Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I rode my bike into work today and made a frightening discovery...

Geology and the study of geothermal dynamics is a curious and facinating topic. The mysteries of the Earth's crust and its movements are still largely an enigma, but science can at the very least observe and to a relatively small degree predict those movements. Like the weather however such movements fall within the bounds of chaos theory and cannot be accurately predicted beyond a reasonable amount of time into the future; billions upon billions of microscopic particle interactions beyond our comprehension see to that.

Now you may be thinking to yourself... 'Get to the point.' Well my friends the point very simply is this: the hills of Kansas City are rising! It has been three months about since I ended my Summer long stretch of consistently commuting to work on my bike; in that time based upon my rough estimation which in turn is based upon performance comparisons of today's ride with my last, the hills of Kansas City have risen in height and steepness by no less than 20-30%. This amount of change in such a radically small amount of time (in geological terms) is virtually unheard of... and THAT is what scared me the most. This change HAS in fact been unheard of... no mention of these upheavals nor the unfelt but most assuredly occuring seismic events have made their way onto the evening news or into local newspapers.

The only possible explanation is COVER UP!

The United States Geologic Survey is infamous for its cover-ups. Google it for yourself. There is big money in hiding the fact that a killer earthquake is about to wipe out a town. Insurance companies for one are eager to avoid having to pay out on numerous brand new earth quake policies such as would surely happen if people were aware that Kansas City has recently had so much seismic activity we are experiencing a visible shift in our landscape.

The New Madrid fault was long thought to be the nearest geo-threat to the Midwest, but we are sitting on a number of ancient, supposedly inactive fault lines. It is clear to me now that the city itself must be involved in the cover up due to the lack of visible damage to asphalt, bridges, etc. Now that I think of it though, there do seem to be larger numbers of city street workers about lately... most likely under the guise of fixing winter pot holes; a perfect cover. Prepare yourselves... this tectonic terror is being hidden from view by unscrupulous bureaucrats no doubt, but the clock on my desk does not lie. It took me a full 15 minutes longer to ride to work than it should have and there is absolutely no other explanation...

...unless I am just out of shape.

Friday, December 19, 2008


The holidays have once again got me reminiscing about Christmases long long ago and childhood in general. In my excitement to see my kids' faces when they wake up next Thursday morning I recall all of the fond memories I had of this time of year at their age. To be honest my fondest memories are of time spent at my Grandparents'... not that I didn't have a good time with my immediate family, but the Kennicutt Grandparents established many seasonal traditions which I miss.

First of all they were exceptionally brave in that they would have ALL of the grandkids spend the night several times a year (7 cousins in all and sometimes 1 additional '3rd cousin'). During this time of year we would always get together for the Christmas cookie weekend. Grandma Kennicutt would set us up at her huge dinning room table with a wad of sugar cookie dough, a bowl of flour, some wax paper, rolling pin, various cookie cutters and an array of cookie decorations. She'd let us make whatever we wanted... and she'd never stifle our creativity by saying things like "Michael you can't make that 3-D Jabba the Hut cookie sculpture because it will never cook through". She would stick it in the oven regardless and we'd see what came out.

Another seasonal tradition was to spend New Year's Eve there and that was always a blast! She would make homemade taffy and we'd all have a taffy pull (man that stuff was sooo good; just pure sugar more or less with some molasses and a few other tasty ingredients). After we pulled the taffy to the right consistency she'd arrange it on the cookie sheet and bake it. Good stuff. Then of course they'd bust out the party hats, champagne glasses and noise makers and we'd watch Dick Clark do the countdown.

Food traditions at Grandma's... She made the best "TV Snacks" you've ever tasted and that was always the first thing we would ask for when we walked through the front door. It was basically a chex mix with some cheerios and pretzels, basted with her special worcestershire sauce and seasoning mix then baked and finally put into popcorn tins or Folgers cans. My grandfather used Folgers cans for everything.

For breakfast she would make what she called jesse cakes and these were another thing we looked forward to. She'd roll out some homemade biscuit dough, cover it with liberal amounts of butter, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon and I can't recall what else, then she'd roll it up into about a 2-3" thick roll, cut the roll into inch thick slices and then bake them flat on a cookie sheet until golden brown. Aaaaaaaaaah... jesse cakes. Oh yeah and that was the wakeup call my Grandpa would get us up to. "JEEEEEEEEESSE CAKES!!!" We needed no further prodding to get out of bed.

Entertainment at the Grandparents was abundant and diverse. Mostly we were allowed free reign of the house and the grounds extending to the property lines and just beyond (they lived right next to a 7-11). Grandpa would let us go down to the dungeon and use his tools when we got a little older (they had an old stone wall foundation so it was dubbed the dungeon.)

The drill press fling was great fun until we got caught and summarily shut down. What you do is use a small piece of 2x4... lower the drill press into the wood... let go and duck. The spinning wood would fly off the press at high velocity in a random horizontal direction. Also we liked to use the grinder with nails for a spark show... that also got shut down when my cousin got a hot iron filing in the eye. She was ok but had a scratched cornea for a few weeks until it healed. There was the 20' tire swing which never got old. It was a huge Uniroyal tractor tire laid flat and attached to a branch by a chain at least 20' tall, attached to the chain by four chains meeting in the center and the tire hung about a foot and a half off the ground. The tire was big enough for 4 little kids to sit in and swing or spin until we were all completely nauseated. My older brother came up with 'Operation Wedding Day' which was exceptionally fun when the older kids would let us join in. We would tie a bunch of used pop cans to a string, sneak into the 7-11 parking lot and select a victim... then run back to the house and covertly watch the car drive out of the lot with some 'just married' cans dangling from their bumper. We never got caught doing that but got to watch some very irate drivers get out of the car a half block down the road and cuss loudly.

