Bike Rack

I purchased a roof mounted bike rack for my car. It showed up yesterday and I enlisted gore’s help in installing it. Despite waves of mosquitos, it did get installed. And I put my bike on it, and drove around some. Works great so far. I might end up re-installing it since I am not convinced it’s attached perfectly. Maybe if we get some cooler weather and the mosquitos die off.

Evil Genius

Evil Genius is one of those games that follows in the footsteps of Dungeon Keeper. Instead of taking the role of the typical do-gooder hero rooting out evil and thwarting its plans, you step into the shoes of an evil mad man who is, of course, bent on world domination. I downloaded the demo yesterday and I played through it two times. The game seems very polished and the graphics reek of stylized, campy 1970’s James Bond (that’s a good thing). The demo does an excellent job of letting you get a feel for how well the system works. There’s very little micro-management, which helps, because at times your evil lair is under full scale attack from the good guys. I can honestly say this game takes the best from Austin Powers, James Bond, and even Globex, and makes a pretty interesting and funny game.

Defrosting the Freezer

The place where I live has a very old refridgerator. So old, that the freezer portion does not auto-defrost. It’s basically a box with aluminum walls and over time layers of ice build up. So we tossed what food we could and stowed the rest at Stone’s place. Then we got down to exploiting technology to turn a 24 hour process into 2 hours of work.

We looked online and many people recommended using rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. Some said to try a hair dryer. The alcohol spray bottle actually helped to turn any loose ice into slush which we removed quickly. But, this method was not going to remove the solid ice very quickly. So we developed a two pronged approach that yeilded the best results. First, we turned the fridge off so that the appliance was not working against us. We aimed a fan at the freezer and boiled some water. Between the fan moving air through the freezer, setting the pot of boiling water in, and occasionally spraying alcohol onto the ice, things started to loosen up. The key seemed to be letting the pot of boiled water sit in the freezer till it was room temperature. Eventually there would be openings where a spatula would easily wedge a huge section of ice away from the wall. The fridge labels recommended 24 hour time for a full defrost and we had all the ice out in 2. Not too bad.


What used to be known as United Parcel Service has some really nice advantages. Primarily that their delivery dates are dead-on. FedEx, on the other hand, just tried to beat their delivery date and not let you know ahead of time. UPS will leave packages at my doorstep, which is also fine by me. But, when a company ships me something and requires a signature, UPS gives you the option of re-delivering tomorrow or you can pick it up at their warehouse tomorrow. So, either way, you wait a day. Also, not a huge problem. The “issue” is when you go to get your package from their pick-up location. FedEx has a nice building with a customer desk with several people working the desk to help you get your package. It’s heated and cooled as needed and has nice carpet. UPS, on the other hand, has a roped off section of pavement near a guard shack. You have to go into the guard shack, have him call up to the UPS warehouse and someone will eventually wheel a dolly down to the roped off section to hand out some packages to everyone waiting. I’ve been there on a hot day in the sun and it was tolerable. I can’t imagine being there in the rain or when it’s freezing outside. FedEx seems to accept the fact that they deliver packages when most people are at work and they will be picking up packages after delivery times (even on the same day). I get the impression that UPS would rather not do anything that doesn’t involve a truck coming out to your house.

Stupid criminals

At work, I was having a discussion with a (smart) co-worker about stupid criminals. I came to the conclusion that I think there are two distinct levels of people in relation to commiting crimes.

There are those who are very smart and know a great deal (if not almost everything) about every aspect of a potential crime. These people probably get away with a lot of criminal acts. These types of people know the risks involved and play the odds to their benefit. Into this category I’ll also toss people who are smart enough to know the odds are against them. They realize that the police have forensic science and advanced investigation techniques and they probably would only evade the law before eventually being caught. This entire group, in my opinion, makes up a small minority of people caught committing crimes. Mostly because they know better or because they have specific knowledge that allows them to get away with it most of the time.

The second set of people are those who never even imagine that law enforcement officers could do something like find fingerprints on a plastic trash bag that’s been sitting in the dump for two weeks. They think the police are stupid or that they are smart enough to outwit anyone or deceive forensic investigators. Some probably never even consider the actual odds of success, or they are ignorant of what they are actually pitting themselves against when they commit a crime. Granted, some level of success can be reached by sheer willpower and viciousness, but that only serves to create more and more evidence used to capture and convict them. Their success is also helped by the sheer number of criminal acts relative to theirs. It can take months to process evidence for non-important crimes. Sometimes manpower is so short that criminals just “go free” because no one has the time to go back and do the legwork on something that isn’t a high profile crime.

So, ultimately, this was an exercise in trying to understand why criminals do stupid things. I don’t think they do by nature of being a crook. I just think that stupid people do stupid things and comitting crimes tends to be one of them.


I archived the old site and it’s in the menu on this site.

Listener purchased a mountain bike today. Putting it together was more work than I thought it would be, but it worked out really well, I think. It’s not a high dollar bike, but it was better that most of those $50 Wal-Mart bikes. We’ll see how it works out.

A hobby and some exercise

Riding a bike. It’s something most people do as a kid and I continued to do until I had a car. And I probably should have never stopped.

So, I’ve been kicking around the idea of getting back into biking. It’s not so simple as it used to be back in the 1970’s and 80’s. As a kid, my neighborhood was fairly low on traffic. Riding all over the place was pretty safe. But even my old neighborhood now has a lot of through streets that are really not bike friendly anymore. The good news is that there are biking trails and greenways all around my town … and they all required a helmet. I realize the reasons, but I don’t have to like it.

And then there’s the matter of having a bike. Any serious biker is going to recommend tossing $300 or more into a beginner bike. Plus potentially needing a bike rack if you need to drive to any trails. That’s a serious investment for someone who just wants to get back in and not drop $600 before even getting out to ride.

Regardless, I can’t bring myself to go to a gym and walking isn’t the kind of workout I really want or enjoy. Biking is something I’ve done, enjoyed, can enjoy, and would like to get back into. If not for a hobby, at least to make sure I get some exercise. My previous job involved lots of walking, lifting, carrying, etc. That actually did go a long ways to helping keep myself more fit. But now that I sit down for 8 hours a day, I’m not getting the exercise I need. It also helps that a lot of my friends have bikes and are interested in doing something like this.

A change

I’ve archived my old site. To be honest, all it did was exactly what this does now. And this is a little easier for me to deal with for the time being. It’s also not as dark and it is better looking.

Once I have the old site archived properly, I’ll post a link for it on this setup.

Should I run with it?

I could go through the effort of coding my own front page software. But why re-invent the wheel? Always a serious consideration. Coding today is less and less about writing things from scratch and more about building solutions from existing products. It’s the connections between things that are the meat of the final product it seems.