Sunday, April 30, 2006

Why I'm Doing My Part On Monday

posted by John Blanco @ 8:59 AM


On Monday, a nation-wide protest is being held in just about every major city in the country. There will marches all around, and a boycott on buying and selling goods.

I'll be doing my share. Whilst I won't be boycotting work, I will be going the day without making any purchases. This isn't a huge sacrifice on my part, but I'm making a point of not doing it.


Let me tell you why. Because we can't have things both ways in America, that's why. Let's look at some common points of view on illegal immigrants and see what I'm talking about

View #1: Kill all those fuckin' spics!

This is, of course, the most ignorant. Let's just shoot them in the head! Yeah, really. And when you ask someone why they would want to kill an illegal immigrant, they'll quite easily respond with, "They are breaking the law!"

Well, I'm not sure what country they think we live in, but it's not the one they are imagining. This isn't Afghanistan. In fact, if getting shot is proper punishment for committing a crime, then all the people who subscribe this point of view shouldn't be around to say it.

View #2: If you're illegal, you are a felon!

Well, this is still an extreme point of view, but at least it's more realistic. Throw em in jail is the answer.

OK, well, the first question is...for how long? 1 year? 10 years? Life imprisonment?

The second question is, OK, what do you do with them when they get out? Do you just release them? Well, of course not. You'd deport them. Well, OK, why would you keep them in our jails so you can deport them later. You'd do it right away.

So, now, what will stop them from coming back once deported. The answer? NOTHING!!!!

This highlight the real problem of illegal immigration: Mexico. Mexico is a country that likes to highlight a small subset of extremely rich families, and leaves everyone else poor.

Let me tell you, I have worked with several illegal immigrants, and I know this:

* They would prefer to stay in Mexico
* They cannot survive in Mexico

They don't want to have to come here, but they have families back home, and they can't survive in that environment. Don't blame them. Don't punish them. They are doing what you or I would do if the roles were reversed...flee to where we can support our families.

Be thankful you live in a great country like America. Be proud. Be thankful. But don't point your finger at a man who's only trying to feed his family by working slave-wage jobs to make a living.

View #3: Round 'em up and send 'em back to Mexico!

OK, perhaps I summarize the message a little callously. I've also heard people say, "We need to find out where they are send them back." Again, we're getting more reasonable, but unlike the previous two viewpoints, this one is horribly, horribly unrealistic.

You just need to use your brain. There are, with best estimates, 11 million illegal immigrants in the country. Assume, for the sake of argument, we *could* find them all. This isn't easy, and it's not cheap. You don't just do a SQL quesry in a database and WALLAH! It would be long and economically draining process.

But assume you have the name and address of every illegal in the country. Now what? You gotta round em up. Do you know how expensive and dangerous THAT would be??? Yes, cause I'm sure we have the manpower to do it, and all the illegals will be at the exact address we have for them in our mythical list.

Now, do you want to be the cop who gets called to pick up Jose Medina? Yeah, go to his house where he lives with this wife and 3 kids, who are all US Citizens. Tell them you are taking their husband and father to Mexico, and this is best for America.

You've created 4 insurgents now. Not to mention Jose's friends and family. And why? Because he didn't have legal citizenship..

This comes to the first hard question of the argument: What is better for AMERICA?

While you may want to punish someone for illegally crossing our border, but committing no other crimes...rounding them all up is still NOT better for America. We are already being bankrupted by the so-called War on Terror. We are probably doomed to be the next USSR already. This only makes the problem worse.

Spending billions of dollars capturing the boogeyman.


My personal point of view is not simple, but it's ideal to me. As is usually the case, I see most of these types of issues as having a short- and long-term solution that must both be addressed immediately.

First, the short-term solution. We need to begin citizenizing those that are here. Get them through the process, and it's a lot cheaper than the alternatives. Once they have citizenship, they can begin assimilating into our country and culture, and opening up to neighbors and not "living in the shadows" anymore.

Second, the long-term solution. We need to get tough with Mexico. Shape up, or ship out. The Mexican government ENCOURAGES emigration! This has to stop!!!

As I said before, these people don't want to leave. Do you see us having a big immigration problem with Canada? NO! Why should Mexico be any different?

Here's a first step. Take a look at some products you have on your desk right now. Look for the "Made in ____" sticker on each one. How many say Mexico? 1, 2, 5?

Hint: Don't check the electronics, that's all made in China.

So, step 1 is, PAY THESE PEOPLE WHO WORK IN THESE FACTORIES DECENT WAGES! It's all slave labor. You want to know one reason why America is going down the toilet? We've outsources all of our manufacturing jobs. This is what the middle-class and lower-class is always counted on. And they are gone.

Another reason you should stop bitching about welfare, too. You should be bitching about stable jobs going to China, Taiwan, India, and Mexico.


The long and short of it is that a lot of people want their American way of life to remain the same, and to banish the "illegals" from the country.

Hey, I'm all for the banishment of cheap labor, it's a drag on the economy. I say punish those who hire illegal immigrants, not the immigrants themselves. Why won't you blame the employers? Is it because they are not so-called spics? Or are you a Republican and think that is just "natural market forces." You can't have it both ways.

They are committing a crime...should all the employers who hire illegal be shot? Or only the spics be shot?

And are you counting on some magical multi-billion dollar wall to be put up to keep us protected from the illegals? Well, that's just not reality. Our border with Mexico is 2,000 miles long. Be realistic. It can't be properly guarded.

Would you be willing to pay a ginormous tax on all your goods to help pay for that wall and for the people to enforce it? Probably not. And that's because you want it both ways.

Fuck and Run by Liz Phair

posted by John Blanco @ 8:21 AM


I woke up alarmed
I didn't know where I was at first
Just that I woke up in your arms
And almost immediately I felt sorry
Cause I didn't think this would happen again
No matter what I could do or say
Just that I didn't think this would happen again
With or without my best intentions

And whatever happened to a boyfriend
The kind of guy that tries to win you over?
And whatever happened to a boyfriend
The kind of guy who makes love cause he's in it?