Yeah those were good times. Both of them have since passed away and I grieve somewhat because I don't know whether either accepted Christ before their lives ended, but I do know that my Grandfather at least heard the gospel more than once and heard it fully on his death bed. I guess this has turned into a rather melancholy post... but the memories are still quite good ones.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

An epiphony of the palate...

Since my doctor erroneously told me I had high blood pressure a couple months ago I have been backing off on my coffee drinking (basically going from about 2 cups every day to only drinking coffee at church on Tuesdays and Sundays). Turns out I had what they call "white coat" hypertension which means my blood pressure only goes up when I visit a doctor which I take to mean that I shouldn't go to doctors anymore because high blood pressure is obviously unhealthy.

So getting on with my point...

I haven't had a cup of coffee since Sunday morning and as I was feeling a bit drowsy at the office this afternoon I curtailed my walpolling activities, sallied forth and infiltrated Broadway Cafe's place of purveyance to negotiate the vending of some caffeinated comestibles. As I was sipping my Colombian house blend black as it was served, I suddenly noticed something I can't recall ever noticing before... a subtle 'fruitiness' as it were in the taste centers of my brain. A very slight sour/sweet emerging from the bitter to produce a similar effect to swallowing a mouthful of citrusy fruit juice... but only in the background of the general sensation I am used to when drinking coffee. This happened halfway through the cup and I spent the latter half of said beverage exploring this sensation whilst enjoying it at the same time.

I must confess I have entertained the notion on occasion that all of my coffee house fanatic friends were just fantasizing that they could discern all of these bewilderingly complex varieties of tastes within a simple sip of java... but now I am not so sure. I now see the possibility that I was merely blind to the hidden world of coffee goodness. I feel now like the blind man of the Gospels who was partially healed and said "I see men as trees walking". I think with a little more effort and conscious awareness on my part I may actually 'get there' some day in the near future.

My thanks to those who have spurred me on in this endeavor of appreciating the bean.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

So I missed my 1 year blogaversary

...But only by a day. So in honor of this not-at-all momentous event I am reposting my greatest creation: Jedi Master Soddyr Wyre. This short film has received numerous awards in my mind and has enjoyed incredible poplularity on the Internet with an astonishing 103 hits in less that a year. Critically acclaimed as the ony film with a credit run 2 times longer than the film itself... I give you... this:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Tactless Ode to Thanksgiving Day

Here stands the turkey with his plumage so fair
At least do not salivate if you must stare
Imagining him with a hot roll and jelly
As fat bastard said...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Statistical proof that I am running out of steam

I started this blog just under a year ago as a way to basically kill time. My job at MPIA was rapidly diminishing as the Saint Luke's IT dept slowly took over my turf in anticipation of its complete take over later that Spring. As you can see from my ridiculous 21 posts in 24 days last December, it was working. Time was being killed. The dip in February directly corelates to me starting the new job and suddenly finding stuff to do, but on average you can see that while I did start with a full head of steam, I have been slowly dwindling in my devotion to blogging. When you think about the fact that this entry is nothing more than a post about how I don't post anymore I think you'll agree that I have nothing to say. To accentuate the seriousness of the problem I actually took time to create this nice bar graph with a line of averages to visually demonstrate the attenuation of pointless but presumably witty banter.

I think the graph says it all. I do not blame writers block. I do not blame laziness. I do not blame the financial crisis. I don't actually think that this phenomenon has a specific man made cause, much like global warming. That last statement was purely at attempt to validate this post by making a politcal/scientific observation but in true blogger form offering no weight of evidence to substantiate the claim. I just put it out there.

Stay tuned... I will probably post something else... later... at some point. In the meantime enjoy today's Douglas Adams quote over to the right which unlike my blog ALWAYS generates a chuckle from those enlightened enough to understand his humor. I mean humour (He was British after all).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

Romans chapter 8 verse 22.

Last night I had to have a talk with my tenderhearted, animal loving daughter about that verse and her current perspective. Our cats have been clearing the house of mice fairly effectively and last night they caught another one. This time though Rene intercepted the cat and took the still breathing mouse and almost lost it. The poor little guy was missing a tail and had several puncture wounds and was just laying there breathing in her hand when she came weeping to me. I took the mouse and disposed of it and made her wash her hands but had trouble getting her to calm down. I guess her real issue wasn't that the mouse would die, but that it was suffering... I decided not to mention to her that had she not taken it from the cat, it would likely be dead by now and that she probably extended its pain by 'rescuing' it. I waited until this morning to have the Lion King talk with her about how animals eat other animals and that is just the way it is, however I left out the circle of life BS and explained how the world is under the curse of Sin (using Rom 8:22 as my primary verse) and until Christ comes back this problem will persist and she needs to find a way to cope with it. She took it well and hopefully the next time we find a mouse it will not be 'mostly' dead but fully expired.

