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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in cogvitamin's LiveJournal:

[ << Previous 20 ]
Friday, August 3rd, 2012
7:20 pm
Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
9:50 pm
Brancott Sauvignon Blanc = Win; Somerset Ridge Flyboy Red = Loss
Candid wine review:

Brancott Sauvignon Blanc = WIN. Tasty.

Somerset Ridge Flyboy Red = LOSS. I thought it was ok until my wife had me compare it to Genesis Today Resveratrol Juice.
Saturday, January 23rd, 2010
4:47 pm
"Raw Meal" - Garden of Life - thoughts
We tried "Raw Meal" a new meal-replacement product by Garden of Life today.

"Raw Meal" is packed with organic ingredients and has no synthetic ingredients. Somehow, it has at least 100% of the RDA of a number of vitamins and minerals including vitamin D and magnesium, both of which are commonly said to be deficient in Americans. Still, with only 400IU of Vitamin D, and with my goal of 5000-10000 IU a day, supplementing remains sensible.

My wife smelled the contents after opening but did not tell me all of her thoughts. I learned after preparing a smoothie with "Raw Meal", strawberries, coconut milk, and water, that the hint of vomit taste at the back of my tongue matched her initial olfactory impression.

Mostly though, the taste is interesting in a pleasant way. My wife found that cocoa made the drink very palatable. I found with repeated tastes that the finish was acceptable and the overall taste was very nice.

We will continue drinking this often, every day for me.

I would love to know if the vitamins and minerals in this product are more assimilable/absorbable than what you find in almost all supplements because they are derived from food.
Saturday, January 16th, 2010
4:53 pm
1. The Carbohydrate Hypothesis
Gary Taubes
Good Calories Bad Calories 2007 Pages 191-193

2. Irreversibly glycated LDL induce oxidative and inflammatory state in human endothelial cells; added effect of high glucose.
Toma L, Stancu CS, Botez GM, Sima AV, Simionescu M.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Oct 19 PMID: 19850013

3. Advanced glycation and lipoxidation end products--amplifiers of inflammation: the role of food
Gil A, Bengmark S.
Nutrition Hosp. 2007 Nov-Dec;22(6):625-40 PMID: 18051988
3:47 pm
Müllerian Inhibiting Substance lowers testosterone in luteinizing hormone-stimulated rodents

1. Alexander M. Trbovich*,
2. Patrick M. Sluss†,
3. V. Matt Laurich*,
4. Francis H. O'Neill*,
5. David T. MacLaughlin*,
6. Patricia K. Donahoe*, and
7. Jose Teixeira*,‡

+ Author Affiliations

*Pediatric Surgical Research Laboratories, †Reproductive Endocrine Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114


Contributed by Patricia K. Donahoe


Müllerian Inhibiting Substance (MIS) expression is inversely proportional to the serum concentration of testosterone in males after birth and in vitro studies have shown that MIS can lower testosterone production by Leydig cells. Also, mice overexpressing MIS exhibited Leydig cell hypoplasia and lower levels of serum testosterone, but it is not clear whether this is a result of MIS affecting the development of Leydig cells or their capacity to produce testosterone. To examine the hypothesis that MIS treatment will result in decreased testosterone production by mature Leydig cells in vivo, we treated luteinizing hormone (LH)-stimulated adult male rats and mice with MIS and demonstrated that it can lead to a several-fold reduction in testosterone in serum and in testicular extracts. There was also a slight decrease in 17-OH-progesterone compared to the more significant decrease in testosterone, suggesting that MIS might be regulating the lyase activity of cytochrome P450c17 hydroxylase/lyase (Cyp17), but not its hydroxylase activity. Northern analysis showed that, in both MIS-treated rats and mice, the mRNA for Cyp17, which catalyzes the committed step in androgen synthesis, was down-regulated. In rats, the mRNA for cytochrome P450 side-chain cleavage (P450scc) was also down-regulated by MIS. This was not observed in mice, indicating that there might be species-specific regulation by MIS of the enzymes involved in the testosterone biosynthetic pathway. Our results show that MIS can be used in vivo to lower testosterone production by mature rodent Leydig cells and suggest that MIS-mediated down-regulation of the expression of Cyp17, and perhaps P450scc, contributes to that effect.
3:44 pm
Vitamin E stimulates luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone and ascorbic acid release from medial basal hypothalami of adult male rats
Auteur(s) / Author(s)
Résumé / Abstract
Vitamin E, a dietary factor, is essential for reproduction in animals. It Is an antioxidant present in all mammalian cells. Previously, we showed that ascorbic acid (AA) acted as an Inhibitory neurotransmitter in the hypothalamus by scavenging nitric oxide (NO). Earlier studies have shown the antioxidant synergism between vitamin E and ascorbic acid (AA). Therefore, it was of interest to evaluate the effect of vitamin E on luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) and AA release. Medial basal hypothalami from adult male rats of the Sprague Dawley strain were incubated with Krebs-Ringer bicarbonate buffer or graded concentrations of a water soluble form of vitamin E, tocopheryl succinate polyethylene glycol 1000 (TPGS, 22-176 pM) for 1 hr. Subsequently, the tissues were incubated with vitamin E or combinations of vitamin. E + N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA), an excitatory amino acid for 30 min to study the effect of prior and continued exposure to vitamin E on NMDA-induced LHRH release. AA and LHRH released into the incubation media were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography and radioimmunoassay, respectively. Vitamin E stimulated both LHRH and AA release. The minimal effective concentrations were 22 and 88 μM, respectively. NMDA stimulated LHRH release as previously shown and this effect was not altered In the combined presence of vitamin E plus NMDA. However, AA release was significantly reduced in the combined presence of vitamin E plus NMDA. To evaluate the role of NO in vitamin E-induced LHRH and AA release, the tissues were incubated with vitamin E or combinations of vitamin E + NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (NMMA), a competitive inhibitor of NO synthase. NMMA significantly suppressed vitamin E-induced LHRH and AA release indicating a role of NO in the release of both LHRH and AA. The data suggest that vitamin E plays a role in the hypothalamic control of LHRH and AA release and that the release is mediated by NO.
2:52 pm
Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2009 Dec 29.

