Sunday, December 31, 2006

About Fricking Time

DOD bars use of HTML e-mail, Outlook Web Access

Save the internet. Don't use Internet Explorer, Outlook or Outlook Express.

Happy New Year

In ~25 minutes here. Ended up having to do a bit of work work tonight. Email and computer security problems wait for no one. Thing1, thing2, and I watched the Bears get their a$$es handed to them by the Packers. Great tune up for the playoffs - eh?

Twas an interesting year for us. A little more prosperous but a whole lot more bills. More stress too. With God's help we'll get through.

I wish all of you a very Happy and prosperous New Year.

DBD on Kerry

Chris Muir, as usual, nails it.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

It's target time

Not the store but some results from the range today.

Kel Tec Sub 2000 at 10 yards. 2 to the chest and 1 to the head combinations.

Same with a Glock 17 at 7 yards. Gotta work on the head shots. :-)

Tried a couple of mags through the Glock with my Surefire 6P in my weak hand at 7 yards. The range was fairly dark except for my light. I really need to practice with this scenario...

One may wonder why I shoot at such a short range? Well it's pretty simple really. My house is fairly small and should the sh*t hit the fan at home the maximum range indoors is ~12 yards so I concentrate on the distances that make the most sense for my environment.

Blogger fun

So I switched to the new blogger. And now blogging with pictures with Picasa is broken. The Picasa help has some things to try but they don't resolve the problem.


A day at the range

Thing1 and I headed off to the range this morning. I had the need to shoot something and paper seemed the most logical. Thing1 needed to blow off some steam as well. I worked with my Glock 17 and Kel Tec Sub 2000 carbine. In 350 rounds I only had one jam and that was with the Kel Tec.

The case was jammed in the top left of the chamber keeping the bolt from coming forward and stripping off the next round.

Time for a good cleaning!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

At the movies

Thing2 is off from school this week and since Thing1 is working over Christmas break I took the day off to spend it with Thing2. Just Dad and daughter out to the movie. And what did we see? Charlotte's Web. This was an enjoyable film for just about anyone. I was kind of waiting for a PETA moment but it never happened. Perfect for the whole family.

Tonight we watched Invincible. Based on the true story of Vince Papale's rise from bar tender to Philadelphia Eagle this was an entertaining movie. (Thing2 had been pushing John Tucker Must Die but I wanted to send this movie back to Netflix) Invincible is worth the rental.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Monday, December 25, 2006

Sweet Little Thing2

 Posted by Picasa

Nectar of the Gods

My sister-in-law did this for my wife

It's the boy's favorite - Jim Beam Posted by Picasa

Tale of Two iPods

The wife had been hinting that she wanted an iPod. And being the silly person I am I believed her when she said she wanted "nothing" for her birthday last month. So I picked one up for her for Christmas.

And what did she get me?

Mine is the black one. I'm ripping CDs now... Posted by Picasa

Ghosts of Christmas Past

The wife came across this picture yesterday. Circa 1982 or 1983 - it's one of the few with both our parents in it.

From left to right: Her dad, my dad (d. 1987), her mom (d. 2000), and my mom (d. 1985). The guy on the far right doesn't count - he's just my brother-in-law. Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 22, 2006

Hallmark fun

Thing2 and I were bored while the cookies baked

Jingle Bells

Rocking Around the Christmas Tree

We Wish you a Merry Christmas

IP over Avian Carrier


Via Blackfive

A Christmas Story (Remixed)

A new take on one of my favorite Christmas movies:

Via HotAir

It started out good

Twas a great plan: The wife and Thing1 were off to work. Thing2 (whenever she dragged herself out of bed) were going to make cookies and just have a fun day. Things were progressing just fine - I even tossed in McDonalds for lunch. And then I decided to check my email and found the following from a close friend:
    Got to my mom's house yesterday to find her on the floor, she fell.

    After spending ~9 hours in the emergency room yesterday. She's broken her hip.
    Lot's of pain, I hate hospitals. They are very slow and busy !!!

Her mom is in her 80's and living on her own. Picked up the phone and called her up. She's pretty shaken up but like any good daughter is rearranging everything to be by her mom this weekend. Surgury is necessary - sometime this weekend. This is not a good way to celebrate Christmas but her family will be together by her mom's side.

Thing2 and I eventually got to make our cookies. 16 dozen. This was the first time I had used parchment paper to bake with. Very nice. No burned cookie bottoms.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Don't wear a gun to a MRI

I've had my share of MRI's. The rule is simple - no metal. This guy didn't seem to understand...

