Friday, November 13, 2009

The proper way to watch a movie...

We went out and saw 2012 tonight at the Cinema Suites (in the AMC 30 in Olathe) and it was very cool. The movie itself was sort of a 'Day After Tomorrow' on performance enhancing drugs. As with virtually all global disaster flicks it was full of unlikely coincidences and close calls but it was a great movie to set your brain aside and enjoy the thrill. It was really quite an intense movie and felt like one big long chase scene (where John Cusack is being chased by various chunks of earth or a sudden lack of earth or a wall of salt water or goodness gracious great balls of fire... it goes on and on like that for most of it.) That is my quick and to the point movie review. The theater is what I really want to talk about.

DeAnna and I were sitting in the third row from the front in the two center seats which I believe to be the best seats in the house. The seats themselves were extremely comfortable unless you wanted to sit perfectly upright which wasn't possible but once you accepted that you had to lay back a little it was quite nice. Oh and the seats were FULLY reclineable... in fact I thought I was fully reclined the entire movie until after the film ended and I hit the button to sit up I found myself almost completely recumbent as I reclined to the chair's full lazyboy potential and had to figure out which button would get me back on my feet.

It is to be noted that every time you push the recline button, the leather rubbed LOUDLY against the leather of the center partition and the effect was rather like a large mammal with gastroenterological issues. Throughout the movie you would hear the occasional hippo fart and had to (I had to I should say) stifle a chuckle.

The tickets cost $25 but technically that is a $10 movie ticket + $15 food voucher so we thought it was pretty reasonable. The food is about on par with Applebees and actually priced I thought a bit less with most entres costing around $10-11. Of course probably the best part was being able to watch a movie in such comfort with a pint of Blvd wheat in a cold glass. That was a real treat.

All in all not something we will do very often but when the right movie comes along and we get a night out without the kiddos we'll likely find our way back to Cinema Suites. I give it 2 thumbs up!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

spy vs spy vs alient vs predator!

Once upon a time I had a subscription to Mad Magazine and used to love Spy vs Spy. I find this a fitting tribute to the spirit of the comic.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Taking the complex and making it... simple.

Thanks Bud! To be honest I'm not entirely sure he should be using some of those words in mixed company.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A bit of Hollywood propaganda...

I've been listening to an audiobook called The Essential Lewis and Clark and it's been quite interesting but today I heard an exerpt I found particularly curious. It detailed a scene the explorers had come upon where hundreds of buffalo had been driven off of a cliff by Missouri indians with the vast majority of the carcasses left to rot untouched. Now ever since I watched the movie Dances With Wolves I had been under the impression that only the evil white man could be so wastefully destructive of Mother Earth's bounty. I speak of the scene where Kevin Costner and the Sioux tribe he lives with track a herd of buffalo and come across a vast field of dead animals with only their horns and tongues cut off and the rest of the buffalo left to rot. For shame white man! Well it turns out that the Missouri indians did essentially the same thing only they probably did use most of the buffalo parts from the ones they took... they just killed way more than they needed; sort of like when my son goes to the pizza street buffet and stacks his plate with more than he could possibly eat. Here is the exerpt from Lewis and Clark's journal:

"Today we passed on the starboard side the remains of a vast many mangled carcasses of buffalo which had been driven over a precipice of 120 feet by the Indians and perished. The water appeared to have washed away a part of this immense pile of slaughter, and still there remained the fragments of at least a hundred carcasses. They created a most horrid stench. In this manner the Indians of the Missouri destroy vast herds of buffalo at a stroke: For this purpose, one of the most active and fleet young men is selected and disguised in a robe of buffalo skin, having also the skin of the buffalo’s head with the ears and horns fastened on his head in the form of a cap. Thus caparisoned, he places himself at a convenient distance between a herd of buffalo and a precipice proper for that purpose, which happens in many places on this river for miles together. The other Indians now surround the herd on the back and flanks. At a signal agreed on, all show themselves at the same time, moving forward towards the buffalo.

The disguised Indian or decoy has taken care to place himself sufficiently nigh the buffalo to be noticed by them when they take to flight. Running before them, the buffalo follow him in full speed to the precipice. The cattle behind driving those in front over and seeing them go, do not look or hesitate about following until the whole are precipitated down the precipice, forming one common mass of dead and mangled carcasses. The decoy, in the mean time, has taken care to secure himself in some cranny or crevice of the cliff which he had previously prepared for that purpose. The part of the decoy, I am informed, is extremely dangerous. If they are not very fleet runners, the buffalo tread them under foot and crush them to death, and sometimes drive them over the precipice also, where they perish with the buffalo. Just above this place we came to for dinner, opposite the entrance of a bold running river, 40 yards wide, which falls in on the larboard side. This stream we call the Slaughter River. -Lewis, May 29, 1805"

As I get older, insurance like this is becoming more relevant.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I like bacon but this is going too far...

I guess my big question is... does this make you smell like bacon after you towel off or is the aroma just to enhance your shower experience??

