Thursday, December 25, 2008

loteria de navidad 2008

Translated in english basically as, "Christmas Lottery 2008", this Spanish annual holiday event originates way back to 1812, where a national lottery game was organized by a branch of the Spanish Public Administration, now called Loterías y Apuestas del Estado. The name Sorteo de Navidad was used for the first time in 1892. As measured by the total prize payout, the Christmas Lottery is considered the biggest lottery worldwide.

Hey! Why can't we U.S. citizens partake in this "Loteria de navidad?" Sure we have our lottery's, but, do we have a El Gordo ("the big one") ?

From the wiki excerpt regarding El Gordo:

"The climax of the drawing is the moment in which the Gordo is drawn (in 2006, 3 million euros for each of the 180 billetes, or €300,000 for each of the 1800 décimos, sold with the winning number). Lottery outlets usually only sell tickets for one or two numbers, so the winners of the largest prizes often live in the same town or area or work for the same company..."

Link to the spanish site-for more details.

I submit...<point's finger into the air>...if we had the El Gordo ticket...i'd be a buying fool. "Honey, how much do we have in savings...? .... ... ... really? ... .. .. is that all? ... .. ok nevermind."

Merry Christmas everyone!

Hope there are new and sweet pc games/movies/music waiting for you under the tree!

Hope you were good boys and girls this, when has that ever mattered anyways? Even bad people get presents every year don't they? Whether, from their also-bad family, or by stealing from us good people...wait, my bank has been doing that all year to me! They arent deserving of presents! Oh wait, Father U.S. Government already gave them their presents....

man i'm in the wrong racket....
Well, Have a good day ppl, stay warm and dry, and enjoy the time of year where we are supposed to forget all the daily grind... drink some Bailey's and Cream Coffee!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa Tracker 2008: Houston, we have Santa...!

Track Santa's Flight path Live! with NORAD and Google!

This is pretty neat, for you little [and big] kids out there!

Google seems to be the official Santa flight-path tracker, using NORAD [North American Aerospace Defense Command] technology. That's high-power support baby.

The tracking begins at 6 a.m. EST on Christmas Eve. Google noted that a Google Map with Santa's current location will appear at this Web address -- -- and will be updated as his journey progresses.

What an amazing world we live in...

HEY, did he just pass my house? What, was i bad or something this year???


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas 2 days away! Snow, still here!

Wish I could get out of my house! Just kidding, but seriously, i haven't had this much snow fall all at once even while i grew up in Minnesota! when you combine a rainy area like portland, to a little bit of cold weather....buckle on your snowshoes..its gonna be a long month!

no kidding, there is like 2 feet of snow on the lawn furniture outside on our deck! this from about 2-4 days, off-and-on snowing. Big fat wet ones, little dry breezy ones, you name it, its all been here this week in the rarest of cold weather here in the Pacific Northwest.

Since i've been lucky enough to have a few days off before i work through the holidays, i have tried to just relax and enjoy the beautiful snow-lined tree's in the backyard. I also have been happy to spend time with the wifey and little one's. they are my pride and joy.

everyone here is anxious to open our presents, we've spent a little [too] much on them this year, so i think everyone is going to be a little spoiled.

here's hoping everything stays closed for a few more days eh!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Time Magazine Person of the Year 2008- you guessed it!

You guessed it, i'm happy to report, that the main man is Mr. President-elect, Barack Obama.

Politics aside, I don't care what side of the partisan fence you are on, you have to admire this guy for at least one reason. I believe there are many reasons. With so much stacked up against him, it is a testament to his character, his virtue, and his integrity, that he could sweep aside most of the pundits, and emerge victorious.

I will not pretend to create a political essay here, i only pay attention to politics when i absolutely feel it is necessary [election season], but i just wanted to say here in my own little corner of the cyberspace world, that i am still proud of him. i am in-turn, proud of our country [those that voted for him] for the uncharacteristically [sometimes] wise decision we made. The future looks bright, and I can't wait to see where we as a country stand in 4 years, and how the worlds negative image of the U.S. hopefully becomes a distant memory.

Here's to a full year of 2009 for Mr. Obama. Good Luck, and Godspeed.

Link to 'TIME's" article on 'Person of the Year'

Monday, December 15, 2008

Portland Winter is here!

Well the storm of the decade is here, in Portland, or so it seems!
last night, it was all I could do to avoid the pinball driving chaos that is portland, Oregon during its first snowfall. There are a few decent drivers out there, but most likely because they are, like me, transplants from other midwest areas.

