03 Sep 2005 @ 8:45 AM 

There are some truly messed up people in the world. This guy, supposedly a man of God, preacher of the Gospels of forgiveness and love, has this to say about why Katrina was a blessing to New Orleans:

“New Orleans now is abortion free. New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free. New Orleans now is free of Southern Decadence and the sodomites, the witchcraft workers, false religion — it’s free of all of those things now,” Shanks says. “God simply, I believe, in His mercy purged all of that stuff out of there — and now we’re going to start over again.”

I have no words.
Donate Now

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 03 Sep 2005 @ 08:53 AM

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 30 Mar 2004 @ 8:18 PM 

CBS had a puff piece on The Olsen Twins online from December 2003. Here’s a quick excerpt.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen aren’t just rich and ambitious, they’re mini-moguls. And they’re already worth, by some estimates, $40 million each and counting.

Did you know that the Olsen girls are not identical twins but fraternal? Amazing, I know.

More importantly, did you know that it’s quite possible these two girls (now 17 years old) may be billionaires by the time they turn 18? Damn, I’m a failure.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 30 Mar 2004 @ 08:18 PM

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 18 Jun 2012 @ 11:21 AM 

The Boy really surprised me this Father’s Day. Part one of the surprise is that he actually remembered the day, although that may be thanks to Kat. The next part of the surprise is how nice a gift he got me. It was relevant and not cheap (Calphalon bakeware to replace some of the cheaper things banging around in the kitchen). Finally, we were at the local media store (books are such a small part of their stock) and he ran off to buy a t-shirt. He used that t-shirt to wrap the pans! Not only generous, but ingenious as well. And the shirt was Doctor Who themed, so bonus points there.

All around, I could not have asked for a better recognition that I’ve got some sort of place in his heart. Maybe this parenting stuff is working after all.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 18 Jun 2012 @ 11:31 AM

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 24 May 2012 @ 12:38 PM 

Seeing as many birthday parties as I do (helping Kat at her job), it’s obvious things are different from When I Was A Kid. The new kid order is further highlighted by the end of the school year, which I’ll get to in a moment. First, parties.

Back when I was a kid, the only one who left a birthday party with anything other than cake in their belly was the birthday kid. I don’t know when it changed, but by the time Alex was attending birthday parties, the gift bag culture had developed. If you didn’t hand out candy and toys to the guests at a party, good luck getting your kid invited to anyone else’s. Are we teaching kids that even on a day when one kid is rightfully the center of attention, everyone is still Special?

When I was a kid, the only graduation ceremony you had (before college) was when you got a diploma after 12th grade. That is graduating. Any graduation that ends with, “See you in the fall” is not much of a graduation. I understand marking major events in a child’s life, but when Alex “graduated” from kindergarten, I don’t think he nor his classmates gave a damn about it. The whole thing was for the parents to prove their kid is Special. When he “graduated” from elementary school a year ago, I’m pretty sure the kids didn’t care much either. The boys seemed uncomfortable in their nice clothes, but otherwise they acted like it was just another day. Which it was!

I suppose in two years, he’ll “graduate” from middle school. It still won’t mean much to him, nor should it. Why have we started doing this? If your child doesn’t know how much you appreciate him on a regular basis, if your child doesn’t know how much you love him every day, do you really think a silly ceremony is going to make him feel Special? It seems like we’d be better off celebrating our kids’ individual (or team) achievements when they happen, rather than just wrapping up the year with one big ceremony. It seems to be an admission that we don’t have time to recognize actual accomplishments if we recognize “not being held back a grade” as worthy of a ceremony. When everyone is special, nobody is.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 24 May 2012 @ 12:38 PM

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 13 Feb 2012 @ 11:16 AM 

I was thinking about playlists (formerly known as mixtapes) the other day and decided to make one that involves songs which evoke a particular location or event. Since this set of criteria is so loose as to allow a playlist of thousands of songs, I set myself some rather arbitrary limits. It had to fit on a standard audio CD (74 minutes) and each song had to be specific to a particular location/time and only one song per location/time. So, although high school is four years long, it gets one song. I went to Korea three times for a total of four years, so that’s three songs (one per trip). I also decided that any trip of less than two months didn’t count. So, no song for BNCOC or CEWIOC or business trips. Here’s the 57 minutes I ended up with; commentary follows:

