The earthquake last night was one of those rolling quakes that seemed to go on forever. And by forever I mean at least 30 or 40 seconds, which is an eternity when everything around is shaking. Right after the quake all of the neighbors talked about it in the hall and discussed the intensity. One said 4.2, another said 4.6, another said 4.0. I confidently said that the quake was a 5.6 about 50 miles from here. Ha, ha, I guess I am a human seismograph bitches! I’ve been through enough to know.

I am not sure how I missed this, but since CBS’s Viva Laughlin was cancelled after just two episodes, the Amazing Race 12 will debut on Sunday, 11/4! Fans of the show were not expecting the show to return until early 2008. Damn, it seems like forever since the last race!

Sadly, my jury duty was deferred until 12/17, right in the middle of my vacation. Great!

Yes, lucky number 606 was picked from the hat and I will be going to Jury Duty tomorrow afternoon, and probably will be there for every afternoon for the rest of the week. This sucks hairy sweaty vinegary balls!

Welcome to hell. I am supposed to be in Jury Duty all of this week. This means that every evening I need to check the SFGov Jury Duty website to see if I get selected to go to the courthouse, stand in line, get called, stand in line, go inside the courtroom, stand in line, and if I am really, really unlucky, to get picked to be on a jury. Oh, it’s a *duty* alright. It’s like a perverse reverse lottery in which you are lucky NOT to get chosen. I have a bunch of work to do this week and if I get chosen for anything it’s going to really, really suck. Wish me luck.

Look at This Dog

Apparently, this is NOT a lost dog flyer. Via BoingBoing.

Amazing photos provided by NASA of the SoCal wildfires from space. It’s amazing how far the smoke trails go over the Pacific Ocean. Also, I was surprised to see that the San Bernardino fires are blowing smoke over Long Beach! Crazy. The Associated Press is reporting that in San Diego county alone more than half-million people are migrating elsewhere because of the fires. Not cool. What is cool is the fact that the LA Times is using Google Maps to report status on all of the fires.

CIA Ninja Terrorist
On the CIA website, they have a “Terrorist Buster” logo that is a essentially a cartoon ninja (or is it a Mexican luchador!) waving a machine gun while walking through the international “forbidden” symbol. Yeah, that’ll show those terrorists! I would love to tell you that this is not your tax dollars at work, but this shit is totally real. Still, you gotta admit, ninjas are freakin’ awesome!

They don’t hate us for our freedom, they hate us for our crappy Photoshopping skills. Via BoingBoing.

An employee at Absolutepoker.com was caught cheating. He was using security flaws in the system to see his opponents’ hole cards in high stakes no-limit texas hold’em online games. This allowed him to amass $700,000 in winnings. They are blaming everything on this “rogue” employee, but who knows what was really going on or how many were involved. Surely, if this can happen with Absolute Poker, it can happen at other online poker sites.

I have always questioned the fairness of the online games and now play live games exclusively. I think the temptation to cheat at the online tables is too great for both employees and patrons alike. I mean, what is to stop a team of two or three people at a table of 8-10 players from sharing their hole cards in someone’s living room to improve their game against the rest of the table. This type of teaming happens all of the time, but it’s online poker’s little secret.

The only way to make sure you are not being cheated is to play live games at a reputable casino, period. You can see all of the communication that players are having with each other, all of the cards at the table, the dealer, the chips, everything. It’s the best way to play until human evolution makes telepathy possible and the game of poker obsolete.

There is widespread sexual misconduct by teachers towards their students. Not good. As if the quality of the education isn’t bad enough, today’s students also have to thwart unwanted sexual advances from teachers of both sexes.

Pirates or Rap Videos
Via indexed.

