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Latest Humorous T-shirt Slogan:
"You Wish!"
This one has to be taken in context to be appreciated. The girl wearing this belly shirt was maybe 5'0" tall, with a muffin top going on, despite the fact that she was clearly in her third trimester of pregnancy. In addition she was wearing a thong that came up past her low-rise jeans and pushed her muffin top down over the edge to really emphasize the roll. I'm not in perfect shape so I don't expect that others should be, but when you are wearing that shirt, along with the rest of the outfit, you open yourself to scrutiny (and perhaps random looks of horror).

It's fun to hate:
The Soccer Moms who insist that they drive gas-guzzling SUV's for the safety of their children despite the fact that they are 6 times more likely to be in a rollover accident than any other vehicle. It's like beating your child unconscious with the butt of your gun so that he will remain on the floor, thus making him less likely to be hit by a random bullet coming through the front window.

When Shadowtwin reigns supreme:
There will be mandatory, passive birth control required to participate in any form of government assistance. If you can't afford to raise your child on your own we are here to help you, but we must first make sure that your reproductive organs are adequately contained. If you don't like that policy all you have to do is support your kids your damn self!
Vote Shadowtwin!

Wildly inaccurate, yet shockingly precise, predictions based completely on happenstance and arbitrary universal fluctuations.
Your Horoscope:

Sagitarius: 11/22-12/21
A typographical error in your Church's newsletter will lead to you performing sex acts on dozens of anonymous strangers in your pursuit of "oral highground."

Capricorn: 12/22-1/19
The stars did recently tell your wife to "listen to her heart" regarding whether or not she should leave you. The stars did not intend for you to listen to her heart. But once you used that bonesaw on her sternum (not trusting the stethoscope which just responded with a cryptic thumping sound), we're pretty sure she made up her mind anyway.

Aquarius: 1/20-2/18
The stars would like to apologize for stating in their last prophecy, "Be wary of the stranger you meet at beach this weekend. The stars aren't sure why, but they don't trust him." Through a cosmic hiccup, that information was supposed to be released this month. The August prophecy should have read, "A dark and handsome stranger will approach you on the beach, profess his love for you, and sweep you away for a jetset marriage. After which you will lead a long, happy, prosperous, healthy life as the Queen of a small island nation." We apologize for any inconvenience this error may have caused.

Pisces: 2/19-3/20
Your new stopwatch will allow you to time how long you can hold your breath underwater down to the thousandth of a second. Unfortunately, poor planning will mean that you are not able to actually share the information with anyone.

Aries: 3/21-4/19
Your innovative new device for beauticians to use while giving pedicures can be wildly successful and make you quite wealthy IF you change the name. Trust us, no one is going to buy a "Ped-O-File".

Taurus: 4/20-5/20
Your Mother always told you to wear clean underwear just in case there was an accident and paramadics had to see them. But as you board that plane today, the stars want you to know that you needn't worry about it. The debris field will be more than 8 square miles, making it impossible to find most human remains. Not to mention that the ensuing fire burned so hot that it disintegrated not only all fabric, but most of the thin metals aboard as well.

Gemini: 5/21-6/21
You just had to get that genital piercing, didn't you? The stars tried to warn you not to, but you went ahead and did it anyway... Now all your worst fears will come to bear when, at a campground this weekend, you run afoul of this guy:

Cancer: 6/22-7/22
The less traveled by areas of the Grand Canyon's north rim offer some of the most breathtaking views of this natural wonder. You will soon find out they also include some of the worst footings and none of the handrails. They do, however, provide equally awe-inspiring, terminal velocity impacts.

Leo: 7/23-8/22
The stars heard your pleas, begging for someone who you could share your love with and embrace for the rest of your life. If you are still single, throw your arms around the closest person to you at 3:44pm GMT on Dcember 9th -That'll be the one. Trust us, you won't have time to be picky...

Virgo: 8/23-9/22
The stars have piled up most of your things on the front porch. You can stay at a friend's house, but you aren't coming back home until you admit what you did and apologize. The stars' Mother was right about you... (you must have really pissed them off; the stars were in tears while they told me this)

Libra: 9/23-10/22
The stars have been doing a little thinking and a lot of math. The population of planet earth is roughly 6,796,590,704. That means that roughly 566,382,558 people share each astrological sign. About 18,620,796 have the same birthday. Based on average life expectancy as many as 248,277 people were born on the same day, in the same year, for every zodiac sign. How can one statement possibly predict the future of all of them? Ehh, fuck it. "A full moon while Venus is rising is an omen of good things to come."