Doug E Fresh La Di Da Di
Living Colour Cult of Personality
Violent Femmes Blister in the Sun
Faith No More Epic
Ministry Everyday Is Halloween
Divinyls I Touch Myself
Ace of Base The Sign
Soundgarden Black Hole Sun
Los Del Rio Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)
Smash Mouth Walkin’ On The Sun
Kid Rock Bawitdaba
Transplants Diamonds and Guns
Evanescence Bring Me To Life
The Waterboys When Will We Be Married?

More »

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 15 Feb 2012 @ 03:32 PM

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 01 Nov 2011 @ 2:03 PM 

Yesterday marked three years since Kat and I got married. It’s been a pretty damned good three years, and shows no evidence of that changing. For ineffable reasons, the lovely lady decided to celebrate our anniversary by going camping. This surprised me, as I’m pretty sure I’ve spoken before about the relative ambivalence toward anything which resembled going back to a tactical Army mode.

Fortunately, she was smart enough to rent a cabin with air conditioning and a refrigerator and bed. Calling this “camping” may be a bit of a misnomer, but it was a great evening. Kat got to sit around a campfire for the first time in her life, as well as make her first s’more. We saw a porcupine shuffling across a field, were serenaded by mockingbirds, and went on a 2.5 mile hike. I also discovered that match-light charcoal is a much better fire base than crumpled paper and small twigs leading to larger twigs blah blah blah. Sure, it’s cheating – so are matches to some purists.  🙂

We exchanged gifts, which comprised a rather large number of books for me. Yay for books! And now I’m spending the day chilling at home, ready for Year Four. I love you, Kat!

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 01 Nov 2011 @ 02:03 PM

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 14 Jul 2011 @ 7:02 AM 

After finding great success with the BLT & watermelon salad last week, I decided to go old skool, back to my days in the land of the not-quite-right. Like gang jung, some things may be better left in the memory.

Pulled out the kochujang and tri-tip last night, and produced a meal of bulgogi, be kimchi, and pa jun (I hate Romanized Korean – it’s always just a little off). Alex, the boy who claims to love spicy food, found the kimchi too spicy to consider seconds. Kat declared the tri-tip to be a wonderful cut of meat and it should in the future be served with some potatoes and maybe a side of green beans. She also found the pa jun to be not her style – something about steak and eggs not being cool with her or something.

I guess that’s the end of Korean side dishes; the bulgogi was a hit, of course.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 14 Jul 2011 @ 07:02 AM

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 28 Feb 2011 @ 12:58 PM 

There are many pitfalls associated with dating. The possibility of wasting hours of your life while your date complains about his/her ex is one that I recall vividly from many years ago. Some of the pitfalls only occur with online dating. Those photos on the site may be from some years ago, as you only discover when you get to the restaurant and wonder how someone could age so rapidly. And then there are the more extreme frauds.

A woman in Britain met a great US soldier on a dating site, and he was so smitten with her he talked about moving to the UK when he got out, and using his severance pay to repay her for the ten thousand Pounds of loans he’d asked from her over the months of their courtship. First red flag – who gets a giant severance package from the Army, and why didn’t anyone offer me one? Second red flag – loan what now?

A man in Illinois was dating a girl online for two years. He stopped hearing from her recently and asked the police to investigate the potential kidnapping of his girlfriend in London. He knew she was a very well-traveled woman, because he’d sent money to her in Nigeria, Malaysia, the US and UK. Needless to say, his $200,000 is gone for good.