Oh and I found the tail... it was right next to the coffee machine on the counter. I should have named the tabby Vito Corleone! Actually since I am the one who put the hit out on the mice, I am the godfather.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Windows 7 looks nice...

BUT then so does all the food you see in magazine ads. Of course those all turn out to be either plastic or glazed with something entirely unedible. I want to be optimistic about Windows 7 but it is difficult when I haven't even made the switch to Vista yet. XP was functionally a great upgrade from Windows 2000 and XP functionally still meets all my computing needs and all Vista would do for me is force me to buy a faster computer. I will admit that the UI demo below indeed looks nice but it's like judging a filet mignon from a photograph. I want to be able to dig into this OS and see how intuitive it is from a techie's perspective... well that won't likely happen for some time. In the meanwhile enjoy this flashy new taskbar.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bursitis of the shoulder

Bursitis is the inflammation of one or more bursae (small sacs) of synovial fluid in the body. The bursae rest at the points where internal functionaries, such as muscles and tendons, slide across bone. Healthy bursae create a smooth, almost frictionless functional gliding surface making normal movement painless. When bursitis occurs, however, movement relying upon the inflamed bursa becomes difficult and painful. Moreover, movement of tendons and muscles over the inflamed bursa aggravates its inflammation, perpetuating the problem.

The exact cause of this ailment from individual to individual can be elusive and only recently have medical researchers pinned down at least one of the primary contributers to the condition...

In all seriousness, I suppose it isn't this bad, but it is about the most annoying thing I have had to deal with in quite some time. I decided to not blog about it at first in fear of coming across as whiney... but now that I am nearing the 3 week mark I felt that a little space ought to be given for a whine or two.

...stupid bursitis.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A cool new toy...

This just came in today... my new Shure SM10ACN Headset Microphone!!! Mainly I got it so I could sing occassionally at church while playing the drums, but perhaps I may also use it for ummm... possible future gigs at coffee house type venues with the newly formed 'Scrantonicity' (final band name is as yet undecided). It isn't a super high end microphone, but for example in our church's sanctuary with our current sound system this will likely work just as well as a $500 mic would... and it saves me about $380.




Friday, October 3, 2008

A brief message to Congress...

I am very dissapointed in all of the Republican congressmen and women who today had their votes bought with polictical capital. They have abandoned their constituents' clearly expressed desires and opinions and set our nation up for an even greater credit crisis down the road.

I am not even as upset by the yes vote today as I am at how easy it was for the Senate to buy the necessary votes from the House Republicans by waving the right amount of bacon in front of their fat greedy little faces.

I REALLY hope some of these people pay for this error in judgment by being elected out of their respective offices. Representative Democracy has only ONE feasible recourse for a rogue representative and that is to replace them at the end of their term. Now even if that happens of course it will be pointless to replace a lizard with another lizard (although it will feel good to see the first lizard leave and wish he'd listened better to his voters). We need a real change and that will not happen with either of the current two primary candidates. If you want to really see change... you have to vote for it!!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

When zombie rattlesnakes attack!!!

OK first of all I am sorry to keep posting videos. I don't have much to say lately.

Secondly, a warning: This video is somewhat disturbing if you are a fan of wildlife (even reptilians) and do not appreciate seeing them decapitated... but still it is freaky cool how this snake only has about 2 inches of body left and is still basically functioning and interacting with its environment.

Snake Attacks After Losing Body - Watch more free videos

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

From the horse's mouth...

Gee this sounded good 6 years ago... woops.

(Video is from October 2002)

Friday, September 12, 2008

My daughter is two digits old...

So tonight is the big slumber party and she wanted a movie theater theme. We have tickets (as you can see), a concessions stand with candy, popcorn, hot dogs, nachos (we even found some cardboard hotdog containers and plastic nachos containers) and of course a 52" LCD with three blu ray titles to choose from. my personal goal is to merely survive the evening and the 11 girl invasion of my house.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Something rare... a political post.

Actually not even much of a post; just a link.


This is an interesting take on Sarah Palin with some great questions.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The mind can exaggerate traumatic memories...

For instance... this is (I would swear) exactly what I saw as I neared the fallen tree.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

This is pretty much the worst ride ever!

Oh like anyone could actually know that Napoleon...

What you might ask was so bad about my bike ride home from work today??? Well let's start at the beginning shall we?

1. Accuweather.com sucks; said the rain would start after 7PM... started at 5PM right as I got going.

2. Hard rain stings (foreshadowing folks... wait for it)

3. I met unabashed cyclist at Swope Park (yes this is on my list of grievences... you'll see why later)

4. I say how about we take 79th... he says how about we take 67th... I agree to 67th.

5. Nearby lightning is scary when riding a bike

6. Wind is not fun either and vitually always blowing in your face rather than at your back.

7. Now we have time for an anecdote... The rain has slackened and the wind has also slackened. It looks like a decent ride home now. Unabashed is about 50 feet ahead of me and I see him pass an old rotten fallen tree stump sticking just maybe a foot into the road... He yells loudly "TREEE!!" Well it is hard to make out because there is still a bit of wind and he is not very close... I continue as he pedals hard ahead of me and calls back again even louder and with a note of frustration "TREEEEE!!" Well yeah duh... I see the tree it is kind of hard to miss. It is just an old tree stump that must have gotten knocked over by the wind. I can easily swerve and avoid it. I am getting closer to the tree and suddenly see a swarm of flies... ah I get it now. He was warning me about road kill. Wait these are some freaking big.... BEEEEEES!!! BEES EVERYWHERE!!! THEY'RE RIPPING MY FLESH OFF!!! YOUR FIREARMS ARE USELESS AGAINST THEM!!! AAAAHHHHH!!!!

