I drove 45 miles to plug a hub back in and came back to find all our E-Mail accounts completely wiped.

I need a fucking drink.

(Update, 11:40 AM: on reinstall, it looks like they're all back up, thank Baby Jesus. Also, thank Jewish God, Allah, and Tom Cruise with his witchcraft.)

(Update 2, 11:45 AM: somebody sent me an E-Mail page to inform me that the E-Mail server was down. Have you noticed how the vast majority of computer users do not think things through?)

The East Valley has picked up a pair of serial killers, and I can't wake up to NPR in the morning without hearing about them.

Tuesday morning I woke up to the shocking announcement that the Baseline Killer may be concealing his identity by not always wearing the same hat.

"This is Papa Bear. Put out an APB for a male suspect, driving a...car of some sort, heading in the direction of, uh, you know, that place that sells chili. Suspect is hatless. Repeat, hatless."

Now, judging by an article in The Arizona Republic, it sounds like the Phoenix PD has actually gone a long way toward narrowing down the killer's physical appearance, but really, is the fact that he might sometimes wear a different hat newsworthy?

"Holy shit, it's that serial killer I heard about on the news! ...No, wait, that can't be him; where's his fishing hat?"


Reading: Finished American Gods; on to Catch-22. Finally working my way through my miles-high "to-read" list.

Had a rough day at work. Now, I'm not a Catholic, and I never made it through The Divine Comedy, so I'm not really sure whether my day at work was Hell or simply Purgatory, but I can eliminate Heaven right off.

And I got to thinking...you know, as soon as I get home, I'm going to the fridge and grabbing a fucking beer.

But then I thought, you know what? No. As soon as I get home, I'm hitting the gym.

And I did, and I feel much better for it.

I think I'll reward myself with a beer.

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

I'd also like to direct everybody to a wonderful annotated version by my good friend Brent Roberts from last October which links all of the above grievances to our current King George II.

The Declaration of Independence of the Fifty States
In CONGRESS, October 4, 2005

The unanimous Declaration of the fifty united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations,
pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these States; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present President of the United States of America [George II] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/celebrity/george-w-bush-dui-arrest-record

This is the 1976 Maine police document recording the arrest of George W. Bush for driving under the influence of alcohol. Bush, who was 30 at the time, was popped over the Labor Day weekend near his family's Kennebunkport summer home. Bush pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor DUI charge, paid a $150 fine, and had his driving privileges briefly revoked in the state of Maine.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/9/3/115611/4051

We had the USS Baton sailing almost behind the hurricane so that after the hurricane made landfall it's search and rescue helicopters would be available almost immediately. So we had things ready. The only caveat is, we have to wait until the President authorizes us to do so. The laws of the United States say that the military can't just act in this fashion, we have to wait for the President to give us permission.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/31/AR2005083102256.html

This administration has consistently played down the possibility of environmental disaster, in Louisiana and everywhere else. The president's most recent budgets have actually proposed reducing funding for flood prevention in the New Orleans area, and the administration has long ignored Louisiana politicians' requests for more help in protecting their fragile coast, the destruction of which meant there was little to slow down the hurricane before it hit the city.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

http://english.people.com.cn/200303/23/eng20030323_113813.shtml

As US forces escalated its bombings on Baghdad, US President George W. Bush held a war cabinet meeting at Camp David, a presidential retreat in Maryland,on Saturday to review the developments of war in Iraq.

The meeting, lasted for 90 minutes, was attended by Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, White House chief of staff AndrewCard, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, CIA director George Tenet, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers and other top administration and military officials, the Associated Press reported.

Bush is spending his first weekend at Camp David since the war began Wednesday night.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22263664/ns/msnbc_tv-countdown_with_keith_olbermann/t/olbermann-truth-consequences/

Anybody seen the Vice President lately? The man whose message this time last year was, 'I'll Protect You, The Other Guy Will Let You Die'?

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

http://articles.latimes.com/2005/oct/05/nation/na-miers5

"I actually listen to senators when they bring forth ideas," Bush said. "And one of the most interesting ideas I heard was, why don't you pick somebody who hasn't been a judge? Why don't you reach outside. ... And so, recognizing that Harriet will bring not only expertise, but a fresh approach, I nominated her."

