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Meet Taco #5


Portion control is really difficult when the food is this damn good.

Ground beef (5lbs), onions (2), garlic (lots), green bell peppers (2), green chilies (5 cans), diced pickled jalapenos (lots), black beans (2 cans), cayenne pepper, salt.


Plus shredded cheddar, shredded white six-cheese mix, chopped green tomatoes, green onions, romaine, green salsa, sour cream, and hot sauce, all in a crispy corn shell.

The only problem is, they're so good, it's hard to stop eating them. Did I really need five tacos for dinner tonight? No, but my taste-buds are sooooo happy.

Trolls on the Internet

Long YouTube conversation full of vitriol after the cut. Read more...Collapse )

Easier Windows Update

As I've mentioned before, I have to install windows updates individually, reboot, and ensure Corel VideoStudio still works. This has traditionally been an exceptionally painful process - even more so than it sounds. Typically each update will take 5-10 HOURS to download and install (or more!), making updating windows a daunting, frustrating, and emotionally draining process. However, I've recently discovered a different method of updating windows that, while still labor intensive and somewhat time-consuming, is vastly faster and an improved experience.

The steps below are for Windows7, but I imagine they're similar for other versions of Windows. I'm only including very general steps, rather than detailed instructions. If you can't figure out how to follow these instructions without further detail, you should probably be allowing Windows to download and install updates automatically anyway.

Step 1: Have the Windows Update Service check for updates, if necessary.

Step 2: Click on one of the available updates, and click the "more information" link in the pane on the right. This opens a page in your default browser.

Step 3: Scroll down to the section that says "How to obtain and install the update".
- If it's a security update, there will be a method titled Microsoft Download Center, and there will be links to the Microsoft Security Bulletin, which will then contain links for download.
- If it's not a security update, there will be a method titled Microsoft Update Catalog, which will allow you to add the update to a "cart" (along with others) and download multiple updates at once. Note that the Update Catalog requires that you use MSIE 6.1 or later. If you're using another browser, it *tells* you that you can use the Download Center to get the update, but I'll be damned if I can figure out *how*. So just open MSIE and get the update.

Step 4: After all updates have been downloaded, stop the Windows Update Service in services.msc

Step 5: Double-click on the update file that you want to install, and click YES when prompted.

Wait for the install, reboot, and done!

Using this method, the downloads take less than a second to a couple of seconds, and each installation takes anywhere from one to five minutes. This is just SO MUCH BETTER than going through the Windows Update Service itself!
This post is a reply to a series of questions I was asked on why I feel Trump would be a worse president than Hillary. Read more...Collapse )

A Better Jurassic World

Dear Max Landis,

I actually really liked your pitch for a better Jurassic World movie in the mid-September Movie Fights.

Full disclosure: I actually REALLY enjoyed Jurassic World. It vies for my Top Favorite Movie with Jurassic Park 3. You see, I don't have any of the lofty goals of "plot" and "story line" and "character development" that esteemed movie critics seek in movies. My goal is "RAPTORS! Were the raptors cool? Were they at least somewhat accurate in some way? YAY RAPTORS!"

So Jurassic Park 3 (or III) had socially sophisticated raptors that communicated vocally with each other, and cared for their offspring. That's what I loved about JP3. Jurassic World showed equally complex raptors, with a social structure and intelligence. They're not just killing machines. They're social, intelligent creatures.

I would have been more happy if they'd had feathers. I'd have been more happy if a lot of things. But let's face it, raptor fans have little enough to celebrate in movies these days. We're lucky to get what we do. In decades past, dinosaurs were portrayed as cold-blooded, slow-moving, stupid, offspring-leaving careless parents, more lizard-like than bird-like, mindless killers, and more. So much so, that an even-slightly-realistic portrayal of dinosaurs has me, and my fellow dinosaur fans, throwing popcorn in the aisles in praise of the entire JP franchise. The Jurassic Park series is literally our ONLY SOURCE of dinosaur movie, accurate or otherwise. So don't hate us for loving the franchise.

But I get it. The Jurassic Park movies are more powerful when they're used as a commentary on humanity as a whole. And your pitch was excellent, and I think I would have enjoyed your movie.

However, we need to talk about your dinosaur pronunciation. Let me start by saying that I am not trying to be insulting. I have definitely mispronounced a fair number of dinosaur names in my growth as a dino-fan. These words just aren't uttered in our culture today, so it's totally understandable why someone might get them wrong.

Except, velociraptor is now a household name. And I have to let you know: it's a short i sound, not a long e sound. vel-OSS-ih-raptor, not vel-OSS-ee-raptor.

Also, it's die-NON-ick-us, not DIE-know-NIKE-us. (Fair enough, that one's not as much of a household name.)

Again, this isn't meant as a personal attack. I used to say PARE-uh-SAUR-uh-LOFF-uss, because let's face it, that's how Parasaurolophus is spelled as far as Americans are concerned. But I later learned it's para-saur-ALL-ofus. So, my mistake. I also used to say "ank-KEY-lo-saurus, but it's ank-KYE-losaurus. Live and learn.

I just wanted to write this to say, I liked your movie pitch, but from a dinosaur lover, please make minor adjustments to your pronunciations.

