Wednesday, September 30, 2009

This Week

Work is too busy.  I’ve been working at the same place for about 9 years and 6 months.  It’s time for a change.  That stresses me out.  I’m thinking I’ll start looking in January, but won’t be too disappointed if I get to pick up my 10 year anniversary gift on the day I turn in my resignation.

Yesterday they sent me to Washington DC for a meeting with the Post Office.  I don’t like day trips.  I’m staying home today because yesterday was a 17 hour day.  I was at the airport at 6 AM and arrived back at the airport at 10:30 PM.

I have between 6 and 10 emails every morning telling me something needs to be done ASAP.  They refuse to hire anyone else (because of the economy).  I’m still trying to track down and fix the ASAP problem from 4 weeks ago.

Our network administrator quit a few weeks ago and now I’m doing his job as well as my job and they haven’t made any strides in hiring a replacement.  I don’t have time to blog any more.  In fact I don’t have time to finish anything.  Every time I start working on something someone comes to tell me their PC won’t boot.

I’m going to go on a vacation Thanksgiving week.  I’m thinking of taking a cruise.  I basically want to go do something where I don’t have to think.  I don’t want to be bothered with a budget.  I don’t want to worry about where I’m going to eat or what I’m going to do.  A cruise fits that bill rather nicely.  Maybe there is something else.  Suggestions are welcome.

If you know someone who knows someone or if you are someone who is hiring a Lead Software Architect, then have them send me an email.  I’m very good at what I do.  I applied for a Software Director position at Travelocity.  It’s a bit bigger than anything I’ve done before, but I know I’d be good at it.  They wanted someone with “management” experience.  Their loss.  I’m a leader anyway -- not a manager.

I’ve lost my spark with my wife.  I don’t know what happened there.  Perhaps the stress at work is to blame.  Perhaps she’s found people more enjoyable to hang out with.  I don’t know.  She gets mad when I ask about it because “nothing is wrong”.  So, I don’t ask anymore.  I just make things up as I go along.  My stories are pretty wild.  I’m open for suggestion there too.  Maybe the vacation can help.  I might need psychological help.

She’ll get mad at me for putting that in my blog, but when you are already swimming in lava, it can’t get any hotter.

I’m thinking of starting an aggressive blog where I post all the things I think about doing to people that make me mad.  When it comes to confrontational people, I am on the “non-confrontational to a fault” side of things.  I avoid confrontation at all costs.  Try thinking like I do when you go out with the wife and she thinks the waiter was being rude.  I think I’m expected to do something about it, but that would involve a confrontation.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Aquarius Again?

I grow bored.  I’m going to abbreviate and categorize, but we are still in the C’s.  In case you are new or haven’t been paying attention I am tracking all my favorite folks that were born between January 20 and February 18.   We are the Aquarius.image


Christie Brinkley was born on February 2, 1954.

Pretty Funny:

Chris Farley was born on February 15, 1964.  I missed him when I was accidentally doing my comedians in a post a few weeks ago.

Pretty Smart:

Clyde Tombaugh discovered a large rock at the edge of our solar system and used his Aquarius skills to convince everyone that it was a planet.  He was born on February 4, 1906.  The “planet” was Pluto.

Pretty Brave/Lucky:

Charles Lindbergh made the first solo flight across the Atlantic.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to take a solo flight to somewhere far far away.  He was born on February 4, 1902.

Pretty Bassic:

I used to be a Metallica fan.  After their bass player died in a tragic bus accident, their music afterwards was never quite the same.  I don’t know if it’s just me or not.  Maybe Cliff Burton never actually wrote any of the music but he was a helluva bass player and after he died, their music changed.

   Maybe he wrote all the music… He was born on February 10, 1962.

Metallica with Cliff –>

Monday, September 21, 2009

Random Thoughts on the Health Bill HR-3200

image I downloaded this monstrosity. I was feeling guilty about having too much fun so I thought I’d cause myself some distress.

