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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Home for Homeless Tigers

I'm helping raise money for 3 homeless tigers in Nebraska that face euthanasia if we can't get them a new habitat built soon. I'm joining with a whole bunch of folks on Myspace to do this. Just click on the box and you can donate through Paypal. It's quick, easy and every dollar counts!



Monday, October 22, 2007

Electronic Willpower

We had a lovely church youth group get together at the little park across from my house at Lake Palestine this weekend. We sat out by the shore in folding chairs and enjoyed one of the last warm weekends of the Fall. We dragged out the guitars and banjos and our brand new washtub bass and had a good old songfest.

After a bit, the kids began to get restless, so we played a game and then had a short sermon talk before releasing the restless hordes of children for lunch. As we closed the meeting with prayer, a friend shot the picture of me leading prayer with the sun pouring down through the trees and the smoke from our campfire. It was a nice shot.
Now for the confession part of this. The photo to the right has been doctored. No, it's not the rays of sunshine. That photo was a straight shot.

Nope, what got altered was me. In the original photo I am about 35 or 40 pounds heavier than I am in this picture. When I first saw the picture I was shocked at how heavy I had become over the past 18 months since Micah's death - stress will load the pounds on you. I instantly vowed to stop eating for three weeks or till I lost 50 pounds. I imagined myself drinking lots of water and only eating fresh fruit and veggies day after day. Start walking 2 miles every day, do some cardio and maybe work out on the ab-machine, quit spending so much time on the computer......

"Hmmmm?" (faint smell of smoke as long disused portions of my brain fire up suddenly).

I double click on Photoshop and load the picture.


I select the "clone" tool. Select the parameters and make a couple of quick swipes and voila!

Forty pounds are history!.

Wow, how great is that?

Of course, I should still probably cut back a little on the cheese a bit anyway. And I don't like desserts much, so I could probably skip that.



"Be right there, honey...."

I wonder if there are any of those cheesy puffs left?
I just love technology!

Just one man's weakness...


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Creative Sentencing for Hackers

I've just spent the better (or worser if the truth be known) part of a week trying to rebuild my computer after malware got in and ran amok in the danged thing.

I just don't get it. Where's the fun in writing a program that totally screws up someone's computer? You don't get to see the frustration you cause. You don't profit from the damage you do. You don't even know the people who's lives you hijack while they are going through the incredible hassle of reinstalling Windows and all their programs.

Who would have a reason to do something like that? Here is may personal list of suspects:

  1. Terrorists - You want to screw up the American economy, shut down business and personal computers and make it hard for us to get our propaganda about freedom out there, that would be one way to do it.
  2. Anti-Virus software companies - If they were to release new viruses regularly, then you'd have to "update" your software and then you'd have to pay them renewal fees every year. Sounds kind of like paying tribute to the Romans doesn't it? Nobody has ever proved that occurs. Also, if it worked, you'd see similar schemes cropping up in other areas. Oh, wait..... I just realized I have anti-spyware software, anti-malware software and a firewall on my computer to protect me from other "threats". That's part of the reason they tell me that my computer takes half an hour to boot up.
  3. Juvenile Delinquents - Yes, I know some of them are in their 40's now, but some people never get over being anti-social. Little twerps at their computers spraying graffiti across the Internet just because they can do it and it makes them feel powerful!

A bunch of us on the banjohangout forum came up with some interesting consequences for these guys, in case the government ever gets around to catching them. It's too bad that you can't sue these folks for the full value of wasting your time.

Bailiff: Will the defendent please rise.

Judge: You have been found guilty of willfully creating computer software which deliberately hijacks and ruins computers costing tens of thousands of citizens of this country millions of hours of lost work and recreational time just trying to get rid of this pernicious garbage.You are hereby sentenced to ...............

  1. Estimate the time he's wasted, double it for the aggravation, that's the time he spends being made to watch Tina Turner and Michael Bolton videos. - Scarecrow
  2. Make them listen to Barbara Streisand 24/7 for the length of their sentence. - Fiddlebuster
  3. Since exposure to Vogon poetry is not possible in reality, how about 1 day in solitary for every 1 megabyte of storage found on his hacker machine, with 20 or so different renditions of Rocky Top piped into the cell 24 hours a day, at least 5 of which include a bass solo. - MrNatch3L
  4. The worst punishment I can think of is making them listen to clawhammer banjo playing 24-7.. - Stelling Man
  5. Since we'd rather not be visited by Vogons for obvious reasons, play recordings of the poetry of the Famed "Worst Poet on Earth", Scottish Bard William McGonagall. "Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay! Alas! I am very sorry to say. That ninety lives have been taken away. On the last Sabbath day of 1879, Which will be remember'd for a very long time." About 3 months of that the poor guy would be gnawing off body parts trying to escape...-Tom King
  6. Hopefully they are into grundge or heavy metal rock or something. Then, what you do is play Ralph Stanley records and Alan Lomax's field recordings, some Earnest Tubb and some Wagner. By the time they got through the ring cycle....... Can you imagine?
  7. I agree that the punishment should fit the crime so my suggested punishment would be to force them to continually eat spam until they were puking out of their eyeballs. -Wheatstraw
  8. Polka music. Nothing but polka music. - anonymous
  9. Locked up in a cell with nothing but a Sinclair 1000 computer and a broken tape recorder. - scruggsfiend
  10. Chain them up in a music school in a practice room with the beginning fiddle, accordion, banjo and bagpipe students. - mandoguy
  11. Something creative with chains, syrup, ants and aardvarks. - banjoman

It goes on like that for some time, but you get the idea.

Too bad judges can't do that anymore.

Just one man's opinion...

Tom King

Friday, October 05, 2007

On Becoming an Author

Got an e-mail last week from a publisher looking for an author for a book on charity golf tournaments. I just happen to have such a book and I sent him the manuscript. He called back after he read it and bing bang - with that I've got a deal to publish my book and possibly do a second one on nonprofit boards. I've read books that this editor shepherded to publication and he's good at what he does.

It's funny how stuff like this happens in my life. I've been fiddling with this book for 5 years and running it by publishers right and left. Then, suddenly it finds a home at last, just at the time I need it.

Romans 8:28 says "All things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to his purpose."

I'm finding that proved every day that I live now. Moving into a new phase of my life, I find myself called to do new and unexpected things.

A multi-book contract could mean that I may be able to retire after all. That's something of a relief and I am grateful to God for his care.