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Preview: Peter Staack's Ramblings, Survival Stuff, And Testimonials

Peter Staack's Ramblings, Survival Stuff, And Testimonials

Peter Staack's Ramblings, Survival Stuff, And Testimonials -

Last Build Date: Thu, 20 Oct 2011 02:50:56 GMT


Long Time Wrestling Fan - What I'm Watching Now

Thu, 20 Oct 2011 02:50:56 GMT

I'm a long-time fan of pro wrestling, including puroresu (プロレス) and lucha libre. As a kid, I watched wrestling all the time on TV, and would hit live shows when I could - including AWA, WWF, WCW, and local shows around the Midwest. My mom worked as a personal assistant for several of the biggest Japanese puroresu pioneers, and I've always been big into trading tapes with other fans. Heck, I've even been slapped in the face by Antonio Inoki, when I was 7 or 8. Mexican lucha libre had always been a little harder to come by, for me, as a kid. For a while, I could occasionally catch an hour of CMLL on the local Spanish-language station, but it was often months old and never consistent. Eventually, I started finding more folks with tapes, and then WCW started adding more luchadores to it's roster. Today, thanks to various internet video sites, I can keep reasonably up-to-date on all the various wrestling programs. I've always had mixed feelings with WWF/WWE, as they rarely promote the guys I'm most interested in watching, with rare exception. Sure, every so often a guy like Eddie Guerrero, Booker T, Rey Mysterio Jr., Chris Jericho, or Edge would find a way to break ahead of the pack - but it always seemed like the exception. I'm a little more optimistic these days, as I think they've got some great potential in Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus, Drew McIntyre, Miz, R Truth, Alberto Del Rio, CM Punk, and other guys who might not have had a shot years ago. TNA is largely unwatchable, especially compared to the programs they used to put on. I feel like I'm watching the final painful years of WCW all over again, as TNA overbooks their shows and undermines all their top talent in favor of guys well past their prime. As such, I find myself watching a lot more international wrestling and smaller indy shows. Personally, I think the best shows are either women's wrestling and lucha libre. SHIMMER Women Athletes never seems to disappoint. They have pretty much THE ultimate roster of female wrestling talent, in any of the markets I watch, including Madison Eagles, Cheerleader Melissa, Ayako Hamada, Mercedes Martinez, Sara Del Rey, MsChif, Serena Deeb, Daizee Haze, Nikki Roxx and hosts more (who might also be doing double-duty in TNA or overseas). I don't get to see them live as often as I would like, but I get their DVDs all the time, and I've never felt like I didn't get the bargain of the year. They have A++ match after A++ match, the likes of which I used to only see in compilation tapes spanning years. Their storytelling is very good, as well, considering their format and lack of a weekly program. I'm not going to pretend I don't think many of the talent are super-hot, but that's just the icing on the cake. If SHIMMER were to get a TV program, they have tremendous potential to blow away everyone's preconceptions of what women's wrestling - even pro wrestling as a whole - can be. When it comes to lucha libre, CMLL and AAA are the biggest shows available to me. I'm a long-time viewer of CMLL, but I find that AAA has the overall-better matches. Fortunately, I can catch AAA Sin Límite on TV every weekend, and most of their shows are on YouTube as well. I still watch CMLL, but just not as often, since most of my favorite stars are AAA (many were part of the Los Perros del Mal invasion). Dr. Wagner Jr., Silver Cain, L.A. Park, Lizmark Jr., Octagon, Último Gladiador, Konnan, Electroshock, Chessman, Heavy Metal, El Zorro, Cibernético, El Mesías, Charly Manson, Damian 666, Halloween, Aero Star, Extreme Tiger, and so many more. And then there are the minis, and then there are the exoticos, and then there are the luchadoras... I simply don't have enough room to list all of my favorite stars in AAA, right now. It's a toss-up as to whether I like SHIMMER or AAA more, right now. Really, I could truthfully answer either one, at different points during the day, for any of a number of reasons. WWE Smackdown usually comes in at my #3 spot, but lately it's been in jeopardy since the 2nd season of Lucha Libre[...]

Writer's Block: Crime pays

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 23:05:58 GMT

How else are they supposed to pay damages to the victims, and/or victims' families?

Writer's Block: Play it again, e-reader

Fri, 22 Jul 2011 21:43:34 GMT

I'm always digging around first aid books, backwoods medical journals, herbal medicine journals, and wilderness living books. They're a wealth of information, which are still very relevant in modern metropolitan lives. I have both digital and print copies of Carla Emery's The Encyclopedia of Country Living, which I tend to read more than any other book. However, of all media, I dip into the archives of Backwoods Home Magazine the most. Most of the knowledge in these books, make for great contingency plans, when things go wrong or something important needs to get done. That why I'm usually the go-to guy, in any group.

Writer's Block: On the menu

Tue, 19 Jul 2011 23:30:26 GMT

(image) "Weird" is relative. By United States standards, I'd say insects are the most unconventional things I've eaten. In many other countries, in certain regions, insects are a big part of peoples' diets. They're a good source of nutrients, are easy to farm or capture with limited resources, and can be pretty tasty if prepared right. Crickets were probably my favorite, and made a nice accent to other dishes as they tended to absorb the flavor of anything you cooked it in. For the squeamish, it's easy to mix chopped crickets into just about anything, and you wouldn't likely even know they were there. By metropolitan standards, squirrel, brown rat (farm raised), and guinea pig are also "weird"... but tasty!

Writer's Block: A novel idea

Tue, 19 Jul 2011 22:59:34 GMT

Judy Blume's Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, SuperFudge, Fudge-a-Mania, and Double Fudge... That way I can beat the friggin discipline into that hyperactive little bastard, which his liberal douchebag parents refused to instill in him. Yea, even as a kid, I hated that animal-killing abusive brat, Fudge. Even his nickname irritated me. For many years, I felt he was a strong candidate to grow into being a serial killer, and imagined Peter having to eventually hunt him down and kill him after Fudge framed him for his murders. Perhaps I read a few too many mysteries and thrillers as a kid, but still - to this day - I think Fudge would grow up to be a terrible human being.

