Saturday, December 30, 2006

On this day in history...

California opens it's first freeway (1940)
Eliza Dushku is born (1980)
Wayne Gretzky scores his 50th goal in 39 games (1981)
Ephedra is banned (2003)
Saddam Hussain is excecuted (2006)
iRob is born!

Happy birthday to me!


P.S. I bought myself a really kick-@$$ birthday present, but it won't be ready for 1-2 weeks. Expect details to follow.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Back to the Futurama

They are bringing "Futurama" Back!



P.S. You know what rocks? Today is the first day of my eight day vacation. That rocks.

Friday, December 22, 2006


My new coworker bought me a fantastic new toy for Christmas and my birthday!

(Well, I think she may believe that she bought me a Wal-Mart Gift Certificate, but really she bought me Starscream.)



Thursday, December 21, 2006

Unhappy Meal(tm)

So as I was out late tonight running various errands, I decided to treat myself. (Something I usually know better that to do. Eating here makes me often feel like I ate a newspaper.)

But I was feeling lazy and wanted something comforting. So I picked up an old favorite.

However it wasn't quite what I remembered. They tasted different, and worst of all they screwed with my sauce. (Hot mustard sauce has been discontinued. You would have thought I would have found a link for that, but no.)

Apparently it didn't sell well enough, so they dropped it. That sucks. I don't want 'honey-mustard', they already have 'honey'. I wanted 'hot mustard'. And it is no more. So I had to have strange unfamiliar nugget things without any sort of sauce I really like. The barbeque sauce is not bad, but when you have your heart set on that gooey spicy goodness, not much else satisfies.

Damnit. Anyone know of a reasonable facsimile?


[EDIT - Actually, you know what? Nevermind. I read the entire Wiki article and some of the links. I don't know that I'll be eating these again.]

"Eat a live toad the first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day."

Tuesday, December 19, 2006



So after being extremely sick last night, I'm at home today. Was barfing into the wee hours, not fun.

So I'm working from home, which is hard. Basically it means I hover near my laptop until someone sends me an email. Then I repond. Lather, rinse, repeat. I've done most of what I can do already today but I need to feel like I am 'working', since I'm billing for today. (I'm out of sick time for the year.)

Mostly I'm feeling better now, but extremely tired, weak, cranky, and dehydrated. (Which would explain the other three.) I'm drinking lots of water and not accomplishing much which is my solution to all illness.

So I'm too sick to go to work, but I'm too well to be laying in bed. That means I'm in a sort of purgatory until 5:00 when I can leave my work computer alone without guilt.


(50th post, btw.)


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Damn boots

My boot broke today. The zipper came off the tracks, in such a way as to make clear that it will never function normally again.

The boots were not terribly expensive to begin with, (I think they were under 50$.) but the zipper in the other one went last year, and it cost me 30 bucks to have it re-done. I checked back and it would be another 30 to do this one. (no surprise)

Normally I would chuck them and get new ones, but they look good, are comfy, and generally function well. I have a bad track record with shoes, and they don't seem to last long regardless of how much I pay for them.

So do I sink the 30$ into the boots, or do I break down, chuck them, and go boot shopping? (Your votes are welcome.)


"There are two types of people--those who come into a room and say, 'Well, here I am!' and those who come in and say, 'Ah, there you are.'"
-Frederick L Collins

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Shades of Dexter's Laboratory, Batman!

I've been reading an interesting article on the most dangerous toys of all time.

Number two is pretty cool - It's a home atomic energy set. (For the kiddies!)

It's really interesting to see how our views have changed. Nowadays if a toy can be considered even remotely dangerous it is banned. When I was growing up.. well.. let's just say I'm surprised as many people survived as they did. (Hands up whoever got to play with lawn darts!)

Of course, I grew up with that, and even I was slightly taken back by an electric fan that J's mom used to own. It had 4 inch metal blades, and the flimsiest of guards. (It was similar to this one but more deadly.) What was even more disconcerting was that it had developed an electrical short, and rather than replacing it she was attempting to find somewhere that would fix the death trap. (!)

From my observations it stands to reason that every generations' experience is safer than the one before, and vice-versa. So the grandchildren of our generation will be bouncing around a Styrofoam environment in hermetically sealed bubbles, while I'm pretty sure my great grandparents favorite toys were poison darts and a live wolverine.


"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."

Friday, December 15, 2006

Chrismas Carol

Merry Christmas from Twisted Sister!


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Don't drop the soap

This is cool. I totally need to make one.

I have absolutely no idea what I'd use it for, but that's not the point. (Silly.)


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Best. Lines. Ever.

Evey: Who are you?
V: 'Who' is but the form, following the function of 'What'. And 'What' I am, is a man in a mask.
Evey: I can see that.
V: Of course you can. I'm not questioning your powers of observation. I'm merely remarking on the paradox of asking a man in a mask who he is.
(From 'V for Vendetta')

Damn that's cool.


Too dumb to shop


This is not an encouraging development.

I tried to buy something at a local store yesterday. Like many others, they have launched a self service checkout isle. The idea is that you walk up with your items, scan them yourself, bag them yourself, pay, and leave.

As someone who does not find joy in retail interaction, this sounds ideal.

And it was, insofar as it went. Right up until I tried to give them some money. According to the diagram being displayed on the instruction screen, I was supposed to swipe the debit card on the keypad and then use the pad to enter my PIN.