Via Tam.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Day in Chicago

I'm not much of a fan of cities. Or crowds. So what does the family want to do? Go to Chicago and wander State Street and Michigan Avenue!

Getting there wasn't bad. We took the train in. $5.00 each for a weekend pass. From Union Station we headed up to State Street and wandered around. Macys continued a lot of the Marshall Fields traditions. Looked very sharp. And unlike Target the Salvation Army was welcome.

We headed over to Pizano's" Pizza for lunch. According to Thing1 they were rated the best thin crust pie in Chicago. It was excellent. We then headed down to Michigan Avenue. Thing2 ran into a candy bar.

And we ran into Santa in a alternate form.

This sign was kind of disturbing.

If you search for more information it seems to be showing up all over the place

After we wandered Water Tower Place (where Thing2 got her picture taken with a Abercrombie model...) we headed up Michigan Avenue. The Lego Store was found and explored. The things that can be built are just so cool.

In the same building we found Santa. Thing2 just had to have her picture taken.

Thing1 had to show off his newest toy. Someday he might grow up. I hope it's not too soon.

As we continued to walk the clouds seem to get lower.

Our last stop before heading home was ChristKindleMart in Daley Plaza. Both the Jewish and Christian faiths were represented.

The Chicago tree is always impressive.

As is the village.

After taking in a street performance we headed home. I was ready.

I did notice that the police presence varied. In the heavy shopping areas they were everywhere. On the streets walking back to the train station there were none. A lot more homeless begging for money this year. On the way home the wife commented that one of her friends takes along McDonalds gift certificates to give to the home folks rather than money. I think we'll do that next year. This year most of our money went into the Salvation Army buckets.

You act like you've done this before

Summer fun

Dr. Cox sucks his thumb

Really. Just watch. PG-13. If you're not a fan of Scrubs you might not get it.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas Lights

I know this guy.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

HDTV for Christmas

The wife and I have been looking at a HD widescreen for our family room for quite a while. Until recently the price was just too high. We had been debating plasma vs LCD vs DLP. All three formats had their redeeming features. In the end it came down to what would fit in our entertainment center. We have a oak entertainment center what we have had for over 10 years. When we bought it we had a 30 inch tube tv and the opening was large enough for a 36. At that time we thought it was more than adequate.

For the past few months the wife has had trouble at Best Buy in walking past the flat screens. The prices were dropping and the picture was excellent. Since we wanted to keep our entertainment center we were limited to a TV what was a maximum of 40 inches wide. That meant the a properly designed 42 inch screen was the largest that would fit. Most of the 42 inch plasmas were too wide. 40 inch LCDs, for the most part, were the perfect size. Now we just had to find the right one.

After much research we kept coming back to the Samsung 4095. The picture was very impressive, it had 2 tuners (one for over the air HD and one for cable), 2 HDMI inputs, S-Video, component, and PC-VGA. Everything I wanted. Best Buy was too expensive so I started looking online. Amazon was ~600.00 cheaper than Best Buy. About the time I was ready to buy Amazon was out of stock. At the same time some friends of ours had just bought a 42 inch plasma at a local appliance store and recommended that we check there. After a stop at Woodfield we did.

We wandered in and talked to a sales person. Told him what we were looking for and he pointed us in the right direction. He gave us the price (much less than Best Buy) but still more than Amazon. I casually mentioned the Amazon price and off he went looking sad. A few minutes later he came back and asked that, if they matched the price, would we buy the TV there? A few minutes later we had a new TV. It was delivered the next day. I hooked up the HD tuner to my antenna and the cable tuner to my cable system. A new up converting DVD player was hooked up via component cables as well as my old VCR.

The HD picture is spectacular. Current DVDs look great. Older DVDs (Top Gun for example) don't look as good. Better than before but not as nice. Regular cable looks impressive given that it isn't HD.

I wanted to take advantage of HDMI but the cables at BB were too expensive. Thanks to a online forum I found Mono Price. A 6 foot HDMI cable was $20.00 delivered. That was 1/4 the price at BB.
The cable showed up in a couple of days and is quite nice. Fully braided and molded ends. For shipping everything was protected.


It works as expected.

This was a bit of a stretch but the picture is awesome. Football and basketball are impressive in HD. Shows like Heros and Supernatural seem so much bolder and more fun to watch.

