H.D. Thoreau
The fruits eaten temperately need not make us ashamed of our appetites, nor interrupt the worthiest pursuits. But put an extra condiment into your dish, and it will poison you.

Recent Media
Catcher In the Rye
J.D. Salinger
Jupiter's Travels
Ted Simon
Lolita
Nabokov
Papillon
Henri Charrierre


Get Firefox

Creative Commons License

July 2012
April 2012
July 2011
October 2010
October 2010
May 2010
September 2009
April 2009
December 2007
May 2007
January 2007
January 2007
January 2007
January 2007
January 2007
January 2007
December 2006
December 2006
December 2006
December 2006
December 2006
December 2006
December 2006
December 2006
December 2006
December 2006
December 2006
December 2006
December 2006
December 2006
December 2006
December 2006
December 2006
December 2006
December 2006
December 2006
December 2006
October 2006
March 2006
Will Keckley / William Keckley
Keckley . Org
login | register |


08.07.12

Pack it up, pack it in.

Zappos just "collected" $12.94 in taxes from me for a pair of new biking shoes. I didn't catch it, i click too fast. I personally liked the old way, where we were responsible for sending in our own taxes for online purchases.

Then i went to get some pedals from Amazon.com and sure enough, the tax man was there waiting too. These shenanigans started in July, and concludes a deal where Amazon doesn't have to pay back taxes, but will start collecting from now on, oh and we get a distribution facility in Texas. I of course filed all my taxes from online purchases in accordance with our tax laws, but i ended up buying the pedals on ebay. :P

At least we are not california crooked, when it comes to amazon.

:P

@ 02:23:01

02.04.12

Aiiiiie


Amber tried to kill me.
@ 17:41:11

28.07.11

Phillip K. Dick, et al.

"Several years ago, when I was ill, Heinlein offered his help, anything he could do, and we had never met; he would phone me to cheer me up and see how I was doing. He wanted to buy me an electric typewriter, God bless him—one of the few true gentlemen in this world. I don't agree with any ideas he puts forth in his writing, but that is neither here nor there. One time when I owed the IRS a lot of money and couldn't raise it, Heinlein loaned the money to me. I think a great deal of him and his wife; I dedicated a book to them in appreciation. Robert Heinlein is a fine-looking man, very impressive and very military in stance; you can tell he has a military background, even to the haircut. He knows I'm a flipped-out freak and still he helped me and my wife when we were in trouble. That is the best in humanity, there; that is who and what I love."
@ 18:47:35

23.10.10

a fool and his money

TF2

Ok so maybe today isn't all about vainglorious posting about how neato cool/old i am. It is actually about how for over a decade i have enjoyed the Team Fortress franchise. The primary reason i enjoy the game is the price point. For close to a decade TF was free, it was a free addon to a game i already owned. Then when they "sold out" in '99 they started working on a free addon to the new Half-life engine. I bought quake, sorta. I bought half-life soley so i could play the new tf. Five years later there was no new TF, they did however apologize by remaking TF Classic available for free, and that took away a bit of the sting. TF classic was a remake of TF1 on the Half-Life engine, and while it didn't capture the essence it was a passable experience. Passable enough i am sure it only managed to steal a hundred hours of my life. Today it seems silly to talk about that pale mockery of greatness, because TF2 has been out for three years. In those three years i have spent more than 260 hours basking in its splendor. Why am i talking about hours? I judge quality and enjoyment based on the time i am entertained versus the amount of money spent.

A younger me, received TF1 and TFC for free, and had hundreds, if not thousands of gaming hours with those games, all for free.
I bought tf2 for 20 bucks or a comparable pittance, and have had a blast playing the game for countless (ok so i really do count, 260+) hours.

Today that all changed. Today i figured, i am a working man and don't have the time to spend playing these games, lets go ahead and buy some toys from the new in game store. Easy enough, i bought the Poly count pack. It was nearly fifty bucks. Off i went to play with my new toys, i love the new tank buster, make the soldier so much more survivable. Glory.

