personal comments edit

Memorial Day weekend. Eh. As you can see, I’m working Memorial Day, so it wasn’t really the three-day weekend that everyone else got. I’ll be taking Friday off instead, since I’ve got training Wednesday and Thursday and really didn’t feel like working Tuesday-Friday. I mean, how am I supposed to get stuff done like that? So I’m working Monday-Tuesday, training Wednesday-Thursday, then Friday off.

Really didn’t do much this weekend. After getting all of my bills together and ready to pay next weekend, I found that the amount of money for all the bills is roughly equivalent to the amount of take-home pay I’m getting, so we don’t have much of an entertainment budget. Let me tell you who can’t wait until Jenn picks up a decent paying job. It’s been a long time coming. Two weeks before she is finished with the unpaid externship.

We did rent Bad Boys and The Fast and The Furious. I hadn’t seen the former, and Jenn hadn’t seen the latter. Good to catch up on movies.

Aside from that, there was a lot of TV watching. At one point I was sitting watching the Food Network, which is sad in-and-of itself (unless it’s Emeril or Jacques Torres), when I realized the show was something like “The US Army Cook-Off.” That was pretty much my limit. We ended up going grocery shopping (yes, more money out of the pocket) because we didn’t have much to eat around the house.

While in the store, I noticed that there are lots of different snack foods around. Cheap, sugar filled foods. Not “snack” foods so much as “snak” foods. I think there’s a certain quality (or lack thereof) implied in words that intentionally misspell themselves. I mean, who wouldn’t want a tasty Snak Kake, right?

Oh, and we did a lot of cleaning around the house. We finally removed the weatherproofing plastic from around our bedroom window (so we can open it, because it’s getting hot) and we went through our closets to get rid of the clothes we never wear or the clothes that we wear waaaaay too often and really shouldn’t be worn anymore. I weeded out quite a bit of stuff, and now I need to go clothing shopping. With, you know, all that money I’ve got hanging around. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

tv, personal comments edit

Last night was the series finale of Buffy. I’m sort of mixed on the whole thing. I’ve been devoted to that show for the last seven years, and now that it’s gone, there’s sort of a hole there. But I’m glad to see they went out while they were ahead and they didn’t choose to run it into the ground the way that X-Files did.

Highlights of the show included a successful return to witchcraft by Willow; a nice cameo appearance by Angel; and a tribute to Homestar Runner by way of a reference to Trogdor the Burninator.

So that’s over. They’re auctioning off props and costumes from the show at, but I think that paying upwards of $600 for a faux potted flower that had a cameo appearance in an episode is a little much, so I won’t be getting anything from there. I’d have liked to have gotten a costume or something, but the costumes are selling for $1500 and over, so no go there. Some people have too much money on their hands.

Speaking of auctions, I won an eBay auction for some Lexx trading cards. Woohoo! (You might not be as excited as I am, but these things are hard to come by.)

I discovered a new pet peeve yesterday. Maybe it’s not new so much as not often exercised. See, if I ask you a question, you know what I want? An answer. I don’t want to spend my time justifying myself to you about why I asked the question, I just want the answer.

Here’s the scenario: I’m working on a program at work that will do some web stuff. (Let’s just abstract it a bit so we don’t get lost in the details.) I know what I want the program to do, and I’ve got most of it done, but I came to a point where I didn’t know how to make it do what I wanted. So let’s say (arbitrarily) I wanted it to print “Hello, World” on the screen. I couldn’t get that to work after fighting with it for a while, so I sent a question to our on-site programming guru guy to find out how to do it. Here’s how that went…

Guru: Hey, what’s up? Travis: Not much. Did you read my email question? G: Did you send it a few minutes ago? I’ve been out of the office. T: I sent it two hours ago. That’s fine. I’ll just ask you while you’re here. I want my program to say “Hello, World” when I run it, but I can’t get that to happen. How do you do that? G: Why would you want the program to say “Hello, World?” Why wouldn’t you just make it say “Hello” instead? T: Because it needs to say “Hello, World” not just “Hello.” How do you make it do that? G: Have you done a Google search for other programs that do this? T: Yes - I’ve searched all the documentation I can get my hands on, and it’s not covered. How do I get it to work? G: Are you sure you don’t just want it to say “Hello?” That would be more useful. T: For YOU, maybe, but I need “Hello, World.” G: I’m not sure why you want it to say “Hello, World.” Why would any program need to do that? T: What difference does it make? Seriously - I just want a simple program that does this one thing. Please just tell me how to make it do that. G: You know, you could make this much more flexible by making the greeting optional. It could just say “World” and then give you the choice of “Hello” and “Goodbye.” T: It doesn’t need to say anything but “Hello, World.” G: And why are you writing this program? T: I’m going to fucking kill you if you don’t give me an answer here. I’m on a deadline and I don’t have time for this. G: Oh, well, I don’t know how to make it do that. Sorry. T: ARGH!!!