This thing is is huge. The one I downloaded (as approved by committee) was 1422 pages. Of course, the pages look like the one pictured. Huge margins (I assume for making notes) and line numbers (I assume for aiding discussion) and a rather large font (I assume for the aging governmental lifers).

The Declaration of Independence was only 1 page and it had room for signatures. This must be 1422 times more important. I wonder how they would have written this bill before the advent of computers? How would they have written this bill before the advent of typewriters? I have a new silly rule for our government to follow. When you are coming up with new legislation, pretend it is 1776 when you are writing the legislation. I bet there would be no more 1400+ pages of legislative lawyer speak. They’d find a way to condense.

Don’t pretend you are smarter than Benjamin Franklin just because you can wipe out a small forest with useless verbiage.

image Thomas Jefferson invented something called a “polygraph” to duplicate everything he wrote. Try using one of these to write your bills, Mr. 1422 Page Bill Writer.

Anyway, I did a bit more research on Health Bills. I found one written by the government in UK. It was 72 pages.

If you click on the image of the page from the bill above, you’ll see that it is page 4. Down on line 22 (part D), I already don’t like that part. It’s redundant.

(D) initiates shared responsibility among workers, employers, and the government

I always thought it was a government “of the people, for the people”. So this simply should say, “initiates shared responsibility among workers and employers”. Well, I guess maybe by writing it the way they did they admit that the government neither works or employs.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mrs. Elena Tan

I love these emails that seem to be spamming the world about the millions of dollars I have waiting in a Swiss bank account somewhere if I just supply my name, number and address.  This one tops the charts.  Using God to dupe the masses in new and ingenious ways.  Because if I’m going to get an inheritance from some old lady I’m going to use it to do God’s will.  I guess you can’t expect con artists to do background checks on their email lists…

Without further ado, here’s the email (enjoy)  :)

My name is Mrs. Elena Tan. I am a dying woman who had decided to donate what I have to you. I am 59 years old and was diagnosed for cancer about 2 years ago, immediately after the death of my husband, who had left me everything he worked for. I have been touched by God to donate from what I have inherited from my late husband to you for the good work of God, rather than allowing my relatives to use my husband's hard earned funds ungodly. I have asked God to forgive me all my sins and i believe he has because He is a merciful God.
I will be going in for an operation, and i pray that i survive the operation. I have decided to WILL/donate the sum of $10,500,000.00.(Ten million five hundred thousand dollars) to you for the good work of the lord, and to help the motherless, less privileged and also for the assistance of the widows. At the moment I cannot take any telephone calls, due to the fact that my relatives are around me and i have been restricted by my doctor from taking telephone calls because i deserve all the rest i can get.Presently,I have informed my lawyer about my decision in WILLING this fund to you. I wish you all the best and may the good Lord bless you abundantly and please use the funds well and always extend the good work to others.
Kindly Contact my lawyer through this email address ( or you can call his private Lin: +855976826769.If you are interested in carrying out this task, so that he can arrange the release of the funds ($10,500,000.00) to you.. My lawyer's name is Barrister Richard Lee . I know I have never met you but my mind tells me to do this, and i hope you act sincerely.
NB:I will appreciate your utmost confidentiality in this matter until the task is accomplish,as I don't want anything that will Jeopardize my last wish, due to the fact that i do not want relatives or family members standing in the way of my last wish.
Thank you and God bless you. Mrs. Elena Tan.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Where Have All The Aquarians Gone?

One of my colleagues, who is also Aquarius, also sports facial hair. A couple of weekends ago I had a deep unexplained urge to remove all facial hair. I was seconds away from turning on the razor when my wife talked me out of it. When I came to work on Monday, my colleague had removed his facial hair. I was glad that my wife had talked me out of it. How awkward would that be?

My first guest Aquarius today is Chris Duarte. His birthday is February 16, 1963. I saw him a couple of weeks ago at the Bedford Blue Festival with Buddy Guy. It would be remiss of me not to mention that he quotes Shakespeare when he's tuning his guitar on stage. It's just a strange Aquarian quirk I think.He is a Texas blues guitar slinger. Observe…

Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812. Because of my piss poor education (you have to read the comments) I don’t think I’ve ever read any of his books. Perhaps I should remedy that.