So yeah we both rode through a swarm of very pissed off honey bees... and yeah we both got stung (I took one to the eye brow, a couple on my arm and one on my hand... unabashed got hit at least 5 times.) It was pretty much the worst ride ever. Oh and then it started raining again... hard... the rest of the painful way home.

I hope you all had a wonderful night... I am firkin going to bed!

Monday, August 25, 2008

And now... its ALL good.

So today is a day of great rejoicing, albeit somewhat harried and busy rejoicing as we engage in the various clean up tasks/issues that always arise at the culmination of a very large project. The Data Center is in place and for the most part everything is working as it should. Here are some memories of my Saturday (apologies for the poor image quality on some of these... still learning how to use the camera and its many settings):

Servers awaiting their new APC home.

The servers IN their new APC home (the racks are APC)

My attempt to be photographically artistic

The Network Operations Manager holds great power

Have you ever seen such beautiful cable management in your life????

Room for growth

You look upon the core... a Cisco 4500 series Catalyst switch... plus all of our other communications equipment here in our wiring rack.

Pretty aren't they??

And now my work is done...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly...

The Good represents our new Data Center which will be filled with twinkling lights and noisy server cabinets this Saturday. Take a look-see... (clicking on the images will get you a nice zoomed in view)

The Bad and the Ugly are both reserved for our existing server room. The picture should say all that needs to be said.

Monday, August 18, 2008

User moment of the day...

Today is the day after. Technically yesterday was the day after, but yesterday being Sunday was a completely uneventful day after as there were no users to initiate all of the headaches that the day after generally produces. Saturday we migrated our users, computers, file shares, etc from the old Windows 2000 domain to the new Windows 2003 domain. Today the users were here...

I won't actually get into it here because it was enough to have gone through the experience in real life and I don't at this time wish to relive everything in writing but I'll share the brilliance of one female (and I am not make any allusions here... the user merely happened to be female) Finance department employee. Last Wednesday IT sent out a notice to all corporate users that we needed laptops to remain if at all possible at the office over the weekend so that we could get to them in order to migrate them to the new domain. She was one of the few who disregarded the notice. Today when she came down to inquire why her laptop couldn't be logged into the network, we asked her why she took it home on Friday. Her response was... "Well I didn't take it home! I turned it off and locked it in my desk drawer for safety and privacy. I thought just having it in the building would meet your requirements. You should have made the email more explicit."


Friday, August 15, 2008

Expectations drop to... well something deep into negative space.

This will be the first and likely only Starwars movie I will get to take my son to see in a theater which is fine I guess since he is at that age where even ewoks would be cool if they were in a Starwars film. For myself I have, after reading this review especially, decided to not only lower my expectations but remove them altogether and just consider this as something I am taking my son to for his sake... like Dragon Tales Live which we took my daughter to a few times when she was younger.

If you wish to read it for yourself...

My only consolation is that in a week I will have a 52" Hi-Def LCD with which we can watch Empire Strikes Back on to our hearts content. Of course I'll have to wait for Lucas to release about 4 various modified special edition BluRay versions before he will agree to release the original theatrical release in BluRay which is the only BluRay I will buy of Starwars... in the meantime my DVDs will suffice.

Monday, August 11, 2008

There was an old drummer who swallowed a gnat...

It wasn't this big obviously but I thought I should find out exactly what it is I am currently digesting. I've discovered that the unseasonably cool but still humid air is quite agreeable to gnats, who like to swarm particularly at long stop lights around the heads of passing cyclists. Also the swarms seem interested in keeping in touch because they follow you across the street and until you hit about 10 mph they continue following you. Ironically the gnat in question, which is to say the gnat in my stomach, was not part of one of the afore mentioned swarms but rather he seemed to be on a solo reconnoissance [holy crap I spelled that right on the first try!] mission.

His mission ended abruptly when a sudden vacuum formed in front of him and he was sucked into his final resting place. The vacuum was created by the sharp and repeated intake of air as a result of the steepness of the angle of the hill up which I was forcing my bike, and by extension myself, and the as of yet lack of good physical shape in which I find myself. Mission Hills is an aptly named bit of real estate.

Anyway, I followed that little snack with about a liter of Kiwi/Stawberry Poweraid and then continued on the last 1/2 mile to the office. The gnat provided little protein but it did give me something to blog about so I am grateful.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Thanks to the Angry Coder for automotive assistance.

