Monday, February 28, 2011

Where, Sirrah, is this Utopia you speak of?

Republicans Want Wisconsin To Become Just Like the South.

Aw man - really?  Like .. a Waffle House on every corner, waitresses that call people 'hun', down-home girls that say 'bless your heart', sensible gun laws, children that say 'yes ma'am' and 'yes sir', ... with a Wisconsin climate?

Sign me up.

Soldier Athlete

The Army has instituted a diet system in boot camp.  It's called 'Soldier Athlete' instead of something plebeian like 'common sense'.


Oh yes!  And - being the Army - they've got color codes.

Since some high-in-fat items are still on offer, the better-for-you fare is supposed to be reinforced through a new "Go for Green" labeling system wherein the foods that should be consumed sparingly, moderately, and daily are indicated by red, yellow, and green placards, respectively.

Because nothing says 'we think the enlisted are dumb as a bag of hammers' like officers putting up color coded placards to tell them stuff they already know.

Not to get all 'old man get off my grass' but what in the world are they doing in boot camp that they have a problem with people getting fat?  They're recruits.  A messman slops food on their tray.  If they're fat bodies, you slop less food.  You turn off the soda and the ice cream machines.  Give them about ten minutes to eat.

Then you run their ass from the mess hall to whatever is the next activity.  If Robert Recruit has managed to sneak extra portions in while at lunch, trotting to the next class on a full belly will take care of that real quick.

Via the Man from Arlington.

Tab Clearing

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Reply to SB7

SB7 quoted a commenter on his blog. I'm putting it here because, for some odd reason I don't see his captcha or something.

Discounting the opinions of ~20k folks and telling them to go home,

Something I have noticed in video clips, but not much commented on - a not insignificant number of those at the capitol in Madison are kids from UW.

Now, some of them might be there on principle, or because they believe in the cause, but not a few of them appear to be there because it's exciting, it's a show, it beats sitting around the dorm.

I'd be there if I had copious amounts of free time and lived a short walk away: looks like fun.

But it's not that we should discount the 20k people but that their advocates appear to be saying "Look at all the people who showed up - you should bow to our will because the mobbe has spoken and be damned for the recent election: it's putting bodies in the street that counts."

What happens in Marriage Encounter stays in Marriage Encounter

A brief interlude for God and relationship stuff.  Herself wrote . . .

What is important is I have control over what I do know now. I know that I am deeply in love with my husband. I know that I have some great friends and a wonderful life. I have been blessed and instead of sweating the small stuff I just need to trust that I'm not alone when I face them. I am at peace at this moment with the decisions I have made in my life. I have a renewal in the relationship with my husband and with my family. Life really is good.

Last weekend we had our marriage in for it's long-overdue checkup.  We have had our rough patches, we'll have them again but now I have Joy.  Peace.  I'm happy and while I am generally 'ok' I have not felt actually happy for a while.

A few years ago, I almost lost her: she came this close to slipping away in the operating room.  The feeling of relief I felt then, for her still being with me, is comparable to feeling I have, now, for our marriage.  It's alive!  Hallelujah!  What a terrifically grand feeling.

To our new friends, thank you!  It was not just her, it was not just I, it was your prayers and intercession with God, that made it all possible.

A relationship, a marriage is an entity that needs care, loving, regular maintenance, and God.  If you have not done so, go get yourself some God, get your marriage fixed up: invite Him into your marriage and rejoice.

Agile PLM Hot Fix 38

If you run Oracle Agile PLM and you applied Hot Fix 38 downloaded before October 13, 2010 it is broken. It is badRotten like week old tomatoes in the July sun.

It is important, I'm told, to stay away from so-called pony-tail software because it's not supported.  You buy software for the support, because the vendor will fix things when they break because you're paying them for that and they will deliver really good support because you're paying them for that.

This is fine until the model fails. Then you're dodging shrapnel and angry users.  And you're all 'What the hey?' because you've been spending a metric ton of money for support precisely so the thing does not blow up on you.

I spent - no joke - eleven days running this particular problem to the ground.  Spent hours and hours on the phone with a really nice German lady [1] from Montreal, poking at this and that.  We finally uncovered the specific .jar file that was the problem, then detected it went bad right after installing Hot Fix 38.  Then we realized that - shazam - the copy of HF38 she was using to install in her test system was different than the version of HF38 I had.