Association of vitamin D status with serum androgen levels in men.

Wehr E, Pilz S, Boehm BO, März W, Obermayer-Pietsch B.

Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Nuclear Medicine, Medical University Graz, Graz, Austria.

Abstract Objective: Studies in rodents indicate a role of vitamin D in male reproduction but the relationship between vitamin D and androgen levels in men is largely unexplored. We aimed to investigate the association of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels with testosterone, FAI (free androgen index), and SHBG. Moreover, we examined whether androgen levels show a similar seasonal variation to 25(OH)D. Design: In this cross-sectional study, 25(OH)D, testosterone, and SHBG levels were assessed by immunoassay in 2299 men who were routinely referred for coronary angiography (1997-2000). Measurements: Main outcome measures were associations of 25(OH)D levels with testosterone, SHBG, and FAI. FAI was calculated as testosterone (nmol/l)/SHBG (nmol/l) x 100. Results: Men with sufficient 25(OH)D levels (>/=30 mug/l) had significantly higher levels of testosterone and FAI and significantly lower levels of SHBG when compared to 25(OH)D insufficient (20-29.9 mug/l) and 25(OH)D deficient (<20 mug/l) men (p<0.05 for all). In linear regression analyses adjusted for possible confounders, we found significant associations of 25(OH)D levels with testosterone, FAI, and SHBG levels (p<0.05 for all). 25(OH)D, testosterone, and FAI levels followed a similar seasonal pattern with a nadir in March (12.2 mug/l, 15.9 nmol/l, and 40.8, respectively) and peak levels in August (23.4 mug/l, 18.7 nmol/l, and 49.7, respectively) (p<0.05 for all). Conclusion: Androgen levels and 25(OH)D levels are associated in men and reveal a concordant seasonal variation. Randomized controlled trials are warranted to evaluate the effect of vitamin D supplementation on androgen levels.
Sunday, December 13th, 2009
5:24 pm
[still need source - likely secondary source is wikipedia]

About 80% of breast cancers, once established, rely on supplies of the hormone estrogen to grow: they are known as hormone-sensitive or hormone-receptor-positive cancers. Suppression of production in the body of estrogen is a treatment for these cancers.

Recently researchers have discovered that the common table mushroom has anti-aromatase[21] properties and therefore possible anti-estrogen activity. Clinical trials have begun in the United States looking into whether the table mushroom can prevent breast cancer in people.[22] A recent study has highlighted the importance of this research. In 2009, a case-control study of the eating habits of 2,018 women, revealed that women who consumed mushrooms had an approximately 50% lower incidence of breast cancer. Women who consumed mushrooms and green tea had a 90% lower incidence of breast cancer.[23]

Contraceptives and copper levels.
Sunday, May 31st, 2009
3:34 pm
Excellent wellness radio on MP3
I have been enjoying these insightful health radio shows, which you can download as MP3 files:

1) Underground Wellness Radio - Sean Croxton is an energetic young health professional who interviews experts about a variety of health issues. He often discusses provocative topics in ways that counter common beliefs. His videos are fun and interesting as well.