So I did. Then I stared blankly at the screen while nothing happened. And then a twelve year old customer service girl came up to show me that it isn't that card reader (indicating the keypad) it's this card reader. (indicating one mounted on the side of the screen.) Barely surpressing a smirk. (Good job, Grandpa.)

So I paid and left with what minor dignity I could muster. I decided to grab dinner at the Harvey's in the same building. When I handed the cashier the debit card, she gave me the keypad. Then she asked for the card back because she spaced out and forgot to complete the transaction, and needed to start over.

I call it a draw.

I seriously don't know what I'm doing. I never know if the answer to 'Do you want your debit receipt?' Do I need it? Do I not? No matter where I'm shopping, I guess wrong. If I hand the cashier the debit card to swipe, they hand it back and indicate I'm to swipe it on the keypad. If I hang on to it, they need to swipe it on their register. I can't win.

Is this it for me? Do I seriously top out at paper money I can hold? I used to be able to do this stuff.


"The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom."
-H. L. Mencken

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Lawyer humor

It's important that when you are thinking of getting close to someone that you remember to bring protection.

(This may be a good time to remind my readers that I do not guarantee SFW.)

Thanks to J for this little gem.


"My mother always wanted me to be a lawyer."
-Tony Danza

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

What's in a name?

J's mom has occasionally calling me 'Rod' for twelve years. (That's the name of her cousin.) Another person I work with in HR keeps calling me 'Brad'. (That's the name of her boss.) A guy at work who I only ever communicate via email (my address of which is my name) keeps calling me 'Greg'. (This one I have no idea.)

Maybe it's me.


The Tick: It's your turn now, Thorace-bog.
Alien: It's Thrakkorzog. Thrakkorzog. With a K.
The Tick: We're only serving humble pie, Whatchamazog.
Alien: For the last time, it's...
The Tick: Thorax-and-a-bog. Four-yacks-and-a-dog.
Alien: No.
The Tick: Ah, laxative-log.
Alien: No, no, no.
The Tick: Sapsucker-frog.
Alien: Thrakkorzog.
The Tick: Susan?
Alien: Now you're doing it on purpose. How juvenile.

-from "The Tick"

Monday, December 04, 2006

Scientists levitate small animals

It sounds like the punchline of a joke, but actually it's the title of a news article.

Those scientists - they're wacky!


Saturday, December 02, 2006


There is an article in the Washington Post about new toy packaging - specifically about the fact that it may as well be made from laminated titanium for how easy it is to get the new toy out.

My new prize possession took me about 20 minutes to get out of the packaging. My tools included:

  • Small set of wire cutters (1)
  • Small utility knife (1)
  • Needle nose pliers (1)
  • Hands (2)
  • Adult brain (1)
  • Years of experience working with hand tools (10)

I can only pity the poor 8 year old who gets this toy for Christmas and is not allowed to play with scissors.

"Here you go billy! I bet you can't wait until you get an engineering degree at MIT so that you can reverse-engineer the packaging!"

I've seen Egyptian Pharaohs with less elaborate packaging.


“More and more products are coming out in fiercely protective packaging designed to prevent consumers from consuming them. These days you have to open almost every consumer item by gnawing on the packaging.”

-Dave Barry

Friday, December 01, 2006

Keyboards without Keys... just 'boards'?

I love science-fictiony stuff.

One advance that I am particularly fond of is keyboards that aren't.

Modern 'qwerty' keyboards are highly reminiscent of the original alphanumeric keyboard - the typewriter. That is because the technology is directly descended from those machines which slapped lumps of metal into ribbons soaked with ink onto a piece of paper.

It is entirely possible that the keyboard I'm typing this on right now, with it's quaint 'clickey-clackey' noises and bouncy keys will soon be obsolete. I've seen several new technologies that could easily replace this in the next few years.

One involves using lasers to project a keyboard onto any flat surface. Then the unit (which is wireless, using Bluetooth) senses the motion of the user's fingers and translates this into one or several key presses. For nostalgic and feedback purposes, it also makes 'clickey-clackey' noises when a 'keypress' is sensed. This technology is now available for the low low price of 179.99 (US)

Another involves using acoustic sensors to triangulate where a surface is striked, or rubbed. It can tell the exact position any object contacts the other by the vibrations measured from several different points. Therefore a keyboard template could be laid on top of the surface, (or painted on, for that matter) and can take any possible configuration. This one is currently in development.

But it doesn't go 'Clickey-Clack', and I would miss that.


"Where the hell is the 'Any' key?"

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Web in 60 Seconds

I had a discussion with my friend recently about the pros and cons of RSS Feeds.
I only discovered these recently, and with careful guidance from others managed to get set up with my own reader account. I chose google, but there are others.

I was impressed. For anyone who doesn't know, the idea is that any page with regular updates can generate a 'feed', which is readable by a third party web page. The end result of this is that you can go to one page (your reader) and anything that is new on any of your feeds gets displayed all at once.

The plus side of this is that instead of having twenty regular pages to check, I have one. Anything new is right at my fingertips.

The downside is that I have the entire internet in 60 seconds a day. The internet hit 100 million sites this week (estimated 1.1% porn, btw) and it has never seemed smaller. Now that it is brought to me, I don't search, I don't follow links, and I don't explore. It's almost too convenient.

However as with all convenient devils, this one is by far too useful to discard. I can also view my account on my phone, which means that when I get home there is nothing new waiting that I haven't seen.

Oh well. Here's what is on my subscription list:

So what's in yours?


P.S. - Everyone can relax - I got one. (Squee!)