The only bad part is now watching tv on one of the other sets isn't much fun... Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 03, 2006

How about a nice piece of pie?

Buffy and football

While Thing2 and I watched the Bears today Buffy decided that Payton was a good pillow.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Lumanaria 2006

Today, after all the snow, our village held it's annual Lumaria celebration. Civic organizations of all kinds put lumanaria bags (sand and a candle in a paper bag) all along the main roads and they are lit at 7:00pm. At the same time at the Village Hall there is a line to see Santa and listen to the SHS choir sing.


After singing everyone moves outside and the village tree is lit.

It was a bit cold but a great time was had by all.

Snow day

Woke up at 3:00am and there was just a little snow. The weather guessers forcasters had predicted 6 to 12 inches so I figured they were wrong. Again.

Well at 5:00am there was 3 inches of snow. Checked work and today was an excused absense day. Cool - no reason to hurry.

Around 6:00am I decided to go out and shovel. And what did I get when I opened the garage?

  Posted by Picasa

  Posted by Picasa

  Posted by Picasa

Did some initial shoveling to make room for the snow blower and my back asked me what the heck I was doing. Fired up the snow blower and an hour later my driveway and my neighbors were clean. Snow is still falling but the first pass is done.

Decided to stay home and rest the back as it is (now) on the sore side.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Things must be looking up in Afghanistan

If Microsoft wants me to call there to activate Vista...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Black Friday

It was a simple plan. Get up at 4:00am, head over to the local Best Buy, and get one of the 42 inch Panasonic plasma TVs that were available for 999.00. 2 out of 3 isn't bad...

Thing1 and I were up and at Best Buy a little before 5:00 am. The line was around the store. With only 5 in stock we knew the chance of getting what we wanted was zero. Hmmm... no line in front of Circuit City. We headed over there and the store was full of people. We couldn't even get to the movies we wanted to buy. Oh well.

We walked down to Dicks Sporting Goods. The store wasn't open yet. Ok walk down to Wal-Mart and kill some time. Lots of crazy people! Back to Dicks.

As we walked to Dicks I told Thing1 that, if they had the rifle I was looking for in stock, he was going to buy his first gun. Alas it wasn't in stock. So I bought some ammo and off we went to Target.

We got to Target just before they opened. Walked in and got the movies and games we wanted and were out the door in 5 minutes. Grabbed a couple of bagels and Panera and headed home.

In retrospect the long lines at Best Buy and Circuit City saved me almost $2000.00 on Friday. However that money will be spent soon enough on the 40 inch LCD that was at the top of our list.

Be safe out there. Shopping can be a contact sport.


Ours was great. 17 people in our little home including my brother and his wife who came up from St. Louis. Lots of food, wine (love wine!), and treats.

The turkey was cooked on the Weber by yours truly. 19 lbs in just over 4 hours - a perfect 185 degrees. Juicy white meat and yummy dark meat. Something for everyone. I made my first cheesecake this year. The wife had bought me a spring form pan at Bed, Bath, and Beyond so I gave it a show. Outside of the top splitting it turned out pretty good. My sister-in-laws husband, who makes excellent cheesecake, gave me some tips for avoiding that so I'll give them a shot next time.

And all too soon it was over. Folks headed home. We cleaned up and watched a movie. Black Friday was coming soon...

Sam is my kind of shopper!

Monday, November 20, 2006

A 100K Party

Green Beret killed in Iraq throws $100K party for friends in Vegas

Captain Jeffrey Toczylowski - A mans Man.

Rest In Peace Captain Toczylowski

Friday, November 17, 2006

Day by Day on the Election and Iraq

Chris Muir, once again, nails it.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Friday, November 10, 2006

Fixed it

In work related news we applied Service Pack 2 to our SMS server a few weeks back. We had some minor problems that were resolved with a few hours of work.

Or so we thought.

On Monday one of the desktop support group let us know that non-domain machines were no longer showing up in the SMS admin console. Having been the one who got this working 15 months ago I was kind of surprised as there isn't much to it. I also didn't really have time to work on it as I'm in the middle of setting up a DR site for our AD domain.