Last night we replaced my Honda Civic's fuel pump. It was a smashing success in that the car now runs. Things I learned:

- My car was made in Canada... eh?
- My car is labeled as a Civic but my exact engine type doesn't seem to have ever been put in a 1994 Civic and it would appear that the car is in fact a Del Sol... or something like it.
- I don't have the inner strength required to siphon gasoline through a garden hose. I even practiced in the kitchen with a sink full of water and had it down pretty good... but the problem is water is not preceded through the hose by heavy noxious fumes. I never even got to the point of accidentally getting gas in my mouth because as soon as the fumes came through the hose I very nearly yacked each time I tried. I guess there is not enough Indy Redneck in my blood.
- Blvd Lunar Ale does quite a good job at getting a bad taste out of your mouth.
- The fuel pump is not in fact under the fuel filter as I was previously led to believe.
- The fuel pump is in fact inside the gas tank... under the car... accessible only by removing the back seat.
- A torque wrench does not very well register a mere 4 foot pounds when tightening a bolt that only requires 4 foot pounds.
- Commuting in a car that smell heavily of spilt gasoline causes mild light-headedness and mild headache after 10 miles.
- The Angry Coder saved me approximately $430... for which I will repay him with various invitations to drink good beer while watch hi-definition 52" entertainment.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Could be more effective than water boarding...

Imagine a 10'x10'x5' room with video monitors and speakers covering the walls, ceiling and floor. The ceiling is 5' so that you cannot fully stand, though after you witness this you'll understand that a fetal position is the only position the subject is likely to be in.

What is playing on the monitors and through the speakers... 24 hours a day... is...


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Douglas Adam's passage of the day...

(a little context: Arthur just yesterday returned to Earth... 8 months time has passed on Earth since his departure)

Arthur awoke feeling wonderful, absolutely fabulous, refreshed, overjoyed to be home, bouncing with energy, hardly disappointed at all to discover it was the middle of February.

He almost danced to the fridge, found the three least hairy things in it, put them on a plate and watched them intently for two minutes. Since they made no attempt to move within that time he called them breakfast and ate them. Between them they killed a virulent space disease he's picked up without knowing it in the Flargathon Gas Swamps a few days earlier, which otherwise would have killed off half the population of the Western Hemisphere, blinded the other half and driven everyone else psychotic and sterile, so the Earth was lucky there.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Mummy has arisen!

...And he smelled like feet wrapped in leathery burnt bacon.

Seriously folks. This one was a stinker. I mean not like Mr. Balrog bowels stink... but stink nonetheless. This movie was completely and horribly aweful. My wife and I wondered why Rachel Weisz didn't return to play the Mrs. O'Connell character, but 10 minutes in... nay 5... it was obviousy that Ms Weisz no doubt had read the script and politely fled in terror. Of course Brendon "George of the Jungle" Fraser will play any role that pays money so no surprise there.

Now the first two Mummy movies of this particular series I thought were passable as fun loving popcorn flicks. Yeah they were sort of Indiana Jones wannabes, but even in that they sort of poked fun at themselves in the process for even trying. This movie was not even in the low range of mediocre popcorn action movies. The plot was so forced and illconceived it made me slightly ill... the jokes were just a bit below the level of George Lucas and his "I'm beside myself" or "what a drag" C3P0 lines from the prequals... no they were even below that. Let me put it in terms you can understand; A Yeti kicks an enemy through two pillars and a second Yeti gives the two arms up "extra point" football sign. Holy freaking crap it was bad. I can't believe I payed $10 a ticket OR that I stayed until it was over. I kept hoping that something... maybe a cool Jet Li fight sequence... perhaps some really clever bit of CGI... ANYTHING would offer even the slightest redeeming quality to this should-have-been-straight-to-DVD-then-to-the-garbage-can piece of crap. If you think I am over reacting, go watch the movie for yourself. Ya know I wouldn't even say this movie is worth a Red Box $1 rental. Maybe kids under the age of 10 would think it funny or like the three headed dragon that the Chinese Emporer mummy for no apparent reason could turn into. I'd better just stop. I am just trying to persuade as many friends and loved ones as I can to not subject themselves to this experience.


94 years is a pretty good run.

Well yesterday afternoon my Grandpa got to go home to the Lord and his Elizabeth who he's been without for the last 16 years. It was difficult yesterday seeing my extended family in large part greatly troubled by his death. One particular family, the one that does not have a firm foundation in the Lord, took it the worst... even my cousins were fairly beside themselves in grief. They simply aren't looking at this from Grandpa's perspective. He can see again; he can hear again; he can walk again unaided; and by far and most importantly he is in the presence of the Lord who gave his life for him and saved him. The whimsical side of me also believes that he's sitting up there holding Grandma's hand. I'm sure our earthly relationships are not the same up there, but it is a nice thought that after the Lord, she was the second person to greet him.

My mom also had a very rough time, but I chalk that up to a girl losing her dad. She knows the Lord and understands (as well as any of us can I suppose) the infinately better state her dad is in now. Anyway... I don't feel as much loss as I do relief for him. Maybe at the funeral I will feel the loss a bit more. Well that is all I have time to say for now. I've got to be on the bike and riding in 10 minutes.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Douglas Adams Quote err... Passage of the Day

Here's a very funny scene from Restaurant at the End of the Universe:

Marvin stood at the end of the bridge corridor. He was not in fact a particularly small robot. His silver body gleamed in the dusty sunbeams and shook with the continual barrage which the building was still undergoing. He did however look pitifully small as the gigantic black tank rolled to a halt in front of him. The tank examined him with a probe; the probe withdrew. Marvin stood there.

"Out of my way little robot," growled the tank.
"I'm afraid," said Marvin, "that I've been sent here to stop you."

The probe extended again for a quick recheck. It withdrew again.

