28 December, 2007

Poorly quoted conversation from work just now

Background: Co-worker #2 is my team lead, and his wife is into swordplay-type stuff. Co-worker #1 is our boss.

Co-worker #1: So are we going to see a picture of your wife beating things up with a mace now?
Co-worker #2: Yeah, eventually.
Co-worker #1: It just seems odd to spend so much time learning about swords. Is she just a naturally violent person?
Co-worker #2: Not really. More of a protection thing.
Co-worker #1: Protection from what? Muggers?
Co-worker #2: You never know who is lurking in the dark when you're walking around.
Me: Also, zombies.
Co-worker #1: What's wrong with guns?
Me: Guns are loud. And attract more zombies.
Co-worker #1: Hunh.
Me: You obviously do not spend enough time thinking about zombie defense.

13 November, 2007

Creep on a banjo



Damn, I need to stop with these all-nighters. I now pray for the sweet, sweet release of death sleep. Only 4.5 more hours to go.

09 November, 2007

To quote Star Trek

"There is the theory of the moebius, a twist in the fabric of space, where time becomes a loop."

Just found one of our DNS boxes (running Solaris 9/Sparc) doing this:


bash-2.05$ date
Thu Nov 8 17:24:25 EST 2007
bash-2.05$ date
Thu Nov 8 17:24:26 EST 2007
bash-2.05$ date
Thu Nov 8 17:24:27 EST 2007
bash-2.05$ date
Thu Nov 8 17:24:27 EST 2007
bash-2.05$ date
Thu Nov 8 17:24:25 EST 2007
bash-2.05$ date
Thu Nov 8 17:24:25 EST 2007
bash-2.05$ date
Thu Nov 8 17:24:26 EST 2007
bash-2.05$ date
Thu Nov 8 17:24:27 EST 2007
bash-2.05$ date
Thu Nov 8 17:24:27 EST 2007
bash-2.05$


That's just me hitting 'date' repeatedly. Its the results which are rather strange.

Guess its time for a reboot, and hope that the machine comes back.

Update:

Reboot was successful. Pulled a copy of syslog off the machine before doing so, just in case Really Bad Things ™ were about to happen. Found the following interesting bits right before the time loop began:


Dec 30 19:00:00 xyz named[3721]: [ID 873579 daemon.crit] timer.c:447: fatal error:
Dec 30 19:00:00 xyz named[3721]: [ID 873579 daemon.crit] RUNTIME_CHECK(isc_time_now((&now)) == 0) failed
Dec 30 19:00:00 xyz named[3721]: [ID 873579 daemon.crit] exiting (due to fatal error in library)


Note the odd timestamp. The epoch, maybe, corrected for GMT-5?

Don't really know what is going on, and Google was, surprisingly, no help with the error message.

11 October, 2007

Your meme, I did it

So with a few minutes to kill, I did the book meme that Jenny (and some other blogger I read) did. Here ya go:

Instructions:
Bold what you have read, italicize your did not finishes, strikethrough the ones you hated, put *asterisks next to those you’ve read more than once, and put a + cross in front of the books that are on your bookshelf.



  • Jonathan Strange & M. Norrell

  • Anna Karenina

  • +Crime and Punishment

  • +*Catch-22

  • +One hundred years of solitude

  • Wuthering Heights

  • +The Silmarillion

  • Life of Pi: a novel

  • The Name of the Rose

  • Don Quixote

  • Moby Dick

  • Ulysses

  • +Madame Bovary

  • The Odyssey

  • Pride and Prejudice

  • Jane Eyre

  • A Tale of Two Cities

  • The Brothers Karamazov

  • Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies

  • War and Peace

  • Vanity Fair

  • The Time Traveller's Wife

  • The Iliad

  • Emma

  • The Blind Assassin

  • The Kite Runner

  • Mrs. Dalloway

  • Great Expectations

  • +American Gods

  • A heartbreaking work of staggering genius

  • +Atlas shrugged

  • Reading Lolita in Tehran

  • Memoirs of a Geisha

  • Middlesex

  • +Quicksilver [i'm going with the neal stephenson version]

  • Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West

  • The Canterbury Tales

  • The Historian

  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

  • +Love in the Time of Cholera

  • +Brave new world

  • The Fountainhead

  • Foucault's Pendulum

  • Middlemarch

  • Frankenstein

  • The Count of Monte Cristo

  • Dracula

  • A Clockwork Orange

  • +Anansi Boys

  • +The Once and Future King

  • The Grapes of Wrath

  • The Poisonwood Bible

  • +*1984

  • Angels & Demons

  • The Inferno

  • The Satanic Verses

  • +Sense and Sensibility

  • The Picture of Dorian Gray

  • Mansfield Park

  • +One flew over the cuckoo's nest

  • To the Lighthouse

  • Tess of the D'Urbervilles

  • Oliver Twist

  • Gulliver's Travels

  • Les misérables

  • The Corrections

  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

  • The curious incident of the dog in the night-time

  • +*Dune

  • +The Prince

  • The Sound and the Fury

  • Angela's Ashes

  • The God of Small Things

  • A people's history of the United States : 1492-present

  • +*Cryptonomicon

  • +Neverwhere

  • +A Confederacy of Dunces

  • A Short History of Nearly Everything

  • Dubliners

  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being

  • Beloved

  • +Slaughterhouse-five

  • The Scarlet Letter

  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves

  • The Mists of Avalon

  • Oryx and Crake : a novel

  • Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed

  • Cloud Atlas

  • +The Confusion

  • +Lolita

  • Persuasion

  • Northanger Abbey

  • +*The Catcher in the Rye

  • On the Road

  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame

  • Freakonomics

  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

  • +The Aeneid [read it in latin, but the copy i own is in english]

  • Watership Down

  • Gravity's Rainbow

  • +*The Hobbit

  • In Cold Blood

  • White Teeth

  • Treasure Island

  • David Copperfield

  • The Three Musketeers

01 October, 2007

Also something about Terry Pratchett

Photos from the 2007 National Book Festival

While I was quite disappointed with the Book Sales tent at the Festival (I really had my hopes up that there would just be stacks and stacks of books for super cheap, but alas and alack, this was not to be), I was not at all disappointed by Mr. Terry Pratchett.