I promise I will take a break from the bacon posts for a while.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The kid plays like Rhoads and enunciates like Ozzy!

Well OK he actually has slightly better English diction. This isn't one of those Suzuki method kids who plays freakishly flawless music but he is nevertheless fantastic for a nine year old! The end of the video is also pretty cool.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

This stuff could one day save your bacon!

Well it is bacon... canned bacon with a 10 year shelf life for all your post apocolyptic, zombie pandemic or merely preemptive 'take-back-your-government' civil war planning needs.

This stuff probably comes out of the can as limp as wet spaghetti and as tasty as... well, 10 year old canned bacon. Honestly, at $16 for 9 oz of meat only very wealthy paranoids will be able to stockpile enough for long term survival.

I'm glad I missed most of the cold war. My grandparents' basement looked like a 1950's grocery store, mainly because the canned foods on the multiple rows of shelves were from the 1950's. Is it even worth surviving whatever disaster if I have to eat canned bacon all the time? I think not.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A new taste from Japan

Well I don't know if I should really mention this in case such gifts were not broadly distributed to other friends but I feel I have to mention this as I am currently quite enjoying a glass. My wife and I have a friend who just came back from a three month visit to Japan and who most likely all my readers know. Well I found something just for myself in the goody bag she so graciously gave my wife this morning... a little bottle of something clear. My first guess was sake (the label was entirely in Japanese except for the numbered bar code) but her husband corrected me and said it was called Shochu and it was a rice liquor specifically from her home town. I've only had sake once and this tastes quite a bit different from what I recall of sake. It is more akin to vodka but to me this is far better than any vodka I've ever had (not that I have had a lot , mind you.) First of all it is not at all overwhelmingly strong being from what I've read online about 25% alcohol by volume. There's practically no burn to speak of and it goes down very smooth. The taste which is distinctly present but also very subtle is almost sweet and though this may sound odd it actually reminds me right at the point it goes down the throat of distilled water which has an almost sweetish aftertaste. Now there was more to it than that obviously but that was just an impression that occurred to me as I was trying to see what I could discern being a noob when it comes to discerning subtle tastes. There is also a definite odor (not as strong but almost something like scotch though I have only had scotch once) and the odor is far stronger than the taste but the two combine into something very pleasant.

Anyway cheers Kayo! My glass is empty and its time to go to sleep. **There will be no insinuation tolerated in the comments section as to the relationship between the two given facts of the previous statement... it just so happens to be after 11PM** :-P

Friday, August 7, 2009

I haven't seen the movie yet...

But I had to post this pic -

(By the way I have more vacation pics but I won't get those posted until tomorrow.)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Vacation Log #4

Drove around D.C. for a while this morning and pointed out to the kids among other things the Capital Building where once was housed a portion of a great democratic republic. We feel history is important to our kids' education which is of course why they aren't in the public re-education system.

After that we drove up to Baltimore and spent entirely too much money visiting the National Aquarium. It was nice, but seriously... $21 for 4 hours of parking???

Here are more pics

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vacation Log #3

Vacation Log #2

Well we finished breakfast a couple hours ago and I've been just kicking around waiting for us to leave for the Cleveland Zoo. It feels good to have received a full night's sleep and I am ready to do some walking and snap some pictures. I'll post some later.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Vacation Log #1

Well, I've driven through three states and now that we are just entering Ohio, I've handed the wheel over to my wife and I think I'll catch a few winks. Tomorrow we're hitting the zoo so I'll have some pics to post.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My pets and their new culinary adventure

Well my wife has always been the 'healthy' force in our family and since I've known her I've become more educated on health and well being. Recently she has been studying up on a fad if you can call it that of feeding household pets according to what they were designed to eat so they will live longer and be more healthy. Cats and dogs are naturally carnivorous though even wild canines as I understand will suppliment with grass. They however do not naturally eat a high volume or even a small amount of carbohydrates. Commercial dog food it turns out is mostly carbohydrates and some protein. Long story short, this trend involves feeding your dogs and cats raw meat which to me at first mention sounded 1. messy, 2. expensive and 3. gross.

It immediately occured to me though that wild dogs eat strictly raw meat and occassionally grass and nothing else to my knowledge so the gross part was more for me to cope with than the dogs. The next concern was cost but after crunching the numbers it turns out we are spending about $21.50 per week on pet food but if we took this route we would only be spending about $15 per week and less if we're diligent to seek out good sales at the butcher.

So this new diet began today with basically very good though mixed results. The food at this point is uncooked chicken which the butcher was kind enough to chop up for us. The animals (2 australian shepherds and 2 cats) all reacted differently.