The Big Guy

Oh by the way:

The namesake of my company was in town today. All 1300 employees were gathered into a (semi) heated tent at the back of the building where he gave a presentation and told us a bit about himself.

One interesting thing is that he plays WOW. Then I think he talked for a while about a summer house he is building using bundles of money instead of bricks, but to be fair I wasn't really listening.


"Megatron must be stopped..."

" matter the cost."

Holy $#!%.

I have a need. I say need, because I know it's not a want. 'Wants' are optional. This may not be.

It's the new 20th Anniversary DVD Edition Optimus Prime Figure, and it is in the 7 tera-awesome range. I cannot not own this.

It is about 14 glorious inches tall made largely of die-cast steel. It is authentically detailed with details from the cartoon both in vehicle and robot mode, and it has his original gun. He also has a freaking MEGATRON GUN TO SCALE. It has an AUTOBOT MATRIX OF LEADERSHIP that fits into a GLOWING CAVITY IN IT'S CHEST.

And IT TALKS. (I can't breathe.)

The bad - It is currently on sale for 80 dollars, until the end of the month. (!!!) That's the most I've ever spent on a toy in recent memory. It's a 'limited edition' meaning it will soon be impossible to find. The Toys 'R Us near me has 2 in stock. Everywhere else is sold out. In 3 days there won't be any in this city.

However - I passed up a chance to buy the G1 re-release a few years ago, and now they are impossible to find. (I've been kicking myself ever since.) It is the ONE transformer character I ever wanted as a child that I could not afford, and my parents wouldn't buy for me. But I can't really justify paying this much for any toy.

Or can I? My car is finally paid for and I have some money saved - but not very much. It is less than I've paid for Battlestar Galactica DVD's, and in my mind much cooler. But it's eighty freaking dollars.



"Now all we need is a little energon, and a lot of luck"
-Optimus Prime

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


A very good friend, who is the daughter of another very good friend, knit me something.

It keeps my iPod safe and cozy. And since it didn't quite fit perfectly, she made me another one.

I feel very spoiled.


“We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love.”
-Mother Teresa

Monday, November 27, 2006







"Foolproof systems don't take into account the ingenuity of fools."
-Gene Brown

Sunday, November 26, 2006

"I can't see a thing in this helmet!"

Ever wonder why that squadron of Stormtroopers couldn't hit Luke as he stood dumbfounded 10 feet in front of them, in front of the Millennium Falcon on the death star?

Now you know.

"TK-421 - Why aren't you at your post?"

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Technical difficulties

I love being a geek.

My email has been flaky lately. It's not enough to really bug me, but I emailed Shaw for the heck of it. They determined that the problem was probably to complex to handle over email, so they gave me a ring. Here is how it went:

"Hi, it's Shawn from Shaw Technical Support. I'd like to try a few things to narrow down the problem, if you don't mind."

"Sure Shawn, no problem. Although to save time, I've tried a few things already if you'd like to hear about them."

"OK Great - You mind telling me what you've done?"

"Sure thing. Well, first, I have 4 POP3 accounts on my client, three from you and one from Telus. I'm only having a problem with the Shaw ones, the Telus is fine. I tried both the default and the Edmonton specific SMTP server settings, and I've left the port at the default 110. I've tried two clients (Mozilla Thunderbird and Outlook Express) and the results are the same, however with Outlook it alternates between an '0x800CCC90 timeout error and a non-responsive server error, leading me to believe that it is a problem with your server, or the proxy you've assigned me. I've also tried on two different machines, and I've tried bypassing the router and connecting directly to the modem, ruling out NIC card issues or software. I'm pretty sure it's your server at this point. But we can try anything you like if I missed anything."

"Uh.. yeah.. Can you hang on? (hold music) Yeah, um.. O.K. then - you've certainly covered everything I was going to try at this point.. um. I'll put in a server request and let the guys in maintenance take a look at it, O.K.?"

"Thanks Shawn, that'd be great."

It's not that I didn't think he was competent, or technical, but I've been a tech support phone worker, and I know where the conversation was going. I also know where their training runs out.

Generally the job involves trying to figure out if it's something simple we can fix over the phone, or not. If not, they send out the service people who try to figure out where the big problem is. I was able to logically deduce everything they were going to ask me to do, and I didn't really feel like paying for the time it would take to do it with them on hold. (I only have a cell phone. Minutes = $)

When I troubleshot computers over the phone, my favorite calls were from techs. By this I mean true techs, not people who think they are techs.

True techs are knowledgeable, patient, and pleasant. They probably know what the problem is already, but they know that it has to be proven to my satisfaction before I am going to send them a part. They also don't want to have to fix it again, so it's worth it to actually go through the motions to ensure that it is in fact a bad hard drive, as opposed to a motherboard.

Conversations with people who think they are techs go like this:

"Hi - My hard drive is broken, send me a new one"

"Ok - No problem. However sir, to be sure, do you mind telling me what you've done so far?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, we just need to be certain before we go ahead and order that part - What have you done to ensure that the problem is with the hard drive?"

"I already told you - it's BROKEN."

"Yes sir, you said.. However-"

"Look sonny, I've been troubleshooting computers since 1925. I've got seven degrees in electro-magneto-computerism! I don't have to tell you what I've done? If I say the hard drive is broken, it's broken! Now send me a damn hard drive!"

"Sir, I do understand, however I'm afraid your warranty specifies that you must-"

"To hell with my warranty! I want to talk to your manager!!"

"Fine. (sigh) Please hold.."

