You can’t do THAT on TV!

So last night I was watching late night television on Comedy central, and after midnight they run ads for Girls Gone Wild. The ads show scenes out of their DVDs, showing girls is a variety of locations, “going wild”.

Let’s clarify this – “going wild” seems to be lifting their shirts to expose their breasts and possibly making out with another girl.

Now that’s wild.

What bugs me about this is that the girls exposing themselves is always covered by a playful-looking “CENSORED” graphic – always covering the naughty bits – but when two ladies are kissing, that’s not required to be censored.

Now, I’m not suggesting that everything be censored, but censors, get your ideas straight.

Why are certain body parts censored, but physical activity is not? It seems that if the censorship is governed by the conservative puritan movement, then women kissing is a much greater offense to the whole “God’s way of the world” anti-same sex activity idea, much greater than the natural, life-giving mammaries that we all suckled on as children (apologies to those that were strictly bottle-fed, your therapist should try to sort you out).

I’m not suggesting that censorship is good, or needed, or that we should also censor these activities, but if you’re going to censor something, at least be consistent, or not at all.

The day my Xbox died

So today I’m hanging around home, and figured I’d geek out a bit and play around with my home entertainment setup.

I have a Samsung 42″ plasma TV, great picture, connected via HDMI to my TimeWarnerCable HD-DVR box.

Also connected is my Xbox 360, via component, and I typically use that (when not playing games) to watch videos, stored on my Drobo, with the attached DroboShare running fuppes to front the files via UPnP.

And today, when I had sat down to watch a film, I turn on the Xbox, and it freezes. And then displays the ominous Red Ring of Death. Damn.

Now I’ve submitted a repair for this, so even though it is out of warranty, M$ offers up to three years on this particular issue, and provide shipping and packaing for it all, so hopefully in a few days I’ll get their boox and send my dear console back to the for repair.

This failure spurred me into wondering how I could watch my films, so I hooked up my laptop’s video out and headphones up to the TV, and saw that work well. And then my roommate mentioned that I might want to hook up the mini-stereo system to the TV as well.

So I did. And the sound is pretty good compared to the internal speakers on the TV. They are ok, but the stereo speakers provide a much warmer sound, a fuller environment.

So now that there’s a new set of speakers involved, and my eternal desire to not have fivethousand remote controls around the house, I got a Logitech Harmony remote control a while back, so I updated it to use the correct sequence, and control the stereo volume.

So it’s all nicely playing together, all except the Xbox, which is dead. That lead me to look into other multimedia solutions, like XMBC and Plex, both pretty good looking. So I might figure out some way to create that link sometime soon, so it’s a very pretty multimedia interface.

Vote for me! Or don’t, it doesn’t matter.

So today was election day in the US of A.

As a good citizen, I had previously registered to vote at the DMV last year, and today I went to my designated poll to cast my vote, alongside many others.

In the past, my votes have all been absentee ballots, sent in from Israel, and had a certain “boring” aspect to it. Fill out form, enclose in envelope and send in mail.


But today was my first interactive voting experience, and it was nice and simple, with a big red lever involved. I felt like pulling that should activate some sort of trap door, ejection seat or alarm, but no.

It also made me think about how the fact that my personal vote doesn’t really affect anything, since the Electoral College is the defining vote for the president elect.

So the knowledge of the fact that I had close to no affect on the eventual election of the president has somewhat made this election day a little more like the rest of the days of the year, and not that special at all.

Keep rolling, rolling, rolling…

A while back I wrote about using Nagios as a monitoring system.

Since then, I’ve had need to have it deployed via a packaging system called RPM, and since no “stable” community editions are out there, I have the need to “roll my own” for distribution on our platforms.

I’ve never used RPM from the “packager” side before – and it’s both very cool and infuriating. It has all sort of features and powerful macros, but debugging it isn’t a piece of cake at all.

If anyone has a great RPM tool out there that they want to recommend, let me know.

The rush is so great.

So for those of you following my life, you may know that I went skydiving last fall.

Since then, I’ve taken up the Accelerated Freefall Progression (AFP) course, which constitutes a standardized course that takes a beginner skydiver to a level of competency that most drop zones will allow self-supervised jumps upon its completion.

This typically takes about 10 jumps total, including a few tandem jumps, but mostly jumps with instructors jumping next to you, making sure that you can do what they expect you to do, as well as make it down safely.

