday. A last-minute decision. Woke to a white Christmas. Been a long time since I saw one of those. Not far from the frozen tundra of the Canadian-Michigan border.

On the way from the airport, we passed under 8-MILE, the road made famous by the Eminem movie. As we approached the infamous boulevard, something came over me and I felt like busting out some rhymes: "Yo, yo, yo. My name is Joe. Mess with me, I'll bust your toe." [Needs work, I know.]

Good to be back home in sunny SoCal, land of palm trees and surf boards, where it's warm. First thing we did upon landing, after the long flight, was to find some Mexican food. Craving those sinus-clearing spices. I trust you all had an equally wonderful holiday. A few readers wrote to say they woke to find the parts for a Rad Rig waiting for them under their tree Christmas morning. Must be nice. Now all they have to do it put it together.

Saturday: 13.December.2003

Newport Harbor Christmas Boat Parade

This week is the Christmas Boat Parade (95th annual, since 1907) in Newport harbor. Festivities begin Wednesday the 17th, and conclude Sunday the 21st. I go every year. It has become a tradition. Things get "underway" about 6:30, and wrap up about 8:30. On Friday and Saturday nights, they keep going a little later.

I like to ride the (3-minute) Balboa Island Ferry over. If you've read the novel The Golden Orange by Joseph Wambaugh [ex-Los Angeles police officer, most famous for The Onion Field, a true story], you know that he begins his story with the captain of the Balboa Island Ferry crashing his vessel into extravagantly lighted yachts during the Christmas Boat Parade.

Get there early, because parking will be insane. And dress warm. It gets cold on the water. A ride on the ferris wheel provides a great view of the parade. The best thing is if you actually know someone who has a boat in the parade. That would be cool. Hope to see you there.

The Chamber of Commerce discusses it here. It even made its way into National Geographic's Calender of Events. Want more info? Here's a Google search pre-configured for the terms: newport + harbor + christmas + boat + parade.

Friday: 12.December.2003

Divide & Conquer

I broke up the guide to PC Stability Factors in to 3 pages (cut & paste). It used to be a single, unwieldly document of over 50-KB. Now it is more managable: 20 + 20 + 12. I also broke up the FDISK guide. It used to be 2 pages. Now it's 4. My goal is to keep the pages less than 20-KB, so folks on dial-up don't choke on them. And I noticed that the Google translator stops translating after 20 or 25-KB.

Thursday: 11.December.2003

Matrix Revolutions & 21 Grams

Finally saw the Matrix Revolutions last night. At the Spectrum. On the giant IMAX screen. A few stories tall. Costs $2.00 more per ticket to enjoy the "IMAX Experience". The detail and clarity were remarkable. Special effects were over the top. Out of this world. A little heavy handed on the philosophy. Almost got corny in a few parts. Final fight sequence most impressive. Unexpected ending.

Overall I enjoyed it. But found myself longing for the simplicity of: "What will it be, Neo? The red pill, or the green one?" The critics killed it. But what do critics know?

For example, over the weekend, we saw 21 Grams, starring two of my favorite actors: Benicio Del Toro and Sean Penn. The critics loved it. This is not a feel-good movie. Which means the average viewer won't enjoy it. Well acted, tho. *Really* well.

At the exact moment of death, the storyline goes, we all lose 21 grams: the weight of five nickels, of a hummingbird, a chocolate bar .. and perhaps the human soul. A weighty, serious, challenging movie. Makes ya feel like slashing your wrists with a rusty knife.

I took Nick to see Matrix Revolutions. On our way from the parking lot, we passed an Electronics Boutique, which contains every video game ever made, and even had on their shelves boxes of games not yet released. Of course, we had to stop. Originally, we had plenty of time to get popcorn and good seats. We ended up being late. Couldn't drag him out of that store.

One thing struck me as odd: at the ticket booth, the cashiers were handing out packets of Emergen-C. It's a fizzy, like alka-seltzer, but contains vitamin-c. I have nothing against the stuff; I use it all the time. It was just weird seeing them hand it out at the box office. As if to say, "Drink this and stay healthy, so you can come back soon and see more movies."

Tuesday: 09.December.2003

PC Stability Testing

Posted a new page on PC Stability Testing. Cut a chunk of text from the end of the Windows XP Install guide, which was growing rather plump, and pasted it into a page/guide/feature of its own.

Monday: 08.December.2003

Windows Install guide PDFs

Updated the Windows XP Installation guide to include two PDFs: one downloadable zipped version (55-KB), which contains the entire guide (all 4 pages) .. and another printer-friendly version (93-KB), which has the gray backgrounds removed to conserve toner/ink (8 pages).

People have been telling me for years that I should do a Windows-install guide .. that it would be a popular feature. Not sure why I didn't believe them. Maybe because there were already such guides out there.

So I guess it shouldn't surprise me to see how popular the guide has become .. in the few, short days since it was posted. It has been downloaded several thousand times already. But I can't find any single source for this traffic. Most of the time, when a particular guide sees heavy traffic, I can trace its origins back to a particular link from another site, such as Lockergnome. Not so this time. So I'm puzzled about where all this traffic is coming from.

Anyway, they were right: the Radified Windows Installation guide has become surprisingly popular. Maybe I should listen more carefully from now on. I'd like to thank everybody who wrote in to share their insights into the best way to install Windows. If the first few days are any indication, the guide will be a major success. No doubt, we'll continue to dial it in, but I feel like the lion's share is done.