Listened to him speak and do a question-and-answer session for about 20 minutes. At which point, Jenny and I decided that we should go get spots in line for our respective book signings (mainly remembering the fiasco of a few years ago, waiting for Neil Gaiman.) And what good timing, as we left just when a young man starting telling the story of how one of Mr. Pratchett's book changed his life, complete with tears. Wow.

Got in line by 12:30. And then with the waiting. Luckily, the people in front of me were hella cool. (Hi Ari! Hi Chris!). We spent the next hour and change geeking out over Pratchett, Gaiman, King and more webcomics than I thought possible. I feared for nerd riots, though, when the event staff announced that there was going to be a second hour of signing, but it would require moving everyone in the various lines that had been set up over a couple of tents.

"This won't end well" was all I could think. Luckily for our little group, we managed to get to the actual signing tent before any moving had to occur.

And I was this close to having random food scraps from an internationally-famous author in my copy of Sourcery. Seriously: Pratchett signed my book, grabbed his wrap, ate a bite of it, returned it to his plate, and then closed and handed me my book.

October is shaping up to be a fine month

Tomorrow night: Hank at the Birchmere

Saturday the 27th: She Wants Revenge at the Black Cat

Monday the 29th: Patton Oswalt and the Comedians of Comedy, also at the Black Cat

Hopefully other interesting things in the middle of the month

Dallas, Day 5

So yeah, I did in fact get out of Dallas.

Woke up somewhere around 7, and sat around watching Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World for awhile. Eventually realized that I would need to get moving and pack. Got up around 8:30, took a shower, headed downstairs to smoke a cigarette....and promptly started to feel light-headed and mildly faint-y. Huh. Not so good.

Smoked my cig and grabbed some breakfast at the hotel restaurant. Went upstairs and got everything packed. Laid down for a bit so the queasiness could pass. Wandered downstairs around 11:30 to check out. Went out for another smoke to find...

...a parade?

Well, that's just weird.

No, it wasn't the citizens of the great state of Texas letting me know that they're happy that I'm leaving. Turns out, Friday was the first day of the Texas State Fair. And for some reason, the big kick-off parade was queuing up right outside of my hotel.

Watched that for a while. Met up with my co-workers. We wondered what kind of effect the parade was going to have on the cab that was supposed to meet us at 12:30. Amazingly enough, the cabbie actually planned on being early, so was, in fact, only two minutes late, what with all of the traffic.

Got to the airport. Barely beat the crowd of people checking in for American Airlines. Stood in line for security for 11 minutes (I know this because the girl standing behind me was handed a piece of paper by someone from TSA, which is apparently part of their "let's measure how long it takes these poor fools to get through line" initiative.) Waited around for the plane to board.

Still hate taking off.

Get in to National, say goodbye to my co-workers, and then head off to find baggage carousel number five. Find said carousel, only to discover that my bag is not on it. Yay.

Wait in line to complain with everyone else that the airline has lost my luggage. Just as I move up the first person in line, I see a baggage handler moving bags from one pile to another. And, miracle of miracles, see that my bag is one of those being moved.

Thanked the man for doing such an effective job of hiding my bag.

Taxi. Home. Hurrah.

Total Bum Count: 11 (obviously, yes, it could have been much worse)

27 September, 2007

Dallas, Day 4

Seriously, what is up with the bums around here?

To get an idea of what I ran into earlier today after eating lunch, check out this sound clip of David Cross impersonating a homeless person. Eeeeerily similar.

Took another chance on Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse for lunch today. Was able to get food...and seating. The meaty products were quite good, although the sides could use some work. Oh well, can't win them all.

Debated buying a silly cowboy hat. Decided not to. Might change mind, if the store is open early enough tomorrow for me to get there before having to leave for my flight.

The convenience stores here can sell liquor. So Texas does have something going for it.

Bum Count: 8

Dallas, Day 3

And routine sets in.

Woke up and wandered around downtown a bit, looking for a CVS so I could buy some smokes. Finally found one, several blocks from where the website said it would be.

Oh yeah, more bums. Oddly enough, they mostly seem to hang around the bus stops. And the McDonalds.

Tried to have dinner at Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse, but for whatever reason, they couldn't quite handle seating people. Our "10 minute wait" turned into 30. And while I was fine with that (mainly because of a nice pint of Ziegan Bock), my co-workers felt the need to go someplace else. So away we went and got some mexican down the street. Not too bad, but certainly not the greatest.

Had a bum come up to me, complete with trash-bag-cum-poncho, and ask for a light. No big deal. But apparently local cops aren't big on bums talking to anybody, and quickly came over to shoo the guy away.

And the heat is starting to get annoying.

Bum Count: 6

25 September, 2007

Dallas, Day 2

It's weird waking up in a hotel.

Nothing is where it is supposed to be. The bed feels strange. The shower doesn't work the way you think it should. Also doesn't help that I woke up at 7AM, normal time, which is only 6 in bizarro world. So plenty of time to kill until my co-workers and I planned to meet up and head over to the data center.

After a mediocre free continental breakfast buffet, I read the local paper. Good to see that nothing particularly interesting happens in other cities. Finally time to head out, and I learn that our data center is, in fact, right across the street. So that was a nice surprise.

In terms of work, we managed to get most of our assigned tasks done by the end of the day. Which means we're effectively going to end up with two days to kill. Whoo-hoo.

Asked my Dallas co-worker where we could smoke. He took me outside to the grassy knoll. THE grassy knoll. In Dallas. It's like history, right in front of me. Co-worker then pointed out the book depository across the street, and the point where JFK's brains went flying out of his head. Pretty cool. Makes me wish I had brought my camera with me. Guess I will just have to get some pics with my camera phone.

And now I'm just killing time until dinner. Going to try for some Texas BBQ tonight, so hopefully that will work out well.

Update: Had Italian, instead. Well, sort of Italian. Italian-American, I guess. Still pretty tasty.

Also, I have internet again. For now, at least. And I fixed the XML feed for the site, so that should start showing up again in your favorite RSS reader.