- click the UW shows tab and then select radio

2) Superhuman Radio - Carl Lanore seems to have stumbled into this industry after a successful career in business, telecommunications I believe. Carl's show is a unique mix of sports performance and general wellness discussions. He sometimes talks about compounds not yet known about commonly, such as clotho and methylene blue, which have been found in studies to have helpful anti-aging effects. He often brings on scientists and thus presents a nice mix of his energy with their precision.

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009
7:26 am
Author L Rea responded to a message on rxmuscle.com with some great comments about the ergogenic benefits of malic acid, which is esterified (or otherwise chemically bonded with), with branched chain amino acids in the ALRI supplement "Chaind Out". Author is the CEO of ALR Industries (ALRI).

I then discovered a blog dedicated to malic acid (aboutmalicacid.com). This compound is found in many of the fruits my fiancee and I love, such as strawberries and pears. It appears to be what gives green apples the tartness not found in red apples.

Since I am running in track events next week during the Kansas City Corporate Challenge, I will be consuming Chaind Out daily. Anything to help prevent exhaustion sounds beneficial (see below). I also am hoping that the BCAA supplement, perhaps combined with a bit of olive oil and dilluted juice, will help me get through the long days at the track meets without eating much.

One thing I remember about high school track was the nausea after running races when I had eaten too closely to race time.

Author L Rea's reply

All good stuff! First, most research on BCAAs is not from oral administration though there is some. Do a little research on gluconeogenesis and the way the body uses unprotected (regular none esterfied etc) BCAAs as a source of glucose when in any level of catabolism. Some esters are simply beter than others, and of course where the chemical bonds are make even more difference in oral bio-availability. BCAAs are quite anabolic, leucine being the most so of course. Problem is getting them to the muscles and esterfication improves this (okay, most esters, I can think of dozens that are near useless).

So why malates? Over the years I have had an interest in the Action/Reaction Factors of many diseases and conditions as they commonly relate to performance as well. Fibromyalgia (FM) was one.

Just an FYI for your info: malates are derived from malic acid and when esterase frees the BCAAs in the blood stream from the malate it returns to malic acid. We created these BCAAs structures to be highly orally bio-available and as a result of overwhelming evidence that malic acid is anti-catabolic and decreases the loss of BCAAs in blood and from muscle. Additionally it supports ATP production (also anti-catabolic) It has become a standard for FM treatments the past year with great success.

Because of its obvious relationship to energy depletion during exercise, malic acid may be of benefit to healthy individuals interested in maximizing their energy production, as well as those with FM. In the rat it has been found that only tissue malate is depleted following exhaustive physical activity. Other key metabolites from the citric acid cycle needed for energy production were found to be unchanged. Because of this, a deficiency of malic acid has been hypothesized to be a major cause of physical exhaustion. The administration of malic acid to rats has been shown to elevate mitochondrial malate and increase mitochondrial respiration and energy production. Surprisingly, relatively small amounts of exogenous malic acid were required to increase mitochondrial energy production and ATP formation. Under hypoxic conditions there is an increased demand and utilization of malic acid, and this demand is normally met by increasing the synthesis of malic acid through gluconeogenesis and muscle protein breakdown. This ultimately results in muscle breakdown and damage.

In a study on the effect of the oral administration of malic acid to rats, a significant increase in anaerobic endurance was found. Interestingly, the improvement in endurance was not accompanied by an increase in
carbohydrate and oxygen utilization, suggesting that malic acid has carbohydrate and oxygen-sparing effects. In addition, malic acid is the only metabolite of the citric acid cycle positively correlated with physical activity. It has also been demonstrated that exercise-induced mitochondrial respiration is associated with an accumulation of malic acid. In humans, endurance training is associated with a significant increase in the enzymes involved with malic acid metabolism.
Friday, February 13th, 2009
7:46 pm
SAS Adventures
SAS adventures
spent much time exploring why a sequence variable was not the right value after a merge only to
discover that the sequences ran into the double digits and I had only alloted one digit in the merge
4:38 pm
SAS Interview questions from sconsig.com
I was asked some of these before my new job began, but not very many.



