Archive for August, 2004


Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

We’re working on doing up a room in our house – it’s going to be the office on the top floor so that we can move the computer out of the guest room. Kind of exciting, and good for the house value too. We’ve got parquet flooring to put down, which I’m a little nervous about but I’m assured is not too difficult, and on Sunday we managed to unhook the radiator so that we can give it a thorough clean and repaint. Then Emma’s painting the walls and we’ll move the computer etc up. May be a slight replan though – I just read about the new Apple iMac G5 which I think would be the perfect stylish addition. Wow, it’s quite something.

for gold

Monday, August 30th, 2004

We watched a lot of the Olympics over the last couple of weeks, and on the whole it was quite enjoyable – NBC’s coverage, while it could be better, was way better than four years ago when it seemed to be two-thirds “inspirational” documentaries about the US athletes. This year it was almost all sports, and the background clips were quick and snappy. Obviously there was quite a heavy focus on Americans, but NBC is an American station, so there you go.

Britain did quite well this year which was cool – Emma and I cheered really loudly on Saturday when our boys pipped the Americans in the 4 x 100m relay – really exciting. Despite having appeared to be very arrogant in interviews before the race, the American team were humble, complimentary and honest in defeat.

Generally the standard of the sport was spookily high – the clean moves of the gymnasts and incredible speeds of the runners and swimmers for example – and it gets almost easy to take what these people do for granted. So I have an idea for the IOC to improve the China Olympics, or at least to educate the viewers. What they should do for each event is take 5 random people from the audience and make them have a go at the event they’re watching. This will help all of us realize exactly how hard it is to jump on to a balance beam, or swing a loop on the high bar, or swim even one length of an Olympic size pool, let alone do a handstand followed by a dive from a 10m board. Plus it’s likely to be quite funny.

get out

Monday, August 30th, 2004

The Republican National Convention is in New York this week, and Paul and his family are on vacation there too. Hope they’re not having too many problems getting around. There’s been a lot of news happening from there already, including these good people standing up for their country, democracy, and sanity in the world. Wish we could have been there.

freedom of what?

Friday, August 27th, 2004

If you’ve not been following American election news, you probably haven’t heard about the shady group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, who made up a story about how John Kerry lied in order to get medals from the Vietnam war. These people have been losing their credibility over the last few days, as it’s come out that they’ve been very closely linked to the Bush campaign (it’s illegal for an independently funded “527″ political group to coordinate with a political candidate) and in their allegations have contradicted things they themselves have said in the past. However the press here have been at least tacitly giving credence to their claims by doing very little to investigate the veracity of the allegations, and certainly very little to say that the claims are basically false – Kerry’s record has been completely backed up by military records and various other eyewitness accounts.

So it seems especially galling when Bush spouts a load of nonsense about how he’s also been victimized by other 527 groups:

On his opponent John Kerry, he declined to condemn the television advertisement paid for by a veterans group alleging that the Democrat presidential candidate came by his medals dishonestly.

But he stressed too that he was a victim of the same type of political interest groups – called 527 committees after the section of the tax code which governs this type of organisation – which are attacking Mr Kerry.

“I understand how Senator Kerry feels – I’ve been attacked by 527s too,” he said.

And he’s now saying that he wants to take legal or legislative action to ban these groups. So much for freedom of speech – what a country! Plus there’s the fact that MoveOn, ACT etc have taken great pains to be sure that their ads and campaigns against Bush at least have a grain of truth – the nonsense which has been slung at Kerry is just baseless – the only reason it’s been reported so widely is that they are very well funded by Texan Republican donors, and the media has been lazy and feeble enough to start giving them credence.

UPDATE: Please also take the time to read Mark Morford on this. He’s a bit rantier than me, but you know, he gets paid for it. And I’m going to need a tonic to counter the Republican National Convention coverage next week.

new newsy news

Thursday, August 26th, 2004

I just posted some new pictures of Toby – I hope you like them. There are a bunch which include his friends Lauren and Sam, when they came over a couple of weeks ago.

