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The Indefinite Article.

Saturday, July 30, 2005


In Serenity, Browncoats are Independent Faction soldiers, a body opposed to the AngloSino Alliance in the Unification War. Defeated at Serenity Valley on Hera in 2511, Browncoats are forced to live as galactic outcasts. A small band of them skim the outskirts of the galaxy unnoticed until they find themselves caught between the unstoppable military force of the Universal Alliance and the horrific, cannibalistic fury of the Reavers, savages who roam the very edge of space.

Dang, this trailer looks pretty neat.

'Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' banned Down Under | CNET News.com

'Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' banned in Australia | CNET News.com
As has been the case with just about every other development in the entire so-called Hot Coffee scandal--GTA developer Take Two Interactive being investigated by the FEC and slammed by Sen. Hillary Clinton--the Australians' move seems a little heavy-handed. After all, we're talking about a game in which it has been considered just fine and dandy to shoot cops and beat up prostitutes. Throw in a little animated nooky, though, and you ain't sticking around for shrimp on the barbie.
CNET must mean SEC, not FEC, the Federal Election Commission. No wonder Apple stopped including easter eggs in its OS, the Securities and Exchange Commission now thinks they are investigable.
I had a dream about GTA the other evening, or maybe it was last night. In the dream I was shopping at Target or somewhere and I ran across a bin of repackaged copies of GTA. They were clumsily labeled over and wrapped in clear plastic with big seams at the top and bottom. As I think of it now, the repackaging was probably purposefully crude to catch bargain shopper's attention. Over the standard marketing material on the box there were white-out lines and plain black text with statements like "All the violence and now sex!" "No need for Hot Coffee hacks?" and the so on.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Etymology of Dial

So I'm in a phone tree and instead of saying "For . . . press 1" it says "For . . . dial 1." This is a slight difference and an interesting anachronistic language. etymonline.com says:
dial 1430, apparently from M.L. dialis "daily," from L. dies "day." The M.L. was probably abstracted from a phrase such as rota dialis "daily wheel," and the earliest sense was "a sundial." It evolved to mean any round plate over which something rotates, including the telephone sense, from 1879, which led to the verb (1923) and to dial tone (1921), "the signal to begin dialing," which term soon will be the sole relic of the rotary phone.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Video: Mayor jumps off bridge

Keeping Austin Weird in a Hands on a Hardbody kind of way:Mayor jumps off bridge

Learning Flash - Part 2

Today I coded my first if...else statment. I'll admit i had to look at the structure of it again, but i created my own 'var' (another first) and put it to work. i am pretty happy. if you follow the address to the source folder on chairjockey, you can get the flash file and see the code. most of it (with the exception of the initial menu alpha setting to zero) is on the menu button.

One thing i notice is that the 'bounce-in' effect doesn't appear on the first click of the button - only on the second and after...

UPDATE:Can anyone figure out how to embed this flash into my post? is it possible?

"Daddy, where do helmets come from?"

Originally uploaded by tcserpa.
this was just funny to me. i had liz's helmet in my apartment, and when i came home to clean up after 'the crash' i placed tag's on top of it without thinking. when i got back from dolph's i saw what i had done it made me laugh.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The "Seal Dribble"

Brazil won the Under-17 Futbol Championship thanks in large part to Kerlon, this crazy kid with mad skills who scored 8 goals in the tourney and who invented the mind boggle-ing "seal dribble" attack.

Check out this amazing video...

my bloody elbow.

Originally uploaded by tcserpa.
i have officialy joined the 'i wiped out on a scooter club'. entirely my fault, very minor injuries. too much lean, too much gas, face meet concrete. i do have a lovely swollen cheek just in time for my presentation at texas monthly tomorrow. good thing i have such a hard head. check the pics for the whole story.

Learning Flash - Part 1

Learning flash has been an uphill battle. I know what i want to learn, but i didn't have the language to describe it. Trudging through books and online tutorials on flash scripting is really really frustrating, but what i didn't realize until recently was that i was learning something.

