Archive for November, 2007

Iconic Daredevil Evel Knievel Dies at 69

Evel Knievel, the red-white-and-blue-spangled motorcycle daredevil whose jumps over crazy obstacles including Greyhound buses, live sharks and Idaho’s Snake River Canyon made him an international icon in the 1970s, died Friday. He was 69.


As a kid I was a big fan of Evel Knievel. I had just about all the wind-up motorcycle toys/action figures. The ones where you were supposed to set up a jump, wind up the motorcycle on the launcher and let ’em rip. Though I usually let ’em rip right into a brick wall outside the garage. Hey… just like real life.

So here’s to Evel…. the man who inspired me to do so many completely idiotic things on my various bikes (though I somehow never did wind up with a single broken bone. Evel must be very disappointed).


CHART stands for “Coordinated Highways Action Response Team” and according to their website it is:

a joint effort of the Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland Transportation Authority and the Maryland State Police, in cooperation with other federal, state and local agencies. CHART’s mission is to improve “real-time” operations of Maryland’s highway system through teamwork and technology.

Problem is, it looks like this technology is either broken or they don’t know how to use it. I mentioned before the problem the CHART website had with the recent DST conversion. I’ve been watching it since and have noticed something…. The speed sensor data is, every single time I’ve checked, completely wrong.

I just had a coworker come into my office and inform me that 83 North and York Road north are bumper to bumper because of an accident near I-83 and Belfast Road. But that simply cannot be! According to CHART, the traffic in 83 north is flying up the road just fine.


You’ll notice that in the above graphic from the CHART interactive map, all northbound speed sensors show green. Lets check the speed sensor data page just to be sure:


Yup. All green.

I inform said coworker that she must be wrong. The Internet says I-83 North is fine. In fact, the speeds in I-83 North are currently faster than I’ve ever driven on that road in rush hour traffic.

Of course the main problem with all of this is that I can actually look out my office window and see the backup. 83 is indeed currently gridlocked. Well… except for the southbound lanes… they’re currently moving without a problem. That brings up another problem. Notice the one red arrow on I-83 in the first graphic? Yup, thats a speed sensor for I-83 SOUTH. The traffic thats currently moving without a problem.

I wouldn’t be entirely shocked if someone at CHART switched a few things around and swapped the sensor info for the North/South traffic on 83.

‘Tis the season when small furry rodents attempt to get past my defenses and invade my home. usually they only make it as far as the garage. Every once in a while, one manages to invade my domicile. Now… there are plenty of ways to deal with these invaders. Poison. Glue strips. ‘No-kill’ hippie traps. Electronic shock traps. But to be honest, I’ve always been a fan of the absolute destructive power of the good ‘ol victor snap trap (with peanut butter as bait… screw cheese).

So a few nights ago I’m sitting in the home office and I hear a strange noise coming from under the oven in the kitchen. A few minutes later the noise has migrated to the cabinet next to the oven. After a bit, it stops. I fetch a snap trap from the garage, load it with peanut butter, carefully set it and slid it into place towards the back of the cabinet. I close the cabinet door and stand up to wash my hands. Before I even manage to turn around to face the sink, I am startled by a massive WHACK!

‘Goddamn trap tripped off on its own’ was the first thought I had. I open the cabinet door and stare with a bit of amazement at the mouse that is now splayed out, bulging eyes, back broken, laying dead on the snap trap. I then find myself talking to the now dead mouse. “You dumb SOB. I just put that damn trap there. That was so fast you must have watched me put it there! How stupid are you?!”

I’m guessing about as stupid as talking to a dead mouse.

So Saturday night we settle down the family in front of the fire to watch the ‘Special Uncut’ airing of Elf on USA. It was an 8-10p schedule but it’s the PG rated movie Elf. What could possibly go wrong?

Thirty minutes into the movie and the run promo for the Monk Christmas Special. The promo ends with the main character Monk facing the camera and stating: “To all the kids watching, I’d just like to say there’s no such thing as Santa Claus.’ Nice. What mental giant at USA thought that would be a good promo to run during this movie?

It doesn’t end there. Right after the monk promo, before we can even get into damage control mode for two youngest, they run a promo for Law & Order Criminal Intent which starts with the voice-over ‘Raped and murdered prostitutes…’. Ok then… so much for USA. And off went the TV.

A quick trip to Walmart and I came back with the Elf DVD and we watched the movie truly uncut and not ‘Uncut except for when USA networks decides to cut in and run inappropriate promos for their shows while also running popover ads that cover 1/4 of the viewing screen while the movie is running’.

This morning I was still annoyed enough that I decided to give USA a call. Of course when you call the phone number listed on their ‘contact us’ FAQ you’re greeted with the message ‘You’ve reached a non-working number at 30 Rockefeller Plaza’. I tell ya… USA Network is really on the ball.