I’ve also put up some general photos, including the newly redesigned front garden, and some pics of Scout. You’ll also notice a picture or two of a non-ginger cat, who is our new arrival, Nessie. We were out at Target last night and happened to drop by Petsmart next door. After shouting in glee at some fish (Toby managed the sentence “Another Wish (Fish) in water!”) we looked around and saw the cats from the rescue shelter. There were some really cute kittens, but they’re a lot of work especially when we’re both working. However there was a beautiful tabby/calico cat, kind of small, and noted as being quiet and neat and affectionate which we thought sounded ideal. When we got to meet her she was very calm being held and didn’t mind Toby stroking her at all. Now she’s home she seems incredibly happy, purring like nothing else. We weren’t specifically planning to get a second cat, but we have been thinking that Scout’s seemed a little bored lately so I hope it’ll do him good, and Nessie too of course. At the moment on the pet store guy’s advice, she’s shut in a bathroom so that she can get used to the smell of the house, and Scout can get used to her smell too, without having any actual face-to-face confrontations. We’ll let her out tomorrow and see how they go.

By the way, I haven’t put captions on any of the new photos yet – it’s getting late and I need to be up at 5 am to take Paul and family to the airport.

i love to count, a ha ha

Tuesday, August 24th, 2004

We’re trying to teach Toby to count, but I’m not sure it’s going so well. Usually it’s on the stairs, and I’ll say “Shall we count?”. On the first step he usually goes “a-one”, with a big drawn out “oooonnnnneee”, voice going from low to high. But then on each other step he just says four and five (“a-boooaarr, a-biiiiiive”) no matter what I’m saying, until the bottom one which is “eight”.

sorted, finally

Tuesday, August 24th, 2004

I’ve been having loads of really annoying problems on my home PC. I started noticing the issue after I’d installed my new mega-size, and fast, hard drive a few months ago, when it became impossible to install some applications, and upgrade many others. I had back-and-forthed with MSN Messenger support for weeks but to no avail. Finally tonight I thought I’d get around to just reinstalling Windows 2000 but first I thought I’d try out a couple of things.

I went to and got hold of Registry Mechanic, because I thought that my registry was the root of the problem. It’s still running and we’ll see if it does anything noticeably useful.

In the meantime I did a little googling for the error which always happened on installs:

Error 1926 – could not set security for file “c:\config.msi”

Error 5: verify that you have sufficient privileges to modify security for this file

I had checked thousands of times that I had full admin privileges to my hard drive, and that I had sufficient space. All seemed set, but still no good. And I couldn’t find any file named config.msi.

Then I found a page which said, simply:

Create folder (not file) C:\Config.msi on your hard drive, allow access to all, and make it hidden.

And that, my friends, cured the problem.

what really happened

Friday, August 20th, 2004

my last post mentioned that an enlightening story on the radio was interrupted by a campaign visit by a very non-enlightened man to the Twin Cities. And here is a great write-up of the event. It sounds like a circle of hell to me. I am incensed that people would claim that Bush represents any flavor of religion.

naked olympics

Friday, August 20th, 2004

I guess that headline will attract some unwitting googlers.

Anyway, I’d heard about this story, where Olympic stars posed for Playboy magazine. They did a quick feature on it on the radio a couple of days ago, and said that the Greek ancients would probably really approve, as the original Olympics were quite a lech-fest where all they would wear was olive oil, and if you wore clothes you were seen as being something of a barbarian. And apparently gyms were total pick-up joints too. Reality set in while I was listening to the article though – it was interrupted because they went to live coverage of a campaign visit by George W Bush. Typical – those Republicans manage to get in the way of good clean fun whenever they can.

just so you know

Wednesday, August 18th, 2004

Emma and I have sponsored a child in Central America through Christian Childrens Fund for the last few years, and CCF seems to be a great organization, really focused not so much on emergency relief, but long term solutions for very needy children and their families. Almost all the places they work are very poor countries, such as Afghanistan, East Timor, Albania, Bolivia, Sierra Leone – you get the idea. And also the United States. Specifically Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia. You can take a look at this map to see what the political affiliations of these states happen to be. What a surprise – all very Republican, except for Virginia which is mostly Republican but remember that Virginia is right by the nation’s capital where you’d have thought there would be opportunities and healthcare and food and clothing for all, without needing to rely on charitable organizations who are also operarting in Angola and Uganda, for goodness’ sake. Oh yeah, and remember Bush is the former Governor of Texas, where CCF also need to operate because children were left behind.