Soon enough i was awarded a new in game item, a mystery box. All i had to do was go buy a key from the ingame store. using real money, just like before. The process was simple, i had just done it, so i did it again!

I paid a real $2.50 for a virtual key, that opened a virtual chest.

With that purchase i had now spent more on TF2 virtual goods than on all the previous incarnations of TF, ever.

My smile per dollar ratio is plummeting fast.
I feel dirty.


@ 13:45:36

Primeval Warrior 9/18/2007 19:07

tf2
Team Fortress is a splendorous game, i have been playing it since the first quakeworld edition back in 96.
I basically made this post to say that. That is all!
@ 13:09:55

25.05.10

A day in the life

Today was a day. Just your ordinary. In an effort to take a snap shot of my life i present the first post of 2010.

I dragged some lumber around home depot, then to a truck, then stored said lumber. It makes me wonder why everything cant be ordered on the internet yet.

I produced "art files" for some promotional note pads. I call them art files, since that what the printer calls a .png. .art files are too AOL.

Reviewed some call notes, to get a pulse on the street of the sales team. We have lots of competition out there theses days. Set up a date for a ride along tomorrow.

Ordered some contacts, i had been using 1800contacts, but i was through with self loathing, i mean they use a phone number as a website address, how barbaric.
I used some other generic vendor who happens to accept Google checkout.

Reviewed collections status on a few accounts.

Had lunch with Adam at Yia Yia Mary's, we talked about work stuff, performance reviews etcetera.

Went over to the mechanics to get my climbing harness i had left behind earlier. Climbing yesterday in Ben's old shoes was great, but the exposed toe was a no no. Tonight will be much better.

Drove out the Houston plant, installed a new monitor went over some TeleTrac procedures. Did a quick site inspection.
MSHAMSHA, mine safety and health administration was out at Eaglelake. The inspector came up with a guard or two that needed fixing but over all ok. They guys out there have done a great job with the recent changes. They bragged a little bit that the hoppers were all full.

The insurance lady called to let us know one of CDL holders could not be insured, since he had gone the wrong way on a one way street. Sad times. He was a good driver, but we must follow the golden rule. Protect the company protect, our pocket books, and protect a hundred jobs. We cant take any risks on safety.
Waiting on sample particle size distribution results to send to a client in Tennessee.

I am looking for a new piece of land to house me, and more importantly my toys, i want less sqft for me but more garage space. And it must be in a HOA free area, since i myself am blight.
The thought of living in a church seems fun.

Anyhow back to work, the end of the month is coming up.




@ 15:03:07

21.09.09

earthquakes and rattlesnakes.

Dale
Nine times out of ten, an argument ends with each of the contestants more firmly convinced than ever that he is absolutely right. You can't win an argument. You can't because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it.

Why? Well, suppose you triumph over the other man and shoot his argument full of holes and prove that he is non compos mentis. Then what? You will feel fine. But what about him? You have made him feel inferior. You have hurt his pride. He will resent your triumph.

A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

Mr. O'Haire became one of the star salesmen for the White Motor Company in New York. How did he do it? Here is his story in his own words:

"If I walk into a buyer's office now and he says: 'What? A White truck?
They're no good! I wouldn't take one if you gave it to me. I'm going to buy the Whose-It truck,' I say, 'The Whose-It is a good truck. If you buy the Whose-It, you'll never make a mistake. The Whose-Its are made by a fine company and sold by good people. He is speechless then. There is no room for an argument. If he says the Whose-It is best and I say sure it is, he has to stop. He can't keep on all afternoon saying, 'It's the best' when I'm agreeing with him. We then get off the subject of Whose-It and I begin to talk about the good points of the White truck.

There was a time when a remark like his first one would have made me see scarlet and red and orange. I would start arguing against the Whose-It; and the more I argued against it, the more my prospect argued in favor of it; and the more he argued, the more he sold himself on my competitor's product."


