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.