net, personal comments edit


Okay, so I’m in the first day of a three day class on ADO.NET, and so far… it’s okay. I think this first day’s going to be pretty much review for me anyway, since I’ve done some ADO.NET stuff before, so I’m enjoying the review while it lasts.

This is the first course the instructor has taught on ADO.NET, so you can tell it’s a learning experience for him, too, while he determines what people will expect to get out of the class. He’s a good guy, though, and I think he’s got it pretty much down.

It’s a different training facility than I usually go to, and while it’s only like 10 minutes from my house, the facility is not as good as the one I usually go to. There are free drinks, like the usual place I go, but it’s your choice of four generic caffeine free drinks, which aren’t helping me at all.

A quick rundown of the weekend: Went to see SWAT, which was a lot of fun that maybe I’ll write a review on later if I’m so inclined. Spent a lot of time studying for my next test and I’m beginning to realize once again why I hated school so much. It’s too much work to learn stuff that you probably won’t use except to pass tests. Went shopping to buy some new clothes because I’ve been watching La Femme Nikita episodes too much and now feel compelled to dress like the Roy Dupuis character, Michael. Went to the comic store and found that a guy I used to go to high school with works there now, so took some time to catch up with him. Went to Krispy Kreme to get some donuts. Went out to eat with my friend Gerb, who just moved back to town, and met a really cool waitress at the place we ate. Other than that… nothing.

My parents are having a huge garage sale next weekend, so Jenn and I are going to try to sell off our dining room set because it’s this huge wood menagerie that really doesn’t fit our current tastes (or space). We’ll take the money from that and get a more stylish wrought-iron-and-glass affair, probably something closer to bistro style. We don’t really eat at the table anyway; it’s used mostly as a place to stash things that need a home. A smaller “stash area” just means we’ll need to be more vigilant in putting things away, which is fine by me.

I should probably do the lab now.


Lab’s done. Five minutes, baby. Piece of cake.


I’ve been wondering why these machines are so slow, but I went looking at the properties and they’re single-processor, 500MHz machines with 256MB of RAM. Running Visual Studio .NET. And SQL Server 2000.

Let’s just say there’s a lot of waiting going on.

Mmmm. Caffeine-free generic lemon-lime soda. All of the calories, none of the waking up. Love it.




I went to Pizzicato for lunch, thinking, you know, that I’d like some pizza. It’d been a long time since I’d been to Pizzicato, but I remember there being some tasty pizza there. So I went.

I don’t know when they stopped offering conventional pizza flavors like Canadian bacon and pineapple or whatever, but now you have your choice of cheese, pepperoni, or, like, “barbecued chicken and artichoke hearts.” What?! Um, I’d like a slice of Hawaiian, my friend. Where’s Pizza Schmizza when you need it?

I decided to bust out the ol’ iPod while I was eating, which was cool, but I was using some cheap headphones that I got as a promotional giveaway item (they automatically wind themselves up, which is nice for travel). The headphones suck. No bass response, no power (you have to crank the volume to hear them), no left/right markings…

I will bring the iPod stock headphones tomorrow, but I do need those in-the-ear jobs I was looking at.

While I was in town heading for Pizzicato, I think I saw this girl Sarah that I used to go to high school with. I remember her telling me at the reunion that she worked in that area, so it was probably her. I didn’t flag her down or anything, I just thought it interesting that I saw her.


There’s this lady in my class who… she means well and all, but she’s kind of annoying.

See, this is a three-day class. There’s probably four or five days’ worth of material, but it’s a three-day class. The teacher has told us that, due to the short time we have, we can either go through the…

OK, now I’m pissed.

She just sent me a little “note” to ask me to stop typing because it’s hard to “concentrate on what the teacher’s saying.” Fuck this shit.

See, the thing is that there’s not enough time to do all of the demos, practices, and labs, but since the labs are the same as the demos, the teacher has said we should do the labs rather than all of the demos. This chick in class thinks we should do both the demos and the labs, so we can sit in here for 10 hours each day instead of the scheduled eight. For a while, I was thinking, “Well, okay, you know, you learn your way and I’ll learn mine, but while you’re learning yours, I’ll type up my blog and whatever.”

Then she passes me this fucking note because she “can’t concentrate” or something. Sounds like a personal problem to me, the inability to multitask or function around - gasp - keys clicking. This bitch has stepped on my last nerve. I really want her to ask me for help now. Just ask, bitch. You’ll be talkin’ to the hand, ‘cuz the ears ain’t listening. Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.


I’m done with the lab, about 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Now I’m going to type my ass off to irritate this lady. I don’t even have anything to say, but if it’ll get me to type louder and longer, I’ll type it. I should, like, just find something online or whatever to copy, like some e-book or something. Or I could just do some stream of consciousness style writing, almost like I’m doing right now - just come up with crap off the top of my head to type.


I won’t bore you with that. Maybe I’ll just pound keys or something, just mashing the keyboard in a pseudo-random fashion. But not here. (It’s totally random here, not just pseudo-random.)


Penny Arcade has a brilliant discussion about the views of the uninformed when it comes to First Amendment rights in relation to video games. Apparently there was a political cartoon released that makes it sound like video games are designed specifically to dement today’s youth. I tend to agree more with the distinct lack of parenting argument. Folks, let’s put it very simply: Your kids will turn out OK if you pay attention to them. It’s not the game’s fault if your child is unable to discern between fantasy and reality.


Here’s an interesting thing that I didn’t know was possible - people can have different sets of DNA in different body parts. It’s called “Chimera twins.” Sort of throws a wrench in the works for CSI, doesn’t it?

The Internet connection here is really shitty… or they have a slow proxy server. It takes around 15 seconds just to do a DNS lookup on a server, which doesn’t count the time it takes to load a site.


I’ve run out of random stuff to type. Bah. I’ve moved on to drawing in MS Paint: Witness the


I think we’ll be running late here. Thanks, bitch.


That’s it for today. Onward to tomorrow. Gotta go home and study.

personal comments edit

We had an “all hands” meeting today. This is a once-a-quarter occurrence where they take an hour or two, feed us donuts, and then try to re-sell us the jobs we already have by putting up colorful slides and throwing out statistics that must mean something to someone.

Frankly, I think it’s fucking boring. I mean, I work here already. Don’t sell me on our “potential opportunities” and all that - isn’t that what we pay some of the folks here for already? To figure that all out and get us going in that direction?

Plus, I don’t think it should take an hour to explain where we’re going

  • cut to the chase already. The only thing I’m getting out of this is a glazed look and a loss of my will to live. Tell me what I need to know, and let’s move on. I got shit to do.

I was actually discussing that a bit with my boss today. How I’m really sick of working on the project I’m on right now (and have been for the last eight months) and now I look for little things - anything - to do instead of working on the project. He says it’s a “grass is always greener” sort of thing - that any other project is going to be a better thing to work on, but then that’s still not as good as the next project… I think it’s more of an “attention deficit” sort of thing - I don’t like working on huge projects for extended periods of time because I lose interest. I like to do a variety of things. The spice of life and all that.

Oh, and I have a problem with the “employee recognition” program they’ve got set up. Maybe not a problem, but an interesting observation. I’ve noticed that the people who primarily get recognized are salespeople. I think it’s great that they’re selling the product (isn’t that their job?), but I don’t think they’re the only people working here, you know? Today we actually had a couple of folks recognized for doing some legitimate above-and-beyond stuff, and that was cool. But I’m starting to think that this place works a lot like a stage production - the actors and folks on-stage get a lot of credit and come out for the curtain call… yet there’s a whole crew of technical folks, makeup artists, propmasters, and so on that keep the production rolling that don’t get all that much credit. I mean, what about the guys in my department who keep the systems up and running daily with less than the requisite staff? When things go right, nobody cares. When things go wrong, we hear about it until the cows come home. Irritating.

Subject change: I brought home a bunch of my class books to review while I study for my next test. It’s a good thing I did - some of the stuff I reviewed last night was stuff I didn’t remember too well, and stuff I had seen on the practice tests I’ve looked at already. I have a lot more work ahead of me. I can’t wait until this one’s over.

sharepoint, net comments edit

I’ve started studying for the next test I have to take, MS 070-320, which is entitled Developing XML Web Services and Server Components with Microsoft Visual C# and the Microsoft .NET Framework. what it should really be called is Everything You Don’t Know.

I mean, I’ve taken loads of classes, including the classes that they recommend to prepare you for the test. I felt that I did pretty well at them. I feel like I remember the stuff, and it all seemed pretty reasonable. But I’m looking at the practice test, and I’m wondering if the people who came up with these questions realize that I’m human. It’s nuts. Like if you took a Spanish class and on the final they start asking you what the Latin roots of certain words are. Pretty ridiculous.

So I’m taking home my class materials from those classes and will re-read them (because either I’ve forgotten stuff or they really didn’t talk much about this stuff), and then will continue working on the practice tests. Crazy.

I’ve decided, though, that if/when I pass this thing, I’m going to reward myself with some better earbud headphones because the ones that I’m using right now (the ones that sit sort of precariously and sometimes painfully toward the outside of your ear canal) are, well, not so comfortable. I want to get some of these Sony ones that actually go in your ear. From what I’ve seen, they’re pretty awesome.

I’m still working on SharePoint Portal Server version 2 stuff here at work, which is getting older than I can possibly explain. It’s review time at work, and one of the things on the review is to determine what your goals for the coming year are. I have one goal - to not work on SharePoint Portal Server. I’ve been working on the same stupid project for like eight months with no help and no light at the end of the tunnel. Every time I think I’m getting near the end, there are more “enhancements” or there’s something else that gets “included” in the project. I mean, what I liked about my job before was the variety of different stuff I got to work on. There ain’t no variety anymore, folks.

Speaking of which, I should probably get back on that. There’s a lot to do and I found out today that I don’t have as much time to finish as I thought I did. Which figures.

By the way, I got this shitty little digital camera that I can take pictures with to post up here. It’s not great quality, but something is better than nothing. Now I’m almost hoping that my stupid neighbors park in the fire lane [again] so I can show you how ridiculous it is.

humor comments edit

The company has decided that they not only need to have me on call 24/7 via phone and throw requests at me constantly via email, but now I need to be bombarded by “real-time spam” via Windows Instant Messenger.

They’re putting in a Real-Time Communication Server (or whatever Microsoft is calling their IM server nowadays) and we all get special IM clients to log into this thing.

The problem I have is that whenever I have my Instant Messenger logged in, everyone sees that I’m marked as online and as soon as I sign on, I get accosted by thirty bazillion messages. The thought process I’m sure goes something like this:

Hey! Travis just logged on. Obviously he has nothing better to do than to answer my questions or respond to instant messages. I wonder how he’s doing? I’ll just send him a quick ‘Hey, dude, what’s up?’ style message to let him know I’m here. He’s obviously too stupid to look at the list of his contacts and see that I’m online.

It’s pretty ridiculous.

The other thing I notice is that if I leave the thing logged in (as I am wont to do because logging in and out is just one more thing I don’t want to deal with), it could be, like, 1:00a and people will see that my IM is logged in (even if the status is set to “Busy” or something) and will send the ol’ “Hey, Dude!” messages. I’ll come in the next morning and see a load of messages cluttering my desktop from the insomniacs in my life.

And then they complain that I never responded to their messages. Bah.

The answer is that they need to add one more status to the list of possible statuses. See, “Busy” doesn’t work. “Appear Offline” sometimes works, but defeats the purpose of presence information. I need something that says… “I’m online, but I sure as shit don’t want to hear from you.” Something like this: The Ultimate IM Status (5k

Until then, I think I’ll just skip the whole IM thing. It’s more trouble than its worth.

personal, movies comments edit

Life is just a roller coaster ride, isn’t it? I mean, yesterday started out rockin’ with me passing my test and getting my site moved over to the new server, and then I got home and got the mail.

Remember a while back I tapped a lady’s bumper? Well, I got my insurance bill. It went from $800 every six months to $1300 every six months. That’s right, nearly doubled. Fucking ridiculous, that. I’ve got a totally clean record except for that one incident. And, of course, the insurance company’s got me over a barrel on that one for 36 months from the reported time of the accident, so I’m looking to be paying out the ass for the next three years.

You know that thing where they say your insurance goes down when you turn 26? Mine didn’t. No change. God forbid these assholes give me a break.

On the other hand, I can’t complain at all about the service. If I need anything, they’re on the stick. There’s never a time where I have to wait a day or two to hear back from them (the way it’s been with other insurance companies I’ve been with) and they’re always open and let me know what the status of things is. Plus, they’re cheaper than the rest of the places out there.

Of course, now they’re gouging me.

Such is life, eh?

My boss had me schedule a meeting today to “open communications” between the project team (me) and a couple of the people that are being impacted by the project I’m working on. I already know the questions they’re going to ask me, and I don’t have (what I would call) satisfactory answers for any of them. As far as I’m concerned, I’m implementation, man. If they want to provide requirements, they need to talk to the requirements people, which isn’t me.


I watched The Original Kings of Comedy last night on TV. I hadn’t seen it before, and I like Cedric the Entertainer and Bernie Mac, so I thought this would be pretty good.


See, I’m all about talking about “the differences between people” and “the battle of the sexes” and all that sort of thing, but when a comedian harps on one particular thing over and over, it gets old. It’s called variety, people - look into it. See, on their TV shows, Cedric and Bernie have a good variety of humor topics - kids, men vs. women, black vs. white, common problems… all sorts of things.

Not so in their stand-up.

In their stand-up comedy, the only topic available is “black people vs. white people.” That’s it. And let me tell you, while I enjoyed about 75% of it, it got old pretty quick.

The same thing happened to Ellen DeGeneres when she first came out of the closet. Her show was really funny, then she came out and every single joke on the show was a gay joke. Yawn. Variety is what keeps folks entertained. Without it… disappointment.

So, disappointment.

Finally, I printed off the practice test questions for my next test and looked them over a little bit.


I’ve taken a lot of Microsoft classes and whatnot, but I don’t recognize shit from these practice questions. Seriously. At least with the other tests, I pretty well recognized some stuff but had a difficult time with a few of the key areas or technical details. I don’t recognize any of this stuff.

Which brings me to another interesting insight I had. Before, when I was taking my first test, and most of the way through the second test, I was very much in favor of knowing exactly how a given technology worked in order to understand why test answers are what they are. I was all over that - sort of like knowing how to do math before you get a calculator. Looking at this new set of questions has changed my opinion. You can’t possibly know everything there is to know about any given technology. You work with about 30% of a technology - the common parts. The rest, if you need it, you look up in the documentation or check out code samples. There is never a time you’ll be stranded without any resources and have to have everything memorized - there’s just too much. So now I’m starting to see the merit of learning the technology you’ll use and learning the answers to the test questions so you can pass. I don’t honestly see any other way around it. Does that make me feel good? No. Will it help me to pass and get on with life? Yup.