Monday, August 30, 2010

Brian: your package has been delivered

At 4:44 p.m. on August 28 someone in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (zip code 15229) mailed a package to Senoia, Georgia.

I assume their name is very similar to 'Brian Dunbar', for that person told the post office to send Track & Confirm updates to my gmail account.

To my doppelganger in Pittsburgh: your parcel was delivered today at 1:12 p.m.

Hyperbole and a Half

When I was five or six we did this really lame thing: everyone was a best friend. So, Derek was my first best friend, the kid across the street [1] was my second best friend. Curtis Neat up the street was a best friend of indeterminate number. Laurie Keller [3] was my first best friend who was a girl. And so on. Shortly after this phase ended (probably when we all hit first grade together) we moved from pastoral Eugene, Oregon to dusty, humid, Oklahoma.

Anyway. I like this cartoon / blog a whole bunch. If I still did the lame best friend thing this would be my best webcomic friend, is real funny and poignant and draws in a jagged artistic way.

I still like the other webcomics, just as much.

One for my wife: A Better Pain Scale.

One for Heather: Spiders are Scary. It's Okay to be Afraid of Them.

For the Boys: Dog.

[1] Kyle? Carl? He wore cowboy boots all the time. Unless that was somebody else. His older sister gave me a butterfly for my birthday. Whatever his name, his mom and dad had a big orange monster cat that came across the street and picked fights with our tabby [2]. Under the house. Sounded horrible: two tom cats hissing and growling and yowling and tearing each other up, right under the floor.

[2] Cleverly named Kat. We had to call him something at the vet and it isn't like cats come when their name is called. My parents picked out a better name for the dog: Frisky.

Frisky came to a bad end. Unable to adjust to city life he was sent to Grandpa's farm. A few months after his exile he, and the rest of Grandpa's dogs, found a porcupine.

Rags, Percy came back with quills in their muzzles: lesson learned, porcupines hurt. Frisky, displaying an inability to adapt to the bitter end, kept eating porcupine until he had mad amounts of quills jammed in his throat. And his gut. I imagine his intestines looked like an old pincushion just before you throw it away when you cut it open to get the pins out.

[3] I feel a little bad, now, that Laurie wasn't a best-best friend because if anyone was, she was. Because Derek could be a little bit of a dick. But he lived next door. Laurie didn't live next door, she lived oh, blocks and blocks away. But in my memory she was always cool and friendly and she had an awesome back yard and a cool house. And she was not a wiener like Derek could be. Also, she's the reason I got a new bicycle when I was five. That's cool, man.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


The boat is sold. Got room in the garage. Got some cash to add to savings. So that's good.

I highly recommend Sailing Texas if you need a boat, especially if you need to sell a boat.

Excluding the constant readers who expressed interest, I received two serious inquiries from this ad, in the nine days it was running.  That is way more calls than I expected - I hoped to sell it quickly, but I was prepared to keep her on the market for months.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Selling the Guppy - yet more pictures.

More picture of the boat-for-sale - here. Now including the sort-of-infamous shower handle on the foredeck.


I didn't put it there. I've never used it. I can't even trip over it, easily: afloat it feels to me precarious to stand on the foredeck of such a small boat. So, mostly, I don't. On the trailer you're not bouncing around so tripping over stuff on the deck is not a problem.

It's cruft.

I speculate: the intent is to keep an anchor on the foredeck. The gray cups are to keep the flukes from scaring the deck. It's handy so you can run up there, kick it overboard, anchor quickly.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Like being inside a kettle drum

Big New Office has the nerds, clerks and geeks sitting in a huge open bay. Glass on two sides. Fronts a wide stretch of river on one side, open field of gravel on the other.

What is it like when rain and wind sweep across that open expanse?

It's really .. I SAID 'IT'S REALLY LOUD.'

Don't blow up a Marine . . .

When he came to, he was standing on his feet holding his weapon, turning to see the remnants of the blast and wondering why his squad had a look on their faces as if they’d seen a ghost.

Garst’s squad stared at him in disbelief. The square-jawed Marine has a tendency to be short-tempered, and the realization that the blast was meant to kill him spiked his adrenaline and anger.

“What the f--- are you looking at?” he said. “Get on the cordon!”

