Richard Tocci

Richard Tocci
Just when you thought it was safe, I show up...

Disclaimer

The contents of this blog are my own comments and opinions and do not reflect those of my family, friends, colleagues, clients, employers, or anyone else I may know. Additionally, their comments and opinions are not a reflection of me or this blog. Any links contained in posts are maintained by third parties and are not under the control of this blog, and as such, this blog is not responsible for their content. All links are provided "as is" with no explicit or implicit warranty of any kind.

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Monday, May 6, 2013

Iron Man 3 - Love It, or...Sort Of Love It...

If you've watched the new Ironman movie, you either Loved It, or Sort Of Loved It.

You loved it because it was everything you expected from an action movie that had villians, lots of good guys, love between two characters you REALLY like, and lots of witty banter.  LOTS of witty banter.

You Sort Of Loved It because, well, they screwed with something.  I can't say it straight away because some people haven't seen the movie yet.  So, I'll do the cool Internet Blog Thing and hide it.  All you have to do is hit the Show button, and all will be revealed.

Now, unless you really really want to spoil the movie for yourself, please, by all means, just click on the link  below, and ruin the entire movie for yourself.  I don't recommend it, but I'm giving you the button, and it took a little time to find just the right method, so don't let me efforts go to waste.

Go ahead.  I dare you.  I Double Dog Dare You.

No, really, you shouldn't do it.  It'll ruin it for you.  Really, when I saw the twist, well, I was floored, and I'd love for that to happen to you.

But if you want to spend $15 to get into the theater, and another $15 for popcorn and soda, and you just want to kill a couple of hours, mindlessly watching the film, see some really great trailers, then please, go on...

No...really...go ahead...

No, stop.  I can't let you do this to yourself.  Please, just walk away from this most now.  Don't mind the fact that I spent good time on my day off to write this up for you.

Oh, wait, you insist?  Well, OK, you asked for it:



If you really want to know, Click Here...

The Mandarin really isn't The Mandarin. Aldrich Killian is The Mandarin

There.  Are you happy now?  Don't say I didn't warn you.

So what's the point?  Why is it that some people are outraged by this twist?  Well, it goes against Canon.  We all know what this is.  It's when you watch a movie based on a comic book character, or a book or series of books, or some other original media, and when it hits theaters to great fanfare, some small, minute, miniscule point is changed.

OK, it's not always miniscule.  It's not always small.  In this case, it's entirely against Canon.  True Believers will NOT like this change at all.  Because it's SO against Canon it's not even remotely funny, to the hardcore True Believers.

But this has happened before, right?  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban never once mentioned that Sirius, James, Lupin, and Peter made The Marauder's Map.  Oh, wait, you never read the books, did you?  You walked out of the theater wondering "Why in the hell did Sirius say 'Because the map never lies!'"?  Well, he would know, because he helped make the darn thing.  Doesn't that scene make a whole lot more sense now?  Yeah, it did for the ex-wife, and once I told her that, she understood about half the movie.

OK, to be fair, that's different.  They kept the story, the actual story the same.  Peter Pettigrew was still the guy that betrayed Harry's parents and got them killed.  Hermione still knocked out Snape and went ape shit when she did it.  Ron still had a hard time believing that his pet rat was actually an animagus.

But this twist is nothing....NOTHING....like what was in Canon.

It always happens to the best stories.  And it will keep happening.  Do you think I'm OK with Bruce Wayne "dying", and giving away his mansion - stately Wayne Manner - to an orphanage, and then some guy that sort of is Robin but really isn't, finds the cave and, well, might become Batman, or Nightwing, or whatever?  No, I hated that.

Sidebar - While watching the trailers before the film, someone saw a trailer and said "Wow, that looks totally ridiculous!"  As if watching a movie about a guy that dresses up in metal suits and flies around at supersonic speeds isn't ridiculous.

The movie was entertaining.  That's the point, right?  take us out of reality for a while.

So True Believers, listen up:  I get it.  I really do.  But, just let it go.  They won't get Batman right, or Spider-Man, or any of them.  They'll look really good, but they won't ever get it right.  Not by our standards, anyway.  Just let...it...go...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Has It Been THAT Long?

Why, yes...yes it has.  My last post to this blog was October 11, 2011.  My, how time flies.

The last year has been very busy.  In December 2011, I resigned from Corptax to work for F5 Networks as a Professional Services Consultant.  I travel to different parts of the country -- mainly in the Southeast -- and install network appliances that load balance servers, provide network and portal access, and secure and accelerate web-based applications.  The new job offered me greater challenge, changing me from working specifically with applications to more hands on in the network space , while still working with applications but on a network and delivery level.  I did a one month bootcamp in Seattle that was extremely challenging, and I've been traveling in the field ever since.  My friend Jill Gupta believes I have Business Travelers Syndrome, a condition where I complain about airplane travelers that do not know how to put bags in an overhead bin; where I notice design flaws in hotel rooms; and where I decide which car I will buy because I drive so many different kinds through rental.  She's right, and I'll still complain about it all.

