Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

To all my fellow Americans reading the blog, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

It may be a world of entertainment and mass distraction for those of us in the first world, but I’m far too aware of those who live in conditions much closer to that which the pilgrims faced in the desperate early years of the new world colonization efforts. Having food to eat, a roof over one’s head, and a warm bed are simple things that we all should be grateful for. It’s all too easy to lose perspective when trying to keep up with whatever expensive toy a neighbor or acquaintance has gotten themselves.

It is going to be a quiet Thanksgiving here at the Boonedocks, devoid of a turkey and the traditional trimmings. In fact, my father and I aren’t sure what we’re going to eat having made no preparations. Getting older and with little family living far away, the holiday simply doesn’t have the allure it once did. Substance matters and without it, the trimmings are pretty boring.

While I’m thankful for what I have, I’m even more so that I’m not going Black Friday shopping. It’s my idea of one of the nastier circles of Hell imagined by Dante.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Month That Ate My Homework

Or any other ridiculous excuse that you can imagine for not getting more done on the blog in November.

A wintery mix of weather, intestinal bug, and doing more in the real world than usual has led to my getting very little accomplished online lately. When it takes forever and a day to recover from expending energy, productivity suffers greatly. A couple of weekends ago I went on a trip up to the St. Paul area where I ended up assisting a close friend in teaching a merit badge course on computers to Boy Scouts.

Since then, I’ve been one of the walking dead and some extended trips out helping my father on some repair calls made me hungry for brains. Wait, that came out wrong. I lost my brains somewhere along the way, that’s what I meant. If you find them alongside the road, please send them to me and I might remember to repay the postage.

It depends on what shape the gray matter is in, you see.

Friday, November 15, 2013


In the past I've mentioned how much I like light weight fighter jets, so I decided it was time to show some love for something larger. In this case, North American's A-5 Vigilante series which is one of the largest carrier based planes the U.S. Navy ever had in service. Browsing through YouTube led me to a video showing the plane in its various incarnations from prototype to retirement. Be warned, excessive use of techno is the only sound on the video:

Big, beautiful and very fast, the Vigilante was a Mach 2 nuclear bomber designed in the 1950s, the era where all things seemed possible and brilliant minds flourished. Due to politics limiting the role of the Navy in strategic nuclear weapons delivery, the A3J (as it was originally designated) saw little service as the bomber it was designed to be. Politics wasn't the only reason the very advanced aircraft didn't work out in that role.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Health 11-13-2013

It’s been awhile since I updated the ongoing woes of my health problems. I only do it to document them for posterity which means I generally omit the minor issues. Lately, I’ve had to force myself to nap in order to maintain any functionality at all. The last three weeks have not been good.

The body is demanding repair time thanks to a host of minor infections of various types visiting me with sinusitis being the worst. Things had gotten so bad that scratches and minor skin breakouts were refusing to heal properly.  As much as I hate enforced rest, it is rectifying the problem.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day 2013

As much as I’m grateful for all that our armed forces have done for us throughout the history of the United States of America, I find my thoughts elsewhere on this day of recognition. Specifically, Leyte in the Philippines.

Oh there is a connection to Leyte with our armed forces, for that is where General Douglas MacArthur started the liberation of the Philippines in 1944. Fulfilling his promise to return, U.S. forces and Philippino resistance fighters fought quite a battle there. For me, Leyte is synonymous with kamikaze planes slamming into ships thanks to old footage.

Something far worse than a worn out fighter plane loaded with explosives slammed into the island of Leyte Friday. Typhoon Haiyan hit with category five winds accompanying a massive storm surge. This is a storm so huge that it covered all of the Philippines.

At least 10,000 are dead (the count will rise) and more than half a million have lost their homes. Estimates are that between 70-80% of the buildings have been destroyed in the city of Tacloban which is the location of most of the deaths.

Things are incredibly grim in the news reports with looting to survive and incredible misery due to nearly all the structures being destroyed. Watching footage and looking at photos is a heart breaking experience, but nothing compared to what the people there are dealing with. Fears of starvation have the survivors teetering toward out of control behavior.

My thoughts and prayers are with them.