What? Wear the web? Oh wait… we are the web. Nevermind.

Save the Internet!

Or don’t. Actually, that might be better.

I thought Turkeys could fly.

Incident at the Pinedale Shopping Mall

I was greeted with the Google ‘you’re denied because you look like a trojan/span/virus’ error message again this morning. Only this time I noticed something new. A captcha box has been added to the bottom of the message:


It looks like this is a problem that Google is responding to. Only problem is, the response sucks… mainly because captcha sucks. Its much easier to just change my homepage setting to a straight address instead of the mozilla specific address. Althought my fingers appeared to have slipped and spelled out yahoo instead of google. (if for some reason you really like the Mozilla branded homepage and are having this same problem, you can always change your homepage to

side note: There have been a few rumors going around about some problems between Google and the Mozilla Foundation. Mainly that Google isn’t happy with the amount of money it is paying Mozilla as a result of firefox users being directed by default to Google search. If a person was paranoid, they might think Google is intentionally causing ‘random’ problems for this default Mozilla branded Google link. That theory doesn’t really work however since it appears that most of this revenue comes from the mini search bar in the upper right instead of the default homepage.

edit: Scratch that link… I’ve now recieved the same error using that one as well. Hell, I recieved the error just typing in


Google Error. Again.
Google Error. D’oh!

People never cease to surprise me. Although in this case I can’t tell if I’m surprised by their utter brazenness or complete cluelessness.

Scene: A mostly deserted Hunt Valley Industrial Park parking lot.
Time: Random weekdays between 5 & 6:30p
What: Two cars parked right next to each other on the far off edge of said parking lot.
Purpose: It quickly becomes obvious

Usually its some type of minivan and a sedan parked next to each other. Other times its an SUV/car or Van/SUV combo.

My favorite so far is the Minivan with Maryland tags parked next to the Lexus with Pennsylvania tags. Oh… did I mention the ‘My Child is an Honor Student at Hereford Middle School’ bumper sticker on the van? No worries, I’m sure the van is driven by a single parent…. right?

I just can’t figure out if these people know they can be seen and don’t care or if they think they are actually being in any way secretive. Regardless, here’s a public service announcement: Even though that dark glass is marketed as ‘privacy’ glass, it isn’t. Especially when the dome light is on.

Things have been busy as hell lately. Mostly kids and projects at work. The work changes have been especially fun since just a few of months ago things where feeling very much like a rut. We’ve recently started up a couple new and exciting projects now and its good to actually be looking forward to going into work in the morning again.

But thats not the real reason for this post (though it helps partially explain why things have been so slow around here lately).

You may have noticed that a few of my recent political posts have been crossposted to a new site (there’s also a RSS feed for that site in the sidebar). For the most part, I’ll no longer be putting political themed posts on this site. Anything new will be going to the new location. There will probably be posts relating to local/regional politics (i.e.: my semi-regular school rants), but they will be the exception and not the rule. For now, my links will continue posting to this site. I may look at focusing those to particular sites in the future, but I don’t have the time for that right now.

Why this change? This was brought about from a chance meeting a few months ago that has led to me now being paid to write political entries on to be unnamed site. I’m writing under a pseudonym (um… a different pseudonym) and there are a few restrictions on what I can write about and when after somethings been covered on the other site. Its a bit of a strange agreement, but there’s a check behind it so I think I can manage to live with it.

I didn’t have to separate the political topics from this site, but I thought this was as good a time as any to do it. It’ll help me keep things organized and keep each site more focused on its purpose. Besides, I know I have a few readers who aren’t going to be upset seeing my political rants go away.

Six days after brewing and the ferment of the latest batch of Phat Tyre Amber Ale is still going strong. Active ferment started just 9 hours after being sealed.

I log on this morning and find myself greeted by the Google error. Again. This is starting to get a bit annoying and it looks like I’m not the only one having this problem (that’s a link to search results from Dogpile since Google is currently blocking me).

A brief read through those search results shows that most of the people who are getting this error are using automated tools or scripting to check page ranks and other search results (which I’m not). I’ve yet to run across someone else getting this error just accessing the Firefox default home page (which I am).

This error is mentioned in Wikipedia’s Google Search entry:

The suggestion that the user’s computer may be infected is often incorrect. The screen was first reported in 2005 and was a response to the heavy use of Google by Search Engine Optimisation companies to check on ranks of sites they were optimising. The message may also be triggered by high volumes of different searches from a single IP address. The block is removed after a day.

Looks like Google is being overly paranoid. You’d think Google would be able to recognize the Firefox defualt URL of:

by now.

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