Monday, November 17, 2008

Wii this is fun!!

I have never been a "big" gamer, but a few years ago I did buy the Xbox 360. If I have to be honest, there was no deductive reasoning prowess in that decision other than it was the platform that carried Oblivion (sequel to my favorite game ever - Morrowind).

That being said, I've had the Xbox 360 for a few years now and I don't play it that much. I'll get into a game or two and play hard for about a month maybe, but then it gets put down for 6 months. It's been that type of cycle ever since I got it.

I hate the "big" game mentality often times. The games that you have to relearn all the complex controls for all over again if you just put the game down for a week. I started realizing that the games I play most and enjoy most are short attention span, simple type games. The kind of games that are fun to just kill 30 minutes with mind numbing fun. I guess that comes with the territory for us 30 somethings as we aren't "kids" any more. I enjoy the complexity of a "vast" game now and then, but most of the time, I just want to have fun for a few minutes.

So I heard about the Wii Fit this year and it stated perking my interest. I was a little confused about the Wii though because of all the "packages" available. A Wii was $250. A Wii Fit was $90. But a Wii/Wii Fit bundle was about $600. I wasn't sure if all you needed was the console and the Wii Fit or if there was more to it. I thought there might be more to it since the bundle was about $250 more than the pieces needed separately.

Anyway, I found out the bundles were more extra stuff and all I needed was the Wii console and the Fit. I traded in my Xbox 360 and picked it up Thursday. I intended to keep it as a Christmas present and now break it out to show my girlfriend until Christmas. That idea lasted about 24 hours as I mentioned it the next night and we decided to hook it up Saturday morning.

Saturday morning had us setting it up in about 10 minutes and playing in about 12 minutes. OMG did we have fun with it. I LOVE the fact that you can do things "for real"...not just hitting buttons to make them happen. I can hold the Wiimote (just a simple remote control type object) just like a baseball bat and "swing" at the ball as it comes at me on the screen. That, by itself, makes it 10X better than most other video games in my book because it makes you get off your butt to play.

We had at least a few hours of fun playing the Wii Sports pack that came with the console: tennis, baseball, golf, boxing, bowling, etc...

We went out for a bit and came home to hook up the Wii Fit Saturday evening. It was like a whole new order of magnitude in coolness. When you first get on, using the Wii Fit game program that comes with it, the thing will test your standing balance/center of gravity and give you feedback on your posture. The thing could show me how I was putting more weight on the back of my feet and help me work toward better posture. I could TOTALLY see this being used by Physical Therapists to help people with their posture and positions.

Then we started playing with the "games" (fitness programs). There are "balance", "strength" and "cardio" sections to play. We first started with "balance" and did some yoga exercises. It not only demonstrates the stances to you, but uses the balance checking to help show you how to shift and balance better. We did three Yoga exercises and one (one leg balance thing) was particularly difficult.

Then we moved on to cardio games and did "hula hoop", "stepping" and jogging. The hula hoop and stepping ones were quite fun. It uses your balance and weight to determine your movements and when you step on/off. The hula hoop isn't "just" hula hooping, but they throw hoops to try to catch and keep going too. The step game has you going in synchronization with a whole group and tests your accuracy of stepping on and off. It reminds me of that dancing video game I've seen in public a few times.

The jogging was different. You didn't use the Wii Fit board, but just the Wiimote and jogged in place. It used your arm movement to determine your speed. You had other people around you jogging, like it was a park and a person in front of you that you were supposed to follow. It makes everything seem like you are with people which is very motivating.

The Wii Fit has a point system where it gives you points in a "fitness piggy bank" and the more time you spend you can unlock more games that are in there but hidden. Hope (my girlfriend) and I were very impressed with the whole thing. If you can afford it, I think the Wii Fit may be one of the most effective fitness tools ever devised.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congratulations President Obama

I will make this short and sweet. No inaugural addresses required.

This is the first time, and I truly mean FIRST time I've ever felt like I had a clear choice for president of the United States. Every election I've voted in (1988 was my first) has presented me with candidates I truly despise. I've had to, every time, vote for the one that I disliked the least; the one I distrusted the least, etc....

