Bizarre Family Re-Invades Moultonborough


Our boring, personality-less family.

Well, we’re back (again) from our now-annual trip to Moultonborough, New Hampshire.

Highlights:

  • NaNi woke me up every morning by knocking on my head as one would a door, and announcing, “Dad, look out the window.” Thankfully, it was never very early, but to her, daylight meant it was time to do things.
  • Isaac and I climbed Mt. Percival, elevation 2,212 feet, near Squam Lake. (A full 1,000-feet higher than our usual hike across the street.) Nichelle, NaNi, David, my niece Jenn, and my sister Cindy made it much of the way, but didn’t get to the summit. (They were scared off by a report more seasoned hikers.) This is the first “moderate”-rated trail from our new AMC White Mountain Guide, 28th: Hiking trails in the White Mountain National Forest (Appalachian Mountain Club White Mountain Guide), and it was wonderful. While the others went slowly down the first part of the hike, Isaac and I really pushed it to get to the summit, but the view was worth it. The trail back, only 1.9 miles, seemed much longer. I couldn’t have done any of this without the 6-day-a-week weight training program my beautiful Nichelle has me on. (The hike was a great leg and cardio workout; the next two days I could feel muscles I didn’t knew I had.)
  • Neither Isaac nor David caught any pickerel this year. They didn’t spend as much time fishing, but more time swimming. We had bait left at the end of the week, even.
  • NaNi caught the biggest sunfish we have seen to date. It was actually too big for her to hold up the pole as Nichelle took a picture.
  • In an incident involving a fishing reel NaNi managed to disassemble, recovering the same reel from the bottom, getting the line tangled up in the paddleboat pedals, losing the reel permanently in the pond, getting stuck, and prayer … NaNi and David had quite an adventure. NaNi was very impressed that David “prayed to God twice,” and “knew the right thing to do.”
  • One of the few down sides to this trip was that Naomi has developed an unprecedented degree of fear of bugs and spiders, especially considering in whose family she is. She spent an hour or two one night, quite literally screaming, apparently from some nightmare about spiders which persisted into her mostly-woken state. (She was afraid of a lot of things, compared to earlier in her life, and was highly suggestible, but I expect she’ll have outgrown those issues by next year.)
  • We did our first all-family picture at Clark’s Trading Post, and Nichelle and NaNi did their traditional “Southern Belle” photos. I’ll try to get pictures up tonight.

We’ll post a Picasa Web Albums slide show after we go through the pictures.

Dual-Core Processors and Video Performance

I’d installed Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield, a game which is a couple of years old, on my relatively new dual-core AMD Athlon machine at home. (It should run fine on both machines, and I own two copies, making it ideal for gaming multiplayer with the kids.) To my surprise, the game ran absolutely horribly—a first for this box—in fact, it was completely unplayable. The video, even in the opening movie, stuttered whenever it was trying to do a fade affect. In the mission I tried, the characters wouldn’t move, although I could pan the camera, almost like the game was trying to poll the keyboard wrongly. The video seemed far jerkier than it should have been, also.

So, I did the usual bit of updating the video driver and DirectX drivers, but that didn’t help.

After a little research, and a couple of forum posts that didn’t have the right answer, but did point to a related Microsoft Knowledge Base article, I learned the cause of the problem. With visions of having to patch my BIOS (a slightly risky operation), I wen to the AMD Web site as Microsoft recommended, and discovered a surprisingly straightforward solution:

AMD Dual-Core Optimizer – The AMD Dual-Core Optimizer can help improve some PC gaming video performance by compensating for those applications that bypass the Windows API for timing by directly using the RDTSC (Read Time Stamp Counter) instruction. Applications that rely on RDTSC do not benefit from the logic in the operating system to properly account for the affect of power management mechanisms on the rate at which a processor core’s Time Stamp Counter (TSC) is incremented. The AMD Dual-Core Optimizer helps to correct the resulting video performance effects or other incorrect timing effects that these applications may experience on dual-core processor systems, by periodically adjusting the core time-stamp-counters, so that they are synchronized.

A quick Windows install and reboot, and the game ran flawlessly—at 1280 x 1024 with all the video and sound options maxed out. Sweet!

I believe there is a similar utility available for Intel multicore processors.