Then another Oracle support guy, in a forum, with respect to an unrelated problem, said  'Why, you must have HF38 installed!  We found out that was bad, like, months ago, and reissued it.  Golly.' They didn't actually tell anyone about this because it's more fun that way, figuring out things on your own? I guess?

[1] It is just a little bizarre to work your way through a voice mail system that speaks Quebecois French only to end up speaking to a lady wit a pronounced German accent, ya.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Fourteen (Democrat) state senators remain absent, preventing debate on legislation.  I'm torn.

You can't just leave because things aren't going your way: what is this, third grade?

On the other hand, if the lege can’t pass laws, then the lege can’t screw up our lives worse than they already are.

Maybe we can convince the Republicans to join their brother legislators in Illinois and leave the rest of us alone

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The weekend

I was mistaken.  Was not a convent, was an abbey.  Norbertines of Abbey of Saint Norbert Abbey.  For a marriage retreat weekend.

I highly recommend this kind of thing for all married couples.  But that's not what I came here to talk about.

We left an eleven year-old, and two sixteen year old, boys in the house.  Laid in bread, milk, cereal, and so on for them to consume.  They know how to cook.  We have stuff in the deep freeze.  What did they eat for two nights and three days?

From inventory in the pantry and freezer they drank Sunny-D, ate freezer waffles and peanut butter.

The Power of Christ compels thee!

Me: Should we take the arsenal?

Her: We're going to a convent.

Me: And if bad guys break in?

Her: They have priests.

Me: Who have guns?  The power of Christ and John Moses Browning compels thee!

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Power of Christ compels thee!

Me: Should we take the arsenal?

Her: We're going to a convent.

Me: And if bad guys break in?

Her: They have priests.

Me: Who have guns?  The power of Christ and John Moses Browning compels thee!


Civility is for the little people

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Angry Andy Sez

. . . he sez f*ck the client server model, he sez.

Angry Andy
'Hey, nerd boy: get ma picture outta this here attachment server!'

Check it: In order to deliver Really Important Files to a user desktop I've got to support java clients (that can't be updated (past a version now two years old) or the whole mess breaks) a service that is only supported by the vendor on Windows [1] which in turn talks to an application framework, talking about six or seven disparate components that are supposed to just snap together like lego blocks.

As if. 

[1] For a core application that requires x9s of uptime, and delivers bits to users 24x7 in six countries.  It's like opening the hood on a semi-truck to find the fan belt is made of partially digested gummi bears.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cats and dogs living together

According to the teevee and radio people last night Scott Walker wants to
  • Impoverish state employees! 
  • Outlaw unions! 
  • Bring in the national guard to beat up striking workers! 
  • Disband the Green Bay Packers!

Before we get all het up about this .. maybe some of those bussed in protesters and their fellow travelers in the news should read the bill they are protesting.  Nary a word in there about the Packers.

Tab Clearing

Everything you wanted to know about the Oregon & Northwestern Railroad.

What happens when mundanes try to write about the future?  Lame articles like this: Raising babies in space in aluminum tin-cans is real hard.  It's like these people have never read any hard SF.   Or put much thinking behind what they write.

Beyond Intellectualism: On becoming an anti-intellectual intellectual

61th International Astronautical Congress Space Elevator Papers Available.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Take Me Home, Country Roads

Take Me Home, Counrty Roads: my favorite-song-that-I-cannot-sing.  When I try, the dogs aroo, the cockatoo screeches.  Which is fun for them, less fun for the primates in the house.

Olivia Newton-John.  Awesome version.  Too bad it's inflicted with a 70's era breathy white people chorus.  What were you people thinking?

Toots & The Maytals.  Yes, reggae. Shut up, it works.

Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.  Hawaiian. Big guy, big voice.

Hermes House Band.  The set, the costumes ...  forget that: they rock the song, the lead singer fills out that dress real well. Rowr.

From Whisper Of The Heart - English.   There is, as Mr. Fungus noted, a killer Renaissance-y riff at the end that is just not long enough.

From Whisper Of the Heart - Japanese.   I'm not any kind of a sub snob, but this one works best: the girl is good, but not too good, it really sounds like an impromptu jam in a workshop.

As long as he stays away from the killer robot field we're good

Valentine's Day: dinner at Texas Roadhouse, with my sweetie.  The decor is faux-Texas Yee-Haw, the wait staff wear t-shirts and jeans.

So what: nearly every instance of so-called fine dining in the Fox Cities has turned into a horrible experience of one kind or another.  Pox on them.

Give me good food, good company: I can make my own romance.


My wife (I'm along for the ride and to claim credit) is raising independent-minded well-adjusted young men.

Item.  Youngest Monkey woke me up at 03:43 complaining of a hurt ear.  But first he apologized for waking me up, said he tried to take care of it himself with q-tips and hot water but it just was not working.  Broke my heart to see him hurting, happy to see that, at the age of 11, he's trying to take care of things for himself.

Item.  His older brother came to me much earlier, holding his Dremel.  He'd ripped the rechargeable battery pack out of the handle.

"The batteries are flat."

That has a recharging station?  It's in ..

"Don't need it."


'They're rechargeable AAs in a cradle.  I wired up regular AAs with copper wire and tape.'

And he jazzed the motor several times to show this was so.

Improvise, adapt, overcome: he now has a hacked tool that works better for him.  I am so proud.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A New Day Dawns

Governor Walker wants to cut state worker benefits, take away bargaining rights.

"I don't have anything to negotiate," Walker said. "We are broke in this state. We have been broke for years. People have ignored that for years, and it's about time somebody stood up and told the truth. The truth is: We don't have money to offer. We don't have finances to offer. This is what we have to offer."

The usual suspects in Madison can march, and bitch, and act all butt-hurt if they want, and the news can act like they're the tits and the bees knees.  Whatever.

A majority voted this guy in, voted his party into power in the lege.  We're tired of irresponsible spending and government that ignores reality.

Commentary would be superfluous

From the wiki

... the deadline for income tax form submissions has been extended three days for celebrations in Washington, D.C. of Emancipation Day.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I don't know why the grandchild does this with his lips

But it's cute.  Darn cute.

Pursed Lips

So far, being a grandfather has met or exceeded expectations. I hold him. He coos, he gurgles. When it's time to eat, I hand him back.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Sunset Limited

Tommy Lee Jones, on filming 'The Sunset Limited' in Santa Fe, where Cormac McCarthy lives . . .

NPR: Did you choose Santa Fe for the production so that McCarthy could be there?
Jones: No, they have very attractive tax incentives.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sittin' in the dark, living all by themselves / You don't have to hide anymore!

And who came visiting to S4C tonight?  A snipppet from my referrer logs ...

10 Feb 19:22:13 sandra bullock zombies 2006/10/zombies-sandra-bullock.html
10 Feb 19:22:11 Zombies and sandra bullock 2006/10/zombies-sandra-bullock.html
10 Feb 19:22:10 Sandra bullock zombies 2006/10/zombies-sandra-bullock.html
10 Feb 19:22:00 sandra bullock zombies 2006/10/zombies-sandra-bullock.html
10 Feb 19:22:00 zombie Sandra bullock 2006/10/zombies-sandra-bullock.html
10 Feb 19:21:57 sandra bullock and zombies 2006/10/zombies-sandra-bullock.html
10 Feb 19:21:55 bullock sandra zombies 2006/10/zombies-sandra-bullock.html

You guys really had to look up the BBT Sandra Bullock zombie reference right then and couldn't wait for the show to be over?

Title tip o' the hat.

Gunpowder propelled arrow

These kits easily convert a Ruger 10/22 rifle into an archery rifle that can fire five arrows within a one-inch group at 50 yards.

Ruger 10-22 Arrow Conversion Kit

There is a video of this in action.  The video makes me laugh delightedly (literally) out loud.


Clearing Tabs

Tater wrote: Insane pretty girls, giant sized samurai battlemechs, steampunk dirigibles, powered armor, wrist mounted Gatling guns, rocket jetpacks, fire breathing dragons, did i miss anything?

Nope.  Sucker Punch (YouTube ahoy) looks like a movie filled with awesome.  Job Bob is gonna check it out.

Five years of very serious episodic adventure, myth and character development ensue: Visual timeline of the Battlestar Galactica universe.

Media Matters sez Fox News: Stuff Is Just Made Up.  So it's a real news organization like CNN, CBS News, Washington Post ...

“Talk, talk, talk. Fine. But if’n you need any bullets for punctuation, jes’ say the word.  'Rejiggering the Thingamajig' by Eric James Stone.

'Going Outside the Wire' by Kris Battles.
  I am a Philistine, don't know Renoir from Rockwell.  But dadgum there is some really fine work done by the Marine Corps Combat Artist.  Y'all taxpayers getting your money's worth out that guy.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Stay away from my house, you freak!

