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As our walk went on, it grew darker and darker. Destiny doesn't mind the night, as long as I'm within arm's reach, so we discussed nocturnal animals, the abandoned baby bottle in the soccer field, and the sky.

The stars began to show themselves, so we laid down in the outfield of a baseball diamond.

"There's a star!"

"No, that's a planet, that's Venus."

"Is that one a planet, too?"

"Probably; I think it might be Jupiter."

"Is that one a star?"

"Yep, that's definitely a star."

"Which one is Texas?"

Daily Condition:

in cd player: crystal method, tweekend

my condition: wondering what happened...last night there were three new fish in the bowl, this morning, only two.

Ah, Voices from the Thriftshop has developed some fans!

Big F Boogie
dusty8 at Tripod

Derek Recommends:

DVD: Cowboy BeBop


Don't buy the overly-priced single-season DVDs at Best Buy. This 3-DVD set has 26 episodes (4 seasons?), and i got it on eBay for $20.

A couple weeks ago, I ordered a DVD box set on eBay. It arrived earlier this week, straight from Hong Kong. I was a bit surprised at how cheap it was for coming so far.

The box it was shipped in held my attention for a long time. I examined the Customs sticker on the back, the multiple stamps, the postmarks, the Hong Kong bar code...

I started thinking I should scan the box, just to put it here for everyone to see. I flattened out the box, so it'd fit on the scanner, and I got an idea in my head....

I scanned the entire box, and laid it on on a sheet-sized image, so that you, my wonderful readers, can build your OWN box!

Start by right clicking on this link, and select "Save As..." The image itself is large, around 1MB in size, so it might take 10-20 minutes for you modem-dialers to download. It's perfect size for saving to a floppy, though!

Once it's downloaded, use whatever image viewer you have and print it in "Fit to Page" mode. Most imaging software, including the one in the Accessories folder of your Start Menu, have this available. The image is configured to fit in profile mode on an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, but the larger you have the better. Also, print it in the highest resolution you have; if you have a photo printer, all the better. You could print it out on heavy paper, like matte photo paper, for the best results, but even plain paper creates a nice little box. It's actually a smaller replica; all dimensions are around 1/2 actual.

The sheet itself has basic instructions on cutting out and assembling the box. If you've ever broke down a pizza box, this operates under the same rules. If you have trouble, just email me.

Daily Condition:

in cd player:Devo, greatest hits

my condition: working in a coal mine, going down down. Got to get stuff done before we bill on Thursday.

Freejack has a cool premise, and some top-caliber actors (Anthony Hopkins, Johnathan Banks, Rene Russo, Buster Poindexter, Amanda Plummer, I could go on!), and pretty good sets and props...

So why the hell does it suck so bad?!!????

I bought the DVD in the $5.88 bin at WalMart, and I thought, "any movie which has Jesus Jones and Ministry on the soundtrack is pretty good anyways!" Unfortunately, the acting and the writing are absolutely horrible.

...but there are CAR CRASHES! And...and...well, they're not even all that spectacular. 1970s cop-show caliber crashes.

...oooh! The computer graphics! They show...well, some programmer read Neuromancer too many times, and put wayyyyy too much animated flying landscapes in the film.

I bought Zen and the Art of Screenwriting at a garage sale a couple weeks ago -- see, I could be writing screenplays just as bad as Freejack, RIGHT NOW, and making money at it! Heck, I could write better things, scripts to be proud of, things I'd be happy to show my mother!


Okay, it wasn't that bad. just could have been so, so much better. And it wasn't.

I am the lucky winner of a lottery at work. As computers are upgraded and phased out, the last line in the life of a PC is to be given away to a employee. My name was drawn from the hat this time.

It's an older computer, 366Mhz PII, 64MB RAM, 4gb hard drive, keyboard, mouse, everything that I'd need to turn it on and watch it go.

I, however, am a geek, a nerd. My first thought was, "what would be the best use for it?" Destiny could use a nicer computer; the one she uses now is a little faster than the freebie, but hers is one thrown-together from bits and pieces and doesn't run very well. Like my server, most of it was rescued from a dumpster.

So, I think, "that 4GB hard drive would be nice in my fileserver...the RAM, too, if it'll work."

I pull the freebie computer apart, and shut down the fileserver for the first time in months to open it up.

The RAM won't be an advantage to the fileserver, but the hard drive would be. Then I think, I should put Des' old motherboard in my server, while I'm at it.

What to do with the motherboard I take out of the server?

I may as well build a second server. No use letting good parts sit idle.