Also also: I have now had three bums try to get money of me, in just over a 24-hour period. Fantastic.

Dallas, Day 1

(Out-of-sync blogging, as our hotel's internet connection is currently fubar)

Well, I still hate flying.

No, that's not quite right. I really hate taking off. I'm guessing it's several million of evolution firmly stating that as a homo sapien, I need to stay on the ground. Being hurtled at great speeds by a magical craft towards the sky is just not what I was meant to do.

The actual flying wasn't too bad, at least. This flight had little turbulence, so not too many panic attacks. Just sort of kept my nose buried in my book the whole time. And oddly enough, the landing for me is just fine. I can actually look out the window and not get that feeling that I'm going to go falling down to the ground, even though I am, in fact, hurtling towards the ground. Weird.

So, yeah, got in to Dallas-Fort Worth around 6PM. Got to the hotel to find out that their internet connection is broken. Well, mostly broken. There is a "business center" with a marginally working connection. Got food recommendations from the front desk. Got into my room to find out that my shampoo container had released a good portion of its contents into my luggage. Much cleaning after that.

Dinner was nice. Went to something called the Hoffbrau Steaks, which is apparently a small chain throughout Texas. Yummy sirloin, and Shiner Bock on tap. Couple of those and life is really good.

30 August, 2007

eric idle

said it best:

ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE

(OPENING)
They say I might as well face the truth
That I am just too long in the tooth.
So I'm an OAP and weak-kneed
But I have not yet quite gone to seed.
I may be over the hill now that I have retired
Fading away but I've not yet expired.
Clapped out, run down, too old to save
One Foot in the Grave.


(CLOSING)
They say I might as well face the truth
That I am just too long in the tooth.
I've started to deteriorate
And now I've passed my own sell-by date.

Oh, I am no spring chicken it's true.
I have to pop my teeth in to chew.
And my old knees have started to knock
I've just got too many miles on the clock.

So I'm a wrinkly, crinkly, set in my ways.
It's true that my body has seen better days.
But give me half a chance and I can still misbehave.
One Foot in the Grave.
One Foot in the Grave.
One Foot in the Grave.




happy bday to me. 100000 (or, 000001, for you weirdos out there) and counting.

15 August, 2007

Outage Thursday

(well, long time, no post)

One of the duties of my new job involves keeping our servers and software up-to-date. And today, I get to do just that. After spending way too much time trying to get MySQL to build properly under Solaris 9 the last couple of days, I now get to put the new server app onto the production machines.

Which means...waiting for an outage. An understandable inconvenience, although made more annoying by the fact that our database servers really aren't used all that much. So it's not like a huge problem if they're not available for half-an-hour. But oh well.

In our case, outages occur every Tuesday and Thursday. From 0300 to 0600. (ie, fucking early).

So I figure, I've got the following choices:


  1. Go to sleep early, wake up at 5AM, remote in to work, and install the upgraded software

  2. Go to sleep early, wake up around 4:30AM, drive in to work, and install the upgraded software

  3. Say fuck it, pull an all-nighter, drive in to work hella early, install the upgraded software, and then leave early



Now, choices 1 & 2 invovle going to sleep early, which just isn't going to happen. (Plus, I really don't feel like dealing with any strange fuckery that might happen by having only one hour to do an upgrade.) So here I am, enjoying the wonders of the data center since a little before 3AM. Some observations:


  • The Harris Teeter on Harrison would, naturally, pick tonight to be closed for floor maintenance. Meaning I had to backtrack to the HT on Glebe to pick up my coffee beans, cream, etc

  • Not much traffic getting up to Maryland, although still a fair amount at 2:30AM

  • My car decides that it is the perfect time to do some new fuckery. For today, it involves the engine revving super-high when the transmission is in neutral. (I made it to work, and after parking the car, it eventually calmed down to normal RPMs. I guess I will see how it is doing when I leave later this morning, and determine if I'll be driving straight to the Saturn dealer and bugging someone for a ride to my place so I can sleep.)

  • The datacenter is amazingly quiet and peaceful this early in the morning. Also, plenty of free parking spots.



At least I got the upgrade done in about 30 minutes, with no major shenanigans. Of course, I still have another *looks at clock* 6 hours and 15 minutes to go. I guess shall occupy myself with reinstalling Solaris 10 on my personal Sun box, and getting the PHP binaries that I (FINALLY!) compiled ready for upgrades on the production machines next week. Whoo! I suspect I shall be having more outage fun both days. Yay, me.

08 July, 2007

Someone shut off this music

So I saw the new Transformers movie Friday night. Ugh. It sucked about as much as I figured it would. Maybe even a little more than that. (Although the effects were pretty damn nice.)

I only bring this up to share this with you: Lesser-Known Transformers.

06 July, 2007

Freedom!


  • Rebooted the Unix machine that hasn't had a power-cycle problem in more than a year (which makes me think that someone was screwing around with it last night after I went home)

  • Recycled 15 bottles of various forms of refreshment

  • Tossed one, 4"-high stack of papers

  • Shredded about two years worth of time sheets from several years ago

  • Bagged up the last six to eight months worth of empty breakfast bar boxes (to be taken home and recycled)

  • Burned eight DVDs worth of pornfiles accumulated over the last seven years

  • Wrote out procedures for a few more of my activities

  • Turned in paperwork for new job

  • Had exit interview with contracting company

  • Listened to Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture on the ride home



And that was my last day at work.

04 July, 2007

There were people at that party WAY drunker than me

okay, well, maybe not.

all apologies for anything i said or did that was not, er, appropriate.

but fuck it, it was fun.

peace, bitches.

28 June, 2007

hurk

Has anyone else tried this Full Throttle energy drink that Coke is selling?

One of my co-workers came back from lunch yesterday and gave me a can of it. Being a fan of caffeine, I decided to give it a try. All I can say is: It was like a sugar and caffeine party in my mouth, and everyone was invited! And then everyone threw up. And then someone peed on my molars.

Ugh. What the hell is wrong with the people who actually enjoy this crap?