The cats - "hmmm... what's that divine smell? Oooooh my is that a chicken in the bowl? Can't be! The humans have only ever given us brown crunchy nuggets and only they get to eat chicken. No no it is... it IS CHICKEN!!! OMG! Holy crap holy crap holy crap! Quick before they realize what they've done!!" *rip tear* *chew* *devour* *chomp* (essentially there was a feeding frenzy at the cat bowl)

Samwise (the older and more finicky of the two shepherds... in, I imagine, an English accent like Stewie Griffin) "Oh jolly good its breakfast... but wait. What the duece is this?? Someone dropped a raw chicken leg in my bowl! You there... human! What the Hell am I supposed to do with this?? It... is... RAW you imbecile! Cook it immediately! *Al begins to try his* "Al what do you think you're doing?? Oh well he's always been dim... Now see here I refuse to sink to the level of a common wolf. I am a pure breed and I demand tasty brown nuggets this moment! Here I shall remove this thing myself and you can give me nuggets! *Picks up chicken leg and drops it on the kitchen floor*... oh ewww it got in my mouth... it... ummm... hmmm now this is a curious sensation. This raw food has started me salivating uncontrollably. Maybe... um just a taste. No I can't... well maybe. *tentative lick* Err umm... well it isn't a crunchy nugget but its not horrible. *lick lick* *bite*..." etc etc.

So Sam very daintily ate his breakfast and cleaned the bones but left those in the bowl. Al on the other hand...

Al: "Food... looks different... not small and round. Food all the same *Chomp*. What the...!? This is raw friggin meat! THIS IS AWESOME!! *CHOMP* *CHOMP* *CHOMP* I am a freakin carnivore, baby!! *CHOMP* *CHOMP* Blood!! *CHOMP* *CHOMP* Bones!!! *CHOMP* *CHOMP* "Hey humans, next time let me kill this thing myself will ya???"

We think Al is going to end up getting slightly larger portions than Sam will but the 'experts' say dogs only need about 1 or 2% of their body weight though some may eat up to 3 or 4%. Oh and the thing we discovered with chicken bones is that they are only dangerous to dogs when fried. They are not normally brittle and do not splinter when raw and Al literally ate EVERYTHING in his bowl.

My first concern about it being messy though is a valid complaint because the dogs don't want to sit at their bowl and eat a chicken leg... they want to take it and go eat it on the carpet or worse a couch so we have to isolate them while feeding (Al in his kennel and Sam in the kitchen with the baby gates up.) Also now that the food is so much more enticing we have to feed the dogs separate from the cats... one of the cats approached Al's bowl and I swear he almost took its head off. We will have to make sure we wash the bowls well and the prep surfaces and all that but not any more cleaning than for normal food prep for the 'humans'.

We'll see how this new pet food works and there are several other 'raw' options we've read about, one being whole eggs. I guess dogs will eat the shell and all and it is good for their coats... again though the messy factor is a concern for me but we'll see. So far so good.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Certification direction change

Well after getting my start on studying to upgrade to MCSE 2003 I learned a few things that forced me to change direction a bit. I seems I missed the boat by a long shot and the MCSE upgrade path was retired a year ago! I'm glad I found out now after only two weeks of studying for a defunct exam and not in three months. The rather bad news for me is that now instead of taking just a few tests to upgrade my certification I must now start from scratch and take ALL of the exams to get 2008 certification. It isn't really all that bad because I will learn more in the process than I would were I to just study for an upgrade test.

Also I discovered that there is no such thing as MCSE 2008. I won't get into Microsoft's new certification structure because no one here likely cares... but my new goal is a cert call MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional) - Enterprise Admin which is to the best of my knowledge the equivalent of MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems engineer). This will probably take me the remainder of the year to attain and I've already started studying for test #1. One thing that is mildly annoying is that the computer based training modules available are all comprehensive. Why is that a bad thing you ask? Well because it assumes I am NOT already an MCSE and it covers not only the advanced topics and those unique to a 2008 Microsoft network evironment but also all of the basic and fundamental concepts I have been familiar with for the last nine or ten years. Oh well, I will probably learn a few things that I have forgotten.

I'll keep the blog updated on my progress.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Adventures with powertools

Mission: To install an invisible dog fence.
Requirements: Create a complete circuit around property with buried wire.
Problem: Driveway must be negotiated somehow and existing expansion joints not deep enough to accommodate wire safely.

So I go to Home Depot to rent a concrete saw right? Easy enough if you know what you need. Now this is for everyone's future benefit: When the tool rental dude says, "For an extra $8 you can buy a diamond blade OR you can just use the standard blade already on the saw which should work for concrete" -- the correct answer is "Why yes; yes I would in fact like to buy the brand new diamond blade for an extra $8.00. Here's my Visa."

My answer was incorrect. I said, "If the regular blade works then I'll stick with that; after all I am only cutting across a driveway." What I actually said without realizing it was this, "No thank you, I will take the cheap-ass blade that wasn't really designed for quality concrete cuts and has as a side note already been used by at least one other renter for who knows what purpose for who knows how many hours. Here's my Visa."

It turns out the used blade was for lack of a better word, or rather for lack of any motivation to find a better word, poopy.

