23 September 2008

In Memoriam

The qxcrhf family of files (qxcrhf.dll, qxcrhf32.dll, and the qxcrhf registry entries) appear to have been a unique creation of a common viral infection on a client's computer.

After hour after fruitless hour of battle, using every tool at my disposal, I finally found the chink in its armor. And no, that is not a racial slur. Shame on you for such thoughts!

Anyway, FileASSASSIN gets my heartfelt endorsement!

Goodbye qxcrhf, you will not be missed. May you rot in the infernal regions with all of the other random character strings created by various forms of malware. I wish I could say what trojan this was exactly, but there were at least three separate ones infecting this computer and I have a feeling that qxcrhf was a different one.

13 September 2008

So we finally, after a year, got a pair of cheapo disposable cameras developed from our vacation last year to California. I've also taken the liberty of reorganizing our "road trip log" into a much more readable order in a single post, which you can read here.

So this is day one at the air museum in Liberal, Kansas. Lots of 50s, 60s era early jets, although there was a rustbucket F-14 falling to pieces out there too!

Nothing like seeing one's wife behind the controls of a AH-1 Cobra to quicken the pulse...

Believe this is New Mexico.

If I recall, this was taken after passing into Arizona.

The first In'N'Out that we found. Not in California, but tasty nonetheless.

From the cockpit of the Neufmobile, traversing AZ.


Here's Debra on the ship used for the movie "Master and Commander" in San Diego. Upon these very same decks walked the inimitable Russell Crowe, of "Makin Movies, Makin Songs, and Foightin Round the World!" fame!

So comrade, what exactly happens when I turn this crank next to the rear torpedo tub[FWOOSH]...oops I hope that didn't just do something ba[BOOOOOM]...hmmm wasn't the USS Enterprise parked behind this submarine? Maybe we should get going.

Yet another reason the submarine service would have been a bad idea for me.

Saying g'bye to our diesel commie sub friend.

...gestures pointedly at a bird in San Diego.

...gestures pointedly at a seemingly invisible bird in Solvang.

Amidst all the Danish/Disney cuteness of Solvang there is a Subway. What has to be the fanciest, most dressed up Subway in existence.

...smiles knowingly...a flock of birds on the central coast.

The pier at San Simeon, which is a nice walk out over the ocean.
...and a bird.

...gestures pointedly at a group of birds in San Simeon.

The water is quite beautiful there. This is at the base of the hill/mountain upon which Hearst Castle is built.

...gestures pointedly at a bird of a different color.

With charcoal hauled in our car all the way from Missouri, we're going to grill at the beach, gosh darn it. No matter how cruddy and unappetizing the grill looks.

This was a LARGE steak. A bit thicker than we usually like, the center was borderline cool and surprisingly bland. But the scenery was nice.

...gestures pointedly at a mooching bird.

Next day at the beach. Bird.

...gestures pointedly at a bird that got a bit too full of himself and was asking for a lesson in manners.

Debra climbing on the rocks at San Simeon...tide coming I think...

...yep, this is her making a swift egress after coming close to getting drenched.

The traditional "we're too cheap to hire a photographer and too standoffish to bother one of the old rich hippies that come here to paint seascapes to take it" picture.

This is the Californian housefly. Seriously, precious few insects, but tons of lizards. I would take the lizards.

Giant ants...or oil rigs? I defy anyone to tell me, for certain.

In the valley at Zion Nat'l Park in Utah. A crappy disposable camera cannot come close to capturing the beauty of this place.

On the Emerald Pools trail.

The sheer face of the canyon.

The lovely and gracious Mrs. Neufeld posing with what mentally negligible hippies left...stacks of rocks. Someone started it and everyone apparently decided they should do it too, for some reason. Maybe if I left a McDonalds styrofoam coffee cup on top of a rock, I could come back a year later and see a 10 foot high pile of styrofoam coffee cups.

This was from the medium or the upper pools, not certain which. Tellingly there is a faded inscription in the lower left, saying "DANGER BEYOND THIS POINT". Apparently to some people this is not an obvious thing. But if someone is either blind enough or stupid enough to not notice the sheer dropoff of the cliff and associate that with danger, do we expect them to actually read and comprehend the little plaque that warns of "DANGER BEYOND THIS POINT"?

Absolutely beautiful there.

Back at the hotel, this is what we could see from our balcony. There was a friendly llama that amused us for a while.

Went out and took some closeups. Nice animal.

10 September 2008

Camille Paglia, a shall-we-say controversial form of a feminist liberal author and columnist (a quote from whom has been gracing the upper right corner of my blog since its inception over four years ago), is the sort of thinker I greatly respect.

