December 2009 Archives

Hey! What About Pluto?!

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I know… poor little rock lost its standing in the solar system. Still, this is yet another fantastic xkcd cartoon.

Life With a Mastiff: Bigger


So it’s been, what? Two months? Yeah, nearly two months since we got Humphrey and since I wrote about him.

He was 17lbs. He clocked in at 48lbs today.

He was about 16" at the shoulder. He’s about 22" today.

He’s growing rapidly, certainly. And I’m guessing you’re not surprised. After all, his sire is 270lbs and his dam is 180lbs, so if he’s going to be, say, 200lbs by 18 months, he’s going to have to put on an average of 12lbs or so per month and his height’s going to have to go up pretty darned quick, too.

If you’re wondering what that has to do with “life with a mastiff,” the simple answer is everything. You see, he doesn’t eat much more than other dogs. He eats about five cups of dry dog food (with some cheese sprinkled in for excitement) in three meals per day. Other breeds of dog eat about that much, too. The net result of eating “the usual” amount of food per day and growing a lot per day is that mastiffs end up being nature’s couch potatoes.

Other dogs take that energy consumed and turn it into barking episodes and fits of running around the yard at light speed. Humphrey takes that energy and turns it into bone and muscle. Plenty of snoozing is involved.


His schedule when we got him was breakfast as the family wakes up and then hang out with T. at her office for the morning, sleeping mostly. Lunch. Then an afternoon nap ensued followed by dinner and a fitful sleep. Generally, we had to take him out about twice between each meal, once before bed and once in the middle of the night, about 2am. Since we didn’t have a baby monitor at the time, I was nominated… hmmm… to sleep downstairs with him and make the midnight bathroom run.

A whimper was enough to get me in motion at 2am. Glasses on. Jacket on. Open crate. Grab leash (he stays leashed 24/7 until he’s completely potty trained, though we’re letting him off-leash more often now). Pick up dog. Head to back door, slippers on, open door, garage door opening, cross the driveway to the designated Humphrey Dumpling Orchard and… pee.

Flooding the world, one puddle at a time.

Back into the house quietly, without making a fuss. He heads to his crate, I close the crate. Glasses off, etc., back to sleep. Repeat at 6am.

In the dark. It’s challenging sometimes and led to one crate-related scrape-on-the-forehead injury. I used to drink a glass of red wine each night, but I was just a wee bit sluggish (see what I did there?) when I’d had that wine, normal 6oz. serving or not. I do miss my wine, but I don’t miss the calories. Humphrey has helped me lose 5lbs.

Then, just about the time that I got used to that routine about three weeks into it, I accidentally slept through a whimpering, and he held it until 4am, which became 5am and then 6am in successive nights.

So I retreated to my bed, packed up the Therm-a-Rest pads, and he’s been a good, through-the-night sleeper ever since. Now he doesn’t even want to get up at 7am.

He’s still a puppy, so we’re careful about potty runs. He knows to go to the back door to go out, but he doesn’t let us know he’s there, so we have to pay very close attention to him when he’s not in his crate or asleep. If we don’t, he still has “puppy bladder” and is likely to wee on the floor in large quantity if we don’t get him out quickly, though that time is increasing as he gets older. (Six months seems to be a magic number—for what, I don’t know exactly, but I’m looking forward to it.)

He acts like a puppy in a big dog’s body. He does have the ability to bowl you over if you let him. He likes to “galumph” after a ball, he gnaws on his toys and pressed rawhide sticks (his favorite), and he gets “bitey” when he is feeling is oats… or is merely hungry. And that tail of his? His sworn enemy, right along with his paws. How he doesn’t hurt himself when he’s playing with his own parts, I don’t know.

He is a most pleasant animal. There are times when I get frustrated with him, sure, but mostly because I don’t work with him as much as I should. T., on the other hand, who has him at her office most days of the week, is his soulmate. The two of them are practically inseparable. She taught him to “gimme’ five,” sit, and be generally more cooperative. She is his human, and he is her dog.

Ah, yes, I am a slight bit jealous. It’s OK, though.

It’s true, we love this dog. He’s our ideal breed, and we seem to be his ideal family.

Thinking about getting a mastiff and have questions? Leave a comment with a question and I’ll reply to the best of my ability.

Well, That Fizzled...


Health care reform is on the way, for better or worse. And I never got a decent amount of time to go to Washington as I had intended. (Yeah, yeah, road to somewhere paved etc., I know.) Sigh.


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I like mashups. Don’t know what a mashup is? From Wikipedia, then:

Mashup: a digital media file containing any or all of text, graphics, audio, video, and animation, which recombines and modifies existing digital works to create a derivative work.

