the day james died

The day started like any other day, I woke up in my bed at home. A few people had crashed at the house, I’m sure their parents thought mine were home. Instead they were states away visiting family. Being sixteen and excited about the prospect of having a real “my folks are out of town” party, I had declined to join them. Chris’ older brother got us the keg. It was a wild night. Someone brought cocaine.

James was already dead when I walked out of my bedroom. Everyone else was still asleep. Mark was on the couch, Eric was on the chair, Tim and Scott both on the floor, next to James. We’d all tidied the place a bit just before calling it night, as the early light was filling the sky; it was only just hours ago, so things looked pretty unremarkable – only the quarter-full keg in the laundry room to give us away. James was plenty alive then. We all were.

Beer and weed; then the coke. I think it was Mark who brought that, not even he’d tried it before. No one wanted to, of course, but we all did. It was glorious; what God must’ve intended sixteen to feel like. We bounced off walls. We sat around the table in the dark outside, the screened-in porch lit by the moon and the cherries from our cigarettes alone. As the hours passed and the sky began to go from black to grey, we all came down pretty hard. It was the last time we saw James alive.

He didn’t look dead. He looked like Tim and Scott, sleeping on the floor in front of the entertainment center. He looked pretty much like he’d always looked. I walked right past him, right out the front door to get the paper. Mark sat up as I came back in the door. We shared a sly grin; silently acknowledging a shared rough night’s sleep. I threw the paper at Eric, hitting him in the leg. Tim and Scott were up now too. Scott kicked James, and no one was concerned at his lack of reaction

It was probably fifteen minutes later when Mark shouted to the porch that there was something wrong with James. Tim, Scott, Eric and I were on the porch again, having morning cigarettes and trying to shake the cobwebs. I remember the day being warm, even in the mid-morning. Tim and Scott went inside, Eric and I stayed to finish our cigarettes. No sooner had they left than did Scott come rushing back out. “James won’t wake up, man. Something’s really wrong.”

I can remember the immediate crushing fear that dropped down onto me, even before I’d put out the cigarette and followed them back into the house. I think I knew as soon as I heard them. Everyone of us knew what was wrong; none of us knew what to do. Eric and I wanted to call 911. Tim was doing CPR, saying how they just did it at dive practice and he remembered how. Scott was back on the porch with a new cigarette. We all watched Tim, hoping James would wake up. He stopped, and it was silent.

When we piled into the car, we put James in the middle seat between Eric and Tim. Scott stayed at the house to wait, Mark rode shotgun. I remember what was on the radio, and still can’t listen to it. Tim went into the emergency room while we all waited in the car, parked in the drive-up loop. He came back with two guys and a nurse following. No one said a word to any of us; they just took James and left. Parking, we went inside.

I thought we were all going to jail. James was dead. We’d done drugs; we’d been drunk; James was gone. No one spoke at all. We sat in the waiting room and looked at our feet.

Ten minutes later, a nurse came out and told Eric we’d brought our friend just in time; that we’d done the right thing and he was going to be OK.

And that’s how James came back from the dead. Not a single one of us was asked to fill out any paperwork. No one ever asked our names. We simply gave the desk attendant James’ full name and phone number, and were told we could go. No one wanted to know what happened; they never even asked.

His parents never knew who brought him. He never told.

green pushes through

Tuesday night and I had Keaton again – Sharaun’s volleyball game. Although it may sounds like Sharaun is a deadbeat mom (you know, for how often I’m left alone to tend to Keaton and all), I rather like our alone-time. We play trivia games while we listen to music (I quiz her on bassists and drummers and rock ‘n’ roll genealogy), we wrestle, we read books – we do all sorts of stuff. Besides, before Sharaun left, she cooked us a fine meal and fed Keaton – I can’t ask for much more than that. Oh, and while she was cooking, I headed out to do my 2nd daily check of my garden (I go out once in the morning, and once at night) and I was pleased to find that 90% of the corn seeds I planted have sprouted, as well as the okra. I’m happy to see the green push through, as it looks like the whole thing won’t be a miserable failure after all.