Buddha said: "Hatred is never ended by hatred but by love," a misunderstanding is never ended by an argument but by tact, diplomacy, conciliation and a sympathetic desire to see the other person's viewpoint
@ 01:47:22

27.04.09

Windward

challenge Seiren

9 hours en route.
13.96 mph was our average speed.
A sustained SE wind of 15-20 mph.
First half our average was 15.169 mph
Second half it dropped to 12.61 mph

Google maps for some reason it will only display 2 miles at a time. just click next a lot, its easier than pedaling.
If you have google earth installed you can just load the attached kmz file and see it in its entirity, google you need to fix this.


Click for wall of text.
@ 20:37:55

30.12.07

Rockwall

There is now a rockwall on the side of my house. Go check it out.


Update 6/19/08: Insurance carrier dropped me. Please don't set my house alight.
@ 15:56:32

26.05.07

Death in the family


I picked the spot on the map due to the curvaceous nature of the roads, and the abundance of water and trees in the area, on Google maps. I picked the restaurant by entering "breakfast" and "San Augustine" into Google local. But when i showed up at the intersection called San Augustine it was more magical than any product of Google could ever be, with the possible exception of Google spreadsheets.

I was met by a man John Doe, no really, that was his name. He saw my bike and took it upon himself to show me all the best trails to get it dirty on. what a magical town, you show up and they provide the fun. I went across the street to the "breakfast" spot in San Augustine, Happy Donuts, and ordered a croissant a Blueberry Donut, Bear Claw and a Gatorade. I was amazed when the lady told me i owed her $3.50, since thats practically what a single Gatorade would cost in Houston.

Ben showed up three decades later, and was struck by the same phenomenon. However more welcome than the low prices was John Does return, this time he got a Blueberry donut (good taste!) and wanted to offer us a place to stay. However all he had to offer was a lake front paradise complete with hand made dock. Only catch was we had to go NOW. Donuts digesting, we hit the road. John made his 3/4 ton pickup scream down the road giving us plenty of room to wind out the twisties. We lost sight of him when we started into the forest, but he would always appear on the other side of a corner for just long enough to make sure we were still in tow. He stopped the truck and grabbed a Motorcycle out of a shed on the road, and the chase continued.

After showing us to his little slice of heaven tucked away in the heart of the national forest, John decided a little Dirt was in order. So we cruised the "infamous" 9-mile road through the Mud and trees. the mud puddles required certain tiptoeing to insure you stayed clean, but after awhile i had had enough of that and flew headlong into them. It was going alright, dirty, but alright. We didn't stop rolling till dusk when we set up camp on the shores of the lake/river/Resevoir/creek whatever they want to call it, i'll call it fun.

The next day we set our own pace and had a blast, did some real fun paved rollers. we spent the day exploring the area and found some great gems, we woke at 8am and didnt get out of the saddle till that night. Biiig day. If you want to see what ground we covered i created a little Google Homage to our trip there.

As i was riding home i thought to myself what a wonderful trip, it had its scary moments but all in all we came out bruised and battered, but with a feeling of real accomplishment. For all the bent brake levers and bruises the bikes held up magnificen...t...Oh crap. My bike started chugging down as i crossed into he city of Houston's Limits. Flogging the go-juice i attempted to breathe life into my failing stallion. But despite my best efforts it died, at 60 mph on US 59. Hoping for the best i instinctilvy hit the starter switch, and was greeting with the purr of the engine, that quickly turned into a chortle as it struggled, coughing and sputtering to get me off the Freeway. Ont he feeder road, i was thinking, i am close enough, i can ride this beast through town flogging it and sputtering all the way home. The bike disagreed as it sputtered one last time dying here
. Long after dismantling my bike and trying to figure out the mysteries of its illness I made my one phone call, the call i had been saving since my phone threatened to shut off a day ago. Dad Help! Within a few hours i was back at home sobbing, i had a fallen soldier in the back of the pickup truck, so undignified.