23 June, 2007

In Case You Hadn't Heard

So in case you hadn't heard from me, or via the grapevine: I have a new job!

I'll still be with the same organization, but I'm moving to a new contracting company to do system administration (ie, keep the web servers, routers and DNS boxes running, along with whatever other things that fall under our purview). So much more in line with the kind of stuff I want and like to do. Plus the added bonus that I know most of the people in my new group, and actually like them.

So, huzzah! I need to give my two weeks notice (and boy, those will be a fun two weeks), and then I'm going to take a week off between the jobs (hopefully going to California).

It feels good to...feel good again.

16 June, 2007

Damn

Squirrels will fuck you up, yo

Looking So Hard

Ah, the joys of visiting the family. Spent a good chunk of the night sitting around with my parents, brother and sister-in-law, looking through several boxes of family pictures. And unlike these family pictures, they were actually fairly modern and mostly just my immediate family.

But just odd looking at pictures of myself over the years. My high school graduation. Going off to college. At my brother's wedding. Couple of ex-girlfriends. And oh, my long hair. How I sometimes miss you.

Right now, none of those pix have been scanned in, and probably won't be. But here are some shots I took of the family reunion this afternoon, if you are curious. The reunion focused on my maternal grandmother's side of the family, and you can at least tell where I get my height from.

14 June, 2007

Jim. Eats. Waffles!

I did not catch the Captain Tripps that everyone else caught.

I spent way more money getting my car ready for my trip than I really wanted to.

I actually managed to leave when I wanted to, which was right around 11.

I ate at the Waffle House in Harrisonburg. I had a waffle, coffee and hashbrowns (scattered, smothered and covered).

It rained a whole bunch the entire time I was driving.

I smoked way too many cigarettes on the trip down.

I should have taken a picture of that waffle before I ate it, so that I could post it and you too could enjoy its wonderfulness.

Filled up my gas tank and bought a Cherry Pepsi at the same gas station on I-77 that I always go to, and yet I never plan to go to that exact same gas station on each trip. I just always end up there. Weird.

I arrived safely at my parents, after my usual harrowing journey down a country road, constantly wondering if I did, in fact, make the correct turn back at the ol' tree stump.

I toured the farmgardens. Not much edible yet.

Dinner was good.

And then I found teh internets.




That waffle was made entirely out of waffles!

13 June, 2007

Goodbye, Mr. Wizard

Damn.

Sure, the show idea was a little creepy: Young children go over to some dude's house and perform "experiments". But where else would I have learned, at such a young age, that liquid nitrogen can freeze just about anything, that steel wool is surprisingly flammable, and that you can determine the height of a tree with a pan of water and a measuring tape (no climbing required)?

Bill Nye's got nothing on Mr. Wizard.

12 June, 2007

Mixed Martial Arts

"Think it through, Jon. If you wanted people to fight in an eight-sided cage, wouldn't the natural choice of shape be...an octagon?"

03 June, 2007

blurgh

ugh, i think i'm sick.

i've spent most of the day napping. and my throat is a bit raw. and i could barely concentrate on the episode of arrested development that was on earlier in the afternoon.

if you don't see me for a few days, you'll know why.

31 May, 2007

Well Crap

Just great. First, the wolfpocalypse. Now we have to worry about the robot-ocalypse.

If the zombies ever get their shit together, we're in for a world of bad.

25 May, 2007

Exotic Birds

Trent Reznor talks about computer-assisted music:


Ah, the 80s.

22 May, 2007

Random Crap

Just some random links for y'all:



(Oh yeah, most of those Derrick Comedy videos aren't safe for work. ESPECIALLY National Spelling Bee!)

16 May, 2007

Decisions, decisions

So my bank wants to give me money for a car. Lots of money. And quite frankly, I want to take their money. Not that there's anything particularly wrong with the car I'm currently driving, but, well, c'mon...shiny new things! (That and the fact that the car is more than 13 years old, and has nearly 100k miles on it. Sooner or later, stuff is going to start breaking.)

Right now, I'm leaning towards the Suzuki SX4. Randy just bought one, and is happy with it. And I enjoyed driving it, even if I did manage to stall it several times. Chris' Mazda is also quite nice (with a more comfortable clutch), but it lacks AWD. (And quite frankly, I'm sure the Suzuki's clutch will feel "normal" within about 50 miles of driving it.)

(Not that I desperately need AWD, mind you. I certainly don't have a lot of call for going off-road. But damn, it will be nice to have in the winter, while dealing with people who can't drive for shit in the snow, as well as the DC/Metro area's piss-poor response in terms of snow removal.)

There is currently a SX4 Sport on the lot at the dealer in Fredericksburg, VA, right now. Unfortunately, it's pearl white. And that's the only color available in a sport model within 100 miles of here. However, there is a dealer not far from my parents' place that has the metallic blue (which is my preferred color) available. But I'm not visiting my parents until next month for a family reunion.

So, do I...


  • ...go for immediate gratification, and get the white one?

  • ...call the nearest dealer, and see about ordering the car I want?

  • ...visit my parents earlier and get the blue one that is currently available down in NC, before it's purchased by someone else?

  • ...just wait until next month, and hope that what I want is still there?

Naturally

SEVERE WEATHER ALERT-Accuweather has advised that there is a chance of heavy thunderstorms this afternoon and evening. The best chance of thunderstorms are between 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Total rainfall may be up to 1 1/4 inch. Expect hard downpours, wind gusts up to 60 mph and cloud to ground lightning.


No biking today, I guess. Although if I could get those 60MPH gusts as a tail wind, I could make some pretty decent time.

Piracy

Murder. Rape. Computer piracy. According to Alberto Gonzales, these three acts are all worthy of the same punishment.

And, of course, the RIAA gets special treatment.

Jackass.

15 May, 2007

Item #3918

Addiction is just a fancy medical term for super-strong love:


Home Purchasing Club

11 May, 2007

The war on (some) drugs and (some) users

Want free marijuana and cocaine? Want to get off scot free even when you get caught? The answer is easy, my friends: become a police officer.

Huzzah for the double-standard!