For the first time in my voting history, I had a black and white choice (no pun intended) between the candidates. Now, the candidate that I clearly felt more confident about, Barack Obama has won the election. I'm happy for him and I'm happy for the United States of America.

This is a historic day in the history of the United States. We have leaped racial hurdles for a century or more to get to this point and I'm proud of my country. I'm proud that we can see the man and not the color of his skin. I'm glad to see that a man of color can run for president and not only does he have a shot, but he wins by a significant margin. I'm proud to be a part of this moment that will be remembered in history. Think of the wide eyed children 50 years from now who will look at your and say, "you were there when Barack Obama, the first black president was elected?" and you can answer, "yes, I voted for him".

Congratulations Mr. Obama. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "I have a dream", and on November 4, 2008, you gave him that dream.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The anti-vote system!!

I want to take a moment to put down in to words a new voting system theory I had in the last presidential election (Bush/Kerry 2004). The 2000 election brought about a new word to me - disenfranchise.

A definition that I like is this:
Disenfranchise - "deprive of civil or electoral privileges"

I thought that I felt disenfranchised in the 2004 election. I did not have my voting privileges taken away, but I felt like I was not given choices I believed in. Therefore I had a moment of genius (in my own opinion) and thought of a new voting system I call "The Anti-Vote".

I'll explain by what I see as current problems and the compare as to how the anti-vote system addresses them.

Problems with current system:

We are stuck with a two party system. The Republican and Democrat parties are the only parties with enough money and numbers behind them to have the power and resources to launch a major nationwide campaign.

We realistically have no other choices except the two main front runners - Democrat and Republican. Other people (independent or in other small political parties) who want to run either don't because they have no way of overcoming the strong party candidates. We, the people are given only two choices - two choices often in which we like neither candidate.


The anti-vote. You still would have only one vote, but you can cast a normal (positive) vote OR an anti (negative) vote toward a candidate. If you don't like any candidate, then you can anti vote the candidate you distrust the most.

How does this help?

Now, the major party candidates will have many anti votes cast for them as well. This will bring their vote numbers down significantly. Not only will the United States citizen feel better for having the ability to vote their conscience, but the numbers could come down enough the small independent candidates or candidates from smaller parties actually may have enough votes to be a true contender in the election. If potential candidates with smaller backing have a better chance of winning, then as time goes on, more and more independent/non-Democrat/Republican candidates will run giving us a wider selection pool.

It seems a win/win situation to me. We, the voters have an outlet to vote our conscience and in the long run we will get a larger pool of candidates to choose from. With Republican/Democrat candidates not being "a given", they will have to work harder to gain our trust and possibly provide better candidates in the future.

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Trip finally over and Hope is here!!

A quick "highlights only" version of my road trip across the country.

The plan

Fly out 2:30p, arrive 12:30a, sleep, get up early am and leave.

Quickly stop by to see my new niece and then be on road by 10am or so.

Then drive back to Seattle with only standard bathroom/food/sleep breaks.

Her two cats came with us. They would be kenneled all day in car and kept in bathroom in hotel each night.

Arrive Monday early afternoon, take Tuesday off as rest day, go back to work refreshed enough to function on Wednesday.

The reality

Flight out of Seattle delayed due to smoke on plane. Ended up sitting in Seattle airport for 12 hours before going which also delayed the stat of our drive. Instead of jetting by to see my new niece around 8am and being on road by 10am or so - I didn't get to airport until almost 12p. Went straight from airport to see niece and did not get on road for drive until 4pm or so.


Drive out of FL was very slow because we were going through very heavy rain courtesy of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Fay. Only made it about 60-70 miles in to Georgia 1st day. I started trip DEAD with NO ENERGY thanks to Air Tran's fun experience from hell.

Drive was slower going than when I did it alone last year, mostly because Hope's car does not have cruise control and struggles in the mountains.

On third night she let one of her cats out because she couldn't bear hearing her cry a bit in bathroom. It turned out not to be a big deal, Maggie (the cat) enjoyed exploring the room and did not fight in the morning to go back in to kennel. The other cat, Miles, was so freaked out he barely ate or drank the entire trip and even when locked in bathroom would hide in the back of the kennel.