In addition to my new job that's changed the course of my career, my daughter Amanda is getting married in less than 2 weeks.  She got engaged last summer and boy, has the time flown since then.  my sons Alex and Hayden will be ring bearers, and that's not all.

She's pregnant with my first grandchild...

I was sick in a hotel room in Dallas when she called me to break the news.  I nearly got sick all over again, but not because I was disappointed.  I was thrilled.  The first thing I said to Amanda was "Damn, I need to buy a house!"  Since then I've gotten regular updates in addition to handling details on the wedding.

So that's the short update.  I won't promise I'll make updates to this page but I'll make an effort.

This post is simulcast in full living Technicolor on www.richardtocci.com and on Facebook.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Who Occupies Wall Street?

Over the past few weeks, a movement to Occupy Wall Street (OWS) has taken root to seemingly protest the link between corporate America and the American political system.  

I won't be arguing the right to free speech, or to assemble, as these are rights I truly believe in.  I believe this movement, which has spread to other American cities since Occupy Wall Street began, has the right to assemble peacefully and to say what they want.  I don't believe they have the right to destroy personal property or to physically hurt other people in these demonstrations.  And my position has always been to let these people protest no matter how silly or serious anyone thinks it is.

But as these protests grow larger, more groups of people have joined the fray, and the focus of these demonstrations seems to have lost its edge.  Usually a demonstration of this type has a single focus with specific points it wants addressed to resolve the focus.  But everyone from labor unions to antiwar protesters have joined this movement, and while they probably all have legitimate grievances, joining this particular movement doesn't seem logical.

So I decided to instead look into the movement the best way I know - a little Internet research.

I started with the web site OccupyWallSt.org.  Read through the site and you'll find articles, video, and other items related to their cause.  It's consistent with what they advertise. 

Their About page is interesting.  It's not interesting in what is said, necessarily, but in how it's worded.  It's short and to the point, and immediately mentions "We are not affiliated with Adbusters, anonymous or any other organization."

And then you see a post to their first Press Release, which references a memorandum from Adbusters on July 13, 2011.  So why mention the Adbusters post if you are not affiliated with Adbusters?

I'll come back to that in a moment.  I wanted to get more into the website itself. 

I did a Whois Lookup of the website name.  This type of lookup tells you, most times, where an Internet address was registered, by whom, when, for how long, and who to contact for information or abuse.  It's not always filled out - an organization may not want certain information readily available from anything but their own website pages, so this information can be blocked, or it can be falsified.  In the case of OccupyWallSt.org, it's not falsified - it states flat out that it's Whois Guard Protected.  This means they've paid extra money so their location, registrar name, points of contact, and any other information is deliberately hidden.  But this is perfectly reasonable and legal. 

I did a little more digging, found the IP address of the site, and did find some information on contacts:

http://whois.arin.net/rest/poc/MGE16-ARIN.html
http://whois.arin.net/rest/poc/ABUSE716-ARIN.html
http://whois.arin.net/rest/poc/GMVE-ARIN.html

Additionally, the IP address of their website is registered to Cellco Partnership DBA Verizon Wireless out of New Jersey. 

In comparison, the Tea Party web site, teaparty.org, contains fake information.  The address listed for the Tea Party is actually a RiteAid store in Laguna Woods, CA.  Their contact phone number is also fake. 

On the Occupy Wall Street web site, there are two phone numbers listed on the About page.  One is a local number for Nassau County, NY.  The number is otherwise unpublished and unlisted in a public phone record.  I called this number, talked to a man who answered the call "Thank you for calling Occupy Wall Street", and asked him where he was physically located.  He wouldn't answer me.  I told him the number showed up on my phone and I wanted to know who had called me, and he refused to give me any help.  When I told him I simply wanted to know why someone from the 516 area code was calling me in Texas, he said he was in Long Island.  I thanked him and hung up. 

A search on this phone number led me to a forum thread about this number from a couple of years ago.  The number was implicated in a series of calls to people warning that their ATM or credit cards had been deactivated, and that in order to reactivate them, certain personal information was required.  Most of the victims in the forum didn't ever have an account at the many bank names presented.  While not an indication that this number's past indiscretions were indicative of current events, it certainly helps strengthen an air of caution. 

The second phone number was a toll free number that, when I called, did not answer to a person but instead to voicemail, alerting me that voicemail had not yet been configured correctly; I was told "Goodbye" by the semi-friendly monotone recorded voice, and disconnected.

