Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Tired of bleeding

It must be the weather drying up my nasal cavity, but for some reason about a week or so ago my nose starts bleeding out my right nostril if I blow my nose. I’m not terribly congested and all the boogers have dried out. I thought today my luck had changed or the thing finally healed up because I haven’t had a good bleed since Saturday. But, after lunch a nose blow led to a nose bleed.

I hope this isn’t serious. I doubt it is but Thanksgiving was a bitch walking around with tissue jammed up my nose three times.

More life in the 55-gallon tank

I can’t remember which site I read this on but it stated that the secret to breeding platies and other live bearers is that there is no secret; the female platy is almost always pregnant. I’m beginning to believe that.

When I turned on the lights on my 55 gallon aquarium I noticed one of my pearl gouramis poking it’s snout up and down repeatedly into the massive growth of green cabomba at the top of the water. Upon closer examination I barely noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. When I looked under a hood there were about a dozen and a half fry cowering in the thick growth of plants. I got about eight of them into a protective plastic breeding container, the rest will have to try to survive as the previous three did.

I’m fairly certain the live breeders, i.e. the platies, were the proud parents. The pearl and opaline gouramis are bubble nest builders and I would assume that any eggs laid amongst the bubbles at the water surface equaled food for the platies, other gouramis, flame tetras and/or Siamese algae eaters. The flame tetras are egg scatterers and I guarantee if their eggs were not food for the previous fish then dozen catfish or two plecos in the tank would have taken care of them. There are a pair of ottos and the two plecos in the tank but breeding them is next to impossible. So I think it’s safe to say one of the two female platies birthed dem babies.

Monday, November 28, 2005

War of the Worlds

This weekend I watched the updated Steven Spielberg version of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. The DVD was a Netflix rental, I did not see it on the big screen. I felt the same way about this movie that I did about Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith: I wasn’t terribly impressed. Unlike Sith, however, I’m not sure if a theater viewing would have helped with the experience.

“War of the Worlds” is about a dock worker named Ray (Tom Cruise) who is called upon by his ex-wife to watch over their kids; a slacker son (Justin Chatwin) and a modernized but typical allergy and affliction filled, “where’s mommy”, “I gotta pee” daughter (Dakota Fanning). Before Ray can awkwardly bond with anybody, a lightning storm causes a tall, mechanized, death-ray wielding camera tripod from hell to burst forth from the ground and just start frying everything in sight. The rest of the movie takes Ray and family across New York running from destruction, other people, death-ray blasting alien camera tripods, human grabbing and “processing” alien camera tripods, and strange mental cases planning attacks in deserted cellars (Tim Robbins). Then it’s over. Everybody is reunited and alive and relatively clean in mostly untouched Boston.

There are a number of ways I could review this movie. I could let it stand on it’s own as entertainment, I could compare it to “The War of the Worlds” (1953), or I could compare it to the H.G. Wells book The War of the Worlds (1898).

Standing on it’s own, War of the Worlds is almost a good movie. The movie is pure spectacle. It could have been a special effects “spooge-fest” but it isn’t; which is a good thing or a bad thing depending upon your viewpoint. The alien tripods were one-hundred percent believable. The aliens themselves were somewhat hokey looking. The plot was well sequenced but the cellar sequence was far too long and the ending was blatantly abrupt and disgustingly “happy”. The acting is above par, although most seem to hate Cruise’s mono-faced performances and Dakota Fanning’s constant screaming.

When compared to the “The War of the Worlds” of 1953 I would rate it slightly worse. It’s shocking when you realize that half a century separates these two films. The 1953 version was much better in most aspects, from the adaptation to the acting. Fifty two years of special effect evolution makes a massive difference but when compared to each other on equal ground the 1953 version still holds the edge on application and usage. I like their aliens better, too. I also liked the inclusion of faith in the 1953 version. The finale in/outside the church, the last sanctuary of humanity with all hell breaking loose outside, seems wholesomely realistic.

It has been about 28 years since I read the book and the black and white comic book that I obtained with it. I would have to re-read the book to make a comparison. Spielberg changed his version to have the alien machines hidden beneath the earth’s surface for what is presumed to be millions of years or at least before the genesis of man. Spielberg also kept the origin of the marauders hidden.