And I want a boyfriend
I want a boyfriend
I want all that stupid old shit like letters and sodas
Letters and sodas

You got up out of bed
You said you had a lot of work to do
But I heard the rest in my head
And almost immediately I felt sorry
Cause I didn't think this would happen again
No matter what I could do or say
Just that I didn't think this would happen again
With or without my best intentions

And I want a boyfriend
I want a boyfriend
I want all that stupid old shit like letters and sodas
Letters and sodas

And I can feel it in my bones
I'm gonna spend another year alone
It's fuck and run, fuck and run
Even when I was seventeen
Fuck and run, fuck and run
Even when I was twelve

You almost felt bad
You said that I should call you up
But I knew much better than that
And almost immediately I felt sorry
Cause I didn't think this would happen again
No matter what I could do or say
Just that I didn't think this would happen again
With or without my best intentions

And I can feel it in my bones
I'm gonna spend my whole life alone
It's fuck and run, fuck and run
Even when I was seventeen
Fuck and run, fuck and run
Even when I was twelve

Friday, April 28, 2006

Not (My)Spacing Out

posted by John Blanco @ 10:12 PM


No, no, I will not allow myself to MySpace out. :-) This is my true let's get back to it!

Tomorrow, the Jeffco Young Dems and 24 volunteers will be participating in the DNC Neighbor to Neighbor National Organizing Day. This is a country-wide event where volunteer groups pass out doorhangers in the neighborhood.

This is my first time canvassing, so I'm a bit anxious. It will be exciting, and we'll meet lots of fellow Democrats along the way.

Afterwards, I plan on collapsing and passing out. :-) I'll post pics sometime in the evening. (Of the event, not the passing out part.)


Otherwise, today was sort of a depression-fest. Work has had me down lately I guess. It's just been crazy. I really need some sleep. I should go now.

Hopefully, will feel better tomorrow!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bye, Bye Dignity!

posted by John Blanco @ 9:25 PM


OK, I done did it. Sarah guilt tripped me into it. I had to do it.

My MySpace Page

The weird part is seeing some people from my high school on there. Is that George????

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Virtual Boy Arrives: My Review!

posted by John Blanco @ 5:44 PM


Oh man oh man! My Virtual Boy showed up today and boy did I have some fun! Here's a little review of the gizmo, and some pictures of some hot box-opening action! (Mature audiences only.)

The Virtual Boy (VB) is one unique piece of hardware. :-) It consists of a visor, stand, controller, and AC adapted/battery pack. The system only ever had 19 games released for it, and I got 5 along with the hardware.

It's amazing to me that Nintendo saw this as the successor to the Game Boy. It's so clunky. I mean, I literally dream of playing my Nintendo DS (or Game Boy) on a deserted beach somewhere to pass the time. The idea of bringing my VB to play on an airplane is quite unthinkable!

Still, despite the VB being an infamous failure, you must still play the system to truly understand it. Was it a commercial flop? Yes. Does that mean it's a horrible system? No way.

I've played 4 games for the VB. Two of them, Mario Clash and Wario Land, are 3D adaptions of 2D games. Neither of them had to be on the VB.

Red Alert, on the other hand, is a beauty. Think Tempest 2000, but more reality. You fly a fighter jet going through a 3D world in standard shooter action. The game consists of wireframe graphics, but is totally fun to play. You "feel" the space. It's an experience you can't describe. It's familiar, but you've likely never played a game like this before in your life. Really, really cool.

Mario Tennis is also great! What better example of playing in 3D space do you need than being on a tennis court, having a ball actually come at you in three dimensions. It's really fun to play, and most people who've played the VB will tell you it's the best game on there.

As for me, I love baseball, and I LOVE the VB baseball game! Of all the games, it's the one instantly familiar to me. The controls are just like every other baseball game of the 80's and 90's era, and it's totally intuitive. Right now, I don't have this game...but my buddy Mobat does, so I may trade with him this weekend. He doesn't like it anyway. :-)


The good and bad of the Virtual Boy are plentiful. On one hand, it's easy to see how cool the system is, but on the other hand, you can see why it failed.

First, why it failed. There are many reasons:

* Only supports two colors: red and black!
* There is no 2-player support. (It was likely going to come, though.)
* No one can watch you play! (The player must stare into the visor.)
* It's not portable enough to be handy, and not powerful enough to be a console.
* It can't be played for too long a period of time.

Oh, just a few negatives. ;-) However, there are also some positive points to focus on:

* The VR experience is one-of-a-kind in the home market.
* Playing baseball or tennis in true 3D is a great experience!
* Nintendo frickin' made it -- of course it r0x0rz!

I still need to play more with the system, but as a mantle piece (for my console collection) and as a game system to play and enjoy -- I'm glad to have bought it and it's well worth the excellent bargain I got it for!


UPS Delivers!

posted by John Blanco @ 5:36 PM


UPS dropped the box off in front of our door! It's Virtual Boy time!!!

The Box Opens

posted by John Blanco @ 5:35 PM


Oooh, I can smell Virtual Boy goodness! No wait, that's packing tape! Oh, wait...what's this? A note?

"The games are in the front of the bag. Have Fun" Awww, I feel so warm and fuzzy inside. Yes, I will have fun!

There it is! In it's original traveling case! I must see more!

The Controller...

posted by John Blanco @ 5:31 PM


Here's the Virtual Boy controller. It has two D-pads on each side and a trigger button behind each. There are four buttons on the front, all the same as the classic Nintendo controller: Start, Select, A, and B.

The controller is pretty comfortable. One thing that the gaming newbie must be wary of is that you can't look at the controller to see what the buttons are why you play, because you must stare into the visor at all times!

The Visor (and a Hottie!)

posted by John Blanco @ 5:31 PM


The Virtual it is! This is the visor! It's too bad you can't strap it to your head. Maybe I'll mod it. ;-) The two panels you see are where each of your eyes are staring. The Virtual Boy sits on a stand (ha!), and you'll see me playing it next...