More SAS Interview Questions submitted by Sumit

Very Basic
What SAS statements would you code to read an external raw data file to a DATA step?
How do you read in the variables that you need?
Are you familiar with special input delimiters? How are they used?
If reading a variable length file with fixed input, how would you prevent SAS from reading the next record if the last variable didn't have a value?
What is the difference between an informat and a format? Name three informats or formats.
Name and describe three SAS functions that you have used, if any?
How would you code the criteria to restrict the output to be produced?
What is the purpose of the trailing @? The @@? How would you use them?
Under what circumstances would you code a SELECT construct instead of IF statements?
What statement do you code to tell SAS that it is to write to an external file? What statement do you code to write the record to the file?
If reading an external file to produce an external file, what is the shortcut to write that record without coding every single variable on the record?
If you're not wanting any SAS output from a data step, how would you code the data statement to prevent SAS from producing a set?
What is the one statement to set the criteria of data that can be coded in any step?
Have you ever linked SAS code? If so, describe the link and any required statements used to either process the code or the step itself.
How would you include common or reuse code to be processed along with your statements?
When looking for data contained in a character string of 150 bytes, which function is the best to locate that data: scan, index, or indexc?
If you have a data set that contains 100 variables, but you need only five of those, what is the code to force SAS to use only those variable?
Code a PROC SORT on a data set containing State, District and County as the primary variables, along with several numeric variables.
How would you delete duplicate observations?
How would you delete observations with duplicate keys?
How would you code a merge that will keep only the observations that have matches from both sets.
How would you code a merge that will write the matches of both to one data set, the non-matches from the left-most data set to a second data set, and the non-matches of the right-most data set to a third data set.

What is the Program Data Vector (PDV)? What are its functions?
Does SAS 'Translate' (compile) or does it 'Interpret'? Explain.
At compile time when a SAS data set is read, what items are created?
Name statements that are recognized at compile time only?
Identify statements whose placement in the DATA step is critical.
Name statements that function at both compile and execution time.
Name statements that are execution only.
In the flow of DATA step processing, what is the first action in a typical DATA Step?
What is _n_?

Base SAS
What is the effect of the OPTIONS statement ERRORS=1?
What's the difference between VAR A1 - A4 and VAR A1 -- A4?
What do the SAS log messages "numeric values have been converted to character" mean? What are the implications?
Why is a STOP statement needed for the POINT= option on a SET statement?
How do you control the number of observations and/or variables read or written?
Approximately what date is represented by the SAS date value of 730?
How would you remove a format that has been permanently associated with a variable??
What does the RUN statement do?
Why is SAS considered self-documenting?
What areas of SAS are you most interested in?
Briefly describe 5 ways to do a "table lookup" in SAS.
What versions of SAS have you used (on which platforms)?
What are some good SAS programming practices for processing very large data sets?
What are some problems you might encounter in processing missing values? *In Data steps? Arithmetic? Comparisons? Functions? Classifying data?
How would you create a data set with 1 observation and 30 variables from a data set with 30 observations and 1 variable?
What is the different between functions and PROCs that calculate the same simple descriptive statistics?
If you were told to create many records from one record, show how you would do this using arrays and with PROC TRANSPOSE?
What are _numeric_ and _character_ and what do they do?
How would you create multiple observations from a single observation?
For what purpose would you use the RETAIN statement?
What is a method for assigning first.VAR and last.VAR to the BY group variable on unsorted data?
What is the order of application for output data set options, input data set options and SAS statements?
What is the order of evaluation of the comparison operators: + - * / ** ( ) ?

Testing, debugging
How could you generate test data with no input data?
How do you debug and test your SAS programs?
What can you learn from the SAS log when debugging?
What is the purpose of _error_?
How can you put a "trace" in your program?
Are you sensitive to code walk-throughs, peer review, or QC review?
Have you ever used the SAS Debugger?
What other SAS features do you use for error trapping and data validation?

Missing values
How does SAS handle missing values in: assignment statements, functions, a merge, an update, sort order, formats, PROCs?
How many missing values are available? When might you use them?
How do you test for missing values?
How are numeric and character missing values represented internally?

What has been your most common programming mistake?
What is your favorite programming language and why?
What is your favorite operating system? Why?
Do you observe any coding standards? What is your opinion of them?
What percent of your program code is usually original and what percent copied and modified?
Have you ever had to follow SOPs or programming guidelines?
Which is worse: not testing your programs or not commenting your programs?
Name several ways to achieve efficiency in your program. Explain trade-offs.
What other SAS products have you used and consider yourself proficient in using?