BTW, someone made a cute little NES/Famicom-style game of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby which you can play for free.

Writer's Block: It's cold outside

Fri, 08 Apr 2011 22:50:40 GMT

(image) With proper gear, I can survive pretty well anywhere in North America, between the 35th northern parallel and the 55th northern parallel, in winter. Well, except some of the oceanic Alaskan and Newfoundland islands or mountain tops. I'd have to invest in more-expensive polar gear if I want to survive in anything below -20°F / -29°C or very wet or windy conditions. Most of my best winter gear is rated only only as low as -10°F / -23°C, individually. But layered, I've gone ice fishing in -18°F / -28°C, with just a small pop-up tent shelter and a coffee can wood burning stove. I've been wanting genuine Inuit or Yupik reindeer or sealskin kamiit, which are good at even -30°F / -34°C, but they've been too costly and I don't have any plans on venturing that far north any time soon. If I get more free time, I hope to try some solo mushing (at most I've only gone tandem mushing or skijoring with one or two dogs), at which time I might start investing in better winter gear.

Starting To Enjoy Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds

Sat, 19 Feb 2011 23:23:52 GMT

I initially enjoyed Marvel vs. Capcom 2 when it came out in the arcades and again on Dreamcast... But I always felt it was terribly broken and unbalanced, to the point that with almost 60 characters, you only stood a chance of surviving with 5 or 6 of them. If someone in MVC2 picked Cable, Magneto and Iron Man - just walk away. Unless you love flashing colored lights, you're just not going to enjoy yourself. And it was these clowns that pretty much turned me offa MVC2 a few weeks after it came out. When Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was announced, near 10 years after the second, I was cautiously optimistic. Street Fighter IV and then Super Street Fighter IV were spectacular - blowing away my expectations (even if I never got beyond an amateur ranking). As more and more reports starting coming out about how well balanced and less spammy the game was, I became more interested - but still a little skeptical. My roommate and her viking picked up MVC3 on PS3 just the other day, and I've had about 3 ~ 4 hours to play it... and it turns out, I'm pretty happy with it! Since I've changed my career from game design to marketing & IT, I've become less and less an ardent gamer. I just don't have the time or the willingness to devote countless hours to perfecting gameplay technique. But I managed to get into MVC3 pretty easily, since it takes much of the basic principles of the latest refined fighting games and the arcade originals, while making sure to balance out the characters so no one character or team totally dominates the game. I've managed to play with roughly 2/3rd the roster in training mode, and I've gotten used to several teams in arcade mode. While it's sure to change, I seem to enjoy having one character I'm comfortable with do a lot of the work from medium to close range and build up the special bar (C. Viper and Felicia), one character that's decent up close and also fills up the bar quickly (Ryu, Dante & Morrigan), and one longer-range character with specials that land pretty easily that's also good at launching opponents (Iron Man, Cap and Taskmaster). I'll continue experimenting with teams and tag attacks, and I'm hoping to become better with at least one or two more characters (I'm warming up to X-23, Spidey, and Morrigan) and different styles of characters (I wanna try out Doom, Haggar, Tron Bonne, Super Skrull, and Amaterasu). One of the only consistent things I have noticed about my play style - I tag a LOT. Since I'm still not particularly good, this has been saving my butt, as my team members end up regenerating a lot of energy. I have no real intention to become that good at MVC3, but it's cool that I'm enjoying it and that I at least stand a modest chance in a match. It seems Capcom probably spent most of their development time in balancing out the characters, which makes sense if they hope to capture more than just the arcade expert market. My impression of MVC2 started high, and steadily went downhill, because of how slanted it was (the hairy 70's porno music didn't help). With MVC3, it's been the opposite... My expectations started low-to-moderate, but my opinion of it keeps going up the more I play it. I'm glad I have another fighting game that I can enjoy, even if I don't devote my entire life to learning how to exploit it.[...]

Food & Water Storage - Uline Food Grade Buckets, Liners & Lids.

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 02:14:13 GMT

My regular supplier of 5 gallon FDA & USDA food grade BPA-free HDPE storage buckets has moved out of Illinois, after Pat Quinn was re-elected (he made planes even before Quinn announced huge tax hikes). Smart move, but it left me looking for another local supplier, and drawing a blank. No stores and shops had any, as their suppliers were taking them back. One supplier had buckets, but they were all dyed, and I didn't want to risk ruining food in the event that the dye causes some kind of reaction. ULINE has been my trusted supplier of shipping and warehousing materials for years, and has 90 mil. 5-gallon FDA/USDA food grade buckets at reasonable prices, and since I couldn't find a walk-in supplier, they were the cheapest supplier to have the buckets shipped from. Since they ship from Waukegan, IL, it's not too expensive for me. Mileage will vary for others. I ordered a bunch of buckets and lids (I already had Mylar/boPET storage bags) for a pretty good price. A little more than what I used to pay my local supplier, but there's the added convenience of not having pick them up myself. They're good buckets and lids - very solid, ribbed where needed, good handles, the SBR rubber gaskets look and feel fresh, they sealed up nice and tight, and they stack perfectly (previously, I'd get odd lots of varying quality, and would rarely stack up well due to varying bottom diameters or lid indentations). They came in nice and clean, with no dust, grime, and only very faint smell of plastic. A great thing about ULINE is that they move so much product, nothing ever seems to sit around very long in their warehouses. I sealed up some fresh water, and some food, without any problems. Each of the lids went on with a satisfying popping feel, and sealed up airtight (I did a light-pressure dry ice test on one). I sat all of the water buckets on their side, for a few minutes each, without any leaks. The handles held up quite well, which is nice since each full bucket of water is around 43 lbs., and I need all the the help I can get when carrying them down stairs and into storage. And I was pleased that, since they're a matching lot, they stacked up nicely. I might eventually invest in a few Gamma Seal screw-on lids, in the future. Since water is vital for survival, and many modern conveniences, I always like to have plenty on hand for drinking and hygiene. While it's rare for utilities to be down, where I live, it's always good to be prepared. To store drinking water in FDA buckets, thoroughly wash the buckets clean, and them fill 'em up to about an inch from the top. Add about 3/8 to 1/2 of a teaspoon of unscented chlorine bleach, depending on the quality of your tap water (where I live, I only need 3/8th of a teaspoon to achieve 3ppm of chlorine), to keep dangerous microbes from growing in the water. Food should always be packed in a bag first, before put into a bucket. To help keep it fresh, I pack it in, shake it up so it settles, I usually add a desiccant packet, and then place a little dry ice on top so the CO2 will fill up the bucket and displace all any oxygen. Packing this way helps keep the food fresh, reduces any plastic taste from leaching into the food, and helps eliminate pests from destroying your food. Excellent foods to store are rice and lentils. When packed right, they'll stay fresh for years - maybe even decades. They're both very easy to prepare, as is, and are very nutritious. Rice is a good source of energy-providing carbohydrates, protein, fiber, are often enriched with other nutrients, and is filling. It can be ground up into a useful flour, and is easily seasoned. Lentils are even more jam-packed with protein, carbs, and nutrients - and can also be ground up for other uses. They're still pretty affordable in large quantities, so they're great foods to store away in case you ever need 'em. Even when th[...]