Simple enough in concept, but darned difficult to do in reality. Most mashups I’ve seen are pretty lame. So when I come across one that’s particularly good, it’s going to get shared.

(Two videos below, total playing time here of about 8 minutes, so if you want to see just how good a good mashup should be and your time is limited, skip to the second video and sample a bit of it.)

Here, for example, is Peanuts vs. The Police.

It’s pretty good. You might actually think that Linus is singing what Sting sings. But then the guy who did that one did this one, and did it even better than that one!

The words chosen by the Obama administration are not chosen lightly. So I was intrigued to hear the Obamessiah say in his speech in Copenhagen:

And we will be back having the same stale arguments month after month, year after year, perhaps decade after decade — all while the danger of climate change grows until it is irreversible.

(emphasis mine)

I seem to recall that climate change (whatever that is) was something more than a… oh, heck, let’s go to the source, shall we?

On his own website, the Obamessiah says that he will “fight global warming” and “address climate change.” Sounds less like a potential threat than a real and present danger, no? Kinda’ like weapons of mass destruction, right?

Not convinced?

Let’s start with an easy pitch. His teammate, Joe “Clueless” Biden, says:

I think it is manmade. I think it’s clearly manmade. If you don’t understand what the cause is, it’s virtually impossible to come up with a solution. We know what the cause is. The cause is manmade. That’s the cause. That’s why the polar icecap is melting. source

He swung and missed three times in that one statement. Batter up!

Now up to the plate, Barak!. Here are three pitches from the same speech:

All across the world, in every kind of environment and region known to man, increasingly dangerous weather patterns and devastating storms are abruptly putting an end to the long-running debate over whether or not climate change is real. Not only is it real, it’s here, and its effects are giving rise to a frighteningly new global phenomenon: the man-made natural disaster.

(Steeeeerike one!)

Today we’re seeing that climate change is about more than a few unseasonably mild winters or hot summers. It’s about the chain of natural catastrophes and devastating weather patterns that global warming is beginning to set off around the world… the frequency and intensity of which are breaking records thousands of years old.

(Steeeeerike two!)

The issue of climate change is one that we ignore at our own peril. There may still be disputes about exactly how much we’re contributing to the warming of the earth’s atmosphere and how much is naturally occurring, but what we can be scientifically certain of is that our continued use of fossil fuels is pushing us to a point of no return. And unless we free ourselves from a dependence on these fossil fuels and chart a new course on energy in this country, we are condemning future generations to global catastrophe.

(Steeeeerike three! Yurrrrrrrr out!)

Now, I’m really sorry that he pulled a fast one on you “libruls” and has back peddled so much, but I’m also glad that (a) he’s waking up to reality and (b) there’s a chance, however small, that you “libruls” might wake up, too. I just wish you’d woken up before the damage was irreversibly done on some other things, too. Sigh…

Love it.’s Person of the Year 2009 slug:

“The story of the year was a weak economy that could have been much, much weaker. Thank the man who runs the Federal Reserve, our mild-mannered economic overlord.”

Nothing like celebrating… not winning.

“Well, he doesn’t smell as bad as he could…”

“Hey, a C- isn’t so bad, is it? It’s not an F!”

“So what if you came in fifth place? At least you didn’t come in tenth!”


(The 787, that is.)

Here’s an article which explains in terms of AAPL why the stock market is an amazingly risky thing to be invested in.

Bottom line: if you can afford to lose it, put it in the market. If you can’t, take it out.

Remember, folks: you’re not trading real value of anything. You’re only trading shares of nothing whose value is based on what someone else is willing to pay for it. And this article shows pretty clearly that what someone else is willing to pay for it has no basis in reality.

That having been said, I do like my position in AAPL right now…

Good news, fellow 787-involved engineers! I’m predicting the 16th, though. (I have my own sources.)

I don't know how I missed this one, but here it is, many moons late: Server Security Update 2009-005 breaks PHP custom installations.

Apple installs PHP v5.2.11 over your custom PHP installation.

Here's what I did to alleviate the pain associated with the upgrade:

Before I upgraded, I backed up my configuration information (which I can use to reconfigure PHP if necessary) and current PHP installation so I can downgrade in a hurry if I can't rebuild the new PHP quickly:

php -i > ~/php-config-2009.12.09
sudo cp /usr/libexec/apache2/ /usr/libexec/apache2/
sudo cp /usr/bin/php /usr/bin/php.old

I then did the update.

If I were very concerned that PHP weren't working correctly and quickly, I'd have swapped the newly-installed Apple PHP with the old one and set it to running while I rebuilt PHP. I didn't need to do that, though, so I just proceeded with rebuilding and reinstalling 5.2.11.