How do you make use of functions?
When looking for contained in a character string of 150 bytes, which function is the best to locate that data: scan, index, or indexc?
What is the significance of the 'OF' in X=SUM(OF a1-a4, a6, a9);?
What do the PUT and INPUT functions do?
Which date function advances a date, time or date/time value by a given interval?
What do the MOD and INT function do?
How might you use MOD and INT on numerics to mimic SUBSTR on character strings?
In ARRAY processing, what does the DIM function do?
How would you determine the number of missing or nonmissing values in computations?
What is the difference between: x=a+b+c+d; and x=SUM(a,b,c,d);?
There is a field containing a date. It needs to be displayed in the format "ddmonyy" if it's before 1975, "dd mon ccyy" if it's after 1985, and as 'Disco Years' if it's between 1975 and 1985. How would you accomplish this in data step code? Using only PROC FORMAT.
In the following DATA step, what is needed for 'fraction' to print to the log? data _null_; x=1/3; if x=.3333 then put 'fraction'; run;
What is the difference between calculating the 'mean' using the mean function and PROC MEANS?

Have you ever used "Proc Merge"? (be prepared for surprising answers..)
If you were given several SAS data sets you were unfamiliar with, how would you find out the variable names and formats of each dataset?
What SAS PROCs have you used and consider yourself proficient in using?
How would you keep SAS from overlaying the a SAS set with its sorted version?
In PROC PRINT, can you print only variables that begin with the letter "A"?
What are some differences between PROC SUMMARY and PROC MEANS?
*Code the tables statement for a single-level (most common) frequency.
*Code the tables statement to produce a multi-level frequency.
*Name the option to produce a frequency line items rather that a table.
*Produce output from a frequency. Restrict the printing of the table.

*Code a PROC MEANS that shows both summed and averaged output of the data.
*Code the option that will allow MEANS to include missing numeric data to be included in the report.
*Code the MEANS to produce output to be used later.

Do you use PROC REPORT or PROC TABULATE? Which do you prefer? Explain.

What happens in a one-on-one merge? When would you use one?
How would you combine 3 or more tables with different structures?
What is a problem with merging two data sets that have variables with the same name but different data?
When would you choose to MERGE two data sets together and when would you SET two data sets?
Which data set is the controlling data set in the MERGE statement?
How do the IN= variables improve the capability of a MERGE?

Simple statistics
How would you generate 1000 observations from a normal distribution with a mean of 50 and standard deviation of 20. How would you use PROC CHART to look at the distribution? Describe the shape of the distribution.
How do you generate random samples?

Customized Report Writing
What is the purpose of the statement DATA _NULL_ ;?
What is the pound sign used for in the DATA _NULL_?
What would you use the trailing @ sign for?
For what purpose(s) would you use the RETURN statement?
How would you determine how far down on a page you have printed in order to print out footnotes?
What is the purpose of using the N=PS option?

What system options would you use to help debug a macro?
Describe how you would create a macro variable.
How do you identify a macro variable?
How do you define the end of a macro?
How do you assign a macro variable to a SAS variable?
For what purposes have you used SAS macros?
What is the difference between %LOCAL and %GLOBAL?
How long can a macro variable be? A token?
If you use a SYMPUT in a DATA step, when and where can you use the macro variable?
What do you code to create a macro? End one?
Describe how you would pass data to a macro.
You have five data sets that need to be processed identically; how would you simplify that processing with a macro?
How would you code a macro statement to produce information on the SAS log? This statement can be coded anywhere.
How do you add a number to a macro variable?
If you need the value of a variable rather than the variable itself, what would you use to load the value to a macro variable?
Can you execute a macro within a macro? Describe.
Can you a macro within another macro? If so, how would SAS know where the current macro ended and the new one began?
How are parameters passed to a macro?

Pharmaceutical Industry
Describe the types of SAS programming tasks that you performed: Tables? Listings? Graphics? Ad hoc reports? Other?
Have you been involved in editing the data or writing data queries?
What techniques and/or PROCs do you use for tables?
Do you prefer PROC REPORT or PROC TABULATE? Why?
Are you involved in writing the inferential analysis plan? Tables specifications?
What do you feel about hardcoding?
How experienced are you with customized reporting and use of DATA _NULL_ features?
How do you write a test plan?
What is the difference between verification and validation?

What was the last computer book you purchased? Why?
What is your favorite all time computer book? Why?
For contractors:
*Will it bother you if the guy at the next desk times the frequency and duration of your bathroom/coffee breaks on the grounds that 'you are getting paid twice as much as he is'?