Hey, baby...

Sweet Playtime Goodness!

posted by John Blanco @ 5:30 PM


OOOOHHHH!11!!!1!!oneone!!!! Here I am, finally playing it! OH MY GOD so cool! :-) I played Mario Clash first. (It came with 5 games.) It was a 2D-style game adapted to VR, but Red Alert was WICKED cool! In that game, you pilot a starship through a 3D world and it is really's even in that vector line style which is just so fun. I beat the first level already, oh I look forward to solving that one. ;-)

I'm Satisfied!!!!

posted by John Blanco @ 5:20 PM


Damn that was fun!! Let's play again!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Operation: Advance

posted by John Blanco @ 9:53 PM


Operation: Advance is a big step in my chess playing career. This is the first time I am forcing myself to step forward and take on the tougher competition. It's a long time coming, and should have done it earlier.

Oddly enough, the idea came about whilst playing DDR. I noticed that when I moved up to Standard mode, from Light, I couldn't handle it. But I forced myself to do it...I knew it would come to me. And it did.

So, why not do it in chess? So, on Red Hot Pawn, I am forcing myself to play 1600+ players. And I am going to keep a separate record of how I do. I will measure my wins as we go...and we'll start with the first until I start getting consistent wins -- then I will move up to 1700's.

The days of playing down to competition are over. Time to let them teach me. :-)

Sunday, April 23, 2006


posted by John Blanco @ 9:07 PM


I absolutely SHATTERED my DDR combo record tonight, putting up a 2374 combo! That's 2,374 consecutive great/perfect steps in a row with no misses. What I'm even more proud of in the stats above is that I danced to 20 consecutive (played back-to-back) songs and didn't miss a SINGLE step! The 3 "good" scores are misses by about 1/8-1/4 of a second.

So proud!
ewf Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Virtual Boy, You Are Mine!

posted by John Blanco @ 9:13 PM


One of my wishes for this year has been to put together a gaming display case of bunches of old retro video game systems. The idea is to display them for posterity, but I also want them to be playable just for fun. :-)

Well, I needed to get the display case first, just as a motivator...but tonight, something I didn't expect happened -- and I am super psyched!

Michele and had dinner with and went over to Mobat's place (along with Athena), and I got to play his Virtual Boy! This is the 1995-1996 system Nintendo put's a "virtual reality" type system (not really, more true 3D-ish)...that failed miserably in the market.

Some of the reasons had to be that it supported only one color: red. Also, no one else can see you playing whilst you play, which isn't very fun. Alllso, it doesn't support two-player modes -- which is lame. And then, fnally, it can give you a headache.

All this adds up to failure.

But, it's monumentally cool, and I had to have it. So tonight, I went on eBay, and found the perfect deal, at the perfect time, and I just snagged one in very good condition, WITH AN ORIGINAL TRAVEL BAG, and 5 games for about $100 including shipping!


I am so stoked. My next purchase needs to be an original NES. I want to find one that was lightly used, so I can play a lot on it. I want to collect NES carts...and maybe one day catch up to Mobat who's room is a mecca to Nintendo. ;-)

But for now, I shall enjoy this glorious auction win. :-)

Yahoo! Mail -

No Child Left Ahead

posted by John Blanco @ 3:59 PM


In an AP story about the No Child Left Behind Act:

Before Congress passed it in 2001, she said, federal officials had no way to track state progress of roughly 50 million children who attend public school.

Now, she said -- even with nearly 2 million uncounted -- parents, teachers and educators have a better idea of how 23 million are doing because of the law's requirement that children be tested annually in third grade through eighth grade and once in high school.

Spellings also said the law marks a watershed for closing the racial achievement gap. In previous tests, she said, schools could always produce better results by reporting test scores for an entire grade or building. Now, schools are required to report test scores and show progress for different groups.

The schools, she said, 'are working on those student groups as they never have before, and that is because of No Child Left Behind. Yes, we need to continue to press them to serve each and every child, but we have made huge progress.'"


OK, Ms. Spellings. Can I ask you one question? Have you ever heard of a report card? Yeah. It's a sheet of paper with grades on it -- sometimes cardboard. Teachers and parents sometimes use this as a measure of progress for their child.

My opinion on No Child Left Behind is that it's hurting the schools.

Yes, a regulatory, consistent test is a good measure of how a student is improving -- but only on THAT test. This is the problem with SAT' can train to beat the test.

Yes, it's fair to measure student progress when doling out federal money for schools -- but shouldn't you be ADDING federal aid to schools that are having trouble, not punishing them? Are you insinuating that the teachers don't care, or that they are not doing their job?

Perhaps, Mr. President, they have old books, poor school equipment, no money for hands-on field trips? Perhaps you should be HELPING them?

Personally, I find CSAP is hurting our schools. For months, kids are trained on CSAP and CSAP only. Why? Because it means the difference between tens of thousands of dollars in funding?

Do you think the schools will care if a child is smart or dumb, or do you think they will care more about how well they can handle the CSAP test?

Go to your local bookstore, in the education section. See all the SAT books? Yes, there are HUNDREDS of them. Why? Because this is major test measure colleges use for admitting new students!

Go around the corner...see the crib notes? Now, why would a student want to just learn the "main points" of a book, and not read the whole book? You guess it! Cause they want to pass the English test!

CSAP is a distraction in our schools. History and Science are being left behind. Gym is being left behind. Art and music, two wonderfully important programs that allow a child to express themselves -- the most primary instict of a human being -- are being left behind.

And you can say all you want about reading and math, which are both very important...but would you call Pablo Picasso a dumbass?

Why must we use two very specific skills, and two very specific skills only, as our measure? And why must we punish the very students who need help the most?

Friday, April 21, 2006


posted by John Blanco @ 8:59 PM


Michele and I joined in on our first Denver Restaurant Review Club tonight, and it was a yummy start. :-)

We went to the new Racine's, since moved from Bannock St., and prolly not that new...but new to us. It was Michele and I, Dorrie from work (the one running the show), and 5 of her friends (Jen, Chris, Kelly, Kate, and Mihish (sp?)).