Thank you,
A blue raptor-ish gamer/geek/nerd

My House Looks Familiar

Apparently, my house has a look to it that people just find... "familiar". Once or twice per year, someone comes up to my house and asks for someone who has never lived here. I've owned this house since 2004, and I know the name of the couple who owned it for decades prior to that. They were an elderly couple, whose children had families of their own.

A man knocked on my door this morning, and asked for someone by name, someone who has never lived here. When I said that person didn't live here, he said "Oh, he must have moved out." And I said "Over a decade ago?" (It didn't occur to me until he left that the name he mentioned also didn't belong to the couple who had this house before me.) And he said "Maybe?" And I said "Maybe you have the wrong house? I've lived here since 2004." and he said "Oh, maybe. No wait, I know it's this house, because I mowed this lawn!" (as he pointed to my front yard. Which is gravel, and has presumably not had grass in it for decades.) "No, you have the wrong house." I said.

Earlier this year it was a couple looking for the family that had sold them their cat through craigs list. Apparently the litter of cats had some condition, that the family had just found out, and under the guise of wanting to "warn" this family, but by their line of questioning, also wanted some form of compensation. They were looking for a middle-aged couple with two children, which as I said, haven't resided in this house for decades.

This kind of thing happens a lot. While the houses in my neighbordhood are fairly cookie-cutter, my yard is pretty unique. The former owners must have ordered a whole truck of concrete for a project, and then didn't know what to do with the remainder, so started putting concrete EVERYWHERE. So there are concrete barriers around all the trees and bushes out front, which look like jagged white teeth surrounding all the plants. I have "Green Dragon Clan" in sticker-letters on the mail drop that's next to the garage, something which I am sure NO OTHER HOUSE in the NEIGHBORHOOD has. And I've lived here for 12 years. Unless there's a fold in space-time that allows other people to occupy my house at the same time as I do, I'm fairly certain I know who has and has not resided at this address since I've owned it.

And yet people argue with me. Like either I'm lying, or I'm the one who is mistaken. WTAF?

Chocolate Ice Cream Vodka Milkshake

Add the following to a blender:
1/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup vodka (3oz)
enough chocolate ice cream so the mixture will fill a tall glass

Blend until smooth.

Drizzle chocolate syrup on the inside of the glass, then pour in mixture.

Drink with straw.

Careful, it's easy to slam this in 15 minutes and forget there's 3oz of vodka in there.
I don't understand why some Windows updates block legitimate (and expensive) software, but it's frustrating and annoying. I have to install any Windows update one at a time, reboot, and then ensure Corel VideoStudio still works. Every time I try to bulk install Windows updates, one or more ends up blocking the software, and then I have to uninstall them all and go one by one anyway. *gnashes teeth*

I wrote about this in a previous entry, but for brevity's sake I wanted to consolidate here.

If Corel VideoStudio (vstudio.exe) won't open, and you see an error like this in Event Viewer:

Faulting application name: vstudio.exe, version:, time stamp: 0x4e1fb85d
Faulting module name: KERNELBASE.dll, version: 6.1.7601.19160, time stamp: 0x56bcd5c3
Exception code: 0xc06d007e
Fault offset: 0x0000c52f
Faulting process id: 0x1508
Faulting application start time: 0x01d1839da8774512
Faulting application path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Corel\Corel VideoStudio Pro X4\vstudio.exe
Faulting module path: C:\Windows\syswow64\KERNELBASE.dll
Report Id: e9de57c0-ef90-11e5-8906-f4b7e20324be

Uninstall the following Windows Updates, which are blocking the software. I will update this list as I discover more.


I hate to not be able to install all relevant security updates, but what am I supposed to do? I know I don't rely on my video editing software to make a living, but I do still want to use it from time to time. I've considered installing a second version of Windows (and not updating it) as an alternate boot option and using that for when I want to edit videos, but that's obnoxious. And besides, I shouldn't have to!

Alivan's vs. Ollivander's - Wand Review

If you’re looking for screen-accurate (looking) wands, the Harry Potter Shop or Ollivander’s at Universal Studios Florida are your best bet. However, I personally feel that Alivan’s wands are far superior. Alivan's wands are carved from solid blocks of wood and stained, giving them a naturally beautiful appearance. The resin wands may look like wood on the Harry Potter Shop website, but in person I feel they look like plastic, and the trademark/copyright stamp is an unfortunate choice. And frankly, who ever heard of a resin wand in the books and movies? These wands are supposed to be made of wood! The resin also doesn't hold up to wear as well as the wood, chipping when dropped. While the wood requires some care with wax/conditioner, I expect the wood wands to hold up well over time.

Click the image below for a larger view:
Comparison Detail

Official Title Elder Wand Twisted Cut Mahogany Xenophilius Lovegood's Wand
Store Alivan's Alivan's Harry Potter Shop
Material & Design Stained, carved wood Stained, carved wood Painted resin
Weight 21.8g 21.5g 79g
Length 15 3/8 in or 39cm 15 7/8 in or 40.1cm 14 13/16 in or 37.6cm
Screen Accurate Replica? No
Click here for screen accurate elder wand from Harry Potter Shop.
Not a replica
Notes No detailed markings
Sustained no visible damage from being dropped on concrete
No detailed markings
Hasn't been "out in the wild" yet. (Hasn't been dropped.)
Runes etched towards bottom
“TM & © WBEI  (s14)” painted about a quarter of the way up from the bottom
Bottom has chipped from being dropped on concrete a few times, milky white resin visible