I Like being a geek - I sure don't miss Tech Support.

"Modern technology Owes ecology An apology."
-Alan M. Eddison

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"Clam" What-now?

A few years ago I bought something I saw just because:

1) It was the single most bizarre thing I had ever seen for sale
2) I could afford it
3) It was Duty Free

I think I was in the Chicago O'Hare international airport, but memory fails. Anyway, the item is Clam Jerky.

Turns out I was right - Still have it, it's been buried in a box for several years. By a strange coincidence, "several years" is also how long ago it past it's expiration date.

Clam jerky shouldn't expire, indeed.


Jimmy - "Hey Blah, do you know anything about cars?" Count Blah - "I know yours is older than me, and it's leaking more fluids, blah!" - Greg the Bunny

Monday, November 06, 2006

Notebook Anxiety

I have a new notebook.

It is still new despite being purchased six weeks ago. It is new in the sense that I have never written anything in it.

It's very nice, and it cost me 15 dollars. It is about 4 inches wide, 7 inches tall, and it is made of paper that looks like leather. It has an elastic built in to keep it closed, and a ribbon attached to hold my place. It also has a pocket.

I bought it because I liked it. I didn't really have anything in mind for it when I purchased it, and it was not long after that I realized my mistake.

I have another notebook that I keep in my pocket. I use it for grocery lists, notes to myself, and keeping track of my workout routine. It cost me 97 cents. Currently it says 'Milk' and also the dimensions of a picture I am trying to find a nice frame for.

I have no fear of writing in this notebook because it is not nice. It is crumpled and has a tacky bright yellow color. I could replace it without a thought in any drug or stationary store in any city in this country. I believe I have owned a dozen exactly like it.

The other notebook is possibly irreplaceable. It came from a very unusual store in Marda Loop, a fashionable shopping area in Calgary, a city I don't live in.

I have now what I call 'Notebook Anxiety'. I feel somehow that the expensive notebook is more deserving of something profound than the cheap yellow one. The cheap yellow one is for 'Milk'. Possibly the other one was meant for poetry, or a diary. The cheap one I can tear pages out of, but it would be wrong somehow to sully this pretty object with something mundane.

So I don't use it. It sits closed on a shelf, because somehow I don't feel that anything I have to write would be worthy of a notebook I bought. I can't use it, and it's too nice to throw away. So there it sits.

Does that seem right to you?


"The things you own end up owning you"
-Tyler Durden

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The case of the missing post.

This is most unusual.

When I made my post today about Spaceballs, I noticed that there is no trace of the post I made yesterday. It was about my favorite author, Terry Pratchett, and the new book I picked up.

I can't explain it's absence, and it does not appear in my 'drafts' folder. I hope I didn't delete it by mistake when I tried to edit it.

Regardless, for my next trick I will recreate the post from memory. (Ta-Da!)

My favorite Author has come out with a new book.

Well, that's not exactly true. It would be more accurate to say that a book he wrote some time ago has now come out in softcover.

I decided a while ago that I'm not buying any more books hardcover that are part of a series. (In this case, there are 35 books, and I own around 30 of them.) They take up too much bookshelf real estate, they don't look good next to the others, and they are too darn expensive. They are also very heavy. (I move a lot.)

It's hard to wait that long, but I anticipate it will be worth it. I'll let you know how it turns out, but in the meantime I recommend anything this man has ever written.


“Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill.”
-Barbara W. Tuchman

May the Schwartz be with you.

My memory gets a little fuzzy when I attempt to go back farther than about 3 years, but I'm fairly confident that I may have seen this movie before I saw Star Wars, Alien, or any other movie that it parodies.

Regardless, upon first viewing I didn't 'get it', and it was largely lost on me. I enjoyed the visuals and the more slapstick comedy, but not the references.

Years later, now that those movies have become a large part of my personal influence, I am able to revisit this flick and thoroughly enjoy it.

It hasn't aged particularly poorly, (for 80's comedy) and still makes me smile during certain scenes.

I vaguely remember seeing a teaser poster for a new Spaceballs. It was a parody of the Episode III poster where Anakin's cape is forming the face of Vader against a red background. (Hayden is to the right, Vader to the left.) The new parody poster involved Mel Brooks in the place of Hayden.

I was going to post a picture here of that poster, but exhaustive research has failed to produce Any imagery of it. I have found several old news posts about it, but nowhere have I located this poster.

I hereby issue a challenge: A cookie to the first person who posts a URL where I can find this poster.


"Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable."
-Mark Twain

P.S. I get to choose the cookie.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A little light reading

So as previously mentioned, I'm reading again and have chosen a book.

It would be more accurate to say that it chose me. I was still mulling over my options when I reached a time a few days ago where I had 15 minutes to kill. I happened to be standing in front of my bookshelf when I reached out and grabbed the first thing I touched. I'm now 1/4 through it and am not disappointed in my selection.

I knew I wouldn't be, of course. I've read this book twice before. In fact it has a bit of a history.

I first read it years ago right after high school. I wasn't particularly proud of my grades at the time, and thought I could do better. Between being busy with my classes, I visited the library at what used to be called Viscount Bennett, where in Calgary adult upgrading was performed. (I retook Math 30 and English 30, and fared much better)

I found this book on the shelf and was very interested. I had to return the book once I was no longer a student, and was sad because I had enjoyed it, and didn't expect to see it again.

Years later, my lovely Jenn found it for me online where I purchased it fairly cheaply, used but in good condition. I read it again at that time.