That third night we stopped at a beautiful place (Canistota, South Dakota). It was a tiny little town with a great friendly "small town" feel and atmosphere. We almost turned around as it was further off the expressway than we thought and were afraid we may end up side tracking or getting lost, but it was fine. It was this beautiful old hotel built in like 1929 or so and still had the original working Otis elevator. It was only about $45 for the deluxe room which had a huge bathroom and even a recliner in the room. The lady that ran the desk was dressed like a Quaker but was real nice. In the morning we ate at the small restaurant in the hotel and they asked "are you the strangers that stayed on the 2nd floor last night?". about a small town.

Stopped and side tracked to Mt. Rushmore as it was only about 25 miles off expressway. No big problem travel-wise, I did the same thing when I did this trip myself last year. We also stopped for lunch and did a little shopping in Wall which is kind of an old town that tried to keep it looking like it was 100 years ago or so.

Last night was in Missoula, Montana. Hope (my g/f) thought the skiddish cat, Miles, was too afraid to run, so left the bathroom door open while doing food/water dishes. Miles darted out of bathroom and ended up being a free cat that night in room too. He was a bit difficult to catch in morning and Hope got some nice cat claw shaped memories on her arms and stomach because of it.

All was fine until Idaho (last state before home). It was raining and some older guy was passing me on the left (I was going slow due to rain on roads). He wasn't speeding, but was going the full speed limit (75 mph) on the wet, curvy, mountain-sloped road. He hydroplaned and lost control, spun around once or twice and ended up in ditch between eastbound and westbound lanes. I stopped to help. He was OK and car looked like it was probably OK too except for a flat tire. I left as help was coming.

Finally rolled into the driveway around 4:00pm on 6th day. Thankfully, the house/dog sitter was great and took good care of the dogs (Ammo & Solomon) while I was gone. The boys and the house were fine.

Hope and I chilled with pizza and TV for a few hours and I hit the sack about 8:30 or 9:00pm.

So much for the day of rest. I didn't want to take another day off, so I came in to work today. I won't be getting much done though - too tired.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I am a monkey's uncle!!!!!!!!!

I just got the text from Matt, my brother.

"Ur Niece is here! Holly Sue"

Yeah!!!! I'm an uncle!!! I knew she was coming today (scheduled c-section), but got busy and forgot about it (which is probably I wasn't "waiting and anticipating" all day).

For those that don't know, our mom died in '04 and her name was "Sue". The "Sue" in "Holly Sue" was named after my mom.

I can't wait to see Holly Sue. I'm flying down tomorrow and should get a short time to see her before driving back toward WA with Hope. :)

Here comes Uncle Chris, Holly Sue. :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

My old ball park is going to Little League World Series!

So there I am Saturday morning with breakfast in hand and thinking, I'll watch a little TV while I'm eating breakfast. So I flip through the channels and see that Little League baseball is playing on ESPN2. It was a regional championship game.

Now, back up and let me state that the Little League baseball games of the Little League World Series is probably the ONLY sports event I typically watch - ever! So I tuned in and watched the game.

Note: LLWS is not one game or series of two teams like in Major League baseball. It's the final round of championship games of the US and International teams. 16 teams, 8 US teams, 8 International Teams.
LLWS Team Breakdown

I noticed the Northwest regional championship game was that evening, so I decided to tune in to watch that. As I was watching they showed a list of teams that already made it into the Little League World Series. I noticed that Tampa, FL (where I moved here from last year) was in the list. What do ya know? My old home town has a team going to Williamsport, I thought.

Now remember, I was also tuning in to watch the Northwest regional game. It turns out that a Washington team that was pretty local won the NW regional game and their trip to Willaimsport as well.

So, I was in a dilemma. Do I root for Tampa, FL or Mill Creek, WA?

Just for grins, I decided to look on Little League's website ( Little League Home ) and see if I could see what part of Tampa the team was from. I stumbled across this page:
CPLL going to LLWS


Not only was a team from Tampa going, but it is a team from *MY* old baseball park. Citrus Park Little League is the park that *I* played at for all my youth. I played there for about 7 years. OMG! That's so cool.