"You!? Stop me?" roared the tank. "Go on!"
"No really I have," said Marvin simply.
"What are you armed with?" roared the tank in disbelief.
"Guess." said Marvin.

The tank's engines rumbled. Its gears ground. Molecule sized elctronic relays deep in its microbrain flipped backwards and forwards in consternation.

"Guess??" said the tank.
"Yes, go on," said Marvin to the huge battle machine. "You'll never guess."
"uummmmmm," said the machine vibrating with unaccustomed thought. "Laser beams?"

Marvin shook his head solemnly.

"Uh no," muttered the machine in its deep gutteral rumble, "too obvious. Antimatter ray?" it hazarded.
"Far too obvious," admonished Marvin.
"Uh yes," rumbled the machine, somewhat abashed."uuuh... how about an electron ram?"

This was new to Marvin.

"What's that?" he said.
"One of these!" said the machine with enthusiasm.

From its side emerged a sharp prong, which spat a single lethal blaze of light. Behind Marvin a wall roared and collapsed as a heap of dust. The dust billowed briefly then settled.

"No," said Marvin, "Not one of those."
"Good though isn't it!"
"Very good," agreed Marvin.
"I know!" said the frogstar battle machine after another moment's consideration, "You must have one of those new Zanthic Restructon Destabalizenon Emitters."
"Nice, aren't they" said Marvin.
"That's what you've got?" said the machine in considerable awe.
"No." said Marvin
"Oh." said the machine, disappointed. "Then it must be... uuuhhhh..."
"You're thinking along the wrong lines." said Marvin. "You're failing to take into account something fairly basic in the relationship between men and robots."
"errrrm, I know," said the battle machine "eeer." It trailed off into thought again.
"Just think," urged Marvin. "They left me, and ordinary menial robot, to stop you, a gigantic heavyduty battle machine, whilst they ran off to save themselves. What do you think they would leave me with?"
"Oh uhhh..." muttered the machine in alarm. "Something pretty damned devastating I should expect."
"Expect?" said Marvin. "Oh yes, expect. I'll tell you what they gave me to protect myself shall I?"
"Alright," said the battle machine bracing itself.
"Nothing." said Marvin.

There was a dangerous pause.

"NOTHING!?" roared the battle machine.
"Nothing at all," intoned Marvin dismally, "Not an electronic sausage.

The machine heaved about with fury.

"Well doesn't that just take the biscuit! Nothing eh? Just don't think do they?"
"And me" said Marvin in a soft low voice "with this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side."
"Makes ya just spit doesn't it"
"Yes." agreed Marvin with feeling.
"Hell that makes me angry!" bellowed the machine "I think I'll smash that wall down."

The electron ram stabbed out another searing blaze of light and took out the wall next to the machine.

"How do you think I feel?" said Marvin bitterly.
"Just ran off and left you did they?" the machine thundered.
"Yes." said Marvin.
"Think I'll shoot out the bloody ceiling as well!" raged the tank.

It took out the ceiling of the bridge.

"That's very impressive." murmered Marvin.
"You ain't seen nothing yet," promised the machine. "I can take out this floor too, no trouble."

It took out the floor too.

"HELL'S BELLS!" The machine roared as it plummeted fifteen stories and smashed itself to bits on the ground below.

"What a depressingly stupid machine." said Marvin, and trudged away.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I replaced my fuel filter!!

Now that in itself isn't really all that impressive until you consider the source. I suppose I could blame this on not being raised by my father, but I've never really done much of anything under the hood of my car beyond adding oil and coolant. I did an oil change once under the supervision of a friend of mine... but this is to me a major accomplishment. I will admit that the entire operation involved basically just removing 5 bolts (two of which attached the fuel lines), replacing the filter and then putting it back together, but if you read the section on fuel filters in the 1994 Honda Civic EX owners manual it merely says "Have a qualified service technician replace your filter after 60,000 miles." I had to search online for some better instructions.

The biggest challenge was just getting the two fuel line bolts to come off as they were pretty well frozen in place. I was using the right sized wrenches but it was starting to strip the bolts anyway so I ended up using a lot of WD40 and vice grips which ultimately did the trick. Also I should mention that it took me two tries. The first $12 filter was apparently just for practice (after I got it put on, I overtightened the bolt to the gas line and I actually tore part of the filter so it squirted gas out each time I tried to start the car... the second filter worked as I learned to be gentle and now my car starts.)

Also I saw Dark Knight yesterday... incredible movie! The Angry Coder posted essentially the same review I'd have posted so you can read about it there. Man, the pencil trick... a truly great way to fully introduce the main villain.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Douglas Adams Quote of the Day

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so."

Friday, July 25, 2008

A mild disappointment but a record all the same.