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Department_of_Homeland_Security

The department was established on November 25, 2002 by the Homeland Security Act and officially began operation on January 24, 2003. After months of discussion about employee rights and benefits and "rider" portions of the bill, Congress passed it shortly after the midterm elections, and it was signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush. It was intended to consolidate U.S. executive branch organizations related to "homeland security" into a single cabinet agency.

It was the largest government reorganization in 50 years (since the United States Department of Defense was created). The department assumed a number of government functions previously in other departments. It superseded, but did not replace the Office of Homeland Security, which retained an advisory role.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

http://www.dukenews.duke.edu/2002/08/bushwartip0802.html

"I am deeply troubled by suggestions from the Bush administration that it is contemplating as one possibility an operation that would almost certainly have to be seen as 'war' in the constitutional sense, yet does not acknowledge that such a choice would need Congressional approval," Powell said. "My concern is that the administration is giving some indication that it does not appreciate the president's duty to make a judgment about his authority, not just a decision about what he thinks is the best policy."

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A37014-2003Jun9&notFound=true

UNITED NATIONS, June 9 -- The Bush administration charged the European Union with actively undermining U.S. efforts to shield Americans from prosecution by the International Criminal Court and warned that the impact on transatlantic relations will be "very damaging" if the EU does not stop.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriot_act

Critics claim the Act is unnecessary and enables U.S. law enforcement to infringe upon free-speech, freedom of the press, human rights, and right to privacy. It is most controversial among critics for section 215 (see below) and section 216, which allows judges to grant government investigators ex parte orders to look into personal phone and internet records on the basis of being "relevant for an on going investigation concerning international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities", rather than probable cause as outlined in the fourth amendment.

...President George W. Bush signed the bill into law on October 26, 2001. Assistant Attorney General Viet D. Dinh and current Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff are the primary authors of the Act.

...In some of these cases, federal prosecutors chose to charge suspects with non-terror related crimes for immigration, fraud and conspiracy.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4273672.stm

Private Lynndie England found the sexual humiliation of Iraqis funny, the military court in Texas heard.

Prosecution lawyers are aiming to disprove defence claims that she fell under the influence of senior soldiers.

She faces 11 years in jail if convicted on charges of conspiracy, committing an indecent act and maltreating detainees.

Pte Jeremy Sivits - who has been sentenced to one year in prison for his own role in the abuse scandal - told the court that Pte England clearly enjoyed the abuse of prisoners.

Many were ordered to strip naked and were photographed in humiliating positions and forced to simulate sexual acts.

"She was laughing, she seemed to be having a good time with all that was going on," Pte Sivits told the court.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9492624/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/england-sentenced-years-prison-abuse/

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) -- Army Pfc. Lynndie England, who said she was only trying to please her soldier boyfriend when she took part in detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, was sentenced late Tuesday to three years behind bars.

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States and its Protectorates:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A23899-2003Nov30?language=printer

European countries had vowed to respond to the tariffs, which were ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization, by imposing sanctions on up to $2.2 billion in exports from the United States, beginning as soon as Dec. 15. Japan issued a similar threat Wednesday.

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/kfiles/b34039.html

By next year, for instance, 88% of all Americans will receive $100 or less from the Administration's latest tax cuts.
...
In 2005, the Bush budget assumes the "government will take in 13% more in taxes and fees next year than in fiscal 2004."

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/09/AR2005090900772.html

A federal appeals court yesterday backed the president's power to indefinitely detain a U.S. citizen captured on U.S. soil without any criminal charges, holding that such authority is vital during wartime to protect the nation from terrorist attacks.

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR51/063/2005/en/10cc0311-d4fe-11dd-8a23-d58a49c0d652/amr510632005en.html

In late December 2001, a memorandum was sent from the United States Justice Department to the Department of Defense.(4) It advised the Pentagon that no US District Court could "properly entertain" appeals from "enemy aliens" detained at the US Naval Base in Guantá Bay, Cuba. Because Cuba has "ultimate sovereignty" over Guantá, the memorandum asserted, US Supreme Court jurisprudence meant that a foreign national in custody in the naval base should not have access to the US courts. The first "war on terror" detainees were transferred to the base two weeks later.

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2002/jan/03/contract-blacklisting-rule-repealed/

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration repealed a Clinton-era rule that prevents the government from awarding federal contracts to businesses that have broken environmental, labor, tax or other federal laws.

