Friday Randomness

– Work on the Ashes to Ashes recaps continues. I’m about 10 minutes in to the recap for episode 4, so I’m almost caught up… until tonight, when episode 5 airs.

– For the handful of people who follow this blog via Twitter, I finally got set up to shorten the URLs in the tweets. For some reason, it wouldn’t take my API key before, but now all is well.

– Lead from an ancient Roman shipwreck is being used for a unique purpose. As this article notes, “once destined to become water pipes, coins or ammunition for Roman soldiers’ slingshots, the metal will instead form part of a cutting-edge experiment to nail down the mass of neutrinos”. Why this lead in particular? In the past 2000 years the lead has been sitting on the ocean floor, it has has lost almost all of its natural radioactivity, making it perfect for insulating machines that will attempt to detect rare particles.

– Ever heard of Margaret Corbin? Her husband, John Corbin, was an American soldier in the Revolutionary War. Margaret was a typical soldier’s wife, handling the cooking and cleaning chores at camp. That is, until they were attacked by 4,000 Hessian soldiers. Her husband had been tasked with manning one of the two remaining cannon at Fort Washington, on the upper side of Manhattan. When her husband was killed by a German bullet, Margaret shoved his body aside and manned the cannon herself – until she finally gave up after being shot in the arm, chest and jaw. She was the first woman given a war pension by Congress, and is the only Revolutionary War soldier of any gender to be buried at West Point. That’s pretty badass!

– Police in Hungary stopped a rag-tag band of Afghans… who claimed to have left their country three years ago in an attempt to walk to Britain.

– Then again, had they known about these two news stories from the UK, they might have stayed in Afghanistan: first, here’s the story of a disabled elderly man who kept a Swiss Army knife in his RV to cut up fruit at picnics, and was charged with possessing a dangerous weapon. Secondly we have this story about the love between Pearl Carter and Phil Bailey. The two claim to be desperately in love with each other, which would be fine, were it not for the fact that Pearl is 72 and Phil is 26. Oh, and they’re also grandmother and grandson… and they’ve hired a surrogate to have their baby. If it’s actually true, that is.

Ashes to Ashes: Season 3, Episode 3

This episode beings with Gene discussing two arson incidents in the past week – one targeted at a Conservative councilor, the other at Green Hill army barracks. The 1983 general election is coming up, and it seems that someone has a bone to pick with the government. Gene is afraid that whoever is starting the fires might want to make an even bigger statement tomorrow…  Election Day.

Jim walks in the office, and Ray tells him that they do care about him… as Chris presents him with a cheese tray. Everyone is disappointed when Keats says that Operation Countryman will keep him in the office a “wee bit longer”, because D&C want him to go through the past three years of cases. Gene tells him to just “be a man” and admit that he’s snooping.


Jim also says the Home Office has asked Special Branch to take care of the arson case. Gene complains, and Jim says that he told his superiors that Hunt and Company are capable of handling the case. Jim then gives Gene the floor. Gene says that the attacks could be IRA; Alex says to trust her that they weren’t. Jim asks if she knows something they don’t. Alex says that she just knows that she’s right. Gene tells Jim that this is Alex on a good day. Gene then tells the gang that he wants “every anarchist, commie, Trotskyist, pinko, leftie, greasy bastard student” rounded up. Alex sarcastically asks if he’s forgotten anyone. Chris, taking her seriously, mentions Vanessa Redgrave. “Good point,” replies Gene. Shaz, on the phone, announces that a polling station is also on fire.

Continue reading “Ashes to Ashes: Season 3, Episode 3”

England Rocks!

See, here’s the thing…. England has an entire galaxy of potato chip flavors. Whereas American snackers seem to be stuck in a rut of [some type of cheese], [some kind of spicy], and [some kind of ‘regional’] chips, the UK rocks the potato chip flavors like no one’s business.

In fact, Walkers, the premier British potato chip maker, is rolling out a new line of 15 chip flavors in honor of the World Cup. Apparently, their website will be the home to the “Flavor Cup”, a contest structured similarly to the World Cup, to see which flavor comes out on top.

Here are a list of the countries and their delicious flavors:

Argentina: Flame grilled steak
Australia: BBQ kangaroo
Brazil: Salsa
England: Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding
France: Garlic baguette
Germany: Bratwurst
Ireland: Irish Stew
Italy: Spaghetti Bolognese
Japan: Teriyaki Chicken
Netherlands: Edam cheese
Scotland: Haggis
South Africa: Sweet Chutney
Spain: Chicken Paella
USA: Cheeseburger
Wales: Welsh Rarebit

Woooo, Lord… I wanna try them all! Well, mostly. I’ve never had haggis, although it’s supposed to be much better than its reputation here in the States. Don’t know how it’ll work on a chip, though. It’s the same with BBQ Kangaroo – I’ve actually had kangaroo on several occasions, and I don’t know how you’re supposed to tell the difference between kangaroo and beef on a potato chip (it’s like an American company offering “venison-flavored” chips… how could you tell, really??).