There are also a number of email addresses that I haven't tried yet, so it's unclear if these email addresses even work.

So the conclusion to this point is this website is a website to the movement, they've prefer not to be harassed by anyone so they've attempted to anonymize as much information as they can, and has content consistent with their vague mission statement.  Nothing really setting off alarms.

So let's move on to the Adbusters, who Occupy Wall Street says started a call to arms, so to speak.  OWS placed a link that appears to be the starting point to all of this.   So I read through this page, and it seems the ideas are a bit haphazard, not totally coherent, and generally just a call to unite, but not exactly sure what they should unite against.

There is one focus statement:

"a presidential commission to separate money from politics"

That seems reasonable.  But then you read on:

"Post a comment and help each other zero in on what our one demand will be. And then let's screw up our courage, pack our tents and head to Wall Street with a vengeance September 17." 

Which leads me to think there is no real focus at all.

And then, another statement:

"This could be the beginning of a whole new social dynamic in America, a step beyond the Tea Party movement, where, instead of being caught helpless by the current power structure, we the people start getting what we want whether it be the dismantling of half the 1,000 military bases America has around the world to the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act or a three strikes and you're out law for corporate criminals. Beginning from one simple demand – a presidential commission to separate money from politics – we start setting the agenda for a new America."

So we've moved from a Presidential Commission on separating corporate money from politics to changing a social dynamic in America to dismantling US Military bases...and where is the common theme here?

Again, remember, if you want to assemble and protest, go ahead.  If your ideas are not terribly coherent, fine, protest anyway.  Don't hurt anyone, don't destroy personal property, and certainly don't go threatening people. 

But then I dug deeper...

My Whois search came up a little strange.  I had plenty of information on this site.  I'll list it all here, since it is publicly available:

Registrant:
Adbusters Media Foundation

1243 West 7th Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia V6H1B7
Canada

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: ADBUSTERS.ORG
Created on: 30-Aug-95
Expires on: 29-Aug-12
Last Updated on: 24-Aug-11

Administrative Contact:
Lasn, Kalle domains@adbusters.org
Adbusters Media Foundation
1243 West 7th Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia V6H1B7
Canada
+1.6047369401 Fax -- +1.6047376021

Technical Contact:
Contact, Domain domains@adbusters.org
Adbusters Media Foundation
1243 West 7th Avenue
NA
Vancouver, British Columbia V6H1B7
Canada
+1.6047369401 Fax -- +1.6047376021

Domain servers in listed order:
DINA.NS.CLOUDFLARE.COM
TOM.NS.CLOUDFLARE.COM


Registry Status: CLIENT DELETE PROHIBITED
Registry Status: CLIENT RENEW PROHIBITED
Registry Status: CLIENT TRANSFER PROHIBITED
Registry Status: CLIENT UPDATE PROHIBITED


Did you catch that?  Here it is again:

1243 West 7th Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia V6H1B7
Canada


Why exactly is a Canadian media company making a call like this to "flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street"? 

This is where this whole situation fails the smell test...

Remember what was written in the blog post:

"This could be the beginning of a whole new social dynamic in America, a step beyond the Tea Party movement, where, instead of being caught helpless by the current power structure, we the people start getting what we want whether it be the dismantling of half the 1,000 military bases America has around the world to the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act or a three strikes and you're out law for corporate criminals. Beginning from one simple demand – a presidential commission to separate money from politics – we start setting the agenda for a new America."

A new agenda for America - from a Canadian Media Outlet.  Yeah, I really don't like the smell of this.  I'm not a conspiracy theorist, thinking that there's a great Canadian Wave that's going to swoop down from the North and take over the US.  The words are clear here, though - a new agenda for America.  I don't think a Canadian media outlet needs to assist us on a new American agenda.

Additionally, Adbusters.org Whois lookup reports (http://whois.domaintools.com/67.192.229.59) that there are several other websites that use the same root IP address.  If you start looking at these, you see a few ventures dealing with selling shoes, making The Huffington Post go away because they felt she sold out to AOL, and a site called DesignAnarchy.org that offers, for $25, a book that is "Equal parts memoir, manifesto, scrapbook and revolutionary design manual, Design Anarchy is an urgent call for artists, designers, architects and communicators to re-engage with the world." :

blackspotshoes.org
blackspotsneaker.org
designanarchy.org
mediacarta.org


You can take from this what you want, but at this point, after doing this little bit of work, I don't trust much of it.  But let them protest - it's their right and they should exercise it.  And I respect our Canadian neighbors, but no Canadian protesters, please.  



This post is simulcast in full living Technicolor on www.richardtocci.com and on Facebook.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Charger

Conversation with Alex while driving to the mall.

Alex: "Dad, how much does a Charger cost?"