Interesting article about what it means to be middle class in America. It examines why people that make $200,000 a year feel like they are middle class and sometimes even stretched too thin in places like San Francisco. I bet it’s the fact that the median home price is $849,000, and the median homes are located in crappy neighborhoods where bullet proof vests are needed. The minimum price of admission for a home in a nice mid-level neighborhood, not in Pacific Heights or Russian Hill or other high-end neighborhood, is around $1.6 million. That’s why most San Franciscans feel like poor bastards. If you don’t believe, me search the local MLS listings yourself.

I had not heard about this until today. Apparently a couple of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence received communion from the Archbishop of San Francisco and now all hell has broken loose. Conservative catholics in the city are pissed and even Bill O’Reilly is talking smack about San Francisco because of this. It’s gotten to the point that the Archbishop felt that he had to apologize for the incident.

Why apologize!? According to a Jesuit Professor of moral theology at USF that was interviewed for the story, “The general sacramental principle is that you don’t deny the sacrament [of communion] to someone who requests it…the second principle is that you cannot give communion to someone who has been excommunicated.” Screw the conservative Catholics and Bill O’Reilly! The Archbishop should have told everyone to kiss his ass and moved on with his life.

Did anyone else hear about this crazy shit? I think I’m more offended about the apology than anything else. because it proves that the Archbishop is caving to conservative political pressure even though it was in his right to give the sacrament to anyone, including the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

I was out and about earlier today getting coffee and noticed a really large number of people around the convention center. Not like Macworld or Oracle OpenWorld, but a lot of people. Who are they? The American Society of Anesthesiologists. They were all dressed in drab colors and were really boring looking. I am hoping that’s only the day shift, because they definitely did not look like “life of the party” people. But hey, don’t blame them–it’s their job to put you to sleep. Right!? Okay, that’s mean.

If you thought that working on a report for school was bad, you should try and complete a SAS 70 report for a large financial services company as part of your job. It’s much much worse, really! It’s days like this that make me want to lay in bed in a fetal position. Serious beatdown.

MySpace just opened new offices in SoMa to try and attract better engineers. I guess that someone forgot to tell Rupert Murdoch that it’s not 1999 anymore. You are late to the party old man! Many software engineers simply left San Francisco in 2000 and while few have come back, it’s not the same as it was prior to the dot-com bust. Besides, there are much better Web 2.0 companies in San Francisco for software developers to work at than CrapSpace, er, MySpace.

A man was struck and killed on a local freeway this morning, then struck repeatedly by cars who thought that his remains were that of a dead dog. When CHP finally arrived at the scene an hour after the first report, they found a human ear on the floor and closed the freeway. The remains of the man, which were strewn across five lanes and 1,000 feet of highway, were then recovered. Crazy.

San Francisco is mulling a new law that will make it illegal to sit or lie on the sidewalk. Yeah, I was surprised that wasn’t already illegal! This “sit-lie” law would prevent some smelly ass homeless dude from parking himself on a sidewalk all day, as they normally do. At the end of the day it compliments the “shit-piss” enforcement that is currently underway. Homeless advocates are pissed, but fuck ’em! Tell them to come live near 5th and Folsom streets for a couple of days!

Bay Bridge at Dusk

The BlackBerry Pearl 8100’s camera is only 1.3 megapixels, but the picture quality is comparable to digital cameras from about 5 years ago. I would say that the picture quality is as good as my first digital camera, which was a 2 megapixel Canon. The advancements in the minituarization of CMOS sensor technology over the last several years is finally yielding camera phones which contain pretty good fully automatic cameras. I would expect that one day the line between a phone and a camera will be blurred so much that people won’t say, “Oh, I took that with my phone” as they do now. But hey, I took this with my phone. The moblog just got a whole lot better.

San Francisco’s liberal views about the homeless are changing. It’s probably the smell of urine and human feces that has finally made the people that live in SoMa say “enough is enough.” Mayor Newsom’s crackdown on quality-of-life crimes is welcome by many, even the most liberal residents of San Francisco. The bottom line is that people paying way north of $600,000 for housing don’t want to see people taking a piss right outside their buildings, and murdering homeless people is still illegal.