Thursday: 04.December.2003

First Thursday Art Walk Laguna Beach

Here in Laguna Beach, every first Thursday of the month (today) is the Art Walk. This is where all the art galleries stay open late. Laguna has dozens of them. It's an artist's community. Participating galleries hang balloons or banners outside to signify their participation and offer visitors wine & h'ordeurves inside. You can get pretty trashed if you're not careful.

It has become quite an event. People come from all around. The town swells with visitors. Of course, traffic sucks and parking becomes a nightmare. But that's normal. The art contained in these galleries is surprisingly good. Local galleries do well on these nights. You can see a video of this on Laguna TV. Maybe we'll see you out on the town. Don't dress too warmly because those galleries get toasty with all those people inside.

Even bigger than tonight's Art Walk is tomorrow's Hospitality Night. This is where Santa rides into town on a shiny red fire engine. We call it "Hostility Night," because it will be a madhouse. You can't even get through town. Police block off the streets. No in-town parking after 4PM. Stores stay open late. Jingle bells at the beach.

Christmas lights are up here in Laguna. The city does an excellent job of decorating the town. It's the prettiest town I've ever seen. Tastefully done. If you're in the area, I think you'd enjoy it. Need food while you're in town? La Sirena Grille on Mermaid street near the Library. Bowl of chicken tortilla soup + 2 salmon tacos + a side of guac with a watermelon/strawberry drink. That's where I'm headed right now.

Update: Just returned from the Art Walk. My dogs are barking (feet are sore). This guy: Jorg Dubin, had, by far, the most impressive art I saw this evening, and I cruised all of Laguna .. starting on the north end of town, and ending up at the galleries at the south end. Most impressive. He was featured at the Peter Blake gallery. They always have the best talent. The galleries were packed. So many people. Ran into a few friends along the way.

Wednesday: 03.December.2003

Windows XP Installation Guide

Six weeks ago, I mentioned two potential new features I had in mind. Every liked the idea of a Windows XP Installation Guide. So that's what I did. I've been working on it little by little. It still rough, and needs polishing, but it works. At least on my system. See what you think. I even gave it its own subdomain: http://windows.radified.com/.

It's 4 pages right now. All the guides started small, before blossoming into full-featured documents. Readers write in and say, "Hey Rad, You forgot something... " After we get it all hunky-dory, I'll crank out a couple of PDF files: one zipped version for download and another one that is printer-friendly. My goal is to have it dialed in before Google and the other search engines discover it.

Monday: 01.December.2003

New Site Record

Last month of the year before we head into 2004. RADIFIED set a new site record last month with nearly 1.3 million hits. See here. Actually, hits is a rather meaningless metric. For example, when you load the home page, you generate 9 hits:

* 1 for the HTML page itself, which contains the text (25-KB)
* 1 for the "RADIFIED" graphic at the very top, with its cool, 3-D drop-shadow effect (5-KB)
* 1 for the "Indulge Your Technolust" graphic located right below it (also drop-shadow, 6-KB)
* 1 (4) for *each* translation flag located in the upper right-hand corner (4). They are all different:

Italian: Italiano
German: Deutsch
French: Français
Spanish: Español
All four together total less than 1-KB.

* 1 for the little yellow radiation tri-blade symbol: Radiation tri-blade symbol (0.5-KB) Once your browser loads the graphic (one file), it can be displayed as many times as necessary (once for each new day).
* 1 for the associated CSS cascading style sheet (radified.css, 3-KB), which contains all the formatting info that makes the home page look so darn pretty. Many people have asked to use this style sheet, which is flattering, since 'design' is not really my bag. I try to focus on generating clear *content* that is easy to read and understand. Style sheets allow me to change the design of the entire site by modifying one page. Without which I would have to change each page individually.

Note the Google graphic loads directly from Google, and doesn't count as a hit for RADIFIED, but your web browser will still load it (2-KB).

That is, if you don't already have these files stored in your browser's cache. In which case your browser will load them from there, and not have to "hit" the site. If you visited the site within the last week or so, they are probably still stored in your browser's cache, and won't have to load them from here. (The RADIFIED server is physically located in Atlanta.) If you visit any of the other pages, such as the Ghost guide, you won't have to reload files you loaded from the home page (such as the RADIFIED graphic and translation flags).

I am not selling advertising, so I have no need to artifically inflate the numbers. But some sites embed invisible 1-pixel graphics into their pages. Since a file is a file, each of these tiny, invisible files will give their sites another "hit", which may allow them to demand more advertising revenue from unsuspecting clients.

Number of visitors is a more meaningful metric. Each day, between 5,000 and 7,000 visitors stop by here. Not all come to this page. Some only request the Ghost guide, or the ASPI guide for example. Mondays (today) are traditionally the site's busiest day of the week. Fridays are usually the slowest.

Doing the math, you'll see that (on average) 6,000 visitors per day, times 30 days per month, equals ~180,000 visitors each month .. each generating about 7 hits .. equals (roughly) 1.3 million hits per month .. for a new (rather meaningless) site record. Web masters like to use the "hits" metric because it is the largest number and sounds more impressive than the others. The main point is that the site is growing.

I'm looking forward to the day when the site hits 10,000 visitors a day. Sounds like a nice, round number, doesn't it? That would equal a visit every 9 seconds, 24 hours each day.