The book itself is somewhat dark. It deals with the very real probability that life, Earth, and the universe in itself is a temporary construct. Whether it is the expansion of the Sun, a disaster that befalls the entire planet, or the heat death of the entire universe, the odds are highly in favor that life as we know it will not continue indefinitely.

It is very well written and extremely thoroughly thought out, as was most of Asimov's work. It touches briefly on various religious predictions of the end times, (Ragnarok, Revelations, etc.) and then dives into a thorough classification and exploration of the things that could render human life unrecognizable or nonexistent.

He divides this into several types of catastrophes, and each is given detailed examples. Catastrophes of the first class would render the entire universe uninhabitable, and obviously as residents of such a place we would be among those out of luck. Anything that damages or substantially changes the solar system we inhabit (including the Sun) would constitute a second class catastrophe. The third class deals exclusively with the destruction of the Earth, while the other planets and the sun continue obliviously. The fourth defines situations where the Earth itself as a whole is largely unaffected, though human life in particular is extinguished, and the fifth class deals with the possibility that although humans may continue to exist, society and technology themselves may become so damaged that 'life as we know it' ceases.

It's not a 'scary book' in the sense that it is not frightening. The concepts are certainly not cheerful, but the tone of the book is clinical, with a bit of quiet optimism and acceptance.

My book is showing it's age, both in appearance and content. The science is slightly dated, and more recent scientific findings are not taken into account, but that is of little consequence.

I have always loved this book for the perspective that it offers: My life, the lives of everyone around me, and even the ground I stand on, are temporary. Nothing lasts forever, and that is literally true. Time will erase my most terrible mistakes and my greatest successes. That doesn't free me from the responsibility to do what I think is necessary or right, but it gives me a vague sense that no matter what happens, it all works out the same in the end.

You may not find that liberating, but I do.


"Anything that is created must sooner or later die."
-Chogyam Trungpa

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Brought to you by the letter 'E'.

It's funny that so many of my friends have posted about what they are reading, or their book club is discussing, or books in the news.

I too will post on this topic. I'm reading again.

I used to be, while not a voracious reader, at least an active one. Seems something dropped off the map in the last few months, and without fully realizing it I stopped reading altogether.

So now for the first time in over half a year, I've read a book. I read 'Life of Pi' by Yann Martel, on loan from Jenn. I highly recommend it.

It's not the best book I ever read, but it did make me think outside myself, and my own limited perspective. (If only for a time.)

Now to balance it out with something fluffy, and then we'll see about something with substance again.

Any suggestions?


"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."
-Joseph Addison

Saturday, September 30, 2006


Has anyone else ever done this?

"Hmm.. I'm hungry. I wonder if there is anything good in the fridge."

"Let's see.. Salad.. Soup.. ..nah. Hey - what's that?"

"Whoah cool! I didn't know they made frosted strawberries!?"

"...Oh... ...these aren't frosted."

I need to clean out my fridge more often.


"There is little choice in a barrel of rotten apples."
-William Shakespeare

Thursday, September 28, 2006



We celebrated 'Talk Like a Pirate' day at work last week. In honor of this, there were cheap, black cardboard eyepatches left on every desk by the fun-loving management team.

I didn't think to wear a costume (shame) although many did. However, I took a friends idea and ran with it.

I turned my patch inside out so that it was plain white cardboard. Then I wrote the word 'iPatch' on it in big black block letters. Then I amused myself for 8 hours by watching the reactions of people who read it.

Good times.


“The average man will bristle if you say his father was dishonest, but he will brag a little if he discovers that his great-grandfather was a pirate.”
Bern Williams

Friday, September 22, 2006

All Hail The Great D*Con

Behold my illustrious post. BEHOLD IT!!

O.K. so I'm working up the energy to make some sort of post on DragonCon, but it's a bit problematic.. I have the memory retension of wet sand, and it's all congealed into one big giant sludge of imagery and memory.

I'll start with the beginning, and work forwards from there, as that would seem to be the most satisfying, chronology-wise.

The Thursday before leaving was given over entirely to preperations. I took the entire day off of work, to pack, clean, and generally prepare. I'm not really that sure anymore what took so long or required so much energy, but I'm sure it made sense at the time. I have a vague impression of emergency costume repairs and paint fumes, but nothing solid. Oh well.

Long story short, we decided that in order to get to the airport on time, we needed to leave the house at 4:30 am. I wasn't previously aware of the existance of this time, but I assure you that it is there. It hides neatly between bed-time and civilized morning.

So in order to get up at that time, we decided that we needed to be in bed at 10. 8 pm would actually be mathematically correct to get us 8 hours of sleep, but we aren't nine-year olds, (we're grown-ups) and that didn't seem feasable.

So at 12:30 when we finished our packing, panicing, and preparing, (the three horsemen of air travel,) we got precicely 3.5 hours of sleep, and then got up to face the day. I've never woken up screaming before, so that was a first. Very, very painful.

So up we got, and my Father, was waiting downstairs with a couple of large coffees to ferry us to the airport and point us in the right direction. (Thanks Dad!)

The flights themselves were uneventful, which is the best kind of flight. There were five flights and five cities in total: Edmonton, Salt Lake, Memphis, Atlanta, and one other.. (can't even remember anymore.) That's total, not one way. Two flights there, three back.

So we get to Atlanta at 7:00 on the evening of Friday Sept 1st. 3.5 hours of sleep, 7 hours in the air, 11 hours travel time total, and two time zones. Clearly, the only sensible solution is to party into the wee hours, which we did.

