Saturday, May 31, 2008

Reading a book in a dream

Sometimes while I'm asleep, in my dream I'll pick up something to read. But I cannot focus on the text, I get frustrated, then I wake up. I wonder if it is because my subconscious cannot come up with text fast enough for me to read it.

As anyone who has tried their hand at writing knows, your brain cannot generate text faster than you can comprehend it. You can read an article faster than you can write one. So if you hear that JR Ewing has just been shot, try reading an newspaper, book, or magazine. You might wake up faster.

Friday, May 23, 2008

How video games could prevent violence

Violent video games cannot possibly lead to real violence. Real violence requires time and effort. You actually have to get off the couch and possibly go outside to kill somebody. Perhaps we should encourage violent, sociopathic types to spend as much time in front of a TV screen as possible. That way, on the day that they finally do snap, they will be so out of shape that it will be easier for the rest of us to outrun them. Plus they will have gained so much weight that they'll make bigger targets for the police.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My plates had an expiration date of April 15th, so I went down to the BMV to get them renewed. The license branch was closed, but I was able to get a new license plate sticker and registration slip from the automatic renewal machine. But this is one of those arbitrarily chosen years in which all Indiana motorist have to get new plates. The sticker gave me a 29 day extension, and I had until today, May 14, to get a new plate.

When I tried to remove the old plate, I found that the bolts holding it in had rusted in place. When I tried a little elbow grease, the brackets that the bolts screwed into had broken free. So whenever I turned the bolt, the bracket inside the rear bumper rotated as well. The bolts would not come off with just the use of a wrench. Nor was there enough room inside the bumper for me to fit a pair of pliers.

I actually had to use different techniques to remove both bolts. I found that with the bolt on the right side, the bracket had an extra small hole. I tried sticking an Allen wrench into that hole, to try and wedge it into place so I could loosen the bolt. I ended up twisted the head of the bolt right off, and the Allen wrench was bent into sort of a cross between a "V" and a "U" shape.

I tried to decapitate the remaining bolt by pulling on the plate. I ended up ripping the plate right off the car.

So then I got out my hacksaw, a tool second only to duct tape in versitility. Since there was about 1/16 to 1/8 inch clearance between the bumper and the bolt head, I removed the hacksaw blade from the handle in order to cut within a tight space.

I mounted the new plate by drilling two wood screws into the plastic bumper. I hope it is the last plate I ever have to have to attach to this car.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Games that are more violent than the Grand Theft Auto series

These are some games that I have at my house that contain more violence than the GTA series, and yet have largely escaped any public criticism:

Civil War General: Robert E Lee This computer game has the player attempting to perserve the institution of slavery by waging war against the lawful authority of the Federal government.

Civilization III The player can rule over despotic and communist regimes, extort payment from neighboring countries, and even launch ICBM's without provocation.

Star Wars Battlefront This console game's Galactic Conquest mode features the Death Star, which the player can use to blow up planets that he would rather not bother conquering.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Today marks my 29th year of sobriety. By amazing coincidence Douglas Adams hasn't had anything to drink for the past seven years, either.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Scam spam of the week

What follows is a scam email, fresh out of my in-box:

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity
we have determined that you are eligible to receive
a tax refund under section 501(c) (3) of the
Internal Revenue Code. Tax refund value is $189.60.
Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 6-9 days
in order to IWP the data received.
If u don't receive your refund within 9 business
days from the original IRS mailing date shown,
you can start a refund trace online.

If you distribute funds to other organization, your records must show wether
they are exempt under section 497 (c) (15). In cases where the recipient org.
is not exempt under section 497 (c) (15), you must have evidence the funds will
be used for section 497 (c) (15) purposes.

If you distribute fund to individuals, you should keep case histories showing
the recipient's name and address; the purpose of the award; the maner of
section; and the realtionship of the recipient to any of your officers, directors,
trustees, members, or major contributors.

To access the form for your tax refund, please click here

This notification has been sent by the Internal Revenue Service,
a bureau of the Department of the Treasury.
Sincerely Yours,

John Stewart
Director, Exempt. Organization
Rulings and Agreements Letter
Internal Revenue Service

How I knew that this was a scam:
1. The federal government does not use email for official communications.
2. No IRS employee uses "u" as a second person pronoun.
3. If the government were in fact performing "annual calculations of my fiscal activity", they would not tell me about it in a friendly email. Tax refunds are determined by the information that the taxpayer provided on their 1040.