Writer's Block: What is the best new TV series of 2010?

Wed, 08 Dec 2010 18:09:16 GMT

(image) I've gotta say I'm mighty impressed with Fox's Human Target. I only barely remember Christopher Chance from DC comics, because of a crossover with Batman. It's a great concept, and the writers, cast and editors execute it well. It has a fun and adventurous vibe to it, reminding me of a hybrid of Knight Rider, Burn Notice, Mission: Impossible, and a touch of MacGyver.

(image) Synopsis: The series follows the life of San Francisco-based Christopher Chance (Mark Valley), a unique private contractor, bodyguard and security expert hired to protect his clients. Rather than taking on the target's identity himself (as in the comic book version), he protects his clients by completely integrating himself into their lives, to become a "human target". Chance is accompanied by his business partner Winston (Chi McBride) and hired gun Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley). Former client Ilsa Pucci (Indira Varma) becomes Chance's benefactor, while experienced thief Ames (Janet Montgomery) joins the team to seek redemption. Chance puts himself on the line to find the truth behind the mission. Even his own business partner Winston doesn't know what drove him towards this life.

(image) I was shocked that it received a 2nd season, as Fox is the king of prematurely killing good projects before they can hit their stride. I'm crossing my fingers it maintains viewership, doesn't fall victim to another regime change at Fox, and has a long run.

My Favorite Books, Authors & Genres, or "I Read Too Darn Much"

Sun, 12 Sep 2010 07:53:04 GMT

For my own purposes, I've been making a list of my favorite authors and titles...My Favorite Books, Authors & Genres (updated 04/08/11):52 (DC Comics)98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass AliveA History of Money and Banking in the United StatesAMA Handbook of First Aid and Emergency CareAmerica's Great DepressionAnimal Tracks and SignsAssumed IdentityAt Home in Nature: Modern Homesteading and Spiritual Practice in AmericaBackwoods Home MagazineBackyard Rabbit FarmingBlackest NightBattle of Wits: The Complete Story of Codebreaking in World War IIBushcraft SurvivalCall of the WildCasino RoyaleClear and Present DangerCliches of PoliticsCody LundinCookbooksCosmic TriggerCrisis Preparedness HandbookCry of the CrowDavid MorrellDebt of HonorDesperate MeasuresDifferential Diagnosis of Common ComplaintsDumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can't Read, Write, Or AddEgalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other EssaysEmergency War SurgeryEmphyrioEssential BushcraftExecutive OrdersExtreme DenialFallen AngelsFarley MowatFifth ProfessionFirst BloodFive Acres and Independence: A Handbook for Small Farm ManagementFM 21-76 (Army)Friedrich August HayekFrom Russia, With LoveGalápagosGardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard TimesGlory RoadGod Bless YouGreen Lantern Corps: Recharge (DC Comics)Green Smoothie Revolution: The Radical Leap Towards Natural HealthHans-Hermann HoppeHarrison BergeronHobby Farm: Living Your Rural Dream for Pleasure and ProfitIan FlemingIdentity Crisis (DC Comics)Insect FarmingIt's the Thought That Counts: Why Mind Over Matter Really WorksJack LondonJailbirdJean Craighead GeorgeJLA: Crisis of Conscience (DC Comics)Julie of the WolvesJust in Case: How to be Self-Sufficient when the Unexpected HappensKings of the High FrontierKurt VonnegutLate Night FinalLes StroudLeviathanLysander SpoonerMarooned in RealtimeMedicine for the OutdoorsMicro Eco-FarmingMind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You ThinkMother NightMr. RosewaterMurray RothbardMy Side of the MountainNever Cry WolfNew Libertarian ManifestoNo TreasonNo Treason: The Constitution of No AuthorityNonfictionNorthern WildernessOld Farmer's AlmanacOn Her Majesty's Secret ServiceOn the Far Side of the MountainOur Enemy, The StatePatriot GamesPeople of the DeerPlayer PianoPocket Guide to the OutdoorsPodkayne of MarsPower Girl (DC Comics)Primitive Skills and CraftsPrometheus RisingRadicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian MovementRainbow SixRay MearsRay Mears Goes WalkaboutRay Mears' Essential BushcraftRed PlanetRobert A. HeinleinRobert Anton WilsonSAS Survival HandbookSecession, State & LibertySeed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable GardenersSerenitySerenity: Better DaysSerenity: Those Left BehindSimple Food for Busy FamiliesSorey's Basic Country Skills: A Practical Guide to Self-RelianceStarship TroopersStranger in a Strange LandSuccessful Small-Scale Farming: An Organic ApproachSuper Natural CookingSurvival ManualsSurvive!: Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere - AliveThe Backyard HomesteadThe Betrayal of the American Right, Man, Economy, and State with Power and MarketThe Brotherhood of the RoseThe Cardinal of the KremlinThe Case Against the FedThe Day Before the RevolutionThe Economics and Ethics of Private PropertyThe Encyclopedia of Country LivingThe Enterprise of Law: Justice Without The StateThe Ethics of LibertyThe Eye in the PyramidThe Fraternity of StoneThe Golden AppleThe Great ExplosionThe Homing PigeonsThe Kindness of StrangersThe Last of the DeliverersThe League of Night and FogThe Lone Ranger (Dynamite Comics)The Machinery of FreedomThe Moon Is a Harsh MistressThe Mystery of BankingThe Myth of National DefenseThe New Whole Foods EncyclopediaThe Politics of Obedien[...]

