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**Gibson guitars (Les Paul, SG, Explorer and more) for less are right here

Whole lotta shakin' goin' on

Sheez, where to start.. a lot of crap has happened over the past few days. Ok, here goes.

First, at work a girl named Judy appeared and was visiting for the day from some other department in the company (I think... I don't pay attention to those things), and she seemed to take quite a liking to me, platonically of course, but that's not a bad thing. She happened to be good friends with my "cubie" (i.e. person who sits w/me in the same cube) Deb. In some strange twist of fate, the conversation leaned my way and the subject went straight to the fact I have no girlfriend right now. Judy somewhat elected herself to be matchmaker for me. Good thing? Bad thing? Not sure at this point.

I've traded a few AIM's (that's instant messaging for those who don't know) with Judy and she's already invited me to go hang out, probably at a bar or something. And of course she will bring the intended (the girl she wants to hook me up with). Honestly speaking, it's not meeting someone new that scares me. It's the fact I would have to go to a bar - which I don't ordinarily like. I will wholly admit - I cannot simply sit somewhere and drink because a) I don't drink and b) I get bored to tears very, very easily. The whole thing just seems like a complete waste of time to me. It would be so much cooler to street hike in Boston, or go to a museum, or go to a show, or even something as simple as a movie... you know, something to do. I made sure to 'warn' Deb in advance that I hope there are pool tables at whereever I'm taken to (if the stars line up and this actually happens), because if I just sit there it's not going to be a pretty picture.

In addition, the intended is Judy's sister.. I think that's what she said. I don't remember. Being that I have the attention span of a stump, I don't remember details like that. But, what I do remember is Judy saying all sorts of good things about the intended, of course. I also remember telling her (more or less) "Why are you doing all this for me, you hardly know me", to which she replied "I trust my gut." I thank her gut. :-)

Secondly, my Counter-Strike Team has really been picking up steam by leaps and bounds. We've recruited in several new members (good ones this time), and are still getting blasted with tryout requests. Awesome, but it can drain you. My only beef at this point is that I have to get my team captain off his ass and start conducting tryouts more often. I am starting to get comments from existing team members that some people who are wanting to try out never get a shot. That is supposed to be the team captain's responsibility to attend to that.. so I will have to deal with that.

Also, I am having to 'go back to school' so-to-speak concerning running the Counter-Strike server itself. This takes up a large chunk of my free time configuring the damn thing.. and no one seems to understand the amount of effort it takes to do it. Then again - it is my responsibility, so I shouldn't complain. I am having to learn more and more about this thing day by day. It is an ongoing process. Someday soon I will have the server to the point where I can let it just run and not worry about it. When will this happen? No clue, but I'm hoping it will be soon. :-)


**Hard-to-find secret Fender FSR guitars? They exist, and they're right here.


New Audio Card

I noticed this really annoying buzz noise coming from the on-board audio card on the motherboard. The buzz existed when nothing was playing - I had to turn up the volume to actually hear it. "Time to get another card" I said to myself. Fortunately, good audio cards are cheap. I got this one. Installed easy. Works. No more buzz. Price? 18 bucks, that's including shipping. Awesome. (grin)



Browser broke? Nope, it's just Java

Yeah, I surf the 'net quite a bit (and if you're reading this now, you probably do too). Recently I was visiting a few web sites that showed what looked like a broken image (where you normally see a box with an "X"), and I was saying to myself "Huh? I just installed Windows on this computer.. why am I seeing the X?" Then I said to myself "Oh yeah, I don't have Java installed". A quick run to java.com fixed that.

Java, dear friends, is a thing made by Sun Microsystems. I won't get into the tech details of what it is because it would probably confuse most people, but what I can tell you is this: On the internet, Java has got to be one of the most awful things to ever be put in web pages.

Don't get me wrong, Java itself is a cool thing considering what it can do (which is quite a lot), but the end result is that the majority of internet surfers out there (including myself) find Java very annoying. That's because it slows down web pages to a crawl - even on fast computers, and when you don't have it installed, it shows nothing but an "X" - making you think you have something wrong with your web browser. At least Flash (made by Macromedia) is smart enough to TELL YOU when you need it. Java does not do that. I knew enough about internet surfing to install Java when I needed it. Most people wouldn't.

Previous to Sun's version of Java, Microsoft used to (until told by Sun not to) bundle Java with Internet Explorer and called it "Microsoft Virtual Machine" or Microsoft VM for short. Not anymore. You have to know enough to get it yourself now. Bummer. Granted, it was Sun's prerogative to make people get their version - after all they invented it... but like I said, most people won't know to do this. Two of our Armed Forces web sites, Navy and Marines, both use Java on their home pages (look for the scrolling "News" on the left side for either web site, that's the Java). Without the Java, a nice fat X shows up where the Java is supposed to go.

This is why I will not use Java or Flash on any of my web sites. I make all my sites "plugin-free" to ensure backwards-compatibility - and to avoid annoying anyone. (grin) When it comes to corporate intranet web design - that's a different story because many corp's insist on Java (mainly due to the reason "it seemed like a good idea at the time") so you have to deal with it. Goes with the territory I guess... but you'll never see it here. If for some reason I were to use it, I would at least put a little "heads up" web page stating "Hey you need this - go download it".