Comments and Spam

It truly feels like a Monday, complete with the first significant snow of the season. In the wee hours of the morning here, a comment came into my blog that looked somewhat legitimate. After publishing it to get full access to all the html involved, I decided it was too shady to keep on the blog. Here’s the content of the post:

Social Cubix said...

Comment spamming you can only prevent by configuring your posting software appropriately. There are some technics like image code verification to verify a human is posting, against human postings with inappropriate content helps only an editor review before release. Machine posted spam may increase, if you use well known templates from popular blogging software.

12:21 AM

Thursday, November 07, 2013


After the brutal demise of the Subaru in September, we’ve been using a borrowed behemoth of a pickup truck. Not only was it not fun to drive, it was brutal on the backs of me and my father. Due to our need for a good winter vehicle with serious cargo space (that also gets reasonable mileage), the search for a replacement in the price range we targeted was looking pretty bleak. Another Subaru was completely out of the question with used prices sky high for Outbacks and Forresters.

Freestyle 01Freestyle 03

Grabbing the bull by the horns, I made sure we went out for an exploratory search of what, if anything, existed in our price range at local dealers. I had little hope of finding anything decent and planned to sacrifice longevity or capability. Our first stop ended up being our last thanks to a newly arrived used 2005 Ford Freestyle SEL at the dealership.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Strange Influx of Russian Spam, Part 3

Given how much I’ve already documented the new wave of Russian referral spam showing up on Blogger, I’m simply listing the new links as they come in. For more information on what this is all about, please see my previous posts here and here. In what may be a coincidence, vampirestats has been showing up in large numbers during the same time period. Also, I'm starting to see repeats of the same links, but they always register four times when they hit.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Strange Influx of Russian Spam, Part 2

Another day brought in another round of the odd referral spam to my Blogger statistics. Following the same pattern as the first batch, things took a turn toward the sinister once I started checking them out.  If you receive any of these in your referrals, do not click on the links!

Artcs Spam 01

http: // art-cs . ru / ?p=275 linked to a post on a Russian blog, just like all during this onslaught of faked referrals. This one does have phone numbers in one post, though I didn’t look them up. Last post was in September of 2012 and most of the posts were put up on one day.

Etiketu Spam 01

The second of this wave was http: // etiketu . ru / ?m=20120907 which links to a blog about proper etiquette and how it helps in business. Like the farming site in the first wave, this one has an about page. Unlike that one, no name is associated with it. Instead a mission statement of promoting humanism and decency is present. This will turn out to be highly ironic.

It was last posted to in October of 2012.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Strange Influx of Russian Spam

November has brought cold winds with it and a flood of Russian spam on the 3rd. The false referrals on my Blogger stats lead to a  baffling variety of blogs. Only one is an obvious attempt to sell things, which makes it very mysterious that they all came at once. Oddly, all showed up four times with the exception of the first. All use Wordpress and none have ads placed on the pages, but do have LiveInternet statistics links.

UPDATE: Continued with a theory of why these are being sent out.

Now the individual links:

Kyho Spam 01

http : / /www . kyho . ru / was the first to arrive Sunday morning. I copied the link for future investigation and headed out to church. Little did I know that it was the first of a larger group of spam arriving through early Monday.

Firing up my virtual machines for safe and compartmentalized browsing, I found out I’d be using Google translate a lot in trying to decode the mystery. This site is dedicated to hair care with repetitive posts which raises suspicions of being an automated site scraping content from legitimate blogs. There are no comments and it is a barebones blog layout. It also was last updated in November 2011!

With no ads and no immediately visible malware on the page or in the source code, it looked like another case of zombie spam.

Friday, November 01, 2013

A New Season

Hope is said to spring eternal and sometimes it feels that way in regard to seasonal entertainment, or in this case the television variety. Having cut the cord years ago, I have no cable or satellite version of a 150 channels with nothing on worth watching. Broadcast and streaming are all I need given most fare is dreck these days. So it is a bit surprising to be following  a number of live action shows and anime this fall season.

It takes a lot to get me into live action TV since after decades of watching every variation of story has been seen more than once. Even a foray into South Korean dramas didn’t last long once it became apparent they drag things out for far too long at too high an intensity.

UPDATED 20 Nov 2013 to reflect being deeper into the season. New comments are in bold.

UPDATED 10 Dec 2013 with further comments in blue.

Final Thoughts in green.