Monday, July 31, 2006


Guy kills gulls the wrong way.

Read these first...

He was just thisclose to getting it right.

Now the right way to do it. First of all you don't use all the fries at once. And secondly you don't use your own car. Doing it yourself is way too obvious, not to mention you've got bird mess on your car. Yet another thing you need pointing you out as the culprit. Besides being stupid, doing it that way is missing out on half the fun of watching some unsuspecting person splat the flying rats with their car.

Find a busy road. Preferably near fast food joints where the gulls can find occasional loose garbage. Traffic on the road should be moving an average speed of 35MPH or faster. Any slower and the gulls will be able to see it coming. (Likewise, the car might be able to brake in time.) First throw your fries on the shoulder or on-road during breaks in traffic. This will give the gulls a false sense of security. Occasionally toss in a bunch of fries to get the competition going among the birds. Then wean it back down a few fries to bolster the greedy spirit of the winged rats. Once you've established that they have a false sense of security and are more interested in competing with each other... Then you throw the fries in front of an oncoming car. If you time it just right, it's pretty messy if not funny.

If you're clever enough about and don't get to obvious with your fry throwing, the car driver usually is thinking "WTF?!" as they unsuspectingly slaughtered a bunch of dirty birds diving down in front of 'em. But also be prepared to take off like a bat out of hell, just in case someone catches on to this delinquent activity. If you don't do this all the time, even acting suprised and playing innocent can work exceptionally well. "I was just feeding 'em!" :D

And no, I haven't been doing this - but I have watched a pro of the technique. A friend/shipmate from Boston demonstrated this (if you're reading this, Hi Jon!) back during my Navy days. I'm not sure if some random Officer in Norfolk thought it was as funny as we did.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Why getting rid of the penny is really really stupid

So many people want to get rid of this feeble and practically worthless coin. I can't blame 'em on the purchasing power of 1ยข by itself. However the penny does present a specific role in the economic system despite its otherwise worthless value. It's a hedge against inflation.


Yeah, the little bitty worthless penny is a moderating factor against inflation. You heard right. The fact that it costs more to mint the coin than what it's worth keeps too much money from being produced. Or at least in theory. Anything that limits cash from being minted helps it retain some degree of economic value, simply because there's less of it around. Probably one of the original historical factors that coin currency has been in use longer and more often than the paper kind. (There's only so much gold, silver, etc. to go around.)

After the penny is gone, what's next? Nickel, dime, quarter, and dollar? It simply just moves the worthless denomination up each time. If dealing with physical cash is such a problem, why not go to a full currency free system based on some kind of electronic debit exchange system. This could enable market forces to go full tilt with hyper-inflation if it wanted, since there would be nothing physical limiting it then. Dollars could go the way of the Lira... And it all started with the end of the penny.


Having your digital music without the baggage

Don't you hate it if you want to listen to a CD you purchased and it gimps out on your computer or cripples it with some insidious rootkit spyware DRM crud you didn't ask for. Or perhaps there's something else that sneaks into the registry that keeps it from being able to work with portable players...

You could use a gold plated double male plug cable to feed from a CD player to the audio in on your computer (100% guaranteed to work, at the cost of some sound quality), but I found an easier and better way for the time being.

There happens to be a free software solution. (Yey! Even less than a $10 audio cable from RadioShack!) Two nifty programs that you can download let you have your music without the overhead. How's that for convienience? TweakUI and winLAME. Together they provide the one-two puch that lets you enjoy music the way you want to. TweakUI plays defense and can disable autoplay at the registry level, thus keeping any nasty rootkits or anything from executing and getting on your compy from the music CD. WinLAME then plays offense and rips the audio tracks and then provides options for encoding to more portable digital formats. This means you can have the music for use on your compy and devices without the unwanted garbage that usually goes along.

Ridiculously easy, huh?

Note that this is for your own personal use with music you purchased. Don't go around doing this for sharing purposes.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Sonic Boom over Illinois Wisconsin border

Dunno what it was, but whatever the hell it was was moving. Heard a nice low rumbling noise like someone dragging a garbabe can down the driveway at 11:57 AM. But when I went to look, there was nobody there. No cars or anything on the street that could make that kind of sound. But somehow I did manage to notice quite a unique contrail going from west to east with hardly any dissipation on the western end. Usually contrails fade out somewhere between 1/3 to 1/2 across the sky. The whole thing looked pretty fresh and had a "- - - -" kind of pattern to it. Usually one doesn't see that kind of thing around these parts.

Friday, July 07, 2006


World's least read blog strikes again!

Hah! Just had to say something, which is probably not much of anything. But I think I can claim the title of the world's least read blog. Or so it seems from statistics and comments. I'm probably the only one who looks at the stuff I'm saying as I write it. I could claim to blow up the planet Builderbooger and nobody would notice. Not even the greebles who once lived on the forementioned planet. Anyhow, back to the usual putzing around.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Waukegan to Kenosha Bike Ride...

Let's see... Every now and then, I take a route that's approximately 18 miles from my house to Kenosha Harbor. Thus, it's nearly 40mi round trip. Not a bad ride. However I'm not going to tell everyone online where I live, so I'll move the starting place to somewhere more public...

Here's the general format. I'll name a landmark or location, and its name will have a link to the sattellite view on google maps. That way you'll know exactly where it is. Also if you're enough of a geek to mark off waypoints on a GPS, you can snag the latitude and longitude from the google map address and keep notes.