Will post more later. Same bat time, same bat channel.


"Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions."
-Peter Hoeg

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Warning - CPU use approaching 100%

Hey kids.

I've been very much incommunicado lately - My bad. I'm spending a lot of time away from my computer these days, (intentional) and what little time I do use it is looking for jobs. Applied for 10 this week. Blah.

My work is actually more fun and tolerable than ever before, that's becoming less and less the issue. The issue now is the fact that I am paid approximately 42% less than I should be for the duties I perform. (My original Job description was something akin to 'file clerk'. I'm somewhat closer to a 'Junior Human Resources Generalist'.)

That is not my assessment, by the way, but impartial experts. It has also been acnowledged by not only my manager, but my manager's manager's manager. (Seriously.) They know that I'm payed way too low, but they are not sure how to correct it. (Insert mumbo jumbo about 'headcount' and 'pay codes' here.) I'll give them a hint: "More money." They are 'looking into it'. I'm not waiting.

I'm not super comfortable posting the details here, but those of you close to me are free to ask privately.

So not having what we call 'Good Times' lately, but things are looking up for the future. There apparently is a Labor Crisis in general, and HR in particular. (Thanks to M for sending me that news article, it goes a long way towards helping me keep my momentum, and sanity.)

So I have options, and no longer feel trapped where I am. It'll all be O.K. And I'm sorry to those of you I haven't emailed lately, I'll do better.


“I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
-Stephan Grellet

EDIT - Yes, yes, D*C info is coming, hold your horse.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

User is now operating in Safe Mode.

Yawn. Good morning!

Well, let's see.. I got back 4 days ago, and now it's the weekend. At this rate, by Monday I should be hitting on all cylinders again. (Currently I am running without any unnecessary drivers or programs, to prevent crashes.)

Dragon*Con was an absolute blast - Much more so than I had been anticipating. Everything went off without a hitch (more or less) and much fun was had by all. I took about a bazillion pics to remember everything by, which was what I intended given a) How lousy my memory is, and B) How much I spent on my fancy new camera and accessories.

Speaking of pictures I can't be bothered right now, but the definitive collection is here. Click to your hearts' content.

We arrived without much in the way of firm plans, which I think was wise considering how much there was to do. I did have to spend a lot of time asking the question "Sooo... what are you up to now?" - becoming completely transparent was the fact that I neglected to do my homework, but that's o.k. If I had actually sat down with the program I would have gone insane with all of the things I couldn't do. Choosing any one thing means 9 more I will never see, but would know about. That's hell for a completist.

There is so much to say about the trip that it's hard to get started. So I won't.


"A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving."
-Lao Tzu

Monday, August 28, 2006



Haven't posted in a while. Work is hard and not fun, more so than usual. Life is stress preparing for fun, and if that isn't ironic you can call me Alanis Morissette.

So here is my post: Post post post. (NSFW)

Will post more later, when I wake up.


"And isn't it ironic, doncha think?"
-Alanis Morissette

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Vanity, thy name is Professor Farnsworth!

I couldn't resist.

Hot on the heels of Slashboing, as ever, is my latest post. I'm not feeling terribly creative right now so this is a shameless rip off of my good friend's recent entry.

Come on, though. You can't tell me that you aren't curious as well. Check it out here. Do you hear the voice I heard? "Come on, you know you want to. Dooo it."

So I opened my Pandora's box. Kent gets Russel Crowe and Tom Cruise. I get attractive women and Art Garfunkel. Sigh.


“There are no grades of vanity, there are only grades of ability in concealing it”
-Mark Twain

My wish is your command


If you care to read the comments on my last post, Dr. Haggis has made it too damn easy for me to spend my money. He arranged for the creation of this baby at a passing comment of mine:

Kent - Please stop pinching out merchandise that sings to my soul - It's getting expensive.


"I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something."
-Jackie Mason

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A good time had by all

In the aftermath of the lastest anual Con-Version I have come to realize something.

Even with the toys, the panels, the guests, the costumes, and everything else, what really makes a Con great are the people.

I have just been to one of the best Cons I have ever been to, and the reason is the people. The people who flew in to meet us all, the people who came to see and enjoy, but by far and large the people who made it work.

I can't express enough thanks to Kent and Rae for putting this together. It was more than great, it was amazing. The sheer amount of work and sacrifice they made to make certain that all things were right at all times is staggering. I can only hope that in all of that they had a few moments to indulge as well as create, but I think that they did. Thank you two, it was wonderful.

Special thanks to Michelle as well for putting together the TruceFest Dance. A wild, exciting evening of music, drink, and dance. Truly it was a Disco Inferno.

And a special note on this years programming - This year Con was honored to have a special guest, Jeremy Bulloch. For any non-geeks who have stumbled across my blog by mistake, Jeremy is the most feared bounty-hunter in the galaxy, as well as a world-class great guy.

I was thrilled to have some time to speak with Jeremy, and gain his insights into the original Star Wars Trilogy, the prequels, and miscelaneous other things. All in all he is pleasant, funny, and infinitely patient when confronted by a human wall of adoration, such as getting cornered in every public area he visited. Possibly best of all, he is a Boba Fett fan, a fact which makes me grin uncontrollably, and I'm not sure why.

Thank you everyone, for making this the most memorable convention I have ever been to.


"Tell me what company thou keepst, and I'll tell thee what thou art."
-Miguel de Cervantes

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Mmm.. Cheese..