I’d kill to try the England chips, with the German, Welsh, Irish and Italian chips all tied at a close second, and the French and Dutch chips tied at a close third.

Anyone got a Walkers hook-up out there?

Also, Frito Lay owns Walkers now… any chance we could get some more interesting flavors here at home?

CHKDSK runs at boot

If you shut down your computer incorrectly, it’s likely that CHKDSK (Windows disk checking utility) will run the next time you boot your computer. It’s not exactly common, but it’s not unheard of for Windows to then get “stuck” and want to run CHKDSK on a disk every time you start your computer. What’s worse, if Windows wants to run CHKDSK on a system drive, you might get locked out of your computer: Windows will run CHKDSK on the system drive, then reboot, then run CHKDSK again, then reboot, then run CHKDSK and reboot… and on and on and on in an infinite loop, and you never get to the desktop.

Yesterday, I was surfing the topics at a popular message board, when I came across a user who complained that CHKDSK was running at every boot on an external drive attached to his computer. The disk came up clean every time, but it was annoying to have to sit through the unneeded disk check every single time he booted his computer.

A poster suggested that he run the following command:

chkntfs /x d:

This is a horrible idea. It permanently disables automatic disk checking for that volume. While it will indeed solve his immediate problem of Windows checking the external drive at every boot, it also prevents Windows from checking the disk for errors in the future. It’s like suggesting that the best way to fix a video driver issue is to turn off the monitor!

A much better solution would be for the user to start REGEDIT and look in the following key:


Look for the BootExecute entry. By default, the value should be autocheck autochk *. If it is not, change it back to autocheck autochk * and reboot. Problem solved!

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-04-25

  • Mmmmmm… Cambozola – a triple cream blue cheese. It’s like the love child of Brie and Stilton with a Camembert rind! #
  • Woot! Happy 4/20 everyone! 🙂 #
  • Use McAfee and Windows XP? Don’t let it install the latest update: #
  • Wow… the new $100 bills are hideous: #
  • I don’t want the Steelers to trade Roethlisberger… unless it’s to the Raiders, in which case I think it’s funny. #
  • OMG! Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken REALLY IS almost as good as Chinese takeout! “Four Stars – Would Eat Again!” #
  • Agent Dunham makes me giggle like a schoolgirl! #
  • Jonathan Dwyer is a Steeler? SWEET!! 🙂 #

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Ashes to Ashes: Season 3, Episode 2

This episode begins with Alex having a dream… in which Gene and the gang recreate Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” video:


Alex wakes up, and static crackles on the TV. A lonely Alex looks at the TV and asks where everyone is.

Back at the station, “Uptown Girl” plays on the radio as workers hammer and saw and make other construction noise. Shaz jumps up and asks who long they’re going to be, as they’re giving her a headache. The workers say that they’re “dragging this place into 1983”. Chris tries to comfort her with some small talk, but a short-fused Shaz tells him to get lost.

Continue reading “Ashes to Ashes: Season 3, Episode 2”

Ashes to Ashes: Season 3, Episode 1

“My name is Alex Drake… and, quite frankly, your guess is as good as mine.”

So begins season 3 of Ashes to Ashes. The credits start the episode, and we’re then sent to 2008 (or is it 2009 yet?), where Alex is talking to a therapist. The two discuss how “real” her visions of the early 80s world were. The doctor then asks if she’s still “hearing voices”. Alex says that she isn’t. She’s asked if she still dreams about Gene Hunt and we then see a montage of Hunt kicking ass to the tune of Wagner’s “Flight of the Valkyries”. Alex ignores the question. Then doctor then asserts that her “dream world” wasn’t real. Alex says that Sam Tyler was in a coma too, and that he went to the same place as Alex, so how could it be possible for the two of them to “imagine” the same thing? The doctor assures her that Sam Tyler is dead and that the world she imagined isn’t real.

We next see Alex at an electronics store looking at DVDs. She “sees” a DVD for a movie called Legal Force, which has Gene, Ray, Chris and Shaz on the cover:

We’re pretty sure she’s imagining it, especially when, a few minutes later, we see Ray suddenly appear on a wall full of TVs. He’s begging her to wake up, as a girl has been kidnapped and, with Hunt on the run from the authorities for shooting Drake, he (Ray) has been put in charge. The screens then burst into static for a second, and then Chris appears, offering Drake a melon (he says he couldn’t find grapes). He too begs her for help with the kidnapping. He then says that Shaz will be coming in soon, and also mentions that he and Shaz have broken up. Another burst of static, and we see Shaz, who offers to clean up the melon on the floor. She then gives an emotional plea to Alex, saying that she made CID better then left her hanging.

Continue reading “Ashes to Ashes: Season 3, Episode 1”