personal comments edit

I’m in a reasonably good mood today, though I’m not sure why. I’ve got a dentist appointment later on which makes me irritated just thinking about it, so I won’t. Of course, now that I’ve said out loud that I’m in a good mood, I’m sure it’ll disintegrate like that much cotton candy. I can feel it leaving me now.

On the way in to work today, I was thinking about stuff that puts me in a good mood. There are lots of things, but here are a few (…these are a few of my favorite things…):

  • Great 80’s music (including, but not limited to):
    • The Outfield - Your Love
    • Hall & Oates - Out of Touch
    • Laura Branigan - Self Control
  • A stereo with great clarity and better bass
  • Alphonse Mucha artwork
  • Acquiring new technology
  • New CDs and DVDs
  • Going to the movies
  • Biting my tiny Xev cat (just little ones; she purrs when you bite her… but she purrs when you give her any attention at all)
  • Las Vegas

Then I started thinking about things that piss me off, and realized that the list of things that irritate me is much longer than the list of things that make me happy. Stuff that pisses me off to no end (again, including, but not limited to):

  • The font MS Comic Sans
  • People who just can’t figure out how to drive
  • People with no bathroom etiquette
  • Stupid people
  • Improper use (and, more importantly, overt abuse) of apostrophes
  • People who tell you they’ll be somewhere and then don’t show up
  • People who are consistently late
  • Bumper stickers
  • Industrial carpet
  • People who, when you send them an email that’s high priority and the first line is bold red caps that say PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE EMAIL, don’t read the email and then send you questions about stuff you answered two lines into the note
  • Users
  • Professional sales people - not retail sales, just the ones you refer to when you say “I’m having a vendor stop in today”

And the list goes on, but that’s a decent start.

Saturday Jenn and I went to LaserPort to play laser tag with our friends Jason and Tracy, along with Tracy’s sister, Crystal, and her friends Erin and Wayne. At least, I think the guy’s name was Wayne. I never really heard it properly.

That was a lot of fun, though I’m way out of shape. My legs are a bit stiff today (yes, two days later) which just further indicates that I need to be in better shape.

Sunday we went to see Shanghai Knights (which was fun, though I think I liked the first one just slightly better). We were supposed to see it with my friend Torin, who decided not to show up. I still don’t know where he was or anything, but I can’t say I wasn’t a bit pissed.

The thing is, like 90% of my friends are like that. They say they’ll be somewhere and then they show up really late, if at all. There’s always an excuse generally along the lines of “something suddenly came up” or “I was doing something else and lost track of time.” You know what? I’m tired of it. I’m tired of being the guy who shows up on time and then has to save seats in the theater for everyone else. I’m tired of being the guy who organizes everything at everyone else’s request only to have no one show up.

Here’s a little anecdote about that: The last place I worked, FatEarth (a startup that no longer exists), I was there with several people in my general age group and we were all pretty good friends. People would have parties at their houses/apartments, and we’d all get together and go. The whole time, they’d bug me about when I was going to have a party at my place. After enough harping, I agreed to have a party. I figured out when everyone was available, sent out invites, got the drinks and food together, cleaned the place up, and waited for people to show.

No one did. People responded and said they’d be there, but no one showed.

So now I have a new rule - no fucking parties. Hey, if people won’t bother showing up - even after they said they would - then I won’t bother having parties. Less trouble for me.

Jenn and I talk about that a lot, actually. Who we want to go do stuff with, who’s fun to hang out with… then we realize that most of our friends, even if we plan something, won’t show up. It’s a little disheartening. I mean, sure, there are definitely those who do make it, and we do hang out with those folks. But it’s hard to be excited about getting together with someone who can’t be counted on to show up on time, if at all.

Hey, great. There goes my good mood.

movies, business comments edit

You sort of have to read that with The Mamas and Papas in mind.

I’m so glad that it’s Friday. This week has been total hell and I’m pretty pleased that it’s around eight hours until it’s all over. I’ve got a stack of DVDs sitting on my coffee table at home that have been calling to me, and I think I will sit my fat ass down on the couch and soak up a little of that.

This weekend is looking to be pretty busy. On Saturday Jenn and I are going to go play Laser Tag with our friends Jason and Tracy. Sunday we’re going to see Shanghai Knights with my friend Torin. I’m still considering going to that William Gibson book signing downtown, but if I’m in the same mood then as I am now, I’ll skip it in favor of taking a break.

I have to interview an intern candidate today. I have interviewed job applicants before, but it’s been a while, so I thought about the questions I wanted to ask. We’re doing sort of a “panel” interview, where the whole team will interview the person at the same time. What I want to avoid are those questions like “Please describe to me a time where you demonstrated problem solving skills.” That’s not even really a question, is it? Anyway, those sorts of questions are so utterly uncreative and intimidating that it’s hard to think that anyone could give a realistic, decent answer. With questions like that, the entire thing is skewed so the person will respond the way they think you want them to respond.

Instead, I like to go a more creative route. I’ll ask the standard “What interests you about the position?” style questions, but I like to see the person’s problem solving skills. The two questions I’ve settled on are: “Why are manhole covers round?” and “How would you determine the number of tires sold in the US last year?”