Charles Darwin was born the exact same day as Abraham Lincoln: February 12, 1809. He married a cousin. I had a crush on one of my cousins once.

Speaking of crushes, I recently discovered that probably my first sort of real girlfriend (I mean I was 12 years old or something) is/was an Aquarius. She was probably my first older woman too. She was born on February 9, exactly 5 days before me. Her name is Cristy so she fits in nicely in my alphabetical list. I would post a picture, but that would involve me asking her permission and I’m not up to it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thankyyoulittell F||||||r

cutekid This story just cracked me up.  I love English humor.  I’ll wait here receiptwhile you read through the story.

Apparently, she acted up in a restaurant called Cactus Joes.  I’ve got two daughters.  One of them was often times a little hellion when we’d go out to eat.  If she had to sit still for more than 20 minutes you better pull out the chill pills cuz things were about to get crazy.

If I had received a receipt with a subtle note like this one at the bottom, it would have cracked me up.  There is mean spirited and then there is just funny.  This is just funny.  Even if the wait staff meant every word of it in a mean spirited angry way, it’s still funny.  

When I first read this story, I thought it happened in the good ol’ USA.  I’m surprised someone in UK would get this upset.  Maybe they were transplanted Americans who never watched Monty Python.

The article leaves out important details.  I’d like to hear from the wait staff. They might have been talking about the little girl’s mom.

The whole miscellaneous portion of the bill has some good subtle humor in it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Silverlight and Netflix Taste Great Together?

mediacenter Friday night I got an update notice that Microsoft had an update for Silverlight.  I like staying current with my software so I allowed it to update.

Saturday I spent almost all day trying to get Netflix to work.

The Netflix movie streaming uses Silverlight.  I would have to say I am somewhat addicted to the Netflix streaming.  I have a computer hooked up to my big TV downstairs and I use it as my over the air tuner and as my Netflix viewer.  When stuff quits working it plays hell with my addiction.

I’ve been watching Heroes via Netflix streaming and I’m almost done with the 4th season.  I have about 3 more episodes.

After Silverlight updated on Friday, Netflix quit working.  I was getting ErrorCode 2103 in Firefox and ErrorCode 2105 in Internet Explorer and Microsoft’s Media Center.

I’m usually pretty good at tracking down information on the Internet to help solve my problems.  Apparently this was a new problem because I couldn’t find too much discussion.

Well, I’m here to tell you.  I spent all day Saturday trying different things.  I uninstalled Silverlight and then it wouldn’t re-install.  Every time I downloaded the Silverlight installation file I’d get a “file is corrupted” error.

There was some obscure reference to the corrupted file problem with the solution involving downloading more software to “clean up” the Silverlight installation.  I strive on intuition and this was not going anywhere near my intuitively obvious comfort zone.

I finally managed to get it re-installed by doing a Windows Update via Internet Explorer under the Safety toolbar menu.

I tried to watch another episode of Heroes on Firefox, but got the 2103 ErrorCode again.  I tried to watch it in Media Center and got the 2105 ErrorCode again.  I finally managed to get it to play the episode using Internet Explorer.  I prefer watching these streaming movies via Media Center because my Media Center remote allows me to control playback with my little remote control.  Using the browser, I have to sit the wireless keyboard in my lap and place the mouse somewhere handy.

Sunday morning, I decided to call Netflix.  They had a very polite message about the ErrorCode and that if things weren’t working, you can call this 1-866 number for support.  Their support people are very kind and are very good at passing the buck.  Silverlight and the Silverlight Movie Player are Microsoft products and the ErrorCode I was reporting is related to a Microsoft problem.  They forwarded me the support contact information via email.