Well, no question on who I'm rooting for now. MY park is in it!


Well, the story could end there and still be cool, but it turns out there is even more. I look up Citrus Park Little League's website ( CPLL ) to see if there is any info about it. Nothing, really. So I email the website info email link and friendly suggest maybe they could add a little guest book page or some venue to allow people to wish the team well and give motivation.

I get a response from the website admin guy who sends me a blog link ( CPLL Blog ) and tells me that not only did CPLL send a team to the Little League World Series, but the Big League Softball World Series also has a team coming from CPLL. They have TWO teams going to their respective world series'.

This is the coolest thing since sliced bread!!!!

I don't know what to say, other than CPLL Little League baseball and Big League softball teams - YOU HAVE A FAN IN SEATTLE!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hope's "stuff" has arrived...

No turning back now. *wink*

The movers came yesterday with Hope's furniture and boxes. I'm glad that it turned out to be less than I feared. The movers were a couple of guys from Hungary, who were really cool. It took about 2 hours to unload the furniture and boxes into the house and garage.

It was funny, I spent weeks getting the garage all cleared out to make sure there was enough room and in the end, it all fit up in one corner of the garage. About half of what I was thinking would be there.

Her big blue chair, though, is now a HUGE addition to the living room. The LR is now difficult to navigate coming in the entryway because of the tight fit. OK, its not thaaaat bad, but it definitely is a bit more crammed than it needs to be.

At least that's one stress that's now behind us. All that's left to arrive now is her and the cats. I'll be flying down to drive back up with them in about 3 weeks. :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Identity Theft Security Risk - From Employer

So I get an email today from our IT department at work. In a nutshell it says that there was a virus a few weeks ago and they believe my work computer may have been breached. The virus was such that I may have had my passwords stolen.

They warn me that I should change my password for all my online accounts, as well as all my work accounts. They did give me a gift-certificate code to a credit monitoring service for 1 year of credit monitoring.

I know it wasn't "their" fault, and they are doing good to rectify the problem, but it sure is a chore to implement what is needed and stressful to boot.

What a hassle. :(

Monday, July 14, 2008

Another work-filled weekend....

Getting ready for Hope's move up here next month, so I spent a good part of the weekend getting the garage fully cleaned out so that there is room to put the things that won't fit in the house. Cleaning out the garage was LOTS of fun, I can tell you.

I'm anxious to hear how my friend Jason did on the STP over the weekend. He was going to attempt the STP in one day (200 miles on a bike!!).

Go Jason!!

Oh well, it's Monday morning (oh joy)....back to the grind stone.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Driving across the country....again!

Well, it's almost time for the girlfriend to finally get up here with me. It's been a tough year (just over a year actually) without her, but we'll finally be together again when she moves here.

The trick? She's finally decided, like I did when I moved here, that driving is the best all around method for the pets. Like me she doesn't trust the airlines and other weird problems are more likely to occur. So the solution....a 5 day trek from Florida to Washington. The same drive that I made with my dogs in May of 2007.

However, it will be easier, as this time it will be 2 people sharing the drive. I'm flying back to FL, getting in a 12:30am and we'll literally be on the road the next morning. It was a bit rough, but my memory of the drive is more fun than rough, so we'll make a good time of it. The cats will be more difficult, I think, than the dogs were, but we'll manage.

I'm sure another little stop at Mt. Rushmore on the way is in order. I didn't get to stay long or see much because I had the dogs with me. I think the cats are easier to leave in the car a little longer, so we can walk in the park a little bit.

It should be a fun drive.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Back on the commute...just in time for summer

Well, I haven't been riding the bike much this year. I'm not 100% sure why it has just not been fun, but it hasn't and I've probably only ridden about 5-10 times this year up until a few weeks ago.

If you recall from previous (some of my early blog) posts, I switched the bike to a Brooks B-17. I finally decided that the Brooks just wasn't working for me. I talked my friend Jason, whom I'd given my old saddle for a saddleless bike he had into trading me my old saddle back for the Brooks (I think he got the better end of that deal *wink*).