Most reviews of War of the Worlds attack it on the basis of sloppy science and use of political correctness. I think if you are one of those people, you are entitled to your opinion but I’ll consider you somewhat (or maybe entirely) an idiot. I program computers. I know there is no way in bloody hell that a nerd with a laptop could interface with, let alone write enough program code to be a destructive virus on a massive, planet-sized alien mother ship. My brother is a genetic chemist and knows dinosaurs cannot be grown from DNA in the belly of skeeter encased in amber. That didn’t prevent either of us from enjoying Independence Day or Jurassic Park. Frankly I don’t care if an EMP would prevent a camcorder from working, or if death-rays are the most inefficient ways of exterminating humanity, or if bacteria should have killed the aliens when they buried their machines millions of years ago. I also don’t care if this movie was sickeningly politically correct by not identifying the aliens as Martians, or having the pathetic single-dad, or that joining the Army is a worthless cause, or that occupations never work, or that human nature is really pathetic when you get to it, or that every impossibly grave situation will have a clean, happy ending in Boston. I felt the same way when I reviewed Land of the Dead.  If you can’t enjoy a movie because of social commentary or can’t accept the impossible in the name of entertainment they you have no business reviewing a movie or really discussing it openly. I think War of the Worlds would have been much better off without that social commentary but it wasn’t a deciding factor. I think Tom Cruise is a total whack-job outside of Hollywood, but on film he usually delivers acceptable to good performances.

To summarize, I’m glad I rented War of the Worlds. I probably would have been mildly disappointed if I had viewed in a theater or purchased the DVD outright. There weren’t enough special effects to make this a must have in collection and I don’t see it as a classic I watch over and over again.

IMDB
Rotten Tomatoes
Mr.Cranky

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Star Wars (trilogy and III)

I received my fairly sizable order from Deep Discount DVD yesterday (all except for Lord of the Rings Trilogy Extended Boxed Set; extreme plus three special Hobbit feet vorpal bunny edition). I am now current with Simpsons DVD collections and picked up the Star Wars trilogy (IV through VI) and Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith.

I was a little surprised at the cheapness of the Star Wars boxed set. The flimsy cardboard “clip” or end-piece covers a somewhat weak box structure. You would figure the magnificence of Star Wars would feature something more than a cheap package. I haven’t watched the discs yet but I expect my kid, GrouchyTeen will be one with the DVD player today. I’ll expect a report when I get home.

I watched Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith last night on the widescreen. I wasn’t terribly impressed. It was a good movie, probably one that deserves a massive THX approved cinema experience complete with screaming children, psycho fans, and people barking orders at on-screen characters that have not hope in God’s green earth hearing the warning that a mean wookie is going to bean them with a giant, purple, electric cotton swab.

Spoilers ahe… ah, who cares.

The movie is mostly about Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi trying to end the Clone Wars between the Republic and the Separatist forces while Padme walks around pregnant and Supreme Chancellor Palpatine makes a massive power grab for the Sith at the expense of the Jedi. During this time, Palpatine is mind-goozling Anakin over to the “dark side” of “the force” to replace the old, but still bouncy and spry Count Dooku. The droid army is led by chain-smoking droid, General Grievous. At the end, all but two Jedi are dead, Palpatine is in control, and a dismembered, disfigured, horribly burned Anakin is transformed into the ominous, jet black, light-saber wielding vacuum-cleaner we have know for years as Darth Vader.

Uouououohhhhhf, paaaaaaaaah. Uouououohhhhhf, paaaaaaaaah.

The special effects are magnificent, breathtaking and in some sequences just mind numbingly confusing. Had I seen this at a theater I probably would have had a couple of seizures. The simple but perfect opening sequence of Star Wars (the looming star destroyer) has been replaced with about a thousand ships and camera sequences that would make roller coaster designers green with envy. The story itself is good, fairly well told, and didn’t have me wondering when it was going to be over (unlike the previous two movies; I and II which had me clock watching). Most performances were exceptional, except for Hayden Christensen (Anakin) and Ian McDiarmid (Palpatine) which I found more annoying than inspiring. The talking droids are annoying. Why would a droid say “Excuse me” (both polite and Steve Martin dialects)? Why bring character to objects that shouldn’t have character? The DVD technical specifications have more letters than the Greek alphabet, so they must be good.

