Archive for June, 2009

 Back to Normal

He we are at the end of another 30 days. I won’t talk about how difficult it was — I think I covered that last year. And I won’t make any vague promises about how I will try to increase the frequency of my posting, because I did that last year too, and we all know how that turned out.

However, this year was not as hard as last year because I had started jotting down ideas to write about weeks beforehand, and I ended up with more than thirty, so you can look forward to seeing these surplus topics in the coming weeks.

Thanks to all my regular readers and commenters, and if you were a new visitor to my blog this month, I hope you found something interesting. See you next June! We now return you to your regular blog update schedule.

 Our New Patio

It’s been a month of fits and starts, but our new patio is finally coming together, and yesterday offered a break in the ridiculous St. Louis heat, so we were able to enjoy it a bit.

We bought the furniture set at Sam’s, but we almost didn’t get it. We saw it there on a Friday evening, and we liked it, but we weren’t quite ready to commit to buying it, so we asked how many they had in stock. Five was the answer. By the following evening, we were sure, so Dixie headed back to buy it and they were all gone! I never would have believed that they would have sold five of these sets in a 24-hour period. So we ended up with the floor model, which was even cheaper due to a few irregularities with the set.

Now we’re just waiting for cooler temperatures. Hurry up Fall!

 The Hangover

I don’t go to the movies much (there are three reasons for this), and even when I do, I rarely take the time to write reviews of them anymore (I have people who do that for me). But every now and then a movie comes along that I just have to comment on.

The Hangover is easily the funniest movie I’ve seen in a long time. Even funnier than Wedding Crashers, and that was pretty damn funny. The story is a bit derivative, but the comedy is fresh and well-written, and the raunch is kept to a minimum. It’s just constantly funny throughout the whole movie. Mike Tyson’s cameos are comedy gold (I heard he did his scenes in one take), and the rest of the cast is superb (especially Ed Helms). If you are looking for something to keep you laughing for two hours, this is it.

They never do explain where the chicken came from, however.

 Spammers Have Ruined The Internet

If you’ve ever gone through the process of getting a new phone number, you know that the previous owner’s reputation and associations may haunt you. The phone companies are supposed to let phone numbers lie fallow for some period of time (usually a year) before they reassign them to new customers. This isn’t always done, and in some cases a year is not enough time, so you may find that acquaintances or customers of the number’s previous owner continue to call you. As I have recently learned, the same is true for IP addresses.

In the thirty or so years since the first spam email, the most successful method found so far to combat the problem is to blacklist the IP addresses of known spammers, and block any internet traffic that originates from these IPs. This works well. Too well. Especially if you inherit an IP address from a spammer, like I recently did. It is a serious pain in the ass to have your IP removed from all of the various blacklists that are maintained around the world. Some are open source lists that are available to anyone, some are owned by individual Internet Service Providers. But they all have one thing in common — they all have their own unique way of administering their lists, and processing your appeal to be removed from them.

The most ironic and painful thing about this process is that I requested and paid extra for my own static IP address specifically because I was having a problem with some of my emails bouncing back as spam! Now, I’m running into this problem even more than I was before, so the cure is worse than the disease.

So let me take this opportunity to thank all of you assholes out there who feel the need to fill up people’s inboxes with offers for penis enlargement, hot singles in my area, Nigerian bank scams, and Viagra. Like pissing in someone’s pool, you’ve ruined it for everyone else.

 Michael

Last year at this time, almost to the day, I was remembering George Carlin after his passing. Yesterday, the universe reminded me once again that I’m old with the passing of two icons from my youth.

Although I did watch Charlie’s Angels, like all other pre-pubescent males did back then, I never had Farrah’s iconic poster on my wall (I had Lisa Hartman’s instead), and I wouldn’t say I was ever a huge fan of hers. Michael Jackson was another story.

I, like millions of others, watched his supernatural dancing skills. I watched the world premiere of John Landis’s Thriller video on MTV. Even back then when MTV still played videos, that was an event. I was crushed when his St. Louis concert date was cancelled during the Bad tour of 1988.

So yesterday, we were at the pool when the news broke on the radio. At first it was a shock, but I don’t think it effected me like it has some people. One girl at the pool, who looked to be about 14 years old, said, “why isn’t anyone upset that Michael Jackson JUST DIED?” Well, if this were 1989, I would have shared her grief. But for me, and the millions who grew up with him, who watched him on the Motown 25 special, where he defied the laws of physics and walked on the moon, that Michael died a long time ago. So this news just brings to an end a period of mourning that had, frankly, gone on far too long.