The Mundling Zone

Thoughts, rants, and raves from the desk of Michelle Mundling

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Food Ads

Remember the movie Falling Down with Michael Douglas as a recently-fired defense worker who loses it one day and goes on a lashout rampage against things he finds unfair? Remember the fast food scene in which he comments on how the food he was served NEVER looks like the food pictured in the retaurant ads?

The only reason I'm bringing this up is because I had a thought today at work. I was eating a Banquet Fried Chicken "tv dinner" for lunch, and I was looking at the box, then looking at my lunch. Of course, my lunch was not as appealing as what was pictured on the box. I wonder how small of a plate they used to make that piddly little meal look bigger on the package than it really was in the sealed tray?

I'm wondering just how long in this letigious society it's going to be before some greedy lawyer gets the idea to sue against deceitful pictures of various food items in ads, in stores, in restaurants, and on labels of packages. Hey, it could happen! Several people tried to sue the fast food restaurants for making them fat. It made the news and got some serious debating started.

I'm wondering if anyone ever got the idea to go to a fast food restaurant, order a Big Mac, then complain when he/she receives his/her order? "I'm sorry, this is not what I ordered. Yes, I wanted a Big Mac, but I wanted the Big Mac as it looks up on your menu board. This sandwich does not look like the Big Mac on your menu board. I don't care if you want to call it a Big Mac, but the sandwich you gave me does not look like the picture up there. If you can't give me a Big Mac that looks like the picture up there, then I want my money back."

With my luck, they'd ban me from the restaurant (LOL!).

Monday, June 28, 2004

E-mail Disclaimers

I've been receiving joke e-mails forwarded from friends who receive them from people who are using their work e-mail addresses to send them. How can I tell? Most of the time, the e-mail address is a dead giveaway. But, like all forwarded e-mails that are not cleaned up of coded tick marks and e-mail addresses of multiple recipients, there's this "disclaimer" at the bottom of many of these e-mails:

"The information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that your access is unauthorized, and any review, dissemination, distribution or copying of this message including any attachments is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender and delete the material from any computer."

Interesting! So what this disclaimer is saying is that I'm not authorized to read the joke because it was not originally intended to be read by me. Oh, God forbid the FBI comes knocking down my door for reading someone else's e-mail not intended for me and being notified of such! I'd better get off the Internet and bolt my doors right now! Oh, dread! Oh, worry!

Oh puhleeze!!!!

When it comes to jokes, cartoons, or other non-work or personal e-mails, these disclaimers are so annoying. They're impotent at best. Is someone really going to take the time to contact the author of the e-mail and tell him/her that they accidentally received it? What if someone sinister accidentally received it? Do you think a stern disclaimer is going to stop him from "sharing" the contents of the e-mail with others?

I know I'm bordering on the ridiculous here. What I wish people would do is clean up these e-mails to remove other people's e-mail addresses and the little codes and characters embedded into the contents of the e-mail.

It's not that hard, actually. Open up your WordPad program, then copy and paste original body of the e-mail onto the page. Then select "edit" then "replace" at the top of the screen. In the "find what" space, type in the "> " character with a space right after it. Leave "replace with" blank. Then click on "replace all." Do the same thing, but this time, remove that space after the ">" in the "find what" space. Doesn't the contents look better already? A little more adjusting might be needed, like deleting extra spaces to make two lines of text into one line of text. It doesn't take much time nor effort to "clean" up the contents and make them easier to read.

There is another benefit to this trick ... it reduces the bandwidth needed to send the e-mail. You might not think it would be important, but think about this: have you been on the Internet and it seems your service suddenly slows down or is slow when you log on? The main reason is bandwidth usage. The more bandwidth being used, the slower the affected Internet servers are. One e-mail may seem harmless. However, when you multiply that e-mail by millions of people, it adds up. That is one of the main reasons e-mail spam is so reviled and considered the scourge of the Internet; spam uses up A LOT of bandwidth.

Hmmm ... I started with one topic and finished with another. I guess that's my bohemian thought process at work. My mind wanders from one subject to another. :-P


Friday, June 25, 2004

Lookalike Celebrities

Just some casual observations:

Couldn't Traci Lords and Renee Zellweger look like sisters?

How about Catherine Mary Stewart and Kristian Alfonso?

Couldn't Lisa Zane play Madonna in a movie if she bleached her hair blonde? She even sounds like Madonna when she talks.

Just me, huh?