*How will you react when, while consulting a SAS documentation manual to get an answer to a problem, someone says: 'hey, I thought you were supposed to know all that stuff already, and not have to look it up in a book!'

*Can you continue to write code while the rest of the people on the floor where you work have a noisy party to which you were not invited?

Can you start on Monday?
Do you think professionally?
*How do you put a giraffe into the refrigerator? Correct answer: Open the refrigerator door, put the giraffe in, and close the door. This question tests whether or not the candidate is doing simple things in a complicated way.

*How do you put an elephant in the refrigerator? Incorrect answer: Open the refrigerator door, put in the elephant, and close the door. Correct answer: Open the refrigerator door, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant, and close the door. This question tests your foresight.

*The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All the animals in the world attend except one. Which animal does not attend? Correct answer: The elephant. The elephant is in the refrigerator, remember? This tests if you are capable of comprehensive thinking.

*There is a river notoriously known for it's large crocodile population. With ease, how do you safely cross it? Correct answer: Simply swim across. All of the crocodiles are attending the Lion King's animal conference. This questions your reasoning ability.

Open-ended questions
Describe a time when you were really stuck on a problem and how you solved it.
Describe the function and utility of the most difficult SAS macro that you have written.
Give me an example of ..
Tell me how you dealt with ...
How do handle working under pressure?
Of all your work, where have you been the most successful?
What are the best/worst aspects of your current job?
If you could design your ideal job, what would it look like?
How necessary is it to be creative in your work?
If money were no object, what would you like to do?
What would you change about your job?

Thursday, February 5th, 2009
6:25 am
Computer tweaks to improve speed
A few performance tips for contemporary Windows systems that I discovered last week, which became my week off from paid work and week on for enjoyable computer work:

1) Search for your Windows "Prefetch" folder and delete all files except for layout.ini and taskmgr.???. Then run:
rundll32.exe advapi32.dll,ProcessIdleTasks
to update your layout.ini

2) Download and use Ccleaner, a program I endorse heartily. Previously called "Crap Cleaner," this program helps clean up the wilderness of a well-used computer's registry.

3) Spybot Search & Destroy, download and use. It's a great malware eliminator.

4) MalwareBytes, same as above

5) Finally, if you are experiencing slowness and bluescreen of death problems, you might consider running Hitachi's Drive Fitness Test to see if your hard drive possesses problems "Scandisk" may not find.
Thursday, December 11th, 2008
12:49 pm
"Day to Day" - leaving us in 4 months
I just heard on Kansas City public radio (KCUR, 89.3 FM) that news show "Day to Day" will be airing its last show in about four months.

Yet public radio, it was said, is more popular than ever.

So I will be donating money soon. I may be in debt, but I also feel indebted to the thoughtful, investigative, and enjoyable media I hear on public radio.

Current Mood: thoughtful
Saturday, October 11th, 2008
6:21 pm
Palin and Obama hand-in-hand
Sarah Palin and Barack Obama represent such a relatively youthful (perhaps in mostly an abstract, acceptably rebellious sense) contrast to the political status-quo that their representations seem ripe for conjoined analysis.

Now, I am not a trained philosopher, but these two are more similar then many allow given our current moment. Palin and Obama are not white males and are defiantly very much of their minority mold. Obama is not pretending to be a white man. He refers to his biracial heritage openly and responds to the what I believe many call the 'white male gaze' by restraining himself emotionally during debates while responding to it defiantly with the rhetoric and charismatic style of a black Baptist preacher during rallies. Palin responds by being the feminine politico that Thatcher, Clinton, and others could perhaps not be. Palin is an attractive mother who is folksy and smart. Philosopher Slavoj Žižek observes in this brilliant conversation that Palin seems to paint other candidates, even McCain, as the bombastic, wordy masculine figures. As I understand him, I think he is onto something: Palin has more freedom to relate to voters informally precisely because we all know that part of us expect her to do so. In some weird self-conscious way, we know that Palin is responding to our expectations, therefore imbuing her performance with a sense of courage. It's like she is daring enough to be herself, in terms of the identity foisted onto her, with respect to qualities that she chose to express because she saw them as superior to the conventional "I'm a man too" performance of female political figures.

Of course, not everyone trusts Palin. I am only now fighting off fears I had. Her interview with Katie Couric was terrifying, but as Camille Paglia writes, "don’t we all know that the best bits (of the interview's video recording) ended up on the cutting-room floor." Paglia pushed me to think differently about Palin. While I remain concerned about her ability to help Americans understand each other because she seems so focused on her base, Paglia persuaded me to interrogate my own biases - perhaps borne from "bourgeois conventionalism and rank snobbery."