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

http://www.epic.org/privacy/terrorism/hr3162.html

SEC. 106. PRESIDENTIAL AUTHORITY.
Section 203 of the International Emergency Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1702) is amended--
(1) in subsection (a)(1)--
(A) at the end of subparagraph (A) (flush to that subparagraph), by striking `; and' and inserting a comma and the following:
`by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States;';
(B) in subparagraph (B)--
(i) by inserting `, block during the pendency of an investigation' after `investigate'; and
(ii) by striking `interest;' and inserting `interest by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; and';
(C) by striking `by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States`; and
(D) by inserting at the end the following:
`(C) when the United States is engaged in armed hostilities or has been attacked by a foreign country or foreign nationals, confiscate any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, of any foreign person, foreign organization, or foreign country that he determines has planned, authorized, aided, or engaged in such hostilities or attacks against the United States; and all right, title, and interest in any property so confiscated shall vest, when, as, and upon the terms directed by the President, in such agency or person as the President may designate from time to time, and upon such terms and conditions as the President may prescribe, such interest or property shall be held, used, administered, liquidated, sold, or otherwise dealt with in the interest of and for the benefit of the United States, and such designated agency or person may perform any and all acts incident to the accomplishment or furtherance of these purposes.'; and
(2) by inserting at the end the following:
`(c) CLASSIFIED INFORMATION- In any judicial review of a determination made under this section, if the determination was based on classified information (as defined in section 1(a) of the Classified Information Procedures Act) such information may be submitted to the reviewing court ex parte and in camera. This subsection does not confer or imply any right to judicial review.'.

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

http://americablog.blogspot.com/2005/09/us-soldiers-allegedly-trading-pictures.html

"Nice puss / bad foot"

The page titled "Nice puss / bad foot" is devoted to the photo of a nude woman laying down on a table, her foot has been blown off by a land mine, blood, muscle, skin and bone are dangling in its place, and her naked crotch is clearly visible in the photo (thus the reference to "puss"). This is a sanitized version of the photo (unsanitized version here):

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

http://www.hist.umn.edu/~ruggles/Approval.htm

Graph: Bush's Approval Rating

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these States, solemnly publish and declare, That these United States are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the current presidency, and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The signers of the Declaration represented the states as follows:

California

Brenton William Roberts

Happy 4th of July. Go blow some shit up -- safely. (Seriously, don't set anything off near any forests. Half the damn state's on fire as it is.)

Edit 2012-05-26: Added the complete text of Brent's Annotated Declaration, since the Pyoko boards are long gone. I also fixed outdated links.

I'm involved, off and on, in a lengthy project to try and consolidate my nearly 20 years' worth of comics, bag, board, and sort them. (Precisely how to sort them presents a rub -- presumably first by year and then by title, but figuring out how many months' worth of comics will fit in any given box creates a huge headache. And many comics do not print the goddamn year on the cover.)

Tonight's run through about 100 different comics from ten to fifteen years ago was largely discouraging -- most of them were from my unfortunate X-Men phase. (There was even a Clone Saga ish of Spidey in there.) As I started going through issues of Generation X, I felt a burning desire to apologize to myself for all the stupid, stupid things that seemed like a good idea when I was a teenager. I'm big on taking responsibility for my mistakes, no matter how young and misguided I was when I made them.

But then I hit on my nearly-complete run of TMNT: City at War and that reminded me that, dammit, I made mistakes, but I still had pretty damn good judgement at times, too. It's a source of constant consternation to me that I am missing one issue of that arc -- #56, to be exact.

If you have a copy you want to part with, let me know. I'll trade you a #48, as I have two copies of it for some reason.

Meantime, guess I'll keep an eye on eBay -- I was briefly thrilled to see somebody selling a TMNT #56 there, but it turned out to be the Archie comic, not the Mirage one.

And I really should start checking out comic shops in my neighborhood. I've still been shopping at my old store in Tempe despite it being 30 miles away, because they've been good to me over the past ten years or more and I am a loyal customer. But they don't have a great back issue selection, and they're also 30 miles away.

Edit, 2007-05-20: I got a message today from somebody asking if I was still looking for TMNT #56. The answer is no; I found it -- and filled the rest of the gaps in my vol 1 collection, too -- on nostalgiazone.com a few months back. Thanks anyway.