Thursday, June 24, 2004

PC Game Triggered False Virus Alert

Note:  the following is diary of a series of events that occurred after an antivirus update on my computer.  This issue was resolved in a timely manner by Oberon Media and McAfee.  If something like this should happen to you, contact the software and antivirus companies involved to see if the alert may be in error.

Last night around 9:20 PM EST, my antivirus program McAfee had an update that required I restart my computer. When I restarted my computer, it alerted me that a file called gutterball.exe was infected with W32/Gaobot.worm.gen.e.

Gutterball.exe is the file that opens up the game Gutterball 3D, a 3D bowling game offered by IncrediGames, Oberon Media, and Skunk Studios LTD. IncrediGames is an offshoot of Incredimail, LTD.

The file sizes of the Gutterball installation files were different. The file size from the Oberon Media location was 7850 KB, the IncrediGames location was 7779 KB, and the Skunk Studio location was 6998 KB. I downloaded the installation file from Oberon Media and IncrediGames, and both times McAfee alerted me to the same infection and deleted the gutterball.exe file. However, when I installed the game downloaded from Skunk Studios, McAfee didn't detect any viruses, worms, nor trojans. I find this very interesting!

I retrieved the e-mail receipt from my files. I purchased this game from the IncrediGame web site, but the receipt came from Oberon Media. I have written Oberon Media expressing my displeasure and have asked for a refund. I promised an update as soon as I got some information.


UPDATE: 6/24/2004 6:20 PM EST

I received my first response from Oberon Media. The entire e-mail is as follows:

-----------------------------------------------
Below is the answer to the question you recently sent to the Oberon Media Support Team. If this response does not answer your question please use the link to update your question so we can take another look into this incident for you.


Almog Flitter 6/24/2004 9:44:50 AM
Dear customer,

We checked this issue several times as seriously as possible, and confirmed that our system is indeed virus free.
From time to time anti-virus companies publish false alerts. We suspect this is the case and are waiting for Mcafee to fix their definitions. We expect that soon, probably today. As soon as it comes, we will send it to you so you can enjoy our games to the fullest!


Once again, I would like to assure you that our system is safe and protected, and that no harm was caused to your computer by our games.


Thanks,

Almog Flitter,
Oberon-Media
--------------------------------------------

This still does not answer the question about why there are three different file sizes for the same game. However, I have to give them credit for giving me a timely response. My antivirus program just had another update, so we'll see. I will update as I get more information.

Update: June 25, 2004 12:20 AM

I received a second response from Oberon Media, confirming that McAfee made an error. I checked the virus info page on the McAfee web site, and, indeed, the update concerning this situation had been issued.

The entire e-mail received is as follows:

-----------------------------------------------------
Below is the answer to the question you recently sent to the Oberon Media Support Team. If this response does not answer your question please use the link to update your question so we can take another look into this incident for you.

Alon Hod 6/24/2004 8:08:13 PM
Dear customer,

Mcafee just released the following:

"An incorrect identification of some modified ASPacked files as W32/Gaobot.worm.gen.e has been identified in the 4368 DAT files. The 4369 DAT files are being released to resolve this incorrect identification."
(http://us.mcafee.com/virusInfo/default.asp?id=description&virus_k=101447)

The game may just work now.
If not, an update of Mcafee should solve the issue or you can update by download the 4369 DAT file from:

http://www.networkassociates.com/us/downloads/updates/dat_download.asp


It's clear Mcafee had a mistake here. As you can see we did our best to fix the problem and make sure you'll be able to enjoy your games as soon as possible!

If the game still doesn't work, just enter the original website you downloaded the game from.

Find your game and click Download, no need to purchase again, if you get limited time play, use your registration key we sent you in the confirmation letter.


Please don't hesitate to contact us at any problem, we will be happy to assist you a always.


Enjoy,

Alon Hod
Oberon-Media
---------------------------------------------

I did respond to let them know that I have received their information and that I appreciated the timely responses and solution to my situation.

My confidence has been restored in the company, and I have reinstalled the game and have been happily playing it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Cramps from Swimming After Eating: A Myth?

You've heard that old saying, "Wait one hour after you eat before you get into the water or you'll get cramps." I used to think it was bunk. After tonight, I'm not so sure.

Now, I've eaten plenty of times before going into a pool, but it was to just be in the pool, not for any rigorous swimming or playing in the water. I never had any after-effects. People would repeat that old saying to me. I got the impression they believed that just stepping into the water after eating would cause all my muscles to convulse in a major cramp just because there was food in my stomach. Needless to say, I'd just blow it off and go about my business.