Obama and Palin are also importantly different. I struggle to make sense of Obama's attraction among young people who, and maybe this is my rank snobbery again, seem to regard him as something like a fun, rebellious rockstar. See, I don't think a lot of politically ignorant young people view Obama as a messianic figure - our generation is too cynical and appreciative of the complexity of the world for that - but instead as a figure that captures their amorphous frustrations with the world. I mean, he is a black man after all. :)

In the real world, the next President of the United States will lead a country facing great change. I love that both Obama and McCain speak of themselves now as vehicles for change. I love it because it is honest, perhaps in spite of their fantasy productions. Our country's massive debt, trade deficit, struggles with cheap labor pragmatism and moralistic humanism, and deep cultural divides will come to a head as our economic leaders struggle to persuade world leaders worldwide that they can trust Americans to keep producing, and rapidly spending, their wealth.

I know this is clumsy, but I think I am onto something. Feelings of impending change are ubiquitous. Michael Savage, the ultraconservative radio show host, is talking about starting a third-party and he might pull it off because there is so much anger out there. Where there is anger, there is fear, and I think the fear many Americans feel is a result of not having the language to describe the current moment. So much has changed informationally that we know the nation faces dangerous times and yet do not know how to describe it. It's as if our language has not kept pace with our informational explosion. Who really looks at poor Latinos and thinks they are bad people? Who really thinks the people of any nations like Iran deserve to have their homes exploded? Yet who thinks we do not currently need cheap labor and stable access to oil?

I try to stay positive. Optimism might help me to change the anxiety-based lack of focus that leads me to not knowing what to do with my life, and led me to underperforming in school.

I just wish more commentators would talk openly about our nation's need for unifying, thoughtful, enlightening hope..
Thursday, September 11th, 2008
12:09 pm
Cog Thoughts - #1
If combat sports like boxing are so masculine,

why are the prize winnings called the purse?
Sunday, September 7th, 2008
9:27 pm
Posted on an IT-certifications livejournal
Thank you for the comment. I hope that the exams I am signed up for will pan out into a job. While I have two BA degrees in the social sciences and some computer lab and computer troubleshooting experience, I have yet to win a job in IT. So I signed up to take the following beta exams in the next 8 days with no exposure to SQL Server or Windows Server (abbreviated exam names):

PRO: MS SQL Server® 2008, Designing a Business Intelligence
PRO:MS SQL Server 2008, Design & Optimizing DB Admin Solutio
TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring
PRO:MS SQL Serv 2008, Design, Optimiz, & Maintain a DB Admin

Taking these in this order, I hope to emerge having passed all of them, of course. But I hope to at least pass the final SQL Server exam. Moreover, I am fascinated with working with database programs and aim to emerge much more knowledgeable about the Microsoft server applications. I hear that SQL Server is in demand in the Kansas City area, so here's hoping.

Anyone have any thoughts they would like to share?

Also, and someone may need to remind me, but I will let you all know about my experiences.
Friday, August 15th, 2008
7:30 pm
Sunday, August 10th, 2008
6:37 pm
Intel Core 2 Quad Custom XFX 9800 GX2 PC for $900...at least
My first eBay computer listing will sell! I have a bid. The auction ends at 10PM PST/1AM EST, a time that I think resulted from a mix of fatigue and strategy. At least I can trust people will generally not be at work.

CLICK here to see it.

Advertise it however you like and let me know so I can thank you.


4 GB DDR2, 4GB DDR2, 9800GX2, Gaming comptuer, Q9450, 3.0GHZ, 2.66GHZ, 3.0 GHZ, 2.66 GHZ, copper heatsink, ebay, IP35-E, Quake Wars Enemy Squadron, HDTV, HDMI,
Saturday, August 2nd, 2008
9:34 am
Discounted NEW gaming computer w/ HDTV cable

I assembled this computer with NEW parts for the purpose of selling it and then became very busy with school.  After sitting untouched for a couple months, I finally have the time to sell it. 

This is a new PC. System was 3rd-party tested by a computer shop in Kansas City, and I personally tested it with Ubuntu Linux.  I confirm that it is very fast, as expected. 


It is money-back guaranteed against for 30 days, has plenty of warranty coverage, and I’ll offer phone and email support for 30-days.