To summarize: Jedi good, Sith bad. The DVD was worth the money paid for it but honestly won’t be watched much in the future: something for the collection but not viewed over and over again.

IMDB
Rotten Tomatoes
Mr.Cranky

Getting old

Getting older is painful

Yesterday I practiced soccer for about 20 minutes during lunch hour at work. I’m still fairly flexible, which is good and bad. Good because I still feel young and muscular. Bad because some of that flexibility means I’m more prone to injury, especially in my hands and feet. As the foot doctor said once: “See how I’m twisting your ankle this way? You shouldn’t be able to do that.” He recommended that any time I play soccer I wear ankle braces. I can understand that given the uneven and bumpy playing surfaces in the central Ohio area. The hardwood floor of our gymnasium, although flat, isn’t the most forgiving surface. Sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night to take a leak I cannot put weight on that heel because it hurts so badly.

Should have, could have, didn’t

Sometimes I wish I knew more about investing. Well, maybe not more about investing but I wish I had the instincts others have when it comes to investing. I can stuff my brain full of knowledge but I can’t apply that knowledge at the right time then that knowledge is just taking up space in my brain that could be used for a song or vivid image. My 401K is diversified, which keeps things balanced. Index funds have traditionally been the best performers but whenever I consider consolidating around them they dip while other markets do well. Stock purchases and stock options from my former employer are crap. Both options packages have strike prices well above current value of the stock, with a break even point higher than that (unless you are the CEO, thanks asswipe). Every time I think about re-entering the stock market I remember a line overheard at a dinner conversation “the market can’t be all winners, we need those losers too”. That for the most part is true. Someone has to buy stocks before they tank, someone has to cover the shorts, what goes up will come down. Most smart investors are in it for the long haul while making obvious short term gains to improve position. For all my technical expertise my brain cannot efficiently manage beyond safe liquid investments. Hopefully that will change as I get older and spend less time on career and more time on the future.

Career?

As I get older it will be increasingly harder to compete with the college graduate and foreign person willing to work for a portion of my salary. These fresh lumps of clay haven’t been twisted, obscenely shaped and hardened in the fiery kiln of business like I have. They haven’t experienced the politics and sometimes sheer idiocy of the common job experience. This makes them exploitable, where I’ve seen it all before. Instead of questioning why proven technology and years of experience are being thrown out the window in favor of something different, these lumps of clay will rush into the fight and code and code and code. They’ll make mistakes along the way and code and code and code around them. When all is said and done a new system that does a little bit more than the old system at a slightly cheaper up-front cost while most folks that will use the new system will suddenly realize the old system really wasn’t that bad.

I’ve considered a career in management, although that prospect is less appetizing than fighting the kids and foreigners. Not only will I still have to deal with managerial idiocy above me, I will have to enforce and disseminate it to those beneath me who probably think (and perhaps do) they know more than I. Maybe if I stay for the long haul I’ll gradually go insane; then ascend to upper management where everything will suddenly make sense. Then I’ll be too old, have to retire and will spend my remaining days on the xNet2 arguing politics and wondering why our hockey and soccer teams still suck.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bad documentation and examples

If there is one thing that drives computer programmers crazy it’s ineffective product documentation and examples that are either poor or simply don’t work. My latest beef is with Oracle 9i database documentation.

The first problem was last week and to be honest I don’t remember the exact details. When the weekend comes I purge by brain of everything so I restart fresh as a daisy on Monday. I’m fairly certain it had something to do with index only tables and the example copied verbatim from the book did not work. Using deductive reasoning I figured out what I was doing wrong, tried something and fixed the problem. The other problem dealt with bind variables on EXECUTE IMMEDIATE statements in PL/SQL code.

I have two functions that will select from different tables depending upon what fiscal year is requested. Don’t ask, it’s an ERP; we had no input on table design. It was simple SQL so nothing extraordinary was required. EXECUTE IMMEDIATE seemed like the logical choice. Using bind variables instead of text substitution in the query string is supposed to be a better performer (one copy in the SGA, techno-babble, yada yada). I modeled my SQL after the most realistic example in the book. When I executed I got a bind variable not defined error.