All this talk of the “violent” writings of the Virginia Tech shooter in the news lately brought back some memories for me. Back in middle school, I was pretty into the macabre, y’know, horror movies and Stephen King novels and specifically – into gore. Now, I have never been, and still am not, much for real-life blood – I’m pretty wimpy when it come to that – but I had then, and still have now, a penchant for writing. And, back then, I used to write all kinds of things. For a while there, and this is where this paragraph starts to close in on its topic-sentence, I swear, I started writing little ultra-violent “serials” that I would give to my buddy Joey every day. I would use typing class to do this, as we often had periods of just “free typing,” where you could do whatever you wanted as long as your hands banged the keys for forty minutes. So, I’d type all sorts of things: funny stories, song lyrics and poems I’d pass off as my own work, solid pages of random words for the patterns and shapes it generated, and, for a while, gore. It was that gore that got me thinking, as the news chatters on about the “disturbing” nature of Mr. Shooter’s writing. Well, for what it’s worth, what I’ve read seems rather tame compared to the twisted crap my 7th grade brain turned out:

After I had stabbed him about seven or eight times he stumbled off into the darkness, wandering, hoping a car might come down the road and save him. Blood was gushing out between his fingers and his eyes were turning pink. He begged me, “Please, no more, I’ll give you anything! Just don’t kill me please, leave me alone!” So I picked up my knife and proceeded to cut open his chest with the precision of a master surgeon. I couldn’t see anything but blood, all over my hands and drenching my body, dripping from my hair, and running down my legs.

After I had made a pretty big incision, he started to sit on the ground and twitch while sort of gurgling a little. I then felt the urge to plunge my hands into his open wound and pull out his pulsating heart. When I did this I found that is was not easy to discern if you are holding a man’s heart in your hand or just grasping at loose organs that were floating around inside. So I just grabbed the biggest handful of slop I could grab with my own two hands. I pulled it out and looked at it: some parts looked looked like little strands of spaghetti, but others looked like what you would see if you put a tomato in the blender and watched it whirl.

I brought the steaming pile of organs to my lips and pressed them against my face, the warm flow of blood trickling down my arms onto my chest, and the soft gurgling coming from this man I has just destroyed. All in all, I felt like it was a good kill, but I needed more to satisfy my sudden urge to watch death.

So I pulled a child about three or four years old off the street after school and into my car. He was asking me what I was going to do with him. I inconspicuously pushed the radio on, but also turned on the cigar lighter with it. In about ten minutes I pulled over to the side of the road and told the boy to take off his shirt. He wouldn’t do it though, so I hit him first and told hi I would kill him if he didn’t do what I wanted him to do. So he complied with my demands and removed his shirt. I pulled out the read-hot lighter and pressed it firmly against his soft back. His cries and screams of agony only fueled me to do even more gruesome feats to him.

After about three minutes with a cigar lighter pushed into his back the boy began to get tired of crying, so I took it off to reveal the scar that he would have to remember me by for years never to come. The boy then started to plead with me, but I would not break. I think picked up a huge rock off the ground and proceeded to hit him over the head with it until his face was covered with blood. Then I positioned him behind the rear left wheel of my car and got in the driver’s seat. I slowly backed up listening to every bone in his head pop and snap. I felt great. I stepped out of the car and looked at the damage I had done: the boy lay lifeless, his head splattered all over the ground and pieces of brain on my car wheel. I then cut his body up into nine small pieces and buried them in various places around me.

I drove home, went into the garage, got out my shotgun, put its loaded barrel between my lips and pulled the trigger. I felt a tingling sensation and that was it. I was dead.

Ouch. Several times while transcribing that, I hesitated. It’s worse than even I remember it being. But yeah, I saved the stuff, just like nearly every scrap of “writing” I’ve ever done (and I have no OCR-scanner here, I typed it all in by hand, old-school style). There’s more of it, but it’s all as bad as that and this is pretty much representative enough to give you the idea.

I bet – in today’s paranoid school environment – it’d be enough to get a kid kicked out of school for good, or arrested, or placed in counseling. I wonder what might have happened back then had we been caught passing these things around, because we surely did. I mean, even re-reading it now, I know I was going for shock value – but putting myself in the shoes of a modern day shcoolteacher or administrator, it’d sure sound the warning sirens loud and clear.

(I showed Sharaun this entry, to see what she thought, saying to her, “I wanted to show some of the stuff I wrote when I was kid, but it’s freaking me out even a bit. But, I never killed anyone, so I guess I turned out OK.” She replied, “You haven’t killed anyone yet, but you will eventually – and then they’ll go back and read that stuff and be like, ‘Well, duh.'” Thanks babe.)