On a side note, while iw as waiting by the side of the road for those few hours, not a single sole stopped out of the thousands that passed by in cars or even bikes, but a lone bicycler peddled up and let me make a follow up call on his phone. When we were by the roadside in the Piney Woods, the first car that passed us would stop, so would the second and third. It truly is a different world out there.
@ 15:38:25

21.01.07

Moosex26

There are 26 separate items of moose in this condo. From a set of coasters, (one moose count for the set) to light fixtures, on to curtains and pictures. There is a lot of moose up in here. We didnt even notice it ourselves, Jesse's girl pointed out( and counted) the sheer abundance of moose in here.

Itemized Update:
Moose Curtains
Moose Coasters x2(two sets)
Moose Pictures x6
Moose Signs x4
Moose Light fixtures x 4 (1 lamp, 3 wrought iron fixtures)
Moose 2 foot tall Dolls x2
Moose Curtain Rod
Moose Bed Spread x 2
Moose Coat Rack
Moose Throw Rug
Moose Soap Dish

@ 22:20:08

16.01.07

Eco Terrorism

Eco TerrorOur mission to exchange the projector went alright. They accepted it, but they didn't have any good projectors so we were stuck with the biggest crappiest most expensive piece of junk, the Epson Movie Mate. In town we also picked up a Speakman Anystream Showerhead. When we walked into the best buy Tyler asked for it by name and model number. Can you imagine a shower head so impressive you knew its name and model number? With the product in hand tyler explains its greatest feature, its hackable. You can hack the shower head by removing its water restrictor and getting the full force out of your shower turned Niagra Falls. Fabulous.
@ 10:37:46

15.01.07

Alphabet Encounters

We drove off into the recent cold front at 11pm Houston time. It took us some time to get though the tough weather, the whole trip lasted about 20 hours. But we stayed safe, crawling through snow storms and ice fields. In fact one car flashed us, and we immediately looked for a cop and we spotted a couple of cars upside down on the side of the road, as i reached for my camera our own car started drifting towards the turtle-like display. Then violently snapped back the other way as Adam fought to keep us from plowing into them, we then sailed off the other side before the snow slowed us down and we got back on path, disaster averted. I had my own close call, i missed our turn and went into a snow bank, knocking out a newspaper machine, some people standing around cheered us on, declaring they didn't like that paper anyway.

We burnt out the projector last night, should have brought that spare. Going to exchange it in Denver in 15min as soon as Adam gets out of his 3rd shower of the day.
@ 16:21:32

10.01.07

My Gut Reaction.

In my mind Kenya is a land divided by two sentiments. Two forces that I cannot seem to separate. On one side there are endless smiles that are broken only for laughter. Arrayed against this noble force is an entitlement to something for nothing, a desire to profit for no labor. Perhaps some form of ultra-capitalism. In this impoverished country is your next meal is more important than good will?
Focusing first on the good positive. In Kenya the children wave and run up to you, to shake your hand and feel your pale white flesh, rub your hair, and incessantly chant "howareyou, howareyou?". Occasionally they may stare at you from a distance with uncertainty and a little fear, but after the first reassuring smile or proffering of your hand melts their cool visage into a radiant smile. Even on a rainy day this jubilance of Kenya comes through, brilliantly. We were standing out in the rain getting drenched when a man came out of and invited us into his home. How many of us invite strangers into our home simply because its raining? Too few. May Douglas' home be filled with such compassion and happiness for all time. Beyond that the welcoming nature of Kenyans is afforded another great aspect. People randomly welcomed me to Kenya. Welcoming aside one they regularly went on to inquire about me and my thoughts on Kenya, very personable. A wonderful treat. Originally I asked myself, "How did they know?". Kenya with its homogenous (99%) racial composition uniquely enjoys this pleasant advantage to other more diverse societies. Another thing that makes me marvel at their friendliness is the tendency of children by the roadside to wave to passersby. Most kids wave endlessly weather you are traveling 10kmh or 120kmh. I would always try and do my best to return this kindness in an attempt to delay the point in our lives when we stop waving at each other.