Dad: "New, about $27000 to start."

Alex: "Wow! I'm gonna need a sale for that one!"

I didn't bother to explain TTL...


This post is simulcast in full living Technicolor on www.richardtocci.com and on Facebook.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

RIP LaDonna Kay Cargill

LaDonna Kay Cargill died on July 7, 2011, only 5 days after turning 39 years old. She died in her sleep apparently of a seizure, a condition by which she had been suffering from for over 13 years following diagnosis of and surgery for an arterial venous malformation.

For those of you that remember her, Donna was my first wife of about 7 years, and mother to my daughter, Amanda Lee Dean.

To say that my relationship with Donna was tumultuous is an understatement - for the most part, it was an emotional train wreck. Not only did she suffer from a physical brain condition, but after our divorce she was later diagnosed with bipolarism with depression. Her seizure condition was a direct result of damage from the AVM, from which she mostly recovered but seizures were a reality she knew she would have to deal with for the remainder of her life.

For the longest time in our relationship, I begged her to get help for what I thought was a problem, but her stubbornness and drive to work through her problems herself - a trait to which I was attracted to back in our early relationship - delayed that until years after our divorce, when she finally broke down and sought help. It would not have caused her to stay alive longer, but it was help she so desperately needed, and it was a shame she didn't get it sooner.

I try not to think of all the bad times in our life, because it just brings back too many painful memories. I learned a lot about myself during those years, but that doesn't make those memories any less painful. I try to remember the more humorous aspects of our lives. After she had her brain surgery to remove the AVM and she woke up in ICU at Zale Lipshy Hospital in Dallas, Texas, the nurses tried to feed her ice chips. Her surgery, the second in 3 days, had lasted 9 1/2 hours, and after being in recovery for a few hours after that, her throat was obviously dry. When they tried to feed her ice, she waved the nurses away, but the nurses forced her to eat the ice. Well, that didn't work out so well as she vomited the ice right up. She found her voice and uttered two words: Dr. Pepper. The nurses obliged after a few minutes of fit throwing, and of course was perfectly fine after that. She remained under sedation for that night and the whole of the next day.

After those nearly two days, I walked into her room in ICU, after being woken up by Deon Sanders and his entourage while I was asleep in the ICU waiting room, to see her sitting up in bed, bitching about there being nothing on the TV, and eating bacon and eggs. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: "Hi!"
Donna: "Hi!"
Me: "Lay back down!"

Donna laughed, and then she was up walking around. Well, walking was not what I'd call it. It was more like a cross between hobbling and shuffling, since her legs had not been used in 2 days and had to be freed from pads designed to keep the circulation going while being bed ridden.

Her surgery involved removing a portion of her brain, and that caused her to temporarily lose the ability to read. Reading books was what Donna loved to do most, preferring Stephen King above all others, but would read books voraciously. Losing the ability to read frustrated her for a while, but after 6 months, she was back to reading at her pre-surgery rate. This is a testament to the human brain and its ability to heal. In fact, her doctor, Dr. Duke Sampson, was amazed she was alive and that her brain functioned, because motor functions that should have been damaged were perfectly fine despite the AVM. Those functions were routed to parts of the brain not affected by the AVM. It still caused damage, of course, but the brain is truly an amazing machine.

About a year or so after that surgery, Donna did something to just royally piss me off. I don't remember what it was, but it involved her talking WAY too much. I was so beside myself that I could only think of one thing to do. I picked up the remote control to the television, pointed it at her head, and pressed the power and mute buttons several times in frustration. Then I said "God dammit, they forgot to put it in!" Donna was pissed off at that for about 1 second, then laughed, as did I, and that was the end of that argument.

In her last days, Donna suffered from what she described as migraines, and the medication she was on to help control those did not seem to help. Her last words to the world at large were on Facebook, talking about her migraines. She sat on a chair to rest and try to nap it off. She fell asleep and never woke up.

When I was notified of Donna's death, my daughter had not been called, and I took the responsibility of breaking the news. I called Amanda immediately and left her a message on her phone to call me back as soon as she got the message. She cried so much when I broke the news to her. That night, she was at my house, and she spent the next three days taking care of her mother's affairs, including her mother's wish to be cremated. For all the pain Amanda suffered with her mother's death, she handled all of the arrangements with help from her aunts, cousins, grandmother, and the rest of her family, and she handled it with a strength I always knew she had. In those few days, I was most proud of her.

So if you enjoy Dr. Pepper, and if you smoke cigarettes, take a drink and a puff and say a word or two to Donna.


This post is simulcast in full living Technicolor on www.richardtocci.com and on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Take Me Out To The Ballgame - JibJab Style!

Just watch...

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!


This post is simulcast in full living Technicolor on www.richardtocci.com and on Facebook.