Scorpio: 10/23-11/21
They say you never know how you are going to react to a crisis. After a home invasion this weekend you will: You will scream, "Do whatever you want to my wife, but leave me alone!" You will then create a distraction by throwing your newborn at the assailant as you dive through the window to safety. Now you know.

Music lost to history:

Aerosmith - Dream On When I started doing these, I could never have imagined that I would be putting an Aerosmith song here. Since I was born in 1974, this song is well before my generation. It was recorded in 1972 and released in 1983 on Aerosmith's Self-Titled Album, but to read the information on it at Wikipedia most of us would become familiar with it from a re-release in 1976.

Like most of the music being released in the late 60's/early 70's that was pushing the rock-n-roll envelope, Dream On relies heavily on solid composition and and melody. Before the era of the modern effects processor, these bands had no distortion to hide behind (or very little), and synthesized instruments hadn't yet made their way into music. In that way the music always sounds more raw to us today because, quite simply, it was. While it seems laughable to think about today, music like this was so far removed from the bubble-gum pop of the 50's that it still wasn't accepted into the mainstream. As the baby-boomers became the target demographic, the rock-n-roll movement really started to pick up speed, with bands like Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith clearing the path for the much darker and heavier bands like Black Sabbath.

While I (and most of my generation) are probably far more familiar with the Aerosmith of the late 80's and early 90's, the reason this song makes it onto my MLtH page comes down to one thing: Age. Not necessarily the age of the song; In fact, as I sat down to do the research for this today, I had no idea when it was released, but would have guessed (closely) the mid 70's. Tyler was born March 26, 1948, meaning that this song was written when he was only 24 years old. I'm not sure why, but I have always thought this song was pretty amazing given his age at composition. I suppose it is human nature to wax poetic about the days of yore and the imminent passage of time, but the melody sets a mood that makes you feel it right along with him. As the song nears the end and his lyrics become more more frenzied, you can almost feel the pain (longing?) in his voice. Listen to it with headphones and no distraction sometime, you'll see what I mean.

I wrote a short bit some time ago about Kelly Sweet's cover of this song (see the video on Youtube). While I have since gotten over the initial hatred I felt towards the cover of the song, I still just can't like it. The words are there; she hits the notes; but I just can't hear it in her voice. As if there is somthing very personal about the song and Tyler's deliverance of the lyrics that just can't be duplicated. At least to me.

That said, I have heard Aerosmith doing the song with an orchestra, and it also seems to lack the passion of the original. So perhaps the thing that I like so much about it is the under-produced, raw sound of it, or it may be that I am still hearing it through the ears of that impressionable youth that heard if for the first time in a dusty old Van with my Uncle Art. Either way, it seems it is Lost to History.

Music Lost to History Archive

I Can't Believe it's Not Porn!
WhorePresents.comYep, it's not porn. It's not a site with gifts for sale either, which is probably a good thing since I can't imagine that any woman would be at all flattered to get a gift -no matter how nice- in a box that says "Whore" on it.

Daily Reading:
Magazine Man
Shane Nickerson
Wil Wheaton
Hoyazo's Poker Blog

My reading list changes from time to time, and there are many sites that I visit that are not on the list. They are listed in the order that I visit them, enjoy!

Locations of visitors to this page

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

HP Slimline means I learn about Low Profile Video Cards

My old pc had started making a horrible noise. Well, technically it started making several horrible noises. One of them I could pretty easily identify as the fan on the graphics card, as it only made the noise when I started gaming, you know, when the fan on it would start working. The other two noises I couldn't identify as easily. I was pretty sure that one of them was the hard drive going out, but I had also been getting an error message on startup for several months that some pci bridge was not functioning, and I have no idea what that was all about. I was playing some World of Warcraft one night and my framerate was an unbelievably low 12 frames per second. I say unbelievable because I remember when I first put that machine together I was able to get about 60 frames per second with ease.

I had to do something about it. My choices were to buy a new video card and hard drive to see if that would fix the problem, and if it didn't to keep replacing shit until it did. However the graphics card in my machine was at least 3 years old (it had been in my last machine as well) and my motherboard was at max level for ram, so I decided to just look into getting a new one.