The Blue Angels show on Saturday had perfect weather. It was crystal clear in San Francisco on Saturday afternoon for the show and aquatic park was packed to the gills with people. Mama and I realized that we have never seen the show from that vantage point, we’re usually perched on a hill somewhere. The grandeur of the planes is even more apparent from the flat ground at the wharf. I took some pictures of the planes but without a telephoto lens they are pretty sad. You should check out the Chronicle photos instead. Also, if you missed them, they fly again today at 3:00pm.

I have had a Palm Treo 650 for the last two years and it has served me well. I used it to check work email, keep contacts, check my calendar. Basically, I used it for all of the Outlook functions without having to turn on my computer, which isn’t very practical just to check my availability for an appointment. The Treo was a big clunky device that had poor sound quality, low battery life, and a small screen with a weak backlight. It was so poor as a phone that I still carried a Motorla Razr as my phone.

About three days ago, I upgraded to the BlackBerry Pearl 8100 and the device is nothing short of amazing. It is small sleek, has a great high contrast color screen, good sound quality, amazing battery life, and even great native third-party apps, like a GoogleTalk and Gmail client. Best of all, the built-in camera is 1.3 megapixels and has great image quality. With all of these features built-in I am going to get rid of my Razr and carry just one device from now on.

After two years I saw the Treo as a necessary tool that I simply tolerated. After only a few days with the Pearl I can honestly say that I love it. I understand the strong emotional attachment that a lot of people have for their BlackBerries and understand the term CrackBerry intimately. I can’t put this damn thing down!

Scientists now believe that birds have special molecules in their eyes that allows them to literally see the Earth’s magnetic field within their normal field of vision. This becomes particularly helpful for the birds when migrating long distances. It is likely that the magnetic field looks like dark or light spots or lines within their normal vision.

It seriously must be like herding cats, but patrols in the South of Market (SoMa) district are cracking down this week on homeless who commit quality-of-life crimes, which include littering, camping, trespassing, urinating, defecating, blocking sidewalks or publicly intoxicated–not panhandling. All I have to say is it’s about fucking time! SoMa residents that live near Moscone Center and the Metreon, including us, have been asking for a crackdown for a long time now. Let’s get these mofos off the streets and into shelters and services!

Late night television presenter Eva Nazemson was hosting a game show when she blew chunks on live television and blamed it on painful menstrual cramps. Amazingly, she stayed on the air for about two hours after the incident. That’s some serious work ethic! If this had happened to Regis Philbin, he would have been in an ambulance on the way to the hospital before the chunks had hit the floor. Awesome.

Well, at a very small scale anyway. Scientists have found that when water in two beakers is exposed to a high voltage, a floating water bridge forms between the beakers. The water stream can be as wide as 3mm in diameter and as long as 25mm. It’s interesting that while water is everywhere in nature, some of its unique properties are still a mystery. Via BoingBoing.

In the last couple of days, there have been two separate shootings on the 101 Freeway. The shootings are thought to be not related to each other, but it reminds me of what happened in Southern California in the late 1980s and early 1990s, where freeway shootings were all the rage. Another rash of Southern California freeway shootings occurred in 2005, prompting the New York Times to publish an op-ed piece about the psychology of freeway shootings. That story has the best excerpt that explains how everyone feels about the shootings:

Secretly, everyone wants to believe that the shootings have been motivated by violations, however slight, of automotive honor. That would leave the rest of us on our best behavior, which is pretty much where we already are. What we really fear is that they are genuinely unmotivated. If that is true, then suddenly we all live in a very different neighborhood.

That’s exactly how I feel. I would hate to think that everyone on our freeways has only two emotions: rage and repressed rage. The person that survived the second shooting claimed that he did nothing to provoke being shot. If that is so then we live in a different neighborhood indeed. Let’s hope the shootings stop and this isn’t the start of a new trend in the Bay Area.