10 May, 2007

OMFG

HOLY SHIT, i need a gun so i can shoot my screen....because i will never find a video better than this on teh internets:

Good old Queen

You know what makes me feel better? Listening to a lot of Queen while I'm work. God damn, do they rock.

Select artist ("Queen"), and just play every track I have by them in shuffle mode.

"We Will Rock You" + "We are the Champions" = AWESOME. So awesome, in fact, that the iPod even knows to KEEP THEM TOGETHER when in shuffle mode.

08 May, 2007

99 problems

Ah, this amuses me:



NSFW

misc

05 May, 2007

02 May, 2007

I want to ride my...

...BICYCLE! Right now, in fact, instead of sitting in my windowless bunkeroffice breathing mechanically recycled air. Stupid nice weather outside, taunting me while I toil away.

Yesterday was day three of getting back into riding, after a strange and often cold winter. (Plus, the laziness really factors into the not riding thing.) Was finally able to do the short journey (the house -> the bridge over rt 7 -> the house) without a) feeling woozy at the halfway point and b) having all kinds of pain throughout my back and neck afterwards. So, victory for me on that front.

I even considered crossing the bridge and heading out to Vienna yesterday, I felt so good, but realized I would still have to get back to Arlington. Hopefully I can get back to regular rides out to Vienna (two or three times during the week), and start adding trips to Reston (or points further west) on the weekends. *crosses fingers*

01 May, 2007

CCD

So is there really a disease wiping out the bees, or did we just miss the message "so long, and thanks for all the pollen"?

29 April, 2007

26 April, 2007

Stupid Giant

Dear Giant,

I often find myself buying coffee from you. You're right across the street, and you're not Starbucks. And hey, you're pretty darn inexpensive, as well. (Especially when I'm being too damn lazy to brew my own coffee in my office.)

But for the love of bob, if you're going to sell shitty, flavored coffees, PLEASE MARK WHICH FUCKING POTS HAVE SHITTY, FLAVORED COFFEE in them! Blech.

xoxoxoxoxo
-me

25 April, 2007

Best. Letter to the editor. Ever.

Daylight exacerbates warning. (Thanks to Metafilter for this one)

At first my bullshit detector started screaming. "Can anyone be this dumb?" There are certainly ways to generate your own fake newspaper clippings. Perhaps it's just that.

Oh no. A quick Google search for the Arkansas Democrat Gazette found that it's not only a real newspaper (for certain values of real, I suppose), but that you can search through their archives. And search I did! So yes, a letter with this headline does, in fact, exist. I do not, however, want to pay $1.95 to actually read it. (Seriously, $1.95? I might consider paying that much for a letter or article from the Washington Post or BBC websites...but frackin' Arkansas? Get over yourselves.)

Update: A free version of their archives. Interesting business plan.

My favorite part:

"Perhaps this is another plot by a Liberal Congress to make us believe that global warming is a real threat."


NEVER MIND that this whole daylight saving foofarah was passed by a Republican congress, and a Republican president signed off on it. It is truly amazing how quickly we forget who was in power for so long.

And I guess if anyone wants to contact the writer and ask them about global warmning, they can do so.

20 April, 2007

Voicemail

I should really check my voicemail at work more often. I finally got around to doing just that this morning. Approximately 24 news messages, dating back from 5 March. Oops.

(Although, really, most of them were from ONE PERSON, all pretty much saying "call me/stop by my office when you get a chance".)

11 April, 2007

The patch

I'm on day four of Nicoderm CQ, the nicotine patch. So far, so good. I've had a few cigarettes since Sunday, but nothing major.

The biggest problem that I've found with the patch is this: it stops the nicotine craving, but it doesn't make you not want to smoke. Which seems odd, but if you've given up cigarettes before, you know what I mean. It's not so much the "ohgodIreallywantnicotinegivemesomenownownow". It's the "wow, okay, normally I would go outside for six or seven minutes and smoke...what do I do now?" (And not to mention the general social implications of not being with the smoking crowd anymore.)

Don't get me wrong, I'm liking it. I definitely like this more than chewing Nicorette. I get a nice, steady stream of nicotine in my system; I don't have to remember to have the gum with me at all times; and I don't have to chew gum so much that my jaw hurts. But still, it's just weird.

Although last night, I think I had my first batch of "vivid dreams" the box warned me about, which made sleeping rather difficult. Hell, one dream managed to continue, even after I woke myself up...twice! So, I guess I will see if the dreams continue, and if so, stop wearing the patch at night.

And only 9½ more weeks to go on the program. Whoo.

Bwahaha

I work for the government, in the executive branch, no less, and on a larf I try to follow the links on http://abstinencefeelsgood.com/. Tragically, I am blocked by Websense, the web filtering app that stops everyone in the Department from seeing anything naughty. (Of course, these sites were blocked for being "Sex Education", which is funny unto itself.)

So I'm trying to decide if I should send e-mails out to complain about these sites being blocked, and having that category opened up in Websense. Because, hey! We're under the Bush administration, and the Bush administration has a big ol' boner for abstinence-only education. We wouldn't want to be going against this big boss, now would we?

09 April, 2007

No, thank you, buddy

To the guy, who had to stop and not immediately make his right-hand turn, who said to me, as I passed by his car while crossing the street, "you could say 'thanks', dick!", I say to you:

Thank you, twat. Thank you FOR OBEYING THE FUCKING TRAFFIC LAWS and NOT RUNNING ME OVER, while I CROSSED THE FUCKING STREET at a CROSSWALK with a WALK SIGNAL in my favor. Thank you.


Fucking Maryland drivers.