This Can Save Your Life - The Bowline Knot

Sat, 04 Sep 2010 07:33:03 GMT

Called "the king of knots" by many, the bowline knot is an ancient maritime knot that can be utilized so many ways. It's a very reliable fixed-loop knot, renowned for its strength, relative speed & ease of tying (even one-handed), ease of untying, and because the bitter end can be passed around an object as it is being tied, making it quite common in mooring ships and aircraft, and is a very common rescue knot when securing or extracting personnel or equipment. Most people learn this with the aid of a mnemonic - There's a rabbit hole around the tree, up comes the rabbit through the hole, it runs around the tree, and back down the hole. A common mistake is square-knotting the "rabbit hole," which results in a weak sideways bowline that tends to slip. With a little practice, you can do it with your eyes closed, without the mnemonic. Once you have that down, there are several variants you can learn, that have their own special applications and benefits. The double-bowline adds an extra loop to the "rabbit hole," making it more resistant to loosening when tension is removed. Wet rope has a much greater tendency to slip when knotted, so adding a clove hitch before passing the working end though makes the water bowline more effective around water. One variant I'm most familiar with are most commonly used for hauling heavy loads, climbing and rescue. The first, is the Yosemite bowline, which is more-secure than the standard bowline, easier to undo after a heavy load, and easier to verify before climbing due to a distinct figure-8 shape. After tying a bowline, before pulling it tight, take the working end back around the loop in the same direction of the original turn, and then pass it back up through the "rabbit hole." I'm also a big proponent of learning the one-handed bowline, as it could really save your bacon when things go sideways. The biggest advantage is that you can tie this knot around your waist, while holding onto the rope, in the event you need to secure yourself while holding onto something important. I can never seem to describe this, so instead I'll link to the masterminds at ITS Tactical, who have a great step-by step video. The bowline knot, and its variants, join the figure-eight knot, reef knot and clove hitch as vital knots for just about anyone who spends their time on the water, in the wild or having to tie anything down or secure something. I can tie a bowline in the dark, one handed with either hand, sideways, upside down, and with all sorts of cordage of varying width. I consider it among the most vital skills I've learned over the years, as it's just so versatile across so many fields.[...] - Great Survival Resource!

Thu, 15 Jul 2010 11:44:20 GMT

I've been purchasing batteries from for nearly a decade, for my many clients and myself. They've always had among the best prices on heavy duty batteries, alkaline batteries, button cell batteries, lantern batteries, rechargeable batteries, and just about every other manner of portable cells. And, the savings aren't just for large bulk orders, but their prices are great even for small orders. For my clients, I've ordered lots of batteries of every shape, size, and brand - and I've never been disappointed. The batteries were always as advertised. New Duracell alkaline batteries were all as new as batteries I've seen in my local stores, and in perfect working order. The budget-priced alkaline and heavy duty zinc-carbon batteries, which are often used as pack-ins for electronics, were also as good as or better than expected. Anyone who knows me, knows I have a LOT of flashlights and electronics, which I regularly depend on. I always feel better when I have a good supply of alkaline, rechargeable and lithium batteries on hand, whenever I need 'em or in case of emergency. However, great values on batteries is only part of what makes one of my favorite online retailers - they also have literal tons of everyday and survival essentials. Disposable razors, first aid supplies, flashlights, pocket tools, power tools, electronics, electronic components, rubber gloves, work gloves, sweat bands, bandannas, sunglasses, reading glasses, personal hygiene supplies, toiletries, sundries, tape, packaging supplies, bags, kitchen essentials, OTC medications in individual packets, office supplies, cleaning supplies, lighters... *GASP* Seriously, the list of goodies they sell is looong! And, just like with batteries, their prices are incredible - a fraction of the price you'd expect at stores. These are all great amenities for daily living, remote homesteading, vacation homes, hunting lodges, emergency shelters, hotel & hospitality supply, resale, preparedness kits, or anyone who just likes to stock up on wholesale supplies. Located in New York, shipping for me is cheap compared to a few other suppliers I've used in the past (your mileage may vary). As well, they've always shipped in a timely fashion, and packed everything safe-and-sound. They consistently score favorably with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). is always at the top of my list, when it comes to ordering essentials in bulk, and I recommend them to anyone interested in saving money while stocking up on supplies.[...]

Repair Your Laptop Battery On The Cheap!

Fri, 09 Jul 2010 00:36:01 GMT

I was a bit late to board the laptop bandwagon, as early models were pretty much inferior to similarly-priced desktops aside from its portability (and early notebook models were only slightly more portable than a full desktop PC and monitor). But in recent years, I find myself using a notebook and netbook more frequently than a desktop PC, except when I'm doing vector & raster graphics or 3D modeling. For just about everything else, I find it's more convenient and more energy-efficient to use on of the laptops. Many of my clients and cohorts also depend largely on a laptop. As such, everyone I know eventually has to face replacing a battery for a laptop. Even if you don't frequently use it, unplugged, batteries will eventually wear out over time - it's just the nature of the battery. If you order a replacement battery from the PC manufacturer, expect some sticker shock... In general, the lowest-end 4~6 cell batteries start at $60, and can cost upwards of $150, from the laptop manufacturer or at stores. The better replacement batteries can sometimes cost even more than the depreciated value of the laptop itself (Dell wanted $130 for a replacement 9-cell battery, for a 7 year old laptop that was selling for around $90 on auction sites). There are many 3rd party compatible batteries available, and they're generally a much better deal, providing they have some kind of compatibility guarantee and short-to-mid term warranty. However, the best deal going, is to just replace the cells yourself, if you're comfortable with that kinda thing. Usually the toughest part of repairing the battery, is opening the thing up. Many manufacturers make it very difficult to open the case of a battery. With the right tools, and a little patience, you can open the battery up and expose the cells. The cells are often labeled with their respective voltage and amperage. If you go to a place like DealExtreme or another retailer that sells a variety of lithium batteries, you can usually find exactly the cells you need. Twice, now, I've managed to order 9 cells for around $35 bucks total (DealExtreme has free shipping, if you don't mind waiting 14+ days for delivery), solder in the new batteries, and rejuvenate an old laptop battery for a fraction of the price of a replacement. For the old Dell, it saved me $100 to just rebuild the battery. Good ol' Kip Kay has a sweet video, showing you all the steps. The procedure will vary from model to model, but in most cases you can rebuild your laptop battery for much cheaper than buying a replacement.[...]