Take 5 cups of your favorite small pasta. (I like rotini.) Start that boiling in a huge pot.

While that is cooking, in a large bowl combine one can of condensed mushroom soup, 1/2 cups milk, 2/3 cup each (chunks, not grated) of cheddar, mozzarella, and swiss cheese, and 1/2 cup of bacon bits. (Real, unless religion forbids.) Nuke that for 2 min on high and then stir, and then two more minutes and stir at the end.

At this point start your oven and set it to 450 degrees ferenheight, but on 'broil' so it's only hot from the top.

When the pasta is 95% done, (very slightly chewy) strain it and pour it into a large oven safe pan. Add the (now melted) cheesy, gooey, mushroomy bacon mix and stir thoroughly.

Grate equal parts cheddar, swiss, and mozza again until you have 2 cups of cheese. (About as much as before.) Sprinkle that on top of the mix and try to cover it evenly. Then sprinkle another 1/3 of a cup of bacon bits on top.

By now your oven light should be out, meaning that the oven is hot enough. Put this all in for around 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is browning and crispy.

Then eat this:

Then die happy.


"Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all."
-Harriet Van Horne

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I know, I know.


So I haven't posted in a while, my bad. I've been pretty busy with work and getting ready for not just ConVersion but DragonCon as well. Should be good. I'll post a bit more later in the week. In the meantime here is a pretty sweet simpsons video. Someone has too much time on their hands.

Monday, July 24, 2006

One for Rae

I can't tell if this is real or not but either it is real and it's the most amazing feat of 8-bit gaming I've ever seen, or it's the best fake gaming video I've ever seen. Either way I'm impressed.

Thought of Rae when I saw this.


"All your base are belong to us"
-Zero Wing

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Gotta love the Hoff.

I just realized I can't tell the difference between reality and parody.

I suppose it's been a long time since Knight Rider.


"Before long, I'll have my own channel - I'll be like Barney."
-David Hasselhoff

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

This just in

Did you know it's more fun to Wiki Google than it is to Google Wiki?

Neither did I.


My Humps

Hump, actually. I have what is known as a Gangleon Cyst, and it hurts like hell.

This type of condition is a small pocket of fluid, located in the lining of a joint. Most commonly on the wrist, or fingers. The cause isn't known, but it is generally considered to be made worse by use.

It isn't news, I've had it for a while. Years, actually. I first started developing it after I first started working on chain mail, and since then over the years every hobby I started that used my wrist had the effect of cultivating it like a little fleshy bonzai tree.

It is on the back of my right wrist, on a 27 year old male, and is about 2 cm in diameter. All of this is not unusual. What is unusual is how much it hurts me. That's new, starting in the last couple of weeks. Apparently in a small number of cases it can put a strong pressure on the nerves around that area, and cause a great deal of pain. Lucky me.

It's been coming and going for ever, but before now all it did before was limit my mobility a bit and it was somewhat uncomfortable. They are sometimes called 'Bible Cysts' because of the traditional treatment - Smash it with the biggest book you can find. I have previously indulged in this quasi-folksy treatment and it does work, although the momentary pain can fairly be compared with your soul being forcibly removed from your still-living bones.

Problem is it always comes back. After extensive research I have decided to seek professional medical attention. So I went to a clinic, and the doctor made me an appointment with a plastic surgeon. I go under the knife in probably around 3 months, if I'm lucky.

Most likely they will simply drain the fluid and replace it with a tiny amount of a corticosteroid, but if the doctor decides it's more serious he can open me up and remove it surgically.

Of course I forgot to ask the big questions, like "So I guess I shouldn't keep popping it so that the surgeon has something to work on, right?" and "Is it O.K. to work out if I put it in a splint?". But 90 minutes in a walk in clinic waiting room followed by 25 in a cold examination room turns any mind to cheese.

Good times.


“I got the bill for my surgery. Now I know what those doctors were wearing masks for.”
-James H. Boren

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

It's in good order, apart from the parts I need.

I need parts for a J-type 327 Nubian. Oops, I mean a 98 Saturn SC1.

With the imminent death of my car on the horizon, I've been checking out other options. Tonight I amused myself by taking a test drive in a car I have no intention of buying any time soon. I didn't count on falling in love.

It was hard, but I managed to talk myself out of buying it then and there. The fact that they were unlikely to take my car as a trade in for the entire purchace price of the Civic probably played a part in my decision.

It seems strange now these years later that I am so anxious to replace my Saturn. It doesn't seem that long ago that I was very much into it. I used to follow all of the Saturn designs. It says something to me that they came out with an entirely new line of car that I never noticed until I saw one on the street.

Sigh. I need a new job. One that pays.


"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, for there are plenty of others."
-Otto Rank

Saturday, July 15, 2006


So had a good time with some friends at the Highland Games at Fort Edmonton today. Spent the afternoon there and had some fun.

Got to try Haggis for the first time. It wasn't too bad until Jenn pointed out the striking resemblance to cat food. That put me off it a bit. She had a point though. For anyone who doesn't know, Haggis is a sheeps heart, liver, and lungs, mixed with oatmeal and spices, and then boiled in the sheeps stomach for about an hour. Mmm.

Got to watch a snippit of the Heavy Events as well. I don't know much about my Scottish heritage, but as far as I can see this sport consists largely of finding heavy objects and throwing them. It doesn't seem to matter much, (big rocks, sticks, etc) Whatever is handy.

Jenn voiced the question that for those who take these events extremely seriously and devote a large amount of time and energy into training for them, do they start to view objects in terms of weight? After all, if all you have is a hammer...