It’s so hard to understand how someone could be hoodwinked to this degree. Both of these people are in their mid-40s, and apparently desperation and loneliness beat out suspicion pretty heavily. I’m glad the only unexpected result from dating Kat was the transition of my underused dining room into some sort of mammal sanctuary. 🙂

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 28 Feb 2011 @ 12:58 PM

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 20 Feb 2011 @ 8:01 PM 

Kat and Alex both agree – this is the best meal so far in 2011. Sage, shallots, and butternut squash in crispy wontons, all sprinkled with parmesan and toasted walnuts. I have no problem backing this determination, and combined with the return of the In-N-Out burgers just one week ago, I think I may have peaked too early this year.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 20 Feb 2011 @ 08:01 PM

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 14 Feb 2011 @ 7:46 PM 

I’m not sure what it says that my darling bride requested, as her romantic V-Day meal this year, In-N-Out double double animal style with onion rings. They turned out really well, especially the gooey grilled onions on the burgers. I really need to get a deep fryer to handle the massive temperature problems with my stovetop to avoid the burnt onion rings. *sigh*

All that being said, it’s great to share a night on the couch, watching our favorite sitcoms, sated and full of grilled meat products. It’s been nearly 4 years since Kat came into my life, and I’m thrilled to be able to say we still have the most conflict-free and loving relationship I’ve ever seen or heard of. I can’t imagine life without her. If this is too much sweetness for you, you’re a cynical blackhearted bastard.

Love and light, all.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 14 Feb 2011 @ 07:46 PM

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 14 Feb 2011 @ 12:37 PM 

[Ed: in case it’s not obvious from the “posted by” tag, this is written by Kat. Gary does not speak of himself in the third person frequently.]

From the red token on my purse from the Winchester museum to my entire left arm commemorating our honeymoon (and in many incarnations in between), I have never wanted to celebrate a relationship so fanatically. The funny bit is, I don’t need reminders of the good times. They are all good times. My behavior simply demonstrates my constant joy. To prove his awesomeness even further, he is making one of my favorite meals tonight: an In-n-Out Double Double animal style with onion rings. Nothing says love like an In-n-Out animal burger. I love you! Go Bearcat! CAn2!

Posted By: Kat
Last Edit: 06 Jul 2011 @ 03:07 PM

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 09 Feb 2011 @ 11:50 AM 

You’ve surely heard the phrase, “he/she ruined x for me,” usually in some pejorative food context. For instance, many people are loathe to partake of asparagus or pork chops, because of some long ago culinary disaster. In our house, the phrase has a more upbeat meaning, however. Kat keeps telling me that I’ve made it impossible for her to enjoy various dining establishments, due to her preference for some new meal I’ve pulled out of a cookbook. So far, this has included steakhouses (at least for steaks) and any place that serves ribs. This week, she added another one: Wienerschnitzel. This is problematic for me, as the silly A-frame hut is my go-to destination whenever I don’t feel like making any effort at a meal. They are conveniently located, and I inhale their fries as well as the bbq bacon hot dog (or chili cheese dog).

What caused the dear lady to declare Wienerschnitzel off-limits? The Circus Dog, found in an old issue of Cuisine at Home magazine. Starting with Boar’s Head frankfurters (the only ones I can find in this misbegotten burg that have actual casings), wrapped in parcooked bacon, grilled to perfection, placed in a broiled cheese-lined bun and topped with a honey-mustard cole slaw, they have now been declared the perfect hot dog.

Guess I’ll have to sneak my hot fast food dogs unDER the radar from now on.  *sigh*

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 09 Feb 2011 @ 11:50 AM

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 25 Dec 2010 @ 8:57 PM 

The latest Doctor Who Christmas special, with Michael Gambon and Katherine Jenkins, is the best yet.  Of course, doing a Google search for Katherine Jenkins shows that she likes to show off her cleavage at public events, so bonus!

But, why was Rory dressed as a Roman soldier?  The final episode of last season, they remade the universe so the Rorybot never existed.  They’ve got a lot of explaining to do this spring.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 25 Dec 2010 @ 08:58 PM

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 25 Dec 2010 @ 10:40 AM 

This has been a great Christmas morning.  I got five new books, Alex seems to like his new skates, Kat and I have been having a blast with her Buckyballs, and breakfast was awesome.  Kat found a great recipe for salmon hash and asparagus.  Served with a fried egg atop the pile, with mimosas (and faux-mosa for the boy) on the side…such decadence!

