Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Dear HP Color Laser Jet 2840,

You are the retarded child of all my computer accessories. You are big and dumb and needy.

Wait, I take that back. That would be an insult to all the retarded children that are smarter than you. Sure, you can do a pretty fair job of smearing colorful ink all over my plain white paper. And I like all the accessories like the copier and the scanner. Handy stuff in my small office. I can't complain about what you produce. I just wish getting you to do it was less like a special-ed class.

For starters you do not appear to understand anything about appropriate paper for printing on. We commonly print on both envelopes and paper and I still don't know how to teach you the difference. I put the envelopes into your tray 1, the only place they will fit, and I load paper into tray 2. Then I go to your configuration panel and explicitly tell you that you have envelopes in tray 1 and paper in tray 2. Got it? Good. Now why in the great smoky universe do you always print from tray 1? Holy crap. What makes you think that envelopes are the be all and end all around here? Don't you think I might want some of that stuff printed on paper? I know sheep dogs that are smarter than you.

But it gets better. When it comes time to actually print an envelope and I explicitly command you to print an envelope and you know there are envelopes in your tray 1 because I told you there are envelopes in tray 1. When I print an envelope you actually stop and ask me "Do you really want to print on this media?" Holy jumping Jesus on a pogo stick! You scribbled all over those envelopes when I really wanted paper. Now that I want an envelope you have to stop and ask permission? A first grader taking Ritalin is smarter than you are!

I can't deal with being asked if it is okay to print a mailing address on an envelope every time I try to do it. Such stupidity hurts me. A bazillion daily reminders of how stupid you are is too much. I will take responsibility for being the intelligent one in our relationship. I will no longer tell you what paper products you carry. I will keep track of that for you and just tell you 'print to tray 1' or 'print to tray 2'. It is easier this way.

Except that it is not easier. Now when I want to print something first I click print and then I click the properties button and then I have to click the drop down and then click to select which tray I want and then I click OK and then I click OK again. That's six mouse clicks for me to print anything on the correct paper. I hate the fact that you are so stupid that I have to do six mouse clicks worth of work every single time I want ink smeared on paper. You are supposed to be a big fancy printer. You can print in color and copy and scan and read memory cards and fax things. By the great green boogers of Jupiter! Why are you stupider than slime mold?

I almost don't want to mention how you can't print on some things. Label stickers, odd sized envelopes and miscellaneous stuff like that. You know the exact size in millimeters of Japanese postcards and let me select that as a size option but you won't let me tell you the size of the label I want printed? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

And you are needy. You crave attention more than a stripper. You have more wants and needs than a three year old in a candy shop. Now I can deal with you occasionally popping up and shouting "Hey, I'm out of paper." That is fair. Some things I need to know. But do you have to do it over top of everything I am working on? I'm writing an Email here. Sometimes you pop up to tell me "Hey, I might be getting low on ink." For the love of low blood pressure and all happy things, what makes you think that piece of info is more important than what I am working on? I know you are low on ink. I can see all the blinky lights over there on your face. I know what they mean. I took responsibility for being the smart one remember? At this moment I like to calm myself from your intrusion by checking the little box that says "don't remind me again" as I gently shoo you away. I don't think those words mean what you think they mean because your pop ups never stay gone. Sometimes you pop up again right away to say "but what about the blue ink? That could be low too." Great Beezelbubs balls! If you had a 'shut the fuck up' button I would be clicking it.

Your random intrusions into my work must stop. You occasionally throw a little window at me with a gratingly jingly sound asking "do I want to check for updates?" I have learned that you do not have updates nearly as often as you enjoy checking for them. And when you do have updates they do nothing to make you smarter. So what's the point?