I was really hoping to ride to work every day for an entire week and the early morning rain blew my chance (I really HATE riding in heavy rain). Nevertheless, I hit a record yesterday: 94.5 miles in 6 days (I did the 20 mile on Saturday and then rode M-Th)! That might not be much for an experienced cyclist, but for a noob who's been riding just under a year, I am happy with it. Tonight I am going to celebrate with some poker and brews at the musician's place, then tomorrow I finally get to see Dark Knight. It will be a good weekend me thinks.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The genius of Douglas Adams

So I've been rereading my favorite Sci-Fi comedy series (ok my ONLY sci-fi comedy series) written by the late Douglas Adams and I feel I need to share some of his wit with the world who will never pick up HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy because they saw the silly movie from a couple years ago. Unfortunately for them they failed to realize that the brilliance of Douglas's writing was pretty much left out of the movie. Now his ideas where there and yeah they were very silly in most cases... but the way he puts things and his quirky phrasing are to me where the entertainment value most often is found. Now it is true that Adams was a tree hugging, liberal minded evolutionist and to be honest we wouldn't have had very much in common but he was also extremely intelligent and witty and even his jabs at religion are so well thought out and insightful one has to smile broadly. So consider this the first installment of possibly many more to come entitled 'The Douglas Adams Quote of the Day'.

These quotes will be given typically without context... if you want to really 'get them' then read his books.

Today's Quote: "It has been said that Vogons are not above a little bribery and corruption in the same way that the sea is not above the clouds."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

This rubbed me the wrong way...

I received an email from a vendor just now with a few quotes for various KVM solutions for our new data center (KVM = Keyboard, Video, Mouse: a system that gives you remote BIOS-level console access to all the servers in the data center so you can do whatever you need to do from the non-calorie-burning convenience of your desk). The email was fine... informative, cheerful, mildly ingratiating and yet irritating at the same time. To be specific it was the saleman's signature line that I found particularly bothersome. It had a little tree icon and the following request: 'Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to' followed by a very annoying happy emoticon.

Now I'm not sure what exactly annoyed me more: the fact that this guy felt it was his job to tell me, a potential customer, how I should behave towards the environment OR the idea that refraining to print an email would in any way make the world a better place to live. Perhaps I should add to my signature "Next time you go to the bathroom, please don't wipe your ass unless you really need to... I mean you probably already stunk up the place, why not share it with the rest of the office."

I have also considered the possibility that this entire post is based upon displaced aggression.

Singed nostrils...

I just returned from the restroom and I have a story to tell... a story about a man... the man who walked out as I was walking in... actually a story about the smell that assaulted me upon entry which surely must have come from that man.

Were it not for the incinerating fires of Melkor's malice and hatred which clothed the mightly Gothmog in his evil glory, the gaseous emissions of that Lord of Balrogs were they to escape the flames mayhap could rival the stench of which I speak. Were the belchings of darkness and death within Torech Ungol gathered together and put into a phial concentrate, they might have attained unto the vileness I have experienced. Nay the heady vapours of the Dead Marshes in comparison are like unto the gardens of Fimbrethil, or the perfumes of the blossoms of Nimloth. I speak of a malodorous air beyond comprehension; a noisome rottenness the likes of which could not have come from mere mortal man. Perhaps he was not of this world. Perhaps he was... no; the horror of this memory haunts me and I will speak of it no longer. I must try to purge my mind of it lest it drive me to vomit in my mouth... again.

Seriously... the guy is in desperate need of a visit to the gastroenterologist.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Another successful 20 mile ride!

I'd say much more successful... I kept pace with my friends better and there was no blood sugar crash due to a planned 2nd powerbar break at about 7 miles.

I guess I didn't blog at all this week... it was busy at work. We are currently in the midst of an Active Directory migration from our old Windows 2000 domain to an existing 2003 domain, and then as soon as that is completed we get to move into our new data center which just got its raised floor put in. I really need to snap some pictures of the current server room and the spaghetti mess of a switch rack and then some comparative shots of the new wiring rack and data center. It is truly night and day. I am excited!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ready to ride!

Well tomorrow I am going cycling with some friends on the first of hopefully many higher mileage rides (at least compared to my 11.4 mile commute) with the goal of building up enough stamina to do possibly an overnight road trip somewhere or at least an all day round trip. Tomorrow's ride will be about 20 miles and future rides will likely increae gradually in mileage.

Tires are aired up, cloths are laid out, power bars are packed and water bottles are ready to be filled.

Now I better get to sleep since I have to be up at 6AM. That gives me 7 hours of sleep if I conk out in the next 20 minutes. Hasta!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Time to reveal the inner nerd...

The unstable brewmeister has stirred a memory in me... and now I will recite a poem I wrote a few years ago.

I am not ashamed to admit that I am a Tolkien geek. And I only use the term to help others relate to how I feel about the subject... I don't personally feel it is a nerdy thing to appreciate the greatest work of fantasy in recent history, but anyway.

This is in reference to the mallorn leaf shaped brooches Galadriel gave to each of the Fellowship members in the book 'Fellowship of the Ring'.
'The Leaves of Lorien'

Once there were eight leaves of Lorien,
One drifted over the falls;
One was cast down by the wayside and found,
One went to Isengard's walls;
Two went in fear to the darkening east,
Whilst three hasted westward to war;
Each year the leaves of Lothlorien fall,
But seldom its leaves fall so far.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th!! (here's a cool free screen saver)

You can download this in a set of free vector screen savers from here. Open the zip file then copy all the SCR files to the c:\windows directory and then run the OpenALwEAX.exe application.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Building a new back porch...