I wrote a while back about how the newish Zodiac killer movie had unearthed some newfound “clues” which were causing quite the amateur-sleuth stir over at Apparently, all this Encyclopedia Brown blodhounding has led the little online community, and the site’s owner and moderator, to identify a new “suspect.” They’ve apparently got this guy’s name and complete bio/profile. To be honest, I haven’t been following closely enough to know what connected the dots from the new evidence to this new POI, but I of course have ultimate faith the infallible collaborative force of the internet.


sweat, death, & fervor

Tuesday night and I had a great time finishing up yesterday’s mowing. It was the backyard this time, and I purposely kept finding little things to do to stay out in the weather and sweat a little longer. It was so perfect, warm and green and the iPod was on-point, I enjoyed stooping and kneeling and the sheen of sweat on my face. The drip, drip, drip of sweat off the long tangle of my beard made me even more happy. I mowed, edged, pulled weeds, sprayed weeds, fertilized, and fixed four sprinklers – it was a banner day for yardwork. In conclusion, I’d like to thank Congress for pulling-in daylight savings time and making all this after-work earth-time possible. I love 8pm sunsets.

I’ve written before about how I have a slight obsession with “true crime” stories. No, not like the cheap novels or anything, more like those “forensic” shows, and anything to do with serial killers. In fact, it’s a small theme on this site, bucketed under the “darkside” tag moniker. To me, serial killers are somewhat fascinating – not because they are awesome, but because it often boggles me to try and wrap my mind around what they do. Don’t worry, I’m not thinking about serial killing anyone.

Anyway, I’ve always been interested in the history around the Zodiac killer, especially since finding an obsessively detailed website based on the still-anonymous killer and his crimes a few years ago. It was with zeal, then, that I read the recent news that, with everything being stirred up again because of the new Zodiac movie, police in San Francisco had “discovered” a lost card from 1990 that may, in fact, be from the Zodiac killer. Well, of course the guy posted the high-res scans today, and the message boards are lighting-up with couch-based detectives trying to puzzle out meaning from the cryptic missive. Interesting, and will be fun to watch develop. Wouldn’t it be cool if, by getting his wish and making it big in public eye, he ends up hanging himself?

Today, in the middle of a meeting we were both in at work, Pat IM’d me this link. For those of you who managed to resist the urge to click the aforelinked link, I’ll pass along the title here before I go on to make my point – the article is called: The Great Rock Hope, Arcade Fire grabs the baton from Bruce Springsteen and U2, and it begins with the auspicious sentence, “For those who haven’t been following along, rock critics have crowned a new World’s Greatest Band.”

Well damn, if that ain’t coming right out and saying it.

Should Slate be afraid? Afraid to call the Arcade Fire the new “world’s greatest band?” I mean, that’s pretty presumptuous, right? So many people are thinking it, though, I guarantee. The band, having blown away the music press with their debut, have come-correct again this year with an incredibly solid sophomore effort (and now, for your benefit, I won’t keep summing up things which are much better written in the Slate article). I do have to say, however, that I feel entirely vindicated in comparing the ‘Fire to the same bands Slate does in my many lusty rants about their awesomeness.

The Slate article goes on to say that the Arcade Fire are “…a gale-force live band,” and damn if I can’t do anything but nod my head in agreement after seeing them only once prior in a tiiiiny little club in San Francisco. In fact, hoping for a repeat of that history, I recently spearheaded an e-mail campaign to try and recruit some friends to go see the ‘Fire live when they’re out this way later this summer, and my mail went something like this:


Tickets for the Arcade Fire’s two shows in Berkley (at the Greek Theater) go on sale this Sunday via Ticketmaster, but tomorrow through some backdoor pre-sale website. Either way, I’m buying some – and hope to get them during tomorrow’s pre-sale. There are two shows, June 1st and 2nd, which is a Friday and Saturday. I’m leaning towards the June 2 Saturday show, as the post-work Friday afternoon drive to Berkley sounds like crap. Tickets are $31.50ea (plus some fees I bet), and the entire venue is general admission.

Reply and lemme know if you’re interested, and how many tickets I should get if you are down.

Even if you don’t know the ‘Fire’s work, the show should rock (plus you can tell your kids you saw them and they’ll marvel at your role as a piece of rock-‘n’-roll history). If you want to get an idea what the band is like live, check out their SNL performances last week on YouTube here.

Love you.