Now the mighty king of annoyances has got to be the fax configuration wizard. About three or four random times a day, right after I have six click printed something, you throw open a full screen window for the fax configuration wizard. By the great greasy gonads of god, what made you think I wanted to do anything with you so important it would require taking over my entire screen? Why do you want to play with a fax right now? I have even gone through the fax setup in the hopes that it would make you stop, yet you still open that stupid thing several times a day. You are like a little puppy constantly bringing by a toy and begging "do you want to play now?" No. I am working. I do not want to play fax right now. In fact there is a reason I don't even have your fax connected. It is because of your needyness. When I do try to connect the fax you apparently need that phone line so much that you don't let the credit card machine share it. By the heavenly tits of Athena have you no concept of what is important around here? That credit card machine brings in more money than your fax ever will. The credit card machine really does need the phone line more than you do. No, I will not play fax with you. Not until you learn to share. At the rate you are learning I am pretty sure we will not play fax ever. Should I need to send a fax I would rather take my three bucks down to the copy shop than put up with you.

Unfortunately my retarded printer friend, we are stuck together for a while. My office supply budget cannot afford a new printer every year and there is no guarantee that the next one will be less stupid. You printers have never been all that bright. You do redeem yourself a little with how well you smear ink onto paper. That is the bottom line after all. All those well printed documents shows that you try so very hard to look like you are not stupid. Too bad I know better.

Yours in frustration,
Montana Jones

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Skydiving music

You know, I like the idea of getting with a group of musicians and playing music and creating all that energy and enthusiasm. But I can't do that. I don't have any musical skill. But what I can do is go up in the sky and make a formation with a group of people and when it comes together all that energy is in there. You can see everyone's faces and everyone is smiling, you can feel it. There is nothing like a good skydive with a good group of people.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Apache 2.2 and PHP

Non geeks may disregard this post.

If you are setting up a new installation of Apache with PHP4 on the win32 platform (could apply to other platforms as well, I'm not sure) you need to be aware of an undocumented issue.

The PHP4 module for Apache is compiled for Apache 2.0 and will not work on Apache 2.2. Google will point you to a workaround dll but it did not fix anything for me.

It is my understanding that PHP5 has a working module, it is only PHP4 that is messed up. My recommendation is to not bother with Apache 2.2 if you need PHP4. Stick with Apache 2.0 until the good people at PHP can release a compatible module dll.

I hope this tiny nugget of info will save someone from the hours of hair pulling I went through.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I gotta get back to work in a week, so I need to spend some time getting ready.
That can be something for you to get excited about.
I'm not sure about the excited part.
You know what, when you're not working you get sort of lost.
It's true. When you don't work you are aimless, you don't focus. You are just sort of lost.
I think you're right about that.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Closing Time

Last call guys.
Wow, it's been a while since I closed a bar.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Television, Violence and the First Amendment. An editorial rebuttal.

Does anyone here read the Daily Interlake? I catch the online version and about once a week this editor guy Frank Miele writes a little piece of editorial wisdom. I can't say I enjoy reading him but the amazing volume of WTF moments keeps me riveted like a train wreck. Today I was reading his opinion piece and it occurred to me that there might actually be people out there that believe what he writes because it is written by an editor of a newspaper. This guy is in serious need of a rebuttal.

Lets take a look at his latest editorial here: TV infection has no vaccine.

He starts off with the observation that lots of people watch television and television has lots of sex and violence on it. I am not a big television watcher so his implications that teevee is bad has a sympathetic audience with me. He even has some good lines about the morality of television.

It is amazing how many murders, assaults and attacks take place hourly in television dramas without anyone ever once calling upon their God for strength or praying to their God for forgiveness.

A very seductive idea except that he is wrong. He is trying to say that television programs do not balance certain displays generally perceived as bad with other displays generally perceived as good. He might be right in a very narrow context but the last time I checked television has about a zillion channels on it with a wide range of choices ranging from the mentioned violent dramas through comedies, informational programs, news, sports, music, shopping and more. There is even praying to God for strength and forgiveness on television if you care to look for it. So while a specific show may fail to find the balance or wholesomeness he desires, this balance can be found elsewhere on the tube.

Now before your intelligent brain makes the next logical step and you say things like the viewer chooses which channel to watch, or we have the freedom to choose unwholesome fare, or that you can't force values of good and bad on anyone; bite your tongue. These are not the points trying to be made here. Hold that thought and we will get back to it.

Now Mr. Miele makes some quick and amazing leaps a couple paragraphs down, so keep up.