[SPECS]  -  Get detailed info by clicking the item information

Case: PowerTek EvilTek Black case

Motherboard: ABIT IP35-E LGA 775 Intel P35  [Warranty: The first 2 years parts and labor is free and on the 3rd year parts is free but labor is $25.00.]
DVD: HD DVD / CDROM: Blu-Ray LG GGC-H20L [Warranty: 1 year parts/labor]
CPU: Intel Q9450 2.66 GHZ [Not under warranty, but handled carefully and fully functioning based on tests]
Video: eVGA e-GeForce 8800 GT 512MB PCI-E (“The FASTEST 8800GT card in its class”) [Warranty: Info here]
Memory: ADATA 4GB DDR2 800  [Warranty: “Non-personal damage”]

Sound: Razer Barracuda AC-1 [Reduces use of PC resources!] [A $199 value] [Warranty info here]

            ($199 value)
Hard Drive: Seagate SATA 1TB [Cool, quiet, and fast!] [Warranty info here, warranty appears extensive]
Power Supply: Cooler Master Real Power Pro 750W [Cannot find info about warranty, tech support link is here]

Network: 1 Gigabit /s LAN connector

Cables: Monster 6m DVI cables allow connecting to HDTV.  I tested the computer, with the very cables I will provide you, on a 42” Samsung HPT-4264 Widescreen Plasma HDTV.  The screen size was perfect after adjusting the TV’s input option.  I will be happy to help you!

             ($170 value)


And what's this, a new unopened copy of Quake Wars: Enemy Territory.  Here you go, have a blast. 

The Q9450 runs native at a blistering 2.7 GHZ and you can crank it up to at least 3GZ (that's 3000 megahertz folks) using overclocking instructions found online - I can provide the link.  A lot of people say overclocking is safe, but overclocking does add to system heat.  I am sending it out in a form that reduces the likelihood of someone calling me, crying.

This machine should run any of the latest games.  I tested it, pre-installed Ubuntu Linux on it although you may need more drivers, depending on your needs.  Or, you can install your own operating system.  You're going to love it.  I am going to lose a little money.  But look, focus on the positive: This machine.  As for me, I'm looking for a job.  Really.  In Kansas City, MO.  I studied Statistics and also love computers, obviously.  Contact me if you have employment thoughts/advice/offerings.

Oh yes, this computer.  I guarantee against DOA.  I think have all instruction manuals, except for the case and the installed CPU.  I also have both the hard drive and motherboard boxes.  I will keep receipts for the hardware so that if there is a problem, you can send the product to me and I can attempt warranty coverage as the original seller. 

By the way, I may have the only PC on eBay with this quality of a sound-card: High-definition and CPU performance enhancing.

If you prefer, I will install Windows XP or Vista (Home Premium version of each) for $200.  I will aim to send the computer within two days after purchase.  You can also opt-out of either operating system and use the already installed Ubuntu Linux.  While I already tested the PC's Internet, video performance, and other applications with Linux, I will happily test whatever you like on your preferred version of Windows.  I can also re-format the drive to eliminate Ubuntu Linux if you prefer.  Finally, I can also install and test the complimentary Quake Wars if you like.


Generally, I aim to please, so send me a message if you want an option not provided with respect to hardware or software.

FINE PRINT, Weasel Clauses, &

Dirty Rotten Tricks

not really


Paypal payment is the only permitted payment method because I'm wary of wily scoundrels. Your payment must come with confirmed paypal address using a credit card registered within United States.  The item will be ONLY shipped to confirmed PayPal address within continental U.S for PayPal payment. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Listen, I personally love all countries, but I have greater trust for U.S. credit cards. 

All payments need to be received within 5 days after transaction date, otherwise deal will be canceled and you will receive a non-paid strike plus negative feedback. Let's avoid this unpleasantness, daddy-o (or mama-mia).


Ships within 2 business days of payment.

No International shipping will be offered except to Canada, but again I personally love all countries.

Tracking included.

Free local pickup in Kansas City, MO is available.  I studied Public Health for a year so I will even use hand sanitizer prior to shaking your hand.

Buyer requirements and returns:

Do not sell to buyers with unpaid strike/strikes because they might be a wily scoundrels.

Do not sell to buyers registered outside the United States, although I personally love all countries.

I guarantee that all components will arrive as described and fully functioning.  I allow returns with refund if any item does not work upon arrival, for up to thirty days after receipt.  Please know that all items are fully tested so I am offering this solely for bidders' comfort.  Please, no scammers, wily scoundrels, or crackhead gangstas.

After thirty days, give me a call and we can discuss what happened and how we might warranty the part. I will give the buyer my phone number and email address. Thank you for your interest!


Current Mood: hopeful
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