"Aye, it's a fine car, laddie, but hae far can yea heave it?!"


Friday, July 14, 2006

Do you hear what I hear?

That's Fantastic! My good friend Dr Jen has provided me with the most lovely reference material in relation to my latest post. If you want to see for yourself, check it out here.

It's about 5 pages long and I doubt I'll ever read the whole thing, but it does have the best graphic of an ear I've ever seen. (And I'm speaking now as an amature ear photographer.)


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Life Mimics Art

So on Feb 18 2004, The Onion, (Americas Finest News Source) produced this parody, mocking the cold-war style proliferation of blades on the latest round of men's shaving technology.

One year later in 2005, Gilette unveils this razor, with five blades:

I'm not really going anywhere with this, but I thought it was funny.


"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
-Charles Caleb Colton

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Deaf ears

My ears are loud.

When I am walking in a strong wind, (such as there was today), my ears make noise. They stick out from my head just enough that if I am walking directly into the wind, I hear a loud 'whoosh' noise as the air rattles around my head.

If I turn my head to the right or left far enough, so that one ear is facing the wind, and one ear is sheltered, it doesn't happen. That's how I know that it's my ears making the noise. It changes the angle enough that the wind hits my ear and stops, but doesn't run past it and sound like a waterfall.

They are somewhat normal ears, one on each side and aproximately the same shape. They don't get a lot of comments. Therefore I'm forced to assume that other people's ears make a 'whoosh' sound in the wind as well.

Do your ears go 'whoosh'?


"And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."
- The Bible

EDIT: I worry about a mind that can think thoughts like this one. I'm really tired.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A Dearth of "Yar".

So with us going home to see Pirates tomorrow in costume with many a friend, it occured to me recently that it would probably be good if I had one. (Costume, not Pirate. Although that would be cool too!)

Who would have thought that one day wouldn't be enough to come up with a stellar Captain Jack costume? Well, I thought that, but I decided to chance it anyway. I'll have to give up on accurate and go for creative. Maybe I'll have to do a different Cap'n. Hmm. Maybe not.

Tell you what - If this show is as good as the first one I'll commit to a decent costume. One I can wear for Haloween, and to the premeire of P-III: Rise of the Crossbones. If I start as soon as the movie lets out tomorrow I can have something kick-ass before Oct 31.



“Where there is a sea there are pirates”
- Greek Proverb

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Love of paperclips

I recently realized something that makes me sad - I no longer love office supplies.

I've always liked office supplies, even when I was little. I thought that paperclips, staples, binders, pens, whiteboards, etc. were pretty cool, even before I was old enough to really understand why they existed. Of course back then the paperclips existed to make cool chains and the whiteboards were for happy faces.

I've joined the rest of the working world: I finally have a desk job that requires paperwork. It has been something that I have been able to avoid up until now. For anyone who doesn't know me let's play a game. Out of these jobs I once held, point to the one I do now. Hint: "Paperwork".

  • Jem Cutter
  • McDonalds Cashier
  • Armourer
  • Call center worker
  • Dental Tech
  • HR Records Administration Specialist
That's right. I now have a huge box filled with clips, pens, whiteout, staples, folders, files, markers, post-its, etc. and they bring me less joy than they ever have before. I even have a person who works at my office, and as far as I can tell her job is to say "O.K. here you go." to the question "Hi, can I have some (insert office supply here)?" So I have unlimited free access to toys.

But they aren't toys anymore. I actually use them for actual boring work. My alligator clips hold my audit sheets together, and I need to use whiteout to correct forms. My files are full of well, files, and I think my binders all have T.P.S. reports in them. They have come to be associated with boredom and pain, and I don't think that can change back.

Anyone else have a little piece of their childhood die because of their job?


"Always be smarter than the people who hire you."
-Lena Horne

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

So... Hot...

Had.. Post.. Planned.. but.. soo.. hot...

Appartment... thirty.. one.. degrees... humitity... fifty..

can't... breathe...



"Weather forecast for tonight: dark."
- George Carlin

Monday, July 03, 2006

Please remain calm. This is only a test.

This is a test of the automated email posting system. Had this been an actual blog entry, there may have been content. As it is, this is only a test.

If you can read this I can now post via email. If you cannot, please let me know...?

You know what? Nevermind. If you can't read this I'd rather you didn't mention that. That's too paridoxical for my taste.


iRob 2.0

Episode II - A New Blog.

After several months of failing to update my old blog regularly, I am trying something new. I am hoping that the ease of use of this new place will balance nicely with my slothlike tendancies, and after consulting a good friend who appears quite happy with his blog, I have made the leap.

This is "iRob V2" instead of "iRob" for two reasons - One, it is my second attempt at a blog, and two - I'm apparently neither as cute nor original as I had originally thought. There are many other 'iRob' blogs out there, but I assure you that I am the real deal. Although I was amazed to find that I exist on Google - If you google 'iRob blog' you arrive at yours truly. Accept no substitutes.

I also believe that I may be able to update this site from my work email, my home computer, my cell phone, my digital watch, a geiger counter, what have you. Since before now my updates required my home computer and too much time, that will hopefully contribute to my productivity. I'm aiming for 3 times the posting and 1/6th the content.

If any of you wish to see my old blog, go here, as I will not be copying it over. Life is too short. However get it while you can, as I don't guarantee I will keep it up for long.

I'm bored. That means my entry is complete.


"From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend on reading it."
Groucho Marx