On the other side of this issue is the less flattering specter of the greedy solicitor. The terminology is difficult to come by, since this idea is so strange to me. Tell me how it suits you. A friendly fellow and I speak for an hour, I meet his wife and his first born. We talk of many things, in this time, he even asks me to take his picture and send it to him which I politely do. I learn of his marriage his job and his life. We become fast friends. His manner was a little off putting, I normally, as a rule, don't like people who command photographs, but he was being cordial enough. But as we neared the end of the road the man ended our friendship in the following manner:

Ngobe: "we are extreme best friends now"
Me: "You bet"
Ngobe: "OK as my extreme best friend don't you want to buy dinner for my family, only 1000 shillings, (14 bucks)"
Me: "Sorry Ngobe, that's not what friends do."

The nerve! At that moment that man pissed away the good feelings I had about him. Sadly its not a unique experience. Even officials in the airport asked for some sort of monetary gift.
Kids sometimes asked for money, or a pen or other item, but their efforts were almost forgivable. Since the majority of the kids were far more eager to extend a hand in friendship than for money. Prices in Kenya are not fixed, they are floating depending on how much you think you can get. I am not talking about he souvenir hawkers, who are beyond shame. But the bus drivers, whose rates are more fixed. Bus drivers have the unenviable job of collecting 50 cents from everyone then looking you in the eye and saying 75 cents as if I were somehow more a burden on him. I mean if he can get it, why shouldn't he take it from us, really. Integrity is so darn unprofitable.

Hospitality gone wrong
Just like Ngobe's false understanding of friendship there are some people in Kenya who don't really seem to grasp the idea of hospitality. At “Nyoma Choma†we approached a filthy table and we were asked if we wanted to eat there, because if so, she could clean it for us. My only thought was, you are going to need to clean it anyway, so just do it. But of course when we declined to eat at that table it went the entire night without being cleaned. Service was horrible the rest of the night from all of the wait staff, we paid upfront, so they had no desire to speak to us after that. Other incidents were that the safari people said all inclusive, but not drinks. And each place we went we found the drinks way overpriced. Speaking of interesting sidenotes to hospitality, it seems that in our host cooked three meals a day for us, and gave us lodging, but we had to buy our own toilet paper. Odd but not rude. Also we were expected to pay for the nights when we were out of town between the nights we stayed there, Since she claimed she had to hold the rooms for us, so that our rooms would be there when we got back. An interesting interpretation. You don't pay for products/services, but potential loss of products/services to others. Over all it seemed that more people wanted something for nothing than those who would genuinely offer their hand in friendship.

Writing this has been an exercise for me in discovering how I feel about Kenya. My gut reaction has been that I don't like it (haha, its funny cause my bowles are biased.). But after looking back on it as a whole I am not so sure. Ultimately, it's not important what I think; go make your own minds up.


@ 05:41:35

09.01.07

!! uu!!

Back in the states.
Demitry in Chicago lost my luggage.
@ 09:10:09

06.01.07

Over and Out

...
If you speak of differences; Lebanon is miles apart while Kenya is measured in light years.
@ 13:17:34

27.12.06

Into Africa

Hasta Siempre Commandante.This evening we leave for dubai. we will be spending 6 hours in the airport before we continue onward to Kenya. Addis Ababa was our other choice of connections. Everyone tells me that Dubai airport is so huge and packed full of stores that the 6 hour layover will fly by.

