Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I'd tell ya, but then I'd have to...

It's 1:12am in the smoke-filled bowling alley bar. I take a deep pull of my Bud Light and lean toward the girl behind the counter - a haggard teen who's spent too much time under the heat lamps - too many sweaty hours toiling over hot grease.

"Hey Baby. I'm in Software Development. Heh. And from one who knows, let me compliment your software, sweetheart. Heh Heh Heh. How's them cheese sticks comin?"


OK - I don't really drink, when I do it's at home, and I would never say that. I am in software development, if you can call it that. I test games. Yesterday I wrote a bug report describing incorrect punctuation. Pow! Yeah.

I'd totally eat cheese sticks though.

I've been blessed with the permission to work on this project from home, which has turned out to be a lot harder than I expected. Work is work, but it's tough to be disciplined enough to keep my ass in the chair and get my work done. Also it's hard when 8 hours have gone by and I haven't written up as many bugs as I'd like.

When you're at work, in the office - when your 8 hours are up, you go home. Now, when my 8 hours are up, I look over the list to see I have only written 6 bugs, when my personally-set quota is 15, and decide to keep at it for a few more hours. I'm not complaining, but this is something to consider before you agree to work from home.

My current piece of software is a joint venture between USC and the U.S. Military. You would think that these sources would make the software pretty damned thrilling, but you'd be wrong. It's definitely interesting, and I've learned a lot, but thrilling it ain't.

It's not thrilling because it's not a game - it's a simulation. And while EA and Konami can make exciting simulations, the U.S. Military has so many more mundane things it could (and did) choose to simulate. Like peeling potatoes, or scrubbing latrines - this isn't what my current project is about, just a for instance.

When I met the man in charge of the project, he solemnly shook my hand and told me "You're doing the Lord's work." which really threw me for a loop. I've never worked for The Lord before. I hear he's kinda strict. And he only gives you one day off a week. The Dental is supposed to totally rock, though.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Where you lead... I will follow... any-anywhere

I'm sad to report that I know far too much about a certain show, destined no doubt to become Lifetime's highest rated program ever. It's not my fault. I'm married, and they sell DVDs of the show. It runs constantly. It's as if our home has become The 24/7 Gilmore Girls Network.

Sookie is my favorite character, if just for her energetic glee. Wait, no - it's Paris, for her take-no-prisoners attitude. Don't even get me started on the whole Rory and Dean debacle - And what was the deal with Jess? Guess he won't be back, since the actor has his own show now. Logan gives me a toothache.

If I were an actor and could play a role on the show, I'd want to be Kirk. He's in every episode, and he always has some funny job. Great role.

In truth, I only watch the show for that moment that I know must be coming - Where Lorelai and Rory just give in to their desires, shut the hell up for two minutes, and jump each other's bones. When Family Guy did a segue of just that, I gotta tell you - I felt vindicated. YEAH!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Plural Clothing is IN, Baby!

Cindy and I are among the cuddliest couples I've ever known, and clothes designed to be worn by two people at once still seems to be going a bit too far. Cute though!

You can check out the website here. I recommend the hand-holding gloves, cause damn but that's precious.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Spot the Fake # 1

In the few weeks we've lived in Miami, we've done a fair bit of driving around the nearby area, trying to get a fix on what's where.

There are tons of apartment complexes in our area - many of the complexes look pretty nice - I'd like to move in. Sadly, the best ones seem to be retirement communities - and Cindy nixed my idea of dressing up like old folks in order to qualify. Hmph.

Ok - this time on Spot the Fake, we're doing apartment complex names. Now, no cheating and looking up the answer in the Online Miami Yellow Pages.

Which of these Miami apartment complex names are fake?
(Can be more than 1)

Ganja Arma
Nob Hill
Hot Oil Springs
The Colon Building
Holy Comforter

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

STOP! You're geeking me out!

Gates McFadden - of Labyrinth choreography fame (though perhaps better known for her other work on stage, screen, and Star Trek TNG), was in a series of Microsoft commercials recently.

Here's the trivia question - what recurring ST-TNG guest star is also featured in a new commercial for Visa?