The other 2 SMS admins spent Monday and Tuesday working on it. Didn't get anywhere. I had advised them to call Microsoft but that never happened. On Wednesday one of the desktop guys called Microsoft. That didn't go over to well with our boss. Can't really blame the guy - he just wants to be able to do his job. So one of the other admins gets on the phone with Microsoft and spends the day trying various things. Thursday morning comes and it still doesn't work. I'm caught up on the DR site so I move a machine out of the domain, remove the SMS client and then reinstall it as a non-domain system to our test SMS server. I also run Ethereal (now WireShark). The trace was interesting as it showed a HTTP error - invalid hostname. Hmmm - where have I seen that before? And then it hits me - we have Host Header Names configured inside IIS. Standard procedure here as it helps keep the script kiddies away. I disable the Host Header Names, restart the SMS client software and within 5 minutes the system shows up in the SMS admin console. Cool!

So the SMS lead is on the phone with Microsoft at this time. I ask the Microsoft guy  what changed in sp2 that broke sites using Host Headers. Silence. So we change the settings on the production server and machines start showing up. Our information is supposed to make it into a KB article.

Thirty minutes start to finish vs 3.5 days going nowhere. Some days I suprise myself. :-)

Happy Birthday

To the USMC

The world is a much better place with you in it.

Semper Gratus

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Illinois Politicians

The D's took a lot of races here in the once great state of Illinois. Lets start at the top...

Blagovich. Under 2 investigations for corruption be he gets relected. I blame the Illinois Republican Party for ever thinking Topinka could win.

Ginan - whatever his name is as Treasurer. The 'financial expert's' family bank is under investigation for ties to organized crime.

Going local I am now represented by anti-gun, pro-abortion, and in at least one case - pro-illegal alien, State House and Senate members. Fiscally conservative proven leaders like Terry Parke and Billy Roth were passed over by voters for canidates hand picked by the Chicago Democratic machine.

I see higher taxes.

In closing I bring forth SaintSenator Barack Obama. For the past few months he's been spouting off on how bad the economy is. Except for his family. Obama recently purchased a 1.65 million dollar home. I wished the economy sucked like that for me! But then my job requires results.

Thoughts about the election

The Democrats won. Pure and simple. Thinking back neither party offered much of a platform. For the D's it was all about Bush and his 'misguided' war in Iraq. For the R's it was all about the evil that would be Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Toss in the MSM biased views against President Bush and the Global War On Terror - well it's hard to win. And too many voters, who normally vote Republican, stayed home.

And why should they have voted? For the past few years the Republican party spent money. Lots and lots of money on things that weren't necesary and that money had to be borrowed. Fiscal conservatives like myself, who live on a budget, have a hard time with that.

In my opinion the Democrats have ~15 months to show they have a plan. If not - one or both houses will go back to the Republicans in '08 - unless the Republicans show that they don't have a plan.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Aren't there enough?

The wife went to vote after Thing2 headed off for school. I had told her of my adventure so she could have some fun with the judges. As she walked towards the school there was a woman passing out voting materials with a shirt that read "Say NO to Terry Parke" (not something that someone with a sign supporting Terry Parke in their yard wants to see). Anyways the woman tried to engage the wife in conversation and my wife just said:

    Aren't their enough Democrats in Cook County?

Not only did it shut the woman up but a man who was outside having a smoke burst out in laughter.

It gets better. As she went up to the table with the election judges she presented her name as "the wife of the man who you tried to keep from voting". The same judge I had found her registration in a couple of seconds. Needless to say her voting went way faster than mine.

Get out and Vote!

Instapundit nails it.

Professor Reynolds is a wise man.

"If you're unwilling to crack down on criminals, cracking down on weapons will never reduce crime."

Vote Early, Vote Often

As I do every election I headed off to vote at 6:00 am. As I entered the school some Union looking thug tried to hand me a Dart for Sheriff pamphlet. I just smiled and said no thanks. Gave the election judges my name and my registration was marked "Absentee/Early Voter". I asked them to check the list of early voters to verify and it was Thing1 who voted early - the judge marked the wrong registration. After a bit of discussion the judges filled out some form and I got my ballot. No chads this year - one either voted electronically or with a ballot that you basically had to connect the dots.

It had the canidate then a filled in box, 1/2 inch of white space and then another filled box in a horizontal row. To vote for a particular canidate you had to connect the boxes. Very strange. Anyways it was easy - all Republican all the time.

Get out and Vote!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I sure am popular today

I've gotten phone calls from Rod Blagovich and Rudi Gulani. Wow!

Friday, November 03, 2006

My Surefire story

Nothing exciting. I didn't save any lives or take down a mugger. Nothing like that.