We wish you and yours a great Christmas and a great new year!

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 25 Dec 2010 @ 10:40 AM

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 17 Dec 2010 @ 6:15 PM 

screenshot-20101218-171303.pngI’ve had the Stealthbook for 2 days now, and I’m ready to give my first report.  It’s heavier than I’d think from a device with no hard drive; I assume that giant battery is the reason for that.  I unplugged it after giving it a full charge, and after one and a half nights of use, it claims to have 40% and just about 3 hours of battery life remaining.  The claimed 8 hours of use seems likely to be true.  The Flash plugin is flakier than a pie crust, and this illustrates some differences between ChromeOS and Chrome on Windows. If a plugin crashes in Windows Chrome, Chrome offers to restart it; ChromeOS doesn’t.  If all else fails, you can close Chrome in Windows and restart it; since the browser is the OS on the Cr-48, restarting the browser requires logging out and logging back in.  Since the login process takes only a couple seconds, the difference is minimal, although it does mean you have to type your password more.

Most web sites work just fine, including Youtube and LOLcats – although the Flash instability means that I may avoid them until a patch shows up.  Just as with any other Atom-powered netbook, don’t expect to run any fun Flash games on the Cr-48; Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook is a slideshow.  Netflix doesn’t work, as it needs Silverlight.  That is one thing which needs to be addressed in order to make the Stealthbook a replacement for Kat’s netbook – she uses that thing for Netflix streaming, LOLcats, email and Facebook.  I think a big question is the cost.  Nobody has indicated how expensive these machines will be once they are actually for sale.  You can buy a single-core netbook with integrated graphics for under 300 bucks.  Bumping up to a dual core or adding decent graphics power moves the Windows netbook into the 500 dollar range, which is awfully close to real laptop territory.  Even assuming the Microsoft tax is $100, it becomes hard to imagine the Chrome netbooks entering the market for under 200 and having anything like good performance.  We’ll have to see what happens.  I also didn’t understand the iPad, so marketers aren’t looking at me for guidance.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 20 Dec 2010 @ 09:05 PM

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 14 Dec 2010 @ 8:05 AM 

I built a computer in August, which was intended to be a reliable and semi-powerful machine, to play current games and work in Premiere and Photoshop.  Instead, I’ve been plagued with random shutdowns, crashing programs, and a growing hatred of technology.  The most recent issue is that downloaded games no longer work.  I buy most of my games via Direct2Drive or Steam or Impulse – I tend to buy older games on sale and boy are some of the deals awesome.  I grabbed Bioshock for five bucks last month, downloaded it, installed it, played it nonstop, and then I was done – all in one week.  I know, there is replay value by playing as a jerk instead of a nice guy, whatever.

Anyway, last week two games popped up as good deals online – Crysis and Bioshock 2.  I bought both (one from GamersGate and the other from Direct2Drive), and began the download cycle.  Both games are approximately 7 gigabyte downloads.  I’ve now downloaded Bioshock 2 seven times, and Crysis four.  I’ve downloaded them to my C drive, my D drive, to Kat’s computer.  Bioshock 2 has multiple methods of downloading the ZIP file – Comrade, Download Manager, and browser direct.  I’ve used each method at least twice.  Every time, I get a corrupt download. I’m using a computer with a direct ethernet connection, not wifi.  The download manager says the download is done and correct. But, once it unzips and begins installing, it craps out with a CRC error.