I went with the NY Strip Steak and Michele had the Chicken Fried Chicken. Michele was feel awfully ill, but she was determined to make it since we had traffic troubles last month and missed the event. She's a trooper!

One highlight of the night for me, from a food perspective, was that I tried guacamole for the first time. it was really damn good. :-) Don't ask why I never tried it...but Racine's had the most UNBELIEVABLY GOOD chips and salsa...and the guac was right there for me. ;-) Delicious. I'll try more in the future.

What a great evening! All of the new people were so friendly! One girl, Kate, is from Jersey and we talked a lot about that. Many of them work with Dorrie's husband, who couldn't make it tonight because he's in Fruita, and were developers and/or testers.

So many QA people surround me. I feel so overwhelmed. ;-)


Well, Michele has gone right to bed. Hopefully she feels better tomorrow, because we have tentative movie plans (prolly getting scrapped) and evening plans with Mobat -- which involves a certain delicious Italian buffet. I can't believe Michele will be up for it, but we still want to see Mobat, so...get well soon, Yog!

I'm staying up late to watch the Met game on ESPN Gamecast. 1-1 right now. Bannister won't get the win, which is bad for my fantasy league, but he pitched well yet again.

OK...gonna work on some Avatara now whilst I watch. Have a good weekend, y'all.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


posted by John Blanco @ 7:08 PM


More progress to report on Avatara. You can now "officially" draw a game. :-) Also, it support multiple, simultaneous games -- so this will come in handy for, well, simultaneous beta tester games. ;-)

And now, finally, it has come time to do cleanup. This won't take too long...and it's all in the Flash area. Once done...perhaps this weekend...I can start working on the Hibernate/Database piece. Aside from allowing real logins and saving ratings and games and game results, it also allows me to learn Hibernate!

Which is cool, because we use it at work now, and even though I don't write Java at work, it will be geat to know how Hibernate works in case I someday do. :-)

Can you say Powerful?

posted by John Blanco @ 5:32 PM


On June 16th, our first day home from our road trip to Vegas, ground will be broken on the Columbine Memorial -- a dedication to those killed in the Columbine attacks of 7 years ago, today.

None other than Bill Clinton will give the keynote speech. Wow.

So, now I have to convince my sister, Pam, and my friend, Chris, that we need to go to this. It should be a beautiful event, and a fitting ceremony for what happened 7 years ago.

I'll never forget where I was. I was working downtown for a fun little company called InfoBeat -- now turned also-ran Internet site. (Sad.) Anyway, as part of our company, we had editors, writers, and people clued in to the news. We had TV's in the writers' room. It was a cool place.

And then one of those writers wrote an email that there was a shooting at Columbine High School. There were people at work who had kids and nieces and nephews there. It was pretty hectic. Slowly, over th enext few hours, as more details came out, we realized what had actually transpired. It was flooring.

Right in our backyard. A half-hour drive from where I was working. And now, a 5-minute drive from where I live in Littleton -- the very home of Columbine High School.

And I can't believe it's 7 years later. It's amazing to me. Luckily, this kind of violence hasn't repeated itself, though it happened a lot BEFORE Columbine.

Count me there, June 16th.

Clinton will keynote Columbine ceremony...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Back From Drinking Liberally

posted by John Blanco @ 8:45 PM


Wow, that was a fun Wednesday evening! :-) Went downtown to Double Daughter for our first Drinking Liberally event. Simply had to -- my Web hero Markos Moulitsas was there! He runs Daily Kos, which gets over 1 MILLION unique visitors -- per day! And it's frickin' awesome is what. :-)

We got there about a quarter to 8. Anthony and Sarah were already there, along with Kyle. The first person I ran into was a fellow named Phil. We know each other from Amazin' Avenue, a NY Mets blog, and we met in person at Drinking Liberally since we're both libs who found the blog through the Kos.

Damon came in soon after...but the place was PACKED! We were clinging to the top of the stairs and chatting...and a few minutes later, Markos came in. He'd been signing at Tattered Cover, the great bookstore in downtown Denver.

After about a half hour, and a drink, we decided to go for our picture. We waited on a little line and then got our books signed and got our group picture. :-) Markos was a really nice guy! And even though I was, of course, the biggest Kos fan cause I had the T-shirt, the Young Dems got and gave the love. ;-)

Don't bark at me Anthony and Viiiiiiincen, get the T-shirt, then we can talk!!! :-)

So, aside from the fact that Michele and I had to pee something wicked the entire time we were there, and never did, it was a great night. We also got solicited for weed outside the place. I was sorry to dissapoint the gentleman, but it turned out he was a Mets fan (Hey, he knew they were 10-4, so he had to be a real Met fan), so it was all good.

(As you can see in the pic, I had my Mets hat on.)

Man...weird...think about it...I'm all excited cause I went to a bar to meet a...blogger. And I got his autograph. And I'm super excited. And he's a hero to me. :-)

Welcome to 2006.

Michele and Me Next To Markos!

posted by John Blanco @ 8:45 PM


Here's Michele and I next to Markos while he was signing someone else's book, after our group shot. He was getting really busy, and we didn't wan tto bug him for more pics. :-)

The Jeffco Young Dems and Markos!

posted by John Blanco @ 8:45 PM


Here's a good contingent of Young Dems -- all those who showed. We all had our shirts on except for Michele and I...though I had a good excuse, I was wearing my Daily Kos T-Shirt -- as Markos noted! Yee haw! ;-)

Sadly, in a bad cropping accident, Michele was excluded from the picture. She was next to Vincen on the right side of the pic. The picture taker just missed her. :-( So sad!

Fortunately, another photographer took the same pic of us and got her in...tho, she may have blinked. :-)

Drinking Liberally

posted by John Blanco @ 5:26 PM


Tonight, I'll be Drinking Liberally downtown, and hoping to meet a minor hero of mine, Markos from the Daily Kos. :-)

Hopefully, the Young Dems (several of us are going) can get a group shot. I'll post it tonight.