Here is a quick rundown of my learning experience (and yes I did adapt quite well and quite frequently... ... ...)

Part One
- Make a chalk line at the end of the driveway for the cut
- Plug in heavy duty extension cord in garage and stretch it out with the saw plugged into it only to find it is about 24" too short to reach the whole cut.
- Find another extension cord and add it to the chain.
- Start cutting
- Remember that I bought safety goggles and put them on
- Start cutting again... lots of dust... 5" and it stops.
- Sit puzzled for a moment.
- Check outlet (still plugged in)
- Run downstairs and check breaker (that was it!)
- Back outside and start cutting again... 6" and stop. SHITE!
- Run downstairs and flip breaker
- Back outside and start cutting again... 6" and stop. SONUVA!
- Run downstairs and flip breaker
- Back outside and start cutting again... 6" and stop. MOTHER(%$#%JACK(*&!F%^&PUSSBUCKET!!!
- Fume for a moment
- wipe sweat off of brow
- Realize that surge protectors have a built-in breaker; bring one outside and plug the saw in directly.
- Start cutting again... 6" and stop. HA HA! Reach over triumphantly and hit reset
- Start cutting again... 6" and stop. HA HA! Reach over triumphantly and hit reset
- Start cutting again... 6" and stop. HA HA! Reach over triumphantly and hit reset
- Man this is dusty... wipe sweat, err, concrete paste from my brow.
- Suddenly I see a label half covered with concrete grime on the saw that says "ALWAYS PUL@@@@@@@OWARD@@@@@@@@@"
- I wipe the grime away to see that I have been pushing the saw forward instead of pulling it towards me. %&@$*&!@%$*&%$*&%@*&@#%%&*$%&@#!!!
- Go to the opposite side of the drive and start again hoping against hope that I will meet the line I have already cut.

Part Two: The Other Side
- Start cutting... 1" stop. reset. 1" stop. reset. 1" stop. reset. WTF???
- Notice that the wingnut holding the blade depth in place is loose and the blade is cutting 6" deep instead of 2" which I had set earlier. Fix it back at 2"
- Start cutting again... 6" and stop. HA HA! Reach over triumphantly and hit reset
- Start cutting again... 6" and stop. HA HA! Reach over triumphantly and hit reset
- Start cutting again... 6" and stop. HA HA! Reach over triumphantly and hit reset
- Start cutting again... 6" and stop. HA HA! Reach over triumphantly and hit reset
Man it is really difficult pulling it to me because the saw is now spitting dust literally right into my face.
- Get an idea... run inside and get a box fan to also plug into power strip... turn fan on high and point at saw.
- Start cutting again... YES IT WORKS!!! WOO HOO ... 3" and stop. Hhhhhhhhhh... fan loses me 3" of progress.
-Start cutting again veeeeery slooooowly. 10" after about 30 seconds then stop.
- Basically repeat this very slow cutting and I actually finish and unbelievably I hit the line on the other side almost perfectly.
- Take shower
- Return saw to Home Depot
- Blog about it so all my friends can ruthlessly mock my inability to do anything like this right the first time.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Coolness in its infancy

I'd say give this technology 10 years (maybe less) and it will be at a level we would today consider sci-fi...

More information is just what we need right? I won't delve into the potential positive or negative ramifications (there are arguably many on either side) but merely from a geek point of view this is super cool stuff.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Time to start studying...

Well the time has come for me to get off of my butt and upgrade my Microsoft certification. I am a MCSE 2000 and I would like to be an MCSE 2008. This will take two steps... first upgrading to 2003 and then from there upgrading to 2008. Fortunately I know enough already about the 2003 environment that I think I can get by with just grabbing a couple good study guides and then taking the two tests required to upgrade. This step is necessary because there is no upgrade path from 2000 to 2008 and I would have to take the entire series of 7 tests to attain 2008 otherwise. The upgrade from 2003 to 2008 is as I understand it a single (albeit long) test. Now that step will take some additional training but my company is going to pick that up I think. I may still have to pay for the actual tests but that is fine... in fact I've found that I study a bit harder when I am covering the cost of the test ($130 a pop last time... who knows what they cost now).

My goal? To have my MCSE 2008 by the end of the year or very shortly after the 1st of next year. Since we are in a salary freeze this year I am hoping this cert upgrade will help in getting some kind of increase next year but my real motivation is just to get current.

Next year we will have replaced our Lotus Notes/Domino email server with MS Exchange 2007 so after I get my MCSE2008 cert I may move towards getting a specialist certification in messaging but that is down the road and one thing at a time.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A religious post.

After this I will be sure to post something trivial.

Over the weekend two people I know accepted Christ as their Savior. The first and nearest my heart was my 8 year old Son!!! He has been asking the right questions for about a year now but neither my wife nor I had peace that he really understood the implications or why he needed to be saved. Recently though he began showing real conviction about his need for Christ and Saturday morning I led him in praying for Salvation and his little face was glowing. That really made quite an excellent early Mother's Day present for my wife and it is a huge weight off of my shoulders to know that both of my kids have their eternal destinies worked out.