Same with Crysis, but there’s only one method of downloading that game from GamersGate.  I can only assume that two different games, from two different sources, must indicate there’s something wrong on my end.  Darned if I know what, though.  Anyone have six hundred bucks so I can get a rig from Cyberpower?  No?  Darnit.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 14 Dec 2010 @ 08:05 AM

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 24 Nov 2010 @ 7:17 AM 

I’ve been slowly building every KROQ “Top 106.7 Songs” playlist for the years they did them, and recently finished 1985. It’s interesting to see how many of the songs that were considerd the biggest of the year (for that station) are completely forgotten today. For instance, the John Palumbo song “Blowing up Detroit” – I don’t remember that song at all, nor the singer, nor the band he’s still in today (Crack the Sky). Other songs are an interesting piece of history. There’s the obvious John Hughes reference – Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me.” And there’s also the social commentary – Artists United Against Apartheid’s song “Sun City” was big in 1985. It took 5 more years for De Klerk to begin negotiating an end to apartheid, and it wasn’t until 1994 that apartheid ended with multi-racial elections in South Africa. But, the song is a part of many people’s memories of the era when (after 40 years) we in the USA finally noticed apartheid was part of the society of a country where our rich people went to party.

As Kat points out, the list also includes a very obvious LA-centric slant.  Three Oingo Boingo songs are on the 1985 list, and yet most folks outside of SoCal have heard of exactly one OB track – Weird Science. Amusingly, there’s also a Danny Elfman song, “Gratitude,” on the list, which was recorded with the entire Oingo Boingo band on an Elfman solo album (So-Lo) – the ridiculous nature of recording an album with the exact same people but calling it solo instead of Boingo is due to some dispute with their record company. So, “Gratitude” is considered to be both an Elfman solo track and a Boingo band track – it appeared on the Best O’ Boingo compilation album years later, adding some credence to the Boingo provenance. Hard to believe it’s been 15 years since Oingo Boingo performed their farewell Halloween concert.

So, any bands or songs you remember from years past, but are completely lost to most of your friends’ memories?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 24 Nov 2010 @ 07:17 AM

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 04 Nov 2010 @ 8:38 AM 

In previous installments of “Gary cooks whatever Kenji does,” we’ve tried the Double-Double Animal Style and some sliders. The latest was the patty melt. I’m a big fan of patty melts, so making them at home with two kinds of cheese seemed like a winner of a plan. They were yummy, and the onions ended up so caramelized they stuck in my teeth like the halloween candy we’re noshing on this week.

In a stunning upset, the sliders remain as Kat’s #2 choice of the three, while the Double-Double of course reigns supreme.  The Boy and I both prefer patty melts over sliders, but agree with Judge #1 that In-N-Out rocks, even in clone form.

Maybe I’ll try that Roast Beef Poboy next, that looks like an interesting sandwich…

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 04 Nov 2010 @ 08:38 AM

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 14 Oct 2010 @ 11:28 AM 

Following the success of the faux Double-Double, last night we attempted to duplicate Kenji Lopez-Alt’s slider recipe.  OK, recipe may be overstating things, how about method instead? I thought it odd to make fried burgers last time; you can imagine how difficult it was to get past the concept of steamed burgers. And, 1.2 pounds of meat to make a dozen burgers? That can’t be right.

Anyway, they turned out quite like the sliders you may love or hate – oniony, cheesy, moist, and a little messy with a pretty high bun-to-meat ratio. Although sliders were Kat’s idea, she found them to be not as much to her liking as the In-N-Out style burgers – I wholeheartedly agree.  Alex, on the other hand, ate four of them. The sliders do have the benefit of being much easier to make, with far fewer ingredients to juggle (making your own secret sauce, slicing tomatoes, leafing lettuce – none of those are needed for sliders). But, the D-D have the benefit of being quite a bit tastier.  Sliders are a bit of a one-note song, while a nice Double-Double Animal Style is a near-symphony of ground meat goodness.

Next on my burger hit parade?  Maybe patty melts.  I love me some patty melt…

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 14 Oct 2010 @ 11:29 AM

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 05 Oct 2010 @ 10:03 PM 

We just got a little Garmin Oregon GPS unit this week, and our first outing with it was very productive.  We walked around the San Angelo State Park and found our first geocache.  Only a few cactus quills.  🙂

And now Kat seems to have some small idea of how to operate it.  We’ll see how that goes.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 05 Oct 2010 @ 10:03 PM

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