Bill Winter will also be there! :-)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Two Years

posted by John Blanco @ 8:06 PM


Today was Michele and I'd 2nd Wedding Anniversary! Can you believe it? Two years! That's even longer ago than when I started this blog just a few months after. :-)

We celebrated by going to Red Lobster, Michele's favorite place. :-) Before that, we exchanged gifts...I got her a white gold heart pendant, similar to the one I got her a few years ago that has sadly been misplaced. She got me a build-a-bear that says a cute little something when you squeeze his left paw.

Then, we snuggled up to watch some Sopranos -- the episode we had to miss on Easter last Sunday. It was a good one! Poor Vito...'s two more anniversaries together. Love ya, babe!!!


posted by John Blanco @ 8:01 PM


F*** the Rangers!!!! The Devils took the Atlantic division title on THE LAST DAY OF THE SEASON! The Ranger, who were in 1st place since game 1, fell to 3rd on the 82nd, and final game of the year! (They fell behind the Flyers as well.)


Update: Ironically enough, the Devils match up with the Rangers in the first round of the playoffs. Well, well, look who's coming to Jersey. ;-)


posted by John Blanco @ 11:35 AM


Dorrie and Mike are coming to DDR Night! Listen folks, do whatever you want, there will be no repurcussions from the "Hell Department" -- it's frozen clean over!


Warning: They can still change their I absolve myself from any scaldings in case of a re-heated "Hell Department".

Monday, April 17, 2006

Normal Gay Families

posted by John Blanco @ 9:38 PM


The gay families who united to attend the Whie House Easter Egg Roll did a great job today! Here's a video report:


And the gentleman speaking, Terrance Heath, blogged on Daily Kos as well:

TerranceDC's blog

Update: Another blog entry is here.

A Fallen Comrade

posted by John Blanco @ 8:12 PM


Michele's a tough cookies, but she's no match for a double-dose of cramps and a headache. She's been knocked out all night. :-( If there is good news, it's that tomorrow is our 2nd Wedding Anniversary and she won't be hurting as much. All the more lobster for her to eat... ;-)

With no playmate tonight, I've gotten a lot done. Firstly, I watched my first Mets game of the year, thanks to ESPN. And, against the Braves! AND, with Pedro on the mound! A triple, wait...hold it...ANNNNND A MET WIN!

So, chalk us up at 10-2, a full eight games over .500! In fact, and this is a weird stat, this is the FIRST time in MLB history a team has gotten a 5 game lead in the division only 12 games into the season!

Good hitting. Good starting pitching. Good relief. Good defense. Only two losses. Can't have asked for anything more so soon in the season. And a 5 game lead on the f***ing Braves. :-)


I also finally got through another chapter in Reassess Your Chess. I really need to start getting through this book before I lose my will and give up. I have finished it once before, but I really need the review...and the temptation to study openings again is on the horizon.


Also, I got an hour in of Chess Avatara development. Tonight, I added status messages, winner's crown, and repositioned the dialog windows so that you still see the board when presented with pawn promotions, etc. :-)

With these things in place, you really start to feel like your playing a solid game of chess. I suppose draw requests are next. I'll start that before I go to bed. OH BOY OH BOY I can't wait to work on the database!! :-)


OK, time to do some home-y tasks before getting ready for bed. It's frickin hot out, too. Blech.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Sunday!

posted by John Blanco @ 7:34 AM


Have a...........HOPPY..........Easter!!!!


No, but seriously, this is a serious holiday. On this day, back in, uhh...1873...Jesus jumped off the crucifix, rose from the dead, and parted the Red Sea. After that, he constructed an arc and then chiseled out the 10 Amendments and presented them to Abraham Lincoln.

Ignore the bunnies and chocolate...that was all part of the Pagan holiday that inconveniently existed beforehand. We shall denounce the chocolatey aspects of this holiday whilst we give chocolate to our children. :-)

Oh, and celebrate by watching RIVVVVVERDANCE!!!!!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Easter Sunday Festivities

posted by John Blanco @ 3:52 PM


Monday, during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, the makeup of the families will be a little different than usual.

A group of about 100 gay couples and their children started standing in line for advanced tickets on Friday evening. Word is, they've got em. The goal of the ticket grab is to force the White House, and America, to see a gay couple and their family for what they are:

Normal Americans.

But, of course, the Bush Administration has been exposed. Since they can't cancel the Egg Roll, and they can't deny these families from participating, they went with Plan C -- reserve early morning tickets for friends of the party.

Yes, the Egg Roll begins at 8 AM. So, guess what tickets the first people on line were able to get? Yes -- tickets for NOON!

So, make your predictions now. We will see one of the following scenarios:

* Media coverage of families who received special invitation tickets -- and not REAL Americans.
* Media coverage of who these special invites are. (Tom Delay's sister, Bush's cousin's friend, etc.)
* Media coverage of the silencing of these missing families.

Personally, since we've known for weeks now about the plan, the media is hungry to show all these wonderful gay couples, playing with their kids, NOT protesting...and just having a good time. And if they don't get that, the story will be...WHY NOT?

I, for one, can't wait to see it. I'm sick of traditions that exclude and try to embrace the past. It's time to progress this one. Let America grow and let freedom ring.

Coding Bender

posted by John Blanco @ 3:33 PM


Whew. That was quite a bender. About 4 hours of source fury!

I've added in-game chat to Avatara. A nice feature because previously, once you started a game, you were cut off from communicating with your opponent. Aside from disallowing me from communication with my likely beta tester, it prevents you from trashing talking them, too. ;-)

I've also added a chat indicator for when the chat log is invisible, so you know that a message has been sent. In the world view, where there are plenty of people chatting, this could get annoying, but in-game it's needed. I'll tweak the system a bit over time.

I've also added code that swaps the scoreboards in in-game mode depending on which color is on bottom for each screen.