Good Luck.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Welcome to Miami white boy! Grab your ankles.

There are bars on our windows. On the inside. I've never seen that before, but it's cool - you have the safety of bars, without ruining the look of the windows from the outside.

I just thought this cracked old sticker was funny.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Calling All Math Whizzes!

Good Will HintingI'm sure this is not a new idea, but I'm a complete moron when it comes to math. Can one of you math whizzes out there break something down for me - (into small words, cause I don't speak this 'Math' of yours) Why can this not be done:

What's to keep someone from just getting Y amount of credit on X amount of credit cards, (say, 20 or more cards) and then quitting their jobs forever? Once you have a few cards, they just keep sending you more of them. They WANT you to rack up high balances that you can't pay. And the more cards you have, the more willing they are to send you more. And the more you use a card and pay it on time, the higher your limit rises.

Pick a card, any cardSo you just keep flopping the balances from card to card, paying each card with the others - as long as you meet the minimums, they're more than happy to let you carry a large balance - since that means more interest charges for them. Even if you could not pay a bill with another card directly, you could just withdraw cash from one card, then use it to pay your bill on the others.

Yes, you would die five million dollars in debt, but who cares? I'm guessing that there is a very simple reason why this can't work, or there would be no accountants and math teachers - they'd all be relaxing at home. OK, math whizzes - get to 'splainin. And I want details!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Ninja XTreme!

I was watching The Weather Channel yesterday (A necessity in FL) and they were forecasting Extreme UV Levels in the morning, and Severe Thunderstorms in the afternoon.

For a moment, I blinked to myself and wondered why I was choosing to live in a state where terms like 'Extreme' and 'Severe' are tossed around on a daily basis, like it aint no thing. Oh, right - I was doing it for el-oh-vee-ee (the perfect justification for anything short of genocide).

As I take my morning walks around the neighborhood, I often notice women with parasols, big hats, or just holding their briefcases in front of their faces to block the sun on the way from their apartment to the car. I'm not joking - for the 30 feet it takes these women to get to the car, they're blocking out the sun like it's serious bad ju-ju.

The sun IS serious bad ju-ju.

Unfortunately, guys can't get away with carrying a parasol. Big hats don't go well with office clothes. And blocking out the sun with a briefcase on the way to the car would make a man seem like some sort of pansy - (not from my point of view, but our culture is tough on men). I suppose it's all about the packaging and marketing.

A male parasol could work, if it was designed properly and advertised just so.

"I'm Brock Brickly, of the Dallas Cowboys - I'm here to tell you all about The Man Shade, from Schick. Harmful UV is a problem for men too - that's why I use The Man Shade, to keep my skin cancer-free and sexy-soft!"

Instead of looking like frilly umbrella, The Man Shade could be a rugged arc of manly high-tech fabric - like a Special Forces parachute. It could be emblazoned with the faces and jersey numbers of the day's most popular sports stars, proudly showing off the colors of your favorite sports teams, or patriotically cheering on the military branch of your choice.

Semper Fi, indeed.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

a staticy connection

"Hey - I read your post - about that storm you guys had."

"Oh you did?"

"Yeah the thing with the horseman was funny. Fame, was it?"

Umm - "Sure - Fame, one of The Four Horsemen."


"Everyone gets their fifteen minutes with Fame. He has a late-night talk show."


"I can just picture the horse, Haw! Haw! Haw!ing away like Ed McMahon."


"Oh, bad connection - sorry."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Category Nada

Last night at 4:37am, we had our first real rainstorm since moving to the state of Florida. It woke me up, which was a surprise in and of itself, because I'm very adept at sleeping through extreme weather.

This was a textbook thunderstorm, right out of that episode of Lassie where Timmy falls down the well during the storm.

It was almost as if there were special effects guys lurking right outside our window with noisemakers, strobe lights and giant fans, while a team of firefighters manned massive hoses doing their damnedest to achieve that unsubtle 'End of the World' downpour motif.

"Damn." I said. "And this isn't even a hurricane..." I mumbled to Cindy. "This isn't a Category 2 or 3 storm. It's a Category Nothing."