The second person is my step-grandmother. My wife had several opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with her a couple years ago after my grandfather passed away but she just wasn't ready. She recently suffered a heart attack which naturally opened her eyes to her own mortality and my little brother's wife was able to share the Gospel with her and this time she did give her life to the Lord. So I am very happy about both occassions and thought I should put it up on the blog.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Using a JPG as hidden lockbox.

Found a very cool way to hide important files on your computer without using encryption or anything.

1. You put your file (i.e. online banking passwords or something) into a Rar archive (i.e. secret.rar).

2. Put a jpg image into the same directory (i.e. picture.jpg).

3. Open a command prompt and go to that directrory.

4. Now type 'copy /B picture.jpg + secret.rar picture.jpg'.

What you end up with is a file that looks and acts just like a jpg but the file size will be the sum of both files. To access to the Rar portion of this concatenated file you simply right click it and use the 'open with' option then choose WinRar and voila you can access your secret data. The only catch is, if you were to try to edit the jpg with a graphics application, you risk corrupting the Rar file it is attached to.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Backpacking with my son...

This Friday we're off to Southern MO for a couple days. It will be his first overnight backpacking trip and he's very excited about it. Today his mom is taking him out to buy some hiking boots and tonight and tomorrow night I will be doing an equipment check and shopping run for whatever we are lacking. This will be a fairly easy trip since he's only 8 and I don't quite know what he can handle in terms of mileage and difficulty. We're going to do a 15 mile there and back (7.5 miles one way). Here is a map I made using Google maps terrain feature and Paint Shop Pro. The red line is our trail... from the trail head parking lot to Rocky Falls where we'll camp Friday night, then return on Saturday.

Stegal Mountain has some very nice views of the surrounding landscape. About 15 years ago I took a trip where we actually camped at the top of Stegal and were rewarded by waking up to a phenomenal sunrise... the only catch is that there is no water at the top and we ended up running out of cooking water for breakfast and spent a thirsty morning going down to the nearest creek. Stegal is a decent hike up from either direction (the western summit is 480' above Kelly Hollow), but oddly enough, for me the toughest portion of the trip (I've been on this trail a few times) is going up the road from Roger's Creek to the parking lot at the trail head. You can see from the topo lines that it is more than 120' up and since it is a dirt road there are no switchbacks... just a very... very... steep hill. Of course the reward for climbing the hill is the car which makes it all worth it.

I am planning on taking the camera so hopefully I will be able to post some pics next week.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

So I've started a diet...

I am calling it an exercise promotional/motivational ploy to get my ass on the bike. I have been thinking about trying a diet along with exercising but the only diet I've done in recent years that worked was Atkins which really is not a good diet to coincide with strenuous exercise as it saps your energy badly... and really I have always acknowledged that exercise is much more beneficial than reducing caloric intake. So this diet is almost more to motivate me to exercise than it is to lose weight (just by dieting). The idea is that on days I do not ride my bike, I will limit myself to 1,000 calories... this will be in the form of 2 slim fast shakes and then <640 calories for dinner. I am on day two of the slim fast and right now I can tell you that I WILL be riding tomorrow even if there is an ice storm followed by a tornado. It isn't even that I am necessarily hungry right at the moment... I had a shake 3 hours ago and I will take one for lunch around 12:30... but it is the idea that I have placed limits on myself. It is totally my old nature that is causing me discomfort. If I could go eat whatever I wanted to right now I most likely wouldn't even be thinking about it... but since I cannot, I am.

Tomorrow though will be nice... actual food for lunch and I don't have to count how many Doritos I eat. I am arbitrarily dooming myself to this diet until the end of June... the tricky part will be to make sure I can ride my bike anytime we are doing something where I really can't effectively count calories... i.e. church potluck, or when I have the guys over for a movie and beer/food or when I go on a date with my wife. This Friday I'll have to ride rain or shine... fortunately it looks like even if it does rain, the weather is finally going to be within the normal Spring temperature range.

Actually I really like the idea behind it... I can eat whatever I want as long as I earn it by riding, and earn it I shall.

Monday, April 6, 2009

His name... is Crentist.