And hey, if the Slate (and many other) hype is to be believed… maybe my “piece of rock-‘n’-roll history” statement ain’t that far off.


run #83

Sometimes I sit and wonder about all the fancy, high-tech, top-secret experiments that are likely being carried out all over the world at any given moment.

Somewhere at MIT, students are hurtling particles down long accelerator arms toward a measurable collision; somewhere in Germany, chemists are synthesizing new proteins and seeing how they interact with other substances; somewhere in China, nuclear scientists in white lab coats might be working on a new form of nuclear power – unstable now but with hopes of making it viable. All over the globe, humankind is pushing the boundaries of knowledge – doing experiments to watch and study the results. Yes, all across the Earth things which have never been done or observed before are being done – all just to satisfy a curiosity… to see what happens. Without this kind of experimentation and curiosity, we’d never have come as far as we have. Without Rutherford firing particles at gold foil, Mendel’s selective breeding, or Otto’s combustion engine – humans would be a long way from where we are now.

When I sit and think about it, all the groundbreaking experiments going on, all the potential discoveries and curiosities being satisfied – my mind takes a darker turn. One day, while waiting to “see what happens” as the outcome of one of those experiments – something may go wrong. What if the results of a new experiment are unexpected? Run #83 of a series of 10,000 tests making up a battery of experiments, for example. Run #83 creates an explosion big enough to destroy the entire Earth. Just think of it, a team of scientists casually watching their experiment run through its paces… noting results as the computer captures loads of data… sipping coffee and discussing physics – when up comes test #83. One minute detail in thousands of parameters is tweaked ever-so slightly and bang… the end of everything. Yeah, I think about that from time to time. A massive wave of destruction starting from a physics lab at a Brazilian university and overtaking the universe – all because some grad students were experimenting with gravity in an attempt to study black holes. A flash of light and life as we know it ends, billions of years of evolution erased because one researcher was trying to turn water into a viable replacement for fossil fuel. Poof. Every day, there must be millions of experiments happening at any given moment…

What will you be doing when run #83 vaporizes you, only a flash of light for warning before you cease to exist?

paging dudley do-right

Evening folks, sorry for the lack of posting yesterday – spent most of my evening hunched over my desktop PC, willing my precious ones and zeroes off a limping RAID array. My pictures, music, taxes, finances… all of it – seems hopelessly lost forever. I’m not beaten yet, but each and every attempt thus far has been met with total failure. I got to the point where I can actually see my files again, and am able to copy them… but they are all completely corrupt. I’m currently trying a last-ditch effort with some $800 professional data recovery software that I happened to find, discarded in the bushes outside my house; I call it serendipity, you call it what you want. An eclectic entry fitting the old-blog mold today, enjoy.

Either someone signed me up as a joke, or the Republican National Committee found out I’m a registered bleeding-heart and somehow acquired my e-mail address (please write your own Patriot Act wiretapping joke and place it after this sentence). Either way, I’ve been getting hilarious mails from the GOP for a couple weeks now, and I just had to share some of this classic verbiage. First, it was this internet ad called “Find the Leader,” where we go through a litany of potential dem leaders. If you’re interested, you can watch it here, or read the text here. Next, it was this gem:

Dear David,

This week, liberal Democrat Russ Feingold called on the Senate to censure the President for a program that is successfully stopping terrorists. After months of searching, Democrat leaders are finally beginning to find their agenda: take away the tools America needs to fight terror. In the last 24 hours, fringe groups like and Democrat leaders from John Kerry to Harry Reid to Dick Durbin have rallied to Feingold’s side, praising his grandstanding as a “catalyst” for the investigation of the President.

Oh man, I love it. Not that I’m pro-censure, which, for the record, I think is a retarded waste of time, but I just love the alarmist vibe of the whole thing. As an American who breathes air and prays to Jesus, I should be up in arms over the Democrats’ new terrorist-loving motives. And, if I’m not feeling guilty yet for allying myself with the crazy liberals:

Weakening our national security is their agenda. Is it yours?

Well, hell no it’s not! Somebody give me a hamburger, rare as fuck, with a side of ranch dressing and a big slice of apple pie to finish it off while I watch fireworks. I’m American, not Democrat, dammit!

… a lone Senator wants our government to look the other way when an Al Qaeda terrorist contacts a sleeper cell inside the United States. Democrat leaders never miss an opportunity to put politics before our nation’s security.