McDonald vs Chicago - Daley Gun Ban Gets Pwned By Supreme Court Ruling!

Mon, 28 Jun 2010 23:45:16 GMT

As expected, the Supreme Court of the United State affirmed, in a 5 to 4 ruling, that the Chicago handgun ban is an unconstitutional infringement of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. I know... "Duh," right? Still, there are a lotta idiots claiming there'll be war in the streets, should law abiding citizens be able to get their hands on firearms. There's already war in the streets, in Chicago. Lots of armed criminals have been taking liberties with unarmed citizens, and they people are sick of it. In just the past few weeks, since this has become a hot topic, how many innocent Chicago civilians have been shot? Honestly, I don't know... I've simply lost track, because of how many shootings there have been. Just this very weekend, Chicago Police reported 30 shootings, and last weekend 50 shootings, in spite of the standing handgun ban. Chicago is regularly one of the murder capitols of the United States. Goes to show how the gun ban laws aren't working, because ~gasp~ criminals don't obey laws. More recently, increasing reports of would-be victims defending and saving the lives of themselves and family members, using a firearm, have been popping up in Chicago. This might start occurring more, as outraged Chicagoans are taking a stand against those who prey on them (or at least the ones that weren't elected). And, as for the claims that it'll result in a warzone... That didn't happen in D.C., but the opposite - D.C.'s violent crime and murder rates plummeted, after 2008 court decision to overturn their gun bans and unreasonable lock laws. Oooh, faced! Daley's demonstrated time and again that he is insane, so I think he genuinely believes most of his own bluster about the gun ban. Still, I'm pretty sure most of the folks promoting unreasonable gun laws know that it's not about stifling crimes, but exacting a measure of control over their prey - the people which they preside over. Throughout history, lie examples of prohibitions of weapons whose sole purpose was to enfeeble a people, and making them ripe for harvest. The generally-held purpose of the United States' Second Amendment wasn't simply about self defense against criminals, but to protect the people from runaway governance. Fortunately, in spite of so many career politicians working to subvert our rights, common sense does occasionally pop up to derail their efforts, like today. It'll be interesting to see what Mayor Daley, and his cronies, will have in store for Chicagoans, after being dunked on by common sense (with an assist by SCOTUS). But, hopefully, common sense now has enough momentum to knock that crap outta its house. It'd thrill me to see that crooked smug jackass, Daley, sent packing, sooner than later. Awww... Cheer up, Dick! Maybe you'll enjoy your early retirement. I know I'll enjoy it. I don't even live in a Chicago, but even a county over, I'm still sickened by you and your pack of jackals.[...]

Writer's Block: Fight or flight

Thu, 24 Jun 2010 01:02:31 GMT

(image) You bet, I've had to resort to physical dominance. And, goodness, no... I don't regret it for a second. In two instances, I actually regret going a little too easy. Frankly, there are a number of people who only understand violence, and can not be reasoned with in a given situation. As well, there are some lessons that require firm actions. The trick is judicious use of force, lest you become the firebrand.

Writer's Block: Top Three

Fri, 04 Jun 2010 23:04:43 GMT

Personal Qualities I Appreciate About Myself:
3 - I'm a fairly-kind person, but not a pushover.
I help those who are close to me, and will often extend some graciousness and courtesy to most people. I'm most supportive of hard-workers, and my warmth dims quite a bit around spoiled brats. As well, I am capable of saying 'no,' without any regrets, if the situation demands it.
2 - I'm pragmatic. I'm usually the one sporting the most practical point of view, which lends to me also being a frugal individual. This leads me into fewer problem spots, in life, which is fine by me.
1 - I'm a good problem-solver. I don't like being stumped, stuck, or left without options. Having a decent analytical mind, with a pretty broad skill set, has served me well in many situations.

Personal Qualities I Do Not Enjoy:
3 - Uhm... Hmm... Nope, I've got nothing, sorry.
I don't live with any regrets or petty jealousies. That's not to say I'm perfect, but just easily-contented. Any of the difficulties in my life, I can pretty-fairly attribute to outside forces, which are largely beyond my own control. Once I recognized and accepted this, somewhere around the tail-end of High School, it really did help bring a bit more peace in my own life.