Her views on a number of political and moral issues are often nearly polarized from mine, but over the past few years I've been reading her columns and I have to admire the open-mindedness she exhibits. Her article from today is interesting, and makes a jarring contrast to the "party line":

Article Link

It would be simple-minded of me to only celebrate the "mavericks" that rebel from an opposing side...calling Lieberman a hero and, well, the whole great lot of RINOs traitors, or what-have-you. I certainly have my qualms with a great deal of what parades under the banner of conservatism, particularly "social conservatism", which is often at great odds with liberty and my generally libertarian philosophy, and most definitely "compassionate conservatism" which in the past eight years we have come to understand is nothing more than a mild escalation into Western socialism with a GOP-branded cover. In fact it is my libertarian tendencies at which I find the most common ground with Paglia, with the distinct difference what sort of libertarianism we prefer; Paglia seems wedded to social/moral libertarianism, which I accede to in most instances but do not as keenly embrace, and I lean more heavily towards economic libertarianism. But still, almost every article she writes, if she can pull herself away from her mindnumbingly-dull pet topics of feminist art, Madonna, and Daniella Mercury, I am quite impressed by her honesty and clarity of critical thought. Put it this way...I want to be as clear of a thinker in support of my ideological beliefs as she is of hers. The sort of "enemy" (and I use that term with a comic glint in the eye, I have no malice towards those whose beliefs differ from mine) that one admires and respects.

Again, on many issues I disagree heartily with her, but her respectfulness of the other positions (even having kind words for that bogeyman of the Left, Rush Limbaugh!) and her insightful criticism divorced from emotion and dogma make her the sort of liberal from which our country benefits. Likewise for conservative thinkers; give me William F. Buckley Jr. over, say, Sean Hannity or Ann Coulter, any day.

07 September 2008

OK, here's some pics from dinner tonight...essentially a variation on the Philly cheesesteak.

Here are the ingredients prepped before I got the grill fired up. Two medium-quality steaks (nothing too fancy) slathered in extra virgin olive oil and then coated with coarse salt and cracked pepper, with a few other spices thrown in. One big red bell pepper, and 2 "Hatch" green chilies. The Hatch chilies, as I understand, are from a particular town in New Mexico, and while they come in many heat levels, I can tell you after the fact that these were mild ones, but very delicious. Also a yellow sweet onion, sliced into slabs, and then secured with two water-soaked toothpicks, so they could be easily maneuvered on the grill without falling apart.

Built a hot fire of charcoal and a handful of hickory and apple chunks. Grilled the steaks first, to what I would call medium to medium well (again, not exceptional steaks). Then on went the peppers and onions. I closed the lid several times to let the aromatic smoke seep into the meat and veg a bit, as well as keep the fire under control. I kept the onions mostly in the medium/cool parts of the grill, because I wanted to blister/burn the pepper skin, but just wanted to cook and caramelize the onions.

Here's everything back inside. As you see, I also grilled up a half dozen fresh peach halves...we needed to eat them before they started to go bad, and there was the fire, so it seemed like a worthy experiment. They were fantastic and were gone before I could even get everything ready for the sandwiches. Kind of like a very natural sort of fresh peach pie.

I peeled the burnt skins off the peppers, diced them up with the onions, and then thinly sliced the two steaks. All went into a skillet which I briefly cranked up over some heat again, to reheat everything and meld the flavors a bit.

Here it is assembled, with a mild provolone cheese on top. Good stuff. Served with a homebrewed blackcurrant cider.

02 September 2008

I give you...

Licht von der Welt

This first photo is a study in the tragic unpredictability of modern thought; sheer volatility expressed in a hot beverage and root vegetable medium. The coffee, representing (among at least a dozen other things) the universal theme of flawed nature entering into a higher state, burst forth from the encompassing bounds of potato in a vivid expression of new thought that I leave only for your own private interpretation.

But we are not done; art is never destroyed, it is merely reborn. Behold MASHFEINE:

Viewing from another angle highlights our need as a society to approach multi-faceted social problems from multiple angles. Words fail me! Such things should not be narrated, excuse me, simply look on and wonder...perhaps dream, as I have?

Lastly, the inevitable decay. Ashes to ashes, sculpture to mush on a plate.

Meanwhile, outside the rain was pounding down, with the sun shining through our tree's foliage. Watching the September rain beat down on the street illuminated by sunlight was rather interesting.

My wife was chiding me for my recent lack of blog-output. Unfortunately today's post will be doubly boring for her...not just about beer, but about the beer industry in particular.

Anheuser Busch is brewing a new offering called "Budweiser American Ale". It is being marketed like many of their spinoff attempts to crack into the craft brew arena (all of which have failed miserably), but with a few extra twists. First of all, it is the first to carry the Budweiser label. Secondly, they are wisely marketing this as the "American Ale", brewed with ingredients grown only in America, a wise counterpoint to the popular perception that their acquisition by Belguim's Inbev has stripped them of their All-American nature. Early samplings posted on the internet seem to indicate it is a decent amber ale, perhaps a bit mild for some tastes but by no means bad.

Where AB could really hit this out of the park, is in changing their objectives with this beer. Instead of targeting the craft beer industry, which never fails to spank them soundly and send them running back to St Louis with their tails between their legs, they should target a new market, somewhere between craft beer aficionados and Bud Light drinkers. By pricing this "American Ale" somewhere around the same as Budweiser's lager, and packaging it in the cheaper and generally-better-for-beer method of cans, they would have a unique product that really could compete with the craft beer market. An inexpensive session ale bridging the gap between light lager down-the-gullet beers, and expensively packaged high-overhead craft beer. Craft beer types would still potentially buy it because it is a cheap, but tasty alternative to the 6-7 dollar sixpacks of craft beer, and Bud Light drinkers would try it too, because it tastes generally mild and is packaged in a familiar way with a familiar brand.

ABInbev can contact me with an email for address information on where to ship my check for this freelance consulting.