So basically I went around for half an hour with this guy trying to get an answer that he didn’t have.

The deal is that I don’t ask people for help very often. It’s not in my nature. I do things myself because, frankly, I’ve found that I can’t trust other people to do the job right. So when I eventually cave in and ask for help, it’s not because I’m slacking off and just don’t want to figure it out. It’s because I’ve researched every alley available to me and can’t find the answer, so it’s time to branch outwards. When I get to that point, I already have the question very well defined - all I need is the answer. It’s not the time to go “back to the drawing board” and discuss the philosophy behind why I’m asking the question in the first place.

I’m getting worked up just thinking about it. I should probably have my blood pressure checked. I’ve been more high strung in the past six months than I normally am, and for those who know me, that’s pretty damn high strung.

I think I’m going to try to put a positive spin on that in my yearly employee review. This year I have found my hard limits - the point at which I can no longer take the added pressure of more workload and am forced to either have a nervous breakdown, a heart attack, or a postal-style killing frenzy. I’m probably doing two or three peoples’ worth of work here, and in doing that I’m finding that I can no longer turn out the quality of work that I require in the quantity that is requested. I’m unwilling to compromise on my quality, so… No more work, or the coffee maker gets it!

I so desperately need a vacation. A vacation where I can go for a week and realize that things will get taken care of while I’m not there, not one where I go for a week and come back to discover that all I am is another week behind because there’s no fucking backup assistance.

humor comments edit

Okay, here’s an idea for you: non-dairy coffee creamer that comes in cubes. Sort of like sugar cubes, but powdered creamer. Easily stackable, so you don’t have the “bowl full of cream containers” that those plastic cup-like things cause you. Waste free, so you’re not wasting the paper on packets of powdered creamer. Convenient - you don’t have to scoop or pour the creamer, you just drop a couple creamer cubes into your coffee and you’re set. Each cube would be the equivalent of one of the packets of creamer or one of the little plastic containers of cream. You could even wrap each cube in a dissolving coating, sort of like pharmaceutical tablets, so you wouldn’t get the “crumbling” effect that you get with a box of sugar cubes (where the last few cubes aren’t even full cubes anymore).

I’m obviously in the wrong line of work. They should pay me to work in a think tank and come up with brilliance like this all day.

movies, personal comments edit

A whole lot of nothing went on this weekend, but the high and low points are reviewed herein.

Friday night we rented Analyze That and I watched it while Jenn slept. It was an acceptable sequel, but honestly I had been hoping that she would have been able to get the movie Equilibrium since I was looking forward to seeing it.

That wasn’t possible, though, because after going to two Hollywood Video stores and a Blockbuster, we couldn’t find it. Hollywood didn’t carry it and Blockbuster only had three (missing) copies.

So. Analyze That. Eh. If you liked the first one, you’ll like this one. I thought the first was okay, and I thought this one was okay. Done and done.

Also Friday night I pulled out my Dremel tool and started cutting pieces off of Jenn’s old (reads: no longer attached to her arm) cast. I got a couple of cuts made and then the sucker just crapped out on me. Seriously - no matter what I did (letting it cool down for several hours, taking it apart and cleaning EVERYTHING, etc.), it still wouldn’t start up again. How irritating is that?

Which meant that Saturday was spent on a mission to find the same (or better) model of Dremel tool for a reasonable price. After going to several stores I discovered that you really can’t buy just the Dremel tool; you have to buy it in a “kit” with attachments. The cheapest kit I found with the tool I wanted was $50 at Home Depot, but they didn’t have it in stock.

So I bought it online.