Figuring I would spend about $500 on a new computer I found a Hewlett Packard (which I swore to myself 15 years ago I would never buy again) that was in the right price range, had a 320gig HD, 3GB ram and a 3.2ghz processor. That should get my by for what I need. I probably replace the computer once every 18 months or so, so it isn't that important to me to pick up cutting edge stuff; I only need middle of the road crap that I can throw a couple of cheap upgrades into to get me by for the next year or so. Unfortunately, in this case I spent so much time reading technical specs on it that I completely missed the big, bold Slimline listed on the front of the box. And since it came with a 22" widescreen monitor (a backup since we both already have one) it was in a box big enough to hold a standard PC. So when I got it out of the box, I opened it up to see my upgrade options before I even plugged it in. You can see what I saw here. The main problem is that the case is just over 4" wide, narrow enough that the cd player has to be mounted vertically, and narrow enough that a standard graphics card won't fit into it.

Through some searching around online I was able to find the specs for my computer, which stated that the graphics card could be upgraded with a pci-e X16 low profile video card. Being that the description has so many words, I figured it was going to be outrageously expensive, but I was able to find a pretty decent selection of them on As an added bonus the price on low end memory cards has come down considerably from the last time I bought one a couple years ago. I was able to get basically the same 512mb Radeon card in a low profile design today for about 1/4 what I paid for it a couple of years ago. So it only cost me $39.99 to get the card shown here.

Of course when I got it out of the box I saw that while it was indeed shorter than your average video card, it wasn't actually set up for a low profile install. It had the bracket for it (to the left of the card in the photo) but it didn't have any instructions on how to actually change it. As you can see the standard VGA video out is on the top of the original bracket -the part of the bracket that I am going to have to remove to put the low profile bracket onto the card (also the standard bracket was a little bit bent when I got it, but I could have straightened it if I had planned to use it). So with no instructions, I just dove right in with some pliers and a screwdriver.

It was easy to change, just a couple of screws really, but the on thing I wondered about was what I was supposed to do with the VGA port. As you can see, I just left it attached to the standard size bracket and disconnected it from the card completely. My monitor doesn't have a DVI plug on it, but I did have an adapter laying around from a previous video card so I was hoping that it wasn't actually necessary for it to be there. I took another look through the instruction manual to make sure there was no mention of the VGA port, and to see if I had a high enough version of Direct X to run the card (and Kudos to the company that made this card. It came with an actual manual, with an actual English version, that used actual sentences. I have bought cards that had no English version, and possibly worse, cards that had bad English. They would say things like "Make happy the dutiful installation screws prior to the power performance of the repairing device."). And then set about putting it into the mini tower.

"Snug" doesn't adequately describe the fit of this card. While this photo may not show it as well as I can see it, there is maybe 1/16" of clearance between the video card and the other pci card. I also had to disconnect the gray cable you see at the bottom right of the photo because I had to push the card about a half an inch further that way to get it to clear the edge of the case before I was able to slide it back over to line up with the pci-e slot. And if it looks like the right of the card is bending ever-so-slightly, it probably is. There are cables below it, and not enough clearance above it to route the cable any other way. Hopefully there won't be enough strain on it to do any actual damage.

As for the performance, it does quite well. I am able to run the latest version of Wrath of the Lich King with the video setting all to max and get about 60 frames per second in zone where it is just me, down to about 25 frames in zones where there a lot of other people. And coming along with that, there is the inestimable joy that comes with fluid character movement. If you have ever played any 3d game you know how frustrating it can be when the movement is choppy, and I had gotten to where I was running into a lot of things because I could do an arc while running; more like a square-edged zigzag that resulted in lot of running into walls and other obstructions. In fact I am getting better graphics now than I have gotten at least since I built my computer before the last one, since I recycled my video card to build the last one and it was getting blocky from the start.

Anyway, the reason I was compelled to write about the process and the results of this is that while searching for suitable low profile video cards I found a lot -and I mean a lot- of people complaining that there weren't any available and that the only use you can get out of a slim tower is for office work. I don't find that to be the case at all. With the 3gigs of ram this had stock, and the new 512mb video card, I am getting great performance. And I am getting this knowing full well that I installed one of the cheapest cards on the market for slim towers (in fact the cheapest one I could find that came with a cooling fan). If you were willing to spend a couple hundred dollars on a real video card I am sure you wouldn't have any complaints about the gaming performance.


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