Geared Up For Anime Central 2010

Thu, 13 May 2010 18:38:55 GMT

I just finished printing stuff up for livingdeadcrizl's booth at Anime Central's Artist Alley, and I'm almost done with all my preparations at work. Yeah, me missing one day is apparently a HUGE deal, with my main client, since I'm their entire mail room, fulfillment room, customer support, technical support, and only one of three sales managers. Luckily, I had planned way ahead, and had all sorts of stuff ready for my day out. Once I'm done here, I just have to finish packing a few more odds-and-ends. Here's a quick sample of what's coming with me...2 changes of daytime clothes.Nighttime attire (sweats & tee-shirt)4 days worth of socks (any good prepper knows it's important to have spares).3 person first-aid kit, with extra bandages, pain reliever, and antacid.1 personal first-aid kit, for my day-pack.1 roll of duct tape.2 button-cell keychain flashlights, for navigating the hotel room at night.1 tactical light, for emergencies.Extra towels, toiletries and TONS of safety pins.Spare knife - of course.Wholesome nutrient-dense portable foods, and a bunch of vitamin and nutritional supplements.My trusty canteen, since a bottle of water is probably $15 at the convention center.Two short lengths of nylon rope, and 25' of paracord.Maps of the area, my GPS and a compass. ...and it ALL fits in a single overnight bag, and a light single-shoulder day pack. And, of course, my car will still be well supplied with first aid and other survival amenities. Heck, I didn't even have to do much. It was mostly packed, already, except for the changes of clothes and some of the food (which I rotate out, with fresh rations). Hey, Anime Central can be a grind. Of all the conventions, it's one of the most physically, mentally and financially taxing conventions I've been to. Everything in Chicagoland is designed to screw you out of your money, or haphazardly laid out to practically guarantee traffic jams and long walks through traffic. I couldn't design a more dysfunctional convention center layout - with the convoluted maze of connecting walkways, busy crossroad without an automated crosswalk, anemic parking lots, inaccessible loading area, lack of restaurants, weird twisting corridors with nonsensical bottlenecks, narrow walkways, low-capacity trouble-prone elevators & escalators, and unionized-dysfunctional convention center staff - if I wanted to (unless I was allowed to copy Chicago's McCormick Convention Center). I've seen demolition piles that were more functional than the Donald E. Stevens Convention Center area. And, let's not forget Anime Central's history of technical and administrative issues, especially at check-in. Even when everything goes well, it's a rough con, and demands serious preparation. Every Acen weekend, since the very first one in 1998, has made any of my week long backwoods survival excursions seem like a walk in the park.[...]

STARVING For Activity & MMA Sparring

Thu, 25 Mar 2010 13:59:11 GMT

I'm grateful to have several good paying clients. While it's tough keeping up with the demand - an average of 66 hours per week, for the last 7 months, with the occasional 80+ hour week - it's good to have the steady income, especially in this economy. Many of the trades I initially studied in college, have all but died in Illinois, so it's a good thing I've always remained diverse. I pretty much live by the axiom that the broader ones skills, the better prepared they are to survive any adversity. That said... Even my above-average endurance is starting to run down. As of late, I've been re-e-e-eally chomping at the bit, anxious to run into the wild unknown or for some MMA sparring. When I sleep - generally only about 4 ~ 6 hours a day - I regularly dream of going backpacking, backwoods living, Muay Thai Kickboxing, Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu... Well, and beating up villains (a staple of my subconsciousness). When my mind wanders at work, it's the same thing. I don't need an expert to interpret the obvious... I desperately need get off my leash, if even for a bit, here and there. I've already saved a few trips into my GPS, at various parks in Illinois and Wisconsin. Since a lot of the folks I hang out and work with have become pretty independent, at this point, it'll be easier for me to slip out every few weekends and get some backwoods time. As for sparring, there happens to be a lot of BJJ schools in the area. A few are well respected, and others are... well, at least they're there. Funds permitting, I'd be happy to roll ANYWHERE, as long as the place is reasonably clean (I could definitely do without a staph infection), and reasonably affordable (I have to save my money, to pay taxes, and support other lazy assholes who don't work). Once the renegotiation on my mortgage is finalized, I should have just a teensy bit more spending money to go towards backwoods trips and training. Considering my current sustained workload, for the past two years, I'm still pretty healthy... I can still run flat-out for 1 ~ 2 miles before I have to jog, and 13k paced runs over variable terrain aren't out of the question (though, boy do I feel it, the next day). I've been moving 30 lbs. ~ 50 lbs. boxes from our warehouse, up and down 2 flights of narrow stairs, for almost 3 weeks now, with only minimal fatigue. I can still heft around 80 lbs. ~ 100 lbs. toilets and tanks like they were nothing. I still regularly do 100 ~ 200 Hindu squats, 25 ~ 50 Hindu pushups, 5 ~ 10 handstand pushups and wrestling neck bridges. But, I know I can be in MUCH better shape, and I know my stress levels have been through the roof. I'm really looking forward to getting some opportunity to get active. Even if I have to scale back on the workload I take, it'll totally be worth it - for me, AND my clients. I'm not useful to anyone, if I'm too burned out to perform at legendary Staack-like levels.[...]

Writer's Block: Countdown

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 01:15:17 GMT

I'm actually best suited to bug-in, in the event of an emergency. Most of my supplies are at my present home, and there are even more resources at my parent's place. It'd have to be a very particular set of circumstances - most of which highly-unlikely - in which I would have to evacuate my home, and never be able to come back. In almost of all of these cases, there wouldn't likely be time to flee to any safe distance - especially not with 10 minutes lead-up time. Survival odds would be pretty much zip, in such a cataclysm. However, if I needed to mobilize in another emergency situation, I've got enough survival gear in my car and bug-out bag to get by, if I grabbed nothing else. So, obviously, the bug-out bag is the #1 priority, when grabbing things. What's in my bug out bag? Here's a short list, off the top of my head:• A water bottle with 3 micro-filters, which purify 75 ~ 100 gallons each (depending on water conditions), and 6' of 5/16" flexible tubing (good for extracting water from a hole).• Iodine based water purification tablets, which purifies 13.25 gallons of water total.• Multiple fire-starters (lighters, perpetual match, flint & striker, Fresnel magnifier with 30cm@~1 FT focal length, and sometimes a fire piston).• Tinder (char cloth, paper, and pressed cedar tablets), some fuel (petroleum jelly, alcohol swabs, and candles) to get stubborn fires going, Esbit fuel tabs, a small folding stove, a deep steel cup with wire stand, and a small roll-up wind screen.• Signal mirror, bright LED light (runs on a 1.5v AA or 3.7v 14500 battery), long-running LED light with dynamo crank recharging, another long-running 2xAA LED light, two 6-hour glow sticks, two candles with mini lantern (more candles in car), and 25m waterproof button-cell mini lantern with strobe option.• Two 4.5" blade full-tang tanto-point 440C steel knives (good utility knives), 4.5" blade full tang drop-point 154CM steel CQB knife (self defense & hunting), Leatherman Kick multitool, mini ratchet set, small 9 function pocket knife, and 3.45" blade hunting & skinning knife (VERY sharp multi-purpose knife).• Two 15' flattened rolls of 3" width duct tape (to compliment the 100' in my car) - OD and black, and 6' of 1.5" wide dayglo ribbon with highly-reflective stripes.• Three 50' hanks of genuine mil-spec 550 paracord, 15' of picture-hanging wire (makes good snares), 50' of fishing line (with some hooks and lures and two bobbers), and a cheat-sheet of knots.• One 10' x 12' Ulralite nylon tarp shelter (with 5 wire tent stakes), two 5' x 8' Heatsheets emergency blankets, two emergency rain ponchos, one S.O.L. thermal bivvy, two large heavy-duty garbage bags, and several shopping bags.• Mini sewing kit, lots of safety pins, straight razor with two replacement blades, and spare buttons.• Two pens, two half-length pencils, mini notebook in bag, small pad of waterproof paper, and two crayons (good for marking).• Illinois road map, Lake County mini atlas, and local topographical maps with trails, rivers and rail roads, as well as a lensatic marching compass, and two small liquid-filled pin-on compasses. In my car, I have a small flush-mount liquid filled compass, a trusty Brunton 7DNL baseplate compass, my survival knife has a small compass, and my Tasco Offshore 36 7x50mm binoculars also has an illuminated eye-piece compass with range finder.• Unactivated cellular phone with mini charger (same model as my regular phone), and emergency AA battery adapter - Phone can be quickly activated via handset or store-bought card.• Small 2xAA AM/FM/WB r[...]