08 April, 2007

Everything must go

Or something like that. The following is a list of books, DVDs and CDs that I'm going to get rid of. If you know me IRL, and want any of this stuff (for free!), let me know and I'll reserve it for you. Otherwise, off it goes to Goodwill or the CD Cellar:

















































formattitleauthor
paperbackUpanisadsOlivelle (Trans)
paperbackQuotable SexMcKenzie
paperbackMadame BovaryFlaubert
paperbackThe Bhagavad-GitaMiller (Trans)
paperbackThe DispossessedLeGuin
hardcoverThe Innocents AbroadTwain
hardcoverThey Called Her StyreneRuscha
softcoverWhat the Buddha TaughtRahula
softcoverMigraineSacks
softcoverWhy Do Clocks Run Clockwise?Feldman
hardcoverRatsFox
hardcoverThe Proper Care of Fancy RatsMays
hardcoverBhagavad-Gita As It IsPrabhupada
hardcoverThe Art of WarGriffith (Trans)
softcoverEarth in the BalanceGore
hardcoverHow to Overthrow the GovernmentHuffington
hardcoverCat StoriesHerriot
hardcoverBuster's DiariesHattersley
hardcoverBushmanders & BullwinklesMonmonier
softcoverHinduism - A Cultural PerspectiveKinsley
softcoverMarxian EconomicsEatwell / Milgate / Newman
softcoverCharlie MikeScott
hardcoverThe Minus ManMcCreary
hardcoverThe Girl Who Loved Tom GordonKing
softcoverSword of King JamesLee
hardcoverPrimary ColorsAnonymous
hardcoverThe 9 Steps to Financial FreedomOrman
hardcoverEdgar Allan Poe: Sixty-Seven TalesPoe
hardcoverRose MadderKing
hardcoverMidnightKoontz
hardcoverHideawayKoontz
hardcoverDragon TearsKoontz
paperbackThe Long Dark Tea-Time of the SoulAdams
softcoverYukon Ho!Watterson
softcoverSomething Under the Bed is DroolingWatterson
softcoverWeirdos From Another Planet!Watterson
softcoverIt's a Magical WorldWatterson
softcoverThere's Treasure EverywhereWatterson
softcoverHomicidal Psycho Jungle CatWatterson
softcoverThe Essential Calvin and HobbesWatterson
hardcoverThe Authoritative Calvin and HobbesWatterson
cdPunk Goes 80'sVarious Artists
cdTwice Upon a Time - The SinglesSiouxsie and the Banshees
dvdTwister 
dvdThe Princess Bride 
dvdMonty Python and the Holy Grail 

02 April, 2007

really, i'm not

Dearest bitches,

I am not the helpdesk. Please call our actual helpdesk when you have, y'know, helpdesk-y kinds of problems.

xoxoxoxo
-me

27 March, 2007

early morning

2.30 a.m. - the time when the dog wakes up, needing to pee

2.35 a.m. - the time when the cat, normally afraid of everything including her shadow and small rocks, decides that it's quiet and peaceful enough that she must go exploring outdoors, since the door is open anyways. (mercifully, not so curious as to run away, but curious enough to annoy me, cos i wanna go back to sleep, damnit)

26 March, 2007

Alright stop

alright, stop. collaborate and listen.
ice is back with my brand new invention.
something takes ahold of me tightly
something something daily and nightly
will it ever stop?
yo, i don't know
turn off the lights
and i'll glow


Completely apropos of absolutely nothing, that came into my head.

I REALLY HAVE NO FREAKIN' IDEA AS TO WHY!

It's not like I was listening to Queen's Under Pressure, and just got that stolen sample stuck in my head. Nope. Was typing an e-mail, and it just started.

And what's worse, is that this means that some small portion of my memory is being used to store the FUCKING LYRICS to shitty, early-90s, whiteboy rap.

WHY LORD, OH WHY?!

to the extreme
i rock a mic like a vandal
light up the stage and
wax a chump like a candle


My only hope is that by seeing these lyrics, Ice Ice Baby will get stuck in your, so that you too may suffer along with me.

HAHAHAHA! suffer, bitches!

16 March, 2007

Huzzah for me

American Express card is now paid off. One step closer to financial solvency.

10 March, 2007

funky beats

funky beats, yo.

representin'!!

drunk, yet i can still look up urls. werd!

and that, jasper, is, more or less, the way it is in the hood.

mmmmmmm........rum. and coke. well, actually, pepsi. way better than what they served at mr. jays. and whatever multiple other drinks that i drank. alcohol: proof that god exists, and loves us. -- loosely quoting ben franklin.

this post took way more time to write than i care to admit

pinto beans envy my power!

09 March, 2007

Bang my head slowly

Part of an e-mail message that I sent out earlier today:

Have you been receiving form submissions to something@foo.com over the last couple of days?


The response:

Quick question - have you seen other tips being submitted to the new addresses or were you talking about the old something@foo.com account?


Way to read for comprehension.

YOU LOSE!

GOOD DAY, SIR!



I said "GOOD DAY!"

08 March, 2007

Linkdump

While work has been annoying, it hasn't been quite the same kind of annoying that provides amusing things to write about. So just to let everyone know that I care about them and give them something to read, I present some amusing webcomics from the last few days:



And non-comic related links:



Bon appétit!

20 February, 2007

Fun stuff

Today:

  • Buy fancy clothes (well, fancy for me, at least)

  • Make sure nice shoes have not disappeared

  • Shaving of the face, so as to look presentable


Tomorrow:

  • The wearing of said fancy clothes

  • Find out if I can still tie a tie

  • Trek downtown

  • Kick ass and take names


Wish me luck!

13 February, 2007

Five seconds

The Fellowship of the Rings, oh so accurately condensed to five seconds:

Reaction

Reactions to the snow this morning:

*from approximately 15% of the population*
OMFG! water! from THE SKY!
and it FLOATS!
is this that RAPTURE thing they keep talking about?
my shoes hurt!
well, no matter what, i shall drive slow...FOR SAFETY!

*from the rest of the population*
DRIVE FASTER, YOU RETARDED, ABORTED MONKEY FOETUSES!

12 February, 2007

Do you know

*phone rings* *phone is answered*

"Do you know the IP addresses of those boxes?"

"What boxes?"

"The new boxes?"

"Oh, those boxes. No, I do not. Much like I said when asked the same question an hour ago at the meeting I got called into that I had no knowledge of for a project that I never knew existed until five minutes after I got into said meeting."

"Oh, okay. So we'll have to ask someone else what the addresses are?"

"I can see why you get paid the big money."

11 February, 2007

Woops

Not only was I living in sin while I was in North Dakota. But apparently, also committing a sex crime.