Growing up in Minnesota, where i learned to drive my first winter in an ol' 79 Cutlass Supreme (affectionately called,'the TANK'), i learned a thing or two about what NOT to do, when the road becomes a white, compacted layer of glaze-like ice. So it is even more comedy for me, to watch the news casters speak of untold doom, when the first 1/2 of slush falls from the sky. Indeed, i can see why they react the way they do, it is not the snow, it is the lack of experience by the drivers in this state, whom are used to either rainy roads, or desert climate only.

It took me two hours to drive from Lake Oswego to my home in Hillsboro,about 30 miles, and without studded tires or chains, it was and adventure. I won't tell you of all the near misses,careening wipe outs, or over-zealous trucks [without sandbags] attempting to demonstrate their over-confidence to the rest of us. I have a Honda Prelude, and though it was a little squirrelly,with a little patience, and a gentle buffeting of the clutch, one is able to not break the traction and get going. It's just those intersections you have to watch out for.

So most business's and schools are closed today, not sure if the shoppers will be enticed to brave the roads to pack into the malls, but its a good day to relax and sip some hot chocolate by the fireplace. I have to work, of course, so that i may keep the power running in this frozen city, so have a nice little nap for me!

Here are some helpful links in the area, to monitor the conditions.

KOIN 6 news
Trip Check (Oregon)
KATU school closure's
KGW news 8 school closure's
Oregon/NW Web Cams

Bailey's Irish Cream recipe ! -enjoy

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bettie Page - 1950s pinup model, dies in LA at 85

Man, this is a sad day. She was, my favorite 50's pinup girl...

very different from the rest, and uncommonly not-blond, as everyone else. She was a interesting woman, with a colorful, and sometimes tragic life. For a taste of it, check out the astonishingly equal beauty of Gretchen Mol's characterisation, in the movie "The Notorious Bettie Page"
A legendary pinup girl whose photographs in the nude,bondage and in naughty-but-nice poses appeared in men's magazines and private stashes across America in the 1950s and set the stage for the sexual revolution of the rebellious '60s, died Thursday in Los Angeles. She was 85.

Read the article here:

here's a little site of photos, in case you have somehow missed this beauty.
and her official site: -if you can get in, you are lucky right now.

* * * * * * * * * *
she is gone, but her images will last forever

GTA 4 -in mayhem we trust.

I LOVED GTA-Vice City. Being a child of the 80's, the tropical Miami-Vice esque city with all those songs from my childhood cranked up while cruising in an old [generic version] of a White Chevy Nova, never got old. The neon lights of the disco, the wispy rain of the occasional florida thunderstorm. For me, its immersiveness that make me love or forget a game.

For me, the cleverest gimmick that the devs dreamt up, is the vehicle's radio stations. Just to be able to drive up to some rich Billy Idol style mission target, side view your machine gun out your window, mow down your objective in a spray of bullets and blow out the tires, causing him to careen into 3-4 other cars and catch them on fire, knocking down light poles with the ensuing explosions, splattering a gaggle of screaming mall shoppers- all while grooving smoothly to White Snakes 'Here I Go Again' is nothing short of sublime.

The bemoaning critics, the electioneering Senators,and susie-Q Christian's view on why i play these games is humorously far off the mark- which testifies to their ignorance of the subject of which they posture:
I, Dear Mr./Mrs. Fear Monger, play these games because they are a escape from our all-too politically correct, overly-polite, Utopian society that we strive to live in. And at the same time, enjoy the re-creation of a very vivid period of time that a great many of us, the X-gen game-players, have lived through. I play to hear that long lost song that i fell asleep to, as a insecure, pimple-faced 14 year old boy. I play to let out a little aggression of daily stress, which is a daily affair in a modern, hectic working U.S. life. I play to appease a creative mind, that has always wondered, "What IS it like to pay for the services of a prostitute, then accidentally run her over with your 79' El Camino, thereby allowing you to relieve her of the cash you just provided her?" What IS it like, to jump off the highest building in the city, and parachute down to infiltrate a mafia king's home? Do a triple-reverse flip with a dirt-bike, fight off a whole platoon of comically robotic Army Guardsmen, with Grenades and rocket launchers, then stealing the smoking remains of their hummer-all to park it in your newly purchased exotic mansion garage!? I think the first time i played this game, i was laughing non-stop for about an hour, it was all just so randomly humorous, in it's over-the-top exaggerations and mayhem.