It's Friday night so I took Thing2 to karate. She does better if I stay so I set up a chair in the corner of the gym and opened up The Blog of War (excellent read by the way). About half way through the class the lights blinked. And then they went off. The emergency lights came on. The first one went off about a minute later. The second lasted another couple of minutes.

I had a Surefire E2E with a KL1 LED head on it in my sweatshirt pocket. Brought it out, turned it one, and pointed it at the ceiling. It provided enough light for class to continue. Used it as a spotlight a couple of times to allow the instructors to show the move that they were teaching that night but for the most part I reflected light off the ceiling and class was able to continue. One of the instructors had a LED flashlight from one of the discount chains. Decent light level ... from 5 LEDs. Not a bad light but it felt cheap in the hand.

20 minutes later class was over. The E2E was a bit warm but the light level never really changed. Thing2 came up and told me she was glad that I don't leave home without a Surefire in my pocket.

Maybe it's time for her to have one...

Proof of Global Warming

It must be true. I got it from a scientist.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Math - the Microsoft way

I was promoting a new domain controller the other day and noticed this...

I hope the person who did the math function here wasn't part of the Microsoft Money team.

Your life might just depend on it

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

World's largest skateboard ramp in his backyard

We had 15 foot plywood halfpipes back when I skated (30 or so years ago). This one is just awesome. There is even video of the builder in action on his creation.

Via Althouse.

John Kerry - The troops respond

Michael Ramirez has another view. Look for the November 1st image.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Politics in College

I was just talking with Thing1 after his Politics class. The discussion tonight was on special interest groups. The professor (a self described "uber liberal" who things Barack Obama walks on water) was asking it anyone or their parents belonged to one of the groups that was being discussed. National Assocation of Social Workers - check. Some teachers union - check. Any others?

Thing1 speaks up: "My dad is a member of the NRA". The prof takes a half step back. "Are you a member?" Thing1: "Not yet but I will be" (yeah I know - he should be. I'll have to fix that soon). The prof starts into treating American Rifleman like Playboy. Thing1 is too busy laughing at him to go on.

Turns out Thing1 was waiting for him to start the whole "guns are evil and kill people" arguement as he was ready for him.

Maybe next time...

I love that boy!

Pride before the fall

Just about everyone is talking about John Kerry's lame attempt at humor:

    "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

I can almost see where he was attempting to go. Then again Kerry had no problem slamming his fellow Viet Nam vets in the 70's and was calling Marines 'terrorists' not too long ago. So maybe I can't.

Funny thing - all he had to do was to say "I'm sorry. It was an attempted jab at President Bush and I blew the line. I meant no disrespect to the incredibly brave men and women who put their lives on the line so I can make an ass of myself. Please accept my apology"

And it would have been over. But no - blame it on the right wing chickenhawks. Stupid!

And to think this guy was almost the President?

Project Valour IT

The 2006 Project Valour-IT Competition is up and running.

Want to be part of something big?

Project Valour-IT, in memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss (Captain Chuck Ziegenfuss' father), provides voice-controlled software and laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand and arm injuries or amputations at major military medical centers. Operating laptops by speaking into a microphone, our wounded heroes are able to send and receive messages from friends and loved ones, surf the 'Net, and communicate with buddies still in the field without having to press a key or move a mouse.

It's easy to help. Just click on the Make a Donation button.

It's a tax-deductible donation and eligible for matching funds from companies who do that sort of thing (see: for proof for the cautious).

The snail mail address for those who'd rather donate that way (be sure to put ARMY in big letters on the check):

Soldiers' Angels
1150 N Loop 1604 W, Suite 108-493
San Antonio, TX 78248

There are also teams for the Marines, Air Force, and Navy. My dad was a Marine and two brothers and a sister were Air Force. I picked team Army as a thank you to Matt of He was the first milblogger I read and has had a huge impact on my understanding of the the armed forces.

Spread the word.

Monday, October 30, 2006


We left them alone for the day... and they multiplied!

All Republicans.

I don't usually vote a straight ticket as there are a few Democrats in the area that have been doing a great job and I've been voting for them. This year, it's straight Republican.

A Day Off

Since it's my birthday the wife and I spent some time together. After a quick trip to her dad's to fix a computer problem we were off to a local nature center for a quiet walk.

See some critters

And just take in the view.

Near the end of our walk we came upon the farm at the site. All of the sudden I was hungry...

Off to Prairie Rock!