The manhole cover question actually has an answer. If they know, fine. If not, you get to see them think about why that might be. The tire question is something I stole from my old boss; it’s good to see (and hear) the process the person would go through to figure something like that out so that you can get a little insight into the way they would work in a problem solving situation.

I thought about asking more brain-teaser-oriented questions, but looking up brain teasers online yielded mostly math-related questions. I’m not here to test the candidate’s math skills; I just want to see their problem solving process.

If I’m up to it, I may go through this mathematical proof that one of my college professors showed us that proves 0 = 1. There’s an error in it, and the trick is to see if the person was paying attention and can find where the error lies. It might be a little beyond just a high school level math course, though (I can’t remember what sort of math they teach in high school… has it been too long for me?), so I will probably leave that in my bag of tricks for some later time.

personal comments edit

I was over at Tanya’s reading a small nugget about the various IDs she carries and how some could be forged easier than others when I started thinking a bit…

Jenn and I just recently went to go get passports. Now, in the US, for a new passport application you need to bring your driver’s license and your birth certificate. To get a driver’s license, you need three documents: one “proof of age” and two “proof of identity.” At least, that’s how it is in Oregon.

The proof of age for your license can be your birth certificate. This can double as one of the proof of identity documents. The other proof of identity could be a company ID card, a medical card, or some other such thing.

The company ID, medical card, or other proof of ID could very easily be forged. I could whip something up on my printer in about 10 minutes for that. Basically, the only thing stopping you would be the birth certificate. They’re printed on special paper so you really can’t just forge one up.

Fortunately (or unfortunately?), Jenn had somewhere along the lines lost her birth certificate, so she had to go in to get a new one. $15 and a few minutes later, she had a brand-spanking-new one. No one checked any ID or anything on her; she just had to know things like her mom’s maiden name and a couple of other things that could pretty easily be obtained by anyone who really exerted the least bit of effort.

Then I started thinking about movies where you see these people going through all this trouble to have passports made and things, and I was thinking, you know, you could get a fake passport a whole lot easier if you actually went through the legal channels. Nobody questions anything, and a few weeks later it gets mailed to your house. One would think there would be more of a background check or something prior to issuing a new birth certificate, but apparently not. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

personal, home comments edit

I’m not fighting fires anymore at work, which is good, considering that it took me until today to struggle out of the debris of the server crashing around me.

I have learned something through this process: If a computer says anything to the effect of Hardware Error on it, fix the damn thing immediately. Don’t put it off and hem and haw around on it. It will screw you in the end.

With the work thing, it’s been an overly hectic week so far. I’m feeling stressed out and have adopted an equal-opportunity style of hatred - I hate everyone equally, and a lot. I’m really, really tired and I’m becoming anti-social because I feel like there’s always someone else that has some problem that has to be fixed right fucking now and I wish people would just leave me alone with that crap.

It’s been suggested that I take a vacation or something. The only thing I get out of a day of vacation is one more day behind in the stuff that I need to get done. With the way we’re so short staffed around here, there’s no one here that can pick up the slack if I take a day off; everything I have to do actually requires personal attention. Let me tell you how annoying that is.

The spare bedroom is almost cleaned up and sorted out after the Great Storage Closet Move of ‘03. It’s looking much better now that things have been mostly boxed up, but the boxes are all strewn about the room and things need to be stacked up and stuck in the closets around the house where they belong. The living room looks less crowded with one less bookcase in it, that bookcase having been transplanted in the spare room. Hopefully we will be able to cram a chair in that other room, too, which will open up the living room more than I can explain. As it is, I’m enjoying walking about unhindered, not being so closed in by the skinny passageway between the kitchen and the living room.

I had lunch at Carl’s Jr. today. I cannot begin to describe the tasty morsel of food which is their Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger.

I’m looking at my phone here at work… the message light is blinking but my phone never rang. How can you get voicemail if no one calls you? This is ridiculous.

hardware comments edit

I’ve got this server here at work that’s been having some minor hardware problems. I reported the issue to the systems engineer in charge of such things around the seventh of January. It’s the third of February and the problem still isn’t solved.

The recommended course of action I was told was to swap out the existing hard drives, one by one, to see which of the drives was causing the problem. (For those unfamiliar with RAID, this actually isn’t a problem; if you pull a drive out of a machine and put in a new one, the data magically gets restored to the new drive without missing a beat.)

I didn’t think this was too big of a deal. I’ve replaced drives before, and the general idea sounded good if maybe a little kludgy.

I replaced the third of six drives this morning and all hell broke loose. Drives started failing, the computer blue-screened on me (which actually very rarely happens)… dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria.

After about an hour of ohshitohshitohshit style troubleshooting, we got the machine to come back up, but not in a fault-tolerant state. (That is, if something else goes wrong, I’m really screwed.)

Now I’m in the process of migrating all of the data and settings from the broken machine to a new, better one. This was part of a larger plan and I was going to have to do it eventually anyway, but it’s a long process that isn’t really automated and I was going to test things out and get things working in a reliable fashion first.

From what it looks like now, I’m not getting out of here until after 5:00p. Considering that I wanted to go home early, this isn’t good news. Fucking typical.