Back then, the graphics were good, however untextured, but they had their own style. San Andreas, vastly increased the area to play in, with an additional 2 large city's, another awesome mix of early rap and grunge hits, and added a sweet 'heat-shimmer' effect to the hot summertime atmosphere of early-90's L.A..

So, judging by the screenshots, this version IV looks to be a giant leap in the graphics and fidelity of the detailed environment, and i'm sure there will be uncountable missions to perform, hooker's to cuddle, bro's to cohort with, and unlimited enemies to de-pixelize. (hopefully with hilarious and awe-inducing moments of grandeur)

Looks Like Rockstar ushers in another addition to the emerging concept of modern art- the video game.

Here is a link to the site, as well as to the inevitable patches:
And, an interesting philosophical take on the game play virtues from a couple Harvard egg-heads:

check it out!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

my Fallout 3 hands-on first impression

Thank you, Bethesda, for this awesome game...the bar has been raised, for interactive art. sometimes, a game comes along that really amazes me, and this is one.

the intro is so cool, you have to at least play this if you were doubting. It took 2 hours just to get past the entry setup/prologue story, to where I escape the vault, and step out into an incredibly detailed world as the sun is just going down...i went about a 100 yards before I already found someone that apparently needed some help, but didn't talk to him yet, and just looked at everything...the sun and sky,in the distance birds were circling above something they thought was interesting, and they were clear and un-pixelated!- the amazingly detailed burned out skeletons of buildings and rubble, a destroyed and charred children's playground, a strange robot probe that was wandering back and forth, with some weird old 50's propaganda recording coming out of its little speakers... Just seems really unique and well-crafted. they obviously spent a good amount of time on the environment.

I hope the rpg elements are a step above the rest, but it was so late, and i had to finally pry myself away, before i engaged the first real quest. i look forward to my future adventures.

the one thing that crept up in the back of my mind, as i began wandering the desolate rubble, was that i was relating more to this environment, identifying and thinking more in terms of-'what would i really want to do now, where should i go from here', more than say, oblivion or even star wars. As incredible as those worlds are, i feel like it is a fantasy that requires more 'suspending' of reality and disbelief, to fully enjoy the way the creators intended. With Fallout, i can actually feel like i could realistically be in the characters shoes. i can relate to this fictional, yet all-too-possible reality of a nuclear catastrophe within a large, modern, and familiar real-world city.

i know a game is immersive for me, when i find myself taking the time to slow down, smell the roses, open up its treasure boxes, and move about as if i was really there-instead of rushing around, just trying to kill the last guy with a gun, to get to the next level. i have begun losing interest in those 'wash,rinse, repeat' style games on equal timeline with my ever-shrinking chance to actually play games. C'est la vie!

This type of game, i appreciate as art, an escape from reality that places you into a story that [arguably] you wouldn't (hopefully!) be in, and make decisions you would never be required to make in any real-world job. That is the allure and the fun of the RPG, i feel.

The return of the 'PiP-Boy 3000' gadget, a monochromatic, all-in-one arm device that anyone who grew up on 80's personal computers can fondly appreciate, is handy and fun to play around with. The character faces remind me of Half-Life 2, but i agree with the official reviews, people do seem oddly stiff when they walk, engage you, and as they speak, while any other characters in the background become oddly frozen until you are done.

Another minor whine about the characters, they engage each other randomly in conversation, (which is cool) much like Oblivion, but when numerous people are in the room, it can become hard to hear your primary interests words, when 3-4 other conversations are happening, all at the same volume, right next to you. Maybe a patch or plugin will be made to adjust this...

But i am a perfectionist when it comes to games [often dream of designing them], and i know it is impossible to make a perfect product, but it just seems odd that things that people complained about, or were minor issues as far back as morrowind, still inhabit a developers game code.

Ah-well, that's what the modding community is for right? By far, this was a very inspiring 2-hour intro into a world that i am positive i will enjoy for many, many more hours.