It took me a little longer, due to a long winter break, as the weather was just not cooperative, with all the storms, snow, and other nastiness.

This past weekend, I left New York City with fellow skydiver Jen, in a hot yellow Pontiac G5 (thanks to the rental place only having conspicuous cars for me) and drove down to Skydive Cross Keys, where I’ve been jumping all along.

It was close to the end of the day when I finally got in the air, along with my graduation jump master Richard, a seasoned Aussie skydiver who’s been doing this for the past 28 years. We planned my skydive and then jumped it. I did what I needed to in order to graduate, and also learned that I have to focus on some items like legs for stability, etc.

In any case, watch it Continue reading The rush is so great.

Finding a place to live

So the verdict was handed down, and now I officially am going to be homeless, unless I find a place to live.

How does one go about finding decently-priced places in Manhattan, preferably in the downtown/Financial District/Battery Park area? I’ve never had to do that part of living in NYC yet, and I’m a little lost.

The apartment I’ve been staying in now was owned by my grandmother, and was part of some sort of cooperative. The legal deal was that unless you can prove two years of cohabitation with the original resident, there is no right of inheritance, succession, or any of that jazz.

When she passed away, that kicked off their legal department, and there has been plenty of paperwork flying back and forth, with appeals and such, and that’s it – appeal denied, vacate by the 20th.

So at this point, I know that some of you know people “in the know” in New York, so if you know of someone’s place that’s sitting vacant and needs someone to house-watch it, or know someone with good connections in the real estate field, connect me – I don’t want to have to move out of the city.

Catching up

So after my last post, I actually tried to catch up on my emails.

I did, and now have some time to tell a story.

This past weekend, I spent the day out white water rafting with a group organized by ZogSports. A bunch of coworkers and I joined a group of about 50 young persons and headed to the Lehigh River, where a Class 2 rapid awaited us (Rapids of moderate difficulty with passages clear. Requires experience plus suitable outfit and boat).

None of us had any experience rafting (as far as I recall) and we spent a couple of hours on the bus there, and then some more time waiting around for organizational things to be dealt with (that could have been performed on the bus. Once we actually set out, I was in a 7-person group, 4 co-workers and myself, and two ladies we met and joined ranks with.

We set out, and paddled hard, and moved along the river, and got a feel for it, but not nearly enough. As we progressed along the river, not very far in, we picked up some speed and rammed into another raft that was stuck against some rocks, bounced off them, and then our raft flipped over, throwing us out. I got flung clear, and went under for a second, life vest bringing me back up, my shades still nailed to my head. I turned backwards, fighting the current, and saw that my pals had either surfaced and were being pulled in, or someone was looking after what was going on back at the raft’s location. I turned around, and saw people in boats, and they seemed to chant to me in unison, “swim for the shore”. My brain wouldn’t process their message, and another raft paddled up and hauled me in.

My new family, a group of boy scouts and a couple of dads, seemed to have an ongoing war with another couple boats, with water guns, and use of the bailing bucket to toss heavy loads of water on the rivals. It was fun, for a while, but got old after a while, but as a guest in their raft, I didn’t complain.

We rode a few pretty crazy rapids, got stuck a few times, and even once required external assistance getting off a pair of huge rocks. That had everyone piled up in one side of the raft – literally piled – as someone wedged the raft over the edge of one rock and then switch for the other side.

We hung back, and followed other rafts, watching their progress and learning from them what not to do – a solid strategy to adopt. This helped us make a nice ride, while not getting stuck on anything.

After a few hours, we finally stopped for lunch, where we all broke out the sandwiches and had something to eat. At that point, anything was better than nothing – no matter what it was. I had a PB&J, and wanted more, bu more wasn’t to be had. Ah well.

Re-formed with my raft crew, and met Ed, who joined. Ed seems to have a grip on things, so as we progress down the river, we all have a good time, slipping by the rapids, moving somewhat smoothly over treacherous terrain. The water thrashes you and it’s a lot of fun riding the bumps.

Finally, we make it back, get the bus back to the starting point, and grab a shower (mildly warm), dress in dry stuff and get on the bus home. On the bus, beer was distributed to those that wanted it, and our chaperon treated us to some horrible jokes. At some point, I fell asleep for a bit, only to wake and have a spirited conversation about reality tevelision with someone whom I believe watches way too much TV in the first place.

I can’t wait to go again next month!