The group giving away the free tanks [1] only stays alive because it is staffed by volunteers, who are lined up at the edge of the street with bullhorns, trying to draw customers' attention to this incredible situation. A typical conversation goes something like this:

Hacker with bullhorn: "Save your money! Accept one of our free tanks! It is invulnerable, and can drive across rocks and swamps at ninety miles an hour while getting a hundred miles to the gallon!"

Prospective station wagon buyer: "I know what you say is don't know how to maintain a tank!"

Bullhorn: "You don't know how to maintain a station wagon either!"

Buyer: "But this dealership has mechanics on staff. If something goes wrong with my station wagon, I can take a day off work, bring it here, and pay them to work on it while I sit in the waiting room for hours, listening to elevator music."

Bullhorn: "But if you accept one of our free tanks we will send volunteers to your house to fix it for free while you sleep!"

Buyer: "Stay away from my house, you freak!"

Bullhorn: "But..."

Buyer: "Can't you see that everyone is buying station wagons?"

In the Beginning was the Command Line, Neal Stephenson.

Needed an operating system for a laptop.  Grabbed the latest Ubuntu, installed and ...

I had me a working computer without a lot of fussing around, no screwing around with drivers, or software .. it just works.  Wireless, power management, all functional.  I was expecting a bit of a tussle, a minor headache: the only thing I did 'after market' was to install SSH, Ruby, Rails, SQLite.  Copied some scripts over from my Mac that I use to launch SSH and RDP connections at work.

I continue to be amazed that people put up with having to pay big bucks for an operating system. 

Apart from parting with cash, paying for anti-malware and anti-virus software, BSODs: what are they getting for that?

[1] In this metaphor, the Linux operating system is a tank.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


The grandchild's coordination is coming along.  He's progressed from smashing his hands on his face

 Conner having a coordination problem

To getting fingers in his mouth

Yum, fingers.

Yummy, yummy, baby fingers.

Ugly joke, free speech

Here is the thing;

A guy I know cracked an ugly joke, after Gabrielle Giffords was shot. Various people in the small pond of the comic book world turned that mole-hill into a mountain, the cops were called in, a boycott was called, it was - and remains - a huge pile of higgidly-piggidly.

Check this out: the cops suspended his firearms license, confiscated his guns. Smeared his name in the news. Trampled all kinds of civil rights. Over a joke.

I don't hold with what he said. I support to death his right to say it.


You are a high-maintenance money pit with feathers

From McSweeney's 'Dear Amazon Parrot I Have Been Supporting for Over 15 Years Who Still Tries to Bite Me for No Apparent Reason'

For an embarrassing number of years, I carefully repeated the same simple words and phrases, always hoping that someday you might repeat them back to me. One morning I would be preparing your usual gigantic breakfast assortment of tropical fruits, whole-grain toast points, and pricey organic cereals, when a wee voice would issue from your little feathered head and you would finally say to me, "You're such a pretty bird! I love you, pretty bird!" That was my dream.

Instead, over a decade later, you have apparently learned only three vocalizations: the cackling laugh of an evil hag (a sarcastic parody of my own innocent laughter?); a tuneless steam-whistle sound rising in pitch like an engine about to explode; and your favorite, the sudden, high-decibel bloodcurdling scream.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

There is a hole in the bucket, dear Liza

My main computer has developed an annoying "bzz grind bbzzzzzz grind bzzzzz" noise under the keyboard. Bad fan? Failing hard drive? I only ride 'em, I don't know what makes 'em work. [1]

Just in case it's a worst-case scenario [2] I'm watching gigabytes of data slowly filter to an external hard drive and thinking a) I really should be in bed and b) I should have backed up more often.

[1] I work in IT, you'd think I would know. But, it's true: last time I touched a the inside of a laptop was 1999 and I didn't like dealing with the fiddly damned things when I was being paid to do it.

Take it to the shop? This booger is long out of warranty, it's depreciated, the cost of fixing it would not be economical.

[2] I've got options. At my left elbow is a laptop running a kissing cousin of OS X, FreeBSD. The Mac goes phht, I cuss a little, crank up the Thinkpad and I'm back in business.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Connor Meet Dog - Bella

I am biased.  But I know my grandchildren are adorable.

Connor you've met.  And now, so has Gunther the Dachshund.

 Connor Gunther

And this is Bella.  She's not official family, yet.  And so what?  She's a grandchild in my heart, where it counts.

Family is who loves you, not a function of DNA.

Bella The Viking