Reflective Art Quiz - Reasonably Accurate

Mon, 15 Mar 2010 23:27:16 GMT

I fixed a few spelling errors, and tweaked the layout, because that's the kinda guy I am... Their assessment is reasonably accurate, though I didn't really choose too many pieces of artwork because I liked them - rather, I often had to choose the ones I disliked the least.

I have to say, thought; I'm actually considerably open-minded, providing other positions are at least as well researched or founded as my own. For topics, with which I have little-to-no foundation, I openly accept the ideas of others, until a better one comes along, or I can better research the topic and come to my own understanding. In general, I welcome informed and educated input, from others... Heck, I'm starving for it.

The biggest point of contention, regarding being progressive - I consider myself VERY progressive, and openly welcome genuine innovation. One shouldn't mistake someone who blindly falls for the newest fads, or recklessly abandons proven technology simply on the basis that it isn't new, as progressive. The age of an idea, concept or machination is irrelevant, to me. Function is paramount. IMO, that's a pretty sensible and progressive outlook.

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...
Conscientious, Fulfilled, and Spiritual
26 Renaissance, 24 Islamic, 4 Ukiyo-e, -34 Cubist, -32 Abstract and 4 Impressionist!
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life. Beginning in Italy, and spreading to the rest of Europe by the 16th century, its influence affected literature, philosophy, religion, art, politics, science, and all other aspects of intellectual enquiry. Renaissance artists looked at the human aspect of life in their art. They did not reject religion but tended to look at it in it's purest form to create visions they thought depicted the ideals of religion. Painters of this time had their own style and created works based on morality, religion, and human nature. Many of the paintings depicted what they believed to be the corrupt nature of man.

People that like Renaissance paintings like things that are more challenging. They tend to have a high emotional stability. They also tend to be more conscientious then average. They have a basic understanding of human nature and therefore are not easily surprised by anything that people may do. They enjoy life and enjoy living. They are very aware of their own mortality but do not dwell on the end but what they are doing in the present. They enjoy learning, but may tend to be a bit more closed minded to new ideas as they feel that the viewpoint they have has been well researched and considered. These people are more old fashioned and not quite as progressive. They enjoy the finer things in life like comfort, a good meal, and homelife. They tend to be more spiritual or religious by nature. They are open to new aesthetic experiences.
Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test.

Fix For FEBE (Firefox Environment Backup Extension) "Unresponsive Script" Problem in Firefox 3.6

Wed, 03 Mar 2010 11:54:44 GMT

(image) (image) I've previously posted about how much I like Chuck Baker's Firefox Environment Backup Extension (a.k.a. FEBE)... It's a great Firefox add-on, that allows you to quickly and easily backup and restore your Firefox profiles, settings, passwords, configurations, plug-ins, and add-ons. However, since upgrading Firefox to version 3.6, FEBE hasn't been working for me. I would activate it, and it would start up, but after some time it cycles the animation but never completes the backup. When I abort the operation, I see a window stating an "unresponsive script" has become an issue, and asks me to continue or quit. Either answer results in FEBE backup failing.

(image) I suspected this could be fixed by configuring the time-out, and a little online research yielded the necessary setting changes. One only has to open a new window or tab in Firefox, and put about:config into the address bar (this allows you access to the full Firefox configuration, so be careful). Once you get past the initial warning, search for the entry "dom.max_chrome_script_run_time". When it comes up, you'll see a string of text and a number. The default seems to be 20. Change this to 60. Close this tab or window, and it'll save the settings.

(image) With this setting change, Firefox is instructed to wait for 60 seconds, before it issues a warning about an unresponsive script. Apparently FEBE sometimes requires more than a 20 second pause, which leads to the error, and breaks functionality. After making this change, FEBE worked like a charm. In some cases, a few more seconds were necessary, so it might take a few changes. Chuck goes into greater detail on his forum (link).

One More Project Scratched Off My List - Ragtime Ramblers Website

Sun, 31 Jan 2010 15:32:35 GMT

(image) (image) Another sleepless night, another project done. The Ragtime Ramblers site reconstruction went pretty well, since most of the graphics assets could be reused. Looking over the stats, 72% of the site traffic is IE6 and even more are at 800x600, which I had to pay particular attention to. Dimensions were a breeze, since it's not a graphics-heavy site. But, man... IE6... Why won't it just die, already?

(image) I feel good, since I got to run around outside for two hours, before getting something to eat. The makizushi (image) livingdeadcrizl treated me to, at Wildfish, gave me a good energy and morale boost. I haven't had soft-shell crab in a while, so that was also a nice treat. Reminds me of roast cicada. It's good, folks, really!

(image) I'm thinking of taking most of tomorrow off. My poor gourd is definitely due some R&R, and I'm far enough along on my workload to take a breather.