I am still missing the bulk of the original Tales series, so if anyone has any hot tips on those, let me know. Thanks.

(Okay, one spoiler. But it's for Batman Begins, which everybody's probably already seen by now anyway.)

This is just completely fucking absurd.

(And yeah, my referrals from the Bioware page have pretty much dried up, so I'm going back to gratuitous use of the word "fuck". In fact more gratuitous than usual in this post.)

Look, it's nice seeing comics get mainstream press attention (even if it's for shit like the new Batwoman being a lipstick lesbian -- who also happens to be Officer Montoya's former lover, because of course all the lesbians in Gotham know each other. Apparently in the Marvel U all African superheroes are childhood friends, too.), and I'm sure this will boost sales for an industry that could really use them, but you don't goddamn post a headline spoiling the ending of a comic within hours of it hitting the stands.

This is complete horseshit, and it's symptomatic of the complete lack of respect comic books get as a medium.

I mean, seriously. Can you imagine a paper running a story with a headline spoiling the ending of a movie that came out that same day? Even a movie about superheroes? Did you see any papers running headlines like "Henri Ducard is Actually Ra's Al-Ghul"? Or how about "X, Y, and Z die in X3"? (See that last one? The movie's been out for weeks and it's still too soon for me to be comfortable writing spoilers for it.)

The press doesn't print articles that ruin, right in the headline, endings of new movies. Or new books. I suppose they do with new TV, but they at least wait until the show's aired on the west coast. Oh, but this is a comic book. It's not like anybody cares about spoilers for a comic book.

And so there I am, sitting at work on my break -- I am still at work and certainly have not had a fucking chance to go to the comic store yet -- and the Huffington Post sees fit to tell me how Civil War #2 ends.

Fuck you, Huffington Post. And fuck everybody else who blabbed about this today without so much as a spoiler warning. Fuck you from the bottom of my heart.

And another thing: if you're going to write a headline about Spider-Man, get his fucking name right. Spider-Man. With a hyphen.

And as for anyone who wants to be surprised by the ending of Civil War #2, you'd better go pick it up right now, and do your very best not to watch, read, or listen to any news before you get it, because I don't know how long you can make it without somebody jumping out and ruining it for you.

You fuckers think that just 'cause a guy reads comics he can't start some shit?

Think I'm finally done fixing Grandma's computer. Well, in point of fact, it's working just fine now, but until it's sitting on her desk and still working, I'm not going to jump the gun and call it finished. "It should be finished by the end of the day" has been my battlecry for the past three weekends, and this time I'm going to exercise caution rather than get my hopes up. Something could somehow go horribly wrong between now and my next trip to Scottsdale (which I'm figuring for Saturday).

I found that, even wiping the drive, I could not get Windows to boot. Error loading operating system, every time. And, as previously mentioned, the disk was flagged as bootable.

So yesterday, for shits and giggles, I tried installing Linux on it instead.

And it worked. It booted, no trouble.

Yet, when I reinstalled XP again, it was back to refusing to boot.

So I hatched a plan. I decided, y'know, Grandma only used about 8GB of her 80GB hard drive even when she had it packed to the gills with 8 years of files, so on a clean install, I can easily set a few gigs aside for a Linux partition. I decided to set up a Linux partition (well, two, really, one ext3 and one swap) at the front of the drive -- I could've done a Puppy-sized 256MB, but decided to stretch it out to 5GB just so I could stretch out and have a good, full Linux install for troubleshooting the next time Windows goes haywire -- and fill the other 75GB with Windows. I figured I'd set GRUB up to automatically boot Windows and leave the Linux boot invisible.

Turns out I didn't even have to reconfigure GRUB -- when I installed XP, it overwrote GRUB with its own bootloader, and this time, for reasons which I cannot fathom, it actually worked. I mean, this points to some kind of oddity with the MBR and/or boot sector, but beyond that I have no idea why adding a dual-boot fixed the problem.

And that, I think, is the most important dirty little secret among people who fix computers -- half the time we don't know why what we just did worked. Hell, I consider myself lucky that I even know what I did this time, even though I don't know why it worked. Frequently I find that something starts working again and I don't even know what I did to change it.

