Sunday, October 28

This is Halloween Musical Monday

A day late but...

We now have the radio station set to the Halloween channel.

And I found a really cool blog tonight.
Obviously a guy after my own heart ;)

Our Halloween Movie Guide

Ju on

Todays guide is for our favorite movies to watch around Halloween.

Number One on the list is Ju on. It's so much better than the watered down American version 'The Grudge'. If you haven't seen it then you're missing one of the scariest movies ever made. Trust me, if you like scary movies this is a 'Must See'.

Number two is also a foreign film and there are plans to make an American version.
A Tale of Two Sisters (aka:Janghwa, Hongryeon) was made in South Korea in 2003 and is a recommended movie from Cool To Open. This site is gone -- updating links as time allows.

Here's the rest of our favorite movies to watch for Halloween:
Click to watch the trailer/movie clip or to visit/view on Amazon.
    Angel Heart This is the movie that got Lisa Bonet kicked off of The Cosby Show ;) 
    Nightmare Before Christmas 
    From Hell
     Lost Boys  
     Hocus Pocus 
    The Witches  
    The Others 
    The Blair Witch Project
    Bram Stoker's Dracula  
    Buffy The Vampire Slayer  
    Salem's Lot 
    Rosemary's Baby 
    Nightmare on Elm Street 
    Mothman Prophecies  
    The Ninth Gate  

Do you have any additions we might have missed?

Cheyenne and I are about to curl up on the couch with Mac and Cheese and this playing. Little Shop of Horrors.

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Friday, October 19

Spooky is an LOLSecretz star

It turns out that my cat Spooky has been keeping secretz from me.
Spooky's BIG Secret
Now who'd a thunk it?

It's a shame I had to go to LOLSecretz to find out.
But it does explain all of the trojans and viruses I've been getting lately :P is the meeting of two of the internet's most famous memes– PostSecret (the blog where people anonymously confess their deepest darkest secrets) crossed with Lolcat Macros (the phenomenon where people ascribe poorly spelled human emotions to animals).

A special thanks to O for the great captions! I laughed so hard when I read them that I almost wet myself.
Love you babe!

Spooky's next appearance will be on
I'll let you know when it's up. Can't wait to find out what other mischief my cat has been getting into while I'm stuck at work. Sheesh!

Saturday, October 13

ATT and Verizon - Shame On You!

"The compromise between liberty and security remains a difficult one. But dismissing this case at the outset would sacrifice liberty for no apparent enhancement of security."
U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker

Geek Hint of the Day:
There are a lot of links on this page.
If you right click a link you can choose 'open in new window' so you won't navigate away from the page.

AT&T and Verizon are now lobbying for immunity from prosecution for warrantless surveillance? They not only offered up voice and data communications from their own customers, but also intercepted data from other companies and turned it over without so much as a warrant or a court order. For years. And now they're expecting Congress and the President to come to their rescue in the face of impending law suits.

Although I do agree, to a certain extent, that there should be accountability in other arenas also, there is no doubt in my mind that this comes down to personal responsibility. The one thing we, as Americans, know, is that we are all responsible and accountable when our decisions and actions harm or threaten someone else. When we've stepped over the line. And there's also civic responsibility. When you consider the magnitude of trust that we have put into the hands of both of these companies it's more than just a bad business deal. It's a betrayal of the public trust (MCI).

I'm sure they feel that some of the responsibility should fall on the shoulders of the government. That there should be a certain amount of 'divine intervention' when what they were doing was obviously condoned and welcomed by the NSA. And was obviously quite well hidden by all parties involved also. If it hadn't been for Mark Klein the world may never have known that there really are men in little rooms handing over our private phone calls, emails and Internet habits to be scrutinized as if we're all criminals. I'm sure Heinlein is probably high-fiving Orwell right now saying 'Dude, you so nailed that one!'

According to the Washington Post President Bush is threatening to veto The Restore Act if the Telecoms aren't given retroactive immunity from persecution. He's quoted as saying that the proposal to require court approval in surveillance procedures "would take us backward". I couldn't agree more. Backward to a time when protection under the Fourth Amendment protected us against 'unreasonable search and seizure' and it was not only expected, but demanded, by all Americans, not just the Un-Patriotic terrorist-lovers, but every American who understood what those rights represented. How incredibly significant they were in this world. Back to a time when it was our enemies we had to fear, not our own White House, not our telephone companies and Internet providers.

"[...] will they limit our ability to collect this intelligence and keep us safe, staying a step ahead of the terrorists who want to attack us?" I'm wondering which terrorists he means. Our loss of privacy hasn't gotten us one step closer to bringing Osama Bin Laden and the terrorists who brutally murdered 3,000 American citizens to justice.