Sunday, Carol and i hopped into the car and took adolfo for a much needed haircut at Cool Cuts for Kids in Sugarland. We got there five minutes after they opened (11:05) only to find that we were already the fourth haircut. Adolfo didn't mind this -- in the waiting area there is a Thomas the Tank Engine Train Set table. He is a very confident player now. He arranges all the trains in just such a way, and pulls them throw the tressel bridges carefully rather than clumsily pushing them through. He anticipates the dips after the raised bridges and doesn't allow them to fall off the tracks ("...DERAILMENT!, i shout...") Since his first haircut at 1 year-old, he's been playing with this table - love to watch him.

Ten minutes later we were called to a chair. He chose the one that looked like a fire engine. It is always the same lady (thankfully) who cuts his hair. She speaks spanish to him. I am nervous as she slings the barber sheet around his neck. Would he begin to buck? would i have to hold him down like i did last time? We put on Bob the Builder in the DVD. He remained calm for the entire haircut. It was miraculous.

It was time to celebrate. We took him shopping for a book next door at Half Price Books. Carol sat in the back with him while i searched for a flash book. Most of them i would open, sift through, and realize quickly that it wasn't what i needed. Then, I recognized the authors of two books. I glanced through them and understood them.

I gave myself a project on monday and finished it today: a small page with scripted tweens and externally loaded media. The flash file is also in the folder on chairjockey; if anyone wants to critique the code i've got in there, please do. The coded tweens (with the exception of the rotating red star) are a set of extensions that i picked up from the macromedia site. The Images and Reviews are loaded into a dynamic text box (the images being called in the external txt file with an 'img' tag.)


Well, I am a student again. I just enrolled at Austin Community College. I'm hoping to get into some College Algebra type basic math course, as well as maybe a foreign language class or something...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Planes, Boats, and Buses

Little bit of an unexpected ordeal getting to the Island of St. John.
Our plane left Austin yesterday at 8 a.m., We left Dallas at 10 a.m. and arrived San Juan, Puerto Rico around 3:30 p.m.
After a 3 hr lay over turned into a 5 hr one when our prop jet arrived with a flat tire.
The prop plane dropped us off on St. Thomas where we jumped into a bus and drove for almost an hour through the hills of the island to reach the other side.
From there we took a water taxi that dropped a number of people at different islands around the Virgin Islands.
We finally arrived a little after 11 pm.

It's weird to think that the isands I see a mile in the distance are British, Dutch, and French and depending on which one you go to you may need some sort of passport.
And after all that travel by boat,train, and whatnot my sprintpcs phone works like a charm with no roaming.
I can post to the blog and Ichat my fingers away.
This is wonderfull little island where a gallon of milk costs 6 dollars and and a bottle of Captain Morgans is 7.
I was thinking at first that I would not come back here because of all the hassle and cost, after seeing what is around me......I am not quite sure. I would like to be more isolated, at the same time I wish it didnt cast fifty dollars for breakfast (the cost of everything being a import).

Monday, July 25, 2005


Eleonora's father Dario passed away yesterday. I managed to get Eleo on a direct flight to Morelia this morning. Todd was kind enough to take us to the airport. Thank you Todd.

Dario was a wonderful father and friend to both Eleo and me.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Suspicious Package!

They have shut off the block in front of my office (6th Street between Congress and Colorado) reportedly because a "suspicious package" was found outside of the (empty) State Comptroller offices.

I guess this is probably an exercise...

:: update :: From News 8 Austin

A portion of downtown was shut down after an abandoned backpack was discovered. By 3 p.m. the all clear was given.
After going through the backpack police found only miscellaneous items.
Sixth Street from Congress Avenue to Colorado Street and Colorado from Sixth to Seventh streets were all closed.
All building evacuations were canceled.

By "miscellaneous items" they mean 3 warm Milwaukee's Best Tallboys and half a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos.

:: also ::
Apparently they used a (Giant) robot to inspect the suspicious backpack...

Hour Record News

www.cyclingnews.com news and analysis :

Ondrej Sosenka has surprisingly beaten the world hour record set by Britain's Chris Boardman in 2000. In Moscow this afternoon, the 29 year-old Czech rider improved on Boardman's record by 259 metres, riding 49.700 km in the hour.

. . .
Boardman set his distance of 49.441 [kilometers] in Manchester on the 27th of October 2000, improving Eddy Merckx's 1972 mark by just 10 metres. That record marked a new beginning for the discipline . . . . Called the Athlete's Hour Record, it replaced the Absolute Hour Record standard which permitted the use of aerodynamic bicycles, positions and clothing. Boardman had previously set an Absolute Hour Record of 56.375 [kilometers] in Manchester on the 7th of September 1996.