Tonight was water aerobics night. I was hungry and wanted some food before changing clothes for class. I stopped at the local KFC and got the three-piece chicken strip dinner. When I got home, I ate my dinner, talked to the 'rents and the dog, then changed into my bathing suit. Got the new suit from Making It Big, and it's going to take some time getting used to the cut of the style.

I arrived at the YMCA and got to the pool area where they were having swim classes. It was right at 7:00, so I wondered if we were going to have our classes tonight, especially since yesterday's class was cancelled due to the lighting storm. Finally, we were able to get into the pool and do our warm up exercises.

Our instructor couldn't join us in the water tonight, but she was able to tell us which exercises we would be doing. Then we started our cardio routine. We had four sections of six exercises: ankle touch front, ankle touch back, frog jog, side straddle hop, cowboy kick, and jogging in place.

Then they hit! Both legs just above the ankle area! Cramp city! I was hurting, but I knew that if I stopped, they would hurt even more. I slowed my routine down some to try to walk out the cramps. Once we got to the jog in place routine, I felt relief.

Once the cardio portion of the class was over with and we started doing the upper arm waterboard exercises, I forgot all about the cramping. That is, until classes were over and I headed toward the shallow-end ladder. Then my left calf wants to cramp and the right leg just above the ankle wanted to join in on the fun. Remembering what my sister told me, many cramps happen because the person inflicted with the cramp hasn't been drinking enough water. The instructor was nice enough to get me a couple of cups of water to drink to make the cramping go away. Five minute later, I was able to climb the ladder and get out of the pool.

I sat on the bench doing a lot of thinking as I dried off. I'm still debating as to whether or not that old saying is true. I do know, however, that tonight's experiences have made me see the old saying in a different light.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Dealing With Loss, pt 2

Since my last post, Maci's site underwent some changes and the page I was referring to is blank and "under construction." I can't go into detail because this involves a 14 year old girl, but let's just say a series of events have occurred, and I don't think her site will be updated anytime soon.

During the weekend, someone made a post on the green screen that a body was found at Oakland Cemetary (no joke). The poster's friend and mother saw the body and called the police. I will not mention the deceased's name, but it is my understanding that he had recently received news that he was in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. He was also still painfully mourning the death of his father. Last Saturday, the gentleman went to visit his father's grave and committed suicide. I can only imagine what his family is going through.

As I may or may not have mentioned before, I get inspirations from the darndest situations to write my poetry. I haven't had time to upload it yet, but I'll post it here for now until I do. I wrote this with that gentleman and a friend's husband's cousin (who suffered a sudden heart attack and died that same weekend) in mind:


Untitled

May God comfort his family in this time of grief
Their souls cry out his time on earth was too brief
Their hearts ache today with pain and sorrow
But time heals all wounds as they look toward tomorrow

He won't be forgotten, his family will revere
Their memories of him, of the time he was here
His laughter, his joys, his dreams, his tears,
Will still remembered after all of these years

Your loved ones still alive, you know who they are
Take the time to seek them, whether they be near or far
Tell them how you feel, you won't regret
The heart full of love and happiness you'll get

For when the time comes for you to grieve
The sudden death of a loved one, you will achieve
The comfort of knowing he knew how you felt
Despite the cruel cards of fate you both were dealt

I hadn't planned on writing the poem. It just happened. Many of my poems are written on the spur of the moment. I need to get my mini-tape recorder out of mothballs and keep it in my truck for when I get an inspiration while I'm on the road. They do happen frequently, but they usually disappear when I get to my destination :-(

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Arabs want an apology???

I received this "letter" from my sister Pamela. Neither one of us know who the author is. If any of you knows who originated the following, please e-mail me at mundlingzone@spamcop.net. I am a firm believer in giving credit where credit is due. I agree with this "letter" 100 percent.

Letter Of Apology

For good and ill, the Iraqi prisoner abuse mess will remain an issue On the one hand, right thinking Americans will abhor the stupidity of the actions while on the other hand, political glee will take control and fashion this minor event into some modern day My Lai massacre.

I heard some Arabs are asking for an apology. I humbly offer mine here:

I am sorry that the last seven times we Americans took up arms and sacrificed the blood of our youth, it was in the defense of Muslims (Bosnia, Kosovo, Gulf War 1, Kuwait, etc.).

I am sorry that no such call for an apology upon the extremists came after 9/11.

I am sorry that all of the murderers on 9/11 were Arabs.

I am sorry that Arabs have to live in squalor under savage dictatorships.

I am sorry that their leaders squander their wealth.

I am sorry that their governments breed hate for the US in their religious schools.