Oooops. Did I say that out loud?

Osama Bin WhoWho? Remember him? I know it's been years and, really, I should be over it by now. I mean, how long can a girl hold a grudge, right? By now he's probably gumming his dinner and wearing diapers anyway, if he hasn't already died of old age.

But he's the one I want. The only one I really want.

I know. Al Q. They're over there right now, arming up and training and chanting death to Americans. But it's decidedly quiet outside tonight. I can hear a dog barking from three backyards over. I wonder if the 'bad' terrorists think we've moved? I just can't fathom that in the six years we've frantically tried to prevent them from attacking us--they haven't even tried. Oh wait. There was that airplane-shoe-guy. It just goes to prove what I've known all along--it's always the converts. But honestly, that very very strange looking guy did make me have to throw out a brand new bottle of 'Tommy Girl' perfume. And for that I'll never forgive. Never.

I don't think this massive betrayal by AT&T and Verizon, or the President's hardline position on Rights? We don't need no stinkin' Rights, is going to protect us any more than it already has. I don't think it's done us any good at all. Americans have been getting attacked for a long time. Beirut, Iran; Maybe it's because we seem proud to them? Like we think we're better than everyone else. Maybe it's because we say what we want to whomever we want. Or because we've been offered the chance to prosper in freedom and we carry ourselves with the confidence of people who know that we matter; we count, and we raise our own children to be just as confident that they have a voice, and a say, in everything in the world that effects them--We got that from our fore-fathers, they said it was so and we trust them that it is so.
And our President said almost that exact thing in his Speech in 2001.
"They hate ... a democratically elected government. ... They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other."

Maybe he meant these enemies?

So I just have to say 'Shame on you, Mr. President', for fighting to make their immunity retroactive. For trying to force us to let them get away with the harm they've caused us all as a nation. For not making them own up to what they've done. Just like someone else. We're supposed to just keep looking away.

I'm a Veteran. My husband is also. We've picked up arms and put our lives on the line because we believe that this Country, and every person in it, is worth protecting. And we believe that our rights are what make us Americans, and we are confident enough in our own justfulness to extend those rights to people who do us harm. Because we were, and are, patriots.

I know a lot of people freak out about this whole surveillance issue. Thinking that they're being targeted, watched. That men and women are sitting around listening to every word in their phone conversations, reading every word that they write in an e-mail, secretly making notes of every prOn page they view on the Internet. But I have it on very good 'authority' that it really isn't so. Our guys aren't exactly this strack tracking unit, monitoring our comings and goings with high-tech surveillance equipment like in the movie 'Enemy of the State'.

The truth is, their equipment is really outdated. They don't even update and patch their servers like they should. They have to hire outside companies to come in to help find the files and documents they lose. And can you say email? I know it would have made some people feel better to think that there was some mastermind, some evil genius, working behind the scenes, destroying data and emails so that they could never be recovered, so that they could never be used to incriminate them. But honestly. It was just crappy equipment, and technicians who are so overworked and stressed out trying to keep everything going with scotch tape and chewing gum that they've been known to have knock-down, drag-out fights with their car GPS systems just so they can turn off the engine and have the last word.

In a way it's really a win-win situation; if we all think that we're under super secret, high tech surveillance we'll get paranoid, and stop talking so much about the things that are going wrong, it'll distract us from issues that used to be important. We'll be more afraid of the people around us and who we can trust, we'll have to trust the government because they're our only hope. But we'll have to fear them also, because they know our secrets. And we have no idea what they're looking for, what the 'trigger' mechanism is, but we know that they're watching us. And our enemies will see that fear, and they'll trust that we wouldn't be so angry and paranoid if it weren't true. They'll have to change the way they plan their attacks. They'll have to slow down, to really think things through. They'll have to give up some of their Kabal and beer nights so they aren't seen together as often. They'll have to send messages through the personal ads, like Desperately Seeking Susan, and that's really good for us. With no phone and no Internet it could take weeks just to get an ad to run. Let alone decipher it and respond.

No. It's not really the specific information that AT&T and Verizon gave up on us that bothers me. There isn't really much that they can do with it, except lose it or leave it un-secured, so that the identity thieves get their hands on it-- or unwittingly upload it to the Internet (I can just imagine my mother's mortification if they did that to me, I'd be off to the nunnery, tout de suite). I seriously doubt that they have the manpower to go through that data with a fine-toothed comb though, and find anything significant that will lead them to the 'Them'. All four of the 'Them' that could possibly be in a city the size of Atlanta.