I'm half-convinced this is some sort of Uncertainty Principle thing and I just have the touch. Which sounds cool, but I'd rather computers -- and Windows in particular -- just behaved rationally.

The latest hilarious chapter in the Fixing Grandma's Computer saga is that the new CD-RW drive I bought her at Fry's turned out to be bad. I exchanged it for a good one, but discovered on getting home that I had left my Knoppix CD in the one I returned. Which is probably all right, since it was Knoppix 3.9 and I'm overdue for an upgrade anyway.

But the whole process is just one disaster after another, and I don't have the tools I need. This must be how Fred Flinstone felt when he tried to fix his computer. With, I can only assume, some sort of small bird with a skinny beak -- possibly a hummingbird; I imagine that a hummingbird would be a very difficult bird to use as a screwdriver, but "very difficult" is sort of what I'm going for with this analogy -- and, assuming Fred is a Mac user like everybody else on TV, a paper clip.

I am, of course, burning a new copy of Knoppix; I tried to use the ExpressCD program that came with my old copy of Ultimate Boot CD but it had approximately the worst interface I have ever seen in a CD burning program (yes, worse than xcdrecord -- much worse). It kept putting folders in places I didn't tell it to, and wouldn't let me move them.

I do believe my Windows XP disc is trashed, meaning that even once I back up Grandma's files, I can't install a new OS on her computer. (Well, I could install 98, but that would rather defeat the purpose of this whole exercise. Or I could install 2000, but the reason I'm switching her from 98 in the first place is that it's now unsupported, and 2000 is next on the chopping block.)

All in all, considering that Grandma doesn't do any kind of online banking or credit card transactions, really the worst-case scenario if her unsecure installation of Win98 had gotten a nasty malware infection would be...basically what's happened anyway. (Though I suppose her CD-ROM was going to die no matter what.) Live and learn, I guess. I'm never doing a Windows update again. I mean it this time. Fool me once, shame on, shame on you... ... ... ... ...fool me can't get fooled again.

Oh, by the way, I've disabled trackbacks, since nobody but spammers was using them anyway. If you really really want me to bring them back for some reason, let me know.

(Also, is it bad that my favorite part of work is now driving?)

Yeah, this is going to be one of those where I talk about living in the desert.

There's a lot I love about the desert. Oh, sure, it's a hostile environment, particularly to pigment-challenged individuals of Irish Honky descent such as myself, and sure, those same honkies who have the least resistance to the sun's rays have decided for some reason to fill this region with concrete and asphalt to make it that much more unbearable, but there are still some very pretty things to be seen.

I've spent a few hours over the past couple of weeks handing out flyers for our company. I hate to be one of those guys who waves his degree around, but that's really not what I got it to do. But we need business, and there are a hell of a lot of new businesses opening within a mile radius of here, and the boss thinks I should be the guy who hands flyers out, so that's part of what I've been doing.

The first day, I overdid it: I thought I had sunscreen, but it turned out I didn't. Must not have packed any when I moved in February (which, all things considered, makes sense). So I went out and handed out flyers for three hours and got good and sunburned and chafed. I spent Memorial Day Weekend unable to walk comfortably. I am amused by the mental image of the tableau of a very sunburned guy going up to the counter at Target with sunscreen, aloe gel, and talc in his basket -- no explanation necessary.

Since then, I've limited myself to 90 minutes of flyering a day, and of course it goes without saying that this 90 minutes must be complete before 10 AM because I'm not going out when there's an excessive heat warning in effect. But I haven't been out there the past few days because things have been so busy at the shop. Mixed blessing -- I'd rather not be out there handing out flyers, but at the same time if I don't find time for it soon the boss is going to yell at me again.

I don't like sunscreen. It's greasy, smelly, and invariably gets in your eyes, even if the label proclaims it's non-greasy, unscented, and sweat-proof. But it beats being baked alive.

Dad also leant me a hat which once belonged to a family friend who died of cancer. I think that's pretty cool.

And handing out flyers isn't all bad. I dig the desert landscaping surrounding most of the buildings. Often I will hear a rustling in the bushes and see a large lizard come out.

Meantime, I haven't had much time to relax when I've been home from work -- work on a computer all day, go home and work on a computer. See, my grandma's been rocking Windows 98 for the past 8 years, and since Microsoft has ended support for it, I decided I should probably upgrade her to XP.