Do we really need a summit on violence to tell us that the root cause of the epidemic of violence in our schools and elsewhere is a growing disconnect between morality and action, and do we really need to look any further than the pandering, slobbering flat-screen hyena in the living room to find out what's chewing at our innards?

There are lots of things going on in this sentence. We learn that there is an epidemic of violence in our schools and elsewhere. We learn that this violence has a root cause, the disconnect between morality and action. And this disconnect is because of television.

Here is your big chance to play along, how many points of faulty reasoning can you find in this single sentence?

I am going to point out my favorite. He does not show any evidence of an epidemic of violence. Sure I have seen the news about how there have been shootings in schools recently. Some unpleasantness involving deaths in Colorado and Pennsylvania. There have been other incidents of guns, and bb guns and so forth. Is this an epidemic? A rapid spread, growth or development? I am going to go out on a limb here and say no. 99% of all schools will not encounter any violence today. Nothing worse than the traditional school bully anyway. I am thinking this is not an epidemic. Could it be that the isolated incidents of violence have been sensationalized through that wicked medium of television? Could it be that our editor wants us to believe, on the one hand, that what television tells us is true, there really is an epidemic of violence. And at the same time television tells us untruths and disconnects morality from our quest for meaning and purpose? Whoa, my head is spinning a little from that one.

The rest of the editorial goes downhill from here. And we are only a third of the way through.

He makes another amazing claim that if television could be conclusively proven to be the root of our evils that nothing would be done about it. He then proceeds to contradict himself by setting up a hypothetical scenario whereby television is conclusively proven to cause increases in murder and rape and suggests this would actually cause people to protest against it. That such evidence could be reason to regulate a more healthy cultural model of what is right and wrong.

He makes it sound like a good idea right? Except here he points out why we cant make such regulations. He has a numbered list that includes goodies like: If you don't like it, just change the channel, adults can make their own choices, you shouldn't force your values on others, and so on. Sounds a little familiar somehow. Oh yeah, we discovered earlier that it is convenient to ignore these points when portraying television as a power for bad things, as though the viewer has no say in it when television is being wicked. These ideas all come from some basic foundations in our society. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Our good editor Mr. Miele goes on to explain that in supporting our cultural values we have gone too far and we are actually causing harm to our own society, that our support for tolerance is causing our moral decline. An interesting point and one worthy of discussion, but then he gets a little weird.

...for a whole society which values its man-made Constitution more than its God-given values. Perhaps it was something like the First Amendment which God had in mind when he cautioned us, "Thou shalt have no gods before me."

Whoa, did he just compare a portion of the bill of rights to a deity? Talk about comparing apples and oranges. Or did he try to say that our founding legal document actually IS an all seeing, all knowing spiritual entity? This guy is scaring me with how his gears are slipping.

He backs off from the weirdness a little and points out that we don't actually have to choose between our deity and the first amendment. (phew) It is only the courts that make us think that. He concludes by pointing out that our lives could be safer and better if we just didn't take the first amendment so seriously.

Now of all the WTF moments this entire editorial inspired that last one has got to be the biggest whopper. A newspaper editor, of all people, advocating for restrictions on the first amendment?!? Let me say it loudly for all to hear. What The Fuck?

I guess it helps soften the blow if you were keeping score of the WTF's throughout the editorial. Curtailing the bill of rights for all Americans is reasonable if you believe these things:

  • You have to believe that television only displays sex and violence and nothing wholesome.
  • You have to believe we are suffering from an epidemic of violence.
  • You have to believe that television is truthful when it sensationalizes in support of our supposition (that there is an epidemic of violence) and that television is evil when it creates our supposition in the first place.
  • You have to believe that television is the conclusive source for evil in our society. (Ha, that lets all the rap music and video games off the hook.)
  • You have to believe that television is the source of that evil only because the first amendment allows it.
  • You have to believe that the first amendment is worshiped like a deity.

I might add that none of these points had any supporting evidence behind them. And there are still arguments to be made about how free speech, as interpreted by those evil courts, is not all that free anyhow because there are restrictions on things like libel, slander, making false accusations, endangering others, displaying nipples on television and so forth.