Marines: blow them up and it just irritates them.

Before he finds out where my flanks are, I'll be cutting the bastard's throat

Boss: We're going to give you a brand-new system to admin.  It's a big deal, the head shed has bought in, the developers are rarin' to go.  If work was World War II, this would be the Third Army, getting ready to tour the the Third Reich.

Me: Sounds cool - what's the application?

Boss: BizTalk.

My old nemesis: Windows.  That krep always ends up being hard to manage, difficult to administer, expensive, a nightmare for every right-thinking system administrator who likes his weekends free of support calls.

Expecting Windows to be Enterprise anything is like asking Montgomery to step up the pace, like asking him to come up with a plan to invade Holland that does not involve driving hundreds of tanks down a one-lane road, on top of a dike.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Selling the boat - pictures!

I believe that I mentioned I'm selling a boat.

Here are some close-ups.  So, when you drive for a fair piece and show up you won't be taken aback by the amount of cruft a 30-year old sailboat can pick up.  Some guy hacks in a motor mount here, another adds a compass, yet another wires it for electricity, some guy mounts a faucet handle for an anchor windlass.  It adds up.

More pictures to come.  Sure makes you want to buy a boat, hunh?

Houston, we have a throblem

I laughed.  I cried.  Well, no. But I did laugh. It is so not safe for work.[1]

F*ck me, Ray Bradbury (YouTube, ahoy).  By Rachel Bloom

[1] And by not safe for work - it's got swears, boobies, semi-explicit sex acts.  So, really, no worse than you'd see downtown on Saturday night.

Frankly, my dear ...

In youth, it was a way I had,
To do my best to please.
And change, with every passing lad
To suit his theories.
But now I know the things I know
And do the things I do,
And if you do not like me so,
To hell, my love, with you.
~Dorothy Parker

My lovely wife writes everything that needs to be said about Recent Events of Notice, here.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Guppy 13 For Sale

Must sell my Guppy 13. White with yellow trim, wired for electricity.

Guppy 13 - 'Gumdrop'Guppy 13 - 'Gumdrop' starboard

Guppy is a pocket cabin-cruiser with a short run from the mid-70s. Cockpit seats two to three adults, cabin sleeps two.

More information on the Guppy is here.

I'd love to keep her but due to medical reasons I'm unable to sail. I can use the space in the garage, she deserves an owner who can use her.

Asking $1500 obo. Includes trailer, 4-horse outboard, full rigging.

Email or leave comments.

Here are some close-ups.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Welfare Check - in which the police agree with me about my daughter's ex

What did I do today?  Many, many things.  One of the things was to stand on my porch and say this to a police officer making a welfare check:

Well, the story is true, in the bare outlines, but the details not right, spun to the worst possible assumption and .. hey did you say the anonymous caller was male?  My daughter has an ex-boyfriend ...

And we were off to the races.  I don't really know but I think the POLICE take a dim view of being used as tools by dim-witted Lotharios.  Just a guess.

So, BWUTDMD [1].  If you're trying [2] to enact some kind of drugged-up movie-of-the week revenge fanasty where you get the girl and everyone loves you, stop.  You are embarrassing yourself. 

What comes around goes around and it comes back with more kinetic energy than your small-town, special-needs, short-bus riding, teeny-tiny brain housing group can appreciate.

You just don't know.

[1] Boy Who Used To Date My Daughter.
[2] Proof?  Ain't got none.  Don't need it.  We can assume a Mysterious Stranger with unknown motives, or we can go ahead and blame an infantile, manipulative, whiny, no job holding, living with his mommy and daddy, jack wagon ex-boyfriend.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cyborg are Hawt

Pasty's New Knee

It's a model of Her new knee. The technical aspects of getting this sucker in place are fascinating.

In ye olde days the doc would whack out the old, rotten joint, fit the new one, all using the Mark I Eyeball.

They used templates.  Which works real good.  If you match a template.

Enter CNC. This thing measures the patient six ways from Sunday, cuts everything precisely to fit.  Talking about this the doc started to dive into technical-talk not out of place in manufacturing: sample sizes, quality control, medians, outliers eliminated. 

This made me trust the guy abolutely.  This isn't some early 20th century hackery, but a high-tech assembly process, with computers doing the hard, finicky painstaking work.