Have you caught the mistake in my thinking?

That's right: the word upgrade.

Let me explain something. I have never had a Windows upgrade go well. 95 turned out to be incompatible with my processor, 98 hosed my filesystem (which is why there is no complete extant copy of KateStory IX), and XP hosed my partition table. ME...actually upgraded smoothly and gave me no trouble, but I think the fact that it installed Windows ME on my computer means it still did serious harm to my system.

So I should have known better. I shouldn't even have attempted the upgrade. I should have backed up her files to CD, wiped the drive, and done a clean install.

But I didn't. I attempted an upgrade. Which went fine until the reboot, at which point the installation hung. No error, just a hang at boot time.

So then I made my second mistake: I tried to use Recovery Console.

Specifically, I used fixboot. Which hosed my partition table. I wound up with what looked like a 10MB FAT12 partition with only one file on it. Knoppix showed more files, but they were all gibberish.

Daunted, I retreated to lick my wounds and study the problem before going back the next weekend to attempt a fix. I found a useful MBR tool on UBCD4Win, which got the filesystem looking good enough to run a chkdsk on. After that, the files were visible, but the damn thing still wouldn't boot no matter what I did or how many times I installed an OS on top of it. (And yes, the partition is set bootable.)

It was about this point where I hit the Eject button on the CD-ROM drive and it launched my CD across the room. It bears noting that this is not even a slot-loading drive, it's the kind with a tray. I have never seen anything like it in my entire life.

There comes a point in a project where you know you need to stop for the day. Seeing your Windows XP disc fly across the room is such a point.

So I brought the computer home to work on it here. (Grandma's is thirty miles from here, meaning I logged roughly 120 in my two round-trips this past weekend.) So far I've made little progress -- my flying WinXP disc does not look to be in very good shape; I made a copy of it last night but it took hours to do, so I'm betting there was some serious trouble reading the data on it. Hopefully it somehow made a good copy anyway. I haven't tried it today because I've been busy trying to revdep-rebuild my Gentoo install, because I can't upgrade KDE until I recompile a bunch of programs that used to have ungif support, which is now deprecated because the patent on the GIF algorithm finally expired. (You see what software patents do? Do you see?)

Also I bought Grandma a new CD burner. Now I'm trying to figure out how to get the mail-in rebate on it. It is possible that I did not pick up the appropriate form and will have to go back to Fry's to get it. The fun never ends.

All in all, it's been a stressful month. But on the plus side, I haven't been mugged by a hooker at knife-point, so I guess that means I know at least one guy who's had a worse month than I have. Hey, count your blessings.


Also, I don't intend to make a habit of mixing business with this blog, but I've been working on a website for a local musician named Devon Bridgewater at nuancemusic.org. Nuance Music (AKA Nuance Jazz Trio) is a local jazz group consisting of Devon, Dick Curtis, and Joel DiBartolo, director of jazz studies at my alma mater.

Anyway, I'm just throwing that link out because Devon's looking to drum up some publicity to his site, and unfortunately his Google page rank is pretty low right now, so he needs all the links he can get. So spread the word around, and, most importantly, link to his site. (I might add it to my links page if I ever drum up the courage to dust off the cobwebs and update the damn thing.)

Once again, that page is Nuance Music.

Hell, while I'm at it, Google hasn't even listed any of the other pages on the site, so here are links to them too: gigs, press, jazz, weddings, gallery, corporate clients, festivals, contact, Spanish.


Reading: A Scanner Darkly. Hoping the movie doesn't suck.

Playing: Suikoden 5. Basically at this point the series is openly hostile to newcomers -- this game took 7 hours to get interesting (still better than the 30 hours of 3 and the never of 4), and there's no way anybody would play that far without having a tremendous amount of goodwill left over from the first two games.

It's 100 degrees out, but I've just moved into the server room, where it's chilly enough that I'm actually considering going back to hot coffee -- I've been drinking it cold ever since it got up to about 90 degrees out.

Of course, if I'd remembered to bring my towel today, I could probably use it to keep warm. Oh well -- I never could get the hang of Thursdays.

Anyway. Come July I think I'm going to be really happy to be in here. But come next February, I think I'll have to bring a blanket.


Playing: New Super Mario Bros.