I tried replacing “:1” with the bind variable names like “:i_lo_id”; same problem. I knew they worked because a function above it was working perfectly. Maybe it was because I was using more than one? I looked at the Oracle example again after giving up on my code. All of their bind variables were numeric. There were no examples for VARCHAR2 or DATE types. I wish my brain would have regressed back to my embedded SQL in COBOL days, then I would have realized you do not need quotes on a character field when binding it to an elementary item; simply use something like :WS-CHAR-VALUE. My mind locked into the examples in the manual and it took the weekend (where I forget everything I did the week before) to reset my brain and find an excerpt from an O’Reilly book that pointed out type conversions on bound variables.

Duh, stupid.

Long story short: I wasted a good couple of hours on my virgin experience with bind variables in EXECUTE IMMEDIATE PL/SQL statements. All it would have taken was a good example showing the most common data types: VARCHAR2, NUMBER and DATE. Thank goodness for the Internet and others who have documented things better.

I figure I’ve seen crummy, unrealistic examples in over twelve computer languages and half dozen APIs. I’ve had friends who suffered long hours with Borland, Microsoft and IBM support trying to figure out why something straight out of the book that should be working wasn’t. Microsoft’s Windows Scripting documentation is chock full of examples that simply don’t work.

It gets tiring after a while and it doesn’t get any easier.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Politics as usual... Iraq

Although I probably shouldn't, I'd like to weigh in on the recent discussions over the "War in Iraq". Things have become somewhat nasty inside the nation's capitol recently mostly due to democratic leadership vocally arguing their points to the President's policy (or lack thereof) in Iraq. Some items will vary but one common point seems to be the need for a time table for troop deployment and return.

What is wrong with a time-table?

Defining a time-table for events in Iraq would give terrorists one of the most powerful weapons in any conflict; a weapon forgotten by most – time. Is it any coincidence violence escalates around specific points in time like elections, global conferences, etc? Is there better time to drive home your point than just before something that will affect your cause occurs? Also, if terrorists know that troops will be reduced on a specified date they have two advantages. Terrorists could simply wait it out for reduced numbers then escalate violence and plan around that date; focus attention elsewhere. Giving milestones to U.S. troops also gives milestones to terrorists. The only positive I see coming from that would be the slight increase in the margin for error leading to the capture or killing of terrorists as they too now have pressure from deadlines to accomplish goals.

The current administration line "we are staying until the Iraqi government no longer needs us" is acceptable. It sets us in for the long haul and that we aren't going away until our job is done.

Personally, I would like to know a plan with milestones exists. I wouldn't want those details made public, but it would be nice to know that a strategic plan exists. It probably does exist in some shape or form.

Winning the war

I don't think this war can be "won" outright. The world can win battles against terrorism but it will never "win" the war. The "war" is ongoing and will always be ongoing until we are all dead. As long as there is religion and people willing to pervert it and die for it there will be terrorism. Terrorists fight the way they do not because they are cowards but because they have to. How else can a small number of radicals fight a massive, well-equipped, technologically advanced army? They can't go head-to-head, that would be a quick and easy massacre. The only means to their cause is random acts of terror; the car bombs, the improvised explosive devices, etc. They will always be there just like drugs, both equally addictive and appealing to a minority of extremes.

When I see the administration speak of "winning the war" on terror I just cringe.

Political motivations

Here is another thing that just makes my stomach do somersaults: recent accusations and arguments are politically motivated.

Well, DUH!

Every damn thing in Washington is politically motivated. Am I supposed to think that a democrat spouting off about Iraq is not politically navigating public opinion in favor of his/her party? They are just as bad as republicans who highlight successes in Iraq while angling public perception of the entire situation to make it appear their party is doing a good job. One side is just as bad as the other. Lost in the mess are the leaders from both republican and democratic that are working together for long term goals and common ground while the more radical knuckleheads with loose lips on both sides get the majority of the press.

It makes me ill just discussing it.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

OSU vs. Michigan - hype and passion

Well it is finally over at the Ohio State Buckeyes have prevailed over the Michigan Wolverines. I have to admit, I watched the entire game this year because I wanted to. This is a change of pace from previous seasons where I simply didn’t care because of the massive amounts of hype surrounding the game.