"Yep." She mumbled back.

I did a quick patrol of the apartment, making sure everything was unplugged. Everything was. I came back to bed.

"Uh...There's a guy named Famine in the kitchen. He's looking for his horse."

She yawned. "A big black one? Yeah he's in the bathroom drinking out of the toilet."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Birds 3 | Mike 0

You might have read of my first adventure with Florida's Insane Avian Army (like the KISS Army, but not as friendly) - I avoided mentioning the fact that the day after the Hollow Bones episode, another bird felt it necessary to buzz me like I was the control tower and it was Maverick (a nicely dated Top Gun reference).

So now there are two trees I avoid when walking around the block. Fine, no worries.

Well today The Birds got me in my own home. I was taking a break from testing, and looking out the window. A very small and very cute bird was doing his cute thing, bobbing his head and hopping around. He seemed to be very animated, almost as if he were dancing around with another bird that I couldn't quite see...

So I backed up another two feet, so I could get a better view - knocking over a stack of boxes.

Well played, you little feathered fiends. Well played. In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny: "Of course you realize, this means war."

Monday, May 15, 2006

That's DOCTOR Etcher to you

I've been putting off writing my thesis for years now. I just never came across a topic with enough substance to spend years of my life and hundreds of pages on. All of that changed this afternoon - I now give you the title:

'On the Differential Thermodynamics of Higher-Gradient Three-Dimensional Nonlinear Microwave Energy Elasticity as it Correlates to Varied Foods, their Spectrum and Heating Duration'.

Or - 'Why Does the Mac-N-Cheese Heat Up So Much Faster Than the Mashed Potatoes in the Microwave?'

I'll save you days of squinting at all that tiny text and the poorly scrawled diagrams - It's because the Mac-N-Cheese is orange.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Don't Blog Exasperated (like, don't drive angry)

All right. I've had enough time to let the reality soak in - I know that I'm not going to wake up and say "Wow, you won't believe the horrible dream I just had".

First, some background for context - we'd been planning to move to Florida for the past year or so, to be closer to Cindy's family in the Tampa/Orlando area. We were making plans, saving money, and researching the Florida destination online.

One day, we got the news that the store Cindy managed in Los Angeles would be closing in 60 days. It was probably 4 months ahead of our planned moving schedule, but hey - it was a kick in the pants to get us on our way.

Unfortunately, the only store in Florida with the right opening was in Miami. (About 5 hours drive from the area she wanted) But hey, it's still Florida and she would be 3000 miles closer to her family. The move to the Tampa/Orlando area would be much easier than the cross-country move. Fine.

So we moved - the biggest pain in the ass of my short life.

Last Sunday, just a few short hours after we finished unloading the U-Haul, Cindy called her new store to check in, and say that she wanted to stop in to meet the staff. Her District Manager was there, and had some bad news for her...

Her new store would be closing in 60 days. Less actually, since the news had arrived while we were driving cross-country.

Yeah. So odds are very good that we'll be moving again very soon - and it might as well be to the Tampa/Orlando area, even if it means she takes a position she's not as happy with...

I have to say, the news has really sapped my enthusiasm for unpacking.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Crap crap crap crap!

Your sweetie has just called to say she's leaving work. You played it cool on the phone, but you know you're in trouble. You have the guts of her PC in your lap, in at least eight pieces.

It all started because you thought she would really appreciate a RAM upgrade, and you wanted to check out the motherboard before you went online and started browsing the IT stores.

Wow, look at how dusty it is in this PC case. Looks like she's never cleaned it since you bought it for her! ...And it's been a few years, so maybe you should replace the power supply just to be on the safe side. These USB ports look a little bent up, too - looks like she's been popping the Shuffle in and out a little roughly. You could install new ones.

In the midst of oh-so thoughtful maintenance, time has gotten away from you, and SHE'S ON HER WAY HOME.