My livingroom floor has the carcasses of four computers (Des' old computer, Des' new computer, the server, and a third for parts). As modern Dr. Frankenstein, my efforts will cause three good computers to rise from the discarded bits and pieces.

The fileserver is naked on the diningroom table, it's hard drives hanging loose inside for easy access, it's steel cover discared and lying on the floor. There's a stack of test hard drives on the table next to it, and the floor is a minefield of tiny screws.

Man, this is fun!

Derek Is Reading:

A World Out Of Time by Larry Niven

You know, I'm actually starting to really like how the Sheyenne River Speedway website is turning out. It's been a pain all summer, partly because I've been short of free time, and I just haven't been able to get myself into it. Sadly, the season is almost over. A lot of stuff has been just revisions on my original stuff, as problems and ideas arise from my contact at the track. Hopefully, with this winter, the site will be in excellent working order for next year.

I'm also getting back into selling on eBay; for over a week now, I've had at least six auctions going at the same time. This is nice because it's handy to have money rolling over constantly, rather than having large checks come in sporadically. I just have to keep myself going, putting up new auctions as older ones close. I've guaranteed a bit of this by having a lot of stock on-hand right now, but I tend to get lazy and spend my computer-time messing around on the internet, rather than doing profitable things.

I scold myself: "Bad Derek! How dare you exchange profitability for mindless unproductivity! What's the world coming to?!??"

VIOLA! If you look to the bottom of the page, you'll see a search box. I was getting pissed, trying to find past entries regarding certain subjects, so I spent 45 minutes last night stealing search code from the RRVEPC website I designed last year. It works pretty good, although it doesn't handle the comment sections, due to a limitation in my database. I may fix it, but I'm not sure when.

I've mentioned my love of DVD commentary tracks before, but The Onion has presented an analysis of commentary tracks for bad, bad movies. They almost make me want to rent the movies, just to listen to the chit-chat track!

I recently heard the greatest commentary-track comment ever. I rented Pitch Black, a film I saw in the theatre. Early in the movie, Claudia Black's character is face-to-face with an unknown crash survivor. The director, visual effects guy, and producer all stop their banter for the scene. The unknown character says a line, and then gets shot several times from behind.

Blood splatters Claudia, twice, across the face and neck.

Someone, probably the director, says...

"there was something vaguely sexual about that, isn't there..."

A pic of Destiny is making the 'blog rounds!

OUCH. Minot & Bismarck have been having arson problems....strange arson problems.

1 comment
Now that the school year is here, so have those Scholastic book order forms appeared. I hate having to tell Destiny 'no,' and I somewhat worry about what the teacher thinks about such a smart little girl not being allowed to buy books.

If only the teacher could see Destiny's room, or observe Des at garage sales. Every other weekend or so, Des spends a couple bucks on books. If you're familiar with how thrift shops and garage sales price their literature sections, you'll know that Destiny has built quite a library in her room. We're going to buy another set of bookshelves for her room later today.

I only have two rules when it comes to books: nothing based on a toy, TV, or movies. I don't count things like books published before they were made into movies, and so forth. These rules are becoming very difficult to follow, especially considering what those Scholastic book order forms are full of. Scholastic isn't all that bad, but it's clear that product tie-ins are a large part of their business, especially since they produce TV shows based on the books they sell. This is part of why we don't watch TV much. Entertainment and imagination is falling into second place, behind developing product recognition. Making a profit isn't a bad thing, and entertainment does have value, but does everything have to qualify as advertising for something else?

However, these rules are a perfect filter for sorting the gold from the pyrite. The books she has are some of the best I could imagine a kid having, and Des is lucky enough to have both quality and quantity. For the price of a $8 Disneyfied book in Scholastic, Destiny can get a month's worth of bedtime readi


Destiny likes tractors. And horses. And farm stuff, like threshing machines. She's a well-rounded little girl -- she likes her barbies and her flower-painted bike just as much. But, Rollag comes but once a year, and Destiny was looking forward to it. Last year we bought her a new Rollag t-shirt, so it had been laid out for several days in preperation of dressing for the occasion. New boots from grandma & grandpa were also perfect for wandering through mud and avoiding horse poo. It's surprising how much she likes these sorts of things; she adsorbs everything around her, and she has a memory like nobody else.

This year went pretty much like previous years. Besides looking at all the tractors, we rode the carousel, we petted the horses, we rode the train, and we got a hand stamp for re-entry (even though we weren't coming back). And, like last year, about the time we saw everything that we needed to see, Destiny's request was "can we go look at everything again?"

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