Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Happy New Year

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Happy New Year from ITStudent.org!

Taquamenon Falls Paradise MI

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Not only are the locals friendly (unlike most of the tourists), the scenery is beautiful. I like to think the reason for the river water being brown is that flowing with Coca-Cola. The real reason it’s brown is because it is stained from tree bark and from erosion.

If you get a chance to check it out stay at the lower falls if you want to sight see. Stay at the rivermouth if you’re looking to kayak, canoe, or boat.

Wind power in Iowa

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

In my travels, I was quite interested in these huge windmill farms in the middle of quite a few Iowa fields. We have a few in Michigan heading towards Harbor Beach, but nothing like what I saw in Iowa. They were spread out enough to not interfere with each other, but there were so many that they seemed to go on as far as I could see. It was a pretty incredible sight.

What gets me though is all of the so-called environmentalists who don’t like the windmills claiming it’s going to mess with the climate or some garbage. So yeah, windmills are somehow bad for the environment. And birds. Can’t forget all the birds the windmills kill…like the blades move at supersonic speeds, right? Sorry, I’m not buying it. Anyway, I guess we should just stick with mining the hell out of coal and burning that instead, because that’s the better alternative along with gasoline.

Some people’s children… :-p

Colorado Springs Colorado

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

This is an odd little tourist attraction. It really does look like the rock is balancing on another rock…just don’t look at what’s between the two rocks… 😉

Arizona rocks

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

The picture doesn’t do it justice, but here’s a nice view from Sedona.

Made in China

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

So I was at the Harley store in Chicago and started looking at the tags. Everything was made in China. It’s pretty sad to see “Harley Davidson – An American Tradition” and right below it “Made in China”. However, they’re still charging “Made in America” prices…go figure.

Been a while…more to come :)

Friday, July 10th, 2009

As my time starts to free up (and it has), I’ll be posting more. Thanks for hanging in there!

Holidays – Priorities of American Culture

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

I can look at the screwed-up priorities and materialism of this culture and I can either feel very bad about it because it’s sad or I can joke about it because it’s absurd. Having tried both, I choose the latter.

I don’t just think Christmas or other holidays that supposedly have a religious/spiritual/otherwise immaterial tradition have become over-commercialized. I think we’ve effectively elevated making money, maybe going to school, and getting a job so you can have kids who grow up to make money, maybe go to school, and get a job, ad infinitum, into something like the purpose of existence since most people cannot or will not either find their own reason for being here on Earth or accept that there may not be a purpose at all.

Some people say that you have to decide to prioritize money over family. I don’t believe it’s quite that simple. Most of the time, going against the crowd is just a simple matter of courage, but this is one of the few areas where It’s rather difficult to make other choices when almost no one else does. Let’s assume (to make a point) that the vast majority of people are giving highest priority to work/money. If you don’t, your employer may start to see you as unwilling, lazy, or “not a team player” when you don’t want to work as many hours during the holiday season as the other employees. It’s also hard to enjoy something like quality time with people who do not value it as much as you do and have decided to go make money instead. Any real change to this system would have to be a change to the culture itself; in the meantime, all you can do is lead by example.

Happy Holidays and may you have a Happy New Year.

When I get tired of phone solicitation…this is what happens…

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

I used to get calls all the time from “cardholder services”. From what I gathered, it’s basically a scam where they charge you and then call up your credit card company to ask for a lower rate. Apparently, people who went in for this had their cards billed for thousands. I’ve asked them repeatedly to remove me from their list to no avail. Here’s how I finally got them to stop calling.

First I pressed “1” for a live operator. Now to fuck with them and remain consistent, I made up a cheat sheet in advance. On it I wrote a fake credit card number, an expiration date, a fake “card not present” number, a fake SSN, fake balance, etc. They require you to have at least $3000 in debt and at least $2500 in available credit on at least one card to cover their fees.

One thing they ask for is the customer service number for the card so they can call your bank, which they do while you are on hold. So, I used this page of bank ID numbers when making my fake credit card number, and I also googled my chosen bank’s customer service number (I picked Wachovia). Also I rigged the number to validate by the Luhn algorithm in case their systems check for that. This way we have a very plausible but totally fake credit card number which will hopefully pass any initial consistency checking they may do.

So I put this cheat sheet by the phone and waited for the call. Within a few hours, they called.

I answer their questions. First they ask about my debt. I tell them $9000 across two cards. I mention my “Wachovia Mastercard”. They acknowledge knowingly and ask me to “verify” the card number “starting with the 5” thus suggesting they already know the card number. All Mastercards start with 5. I give them the fake number. They ask me to “verify” the expiration date. I give them the fake date. They ask for the customer service number on the back of the card. I give them Wahovia’s number. They put me on hold for five minutes to call up Wachovia and negotiate me a lower rate.

“Wachovia says it’s an invalid number. Can you re-read your card number?” I re-read the same number. They put me on hold again for several minutes. This repeats again. I reassure them that card is valid, that I just used it an hour or so ago, etc. They try again. They get a supervisor. He tries. It keeps coming back invalid. I waste forty five minutes of at least two people’s time. Finally, as they apologize for not being able to help me, I calmly explain my ruse. What followed was a string of obscenities that even made my dog gag, followed by them abruptly hanging up.

And they haven’t called me since.

Democrat vs. Republican – pick the lesser of two evils?

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

That’s why I prefer the terms statist and non-statist. You either want a big government intervention or you don’t.

Democrats want the government to redistribute the wealth from the rich to the poor.
Republicans want the government to redistribute the wealth from the poor to the rich.
Democrats want the government to censor the politically incorrect.
Republicans want the government to censor anything ‘immoral’ or ‘indecent’.
Democrats want a mommy state.
Republicans want a theocracy.

Take your pick. Or vote in a 3rd party candidate.