So I went to a new dentist this morning... by the way Monday mornings are quite bad enough without scheduling a dentist appointment at the front of them. I will have to speak with my secretary about that. ANYWAY as I was saying, I went to a new dentist. His name was actually not Crentist but as that is a reference to one of my favorite The Office episodes ('The Coup' if anyone is curious) I couldn't resist the post title. It was a nice office in the Transamerica building downtown on 11th and Main. Upon arrival I sat down in the waiting room and filled out all the new patient stuff that new patients are required to sit down in the waiting room and fill out upon arrival and then was led back to the 'chair'. The first weird thing was that I was looking out a large window at the side of another office building with several large windows... any one of which could have contained some sick voyeuristic sadist who enjoyed watching people in the Dentist chair. This thought in fact provided some mental distraction, albeit oddly uncomfortable distraction, from the inherent unpleasantness of having to sit in a Dental chair for any length of time. It has been a few years since I went to the Dentist but I am I think at least above average in terms of brushing and flossing consistency, at least according to the statistics I assume exist which show me to be just slightly above average in said terms. I don't have the time or inclination to fact check the statistics I have already assumed but they are probably about right. Anyway the nice young lady who scraped my teeth clean didn't seem too put out by the duration of the task. I often wonder if dental hygienists ever pretend they are paleontologists out in the middle of Montana on a dig and they are carefully scraping rock away from the fossil remains of some prehistoric beast from Earth's past. I bet some do... more likely the ones who dislike their jobs and need a good escape. Of course that fantasy is somewhat self limiting in terms of replayability. Maybe the dinosaur species could change from patient to patient...

I'm sorry I keep getting side tracked. What I really wanted to comment on was the fact that this Dentist office was really picture happy. We are talking about a severe photographic fetish (would that be called a homophonic alliteration?) Let's catalog the image reproduction that occurred between my arrival and my departure:

1. Four sets of bitewing teeth X-Rays (the ones where they stick 6" square pieces of cardboard in your mouth and then tell you to bite it.)

2. A full head X-Ray (This is where you stand still as a device circles your head and irradiates you from 360 degrees.)

[X-rays finished, now she pulls out a big digital camera]

3. Smile... head shot.

4. Big cheesy smile... extreme closeup.

5. Stick these plastic forms into your mouth which connect to your cheeks to spread everything out and then smile... this was the 'make your mouth look like a zombie skeleton' pic... we got this one from 4 angles.

6. Now stick this 3" mirror into your mouth and down your throat until just before you puke... Oh still with the plastic forms spreading everything. This one we got from the top and bottom angle and had a mid-photo-shoot break to wipe drool from the mirror.

At that point I was afraid they were going to ask me to try on different outfits and stand in front of various backdrops. Seriously what the hell was that all about?? I've honestly never had a dentist do more than the bitewing X-Rays before. Now I feel you've read enough to sufficiently empathize with my Monday morning. My only consolation was that I picked up a new bag of Ethiopian Sidamo from the local Kolsto coffee roastery which I shall get to enjoy tomorrow morning. Good day!

Friday, March 27, 2009

USA - Once a Democratic Republic...

"Fascism is a radical, authoritarian nationalist ideology that aims to create a single-party state with a government led by a dictator who seeks national unity and development by requiring individuals to subordinate self-interest to the collective interest of the nation or race." -Wikipedia

'What? Dictator? Oh come now... after all we elected him into office.' True, but many dictators are initially welcomed by the people, and as for a one-party state, we essentially have that now the way the Republican party is capitulating on so many core conservative principles.

The more I read about Obama and his brown shirt brigade, the bigger the knot in my stomach gets. The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution reads in section 1 -"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." This amendment was approved on February 1, 1865. It finished what Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation had begun by officially abolishing slavery (or involuntary servitude) in this country. Now our nation's first black President of all people wants to tread upon that very legislation... and frighteningly few in this country seem to see or understand the significance. Get educated - first on what exactly it is President Obama has suggested in his many speeches and secondly on the Amendment that is being blatently disregarded.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Refrigerator post...

My daughter made this for me today...

It's going to the office tomorrow for permanent display.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Demotivational posters: funny yes... prophetic as well?

I have a poster on my office cubical wall that I bought from despair Inc last year. You can see it here in fact. The caption reads -

"MOTIVATION: If a pretty picture and a cute saying are all it takes to motivate you, you probably have a very easy job. The kind robots will be doing soon."

Well I had no idea that this cynical proverb would prove to be literally prophetic in quite so accurate a form... If any one group of professionals would fall into the afore mentioned category, I'd say that runway models at least as a generality most definitely would fit the mold.

Behold the future --

According to this article, the robot is being designed specifically as a runway model.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A funny thing about computers...

This has occured to me often over the years but an email I got this morning from brought it back to mind. It seems that computers (as well as a few other consumer driven technologies) are not affected by the rate of inflation. In fact they seem to get cheaper as the tech gets better. This phenomenon is less obvious than it was say in the 80's and early 90's but it still holds true to a degree. For the last I would say 15 years the basic cost of a home computer has not changed in relation to the level of available technology. In other words at any given point you could buy what would be considered a good general use system for between $500-$1000, a 'nice' system for under two grand and a cutting edge system for a few hundred more. The price range in relativity to the current technology seems fairly static and has remained so for a VERY long time. In some cases though, for instance with peripherals, it seem like prices are actually falling in spite of increasing technology. I recall my father buying a dot-matrix printer in the mid-80's for close to $1200!!! Today you can get a photo quality ink jet printer for $30!