So, now, except for the usual defects...I've got a lot in place. The last thing I'd like to do is to post in-game messages -- such as check, mate, etc. I'd also like to add a "draw request" feature, and have an end result state when the games ends.

Once that's done, I'll start hacking on the database. :-)

The Taliban is Dead. Long Live the Taliban!

posted by John Blanco @ 10:40 AM


Bush certainly talks tough on terror. Too bad he can't back it up with results.

As ripped from Daily Kos's georgia10...

George Bush from 9/27/2004:

"In a different kind of war, we had to recognize that we're not facing a nation; we're facing a group of people who have adopted an ideology of hatred and love to find places where they can hide. They're like parasites. They kind of leech on to a host and hope the host weakens over time so they can eventually become the host. That's why I said to the Taliban in Afghanistan: Get rid of al Qaeda; see, you're harboring al Qaeda. Remember this is a place where they trained -- al Qaeda trained thousands of people in Afghanistan. And the Taliban, I guess, just didn't believe me. And as a result of the United States military, Taliban no longer is in existence."

As reported from the AP, yesterday:

"KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Forty-one Taliban fighters and six Afghan policemen were killed in a fierce battle in southern Afghanistan, a provincial governor said on Saturday. [...]

Afghanistan has seen a surge in attacks on Afghan and foreign forces since the Taliban announced last month they had launched a spring offensive. [...]

Friday's battle comes amid weeks of rising violence by Taliban, fighting Afghan government and foreign forces since U.S.-led troops overthrew their Kabul administration in 2001... Despite the increased fighting, the U.S. army plans to cut its 19,000-strong force in Afghanistan to 16,500 this year."

Ask the families of the 141 dead soldiers in Afghanistan if they think the Taliban no longer exists.

Busy, Busy!

posted by John Blanco @ 10:05 AM


Why must we humans run around so much? :-)

OK, all done with Easter shopping. Sitting down to code up Chess Avatara, and I've already got some gains for the day. (More later.) Gonna code whilst watching my 8-1 Mets play. ;-)

A little later, going to Claim Jumper for dinner to celebrate our friend Jackie's birthday. :-)

My Secret Fear

posted by John Blanco @ 5:40 AM


I have a really hard time sleeping when the wind is blowing harshly. :-(

Friday, April 14, 2006

Alone @ Work

posted by John Blanco @ 1:21 PM


What a depressing day. Three quarters of the office is gone on this floating holiday we call Renewal Day. We all know it's Good Friday.

I didn't eat breakfast because I had a dental appointment at 8. It went fine, but by the time I got to work, I was staaaaaarving. Luckily it was Bagel Day.

However, here's what I've eaten so far on this fine Friday:

* Chocolate Chip bagel w/strawberry cream cheese
* Banana Nut Muffin
* Package of cookies
* A Coke

Ummm. Yeah. Someone save me! (10 minutes to go...)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Avatara: A Little Sexier

posted by John Blanco @ 7:24 PM


Michele worked her magic by drawing a new chess set for Avatara. This is the first time Michele has gotten involved which proves Avatara is real. ;-) The pieces are much more defined, and I love the colors. The pastel board is a bit thematic, but we'll work it into a matching set later. For now, the game is much more playable. The Pawn Promotion dialog is MUCH better as well.


Young Dems meeting last night. Andy Kerr showed up, the newest member of the Colorado House. He replaced Betty Boyd, who moved to the Senate. We're also getting set for the April 29th walk. :-)

This weekend, and next week, are gonna be a bit of a rush. Firstly, tomorrow morning I have a dentist appointment. Then, the workday will go swimmingly as the office is closed for a floating holiday -- though I am working. Tomorrow night we take Michele's parents out for's her Mom's birthday! (Actually, it is today.) Saturday, we have dinner with Jackie and Bonnie at Claim Jumper, and then Sunday we go to see Riverdance! Whoo! Also, going to the In-Laws' for Easter dinner.

Next week, Tuesday, is Michele and I's second anniversary! Yeah for us! :-) Wednesday,w e head downtown to meet Markos from the Daily Kos!!!! Sweet! The Young Dems will get a picture with him. :-) Then Friday, we hang out with the really nice, but DDR-hatin', Munhalls and friends for the Restaurant Review Club! ;-)

Whew...good thing we're resting tonight. :-)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Definition of "Freakin' Sweet!"

posted by John Blanco @ 8:50 PM


Let's Go Mets!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sweet Coding Joy!

posted by John Blanco @ 7:18 PM


Oh my frickin' jesus, I sometimes wonder why I got into the coding business. But, I guess it's times like these where it's worth it...

I've had this frickin bug in Avatara that has been wreaking havoc on my sanity the last few days. Game playing was just dandy, except for the fact that when black was promoting a pawn, all its pieces would disappear and then sometimes come back later and...WTF?!?!

The weird thing was that on the white board, all the pieces were fine. I was able to get some slightly different results when I changed up my testing. But, still, WTF?!?!

Tonight, I finally got an idea of what was wrong. You see, when you lift a piece, I swap the Flash depth of the piece to the highest, so it floats above the rest of them.

If you don't know Flash, I won't explain the depth details here. :-)

Well, I'd forgotten that instead of just using the square as a depth variable, I was adding to it with a constant. This way, I could put some movieclips at a depth lower than the pieces.

Well, when I swapped depths to the "moving depth," things were fine, but when I was bringing it back...I forgot to add that constant.

So, I'm not sure what the hell was specifically causing the error, but that was the symptom. What I'm going to assume is that when black was promoting, he was doing it at a square ID of 8 or less...which, when 10 is subtracted from it, comes out to negative something.

Can't be good. Could have destroyed any of the author-time stuff. Whoops! :-) No wonder it was black that was breaking!