For the benefit of others:

NaNi Writes Her Name

I have to be the proud parent and brag about this one. A few days ago, NaNi—who won’t be four years old until October—grabbed an old Sunday school art project off the refrigerator, took a pencil and proceeded to write her name on the back. She didn’t copy it, she just printed the correct letters.


Naomi shows off her writing.

What’s even more interesting, after months of her writing upside down capital As, is that she still hasn’t learned all her letters—she can’t even correctly name all of the ones in her name yet. She’s been able to type her name for a couple of months, and she can recognize a few letters, but we haven’t been doing anything to actively show her how to write her name.


A closer shot of NaNi’s first attempt at writing her name.


NaNi wrote these on Sunday. When she has lines, she writes her name quite neatly.

The Qur’an and Recruitment of Radicals

Extremist Muslim fundamentalists support their violent view of Islamic teaching by failing to read their own sacred texts in entirety and in context.

Listen to this NPR interview with former Al-Qaeda recruiter and jihadist Hassan Butt; it is extremely insightful.

In the case of Muslims, this means selecting verses which support terrorism and destruction of all infidels. By basing the arguments upon the Islamic scripture of the Qur’an, rather than merely intellectual or emotional basis, Hassan Butt was able to convert those who were Muslim political activists to a more violent agenda. I’ve transcribed portions of his interview below. (Please pardon my uneducated transcription of the Arabic words used.)

[Renee Montagne (Interviewer )] You recruited others. What did you tell those that you were talking to that they found the most compelling?

[Hassan Butt] Obviously we would talk about the atrocities that were taking place in Palestine, in Iraq; the atrocities that were being comitted by Muslim governments with the support or with the silence i guess of the Western regimes. And these would be inspiring factors, but this wouldn’t be the thing that would turn someone from a normal political activist to someone who would turn to militant radical Islam. It became us teaching these people that the only solution Islamically that we have is to fight these people and to kill these people. We would use islamic theology, and we would show them that the work we were engaging in was an obligation upon Muslims, using various interpretations of the Qur’an and various interpretations of the saying of the prophet Mohammed.

There’s a verse in the Qur’an which means “strike fear in the hearts of the unbelievers.” We would actually say terrorism is part of Islam. It’s not something against Islam. This word is actually used in the Qur’an. It comes from the word il-hab.

Eventually, Mr. Butt left radical Islam, and currently works to combat it. His impetus for leaving seems to have been the same kind of unanswered questions which often interest young Muslims in radicalism:

I really began to think, “Is this really being done in the name of Islam or is this being done in the name of some political agenda?” For me these people became murderers who just enjoyed killing and causing havoc, rather than trying to achieve any type of stability as a result of it.

He goes on to discuss how the intentional disregard of certain portions of the Qur’an, on both sides of Islam, allows Islamic terrorism to prosper:

For a long time, a lot of people, especially the moderate Muslims have been talking about how peaceful Islam is and how loving Islam is, and what they’ve tended to do is ignore the verses and chapters in the Qu’ran that talk about violence, that talk about killing, and they’ve hoped by ignoring it, or being in denial about it, that this problem would disappear, and this hasn’t been the actual case. If I’m a young Muslim who’s picked up the Qur’an and come across certain chapters and in there it says, “Kill the unbelievers until they become Muslim; fight them until they say, ‘lahi lahi l’allah.'” [I believe this is, “There is no God but Allah.”] You know, if a young Muslim reads that, and he goes to the mosque and the mosque says, “Oh, don’t ask questions like this,” or the moderate Muslim says, “Oh, don’t discuss things like this,” if they then go to the radical Muslim who is willing to discuss this Qur’anic chapter, then naturally he’s going to become inclined towards him, because this person is giving him answers to questions that his mind has. And so hence what I’m calling for is there to be an open debate, firstly. We need to be able to go back to the books of Islam and to be able to a new what we call itchthihad, or like create a new reality and explain, “Hang on a second, you know, everything that was written in the Medieval times is not applicable today,” and then that new reality needs to be addressed to young Muslims.

One of the things that’s fascinating about this interview is the idea presented that both the extremists and the moderates have the same flaw in ignoring part of the Qur’an, which ultimately serves the radicals.


For further reading: