Saturday, August 28, 2010

Over Their Heads

It still saddens me when people don't understand me when I use the "plate of shrimp" reference

Joys of Cat Ownership

Nothing says "shit's about to get broke" like the look of concentration on a cat's face when a bug is flitting about.

Plate of Shrimp

Why does it always seem that, the movie you haven't seen in forever but randomly came up in conversation, ends up on TV the next day?

Proof of Gnomes

I think I have proof that gnomes exist. Further, I believe I now have proof that my house has a small infestation of them.

For years, small foodstuffs or treats would frequently disappear at a rate higher than could be accounted for by the collective consumption or recollections of the two residents that the USPS knows to live here. I used to refer to the frequent, premature disappearance of Poptarts as being the fault of "Poptart gnomes". And, by this reference, I meant "Donna".

I mean, if you've ever lived or operated in any kind of shared-refrigerator/pantry environment, you're, no doubt, familiar with unexplained disappearances. Hell, it's a phenomena that's enshrined in the various Internet "passive aggressive notes" sites.

Today... Today was a bit different.

Saturday evening, after taking the last of my prescription meds for the day, I refill my weekly pill-minder. The current pill complement is: four Keppra, one Diovan, one vitamin E complex and two vitamin B6 complex capsules.

Last Saturday evening, I opened a new bottle of Vitamin E and a new bottle of vitamin B6. The bottle of vitamin E complex contained thirty pills. Both of the vitamin bottles were notable by the severity of their consumer saftey protections: "childproof" capped bottle coated in shirnkrap; mouth of the bottle (once you've removed the shrink-wrap and the childproof cap) covered with a layer of plastic/foil; neck of the bottle stuffed with a giant wad of cotton (that only seemed to come out in clumps). Truly, opening these bottles was a memorable experience.

A little while ago, I went to perform my weekly ritual. All was going well - or as well as can be expected - until I reached the bottle of vitamin E. The shrinkwrap was in it's previously compromised state. The cap was still "childproof". However, upon removing that cap, the protective plastic/foil was back in place over the mouth of the bottle. This left me somewhat perplexed. Questioning my sanity, I took the bottle out to Donna (who was in the dining room enjoying a book or magazine or something). She agreed that I was not imagining that there was foil there. She proceeded to remove the foil. Inside, there was no wad of clumpy cotton. Curious, she dumped out all of the pills and counted them: there were twenty-three - thus confirming my memory of having removed and consumed seven the week prior.

The best I can guess is that, since we've not had Poptarts in the house in a couple of months, the gnomes got bored and/or irritated and decided to play a prank.

Which Was Worse

Having Al Sharpton lead your counter-protest seems to be an exercise in idiot-matching. Seriously: Sharpton's the best you could muster?

Privacy What?

I'd love to throat-punch every slack-jawed idiot that said the equivalent of "if you're not doing anything wrong, why care about privacy"?

So Much Wrong...

Other than as a visual masterpiece, Avatar is total rubbish. I mean, even considering the whole "Dances with Catpeople" storyline, there's just so much crap in it. Seeing it more than once just allows you to see so much more of that crappiness. I mean, (just for example) why were the Na'vi the only non-hexapods in the entire animal biomass of Pandora. Even the Pandoran simian-cognates were six-limbed critters. EVERY higher animal lifeform was six-limbed. Yet, somehow, the Na'vi were singular in their evolution to have only FOUR limbs. I mean, if we're going to make the leap of faith to think that some human's gonna "go native" to the point of banging an alien, then why can't she be a six-limbed alien.

Fmeh... For as much imagination in execution that this film displayed, the utter lack of imagination in the central characters is even more jarring.

Savoring the Future

As I sit here, digesting a nice meal of beer-boiled grilled bratwurst, Bratkartoffeln and finished with homemade applesauce, I look forward to the coming spring. We'll be ablt to both repeat and improve upon tonight's dinner.

We'll have restocked our supply of applesauce - made from the bounty of the fall farmers' markets (mostly, from Westmooreland Farms and their awesome apples). We'll hopefully still have wintered-over potatoes from the front garden (supplemented with potatoes from the Falls Church Farmers' Market). We'll definitely have onions - both the extremely assertive ones form our garden and from the local farmers markets. We'll be able to spice it up with mushroom accents from the guy that sells the Mother Earth mushrooms (at the Falls Church market). And, we'll, hopefully, be supplementing with our own asparagus. Toss in brats from Cibola (or even the one sausage maker), and it will be another gastronomic return to Heidelberg, Germany.

I think what I'm most looking forward to is the asparagus that Donna planted, this year. Even though, at first - particularly during the hot, dry part of the early summer - out in the front bed are five, thriving asparagus crowns. It won't be quite the Heidelberg (white) Spargel experience as, at least this coming first harvesting season, it will be grüner spargel. However, it's still something to look forward to. And, as the years go by, and the asparagus becomes more hardy, we can experiment with trying to get some of it to come up white.

Relatively Speaking

The only thing worse than an idiot is an idiot with ideology

Not Quite Idiocracy

My fear is that the tinfoil beanie crowd is correct and their DNA will be the only to survive...

Advertising Red Flags

Why are most things that advertise themselves as "legitimate" or "genuine" anything but?

Friday, August 27, 2010

What I Know About Apologies

I'm not a big fan of apologies. I don't know whether I'm less a fan of apologizing or being apologized to. I guess that part of my problem with apologies is that the typical, modern form of an apology isn't what it should be. It seems that "sorry" and words, phrases or invocations similar to it have become less about contrition than they have become merely a bastardization of or codeword for "please stop yelling".

To me, an apology is something sincerely rendered. It is something meant. When one apologizes, it means genuine recognition that one has erred. Even more than that, it is an indication that one will make a genuine attempt to not repeat the error. And, beyond all of that, it is recognition that the error has caused some form of harm that the apologizer wishes to not repeat. In other words, it means that, when one is actually sorry (rather than simply mouthing appropriate words or applying social lubricant) they cease with the offending activity.

Too many times, what I see is someone say that they are sorry, but there's no real proof of that sentiment. Too many times, I see people, after making the appropriate gestures, go back to the offending activity as soon as they feel safe doing so. "Sorry" has simply become a PR tactic (not just at corporate/institutional levels, but even at the personal level).

Dear Puckett:

On the whole, you're an awesome dog. I realize that I am a great setter of bad examples for behavior. And, sometimes, when you're being a dick, it's kind of funny. However, when I've dropped icecubes on the floor, either eat them or don't. If you don't eat them, then let that be the end of it. If you choose not to eat them, I'll just pick them up and drop them in your waterdish.

I realize that ice floating in the waterdish is great potential fun. However, their presence in your waterdish is not a requirement for you to go fishing. Nor is it a requirement for you to slosh water all over the place in their pursuit. And, if you're going to bother fishing them out, have the decency to finish the job and eat them. Fishing them out and then leaving them to sit - making cold little puddles on the floor - is not what I'd refer to as "optimal dog behavior". In fact, as annoying as finding melting icecubes knocked under appliances, shelving or into lonely corners is, random spots of wet from icecubes simply abandoned in the middle of the room manages to be even more annoying.

Knock it off.

Ah, Relief...

Nothing quite like the sweet release of a long-brewing sneeze

Limited Supply - Act Now!

Sometimes, you're out driving around, and you just run into pure awesomeness. I kind of wonder what the selection and pricing were like?

Ever Downward on the Path To Irrelevancy

Piece-by-piece, Yahoo evaporates... Got an email, Wednesday, indicating that Hotjobs had been acquired by Monster. This, just shortly after Yahoo finally made the switch to Bing for search results. They sold off Zimbra to VMware, earlier this year.

Granted, they've got a lot of interesting properties left, it just feels like "it doesn't matter". It just seems like they should do us all a favor and just hold a firesale and disband. Maybe Google can buy up and integrate Flickr (preferably, adopting Flickr's storage model)?

Thank You, Nature...

Hooray for (the impending) rag-weed season! *ACHOO!*

Pros Know the Difference

Sometimes, I think they're now called "insurgents" because too many reporters embarrassed themselves with "guerrilla" vs "gorilla"

Buzz is Like Friend Feed

It's great for ensuring that the stuff you write gets recorded in more than one place, but, that's about it. I just don't see using Google's Buzz as a real social media tool until they improve their "mute" function. I should be able to mute an entire class of data, not each, individual post.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Bit of a Snack

So, we like fresh fruit in our house. Bananas, nectarines, peaches... You name it: if we can get it from our local farmers' market or, even Whole Foods, we probably like it. Bananas are the most regular fruit in our house as they are available all year. However, we never really know when we buy a bunch whether we'll get a chance to work through them before the start to get a touch "past". When the do start to get to that "a little too ripe" stage, we generally make smoothies out of them. At this point, I think we buy "too many" just to guarantee the need to make the smoothies. Any way, it's a really simple recipe:

  • Three bananas
  • Almond milk
  • Unsweetened "whole" peanutbutter (i.e., the stuff you have to mix before each use)
  • Ice

Just take the bananas out of their skin, break them up a bit, toss in  a half-vessel's worth of ice, on top, pour in a cup or two of almond milk and start to blend. Add in peanutbutter to taste.

Good for the lactose-intolerant (but not those with nut allergies, obviously). Relatively low-cal, as the only sugar is what's in the bananas and the whole peanutbutter.

Marital Codes

A cute joke...

A husband and wife decided they needed to use "code" to indicate that they wanted to have sex without letting their children in on it. They decided on the word Typewriter.

One day the husband told his five year old daughter, "Go tell your mommy that daddy needs to type a letter."

The child told her mother what her dad said, and her mom responded, "Tell your daddy that he can’t type a letter right now because there is a red ribbon in the typewriter." The child went back to tell her father what mommy said.

A few days later the mom told the daughter, "Tell daddy that he can type that letter now."

The child told her father, returned to her mother and announced, "Daddy said never mind with the typewriter, he already wrote the letter by hand."

Still... If the typewriter's available, I gotta think you take the opportunity to re-write

If I were to construct a "mix" DVD entirely of FBI warnings, would that be "fair use" or "piracy"?

Awesome Twilight-slam "it's not a vampire book, it’s Hello Kitty caliber softcore porn for First Level Goths"

I like Cracked.Com, but their posting dates are screwed: "August 3th 2010"?? Really?

Gotta Get a Real Pasta-maker

Another fine "Dinner by Donna":

  • A main dish of spaghetti with meatballs and marinara sauce
    • Marinara was from the tomato sauce she canned last year, spiced up with fresh onions, mushrooms and herbs
    • Meatballs made from ground buffalo, veal and pork, seasoned and seared
    • Alas, the pasta was store-bought
  • Fresh, made from scratch garlic bread
  • A nice salad of fresh field greens (hydroponically-grown, but any ways), tomatoes, onions and cucumbers from the garden and homemade salad dressing
  • Served with a nice glass of "Zen of Zin" red wine

Can you tell I'm married to a gawth? What with the black tablecloth and the pirate-themed, black linen napkins?

Laugh It Up...

Ok, so, for whatever freaking reason, Donna claims to like me with more facial hair than just the goatee. I'd made the mistake of going full-lumberjack due to the whole "Beardathon" thing for the Stanley Cup Playoffs (who freaking knew that they Flyers, having only just barely squeaked in would take it to game six of the Stanley Cup Finals to exit out). I'd shaved it off when it was all over, but, almost immediately she started whining for me to grow it back. Bleah. I hate having a full beard. I do not like feeling like a damned lumberjack. So, at first, I just kepped it neatly shaped. But, even so, I wanted it gone. I said as much, and she asked me not to get rid of it all. So, I compromised (I knew she had a thing for sideburns/chops). This is the result:

It looks and feels ridiculous to me. But, at the same time, given the paucity of the growth on my pate (scalp, not the meat-mush, you knobs), "self-expression" via beard is mostly what's left to me.

Bah! I don't think I'm much longer for this look. When you're like me, more facial hair actually means more upkeep, not less.

And this, boys and girls, is why the terrorists haven't gone after any nuclear power plants...

Fuck you and your use of reason to deflate my hopes...

Need to figure out how to leverage the Internet so as to make a comfortable living as a professional crackpot

Looming Shortage?

Gotta kinda wonder whether the big egg recall's going to result in higher egg-demand at the local farmers' markets. I mean, most days, farmers that bring eggs only seem to ever have a couple dozen with them. Since Donna bakes (and is huge into the localvore thing), we generally notice whether a given farmer is in stock or not. Most weeks, they bring enough to last through most of the market. Some weeks they're short, though, and things get bought up in the first hour or two. Just wonder how things will be for the next couple weeks while people are in paranoia mode.


Wish I had the fundage necessary to turn into a URL shortening service (and make money on it). I mean, "" seems like a better shortening name than something like "". It has a presentational air to it (at least in English).

The domain's been registered since Apr 18th 2002. It was last transfered on May 22nd 2010. However, if you go to as an URL, there's nothing there. Just makes me wonder why someone grabbed it.

/me shrugs

Pets = Free Entertainment

Watching Puckett faceplant while scrambling after Bella is a great way to lighten the afternoon.

I Die A Little Inside

My name is "Tom Jones". Seriously. To be more correct, it's "Thomas H Jones II". It's "II" because my father, in some kind of pique of vanity, decided to bequeath me his name. Not sure what he had to be vain about, but, there you have it.

At any rate, the name "Tom Jones", while formed of two fairly common name roots (in the U.S., "Jones" is one of the top-5 most common surnames - right behind "Smith", "Johnson", "Williams" and "Brown") is also sort of a famous name. Back in the sixties, a Welsh performer by that stage name ("Jones" being the Welsh form of "Johnson") became fairly famous. Prior to him, there was the titular character in the 1749 novel, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. Over the years, I've been treated to people saying (or worse, singing) snipets from the Welsh performer's songs. Most typically, I get treated to "What's New, Pussycat" or "It's Not Unusual". Generally, the users of the literary reference have been English teachers or literary professors. Damned few "normal" people have ever used this reference with me. Several friends and associates, over the years, have even seen fit to refer to me as "Dr. Jones" (in a nod to the even more recent cultural phenomenon, Indiana Jones)

And, yes, the prior use of "normal" is me saying that there's something not "normal" about people that would choose to be either English teachers or literature professors for a living. Deal with it. 

I think that all of this contributed to why, when Donna and I were trying to have kids, I'd threatened to bestow "Indiana" upon whichever first-born daughter we might have spawned. I mean, hell, it's "character building" to have such a name. You either learn to see it with a sense of humor or you go mad.

Hmm... Maybe I've done both? But, I digress...

No, the real problem I have with my name is that people can fuck it up. I mean, it's really freaking common. But, yeah, misspellings still happen. I always wonder, "how," but, whatever. Worse is that people don't seem to understand how to create the possessive forms of my name.

For the record, if something belongs to:

  • a single person with the last name Jones, the proper possessive is Jones's.
  • two or more people with the last name Jones, the proper possessive is Joneses'

By way of example, if one is referring to my ownership of my car, it would best be written, "that is Tom Jones's car." It should never be written as, "that is Tom Jone's car," nor should it be written as "that is Tom Jones' car." If you write the former, what you're really saying is that my last name is "Jone". Clearly, since my last name is "Jones", then writing "Jone's" simply makes no sense. I get tad tetchy when things make no sense.

Further, there's a fairly common saying, "keeping up with the Joneses". Thus, it should be fairly evident that the plural form for "Jones" is "Joneses". It's really only when  "words ending in 's,' just tack on a trailing-apostrophe" apply.

A shocking number of the "now" pictures of my favorite artists contain REALLY old looking people.

Dear Cats...

And, by "cats", I am mostly referring to you, Bella....

Nothing pleases me more than the sound of cats happily noshing away at their morning breakfast. Mostly, this pleasure comes from the fact that you're no longer screaming at the top of your lungs, "FEED ME! FEED ME! FEED ME!". However, the fact that you are so excited to be fed in the morning seems to lead, immediately, to vomiting of said food (sometimes, so immediately that you actually end up yarking it back up into your bowl).