Crapcrapcrap! You know the first thing she does when she gets home is to check her email. And her horoscope. And a zillion other things - you don't want all those cookies and applets clogging up your laptop, do you? No. Much more importantly, you don't want to hear that 'What did you do?!' sigh of feminine annoyance, do you? NO!

Get to work son - you have 27 minutes to get that box humming.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hollow Bones

I took a walk this morning after Cindy left for work - I've yet to transfer my gym membership, and I wanted to get some air and exercise. I thought that I might find a post topic during the walk, and I was right.

Near the beginning of my walk, I encountered a black bird about the size of a raven - but it weren't no raven - a) it had a totally different body structure - and b) cause ravens dig me. It followed me for about 40 feet, chirping grumpily at me.

"Am I on your turf dude? Sorry." I said politely. (Yeah, I talk to animals...)

I walked on for about another mile and a half (residential blocks in FL are huge) and then retraced my steps to the apartment.

As I passed Grumpy Black Bird's Turf once again, he started chirping even more insistently. As I neared the only tree in the area, he swooped past my left ear so closely that I swear I felt his wingtips clip me.

A guy in a car not ten feet away opened his door laughing.
"I saw that!" he said, his tone indicating that I shouldn't think I made it up - You've got a witness, dude!

I chuckled in response and gave the guy the "Do you believe this shit?" look.

I did my best to get out of the bird's turf as quickly as possible - he swooped at me once more, but nowhere near as close as the first time. The bird was probably just protecting his nest - I'd chase him off if he kept walking through my bedroom.

Cindy is creeped out by birds - especially the big ones like swans and geese - who have been known to attack people. (I'm not talking about some warning 'get away from my babies' pecks here, I mean full-on assault). I always tell her not to worry, that they have hollow bones and she should just stomp any swan that attacks her.

Still, it is creepy to be dive-bombed by a good sized bird. Welcome to the Everglades, I guess. At least it didn't poop on me - I've seen that happen.

I'd say it's time to do a re-make of The Birds. We could do great things with the modern fx - tiny birds would be scarier than the big ones - I can imagine thousands of tiny birds stripping a person to the bone in seconds, like little flying piranha.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Real Life Conversation # 2

He: "It's on!"

She: "Bring it!"

He: "It's already been broughten!"

She: "It's over."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Grrrrrrrrrrr Yawn Snarl

The actual 'move' is over and I'm tired. I'd like a week to just nap, thank you. It's exausting - every single action, no matter how simple, requires extra effort. To get $20 out of the ATM, you have to call your bank and sweet talk them, convince them that your bank card was not stolen.

To go to the bathroom, you have to figure out where the hell you packed the TP - or go buy more. To eat something, you have to figure out where the hell you packed the plates and silverware.

It's unending. Every little thing, everything that was 1 step before is now 5 steps. 5 if you're lucky.

I was supposed to work yesterday, testing the new software project. Instead I met with a helpful but helpless banking representative, returned the UHaul Truck, and drove 50 miles to collect my car from the shipping company. Oh, and I spent 4 hours putting a desk together. Yeah. Sad.

I've been trying for 2 days to download the 400MB file I need to actually have something to test. The FTP transfer craps out every time at about 100MB. Great.

Waaah Waaah I'm a big whiner.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Safe and Sound!

We're safe and sound in our new apartment!

We now live south of Miami - we moved here from Los Angeles. We've traded hot and dry for hotter and oppressively humid.

Not quite an hour ago we finished unloading the U-Haul, getting the last of our now-scuffed furniture into the apartment.

We have lots of stories to tell about the trip, but right now we're tired. I'll leave you with a couple of pics.

First, this is a pic I took outside of Barstow, California - the first stop on our trip:
the next time someone laments to you about how crowded the world is and how we have no room left, tell them to fuck off.
And then this one - the view from our new patio.
I'm happy.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Memphis, TN

We spent last night in Memphis - it's very rainy. Tonight we'll be in Montgomery Alabama.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Barstow, California

We're on the road! I'll have much to talk about soon, bit for now let me say I horribly underestimated the size truck we would need, and terribly underestimated how long it takes 2 people to load half their worldly possessions into said truck.

The other half? We had to throw it away.