Senator Rick Santorum - Republican, Pennsylvania - Please Shut Up

Stop trying to push your morals on other people.

You're a homophobe and a bigot. Alas, you're a bigot who apparently got voted into office.

But here's the rub:

Mob rule does not dictate what is right or wrong.

Just because you don't like something, that doesn't give you the right to ban it. Especially if that something is something which has never concerned you.

You don't like gay marriage? Don't marry a man then.

It's that simple. No one is forcing you to do anything you don't want to do. Good. No one is getting hurt by gay marriage. Nothing is being "destroyed" - no matter how much you might want to claim it is. There is no evidence of any kind of hurt occurring - why not go see some same-sex couples getting married. Do you see heartbreak? Pain? People getting killed or subjected to cruelty?

No. You just see what you see when straight people get married. Namely, happy smiling faces. A couple who want to be with one another more than they want to be apart. Two people who have promised to live together as a family, and to support one another.

Why should this issue be reduced to sex? Sure, you might be a bigoted religious nut who believes everything you read in the bible (I sure as hell hope you don't eat shellfish, or you'll be damned to an eternity in hell, you sinner)... but what has that got to do with the law of the United States of America? A country, I might add, that practices the complete and total separation of church and state. Or at least, it claims to. The more right-wing Republicans such as yourself appear to have a severe mental deficiency when it comes to such topics. You don't seem to get that part.

Or perhaps, maybe, you mean to codify that families are only families if they create children. Well, that's all very Henry VIII of you. But what about families that choose not to have children? Or that are sterile? Are they not families any more? Do you mean to strip them of their rights next?

Where will you draw the line?

Senator Santorum, please understand... I don't hate you... I just don't want to see you going down in history as the man who voted against giving women the vote. Or who voted for black slavery. Because, in case you've not figured it out yet, what you're trying to achieve is exactly the same thing.

If you don't want to go down in history as a petty-minded zealot who wanted to limit human rights, you might want to change your course.

And if you don't? You and Jerry Falwell can burn in hell for all I care.

(For the record, I'm straight, and married).

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Look at me ... I'm Doctor Zoidberg, Home Owner!

Welcome to home ownership. I've discovered that, like a lot of software, it's full of bugs. Not the traditional creepy crawly insect kind of bugs - the other kind. Usability issues. Design issues. Downright mistakes.

So Friday night we officially took ownership of the place. We waited until the legally appropriate 9pm, opened the door and...

... well, actually, we didn't get as far as opening the door. The key we had only opened one of the locks - the deadbolt, it would appear, was locked. Not the best of ways to get into the home ownership mood. Kind of puts a damper on the whole first-time-buying experienced. Frankly - and this is putting it bluntly - it harshed my mellow.

(We eventually got in when we found the garage door opener in the mailbox... not the smartest of locations to leave it in. Our real estate agent is officially pissed on our behalf and is going to have harsh words with the selling agent. Good thing him and his assistant are available on the phone up until 11pm at night).

Anyway, back to the bugs. One previous owner of this home appears to have been either a very very bad contractor, or an avid Do It Yourselfer. Let's call him Mr. DIY, whether he is or not. He may even be more than one person - who knows? Anyway... Mr. DIY appears to have had a penchant for... well.. screwing things up.

Let's look at the list, shall we?

The Replacement Water Heater

The original water heater needed replacing (it's kaput). So we got a new one. Which required new venting (the original was not up to code), new earthquake protection (original not up to code)... and le piece de resistance: being hoisted up over a set of stairs in the garage to get it out, and to get the new one in.

This is because Mr. DIY built shelves in the garage which blocked the water heater, as well as getting a new furnace installed - right in the way of the water heater. Bravo Mr. DIY.

But wait... blocking water heaters isn't all that Mr. DIY is good at! He's also great at:

Mystery Lighting Wiring

(Which isn't just a mystery, but also wasn't up to code).

The Dimmer in the Dining Room!

It Doesn't Dim - it just Turns On And Off!!!

    (...and is COMPLETELY ungrounded!)