We were chatting about the hour record at dinner Sunday, this article has some background.

Neato Burrito

The Rohloff Speedhub 500/14

Sunday, July 17, 2005


I found this, this and also, this to be very interesting...

I guess Mefi does too...

Friday, July 15, 2005

Battlestar Galactica!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

God is great, God is good

but why does he have to make it rain on Thursday, of all days? And if for some ineffable reason he must make it rain on Thursday, why does he not make it rain in the morning, or after 9:00 pm? Why must it rain precisely when I have soccer practice? Why? Why? WHY?!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Vacation projects

Vacation projects
Originally uploaded by killy.
I am on a working vacation. Bob and i went to Home Depot to collect materials for a two semi-major projects: gutters for the front of the house and pulling the carpet in adolfo's room and replacing it with pergo 'oak' flooring. Pictured are 60 ft. of gutters, 100 sq ft of silent step for under the 120 sq ft of flooring for adolfo's room, and all the incidentals - with the exception of the baseboards, which i will get later this weekend.

More Goals = More Excitement = More attendance = More adverts, etc

One of the reported changes to NHL hockey that caught my attention is the reduction in size of goalee equipment. It is hoped that this reduction will result in more goals and therefore more exciting games. From time to time a similar initiative is proposed for soccer.

Is the argument correct? Would more goals result in more exciting games?

TDF as Personality Test

Fat Cyclist:
Question 2: Who do you think will win the Tour de France?
  • Lance Armstrong: You are a realist.
  • Someone else: You live in a parallel universe, a beautiful place filled with magic, light, and wish-granting Fairy Godmothers.


Pachucos, cholos y chundos...

Holy Smokes I saw Café Tacuba at Stubb's last night. It was hands-down the best show I have seen all year! They played a bunch of stuff off their latest album, Cuatro Caminos, as well as some of the old timey hijinks I remember from my Guanajuato days. It was just too crazy to hear Chilanga Banda en vivo...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Le Tour update

Today's stage was great from a fan's perspective and it gave me a small glimmer of hope for the fantasy squad. I didn't think I would move up much since everyone has Armstrong and theoretically eveyone should have Alejandro Valverde, the winner of the stage. The way that the game is structured, Valverde was the only rider in his grouping that is even riding in this year's Tour. So, I was somewhat suprised today when my team jumped from 405th place to 295th place. I suspect some people did not read the pre-race coverage very closely and picked other riders from Valverde's group who ended up not being selected for their team's Tour squad.

Armstrong's contract at Tradesports.com surged 22 points today. The market is effectively giving Armstrong an 82% chance of victory. I think that's about right. I think only illness, a crash or some sort of incident can keep Armstrong from winning his seventh.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Survival Of The Species

If a life-form is to survive for any length of time in this crazy universe a great deal of luck is required.

The life-form must be lucky enough not to be done in by competing life-forms on its own planet.

The life-form must be lucky enough not to be wiped out by some random act of nature, such as a really big flood, or a gigantic asteroid, or a medium sized comet, or an exploding star, etc.

If the life-form likes to build stuff, it has to be lucky enough not kill itself off by building and using a ginormous bomb, or lots of little bombs, or some kind of horrible gas, or a virus, or some kind of genetically engineered plant gone haywire, like corn that tastes like creamed-corn.

But even if the life-form is lucky enough to have survived these dangers, it still is not safe. That is, unless the life-form is lucky enough to:

A) Never be attacked by a technologically superior alien invasion force that is bent on its absolute destruction.


B) To be invaded by a technologically superior, but incredibly incompetent alien invasion force that is bent on its absolute destruction. Like, for instance, those rascals featured in War of the Worlds.

Hopefully when it comes time for humans to invade another planet bent on the destruction, assimilation, enslavement or "liberation", etc of the current residents we will have learned from the mistakes of those invaders that failed to conquer us. For one thing, we should make sure that we are not allergic to anything on the planet we plan to invade. Especially if the allergy is so strong that it would kill us, and doubly especially if 3/4 of the planet is made up of the substance and the substance happens to fall from the sky on a regular basis...


so, i replaced taggart's old old airport card with my new old airport card. While i was in there i went ahead and practiced some cord control. i also documented the process as it occurred.