Well, from the moment I put my old saddle back on, the bike suddenly felt much more comfortable to ride again. I'm still having a little ass hatcheting, but I think that may just be reacquiring my saddle sores again (aka hardening up my ass).

My guess is that the Brooks B-17 was too wide. My old saddle is quite a bit narrower. Even though my ass is fat, apparently my ass bones aren't as wide apart as one might guess. Maybe if I want to do Brooks again, I'll have to consider the B-17N or some other narrower saddle.

At least I'm back to riding the work commute again with about 10 rides in the last few weeks or so. :)

So summer is here, and KT is "back in the saddle again"!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Fx3 Update

So I started fiddling with Fx3 today to see if it was some weird installation issue that caused the forward/backward arrows to not show up.

I installed it again, over top of itself. No changes.
I uninstalled/reinstalled. No changes.

Finally, I right clicked on the toolbar and selected customize. There were forward/back button to add. I dragged it up in there and all was good to go.

Why the hell was it not there by default is what I want to know thought!

Friday, June 27, 2008


So I join the craze to download Firefox 3 on "download day" to help set the record. I finally get around to installing it today (here at work). I figure its mature enough they have kinks worked out, so I don't bother being safe and saving my cookies/bookmarks.

I finish installing over top of my old Firefox 2 and open the bad boy up to see if the forum I was just on loads any faster. Wait? Where's my bookmarks? Where's my folders? They are GONE.

I scour my desktop where I recall saving bookmarks recently - nothing. I also remember doing some major purging recently on the desktop. I do manage to find a copy of exported bookmarks from only a few weeks ago, so its pretty recent. Lucky *I* was able to fix it.

Then I got back to that forum to check it out and I'm not logged in automatically. guessed it. It apparently deleted the cookies too. Now I'll have to relogin to every site that requires a password (which will likely mean hitting a lot of "forgot password" buttons).

Geesh this sucks, I think!

But wait - there's more. I go to a page, then want to go back to the previous page. Wait...where's the back button? I know this isn't planned and normal for Fx3, but I have no forward or backward buttons. WTF? Why would those not be there? This is ridiculous.

Firefox....mature - yeeeeah, right!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Computer Geeking Out....

OK, my computer geek gene hasn't been as active as it should have been the last year or two. It finally kicked in again.

My laptop died back in April and I had to get a new one. I was planning to get one with XP instead of Vista because of all the bad things I've heard, but some of my online computer geek friends convinced me to give it a try.

I got the new laptop with Vista. I used it for about a month and it annoyed me more and more every day. The whole security thing is ridiculous. I turned some off that I could find, but it still kept asking me permission when trying to do normal things. It was frustrating that I could go into my "My Documents" from the start menu, but if I tried to navigate to it from the file explorer, it would tel me I didn't have permission to be in that folder. WTF??? I'm the damned administrator of this machine, what do you mean I don't have permission to this folder?

Between those issues and the blue screen crashes I kept getting (at least a few a week) from simple tasks (like twice while copying files from external USB hard drive), I decided to reinstall XP from my old disc.

Things got took me a while to figure out initially, but it wouldn't read the hard drive on startup with the Windows disc. I found out that it was because the disc was a SATA disc and wasn't being recognized. I had to turn on IDE emulation in the BIOS for Windows to even see the hard drive.

Then I installed XP and pretty much nothing worked. Nearly all hardware was not detected. I realized quickly that I needed drivers, but I didn't have a working nic to get the drivers. I had to make a few runs to work and use my work computer to download various drivers until I got the computer (and nic) working.

After that, I was feeling quite fed up with Microsoft and Windows. It inspired my interest in Linux once again.

Let me give you my Linux history.

~1993 or 1994 =>
I bought a book at Barnes & Nobles about Linux with an installation CD in it. It was one of the early Linux version/distributions. I don't even remember which one.

I was planning to install it as a dual boot back then, but some BIG BOLD text in the book warned me of possible dire consequences if I had a "Diamond" video card.

Well this was a new computer which I got the most kick ass "Diamond" (who was "the" name back then) video card available. It was like $400 for that video card alone.

Suffice it to say, it scared me from installing it.