Notepad HTML Design - Dave Ivaz Orchestra

Sat, 30 Jan 2010 10:53:55 GMT

Click To VisitThe Dave Ivaz Orchestra Site Ah, Notepad... We go a long ways back, crafting batch files, editing databases, and for web design. Literally EVERY one of my own websites, and sites for my clients, were lovingly crafted in good ol' Notepad, with graphic assets in Photoshop, Illustrator, or any of a number of 3D modeling and animation apps. Many of my clients market to older users or people with very limited computer experience, so all my designs have to work in most older and lame browsers. Using vanilla HTML, my sites render out well on even old versions of Mosaic, light browsers like OffByOne, and most mobile browsers. It also allows me to edit them from pretty much any computer, on any operating system, so long as I can connect to the FTP server. SEO is easier, since I can creatively slip in text for search engine bots to sniff out. I'm also surprisingly fast, typing in HTML code faster than with a rich editor (I'm typing this very entry up in HTML). I learned ColdFusion, CoffeeCup, Claris, Dreamweaver and Flash in college, but the results were almost always an absolute train wreck. They wouldn't work in many browsers, were abnormally large, slow to render, glitchy, and the code was such a mess, that you couldn't edit it in any other app or in Notepad. Actually, several of my projects have been to repair or reverse-engineer Dreamweaver abominations, and I feel like my lifespan has been shortened by every stressful second. Let's make it official... I hate Dreamweaver, and other WYSIWYG editors. My latest Notepad-made website is the Dave Ivaz Orchestra Website. It's the main site, of the entire Dave Ivaz Music group of sites - the rest of which I'm fixing up this weekend. It's the 20th website I've made from scratch, since late December. Right before the new year, I got flooded with requests to finish a bunch of 2010 projects that other slobs couldn't finish in time in some dipstick WYSIWYG editor, or stuff that people waited 'till the last second to request. I've been perpetually tired, since Dec. 22nd, trying to keep up on all of it. But, hey, it's work... Thanks, Notepad, for keeping me employed![...]

2BrightSparks SyncBack Freeware File & Folder Synchronization Software

Thu, 28 Jan 2010 00:48:59 GMT

For about a year, I've been using 2BrightSparks' SyncBack Freeware, and have grown quite fond of it. I've employed quite a few different freeware and paid synchronization apps over the last few decades, and none have ever really thrilled me. Most were bloated with useless features, unstable, or lacked features I needed for automated or manual synchronization and backups. But SyncBack Freeware has the perfect balance of simplicity and features for my needs. The installer is under 2MB, and the program folder (with all of my profiles and months of log files) is under 10MB. Idle, it's only using 3MB of RAM. Even when it's running, it doesn't drag your system down too much, other than the HDD is working. Since it's pretty lightweight, it runs fine on some of my older Windows 2000 workstations, and even a 9 year old NT4 workstation. It's easy to set up various synchronization and backup profiles for folders, files and so-on. You can set rules for overwrites, copies, and incremental copies. My particular favorite features is using Boolean operators to create filters, based on file names, dates and even some meta info. It has options for safe-writing, verifications, saving to FTP or network devices, ZIP compression with password protection & encryption, scheduling & automation, hot-key activation, system priority, can auto-close an application before running a profile, can run applications or scripts before running a profile, and a whole host of features. There's a button the quickly switches between simple mode, and advanced mode, and the help files are pretty good. I have several profiles configured to incrementally backup vital data on a local disk and FTP, using compression & encryption, generate PAR2 parity files, and email errors to several address. But, for simple jobs, often it just takes a few clicks to set up a basic profile, and get going. 2BrightSparks has earned industry recognition for the quality of their SyncBack programs, which include a $30 advanced version and a $50 professional version. I for one am a big fan of SyncBack Freeware for my own uses, and will likely be switching clients over to their professional edition, once our current solution (below) has changes version (unless they have free upgrades). To-date, it's my favorite synchronization and backup solution, and recommend it to anyone IT-minded, who requires a competent app with a clean spartan interface. A fairly-close second place, for favorite sync/backup app, would be GFI Backup, which is also packed with features - compression, encryption, FTP/network, filters, etc. - but just doesn't run as well on some of the older sub-1GHz CPU workstations I manage. It's a bit heftier than the very lightweight SyncBack, but will run fine on any PC built within the last few years. I've been using their Business Edition, for several of my clients, but they also have a free Home Edition which works very well. The interface for both, are beginner-friendly; which actually makes it a little bit cumbersome for advanced users, who don't require having their hands held at every step. GFI Backup is the program I recommend for people who need a backup solution, who aren't super tech-savvy.Cross-posted to my testimonials blog - 2BrightSparks SyncBack Freeware File & Folder Synchronization Software[...]

My 2009 Favorite Firefox Add-On - AdBlock Plus

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 09:35:03 GMT

Click For Detail AdBlock Plus is one of the greatest add-ons to any program - ever! Mozilla Firefox is my primary web browser, and I use it more than any other program installed on any of my systems (Notepad is a distant second). I don't have a whole lot of add-ons, except for some security and webmaster-oriented add-ons. But I could live without any of them, except AdBlock Plus. Browsing the internet without AdBlock Plus is absolutely unbearable. Once installed and activated, subscribing to one or two regularly-updated filter lists (I use AdBlockRules and EasyElement+EasyList) kills banner and text ads on a LARGE number of websites. AdBlock Plus wipes out ads, and the empty spaces they once occupied, without totally mangling the layout. Pages like Facebook, MySpace, MediaFire, Blogger, LiveJournal and a lot of news outlets are far-better spaced, with the ads terminated. Check out below how much nicer the Facebook homepage looks with AdBlock Plus installed on Firefox, compared to how it looks in IE8... Seriously, if you use Mozilla Firefox, you NEED the AdBlock Plus add-on extension. It's like a whole new internet, with most of the worst ads removed from pages. One cool thing is that you can quickly switch it on and off, so you can still support pages that survive off of ad revenue. It's also easy to customize, so you can disable certain types of ads (I particularly hate ads for cellphones, dating, bands and movies) or even particular elements. For instance, on many pages, I've eliminated dead space in certain layouts so pages are easier to read. AdBlock Plus really is a versatile app, which I absolutely don't ever want to browse without.[...]