I learned some things about myself while making that movie which prompted me to take the steps document in this one.

airport movie

haircut movie


My fantasy squad got blanked today. Luckily this year's Tour has been interesting enough to make me forget about that. Today a two-man break succeeded and Jens Voigt of Germany took the yellow jersey. This is probably not a problem for the other favorites as Voigt is not exactly a climber. His breakaway companion, Christophe Moreau of France, on the other hand, could be a problem. Moreau has finished in the top 10 at the Tour on several occassions. He has also won the overall at the Dauphiné Libéré. Armstrong probably feels that he can easily make this up in the big mountain stages that lie ahead. Most likely he can. But people close to Moreau say he is in the form of his life and Armstrong could be in trouble.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the race, Zabriske abandoned today.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Combo Drive Woes...

My ibook no longer recognizes blank CD-R cds. Disk Utility claims that the blank disk has zero capacity, is read-only and is locked. I tested several different brands on my ibook and on todd's. They all work fine on todd's. My combo drive does read cds and dvds.
Sigh. Good thing my ibook is still under Apple Care...

Firmware Revision: CA10
Interconnect: ATAPI
Burn Support: Yes (Apple Shipped/Supported)
Cache: 2048 KB
Reads DVD: Yes
CD-Write: -R, -RW
Burn Underrun Protection CD: Yes
Write Strategies: CD-TAO, CD-SAO, CD-Raw
Media: No

Another day...

another lanterne rouge. Iker Flores of Spain now occupies last place at the Tour. Flores is one hour and two minutes behind Armstrong. In next-to-last place is American David Zabriskie who wore the yellow jersey for the first few stages. He has crashed several times since then and I suspect he will abandon soon.

My fantasy squad is in 435th place after yesterday's stage. In today's stage I had the third (Alejandro Valverde) and ninth (Chris Horner) place riders. I don't know whether that will move me up or down, but I doubt it will be a big move in either case.

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday To The Colin!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Fusée de Poche

Robbie "Pocket Rocket" McEwen won his second stage of the Tour today. McEwen is a tiny little bloke, but he is fast. I read that the speed at the finish was over 40 mph. The standings have not yet been updated at the fantasy league. I assume I will regain some of the ground that I lost yesterday when I got blanked. Robbie McEwen, by the way, named his son Ewan. Ewan McEwen.

Yesterday's Lanterne Rouge, Steve Zampieri of Switzerland, abandoned during today's stage. That means that Janek Tombak of Estonia reclaims last place. Tombak is trailing Armstrong by nearly 21 minutes.

aiport card update...

FedEx is on the case! soon, soon, soon shall i return tag's airport card. i like getting stuff in the mail. that makes me think i need to send diana some more little cards. i bet she likes getting stuff in the mail too.

Rain Post Update

The Movie of my rain experience. it is about a minute long and a departure from the rest of my oeuvre in that it has no music added. just natural atmospherics.

Any minute now I'll have a brand new (old) airport card of my very own! i know that seattle is still a sleepy little backwater town so i doubt taggart has been able to find indoor plumbing, let alone access to the interweb. i guess he will just be surprised when he gets back.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


blogger has been choked for a while today. i am currently trying to publish my rain post and keep getting the 75% indicator and no farther. weird.

austin too!

"it'llhit 105 today here in austin with a mere 40 percent chance of rain."

Well, those turned out to be pretty good odds. I am currently sitting at Austin Java Company in the middle of an honest-to-god texas thunderstorm. about bloody time too. I wonder how long i wil be stuck here.

UPDATE : i sure hope i saved any open docs back at the house. the power just went off, then on again, then off again. wow. it is really coming down.

UP-UPDATE : and that's it. power is back on and the rain has moved out. still a few flashes of lightning around but the heavy clouds are gone taking the rain with them.