09 February, 2007

Great Caesar's ghost!

Just one more week, and hopefully things will be different.

07 February, 2007

Callie

Happy and peaceful, soaking up some sun:

Callie enjoying the sun

05 February, 2007

Big game

My side of pretty much every conversation today:

"No, I did not watch the game last night."
"No, I felt fine. Just didn't watch it."
"Yes, I am aware I missed all the great advertisements."
"It had nothing to do with the two teams playing. I'm just not much of a football fan."
"What?"
"Fine, I'm a fag. Whatever."

31 January, 2007

PC load letter? WTF does that mean?

co-worker: "Hey, where's the stuff I printed out?"

me: *blank stare*

co-worker: "I printed out a document earlier. It's not here."

me: "Oh, right. You were in here like one-and-a-half hours ago, waiting for the printer to warm up. Then it printed something, you took it, and left. I figured you were done with your transaction."

co-worker: "Well, no..."

me: "But apparently not. Because an hour later, I went to print out a two-page document. The little printer icon on my desktop told me that printing had failed. That made me sad. The print spooler tries so hard, y'know?"

co-worker: ....

me: "Never mind that, though. I checked the printer, and it was out of paper. Annoying, yes. But easily fixable. So I searched for about 10 minutes to find some paper in this building. They hide it well. But eventually, I was victorious.

So I brought the paper back, loaded tray two with fresh leafs of bright, white paper. Closed the tray, and printing began almost immediately. 'Joy,' I think to myself. 'Soon I will have my printout'.

Alas, it was not to be. Because it wasn't my print job that was executing. It was the remainder of yours. I would approximate anywhere from 90 to 100 pages. I watched it print for quite a while."

co-worker: "Great. Where is it?"

me: "I threw it in the big recycling bin out in the hallway."

co-worker: "But why?! I needed that."

me: "No, obviously you did not need that. Or else you would've taken the time to find some paper to finish your print job. I mean, surely you would have noticed that you were missing 100 pages of your document! Especially within an hour."

co-worker: "But you can't do that!"

me: "Why yes, yes I can. Do you want to know why?"

co-worker: .....

me: "Because FUCK YOU, that's why."

29 January, 2007

Welcome back, Kotter

Ah, one whole week away from my office. It seems like a dream, now. And I've only been back for about two hours.

Already, three four phone calls, and one in-office meeting. 100+ e-mails to sort through.

And my favorite part: While I was gone, a request came in for a more specific web analysis report for a component. Now, normally, this is no big deal. I would get the request, set up the report, and process the data. It takes a couple of days. No big whoop, right?

Yes. Big whoop, indeed.

Two people, who know nothing about this whole process, managed to send an estimate in to our über-boss of 100 hours. And that it couldn't possibly be finished until February 28th. Yay, brilliant. Even better, über-boss sends me an e-mail asking if the estimate was correct. What's a guy to do? Support his "management chain", and stick behind their fucking loopy estimate that they pulled out of their collective asses? Or give a realistic estimate that makes him look better in the eyes of the über-boss?

Yeah, you know what I did.

"I can get this done in about 1/3rd of the time. Do you know why? BECAUSE I AM AWESOME!"

And so after all of these phone calls, I can sum up the morning with this IM conversation with a co-worker:

[09:27] me: she is trying to manipulate the task so that it looks like it is close to 100 hours of work
[09:27] co-worker: heheh

[09:27] co-worker: yeah, cuz' she doesn't want herself look bad by listening to T's advice
[09:29] me: the best thing to do in that case?
[09:29] me: don't take T's advice!


Only six more hours to go.

22 January, 2007

Pratchett

The Discworld Reading Order Guide

March for life

Apparently it was Roe v. Wade day in DC. Or maybe it was March for Life.

Actually, it should just be Ugly, Retarded Hicks for Jesus day.

And I usually enjoy working downtown, when I get the opportunity. I can take Metro in, and not have to deal with traffic. I can wander around during my lunch break and get yummy food. All oddly relaxing for me, for some reason.

But not today.

Today, all I could find were large groups of people, holding up signs, espousing their beliefs. "Justice for all, born and unborn". "Abortion stops a beating heart." "Are you going to eat that cheeseburger?"

Seriously, shut the fuck up, people. Ain't none of you need to be having any kids. Supernintendo Superintendent Chalmers had it right: "Class after class of ugly, ugly children." We need to put a stop to this.

I'd like to take the time to go into a reasoned monologue about why abortion should be kept legal (as it should). But fucked if I want to right now. All of those hicks make me want to scrub my eyes with lye, just so I never have to see them again.

21 January, 2007

Mmmm, mmmm good

Churros + Spanish hot chocolate + Battlestar Galactica = AWESOME!

Thank you, Jenny, for the deliciousness.

Snowpacolypse '07

Dear Fuckwits of NoVA/The Greater DC Metro area:

It's only snow. There isn't even all that much of it. JUST KEEP DRIVING.

Sure, slow down a bit. That only makes sense. But for fuck's sake, safe driving speed DOES NOT equal moving at 5-10 MPH.

Also, please get the fuck out of my way. If you suck that much at driving (much like everything else in your life, I'm sure), your sorry ass should not have been out on the roads in the first place. Stay inside and do whatever the fuck it is you do while waiting for the sweet, sweet embrace of death, the only thing to look forward to in your pathetic, suburban lives.

xoxxoxoxo
-me

16 January, 2007

Vagary

"Hey, we have another of those Vaguely Defined Projects."

"What does this project involve?"

"Ummm *looks* Posting something to the homepage."

"Wow, yeah, that is pretty vague. You got any content to go with that?"

"Nope."

"A link?"

"Not as such. There's reference to this being a press release on another site, that we need to link to."

"Hmmm. So, we don't know what needs to go on the homepage or what it actually links to. Do we even have someone In Charge associated with this project who can answer questions?"

"Yes, but she's nowhere near a computer right now."

"Ah, nice. Well, let's give this one to James. He doesn't deal with enough stupid shit everyday."

*me, looks up* "Huh? Wuh? Oh, fuck me, mate. Thanks."