I chose to ignore it.  This is what I did (warning warning, if you don’t like to read whiny complaints, here is the answer):

  • I uninstalled Silverlight. 
  • I went into my c:\Program Files directory and removed all directories containing Siverlight in the name
  • I ran regedit
  • I searched for Silverlight throughout the registry (F3 to Find Next)
  • Every time I saw a folder or a key with Silverlight, I deleted it (standard disclaimer about monkeying with your registry – don’t do it unless you know what you are doing)
  • I rebooted
  • I ran Media Center and went to the Netflix application and tried to watch a movie
  • It warned me I needed Silverlight and I followed the linked instructions to install it

Sunday evening I finally had time to repair my leaky toilet.  After all, we must manage our priorities.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Shhhhhh… My Wife is Reading

I’ve discovered lately that my lovely wife has been reading my blog.

Today on the radio they were discussing things you can do to guarantee a happy marriage.  Top on the list: separate bedrooms.

Therefore, I’ve decided to buy a twin sized bed and put in my office.  I’ll have to do a bit of cleaning.  I’ll have to remove all the boxes of various computer junk from the closet so I’ll have a place for my clothes, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

My wife is always complaining about her lack of closet space and now she’ll be able to use my closet as well as her closet in the master bedroom.  I think it’ll be almost enough.

One guy called into the radio show and was admonishing about how come it took so snoringlong for people to figure this out.  “When I’m sleeping,” he argued, “stay out of my room!”  It’s kind of an interesting point.

According to experts one of the biggest causes of marital tensions is a poor night’s sleep.

I wonder how much it costs for a nice twin sized bed with mattress.

I’m only joking babykeks :-b.

BC is For Aquarius

In typical Aquarian fashion I am twisting things up. Sometimes, I discover an Aquarian that I left out so the whole alphabet thing is hard to maintain. I will proceed in a somewhat randomly alphabetically ordered fashion. It’ll be fun.

I looked through my C’s and there are way too many for one week’s worth of justice. They’ll continue into next week. See if you can find the Aquarius traits in these famous people. I might help.

maher I left out Bill Maher last week. His political views are similar to mine and I like his sense of humor. If you read my past postings and you read the Wikipedia article on Bill, you’ll see some striking similarities. For example: “Maher is highly critical of organized religion, which he often describes as a neurological disorder that justifies crazies and stops people from thinking logically. He was born on January 20, 1956.hill

On January 21, 1924, Benny Hill was born. His name is actually Alfred Hawthorne Hill. My dad forced me to watch the Benny Hill Show religiously when I was growing up. Funny, funny stuff. To this day every time I hear “Yakety Sax”, I think of Benny Hill and my dad. Odd…very odd.

rock Since I seem to be stuck on comedy I’ll wrap things up this week with Chris Rock. He was born on February 7, 1965. Most people I know can’t stand the guy. For some reason, I find him hilarious. I always have.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bedford Blues & BBQ

My fellow blogger Durango often blogs about the area in which he lives. He doesn’t always do it in a kind fashion or with kind words. Some have even questioned why he hangs his hat where he does.

One thing he’s always been appreciative of is the quality of the fairs and festivals in his neck of the woods.

* author's note: I've been corrected. Durango did mention it here.

I’ve never seen him mention the Bedford Blues Festival though. This is my second year to go. Even if you don’t participate in the normal festival activities (like eating fried food and drinking lots of beer), there is no way you can get better entertainment for $5.

I went Sunday night at 7:30. For my $5 I got to see Chris Duarte (an Aquarian guitar player we might come back to later this week) followed by Buddy Guy ( a living legend). Amazing, amazing show. I guarantee if more people would go and watch these two guys play for 2 and a half hours like I did, you’ll have a hard time spending more than $5 for another concert.

You’re gonna love this video. I was going to look for something with Chris and something else with Buddy, but I found them playing together in Japan. Japanese Blues might be a whole ‘nuther genre…

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Conformists and the Geeks

In my last post (it’s near the bottom), I accidentally verbalized something that has more than likely been the culprit behind some of my pent up hostility for many years.

I graduated college with a bachelor’s of science in computer science and a minor in engineering technology. I graduated after 4 years at the old age of 21. I immediately pursued a master’s degree, but my vocabulary skills were too poor. That’s when it all started.

The GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) scoring has changed a lot since I took the test. Back then, if I remember right, there were 3 scores. Each score was between 200 and 800. The three scores were something like: Vocabulary, Math, and Analytical. All the schools I wanted to go to required a combined score of 1200 or some such number which sounds easy enough until you find out they only count the vocabulary and math scores.

I kid you not, I scored around 700 in math, between 700 & 800 in the analytical portion, and about 400 in the vocabulary portion. My total applicable score (according to the universities) was somewhere slightly above 1100 (not high enough to get in).

Oh, I complained. How could a university accepting students for a computer science degree throw out the analytical portion of the test? That’s just the way it was.

If you read nothing else, read: universities want people with book smarts. Common sense or genius through intuition get you nowhere. I have no common sense about anything else except computers and I don’t like reading tech books. They teach you how to do things. It cuts down on innovation.

I have yet to meet a person with a graduate degree in a computer related field that is a geek. * author's note -- my best friend since Junior High works at Microsoft and is a geek and has a PhD. Maybe they are just rare.

In fact there are too many people with undergraduate degrees in computer related fields that read the books and passed all the classes but have no clue what it is to talk to a computer and make it do what you want it to do.

Geeks are those people that play video games all the time and people make fun of them. But then they take it one step further and want to learn about the strange languages that make their computer games work; or the little green circuit boards with all the wires and junk plugged into them.

I heard an interesting story once about a guy who spent $300 on a cooling system for his computer so he could run his 2 GHz processor at 3 GHz. Someone asked him, “Why would you spend $300 on a cooling system when you could just buy a 3 GHz processor for $250?” To which he replied, “The very fact that you would ask the question indicates that you would not understand the answer.” He’s a geek of the highest quality.

It’s like the guy that climbs Mount Everest “because it’s there”. He wants to setup a chilled water cooling heat sink on his computer “because he can”.

I’m in charge of interviewing people for programming positions where I work. I try to ask questions to determine if they are a geek. That’s a listing for another post. An example would be, “What kind of router do you have at home?”

How would a geek answer this? Well, I have 3 routers: my Verizon router which I’ve bypassed so that my Trendnet router gets the IP address from the ISP and provides the DHCP services to the rest of my network. I’ve got an extra wireless router I use just for watching Netflix downstairs. That way I can guarantee it’s using the best bandwidth for my 802.11n devices.

I’ve discovered though that you have to be careful. Geeks have been trained by society to hide their geekiness. Remember the kids in school that make fun of their classmate for playing too much World of Warcraft. It’s bad juju to be too geeky.

Geeks that are good at hiding their geekiness are sometimes the best geeks to hire. They are ashamed that when they are not at work they are playing Halo on their computer so they’ll make stuff up. The last geek I interviewed hid his geekiness so well I wasn’t sure whether or not to give him my seal of approval. He proved geekier than I imagined after he was at work for a few months and got comfortable.

There are some shortfalls of geeks. I’d never advise hiring only geeks. Of course, I’d also say this is mostly impossible. Geeks are experimenters. They want to know how fast they can make a liquid cool processor run before it cooks. That’s not necessarily good for business.

A lot of them are also perfectionists. They don’t want to ship software until there are no flaws. Of course, perfect for a geek is probably not anywhere in the realm of perfect for a customer. Geeks came up with Unix. It’s perfect for geeks, but I guarantee you the majority of people aren’t going to like that fact that the command to get a listing of files on a disk is ls.

Geeks need conformists so that their geeky creations can be tolerated by the masses. Look what Mac did with Unix!

This was my longest post so far and I still feel like I’m leaving out something very important.

Picture of geek from MyFitGeek.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

B is for Aquarius

I had a bit of trouble coming up with the killer B’s. It required some innovative cheating to look for help. Babe Ruth was an Aquarius but I hate baseball so he’s only given brief mention and there it was.