I do have this to say about Mr. Miele's editorial. I disagree with what he says but I will defend his right to say it.

So how did you do in the home game kiddies? How many logical fallacies, contradictions and WTF's did you find that I missed? Lets play again next week. Frank Miele publicly writes things like this pretty regularly.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Century Tel

Are you Jones?
Hi, I am J_. I'm from Century Tel. We are getting in touch with our customers because competition is forcing us to lower our rates and we want to make sure you are getting the best package available.
I'm okay with that.
I understand you have the internet service and long distance.
That's right.
Well our new package has unlimited long distance, our service bundle and 1.5mb bandwidth for $69.95.
Well, here is my last phone bill.
Yeah, see, you don't have the unlimited long distance.
I hardly ever use long distance. What bugs me are all these service I don't want to pay for.
They are part of the bundle.
I don't use three way calling, or call forwarding, or call waiting. All I need is caller ID and voice mail. Can't you save me money by getting rid of the extra crap.
Well, you don't have to use it. You can simply ignore most of that. And look here, you are only getting half of the bandwidth of the new package.
I don't use all the bandwidth I have now. And look what I am paying for the current package, $67.95.
Well, the new package is two bucks more but you will be doubling your bandwidth and getting the unlimited long distance.
I don't use long distance much, I don't use all the bandwidth I have now, I don't use most of the stuff in your bundle. Tell me again why I am supposed to pay more for stuff I don't use?
Well, sometimes I can make a better deal and sometimes I can't.

Monday, October 09, 2006


"Hey, I get the hint. I won't try calling anymore. I won't bother you any more."

Sometimes you can stay friends, but more and more I am starting to think that is the exception and not the rule. I hang up the phone and an old love is gone, perhaps never to be heard from again.

And then there is #_. Friend, lover, fun, occasionally hard to spend time with. I like her but my heart is not in it. Perhaps giving her attention contributed to loosing the friendship of ex. Perhaps ex's new boyfriend has something to do with it. Perhaps there are other things I don't see. Relationships don't always weave together neatly and orderly to create a grand tapestry. Sometimes the tapestry unravels too.

#_ and I also had a little falling out. If I had known that was coming I would have given ex more attention that last time I saw her at the concert. It just feels weird to cross paths with an old love while out on a date. I didn't know what to do. I don't know if ex understands that or not. I think she feels like I was blowing her off. I'm going to miss her.

I don't know what to do about #_ either. It is good to have a friend but there is a part of me that says to let it go. That's the part that wants to think being left alone will make the universe easier to deal with. In my gut I know that the other part of me that wants to find the friendship is the better part.

And then a new Email arrives. Someone introduces herself. On the one hand I don't like passing up a knocking opportunity. On the other hand my current mood of apathy, confusion and lassitude is not exactly attractive. I'm not sure if I could show myself in the best light right now. The timing is poor. I need to win myself over before I can woo others.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Conversations with dad

I really like living here. I like small towns so much more than where I used to live.
That's great. I can tell you like it here.
I was at the hardware store the other day looking for a sealant and they guy gave me a can of stuff to try. He said to give it a little spray, if it worked come back and pay him and if not, no one would miss it from the can. It worked and I went back later in the day and paid for the stuff. You can only do that in a small town.


I haven't had my blood pressure checked in a while.
It was bothering me. I think watching my blood pressure was raising my blood pressure.


I don't usually vote strictly party lines, but this time I am voting all democrat no matter what. Not that Rehberg is all that, his turn to get voted out is coming up soon. But right now it's more important to get rid of the current in power crop of idiots.


The dog and I are communicating in some weird ways. Without even thinking about it sometimes she does something I want her to do and sometimes I do something she wants me to.
I think you have been living together too long.
Yeah, there is that, but it goes a little farther than opening the door at the right time. Sometimes we click in a way that borders on spooky.

Monday, October 02, 2006


So are you getting bored now that you're not working?
Well, the first week without work was great but yeah, now I'm starting to get a little bored.