Once the update was done, I looked at what Apple used to configure php...

php -i

...and noticed that it wasn't all that unusual. I then backed up the Apple stuff...

sudo cp /usr/libexec/apache2/ /usr/libexec/apache2/
sudo cp /usr/bin/php /usr/bin/php.old

...and grabbed the 5.2.11 PHP tarball from, php-ized GD, configured it, made it, and installed it. (Your configure command might look different, of course.)

tar xjfp php-5.2.11.tar.bz2

cd php-5.2.11/ext/gd


cd ../..

MACOSX_DEPLOYMENT_TARGET=10.5 CFLAGS="-arch ppc -arch ppc64 -arch i386 -arch x86_64 -g -Os -pipe -no-cpp-precomp" CCFLAGS="-arch ppc -arch ppc64 -arch i386 -arch x86_64 -g -Os -pipe" CXXFLAGS="-arch ppc -arch ppc64 -arch i386 -arch x86_64 -g -Os -pipe" LDFLAGS="-arch ppc -arch ppc64 -arch i386 -arch x86_64 -bind_at_load" ./configure --prefix=/usr --mandir=/usr/share/man --infodir=/usr/share/info --disable-dependency-tracking --with-apxs2=/usr/sbin/apxs --with-ldap=/usr --with-kerberos=/usr --enable-cli --with-zlib-dir=/usr --enable-trans-sid --with-xml --enable-exif --enable-ftp --enable-mbstring --enable-mbregex --enable-dbx --enable-sockets --with-iodbc=/usr --with-curl=/usr --with-config-file-path=/etc --sysconfdir=/private/etc --with-mysql-sock=/var/mysql --with-mysqli=/usr/bin/mysql_config --with-mysql=/usr --with-openssl --with-xmlrpc --with-xsl=/usr --without-pear --with-freetype-dir=/usr/local/lib --with-jpeg-dir=/usr/local/lib --with-png-dir=/usr/X11R6 --with-xpm-dir=/usr/X11R6 --with-gd --with-ttf --with-iconv=/usr/local/lib --enable-gd-imgstrttf --enable-gd-native-ttf

(That's all on one line, and note that I'm compiling a universal binary here for four architectures--why, I don't remember, exactly, but you probably won't need anything before "./configure" unless you're compiling for multiple architectures.)


make test

sudo make install

I then restarted Apache2 with Server Manager and PHP5 was happy again.

Here’s a “Sermon Starter,” an idea that I hope proves to be useful to someone in his or her quest to arrive at material for next Sunday morning’s sermon. I’ve occasionally had thoughts—fractional ideas, really—which I have thought would make the basis for a great sermon. But having no pulpit and having not one iota of theological talent, I’m unable to deliver on the goods. So here is a Sermon Starter. Feel free to use it in your message, and don’t hesitate to write your source into your notes.

When I need help, I try to trust God to provide for my needs. I say try because I’m not so good at it. It does help me, however, to remember that

  • God’s power is infinite and
  • God is everywhere at every time,

at least from a Christian’s viewpoint.

Given these two thoughts, I conclude that even the teeniest, tiniest part of God’s power is still infinite and that His infinite power can help li’l ol’ me out.

How’s that for cool? It doesn’t matter how many times you divide His power and His attention, you still have the infinite power of God working for you!

The article says:

The top UN climate official says hacked e-mails from climate scientists that appear to cast doubt on their research do look bad, but studies of global warming are solid.

Really? Were the studies done by the “scientists” of University of East Anglia, a bunch of self-serving job preservationists, also “solid” until it was revealed that they’re not quite as solid as a Jello Pudding Pop in the Sahara?

And I have another question for you: When you write a paper or a study, don’t you quote other sources to bolster your conclusions? That’s what I learned to do in college. So were the conclusions of these U of EA “scientists” cited elsewhere? And how many of those papers were cited? Are they all therefore “solid?”

How many other “scientists” will have to redouble their efforts to cover up their own “work” and “research” now that a few of the cards in this tenuous house of cards have fallen?

Look, I’ve got nothing against energy conservation, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, etc., but we don’t need a cadre of money-grubbing Al Gore sycophants to invent a reason at our expense to conserve what God gave us. We should be doing that just because we’re supposed to be good stewards of the Earth and all that is in it.

(An excellent treatise on our responsibility to God to take care of His creation can be found in this article by J. Patrick Dobel.)

I can’t wait to find out that the “urgent consensus” view of Representative Ed Malarky and his ilk are based on research just as shoddy as the crap just revealed.

A virus walks into a bar and…

…well, I’ll let you hear the rest on your own.

(Worth every second. Watch it. Really.)

Still love this guy’s stuff.