Computer monitors are another example... they keep getting bigger and better as the prices get lower and lower. Eight years ago the standard was a 14" or 15" CRT (the old style of monitors that were typically deeper than they were wide). A 17" would cost you $250+. Today I got an email listing a 25" flatscreen LCD monitor for $220! It just blows me away.

Also on an anecdotal note... this reminded me of a fad that I recall taking place in the early to mid-90s (I personally knew at least 4 guys who had done this) where people with finished basements would set up a computer desk next to an inside wall (usually the inside wall connected to a utility room of some sort) and cut a hole in the drywall through which the vast bulk of their CRT monitor would go. This created the illusion of a flat screen monitor. which at that time in history only existed in Star Trek and other Sci-fi movies or TV shows. Only a few short years later, voila, we have 25" flat screen LCDs for $220!! What a world we live in.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sledding is fun.

Who'd have thought that on the day before March we would get by far the best snow fall of the season? Raytown easily got 4" of snow so the family spent a couple hours at a nearby park along with several others from the neighborhood. We had a great time and got some good video of the kids (and us) speeding down the hill. I ran into a guy I used to go to church with (Tom Ryan) and we had a good talk about old times and what was new while the kids wore themselves out running back up the hill to go again.

**I discovered that hot glogg is particularly good after 2 hours in the cold.

(Mix 50/50 into a sauce pan, heat up to just under a boil and voila!)

I am nicely warmed up now. Actually we just finished watching The Clone Wars movie on blu ray and now I think I am going to put the kids in bed and call it a day. There is a good chance given that the temps are going to get down to near ZERO tonight that we will be able to take the kids back out tomorrow after church and get in a bit more hill time.

Friday, February 27, 2009

In the event of blogger's block... sum up.

OK since I've nothing specific to say I will sum up what has been going on lately, which now that I am thinking about it turns out to be something rather specific. Today my boss and I were treated to Jack Stack BBQ on the Plaza by a greatful salesman from a consulting company who we just hired to help us implement (and act as hardware reseller for) a new backup system called Avamar which will replace our Backup Exec software and Scalar 24 tape library. The BBQ was very good... I had beef ribs. Avamar is a very impressive bit of technology as I just learned over the last three days in a class at the EMC headquarters in Overland Park. They also served me lunch so the last lunch I had to get myself was last Monday. Enough about lunch... let me explain Avamar. It is a software client that runs on every server or workstation you want to backup. It is also a set of 3 backend servers each with 2 Terabytes of useable storage for backed up data, a hot spare server for redundancy and a utility server.

The cool thing is that Avamar uses what is called a deduping technology both on the client as well as on the backend storage array. What that means is... the client looks at every file on a given computer and then looks at the little chunks that make up each file and then makes a note of any chunks that are also found in other files and therefor duplicated data on that given computer. It only actually sends one copy of the duplicate data so on average you can reduce the data that needs to be backed up by around 40%. OK so next we move on to global deduplication... This is the big space saver. If you have 50 Windows servers to back up, the backend array only needs to hold ONE copy of each unique 'file chunk' or block of data. Well take the Windows operating system for one thing... it exists on every server, but the storage array only needs it once... not 50 times right? So then you just saved a TON of backup space. You are probably either no longer reading this out of sheer disinterest or if you are still reading then you are likely starting to get the idea.

The last bit of coolness is that once you have done the initial backup of all your servers, each backup after that only consists of backing up data that has changed since the last backup which on an average filesystem is about .3% each day. That means my backup window is likely to shrink from 18 hours to about 1-2 hours (and servers with very little or no daily change will backup in a matter of minutes) and life is going to be easier as a backup admin. The cost of this little endeavor is well into 6 figures, but since I am responsible for protecting all the mission critical data of a 10 figure per year company... the 6 figures are well worth it.

Oh also the system is incredibly redundant (meaning it can fail in a number of ways without me losing data). Each server in the Avamar backend array has 6 hard drives. I can lose a drive and there is a backup because the drives are paired into RAID1 mirrors... I can lose an entire server and there is a 'hot spare' server ready to take over... a water pipe can break over the avamar cabinet and destroy the entire thing and STILL we are safe because we bought TWO systems, one of which will live in our Fontana California office and get replicated to each night. Redundancy is a wonderful thing. So is sleep. It is after Midnight now so I think I shall end here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Kid high after the Dentist

This has been getting a lot of play on the various Internet video sites but IN CASE you missed it... its pretty damn funny!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Sometimes the most shocking revelations...

...are the ones you really should have had much... MUCH sooner than you did.

At my office, specifically in the lower level men's room of my office, more specifically in the single handi-accessible stall on a handrail... sits and always has sat a can of Oust® air sanitizer (presumabely it is not the same can but my point is that this can is always replaced with a new one upon depletion, and thus always there on the rail in the single handi-accessible stall in the lower level men's room at my office.) OK so there is this can of Oust® air sanitizer and I am happy it is there because it is quite often needed though unfortunately not often enough used. I, being the conscientious guy that I am, always use it when I feel its use is necessary. This policy has been in place for the last 11 months that being the duration of my employment to date at my company.