Oh dear Lord, I can’t believe this is true! I don’t want this “Al Queda terrorist” they speak of to contact the “sleeper cell” they speak of that’s apparently in the United States already!! All this and the democratic party doesn’t even care. Where do I sign up? Some internet searching give some insight on the source of the mails:

The Republican National Committee today unveiled a new web ad entitled “Find the Leader,” highlighting the lack of leadership in the Democrat Party. “Find The Leader” will be emailed to Republican grassroots supporters and shown this evening at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Memphis, Tennessee.

“Republican grassroots supporters?” That’s me to a tee!

Lastly, some darker humor. Logging into CNN Monday morning, I was met with this headline: “Miss Deaf Texas struck by train, killed” I know, I know… I shouldn’t laugh – it’s terribly un-funny… buuuut… I mean, if the headline weren’t enough, “… the train sounded its horn right up until the accident occurred.” Yes; I bet he did. Don’t laugh with me, laugh at my sick sense of humor. My condolences to Miss Deaf Texas’s family.

Lastly, I wanted to share this mail I got yesterday from a visitor to my Pac Man pages. I found it completely hilarious, especially the mid-sentence switch from all lowercase to all caps:

i use to play pac-man in the 80’s and now i have a 10 tr. old and i can get to the chase but he want TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THAT. HOW MANY TIMES DO YOU HAVE TO EAT THE SCREEN TO GO ON OR IS THAT IT. HELP US W/AN ANSWER PLEASE. WEATHERFORD TEXAS THANKS


here and there

It looked so much greener in the store.
Today I’ve got links! Haven’t had them in a while…

Saturday, I woke up early just so I could have more time to do nothing. ‘Round about noon, Sharaun suggested we paint a room. Sounded good to me, we’ve lived here three years now and have barely managed to hang a picture let alone paint. We moved furniture, covered carpet, and along with seemingly 7000 other folks, headed to Home Depot for supplies. After some discussion, we decided on a greenish-yellow, it looked nice on the little paper sample thingy… young, bright, and kinda funky. Happy, we gathered our newly acquired gear and headed home to dive in. Thing is… the more we painted, the more yellow our chosen green-yellow paint started to look. In the sun, it was downright Big Bird eating bananas in a taxi. Of course, Sharaun began to freak out and I started thinking about having to re-paint everything we’d just done. Still afraid, we finished the room and decided to sleep on it. Sunday we called over an artistic/style-minded friend to “validate” the color choice, and we are (thus far) sticking with it…

I caught a bit of the first Harry Potter on TV on Sunday, and it was at my favorite scene – Halloween in the school’s big common/eating room. Y’know, the part where there are hundreds of jack-o-lanterns floating in the air, all with evil smiles and eyes glowing bright orange? Made me think of Halloween, and how it’d be cool to do something similar as decoration in the house this year. I was thinking of getting several of those (not very cheap) foam jack-o-lanterns you can buy at the crafts store and outfitting each of them with one of those orange-tinted stick-up push lights from the dollar store, then I could suspend them from the ceiling with fishing line for that “floaty” look. Speaking of Halloween, I’ve decided on the implementation for this year’s big prop – you can read about it here. The motor-driven version appeals more to me than the many pneumatic variations out there – since I have at least a cursory understanding of small motors. I’ve also decided to remake the graveyard fence into something fancier, ala this guy’s, since mine is really starting to show it’s age and is falling apart.

Somehow, on Sunday, I started thinking about the old cross-country telegraph systems erected in the late 1800s. That’s how I stumbled across this page, showing how to build a dead-simple telegraph sender/sounder combo from everyday parts. For some reason, having this kind of knowledge in my head pleases me. That, and how to build a log-cabin… for some reason these are things I think I should know. Just in case I ever have to build a post nuclear-annihilation log-cabin settlement and want to be able to communicate with my neighbors via telegraph. It could happen.

Before I go, don’t know if you guys read that this killer/kidnapper guy who murdered an entire family an abducted two kids, one of which he later killed and one who is now safe, kept a blog online for several years. I’ve read some of it, and found it more interesting than I probably would have were there not the context. You can read some of the older entries on the wayback machine, the blogspot archive links on these pages work through late 2004. For the most recent entries, the last being a mere two days before the events described above, you can look at the blogspot archives here.

Also, Pat’s got his pictures from the Point Reyes hike up, and they are decidedly better than Ben’s because they show not only the solemn beauty of the trip but also the full level of debauchery achieved. My theory? Pat has balls, where Ben has none. Enjoy them, if you’re into that kinda thing.