OK, all good. DDR time. :-)

Sheela-Na-Gig by PJ Harvey

posted by John Blanco @ 9:00 AM


I’ve been trying to show you over and over

Look at these my child-bearing hips
Look at these my ruby red ruby lips
Look at these my work strong arms and
You’ve got to see my bottle full of charm

I lay it all at your feet
You turn around and say back to me

He said
Sheela-na-gig, sheela-na-gig
You exhibitionist
Sheela-na-gig, sheela-na-gig
You exhibitionist

Gonna wash that man right out of my hair
Just like the first time he said he didn’t care
Gonna wash that man right out of my hair
Heard it before, no more

Gonna wash that man right out of my hair
Turn the corner another one there
Gonna wash that man right out of my hair
Heard it before

He said
Sheela-na-gig, sheela-na-gig
You exhibitionist
Sheela-na-gig, sheela-na-gig
You exhibitionist

Put money in your idle hole
Put money in your idle hole

Gonna wash that man right out of my hair
Just like the first time he said he didn’t care
Gonna wash that man right out of my hair
Heard it before, no more

Gonna take my hips to a man who cares
Turn the corner another one there
Gonna take my hips to a man who cares
Heard it before

He said
Sheela-na-gig, sheela-na-gig
You exhibitionist
Sheela-na-gig, sheela-na-gig
You exhibitionist

Put money in your idle hole
Put money in your idle hole

He said, "Wash your breasts, I don't want to be unclean."
He said, "Please take those dirty pillows away from me."
He said, "Wash your breasts, I don't want to be unclean."
He said, "Please take those dirty pillows away from me."
He said, "Wash your breasts, I don't want to be unclean."
He said, "Please take those dirty pillows away from me."
He said, "Wash your breasts, I don't want to be unclean."
He said, "Please take those dirty pillows away from me."

Monday, April 10, 2006

Bush is Unfit to be President and Must Resign!

posted by John Blanco @ 7:10 PM


George W. Bush is incapable of leading our country and I question is mental well-being.

For nearly 3 years now, a private investigator has been trying to determine who leaked to the press that CIA agent Valerie (Plame) Wilson was a CIA agent -- outing her secure identity and endangering her and everyone who worked for/with her. Lives may have been lost over this outing, we can't know.

Not only was she outed, but the operation she worked for was outed. It crippled an entire WMD intelligence operation!

Sit down in your chairs folks, this is gonna floor you. Our President is incompetent and must be impeached. Here's the proof.

Here's the story nearly 3 years ago:

October 1, 2003 - Bush determined to find source of CIA leak

US President George W. Bush said today that he was determined to find the source of the leak that resulted in the naming of a CIA operative.

"I want to know the truth," Bush said at meeting with business leaders in Chicago.

"I don't know of anybody inside my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody leaked classified information I want to know it and we will take the appropriate action."

And now, in the last few days, the news has broken that Bush was the source of the leak! Yes, folks, 3 years of taxpayer dollars WASTED. A country lied to.

Here you go.

April 10, 2006 - Bush Says He Declassified Pre-War Intel

President Bush said Monday that he declassified sensitive prewar intelligence on
Iraq back in 2003 to counter critics who claimed the administration had exaggerated the nuclear threat posed by
Saddam Hussein.

"I wanted people to see the truth and thought it made sense for people to see the truth," Bush said during an appearance at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

"You're not supposed to talk about classified information, and so I declassified the document," he said in a question-and-answer session after delivering a speech on Iraq. "I thought it was important for people to get a better sense for why I was saying what I was saying in my speeches. And I felt I could do so without jeopardizing ongoing intelligence matters, and so I did."

The truth, sir, is that you lied and you used classified intelligence to make a political attack while endangering real human lives and taking down an entire operation dedicated to gathering intelligence on n-u-c-l-e-a-r p-r-o-l-i-f-e-r-a-t-i-o-n.

I hope a slanthead righty responds here. Anyone who does is basically signing a document stating they are an idiot, because there is NO defense.

He is endangering America. He is putting party and politics before country and playing like a child.

He has ruined the career's of several CIA operatives. He has hurt the war against terrorism. He is a fraud, a coward, and I have no qualms in saying:

He must go -- NOW.

A Perfect Day Elise by PJ Harvey

posted by John Blanco @ 11:47 AM


He got lucky, got lucky, one time
Hitting with the girl in Room 509
She turned her back on him facing the frame
"Listen Joe, don't you come here again".

White sun scattered all over the sea
He could think of nothing but her name 'Elise'
God is the sweat running down his back
The water soaked her blonde hair black

It's a perfect day, a perfect day, Elise

He got burned by the sun
His face so pale and his hands so worn
Let himself in Room 509
Said a prayer, pulled the trigger and cried,
'It's a perfect day Elise'

Saturday, April 08, 2006

New Chess Avatara Screenshot

posted by John Blanco @ 5:59 PM


Here's a look at the in-game screen from Chess Avatara. Once again, all the graphics are temporary, but I did take a shot at a layout possibility with the giants pawns on the right.

On each screen, you see a gameboard (the color you play is always on bottom), your username, rating (not real yet), who's turn it is, and I have room for the pieces that have been taken off the board.

The sound effects and a red-line for movement is there. The only thing missing right now is a pawn promotion dialog, but that is my goal for tomorrow. Until that's in, you can't play a "real" game of chess.

You can also ignore the buttons on the bottom right. Those are just placeholders until I get the functionality working.

Overall, I'm excited! I can't wait to start working on the subtle details. I've almost got the functionality all in place...and then the fun begins! I especially can't wait to hook this puppy up to the database so the whole ZaBlanc-XX crap is over with. ;-)


Quick update for the day, Michele and I went to Linn's last night and had a good socializin' time. Today, we went biking for, ahem, the first time in our house. And yes, we've been here almost 3 years. Weird, eh?

But now it is Costco time -- for our refrigerator is empty. :-) Mmmmm, Costco frozen pizzas......

Friday, April 07, 2006

A Blanco Update

posted by John Blanco @ 6:12 PM


Yeah, it's Friday!!! Again! This week went fast! And it started of so lousy, what with back and neck pain, and having to bring my car into the shop for the second time in a week. But, all fixed up...$400 later!