Now I am not particularly a germ-a-phobe or conspicuously obsessive/compulsive... but if I can avoid particular germs I will do so. I realize we inhale millions of germs every day but I cannot stop breathing and would never be caught dead wearing a paper breath mask unless sanding drywall. I am talking about surface contact germs. I suppose I should get on to the afore mentioned revelation.

As I was washing my hands at the sink after concluding the business which I entered the men's room to conduct, it occured to me...

I feel it is safe to estimate that 100% of everyone that picks up that can of Oust® air freshener...

does so...



My solution:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An oddly correct gig

Well it is near Midnight and I just got back from hearing my favorite coffee roaster jam with Heads of State at Jerry's Bait Shop in Lenexa. Sat back and enjoyed a solid rock band with a nice individual sound whilst sipping a Blvd Wheat from the tap. The drummer was a little too in love with 16th note fills (of the tom-tom-bass-bass etc variety) but then leave it to me to criticize the drummer. He actually layed down some nice grooves AS of course did the incredibly funky bass player. The lead guitar was I thought especially good and not a bad singer or song writer, although he was a little too Barack Orgasmic if you get me... especially after today's ordeal.

Sitting in that bar though brought back some oddly familiar memories... the subtle smell of unsmoked weed for one thing is something you never quite forget and as certain individuals would walk by my table the memories flooded over me. All in all the memories weren't fond ones. Today I can go to a place like that purely to listen to some music, but before I knew Christ those places were a lonely, empty, hollow attempt at filling a void I didn't at the time really even know existed... and of course in my past if I was at a place like that I was sitting behind a drumset. In fact the year before I got saved (88-89) was the year I spent the most time playing gigs with my wanna-be-famous high school rock band and one of the most miserable years of my life. Anyway I say all that to say this... Life in Christ is a blessed existence and it is good to remember from whence I came.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

English as a 2nd language...

A friend of mine emailed this to me today... I got a laugh out of it:

I was at the currency exchange window at the local bank.
Just one lady in front of me … an Asian lady…
She was trying to exchange yen for dollars and she was a little irritated…
She asked the teller, 'Why it change?
Yesterday, I get two hunat dolla fo yen. Today I get hunat eighty?
The teller, ‘That was yesterday’s exchange rate.
Today’s exchange rate is different.’
Asian lady, ‘I want yesterday rate, why it change?’
The teller shrugged her shoulders and said, 'Fluctuations'.
The Asian lady says, 'Fluc you white people, too'.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I wonder if this guy is by chance a coder...

But of course that then begs the question... which came first? The anger or the desire to code? I'm not sure how the burger is involved in all of this.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

11 miles and 10 frozen toes later...

I've come to the conclusion that a pair of well insulated boots is a must. My winter cycling gear aside from the boots I used today is perfect though. I wasn't too cold or too hot from the ankles up and it is 25 degrees with a 14 degree wind chill (when you're not moving). If I get the boots figured out I bet this outfit would work down to about 15 degrees if it isn't very windy. Today most of the gusty wind was from the NW and as I was going NE then SW it made for a nice fun cross wind the entire trip. I would have gone 16 miles if it weren't for the feet. So that is 11 miles down, 2289 to go!

Friday, January 9, 2009

A public statement as a means of motivation

Well I suppose this is the time of year for making resolutions and plans and such. This is my goal for cycling for the year. In some ways it is very conservative and I could surprise myself and exceed it... but when I look at the total miles it is really quite an optimistic goal (and not a little intimidating) and only time will tell how well I do. Since riding in the cold really REALLY sucks I am not going to hold myself to an unrealistic goal and from now until early March I just want to ride at least once a week. Obviously if I can get more rides in then great and I'm sure we will have some stretches where the road conditions are bad for many days (or even weeks) at a time. I figure if I can get in a few 2 ride or 3 ride weeks these will make up for the long breaks I may need to take due to road conditions.

Here is the breakdown I've come up with:
(a 'ride' would indicate a round trip commute [23 miles] OR a 16+ mile Saturday ride)

*assuming all rides are commutes

Now until March (8 weeks) -
1 ride per week (184 miles*)

During the month of March as it starts warming up -
2 rides per week (184 miles*)

Starting in April I expect to have my riding endurance back and it should be much warmer. April to end of June -
3 rides per week (828 miles*)

By July I should have hit my 1,000 mile base training mark and at this point I want to be able to really hit my peak and push myself. July to the end of September -
4 rides per week (1104 miles*)

Total mileage - 2300 miles!!!

Obviously this last phase is the most challenging goal and I hope to be able to attain it and maintain this rate for as much of the last 12 weeks as possible. 2300 miles is obviously a lot for a beginner but I think by starting early and taking my time increasing the weekly mileage I will at least have a chance of sticking with it.

I won't project beyond the end of September because when it starts getting cold again I can't say what I will decide to do. My cycling goals for now will extend until October and then we'll go from there.