Start point... Lyon's Woods Forest Preserve. In the pines, the pines, where the sun never shines - the deer flies bite a lot. Well they do at some times of the day, thus a good reason to get moving on your bicycle. But the place does have public restrooms (no running water). Usually there's plenty of parking, so it's a good start point. Follow the trail that goes west (there's two actually, doesn't matter as they meet back up). Cross North Avenue, and keep following the trail westward. If you're on target, you'll meet up with the McClory trail here.

Now follow the McClory trail and head North. There will be a path bridge over Wadsworth Road. The next intersection after this bridge is 33rd Street in Zion. This is where you head east.

Following 33rd Street eastbound, it ends at Sheridan Road. There will be a shopping plaza on the other side. Cross over, and head north through the lot in front of the plaza. Then follow the sidewalk northbound along Sheridan Rd. Immediately there will be a downhill turnoff to the "Edina Park Trail". Paved but bumpy. Also somewhat narrow and on a steep grade. Cover your brakes and use caution. Others on the trail may be going uphill, and there's the occasional tree branch or shopping cart as well.

Now we follow the "Edina Park Trail" until we see the Metra Green Line Zion stop and the defunct Zion Nuclear Plant on your right. You will also see a small playground on your left and a sign for Edina Park (Thus my naming of the trail. I'm uncertain if that's official though.) This is where you turn right onto Shiloh Blvd.

Follow Shiloh Blvd eastbound to a parking lot that's on the left before the nuke plant straight ahead. As far as I know, the nuke plant is retired in place. So don't go nosing around there unless you want to "make friends" with homie-land security.

From this lot, there's a motor vehicle barrier on the north end. This leads to a closed (to motor traffic) road which now functions as a trail. It's very nice and wide, but nature is starting to take it back. Thus it's plenty bumpy in places. If you look towards the lake in the right spot, you can see a perfectly fine Vestas wind turbine being wasted and not doing much. (It would be making some nice kw, if it weren't locked and feathered.) It was part of Commonwealth Edison's (long retired) Powerhouse Educational Center (That cool looking industrial building that's been broken down. What a shame.)

Now follow the path north it ends at another that goes east and west. Go east . At one time it went straight to Lake Michigan, which I think was pretty cool. But some weinie probably worried that people would ride their bikes off it or something (stupid, since it's rocky below), so now there's a piece of driftwood blocking it there. I suppose it makes a nice place to sit and enjoy the quietness. But before getting to the lake, there's another northbound path on your left. You'll go this way unless you want to chill for a bit.

Follow this, and you'll see an aviation omnidirectional beacon (looks like an oversized clothes line thingy) and across from it is a pumping station. (If I had an underground base, I'd hide it here. But that's another story.) Adjacent to those is another spot from which to enjoy the lake and a path that goes west. Follow the westbound path.

On your right is a small bridge. Then you go north again. After moving through some brush and forested area, it opens to a dunesland prarie. There's a park shelter thingy to camp out at if you need to.

Keep following the trail, and you should end up at this parking area near the lake. From there, another little bridge and a trail that continues northbound.

Now follow the gravel trail that stays nearest the lake (easiest to follow for directions sake.) It will head westbound again. You're on the right path if you end up in front of the head/duty ranger's dwelling. (A nice little perk for state park service people.)

Now follow the trail/ranger's driveway west/northward and eventually you'll end up in one of the parking lots at Winthrop Harbor Marina.

Now follow North Point Drive northwards, and there'll be a turnoff with a gate. (There's also a fire trail to the west that can get you through. Potentially muddy in spots, but still an alternative if the gate is locked.)

Head back west and northwards on North Point Marina drive. Plenty of boats and equipment around. Always keep a head on a swivel to watch out for trucks and trailers. Eventually you'll end at a gravel lot with some yard houses around. Stay clear of the buildings and boats, and there'll be a tubular metal gate. This is the lakefront's backdoor to Wisconsin. It's sandy and gravelly there, with enough room to bicycle around it. This is where a hybrid or mountain bike comes in handy with fat tires and low gears. A road bike is likely to flop and die (unless you walk) at this point because of the very loose "technical" road bed.

Now you're in Wisconsin. Land of the cheese-heads, badgers, and Illinois vacationers. Head around the curve to the east and you should be on 1st Ct. You'll keep following this until it ends. Follow 116th St. (Kenosha/Pleasant prarie has many streets numbered for your convienience) east to Lakeshore Drive. This is good all the way until it ends at 86th Pl. So go west on 86th place to 85th St, until you hit 7th Ave. 7th Ave has a marked bicycle lane on its eastern side. Note that it accomodates bicycles going both ways. Be aware.

Now you can follow 7th Ave northbound. Then you'll pass Kenosha's water treatment center. (Sometimes it smells funny.) Once north of that, you can head east to Kenosha's Southport Park. This is where you can get on a nice paved bicycle trail along the lakefront. Following this trail then takes you to 1st Ave. A nice quiet ride along the lake. It curves into 71st St. heading west, and then you take 3rd Ave north. Plenty of nice scenic houses (not modern cookie cutter crapola) and some landmark buildings to see along the way.

Then after going north on 3rd Ave a few blocks, there's a turnoff for bicycles on the right. This will take you to Eichleman Park. There'll be a kids playground, and restrooms right at this turn. Then you can take this paved trail all the way to Kenosha Harbor. Lighthouses, parks, vintage electric trolleys, a public museum, places to eat. A nice little place to ride around and enjoy the scenery.

Then you can go back the same way. (Or go another way. I might save that for later.) Feel free to comment...

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