Which brings us back to last night? Why do i even bother with a chronolog? We started off at timeout, a place for the parents to talk and meet, it was very nice, i tried to sell my body to get a lebanese passport, but no luck. Seems that only men can give their spouses lebanese citizenship, and wouldn't you know gay marriage is out of the picture here too.

the rolled on and we found ourselves at Che, a quaint little homage to the revolutionary, that happens to serve mojitos. After soaking up the revolutionary vibe for a few hours our small posse moved on to gauche caviar, but not before leaving our mark on the town, or at least its cars. Now i know where all those scrapes and dents on cars come from.

Rolling on, we arrive at Gauche Caviar. we we rejoin the younger contingent. Here i use my supernatural foreinger powers to pick up every girl in the bar. Amazing. it seems the entire bar was constituted of lebanese who very much liked texas. Bravo!
@ 05:35:21

Avast!

I mean really, when isn't pirate talk appreciated?
Yesterday was wonderful, just like i mistyped. We did nothing i played with gallery2 for a new image system, that i plan to wrap into the site soon. The day was inspired by my last journal entry. It seems my hosts read it too, and the second i posted it, they read it and made sure it happened. Its great. However this does raise questions about bias in reporting that i am not comfortable with. Thank goodness this is a wonderful adventure and i have nothing bad to say, but if it were not the case? Do i not report Or do i ban the host country from reading my website? Hrm... I met the man who controls the .lb top level domain tonight.

As we prattled on about computer gizmos and gaffaws the girls called out in agony. Why cant guys discuss nonsense for a little while? Why would anyone want to do that, if i am only here in lebanon for a short time, do i really have time to waste talking about the weather? Now take that mindset and apply it to life, if we are only here for a 100 years is there any subsection of that you would like to immediately write of as conversational waste products? I hope not.

Today is the day after christmas here, but it doesn't feel like it at all. The country works right through all holidays it seems, since half the country doesn't observe it there is still work getting done, and when it comes time for muslim holidays all the christians will be working, its kinda great.
@ 04:47:38

26.12.06

Hospitality

They may be at odds with each other, but the lebonese people go far beyond the call of duty for their guests. I was warned of their awesome hospitality before i got out of the airport, by a man named tex, from Texas, wearing longhorn garb. He said there was no greater sense of hospitality out there. However this man also warned against the ever present mugger/murderer/rapist/pickpocket evil villain who will take advantage of me. Its an interesting sell, hospitality and fear. After Tex's inquires into my collegiate past and other silly things we seperated off to look for our luggage in different parts of the airport, not before he gave me a big hook 'em horn though, sheesh. I elected to ignore this raving lunatic, as nice as he was his messages neutralized each other.

The Cortas' were indeed waiting for me, scoring the first point for Lebanese hospitality. Every since then it has been an unending route for team hospitality. in a dramatic upset the villainous protester has invited us to tea. I have seen grown men get into a scuffle over who would pay for hamburgers. I have had clerks instructed in Arabic to ignore me and my monetary offerings. Time and time again my overtures to share the cost of this trip has been rebuffed, not only rebuffed but laughed at. I could understand if this were the case for a few days but it has been over a week. I have struggled and tried to tried to spend money, but the only times i have managed are when no one is watching and i sneak it, victorious only 3 times.

This is not just a contest of who can pay, it goes beyond that. On Friday we took a guided tour, but on Saturday and Sunday the whole family took us out and around town, giving of themselves also. I imagined they don't really eat four meals a day, and they are just trying to fatten me up. But we went to see the aforementioned movie last night and one of the lines from the movie occurred when a guy and his friend were sneaking out of the house at four am. The mother stopped them and told them they couldn't leave until they ate something. Next scene they are pulling their caper with a sandwich in hand. Classic. In Lebanon Hospitality rules the day.

Today it is raining, and i aspire to do nothing. I wonderful if it will be allowed.
@ 04:37:16

25.12.06

Falafel

Went out this evening to paint some ceramics, and see a film. Falafel. Hopefully the bowl comes out alright. The movie did.
@ 17:09:06