~2006 =>
Installed Ubuntu on a 2nd computer I got dirt cheap but had no "real" use for. I didn't have network cable plugged in when I installed and it didn't therefore install/configure network. The network wasn't working and I wasn't in the mood to try to figure it out.

I ended up selling the computer in 2007 because I was moving across country and didn't feel like lugging it with me.

Now =>
About a month ago, I downloaded and installed the latest version of Ubuntu Linux (8.04), making sure to have everything plugged in and turned on when I did so it would detect/install/configure them.

It was a good experience. Everything was working flawlessly after the boot and the dual boot was configured perfectly from GRUB (the boot manager).

I bought and read "Ubuntu Linux Bible" to help me get started. I don't recommend the book as it was not well written IMO. The book spent entire chapters on applications that were obvious how to use (like Firefox, Nautalis file explorer), and would brush over complex topics in a few paragraphs. was enough to muddle through to get the important concepts down and give me a good foundation.

I've been enjoying toying with the OS and learning how it works. I've found that MS Windows knowledge doesn't necessarily carry over. However, I did use Unix and Solaris back in college, so I was completely clueless on it to start with.

Now I'm going through a book I got from the library called "Linux Desktop Hacks". This is a great book. Lots of nice little tips and tricks. Many of them use bash scripts, so its been helping me to learn some bash scripting as well. :)

At this point in time, I'm finding that I can do pretty much everything in Linux (without paying one penny) that I could do in Windows (with much purchased software). I may even dump Windows altogether at some point. We'll see.

Killing the Lazy Blues....

OK....I really (I mean REALLY) need to stop being so lazy and post here more.

Been busy lately with a number of things. Girlfriend and family were down last month for a week. That was nice. It was nice to show my brother and grandmother why I like it out here in Seattle area so much. They were both impressed with the scenery I think.

The girlfriend is finally able to start preparing to move out here. She's fixing up the house to rent out right now, and plans to be out here around end of August of beginning of September.

I can't wait for her to be here. It will be nice to have her in the house again. I know my boys (the greyhounds) will love it too. :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Why "KingTermite"?

This is a question I get quite often. Why in the world do you call yourself "KingTermite"? What does it mean? Was it random? Is there any meaning behind it?

The answer is yes there was thought and meaning behind the name. It was certainly not random by any stretch. It's a bit of a long story of how the name started and evolved, but bear with me and I'll try to make it as short as I can.

The story, according to my family, was that I chewed the stuffing out of my grandmother's rocking chair cushion one day when I was about 2 years old. She immediately gave me the nickname "Termite".

The nickname stuck and most of my family called me "Termite" growing up. I liked the was fun and original. All my cousins had goofy nicknames, but I was the only that "earned" his nickname and I was proud of that fact.

Fast forward now to college. It was about 1995 and I was creating my first web page for a project for a club I was getting in to. The web was very new then and there did not seem to be much originality in the few web pages that did exist. I wanted my web page to be a bit different....original.

I have always enjoyed fantasy literature, so I decided to sort of make it castle themed. My plan was to have each page on the website be sort of a room in the castle. The website needed some sort of "name"...and I was struggling with that. I finally decided to call it Castle Termite since I enjoyed my nickname.

Not too long after that, I was trying to register for Yahoo. I was annoyed, you didn't used to have to register, but it seemed that lately every website was forcing you to register to do anything. Whenever I registered on any website, I tried to use "Termite" as my user name and usually had no trouble. Now, though, on a much bigger website, like Yahoo, I found that "Termite" was a taken user name. I was not happy. Who in the world would be "Termite" other than me?

Anyway, I had to come up with a more unique name it seemed. I also decided that day that I needed something VERY unique so that I could always assure it was available, I didn't like the idea of just attaching some number to the end like Termite0785697 like many other people seemed to do.

I sat and gave it long thought as it seemed this might be "my name" online for a long time to come. I started thinking about my website at school, "Castle Termite" and realized that if I was the creator of Castle Termite, I must be its king. Thus King Termite was born in cyberspace that day. I only dropped the space between the words to make sure it would work on all systems.

That was about 13 years ago. I have been using the name for that long now.