You don't even need to be sedated: all they need is a spinal block so you don't wiggle around and screw up the robot. 

It all sounded so damned cool.

And it is!  Great days we're living in, where an otherwise young chick with degenerative arthritis faces not decades of crippling pain but .. surgery, pain [1] and mobility a few months later.

Which is great because Herself is getting real tired rolling round Wal-Mart in a wheel chair to do the shopping.

I confess I was a little disappointed when the doc said the shiny stuff goes on the inside.  My feeling is if you're gonna have cyborg bits installed they should look like cyborg bits, ya know?

[1] And, let's not kid ourselves, it's not a little bit of pain but a whole bunch of it.  Once you work through that you're good.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It is the humidity and the heat

Water.  You are in the air.  Get in the ground where you belong.

Looked at the lake this morning.  Could not tell where the lake stopped and the air began.

It is that humid.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Who approved this ship and just who the hell designed it?

I got up for a minute, came back, and saw that a second level had been added to the capsule. I asked if it was an attic, but was told that it was a bathroom (Wyatt is apparently more into the hard-SF aspects of fiction than, say, all the 12,000 people associated with Star Trek…).


I don't care if the ship's high tech.
I don't care if it has a holodeck.
I don't care if there's life support.
Okay I guess I need the life support.
But anything beyond that, I don't care,
As long as there's a place somewhere a man can go.

How we've tried to find it!
Tore apart the bridge and looked behind it.
Who approved this ship and just who the hell designed it?
We'll have to have a word with them when we get home.

'Comforts of Home' - Bob Kanefsky

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Ah! Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!

Mr. Nadler's bill would "require the IRS to adjust tax brackets proportionally in regions where the average cost of living is higher than the national average."

In other words, the various tax brackets would apply to residents in certain regions at higher income levels versus other parts of the country. A family with an income of $50,000 or even $1 million in Manhattan would pay less federal income tax than a family with the same earnings in Omaha. The bill is called the Tax Equity Act ...

A more accurate title is 'Hey Out There In Fly-Over Country: Fuck You' act.

Representatives Nadler, Bishop, Israel, Lowey, Maloney and McCarthy: you are associated with a pack of thieves, liars and cheats 535 strong who, nearly to a man, deserve long stretches of time in jail for the laws you've flouted, the bribes you've taken, the damage you've done to this country.

You are a pox on this land, a disease in the body politic. Y'all aren't even very smart except for the low cunning needed to come up with ever more inventive ways to cheat the public and lie your way to another term in office. You deserve neither re-election nor pension, nor any job that does not involve the phrase 'Would You Like Fries With That'?

You should be turned out of your office to make your way by your scant wits in the world you insist the rest of us live in.

Representative Nadler - fuck you.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

A Clean Desk Is The sign of an Idle Mind!

Saw these photos on the Internet about a person's mind and his desk... Here are a few samples.........
LLOL [1]

And yes, it's not fair to compare an actual work space with the a show office..  Still.


[1] For those just coming in, Literally Laughed Out Loud

Form 1099

There was a hullaballo recently over some recent legislation - next year every business transaction that exceeds $600 per vendor requires a form 1099.  Looked over the spec (pdf) for doing this electronically.

From my nerdly POV it's a little odd but nothing so very bad.  Each record submitted has 750 positions, each position has data, if not it's blank.  If it's odd but it's standard and you can work with it.

This made me pause;

Position: 518
Field Title: Vendor Indicator
Length: 1
Description: Required.  Enter the appropriate code from the table below to indicate if your software was provided by a vendor or produced in-house.

I cannot imagine why the IRS would care if the bits are from a program written 'in house' or from a vendor, how it would enable them to more efficiently execute their mission.  Somewhere a clerk or two are making a tidy living compiling statistics that no one can use and only they care about.

As for the actual system - the way the IRS wants you to do it is login to a web page and upload each record one attachment at a time.  Come back in a day or two [1] and see that the file was entered correctly.

Which ... geez .. it works but man it sounds so clunky.  No wonder business guys are raising holy heck about it. 

[1] In my minds eye there are a pair of IBM micro-computers chugging away on the files using a really cleaver batch file to upload the data to a mainframe.