I am sorry that Yasir Arafat was kicked out of every Arab country and high-jacked the Palestinian "cause."

I am sorry that no other Arab country will take in or offer more than a token amount of financial help to those same Palestinians.

I am sorry that the USA has to step in and be the biggest financial supporter of poverty stricken Arabs while the insanely wealthy Arabs blame the USA.

I am sorry that our own left wing elite and our media can't understand any of this.

I am sorry the United Nations scammed the poor people of Iraq out of the "food for oil" money so they could get rich while the common folk suffered.

I am sorry that some Arab governments pay the families of homicide bombers upon their death.

I am sorry that those same bombers are seeking 72 virgins. I guess they can't find even one virgin here on Earth.

I am sorry that the homicide bombers think babies are a legitimate target.

I am sorry that our troops died to free more Arabs.

I am sorry they stopped the gang rape rooms and the filling of mass graves with dissidents.

I am sorry they show so much restraint when their brothers in arms are killed.

I am sorry that Muslim extremists have killed more Arabs than any other group.

I am sorry that foreign trained terrorists are trying to seize control of Iraq and return it to a terrorist state.

I am sorry every time terrorists hide they find a convenient "Holy Site."

I am sorry they didn't apologize for driving a jet into the World Trade Center that collapsed and severely damaged Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church - one of our Holy Sites.

I am sorry they didn't apologize for flight 93 and 175, the USS Cole, the embassy bombings, etc.

America will get past this latest absurdity.

We will punish those responsible because that is what we do. We hang out our dirty laundry for all the world to see. We move on. That's one of the reasons we are hated so much. We don't hide this stuff like all those Arab countries that are now demanding an apology.

We lost hundreds and made fun of a few prisoners. It was wrong. It dramatically hurts our cause. Now we're supposed to just stop and walk away from Iraq because a few were humiliated?

Not on my watch!!

Our compassion is tempered with the vivid memories of our own people killed, mutilated and burnt amongst a joyous crowd of celebrating Fallujans.

If you want an apology from this American, you're going to have a long wait. You have a better chance of finding those 72 virgins.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Cool Blog Alert: Wanderingblogger

The life of a truck driver written with a sense of humor. Check out Wanderingblogger's journal.

He's also sharing photos he's taken while on the road. You can view them on his picture journal.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Toshimitsu Takagi

When you have some time to kill, check out Takagism, a website by the Japanese artist Toshimitsu Takagi. It's a little left-of-center, but it's obvious this man has talent.

I found the Shockwave Theater and the Interactive Garden very interesting, although admittedly some of the Shockwave Theater "presentations" were too raunchy for my tastes.

I have to admit my favorites are the room games. At this writing, the Viridian Room is being featured on the site.

One word of warning: some of Takagi's artistic expressions involve nudity (including full frontal nudity) and bodily functions. If you are offended by these, then stick with the Crimson Room/Veridian Room games.

I'll give you one clue about the Viridian Room: not all the objects you find will be needed. That's what made this game harder than The Crimson Room.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

June Gathering of the Greenie Gals

This month's get-together was a treat. Merle hosted the gathering at her house. It had threatened to storm, but it cleared up just enough to give us a beautiful view of the trees just before sunset.

It is truly amazing how a group of ladies who originally met on a local mesageboard can plan group gatherings and keep the interest going strong month after month.

We took several photos that evening. You can view the pictures here. Click your back button to come back to this entry when you're finished.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Water Aerobics

I'm still getting over a bad cold, but I felt better enough to go to my water aerobics class last night. I've paid for a six-week series of classes three times a week.

I must say that the classes are nothing like I thought they would be. Just because half to most of your body is under water doesn't mean your muscles don't get a workout. You just don't feel the stress of gravity on your body. The exercises will get your heart rate up and you will feel the impact in your legs, abdomen, and arms. Whoever came up with the idea of water aerobics was a genious.

The first time I took the class, I had to deal with foot and leg cramps during class and when I tried to get out of the water (I didn't drink enough water before the class). When I finally did get out of the water, my legs felt like rubber, and my right knee was killing me (the same knee I fell on -- twice -- when I slipped in the kitchen a few years ago). I was sore the next day. It's like when I'm in the deep end, and I'm doing my stationary bicycle exercise ... I don't realize how much I've done until I get out of the water. When I'm climbing out of the pool, gravity is NOT my friend, ha! ha!

I'm actually doing pretty well this morning. I'm not nearly as sore as I was the first time, and I'm ready to do another set. However, I'll have to wait until Thursday evening.

That's a hell of a switch -- actually looking forward to an aerobics class! Go figure!