Seriously: "WTF?"

Why can you fuckers (mostly Bella), not manage to eat without subsequently barfing? How do you maintain weight if you're barfing up what you've just eaten? And, no, I am not going to feed you again, just because you're still hungry from having barfed up all you've eaten. Fuck you.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

You're Doing It Wrong

If you ever catch an STD from a toilet seat, then you're doing it wrong (or are into some seriously kinky shit)


Makes me want to find a busy elevator in a tall building...

Freedom of Insults

So, I'm not supposed to use the "R" word. Am I still allowed to use "moron" and "idiot"?

Isn't That Special

$400 more for a Flyers partial game plan but one less actual game. Great. Fuck you, Comcast/Spectacor.

That's Helpful

Cool: this year's weekend ticket plan includes a preseason game. Too bad it's on a Friday.

The Kind of Hacks That Make You Feel Like You've Got a Furball

Ok, so, I had to dig through the script-fu memory banks to try to help a storage guy build a parameterized script to control the creation of metaluns on a CLARiiON array.
Now, the guy I'm working with is very much a "Windows guy". His way of doing things has been the "click-click-click-click-click" way. For better or worse, when you need to do tasks in a large-scale environment, all that clicking becomes very tedious. Being a Windows guy, his first impulse was to try scripting on Windows (*facepalm*). Needless to say, that proved an odious task. So, he asked if I could help him.
A lot of my scripting-fu relies on "finger memory". Basically, if I have an end state in mind, my hands just sort of vomit forth the code needed to reach that end state. Walking someone through that process can be rather painful, especially when you're as big into regex as I am and they have no clue. That, and having to simultaneously tutor on vi during the process just raises the aggro-stakes.
At any rate, the operation he needed to do required creating a script that used six variables to do the work. The first run through the script, we simply hard-coded the variables so we could vet the overall logic flow. Obviously, hard-coding a dynamic task is sub-optimal. So, we then went through the process or converting the hard-coded variables to ones that were set via passing parameters to the script at the command line.
Guy I'm working with is decently clued, so he didn't want a completely "blind" script (one with absolutely no validity checking). He wanted for the script to, at the very least, ensure that the user passed the requisite number of arguments. Should the script user fail to do so, they'ed get a usage statement. So, what was the most effective way to determine whether the number of arguments passed matched the number of arguments that the script needed in order to do it's job?
After mulling it over, I came up with the following bit of ugliness:

for i in "$@"
   echo "Args for $0 is $i"
   NUMVARS=$(($NUMVARS + 1))


if [ ${NUMVARS} -lt 6 ]
   echo "Insufficient arguments"
It's not exactly "ideal", but it's a start. How suitable it will end up being in the context of the final script is yet to be seen.
If you've got ideas on a more elegant approach within a /bin/sh-type construct, I'd love to hear it. Probably going to have to shred that, any way, when we add in the other bounds-checking.

Stupid Wakeup Fun

Can only guess I was playing Trivial Pursuit (or Jeopardy?) in my dreams: woke up with "Glamorous Glennis" stuck in my head

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mostly, It Probably Just Sucks

Dunno whether NCIS: Los Angeles just hasn't hit its stride yet or if it is just doomed to permanent suckitude.

Shat for Shit

Shouldn't that new show really be called "Shat, My Dad Says"

Adapt and Overcome

Dinner was a "make do" affair, this evening. Was expecting to make a nice steak salad. Had even pulled a fresh cherokee purple tomato from the garden for the purpose. Alas, after FOOM-starting the grill, I discovered that the steak was not a "salad steak" (typically a lean and/or tougher cut of meat). No, what I found, waiting for me in the fridge, was a buffalo ribeye steak.

Don't get me wrong, a ribeye is a fine cut of meat. Even one made from bison is still a nicely marbled, buttery piece of meat. But, it's not a salad steak. No. All that lovely marbling and lovely, buttery texture makes it a feature steak. It's a steak that you center a meal around. It's not a steak that you slice up thin and scatter through a larger, overall dish.