Until whenever.

home again

GIS for captors.
Got back Saturday around noon. Another long flight, although I slept through most of it – waking for the bad food and to use the facilities. Wayne and I stopped on the way home from the airport to pick up some good old American hamburgers and chili-cheese fries. Rolled into the garage around 1pm, driving past my waist-high lawn on the way in (the season of weekly mowing has dawned again it seems). I always get the same sensation when just home from an overseas trip. Like people should know and respect the fact that just that morning, I was eating eel in a restaurant in downtown Taipei. The lady ringing up my goods at Wal Mart, she should know that. Hours ago, while you were sleeping, I was singing Chinese songs and drinking beer at an all-night karaoke. Wake up and recognize me as the world-traveler I am people… this lame-o in line behind me?, he was picking his nose when I was 30,000ft above the earth traveling 700mph just 3 hours ago. Marvel at me, won’t you?

Slept in until almost 1pm Sunday, must still be messed up from the travel and time-change. Sucks to sleep away your first real day back, but I suppose it is a recuperation day. I was hoping to mow the lawn today, but I’ve already made up my mind I’m putting it off… I even checked the sunset time for tomorrow to see if I’d be able to get it done post-work – since it’s long as balls right now.

If I may, I would now like to make a short foray into the dark side.

We’ll start with the news that they’ve caught BTK. If you don’t know, I have a small obsession with serial killers. I hate saying that, because it sounds so very macabre… but I think my fascination lies more with the “hows” of human behavior that allow these acts. Plus, I really enjoy a good unsolved mystery. I’ve been following BTK ever since I read about him over at the Crime Library, and even more so since the launch of and his recent string of communications and puzzles sent to police and media. My guess is that the guy was ready to get caught, anyone willing to risk open communication in this day and age of forensic science is asking for it. Glad they caught him, and with him behind bars and everyone knowing Zodiac is dead – now I have to find another unsolved serial killer case to follow. With the capture being such high-profile news, I’m surprised Tom hasn’t updated yet – I’d figured he’d have had the template designed forever now – just waiting to artistically drop in the mughsot.

Shifting gears, another spat of information in the interesting-to-me Collarbomber case. Y’know, the pizza delivery man who was abducted, fitted with a locked metal “collar” containing a bomb, and given home-built James Bond weapons and impossibly complicated instructions to rob a bank lest his captors detonate his necklace? If you don’t remember, the man was killed when the collar exploded, as police and TV crews watched waiting for the bomb squad to arrive. Looks like the victim’s sister has put up a website in an attempt to expose shoddy police work and bring justice to the case. The crude site is really interesting, with phrases like “Killers Roam Free. They Will be Caught Because They Are LOSERS,” and a personal plea to the killers to give themselves up. Just this past week, the FBI released a picture of a black car that they are interested in.

In both these cases, I’ll be interested to get more details… the full stories will no doubt be fascinating. OK then, away from the doom and gloom and back to regular stuff.

I decided that I’m going to make sounds familiar a little more blog-compliant, namely by giving each post a title, and also by trying to use the “categories” feature more. Categories is always hard for me, since I tend to be pretty random in what I write. Beginning today, you’ll begin to see post titles sitting over to the right side of the header box, and if you use read this site via the RSS syndication feed, the titles should come through there too. An exciting task for me will be getting to go through all the past entries and titling and categorizing them all (I did a few last night), I’ve done it once before with the old software… but lost all the info. I fiddled with where I’d display the title for a long time, finally deciding on the right-align you see above – since it’s not too prominent and won’t mess up the layout of untitled posts. I’ve gone ahead and added the category breakdown to the sidebar… but since not all the entries are binned yet, it’s not that interesting. That sounds familiar for ya, always striving to improve itself for the readership.

Having my laptop flake out on me served to remind me I need to keep up with my regular backups of my home machine. I use Acronis TrueImage as my backup solution, and run a full disk backup every month which I then burn to DVD and keep on my RAID array. However, my RAID array has been acting flaky lately too – I think I have either a bad disk or loose cable… and I’ve been meaning to switch from the four-disk SATA solution I have now to a three-disk IDE RAID5 configuration. I know I’ll do it one day, I should just bite the bullet and buy four large IDEs (three for the RAID5 array and one to upgrade my USB2.0 travel-caddy which I use to bring my entire collection wherever I want). Anyone know of a good deal on 4 large (250GB+) IDE drives and a RAID5 capable card?