Hype?

Maybe it has always been there and I just haven’t noticed it but to me it seems like the local media hype surrounding Buckeye football has increased to the point of being overpowering. Some local radio stations kiss so much Buckeye ass year round I’m surprised coach Jim Tressel has time to wear pants. Every year is saturated with coverage.

Local radio has plenty of “Buckeye Football Reports” even when nothing is happening. My favorites are the player interviews during the off-days between practices before the season starts.

“So what are you doing with your days off?”
“Umm, I’m going to relax a little and catch up on school work.”
“How about you, what are you doing with your time off?”
“Umm, relax and catch up on some things.”
“We asked defensive tight-end so-and-so what he will be doing.”
“Relax. Study.”

Well, duh. The week leading up to the Michigan game is usually the worst. It seems like every news story revolves around Buckeye football somehow. “A plane crashed in the city of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia killing all aboard and dozens on the ground. No Buckeye football players were on that plane.” This year, the Columbus Blue Jackets acquired one of the more recognizable names in ice hockey and easily the most recognizable player in team history when they traded big fan favorite Tyler Wright and Francois Beauchemin to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for superstar center Sergei Fedorov. That news was second and even third fiddle to preparations leading up to “the big game”. Local news television sets take on a noticeable Buckeye motif. Scarlet and grey dress codes are probably enforced.

It has all been too much for me. I think about four years ago I just shut it down mentally whenever this week came around. I ask my parents about it and they are sick of it as well. It’s just too much.

My girlfriend is from Michigan and up there the main rivalry is between Michigan and Michigan State. Travel north of the Ohio border and you will see the maize and blue “M” flags flying most places but there are prominent pockets of Spartan flags flying as well. The whole “rivalry” seems to take place solely in Ohio. You will find significantly more Michigan flags flying down here amongst the numerous and varying Ohio State flags. Up in Michigan, however, the only sign of Ohio can be found on vehicle license plates. If I were a scientician or something I might infer that people go to Michigan to get educated then move to Ohio for employment.

Hype justified?

I typically get upset when I get saturated with Buckeye football coverage, especially when something a practice or an off-season interview with the coach takes priority over things like results from a game or game day discussion of a non-Buckeye football sport; namely Crew soccer and Blue Jacket hockey. I’m sure some Clippers baseball fans feel the same way. Heck, sometimes these sports take a back seat to non-playoff local high school football. Yes, coverage of a high school football game gets priority over a sport that can regularly put 12,000 or more butts in seats. Is all this hype and coverage justified?

To put all this hype and coverage in perspective I look at how my favorite sport, soccer, is covered outside of the United States. Soccer, or football as it’s known outside North America, is considered to be a world sport and is probably the “world” sport. In some nations there will be other sports that are equally if not more popular. Rugby is popular. Cricket is also a big sport in places. Baseball is also a popular sport in a few countries. Mostly though, it is soccer. Entire countries are shut down in preparation for an important soccer match and shut down in celebration of a win. Trinidad and Tobago recently proclaimed a holiday just for qualifying for the World Cup. Some fans of soccer are so passionate about their sport and their team they will turn to violence to support it. Watch any German or French game and note the colorful and energetic support found at each game. I would love this type of celebratory attitude here in the United States, but is not going to happen.

Football (i.e. pointy ball or grid-iron football) is the big sport in the United States even surpassing baseball. We have our coverage. We have our celebrations. We have our violence as well. Ice hockey and soccer are not going to replace football (or baseball) in my lifetime. Although I would love to see a fairer amount of coverage for soccer and ice hockey here in Columbus, I now understand and accept why things are the way they are. I accept the parties, tailgating and celebration surrounding Buckeye football. I will also learn to be more receptive to Buckeye football in the future. It’s not because it’s fair or not fair, or because frankly the Crew and Blue Jackets have done little to warrant otherwise. It’s because the majority of pride in Ohio here in Columbus is behind the Buckeye football program. The Crew and Blue Jackets will still get my support and I will still wear their colors, but the Buckeyes now have a place here as well.