The Hallway Of Terror!

Does the downstairs switch turn it on? Does the upstairs? NOBODY KNOWS!

(well, actually, both have to be turned on for the light to work... which is not how you wire up 3-way lighting)

The Utility Room Of Doom!

It'll make you dizzy! You won't know whether you're coming or going! EACH SWITCH WORKS DIFFERENTLY!

(because, as we all know, it's impossible to make two switches both turn on when you flick them the same way)

Still, these are all reasonably easily fixable. I've not checked out all of the other outlets in the house to see if they need any kind of fixing yet. But that's next on the list.

It has been kind of a busy weekend though... we repainted one room, replaced all of the locks (twice - apparently You Get What You Pay For - don't buy cheap locks unless you know what size the holes in your door are), fixed the dimmer, installed fan timers in the bathrooms, started fixing the hallway light, replaced the water heater (well, ok, we paid someone to do that - after all, you don't want to mess around when it comes to methane), did a little trimming back of a few vines in the garden, bought all kinds of bits and pieces (including a garden hose), bought new plants for inside the house... replaced burnt out lightbulbs...

I must admit, I didn't expect to need to do all of this stuff right now. But needs must, I guess.

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Windows MediaCenter vs. TiVo

Guess who wins?

Why, TiVo of course.

I went over to a friend's place recently, and discovered that he has one of these Windows MediaCenter devices. They're very cool - and have enough horsepower under the hood to have a rather slick 3D fade in/fade out transition on their menu system and all sorts of other cool stuff.

Pity that it repeatedly glitched. Sometimes the tuner locked up. Sometimes the video codec died. Sometimes it just hung.

Now, in my experience, typically if a computer system is doing that, either it's a hardware problem or the OEM install of the OS has completely horked it. (This is why I always install a fresh unadulterated copy of Windows XP on systems that I don't build myself... the only system I've not been able to do it on so far has been my Toshiba Tablet PC. Which is a shame - after all, it should have a clean restore CD that just installs XP Table Edition on the machine - but then again, Toshiba seem to have proven themselves able to modify an XP install without completely borking it.)

So in this case, the blame goes to either Microsoft, HP or ... well... I dunno. One of those two. Either way, it's a buggy piece of crap. I'm much happier with my DirecTV HD TiVo... even though occasionally the display will glitch in the menus. But to fix that, all I have to do is hit the TiVo button on the remote - I don't at any time need to grab a keyboard and start killing processes in TaskMgr the way my friend does.

Round one: TiVo. By much much more than a nose.

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The Good Samaritan

![The Good Samaritan movie poster]("images/tgsposter.jpg" =480x621)

The Good Samaritan movie poster is now up at Popcorn Films on the project page.

I’m still working on editing it though. But I thought it’d be nice to have something to show people. And it was the perfect lucky snapshot on the digital camera in between takes. Joey is actually taking a break here between shots on a very hot day in a very very hot costume.

(Although according to him later, it was actually cooler with the costume on than when he took it off. That’s insulation for you).

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Upgrade Time Again

Well, I guess it had to happen. My computer gave up the ghost.

Well, okay, it didn't really. I just found a single app that it couldn't handle. Namely, Adobe Premiere Pro. I didn't know this at the time, but apparently it requires SSE instructions to work - and apparently, the AMD 1400+ that I bought a couple of years ago doesn't support this.

So now my wallet is considerably lighter... I went out and got a 3.2GHz P4 (1mb cache), with DDR TWINX1024-3200XL extra low latency Corsair Platinum RAM, and an Asus P4C800 motherboard.

Well, at least the software runs now.

One thing I'm going to miss, however, is the ability to use Wake On Lan to kick my machine when I'm at work. (This way, my apartment doesn't turn into a heat bath thanks to the output of the computer in the summer... although it's almost welcome in the winter).

I wrote my own little app to create the right magic packets, broadcast them over the LAN from outside of it and everything. Worked great. But apparently this mobo doesn't support it.

Damnit. To fry or not to fry, that is the question.

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