... i'm happy to report-the game rocks so far.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

NIN concert Portland, OR 12-7-2008 set list

1. 999,9992. 1,000,0003. Letting You4. Discipline5. March of the Pigs6. Head Down7. The Frail8. The Wretched9. Closer10. Gave Up11. The Warning12. Vessel13. Ghosts 2114. Ghosts 2815. Ghosts 1916. Piggy17. The Greater Good18. Pinion19. Wish20. Survivalism21. The Big Come Down22. Ghosts 3123. Only24. The Hand That Feeds25. Head Like a Hole
26. Echoplex27. The Good Soldier28. God Given29. Hurt30. In This Twilight

what a great show, some old some new, really brought me back to the downward spiral show 13 years ago.... and he played the instrumental from 'fragile'...amazing
he played 'pinion'...then..'wish'.... that was %#&ggin' incredible to watch again.

it seemed to go by so fast, but as you can see from the comprehensive list above, he played a ton of material. my wife was just in awe of how close we got to ol' Trent [20 feet], she still gets star-struck sometimes-;)

The lighting arrangement was interesting, and more elaborate than most shows u will see this year. there was a electronic 'curtain' for lack of a official name, that occasionally would drop in front of the band, that displayed all manner of brain-bending digital art, soothing digital vistas, and pseudo-electronic replicas of Trent's image, pulled live from an on-stage camera. it was quite the tour de force. and i haven't felt such energy in the trench's, since the last Korn concert i went to many years ago. People were actually bouncing and moshing, and pushing each other, in gleeful exuberance. ...just like the old days.

I was just so amazed at how different he looked from 15 years ago, and even 9 years ago, but yet-somehow the same ol' Trent-fruitlessly attempting to purge his demons, which haven't seemed to let up, and still a lost and lonely guy it seems...[and man, did you guys see the guns on him?! -that dude must work out... ]

At least he has found a diversion to channel this turmoil, an artistic ability to vent via electronic man-made devices, into thundering drum patterns and chaotic noise rhythms. There are moments of genius in his craft, and moments of adolescence that seem to increasingly feel out of place, the older he gets. Trent makes me feel like: for all his piss and vinegar, to put an arm around him and tell him, "its gonna be ok, man..."

what an awesome show. hope to catch him again on the next one. And-hopefully by then, he will begin to find his peace. If this were to happen, as long as he doesn't loose his edge, a subtle shift in the music would still be meaningful and trendsetting, and still able to inspire a new generation of troubled souls.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Black Hawk Down -a review 15 years later

just finished reading Mark Bowden's awesome 'Black Hawk Down'. i'm glad i did.

it happened so long ago, but battles such as this have been happening ever since that fateful night of october 3, 1993. It's been 15 years since this battle took place, but there is still a lot the general public doesn't understand and/or realize about what happened back then. There is still a lot we don't realize about what our forces are up to now, scattered out in the far reaches of the world.

it is well-researched and vivid accounts such as this that bring their struggles painfully close. In turn, we may understand a bit more of the politics and policies of our beloved government and our military, the intricate battles we wage, and why.

i can't urge you enough, to read this book- if you have any interest in historical conflicts, a gruesome curiosity of the horrors of battle, or any interest in the real, gritty, and harrowing battle that took place in mogadishu, somalia.

there were certain chapters and moments in the book, that brought to mind the feeling of watching the battle scenes in Saving Private Ryan. an almost claustrophobic, bitter feeling of anger and frustration and sorrow all at once. i actually felt the tenseness of being there, moving down the chaotic alleyways which became a gauntlet of bullets and rockets flying in seemingly every direction. the extreme despair of driving the humvees in an attempt to get to the first crashed MH-60 chopper, then getting wrong directions, turning in circles and against roadblocked dead ends, watching your buddies get picked off one-by-one and suffering a hailstorm of gunfire and RPG fire against the crippled vehicles...then having to back-track and go through it all over again to get back to base-is one of the more maddeningly sad moments of the battle.

There were moments of mindless heroism, close calls, unfortunate casualties, determined improvisation by experienced Delta forces, and moments of extreme shock scattered every few seconds of a very long night. The skill and chivalry of the 'little birds' and and remaining black hawk crews must have been a site to see, as they patrolled, sprayed deadly suppressive fire, and attempted to guide the ground forces in vain from the air for hours and hours on end.

It is truly a tale of heroism. It is also a cautionary tale, of political miss-steps, communication errors, and an observation in tragedy from within the fog of war.

Upon finishing this book, you will be humbled, weary, perhaps bitter and resentful for a multitude of reasons which you would learn here.

But also, you will be thankful for the fact that there were once, and are still, brave young men that sacrifice their very lives for those of others, unappreciated or otherwise.

p.s. i would highly suggest reflecting on the books events with the excellent movie by Ridley Scott. you can't fit the entire book into the movie, but they did a damn good job capturing the feeling of what happened.