Finally ... rain in Houston

Yesterday it rained on my yard. I thought that was the end of it; turns out, it wasn't. Thank goodness, we've got rain for a second day. Judging by the satellite images it seems that it's pretty serious. Just this morning, the weatherman on my local NPR station, said almost exactly these words: no rain in sight. Outside, thunder is grumbling, the clouds are dark grey and approaching from the north.

just for taggart

At long last i have ordered a new (old) airport card to replace the one that taggart has graciously allowed me to use these last several months. i even shelled out for next day delivery although, in hindsight, that was silly. you see taggart and his lovely wife liz have gone to seattle. that notwithstanding, i greatly appreciate his sacrifice and support. that is why i am willing to feed his cat and defend said cat's foodstuffs from nefarious raccoon extremists.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Its Your Move, Killy

Killy Plays Black :: Pablo Plays White

::: UPDATE ::

Looks like Killy opted for Philidor's Defense

Lanterne Rouge

I am getting absolutely crushed in my Tour de France fantasy game. I am currently in 664th place out of approximately 1,050 participants. Not quite la lanterne rouge, but close enough. I expect to move up a few spots after McEwen's win today. Not many and not enough to give me much hope of a good overall result. It is still early days but it was pretty obvious from the opening time trial who is on form and who is not.

La lanterne rouge, by the way, is the term for the rider who finishes in last place in the Tour. I have read that the term comes from a red lantern that used to hang off the back of French trains. Some riders will try to fight their way out of last place. Others see it as a unique position and try to hold on to it.

UPDATE: McEwen's stage victory bumped me up to 550th.


Anybody use it? Comments?

Diego Day

This morning my sister received word that Diego, my nephew, was officially accepted into St. Lawrence Catholic School. Congratulations is in order. We are celebrating tonight in sugarland (most likely).

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Sorry for not coming to Killy's party. It was a family thing that I can't explain, but I wish I'd been there.

P.P.S. Totally looking forward to the bachelorette party, because my apartment is going to be so kick-ass that the guys are going to wish they'd been there.

Welcome to the blogosphere.

Blogging for pay is one of the weirdest things you'll ever do, I'm learning. Writing for pay is something I'm used to now, there's a standard of journalistic integrity you have to uphold and you are praised if you know your grammar rules and can sound like you've read a lot of Jane Austen (and I have). But blogging -- you're given this fantastic opportunity to entertain people (because isn't that the style of blogging? no matter what your topic, you're sort of funny or cynical or sarcastic about it?), but you're not trained as an entertainer, right, you're just armed with an English degree and an AP style guide. The level of writing with which I used to feel comfortable now feels uptight and bookish. I feel like a dull 60-year-old trying to crack jokes with teenagers: I'm just not cool enough for this.

Last week one of the managers tells me it would be great if I went to this blogger mixer thing next week. So I went, because that's what you do.

I don't feel I have much in common with the sorts of people who attend these things. It's not the chubby, young, "we met on the Internet and now we're engaged!" crowd who get together downtown for beers. This is the conservative political bloggers who go on and on about how light rail is single-handedly going to bring down the city. Oh, and property taxes, they loooove talking about property taxes.

Turns out nobody talks about property taxes in person. And you get to drink BEER, the grease that makes awkward meetings smoother. I liked everyone, but I don't think I made any fans. Meeting new people you'd never meet otherwise is sort of, I dunno, awesome.

Monday, July 04, 2005

4th of July at Killy and Carol's

It was a really nice 4th of July at Killy and Carol's place. Good hang out time like that day is precious and is getting harder to come by. Thank you Killy and Carol for hosting everyone. I wish I could say that we spilt a little beer for all of our home-boys and home-women who missed the party, but unfortunately we were too busy drinking.

Deep Impact

Deep Impact
Originally uploaded by Amber & Adolph.
Somewhere up in the sky tonight, NASA rammed a "washing machine sized" spacecraft into a comet. It is pretty mind boggling stuff. I guess in some ways I am a little more impressed by the missions to Mars and Venus. Touching a comet though, is important.

Sunday, July 03, 2005


Originally uploaded by tcserpa.
we went to Rockport, tx on Thursday and had a blast! nice town, not a hardcoore-teenybopper-drink-til-you-puke kinda place.

check out the pics.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Iraq is just like Houston

It's true Houston IS just like Iraq. According to the outdoor thermometer in my sister's Blazer, it was 106 degrees today.

I wasn't able to cut my yard till 8:00 p.m. - it was only then that it was just reasonably 'cool' enough to stand outside longer than 15 seconds.

Friday, July 01, 2005

A fun game

This is pretty addictive. My final account balance (after the fifth try) was a little over $200,000.

Sandra Day O'Connor Is Fixin To Retire?!!!!