So, salad plans dashed, I had to make do. The grill was already starting to warm up, so, I couldn't make a proper baked potato. Didn't matter, we didn't have proper baking potatoes in the house, at any rate. However, we did have some mid-sized white potatoes. So, I took out a paring knife, stabbed it a few (dozen) times and tossed it into the microwave to "bake". The garden had just yielded up a big crop of serranos and other peppers, so, I grabbed a handful of those. I took the just-picked cherokee red and cut into thin slices and salted them. Donna had a bunch of mushrooms from this weekend's market, so, she chopped those up and sauteed them.

In all, for a "make do" meal, it was rather good. And, for being, essentially a "meat and potatoes" meal, it was nicely accented with various shades of reds and greens. I slathered the "baked" potato with butter and sour cream, topped the steak with the mushrooms, cut up some of the peppers and sat down to eat. Donna even snagged me a nice malbec to go with it.

The Right Meat for the Right Job

I really don't get what's so fucking hard about understanding the application differences between a ribeye and a flank steak. WTF?

Donna, however, seems to have some kind of mental block on the subject. I mean, if you're making a steak salad, use some kind of lean cut of meat. It's even a decent idea to use a tougher cut, since you'll be slicing it thin, any way, to put through the salad. So, a good flank steak or flatiron cut (or even a strip steak) would be ideal. Don't tell me you've put everything together for steak salad, then present me with a thawed ribeye. I love a good ribeye, but, seriously: that's a standalone steak. It's the kind of steak you have as the main dish and serve sides with. It's not the cut that you obscure as just one element of a larger dish.

Not at Face Value

So, I'm watching this show on Einstein. Prior to becoming a big name, he was a major slacker, came from a middling background and was not a "known" academic superstar. I mean, he was a 3rd class patent clerk. Yet, somehow, he managed to come up with the special theory of relativity, basically as a nobody. He was able to come up with a theory that fairly completely contravened traditional Newtonian physics that was the predominant school of thought of the day. You gotta figure that, when Max Planck read Einstein's first papers, particularly had he known the "nobody" background of the author, he'd have had to have thought something like, "fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!"

History Channel: A Story of Transitions

It used to be, because of the way 75% of their programming seemed to be about WW II, we referred to the History Channel as "The Hitler Network." Seems like, as they spawned off other channels and shifted their prior WW II programming across those other channels, they've changed the programming on the main channel. Lately, there seems to be a lot of "investigation of fringe-theories" type programming. Probably too far to start calling them the "Conspiracy Channel", but, still...

Just a Day "At the Office"

Plodding through procedures and hoping shit don't go all splodey...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dear FaceBook...

Please do us the favor of getting a happy little Fail-whale type of critter when you're being all broketastic

Choice Terms

I don't know why the term is "clue stick" when a "clue bat" is much closer to the desired meaning. "Clue-by-four" is good, though.

Is It Really Too Much To Ask?

My life would be made vastly more satisfying if I could, literally, smack people with a giant fucking clue-stick.


Nothing I love more than talking to a damned wall...

Ah, Cube Life

Something stinks like microwaved fried chicken.

Could You Be More Vague, Please?

I love security audits. You get back a lovely report of all the problems with your system. Unfortunately, the lovely report isn't always that clear. For instance:

Security Auditor: "installed version of Java out of date."

Me: "Ok, which Java is out of date?"

Security Auditor: "???"

Me: Ok, if I do a quick audit of my system, I find like six versions of Java installed. One is at the revision level you're telling me to update to; one is above that revision level and the other four is below.

Securtiy Auditor: "???"

Me: (stalks off in a mixture of bemusement and disgust)

No Smoking, Please

Googling "Danke" (to see if it's an umlaut word), I did not expect "Danke fur mein koch rauchen " to be in the top ten results. I love Google. Useful.

That Might Not Work The Way You Wanted It To

Note to self: hitting the little red "X" at the window's corner does *not* send the email. I love Monday morning head-fog.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Drive to Nowhere

Went driving and to see where the road would take me. Needed outta this place.
Some days, you just need to hit the open road. Too bad, you eventually have to come back.

On the plus side,got 31MPG from my 26MPG-rated car. And, that was even driving at 70MPH and the top down the whole way.