I, personally, don't think I could take day in and day out of having to read or listen to the communications of my own neighbors and co-workers, 2000 of the nicest, sweetest, most boring people you could ever meet. And I'm sure my own Internet usage could probably knock someone into early retirement. All the YouTube and pRon and MySpace messages, Facebook and recipes, Ladies Home Journal and about 50 subscriptions to tech emails from Windows Secrets to Cert Advisories. McAfee's great offers that come in about ten times a day even though I wrote them and told them that I am never, ever -not even under threat of death or dismemberment- going to pay for their crappy Anti-virus software when I can't even un-install the stupid trial version they let me download for free 2 years ago. O and I playing on-line Scrabble and IMing at the same time. Sending each other links to I Can Has Cheeseburger and pictures flying back and forth of what we're eating, what we're drinking, 'Damn, doesn't my neighbor have a hairy back', 'I found this weird looking spider under my kitchen sink'. Then there are the long-long-looooooong emails from my grandmother about her hernia and which one of her 200 cats is on death's door this week. And the joke emails that all of my sisters forward around all day. I have 4 sisters. I get the same email 4 times over the course of the day. After the second read it's just not funny anymore. Except for this one. It always makes me smile. My mom sent it to me because I was having a really stressed out week. I saved the music and turned it into her ring tone. Now I actually smile when she calls to tell me that she needs me to come over and chase the squirrels out of her attic. And SPAM! Holy Cow! I had 200 SPAM messages yesterday alone after my email address was added to our work website. I finally started hitting reply on them and sending back a message 'I know you probably didn't send this, I'm sure the email address is spoofed, but I'm having a bad day and somebody is going to hear about it.' I then wrote about ten paragraphs of my chief complaints and copy/pasted it into every SPAM message that came in. Seriously, I'd feel sorry for the guy who had to surveille me. Better to just get a spider to crawl it all and hope it runs into something good, like 'By Allah, I feeling like to up blow something.'

You see. It's not what they'll find that bothers me. I think we all know that, even if they read a million emails, the chances of them finding anything even remotely useful are infinitesimal, and that's being generous. And it's not that I feel like they're reading my personal emails and passing them around laughing at my half-assed attempts at being erotic when I can't even spell tounge.

It's just about it being wrong. Wrong to betray people who trust you. And Un-American to stomp all over the rights that we've had to fight to preserve, and then sit in a meeting with the President and try to get him to make 'retroactive' their immunity after screwing us all. And if being against the war is un-patriotic, then what the hell does that make them? They've turned on their own people. Innocent people who are just exercising their right as a soul to breathe. I'm sure they wouldn't give us all carte blanche to listen to their phone calls and intercept their emails, even if there was nothing bad in them, it's just the principle of the thing. Look who I'm talking about principles. Sheesh.

And, I guess, most of all, it's no one else's business, except my friends and loved ones, if I can't spell tounge. That's something that they don't have the right to know about me. Unless I choose to share it with them.

Wednesday, October 10

Repairing Windows XP using System Restore

    Or how to fix a bOrked Microsuck


    About System Restore:
    System Restore is available in Windows XP and Vista (which sucks btw, stay away from it at all costs. Seriously. I'm not kidding. It's a resource hog and it makes the average PC run slower than snail snot. And that's really slooooooow.)

    System Restore in Windows XP will automatically create a backup of the system files and settings whenever a new device, driver, update, or application is installed. That means that when you hit the 'install' button the first thing XP does it take a backup snapshot of the system--and then it begins the installation process.
    If there is a problem after you install a new device or application, or uninstall an old one, you can go back to a former Restore Point, a date when the system was stable, and that will usually fix the problem.

    The things that will not be changed by reverting back to a former restore point are: The files in My Documents, Internet favorites, email settings, pictures, music, etc. Basically, it is safe to use without fear of losing your data and personal information.

    System Restore is automatically activated as soon as you load XP, so, unless you have disabled it or changed the settings manually, it should be making a new restore point every day.

    To check and see if System Restore is enabled or to adjust how much space you have allotted for it (the more space, the more restores you have to choose from - 200 MB minimum)
    Right click My Computer. Go to Properties. Click the System Restore tab. There is no option to restore or create a retore point here. It will simply tell you whether it is enabled/disabled, let you change how much space it is allotted and it should say that it is 'monitoring'.

    **System Restore requires a minimum of 200 MB of free hard disc space or it will disable itself until the space is available. It will use this space until it's full and then, when it is full, it will re-write over the oldest data.
    To check the amount of free space on your hard drive Right Click on My Computer, Click on Properties. The General tab will show you how much disc space you have and how much of it is free, it will also display this information as a pie graph.

    **System Restore cannot recover personal files or email messages, etc. It will only effect system files and settings.

    Before you try System Restore:
    Try these troubleshooting tips.