On Wednesday, Mike and I played chess over at a StarBucks nearby. Had some good fun playing on the board. I forgot to record the first game, but the second game made it to my database. I played a Winawer French as black in the first game, and I played the Bird as white in the second.

Mmmmmmm, Biiiiiiiird.

Michele came and visited our new DTC offices today. She got lost, but who can blame her. The cubicle farm is burgeoning! After giving her a quick tour, we went to yumm Sonic for lunch where I had a Blue Coconut Slushie which was very yummy and made my tongue very bluish.

Got some good work done and I only have a handful of defects left to worry about come next week...and an open weekend with no plans, which is good and bad. We'll find something to do. :-)

Tonight, going to Linn's for a casual get together. Mmmm, margaritaaaaaas. :-)


In Avatara news, great updates to report. Games are very playable, and I'll soon have a good little epicenter of functionality to start building the more subtle features off of. My goals this weekend include working on the game section a lot -- adding chat to the game board, offering game features like draw requests and aborting, and some other tweaks and code cleanup.

Once done, I'll have to add the more necessary add-on to game play, namely, pawn promotion. I can easily do a dialog, but I'm thinking of making it a little more fancty. I dunno. I'll prolly just do a dialog for now and leave those fun little enhancements for down the road when I've got all the grunt work complete.

It's looking good. I'll post a screenshot shortly!

Thank You, Harry Taylor!

posted by John Blanco @ 8:39 AM


A great thing to sign for a brave and great American.

What is this all about? Catch up on what happened yesterday right here.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

My Beautiful Leah by PJ Harvey

posted by John Blanco @ 4:42 PM


Did you see her walking?
Did she come around here, sir?
Black hair, brown eyes
My beautiful Leah

She was always so needing
Said, ’I have no-one’
Even as I held her
She went out looking for someone

She only had nightmares,
And her sadness never lifted
And slowly over the years
Her lovely face twisted

Did she come around here, sir?
I swear you would remember
Black hair, brown eyes
Late september


It never leaves my mind
The last words she said
’If I don’t find it this time,
Then I’m better off dead’

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

What Sports Are All About

posted by John Blanco @ 9:33 AM


This is a pic of the Maryland Terrapins upsetting the Duke Blue Devils in the Women's NCAA basketball final. The sheer joy captures what sports is (should be) all about.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

John Blanco: Living Legend

posted by John Blanco @ 9:21 PM



Yes, I am into myself. I did a 1238 combo in DDR tonight, shattering my old record by about 500! Dude, I am l33t!11!!!1!!one!!!

Afterwards, I followed things up by AA'ing the infamous Afronova! What can I say, I had my dancin' socks on today. :-)

Yes, I am into myself.

In Tribute to Idiot Tom DeLay

posted by John Blanco @ 1:42 PM


A sterling example of why it is good for America that he is looooooooooooooong gone:

"Guns have little or nothing to do with juvenile violence. The causes of youth violence are working parents who put their kids into daycare, the teaching of evolution in the schools, and working mothers who take birth control pills."

He said this in 1999. He was talking about the cause of the Columbine High School massacre.

Looking back...

posted by John Blanco @ 6:44 AM


NEW YORK, Oct. 20, 2000

Bush gazed around the diamond-studded $800-a-plate crowd and commented on the wealth on display.

"This is an impressive crowd - the haves and the have-mores," quipped Bush. "Some people call you the elites; I call you my base."

Buh-Bye, Tom DeLay

posted by John Blanco @ 5:48 AM


This is the funniest thing I've ever seen him say:

"I refuse to allow liberal Democrats an opportunity to steal this seat with a negative personal campaign," DeLay said. "The voters of the 22nd district of Texas deserve a campaign about the vital national issues that they care most about and that affect their lives every day and not a campaign focused solely as a referendum on me."

Yeah, Tom...from the party that has made it an art form.

Another thing, Tom, don't launder money!

Buh-Bye, Tom DeLay

posted by John Blanco @ 5:48 AM


This is the funniest thing I've ever seen him say:

"I refuse to allow liberal Democrats an opportunity to steal this seat with a negative personal campaign," DeLay said. "The voters of the 22nd district of Texas deserve a campaign about the vital national issues that they care most about and that affect their lives every day and not a campaign focused solely as a referendum on me."

Yeah, Tom...from the party that has made it an art form.

Another thing, Tom, don't launder money!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Opening Day!

posted by John Blanco @ 11:25 AM


Today is Opening Day for the Mets! Home opener as well. The season is on!

Let's Go Mets!

Update: Mets win 3-2!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

From American Dad

posted by John Blanco @ 10:15 AM


Steve: What am I gonna do?!
Hayley: Whatever you want. You know, a pregnant boy still has the right to choose.
Stan: Not in this house he doesn't. We're Conservatives and the **one** way we don't like to kill things is that way.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Goodbye Colorado...?

posted by John Blanco @ 2:42 PM


Michele and I received the call today -- we're moving. The offer we've put down on a new house was accepted, but now the bad news.

It's in South Dakota.

A few months after we started dating, Michele and I visited Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. While we were a little underwhelmed by the monument (it seemed too small), we fell in love with the state.

A couple months ago, she raised the idea of moving to an area with cheaper land. We thought about South Dakota and Maine. I actually was pushing for Canada. :-)

We decided on South Dakota, and did a quick little 3-day road trip there a couple weeks ago. We got to see about 5 houses that day, and Paul (our broker) was great helping us even though we'd never met yet.

We fell in love with a ranch-style, 4-bedroom place in Aberdeen. It's a big lot, and the house is only a few years old. It's $60K cheaper than our house here in Littleton, and the time is right.

So now, we face some short-term hardships. Saying goodbye to friends will be, of course, tough. Also, I'll have to talk to work about either telecommuting, or leaving. Michele will also miss her family very much. :-(

But we won't be too far away. And we'll be able to visit often.

OK, we have some more work to do right now. I'll post more tomorrow.