Well I am at the end of the preparation stage of rebuilding my back porch. I've got a few skilled friends helping me out with the framing, but for my part I did do the actual design using a very cool program called Sketchup. By the way if anyone wants to learn a 3D app... this is a great one to start with. The learning curve does exist but it is far less than most of the big 3D applications in use today by professionals. Here are some stills of my final design:

The design doesn't include electrical and inside finishing like drywall, but that might come later. By far the most impressive thing about Sketchup is that Google provides the basic application for FREE! They of course have a Pro version, but as far as I can tell all of the animation and 3D drawing tools are available in the free version. They have also got some very helpful training videos on Google's Sketchup page.

I will try to get some real photos taken through the building process and post them (but I have to get my camera fixed first). **On an unrelated note... I tried videoing the toad's firefly induced illumination but when I turn the lights off, my video camera completely loses focus and I can't figure out how to capture the event... however the unstable brewmeister witnessed the events firsthand and he will tell you I'm not lying.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I am apparently easily entertained...

Last night I saw about the funniest dang thing I have seen in a long time... you may disagree, but I refer you to the post title.

My daughter has a pet toad named Lilly. She is a half grown American Toad and she really loves fire flies (lightning bugs). As we are in the midst of fire fly mating season, they are in abundance in our front yard and so the kids have been harvesting them and feeding them to Lilly (she ate about 9 last night). They told me the other night that Lilly lights up every time she eats one and I must confess I thought they were pulling my leg. They weren't. I spent about 30 minutes last night helping them feed the toad and laughing every time the toad would light up!! It was freaking hilarious. American Toads are like frogs in that they use their long tongues to snatch food and then basically swallow the bugs whole... so these fire flies have at least 4-5 flashes in them before dying in the toads belly and the light completely shines through even from her stomach. If they flash when she has them in her mouth, her entire throat lights up.

What can I say... I am just a big nerd, but I haven't laughed that hard in a while. I will try to capture the event on video and get it posted here at some point in the future.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Weirdness from the world of particle physics...


Mini blackholes?? Man, they are completely overlooking the true danger: Resonance Cascades!!

(That was an inside joke for any 'Halflife' fans out there)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ah, the spirit of friendly competition

I thought this was funny (but also shows that Microsoft is not completely the evil corporation some make it out to be). Disclaimer: I've not yet tried Firefox 3, but plan to this weekend or next week.

The IE7 team bought a cake to congratulate the Firefox 3 team and delivered it in person.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

As Pappy's Day winds to its close...

I thought I'd post a few remarks.

Happy Father's day to all my friends who are fathers. Hope you enjoyed the day... I went to church (had a great praise service and good preaching), went to the in-laws and ate BBQ and hot wings, got a Best Buy gift card and from my wife and kids I got a really good bike pump with a built-in pressure gauge (woo hoo!), did some work on my father-in-law's PC, came home and cleaned out my front gutters (which had several tiny Elm trees growing in the silt), played a bit of Battle for Middle Earth 2 (doing the 'War of the Ring' game: It's like the board game "Risk" but fun), and NOW I am typing on my computer and about to head off to dream land.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon...

OK so it wasn't quite that bad but WHOA it was windy today during my ride home from work. Riding a bike up the west slope of Blue Ridge with a 25 mph Southerly breeze is shall we say... difficult.

At one point I was huffing and puffing uphill on 79th just passed I-435 and suddenly I hit a downhill stretch I wasn't expecting. Then I looked up and had to sort of do a mental doubletake because unless my gyroscopes were haywire... I was STILL going uphill. Then it occured to me that what had happened was the wind stopped for a minute and I experienced a sudden and unexpected acceleration. It was actually kind of cool but then the wind started up again and the exhileration immediately left me. Anyway I think I burned a few extra calories today, which were compensated for with the Little Ceasars pizza my wife brought home. Mmmmmmm... Piiiiizza...

Now I think perhaps a Boulevard Lunar Ale and then bed. Tomorrow I'm riding again so I need my sleep ya know.

*Oh and the stress of the ride began to break my left pedal, so I stopped by Bicycle Shack and got a pair of metal pedals that should last me a while.

Feels good to be riding again!!

Last week I had my Powershell class followed by a busy weekend and then Monday and Tuesday I had to drive to Excelsior Springs after work to play drums at my church's Elementary Summer Camp (This was my daughter's second year as a camper... and my 6th year I think playing with the band there).

Anyway... this morning I was finally able to get back on the bike and trek in to work. I had a 12 mph average and it was a fantastic morning to ride. Going home will be on the warm side though (and the return trip has more uphills than the morning ride) but it's all good. I'm saving $4 of gas every day I ride plus getting my lazy butt into shape.

I also finally got a little bike tire pressure gauge to ensure I am not over or under-inflated (both can cause flats).

Speaking of biking... a friend of mine from church recently was, well sort of attacked by some jackhole driver who had cyclist road rage for some reason. He ran him off the road and rode over his bike and then came back for more a few minutes later. What the hell gets into peoples' heads to make them behave like that??? It really makes me want to get a conceal and carry permit, but perhaps a good tazer would be just as effective and probably more satisfying. So you ran me off the road and then destroyed my bike without any cause... well I am not angry enough to kill you but I would love to see you stagger and fall in agony as 50,000 volts tear through your central nervous system and temporarily paralyze you... thus giving me time to laugh in your face as I call the police (or if necessary throw your car keys into the trees and make a timely getaway).

He ended up with a broken thumb. He said he got the tags, but it was a temporary tag and the car was likely stolen anyway. Well it makes the ride more interesting I suppose...