    It is recommended that you try to re-boot the computer before you use system restore. Many times the system will correct itself after a new installation or uninstall just by re-starting.

    If you're having trouble restarting you should try booting in safe mode. Turn off the computer. Count to ten. Turn it back on. Hit the F8 button continuously as the computer starts but before Windows launches. Scroll to highlight Last Known Good Configuration and then hit enter.
    If Windows launches before you are in safe mode you'll have restart your computer and try again. It's a pain in the ass the first time you try. Most people don't make it into safe mode the first time. No need to be embarrassed. I failed my first 3 times. Now that's embarrassing.

    How to Use System Restore:
    Go to Start
    System Tools
    System Restore

    The System Restore dialogue box will open.
    (This is the same box you will use if you ever want to manually create a restore point)
    Click on the 'Restore my computer to an earlier time' radio button.

    A dialogue box with a calendar will open. You can use the arrows to see the restore points for different months.
    Choose one of the dates that are in bold. (Bold means these are dates that have a restore point)
    Click 'next'

    You'll then be asked to Confirm Restoration Point Selection.
    Make sure that this is the date that you selected and then click next.

    Windows will then automatically shut down and restart the computer.
    When the computer restarts you will see a dialogue box that says Restoration Complete.
    Click 'Okay'.

    Test the computer to make sure that the problem was resolved.
    If the problem was not solved you should immediately undo the restore. (I mean it - right now! Undo the restore if it didn't work.)

    How to undo a System Restore:
    Follow the same steps as above but when you get to the System Restore dialogue box there will now be an option to 'Undo my last restoration'.
    Click that option then next.

    Click next in the Confirm Restoration Undo dialogue box.

    Windows will automatically shut down and restart again.
    When it restarts you will see a dialogue box that says Undo Complete.
    Click Okay.

    *If you aren't sure about the date that you started having problems you may want to try to restore from several points to see if you can find a good restore point.
    For example, if you recently uninstalled a program and now you're having problems you might want to use a restore point before the program was installed to see if that will solve the problem.
    Just remember to 'Undo Restoration' after each restoration that was not successful, and before you attempt another restoration point.

    **As I said previously, System Restore Cannot recover personal files or email messages.
    The best way to insure against this type of data loss is to do backups on a regular basis. Unfortunately you can't backup XP to a CD-RW using the backup utilty. I do have some other useful suggestions to get around that. I'll cover those soon ;)

    Next up for the geeks, How to use System File Checker - SFC to repair Windows XP and 2000.

    This post was written for SeaRabbit, because her machine has gone wonky and I don't want her to miss HNT. It's always something to look forward to ;) Sorry I was so late getting this up, I actually wrote it last week, but came down with Strep over the weekend so I have barely lifted my head out from under the covers for a few days.

    Thursday, October 4

    HNT - The Video

    We've finally finished Cheyenne's memorial video for Lona.

    For me it is an amazing journey to watch. I see the girls when they first became friends, how young they look to me in those pictures. And I see them growing up also. Turning into the little beauties that drove the boys crazy.

    I'm so glad that they took lots of pictures when they were together. Now those photos act as a reminder of the fun times they shared. Each photo has a story behind it of what they were doing at that time, where they were, who they were with. I love hearing my daughter recount the stories behind those photos, as do Lona's parents; for them it's like getting to know their daughter in ways that they had not known her before and they take great joy and comfort in hearing those stories. Told from the perspective of her friends, it gives them new insight into just how much her friendship meant to them and just how much she was loved by everyone who knew her.

    The necklace that Cheyenne wore in this picture is now in Lona's hand.
    The night before the funeral the family brought Lona home, a brave and loving act that I must say I admire them for. They wanted her to spend her last night in her own home, surrounded by the people who loved her most of all. They invited Cheyenne and a couple of her other close friends to spend that last night there also. Cheyenne spent that last night with Lona and watched videos and such with her family. They all comforted each other. Lona's parents took Cheyenne in to where her casket was to let her say her goodbyes and also her mother helped to place the necklace in Lona's hand so that she would have that small part of Cheyenne with her forever. A loving act that I will be eternally grateful for.

    It took her a long time to watch the entire video. But now she watches it every night before bed. It brings her some comfort to see the two of them together and the wonderful times that they shared. We are happy to be able to share this video with you and to know that Lona's memory will continue on in every person who views it.

    The necklace that Cheyenne gave to Lona was a heart. The song for this montage is 'My Heart Will Go On' by Celine Dion. We thought that was fitting.

    See the man.

    PS. The instructions to use the 'Going Pink' templates can be found here.'ve included screenshots to guide you through the process.
    You can download the zip files here.

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