Brandon Lee who starred in The Crow was born on February 1, 1965. The Crow is one of my top 20 favorite movies. I’m not sure exactly where it ranks. I think I have to be in the mood for it. It has one of my favorite battle scenes with music from My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult. He, of course, died during the filming of The Crow through some prop malfunction. I never watched any of the sequels.

One of the reasons I drive a Trans Am today is because of a movie called Smokey and the Bandit. I think I watched it when I was about 9 years old. Burt Reynolds starred as the Bandit. He was born on February 11, 1936.

I have rather eclectically offbeat appreciation for music. Reggae music is one of the genres that is often underappreciated. The man who first brought it to my ears was also an Aquarius. Bob Marley was born on February 6, 1945. His real name was Robert Nesta Marley. He was probably best known for his song, “I Shot the Sheriff”.

Last, but not least, is my colleague at work. I don’t know the exact date of Brett’s birth, but I know he celebrates a couple of weeks before me so that makes him an Aquarius. I interviewed and gave Brett my seal of approval a few years ago (we had an opening for a software graduate). When I interview new Software Engineers I look for the geeks. Too many people graduate and call themselves “programmers” because they read all the books and passed all the classes. They chose to get a computer degree because someone told them they’d make lots of money and there is plenty of work available, but these kind of people suck the life out of the industry. Brett’s a geek of the highest caliber.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Medieval Times

I took the kids to Medieval Times last Sunday.

The most exciting part about Medieval Times is the souvenir arena outside of the actual theater.  They’ve got two bars with a very bad selection of Medieval Beer.  I think the most Medieval Beer they had was Bud Light.

All the souvenirs are overpriced, but they have some unique stuff.  I had to limit everyone to $10.  They were allowed to buy whatever they wanted as long as it was under $10.  I bought a souvenir mug of Medieval Shiner Bock.

They had a torture museum with a $2 entry fee.  My kids wanted to see that.  I was not warned.  I’m glad they can read.  They did a lot of, “What’s that for?” and I did a lot of, “You’ll have to read about it and ask questions later.  Like after your 20th birthday or so.”   They had the displays setup with glass cases containing the device and next to it a nice little write up as to what it was used for.  Good examples can be found here.

They tell you to arrive at least an hour early, but try and convince you to get there 90 minutes early for the best possible seating.  This is all a load of donkey feces.

We arrived a full 80 minutes early.  We already had our tickets so passed by about 50 people waiting in line to buy tickets.  We were handed green cards and told to go wait until we were called.  This was before we were ushered into the souvenir hall with the torture museum.

The show started at 5.  They basically do something like, “Red ticket holders enter the door to the right, black & white ticket holders go through the center door, and green ticket holders to the left.”

If you imagine an oval shaped coliseum about 80 yards long and about 40 yards wide; for getting there 80 minutes early and pre-purchasing our tickets, we got to sit as close to the corner as you can sit.  It sucked.

You get to eat in the dark with your hands.  Never has a chicken breast with bones sticking out everywhere been so scary.  I swear I was waiting for someone to start hacking up chicken bones.  Why chicken?  They could have done some leg of lamb or something where you just hang on to the bone and eat the meat off.  That’s what I picture when I picture eating with my hands medieval style. 

I talked to a colleague of mine and he said he went to one in Chicago about 8 years ago and had a very similar experience so they aren’t doing any improving.  In fact, he and I both agreed: the the falcon was the best part of the show.  It only would have been better if they would have had little white mice that it could rip apart with its sharp talons.

Apparently medieval knights are all out of work wanna be members of the next heavy metal hair band.  In order to be an actor in such a superb play, you must be able to ride a horse and have hair down to your ass.  Acting is not required.

The waiters and waitresses and souvenir shop people kept calling me M’Lord.  It was all I could do to keep from saying, “Out of my way peasant”.

In total brutal honesty though, the thing that disappointed me the most was the simple fact that it could have been so much better.  It had huge potential.  It was just done wrong.  All wrong.  Except for the large waitress wench with the big breasts that cut her finger open and bled all over the to-go boxes.  That was cool.