Derek's Blog Page

Can a libertarian curmudgeon survive in a post 9/11 America? Is it possible to create the perfect meal on a Baby Q grill? Will Elaine finally succumb to her innermost desires? Check out my novels - which I am excerpting to separate blogs as I write them. Just click on my Profile button to access their links.

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Location: Citrus Heights, California


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Monday, September 25, 2006

NaNoWriMo is FAST approaching! Be ready!

Yep. It's almost that time of year again. We're just a bit more than a month away from the start of the 2006 NaNoWriMo! For those of you who don't know this, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and despite the first word, it's actually open to all writers and writer wannabes who are willing to take a stab at writing a novel - or at least 50,000 words of it - in one month, thirty days. It starts November 1st, but if you plan to participate, you may want to get a few things set up before hand. Not big things, just little ones, like a basic concept, maybe an outline, perhaps a few cases of frozen meals and plenty of your alertness drink of choice.

You may also want to let everyone close to you know that you intend to withdraw from life for thirty days in order to have the best chance of finishing.

And I'd recommend you stop by the website linked to today's post (just click on the above post title) and buy a copy of "No Plot? No Problem" by the founder of NaNo, Chris Baty. And then read it from cover to cover. Follow the advice contained therein. I didn't last year and stalled at just 21,000 words. For the first part, reaching 1,667 words per day was easy, but by the middle of the second week I broke routine and spun out of control.

And don't hesitate to find a writing buddy who'll participate with you. The two of you can encourage each other through the slumps and the writer's block.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

What's this about Xango?


How come Xango managed to create a great anti-oxidant drink that tastes so great? I don't know why, but it's the one such health drink that I can tolerate over a long period of time. (Okay, I admit it. I don't 'tolerate' it; I *enjoy* Xango's taste! There. I've said it.) I think it's all the various berry juices.

If you've been looking for an anti-oxidant health drink that works and also tastes good, look into Xango. You can learn more by clicking on the title of this post.

BTW, I like to add a few ounces of it to my marinades - it's sufficiently different from typical marinade add-ins to give a unique and pleasing taste to any meat.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Spybot: Search and Destroy!


The latest version of Spybot: Search and Destroy just took care of my problem spyware slicker than snot. Check it out by clicking on the title of this post. I've also installed Ewido Anti-spyware, Avast4 Pro, Outpost firewall and Ad-Aware.

And did I mention that I've got Google's Toolbar (I'm running Internet Explorer)? All of these are pretty much must-haves to keep the scum who write viruses, trojans, malware and spyware out of your system. (Yes. Yes. I know that Mac computers don't have the same issues with this stuff, but that's because they're such a danged small part of the market that no one wastes the time to develop a Mac virus. Of course, given that even Apple has seen the light and is using the Intel cpu set, we'll probably see far more virii and malware written to take down Macs. Don't worry Mac owners, this means your computers-of-choice are becoming *more* popular!)

Anyway, if you're like me, you probably want to know more about how to keep your computer safe. I suggest you go to: SpywareInfo Forums and read the 'pinned' posts in the Malware forum that explain what anti-virus software to get and how to use them.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Me Love Virus (Trojan) - Not! Get Hijack This!

What can I say? I'm amazed at the crud that can sneak onto a (relatively) new machine. I bought my Pentium D, HP Pavilion a1560n just over a month ago and I've managed to keep it clean until this Saturday. That's when a copy of a malicious trojan(virus?) snuck in. It's a variant of vundo and it keeps hijacking my browser, every three minutes or so, to such wonderful websites as MySafeTrip, SysProtect, WinAntiVirus and ManiaTV.

Don't, whatever you do, go to these sites. And be careful about what tools you download to fix the infection. Avast4 (Pro) doesn't even recognize I'm infected. Symantec recognizes it but doesn't effectively clean the infection. Hijack This catches some of it - and I recommend HJT, just click on the title to go to their website and download it. I'd recommend Symantec's but you have to pay to get anything real accomplished and I'm afraid that I'll shell out Yet Another Forty Dollars (what Avast4 Pro cost) and continue to get incomplete results. Part of the solution requires the use of Ewido Anti-Spyware to clean up, but after the first thirty days, that one costs $30... However, even with these tools, it's a frustrating process.

Look, I get (I was a programmer.) the thrill of doing something no-one else can do, or maybe even comprehend. However, I wish that these virus and trojan creators would grow up and find a constructive, creative and positive way to experience that high.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Representative John Doolittle

Is Representative John Doolittle corrupt? Or is he just ineffective? The interesting thing is you can cast your vote at Me, I think he's both.

For one thing, he took over $100K from the lobbyist Jack Abrahamov. And then, when it was revealed just how corrupting JA was, how much JA peddled influence, did Doolittle give the money back? No. For another thing, he and his wife skim (using barely legal, yet highly unethical methods) money from donations to his campaign warchest for personal use.

So on that hand, I'd say corrupt.

However, he also has a real problem with targeting his base constituency. He is supposed to represent the needs of an area around Auburn, CA, yet he seems to spend inordinate time helping Native American tribes all over the Midwest. Why?

Thus, a case can be made that he's ineffective.

If you have an opinion, go ahead and vote. Not just at the website listed, but also on election day. Let Representative John Doolittle know that you're fed up with him living up to his last name.