By the way, it was a great football game. Early excitement, suspense, the feeling of defeat, then last second jubilation. In those last forty seconds I was feeling the same pride I feel when I watch the men’s US National soccer team play.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Cleaning up the Inbox - part one

Cleaning out the Inbox at work...

Andy Rooney said on "60 Minutes" a few weeks back:

I don't think being a minority makes you a victim of anything except numbers. The only things I can think of that are truly discriminatory are things like the United Negro College Fund, Jet Magazine, Black Entertainment Television, and Miss Black America. Try to have things like the United Caucasian College Fund, Cloud Magazine, White Entertainment Television, or Miss White America; and see what happens... Jesse Jackson will be knocking down your door.

Guns do not make you a killer. I think killing makes you a killer. You can kill someone with a baseball bat or a car, but no one is trying to ban you from driving to the ball game.

I believe they are called the Boy Scouts for a reason, that is why there are no girls allowed. Girls belong in the Girl Scouts! ARE YOU LISTENING MARTHA BURKE?

I think that if you feel homosexuality is wrong, it is not a phobia, it is an opinion.

I have the right "NOT" to be tolerant of others because they are different, weird, or tick me off

When 70% of the people who get arrested are black, in cities where 70% of the population is black, that is not racial profiling, it is the Law of Probability.

I believe that if you are selling me a milkshake, a pack of cigarettes, a newspaper or a hotel room, you must do it in English! As a matter of fact, if you want to be an American citizen, you should have to speak English!

My father and grandfather didn't die in vain so you can leave the countries you were born in to come over and disrespect ours. I think the police should have every right to shoot your sorry ass if you threaten them after they tell you to stop. If you can't understand the word "freeze" or "stop" in English, see the above paragraph.

I don't think just because you were not born in this country, you are qualified for any special loan programs, government sponsored bank loans or tax breaks, etc., so you can open a hotel, coffee shop, trinket store, or any other business.

We did not go to the aid of certain foreign countries and risk our lives in wars to defend their freedoms, so that decades later they could come over here and tell us our constitution is a living document; and open to their interpretations.

I don't hate the rich. I don't pity the poor

I know pro wrestling is fake, but so are movies and television. That doesn't stop you from watching them.

I think Bill Gates has every right to keep every penny he made and continue to make more. If it ticks you off, go and invent the next operating system that's better, and put your name on the building.

It doesn't take a whole village to raise a child right, but it does take a parent to stand up to the kid; and smack their little behinds when necessary, and say "NO!"

I think tattoos and piercing are fine if you want them, but please don't pretend they are a political statement. And, please, stay home until that new lip ring heals. I don't want to look at your ugly infected mouth as you serve me French fries!

I am sick of "Political Correctness." I know a lot of black people, and not a single one of them was born in Africa; so how can they be "African-Americans"? Besides, Africa is a continent. I don't go around saying I am a European-American because my great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather was from Europe. I am proud to be from America and nowhere else.

And if you don't like my point of view, tough...

For those who don't have time to keep up with the medical journals

In Pharmacology, all drugs have two names, a trade name and generic name. For example, the trade name of Tylenol also has a generic name of Acetaminophen. Aleve is also called Naproxen. Amoxil is also called Amoxicillin and Advil is also called Ibuprofen.

The FDA has been looking for a generic name for VIAGRA. After careful consideration by a team of government experts, it recently announced that it has settled on the generic name of Mycoxafloppin.

Also considered were Mycoxafailin, Mydixadrupin, Mydixarizin, Dixafix, and of course, Ibepokin.

Pfizer Corp. announced today that VIAGRA will soon be available in liquid form, and will be marketed by Pepsi Cola as a power beverage suitable for use as a mixer. It will now be possible for a man to literally pour himself a stiff one. Obviously we can no longer call this a soft drink, and it gives new meaning to the names of "cocktails", "highballs" and just a good old-fashioned "stiff drink." Pepsi will market the new concoction by the name of: "MOUNT & DO."

What is a committee?

A group of the unwilling, picked from the unfit, to do the unnecessary.

Good, better, best...