Then I called my dad to see what was going on (and to make sure we were all still on good ground) and he told me he rented Equilibrium. Dammit! I ended up weaseling my way over there with Jenn and we watched it there.

It rocked. Seriously, very cool. I’ve ordered my copy off Amazon today and I recommend you do the same.

It’s basically Fahrenheit 451 updated for the new age but well worth the watching. Great action, great story. Admittedly predictable, but getting past that, loads of fun. Check into it.

Sunday I woke up with the worst headache I’ve had in a long time. I was sick to my stomach, tired, and just not feeling well. I tried sitting calmly and watching a movie (after medicating with some Excedrin Migraine), but that didn’t make anything go away, so I went back to bed. Which means I got up at like 7:00a because of the woodpecker (I’ll get to that in a second), went back to bed by 10:00a, and then got up again around 2:00p… and I still had my headache. I ate dry toast because I wouldn’t be able to keep anything else down, but around 4:00p I got this pizza craving so I ordered some delivery.

I probably got rid of my headache by 5:30p. I took, over the course of the day, four Excedrin Migraine tablets, four Advil pills, and two generic Aspirins. Probably too much, but then, if it’s not working… :)

Now… the woodpecker.

Jenn and I have been hearing noises like something fluttering around in our chimney. We reported it to the apartment complex, who looked and found all of the screens around the exhaust pipes and things intact, so they said we were imagining things (basically). Well, it turns out that it’s not IN the chimney, it’s NEXT TO the chimney, and it’s gone beyond fluttering now - it’s a fucking woodpecker and it’s having a ball with my chimney. We wake up every morning now to the sound of a tommy gun firing in the living room. Let me tell you how well that makes you feel first thing when you wake up.

We reported this updated information to the apartments and they said we’re not the only ones that the pecker is fucking (pun intended… mostly). They just don’t know how to get rid of it. Try Google, people. I found an answer in about three minutes. (Apparently the woodpecker is marking his territory or something. Fuck that, man.)

personal comments edit

Where are the stir stick QA
people?Not that this is a huge deal or anything, but I was noticing that the little plastic stir sticks in the coffee area at work are all different lengths. I mean, where’s the QA department on this one? You’d think that manufacturing identical plastic straws wouldn’t be that hard, but apparently getting a consistent length is a difficult task.

Since I last whined I’ve had a phone conversation with my father that turned unproductive very quickly which boiled down to this:

Dad: I don’t understand why you blew up when I asked you to pick up your stuff.

Travis: Because you tell me to pick up my stuff nearly every time I see you. Seriously. You’ve said that you’re moving for probably the last three years, but nothing ever happens and, frankly, I don’t have the room to put this stuff. So if you’re not moving, don’t keep harping about it.

Dad: You were very sarcastic and negative about it.

Travis: You’re very critical.

Dad: No, I’m not.

Travis: If your body was possessed by aliens and I told you that you were body snatched, you would tell me that you weren’t because you’re right in the middle of it and wouldn’t know. Trust me, you’re critical.

Dad: Maybe so. You’re negative.

Travis: More than you know. But the long and the short of it is - if you don’t want my opinion, don’t ask for it.

Dad: You don’t have to come get your stuff.

Travis: [Frustrated] Then why did you say I did?

Dad: I gotta go.

Travis: Whatever.

And that was that. Granted, the conversation was more like 15 minutes long and there was a lot of arguing in circles, but I think everyone understands everyone else now.

As for them moving, I will continue to maintain my “I’ll believe it when I see it” status. Even though Dad feels that’s a negative and sarcastic attitude.

Oh, and you ever notice that when you argue with someone, they only ever take into account the fact that you’ve potentially hurt other peoples’ feelings, but they never consider that they hurt you first?

My upcoming training schedule has been jerked around on me due to some unexpected class cancellations so now instead of taking all of my courses locally, I’m going to be heading to Bellevue, WA, twice in the next month or two to take a couple of the courses up there (since they’re not offered here). Bah. Not that I don’t want to learn, but Bellevue’s four hours away and there’s not a lot to do there. At least, not that I saw.

I should get to work. I have way too much to do and totally not enough time. People say that cloning humans is a bad idea, but I’m thinking that if I could have two of me, that’s twice as much stuff I could get done in a reliable, well-documented fashion.