Past, present and the future

The way I see things, there are three temporal versions of everybody. For example, me:

  • Past James

  • Present James

  • Future James


Now, I don't know if this is true for everyone else, but in my case, Past James really fucking hates Future James.

Sure, some of it because Future James can be a real dick. Every Friday morning, as I stumble in to work, thinking about another eight hours of tedium, Future James is sitting at home, laughing at (Past) me. Wake up with a hangover? Future James is already feeling better. Reading a book? That bastard already knows the ending. You get the picture.

So it's come down to this: Past James does stupid things, as a way of getting back at Future James.

  • "Why yes, I think I will have another beer!"

  • "Sleep? Why would I possibly need more than three hours of sleep before going to work?"

  • "That unicorn tattoo sounds like a great idea!"


And the like.

But something doesn't quite fit. There's only one person who been at the scene of all of these crimes. Of course! It's really that bastard, Present James, doing all of this shit. The beer. The unicorn. The hooker named Phil. Everything. It all adds up.

Shit!

And he's going to keep getting away with it, and continue to pin the blame on Past James. He is a diabolical one, he is. Is there nothing that we can do to stop him?

A hole in the head

It's taken 140 years, but Lincoln jokes are now acceptable:



(And funny!)

11 January, 2007

F you, Baltimore

Best. Advertisement. Ever.

Complete and totally NSFW.

(And yes, Ron, I know you love Baltimore. It's not actually a slam against that fair city.)

05 January, 2007

At least the weekend is here

So I'm walking down the hallway in my office building. Friday afternoon, and it's fairly quiet. Just got done with yet another meeting.

I see two people talking in the hallway. I don't think I've ever seen them before.

Maybe thirty feet away.

I speed up to a quick trot.

*click* I engage my pen, making sure the pointiest part is available.

The two men continue talking. Then the guy who's facing me realizes something's just not right.

But too late. My arm is up. And then down.

SQUISH

Right into that other bastard's neck. The blood is copious. So warm. So full of the life that this jerk so formerly had.




And then I snap out of it, and realize I'm just standing still in the hallway. Eyes glazed over. Idly clicking my pen. In. Out. In. Out. *click-click-click* The two guys are watching me, suspiciously.

I'm so glad it's Friday. Two whole days away from this horrid place.

03 January, 2007

Google Reader

So I've been slowly working on transferring the feeds I read from Bloglines to Google Reader (hey, I've pretty much sold my soul to Google...what's one more service?)

One of the more interesting features is the ability to share links of blog articles that you find, and make them available for others to peruse (and even subscribe to that as an RSS feed). You can find mine at http://www.google.com/reader/shared/10605254425022528773.

Socks

I just don't think I will ever understand the sock industry in this country.

Of course, that is a bit of a misnomer. The textile industries of America have become nearly non-existent, and I know perfectly well that the socks I've been buying for most of my life have probably come from a sweatshop in Kuala Lampur or Bangkok. So I guess I should say that I will never understand the people who import the socks into our country.

This all comes up because today, I went into the local Target, looking for socks. Now, I certainly have plenty of socks, but they're all of the white, athletic, tube-sock variety. Perfectly good, yes, but they do look a bit silly when I'm wearing khakis and a pair of brown shoes. (And yes, I know...GAY) And I do, in fact, have a few pairs of brown and black socks which I typically wear with my khakis and brown shoes. But they are getting old, and I've lost a few to the ravages of time.

So, I need "real" socks. Target seems like as good of a place as any to get some, particularly since I was already going there to buy some pants, toilet paper, facial stuff (more gay, I know), &c.

[And as an aside, I do so enjoy buying jeans now that I've lost some weight, and actually have a bigger selection of jeans to choose from. I look forward to hopefully needing to buy more pants later on that are even smaller. But the most amusing thing about losing weight is when friends/family/co-workers notice and say something about it. Because often, they don't know quite what to say. "Hey, I notice you're not quite as much of a fat-ass as you were before...kudos!"

Or my favorite: "You look like you've lost some weight...are you trying to?" There's always that internal debate of should I respond with a) "No, it's the cancer" or b) "Yes, I've been working on an eating disorder. It seems to work so well for the kids these days".]

And I find myself going through the sock "department", and running into a problem. And that problem is, one size does not, indeed, fit all. There are approximately 100 different styles of socks to choose from. Of those, I could find only one that fits into the "you have big feet, motherfucker," category.

Yes, my problem with the sock industry, if there is in fact anything that can rightly be called a sock industry, is that for some unknown reason, the standard size for mens' socks go from six...to twelve. I wear a size thirteen. [These are all, of course, the shoe sizes that go with sock purchasing. A secondary mystery would be why the fuck can't they just size socks the same way they size shoes?] It's as if this is just one of the universe's little digs at me: "Oh, look, James. Socks! So many wonderous socks, of all styles and colors and comforts. But, OH! Sorry. You don't get to have any."

Not that I can't wear the socks that max out at a twelve. I can and have, because, shit, it's what I've had to deal with for the majority of my life. But every so often, I get treated with the wonder that is big-and-tall socks. And they're so nice. They fit just right.

I could, I guess, just go to a big-and-tall type store, and look for socks. Or possibly find an outlet store somewhere that specializes in socks. Maybe even find a society that has a sock-based economy, in hopes that they would offer custom-fitted socks.

Or just order socks off the internet. But damnit, I'm in Target already. Why not get my damn socks now?!

But Target, in it's infinite wisdom, has given me only one package of socks that are larger-sized, and they happen to be the gay little short-socks. You know the ones. They might as well have the fruity little pom-poms on the back of them, to make you feel like a pretty, pretty princess.

Now, of course, this is mostly market driven. I'm sure the average shoe-size for American men is something like a ten or eleven. But for the love of Bob, would it be so fucking difficult to just make the standard sock size go from six to thirteen? Sure, they'd still be a little uncomfortable, but at least they'd be close.

I don't think I really had a point to all of this. I mostly just wanted to write about socks. And I do, in fact, have new socks. The Gold Toe casual socks, which are kind of like dress socks but not quite, at least go all the way to twelve-and-a-half. So at least I've got that going for me.

Which is nice.