1) Good

An Erie, PA policeman had a perfect spot to watch for speeders, but wasn't getting many. Then he discovered the problem. A twelve year old boy was standing up the road with a hand painted sign, which read "RADAR TRAP AHEAD". The officer then found a young accomplice down the road with a sign reading "TIPS" and a bucket full of money. (And we used to just sell lemonade!)

2) Better

A motorist was mailed a picture of his car speeding through an automated radar post in Pittsburgh, PA. A $40 speeding ticket was included. Being cute, he sent the police department a picture of $40. The police responded with another mailed photo of handcuffs.

3) Absolute Best

A young woman was pulled over for speeding. As the Pennsylvania State Trooper walked to her car window, flipping open his ticket book, she said "I bet you are going to sell me a ticket to the State Troopers Ball". He replied, "Pennsylvania State Troopers don't have balls". There was a moment of silence while she smiled, and he realized what he'd just said. He then closed his book, got back in his patrol car and left. She was laughing too hard to start her car.

Kinfolk talking???

Bubba and Homer were sitting in back of their trailers, shooting the breeze. Bubba asked Homer, "If I snuck ovah to yore house while you wuz out fishin' an' I made love to yore wife, an' she got pregnant, would that make us kin?"

Homer scratched his head for a bit then said, "I don't think so, but it shore would make us even."

Monday, November 07, 2005

Grouch versus Nature

There were two other encounters with nature this week in addition to the deer that humped my car last week.

I was up on my roof this weekend, which is not a good thing for someone with a mild fear of heights. The part where the builders screwed up and didn’t have the trim on the highest roof matching the lower roof was invaded by birds. I cleared out a rather sizable nest before shimming up all cracks and holes, nailing the shingles down tight, then foaming up every remaining hole no matter how small.

It was also a nice weekend to work on the garage so I cleaned that out. While cleaning I found we had at least one little visitor; a little grey field mouse. As cute and innocent as they are, this one did some damage. The little bugger used the subwoofer box from my old car as a toilet. Out of all the cardboard boxes you could have called home you decided to climb up the carpeted box, make a nest, a pee-pee all over it. That box stank. Once thing I will say, the person who made that ported enclosure for me ten years or so ago put some quality workmanship into it. That thing was solid as a rock. Unfortunately the rodent urine penetrated into the particle board. At least the 10” Orion sub-woofers are still intact and the 50+ wood screws, four PVC pipe ports, and the poly-filling are still usable. The rest of the box is in the trash.

I’m beginning to wonder what I did to deserve such back karma from Mother Nature. I keep fish, is that it? Maybe it was not taking in and giving a home to the stray cat and her five kittens that roamed free in my area for a couple of days? Maybe I’m being too much of a push-over, heck I’ll catch spiders and turn them free outside before the girlfriend steps on them in a panic.

Oh well, all I know is a deer, a mouse and some birds are digging into the holiday money and knowing my luck I soon be hospitalized for a poisonous spider bite while trying to rescue the neighbor’s wiener-dog from a tangled bush.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Dear deer

Would the deer that humped the front passenger side of my vehicle last night please have the decency to die on my doorstep?

Thanks...

This was just a crappy end to a crappy day. Thankfully it was in a 25mph zone in Pickerington (one of the speed traps, so I was going 25mph) and in dense fog at night. The paper thin steel on the hood bent ever so slightly and the busted headlight is a modular unit; I'm guessing $120 for that piece alone. Hood is around $120. The total for repair will probably be just over the deductible. I am guessing with labor it will be over the deductible by just $60...

#*%$@*!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Bored?

Are you bored? No games installed on your corporate workstation or laptop. Stuck in a meeting with that computer? Still bored? Well here is a neat little time waster. All you need is a:
  • scrolling wheel mouse
  • access to a web pages with a large table of contents (Google Oracle SQL Reference and find an available site)
To play:
  1. Load the page and go to the bottom of that page
  2. Place the mouse just below dead center
  3. Click the center scroll wheel once; the cursor will turn into dot with four directional triangles
  4. Move the mouse up and the cursor will become an up arrow and the screen will scroll down, the farther away from center the faster it will scroll
  5. The goal of the game is to get as far left as possible without touching text while "flying" as fast as possible
  6. Repeat until you get caught or you are no longer bored
Neat huh?

Yeah I was pretty bored.