August 19, 2005


You have to HAVE them to see if you WANT them, right? posted by Jess

Some people just aren't sure they want something. They have to have some of it to see if they want it.

Like myself.

For instance, sometimes I'm not sure if I want to eat potato chips or not. So I'll take out the bag and start eating to figure it out. I may eat a few and say, 'nope. I really don't want these.' I may eat a bowl and decide I do want them. And sometimes, it can take up to a half a bag to really see if I want them or not.

Matt can't understand this, I don’t know what's wrong with him.

August 10, 2005


Payback is a bitch posted by Matt

Jess’s parents have recently purchased a new computer and it came with a DVD burner. Jess’s dad has been converting old childhood movies of Jess and her brother into mpegs and last night, Jess and I were at the island in our kitchen watching a couple of them. Well, during this time, we were also having a conversation about the movies, laughing at certain parts and the whole time we were paying absolutely zero attention to Reboot. It seems that Reboot did not like being left out of the movie watching.

It used to be you would be going about your business and whack, you just got kicked in the leg by a dog who wants to play. She must have learned from past experiences that coming up and kicking us did not have the desired effect since every time she did it she got “the look” and a few scornful words. During last nights escapades, she just sat there for the 10 minutes we were watching the movies, staring at us longingly, whining and groaning to try and get our attention. After we were done watching the movies, I squatted down and had a few words with my “bold little puppy”. (quick aside: In first grade, Mrs. Morgan told me I was a “very bold boy” for not listening to her. So what if I was trying to start fires in the leaves at the back of the field at recess and she told me not to… I didn’t see a problem with it).

It was a calm conversation but she knew she was wrong. For the first minute, she couldn’t look at me. I believe it went something like “So what was all that whining about? When mommy and daddy are busy, you do not interrupt us with irritating whining. We know you're there and we take care of you when we are finished. Well at least you didn’t kick us.” Jess chimed in with the “Wow, she knows she is in trouble. She’s not even looking at you.” After a few more words with my dog I stood up and realized she now thought it was time for a treat. When she gets reprimanded for doing something wrong, we always try to end it on a happy note to show her we are no longer mad at her.

I seized the opportunity. For the next 5-10 minutes I made Reboot stick by my side. Not a heal type stay by my side, just a lackadaisical meandering type where she is free to roam as long as she stays close. I brought her with me downstairs while I had Jess hide a flavored rawhide treat beside the love seat. Jess then came downstairs and don’t be fooled, Reboot knew immediately there was a treat somewhere. These are amongst some of her favorite treats and the smell which her keen nose picked up when Jess walked in perked her right up.

We all went back upstairs after moving over the laundry but did she get to "find her treat”? Of course not! For the next two minutes, I continued to do stuff around the kitchen while Jess set up Mario Party. Reboot just sat there waiting for permission to go find her treat. After about another minute of silence, I squatted down again and began a new conversation with her (not really a conversation, I answered all my own questions… well almost all of em). “So Reboot, feeling a bit irritated? How did you like spending the last ten minutes or so knowing that there was a treat that you really want inches away and you just had to sit there and do nothing? Are you going to irritate us again with your whining or are you going to sit there patiently like a good dog and wait? Would you like to find your treat?” At this she didn’t know what to do. I didn’t say “go find your treat”, I asked her if she wanted to. She did her best to say yes, and me, realizing this, made her wait at least another 30 seconds to drive home my point. She was beginning an excited wiggle, her head was bobbing up and down, and little woofs were escaping to say what I only could assume was either “Yes, I want my treat” or “You insufferable bastard, why do you torture me so?! Just let me get my treat already!”. She tried to sneak off but immediately sat back down when Jess and I both said she did not have permission to get up. With a look in her eyes, I said one word… “Irritated?”. She didn’t know what to do. With an “Ok, go find your treat” she was off and the treat was tracked down in a matter of seconds.

So, some may say I'm strange for being "one of those people who talks to their pets like their people” but I think it is just that that made Reboot into what she is today. We always tell her what we are doing, where we are going and as a result she has learned how to construct sentences. We can put some key phrases together like “Reboot, time to go outside to hurry up and pee before you have to come inside and guard the house”. She knows "hurry up and pee” means to do just that. Stop the smelling of the roses and just do it. She knows “go outside”… what dog doesn’t? and she knows “guard the house” which means she is going to be left alone for a period of time and won’t be able to go out.

I wouldn't trade Reboot for the world. She is one of the best dogs I have ever known and it is not just because she is my dog. You need to meet Reboot to fully understand that she has some qualities you just don't normally see. She surprises us all the time with her ability to adjust and adapt to any situation, her awareness to know just how rough or gentle she can play and her constant alertness taking in all of her surroundings. We talk to her like a person, not because we are daft, we do it out of respect.

After coming up with the title for the blog last night, another thought came to me before I began typing this up. Wouldn’t it be funny to have a dog and name her “Payback”. People will give you the strangest looks when you introduce her. “Payback? That is an interesting name. Why would you name your dog 'Payback’?” And you get to reply with, “Well, she’s a bitch”

I crack me up :-P Goofiness? What goofiness? There is not an ounce of goofiness returned to this site.

August 08, 2005


Fridgidivining - Even more chilling then the last posted by Matt

I would like to take a brief moment and discuss the neglected freezer. What can we learn here? To the untrained eye, nothing, but to the experienced fridgidiviner, on can learn even more. Take for instance stacks of store bought meat. An untrained eye may just pass right by it, but the diviner will look at the sell by date. Steak to be sold by January 2004? Why save it for so long? Was it a really good steak that deserves a momentous occasion to be thawed? Are the owners vegetarian and the steak, like a 6 pack of hard lemonade, it just in stock for someone else?

The art of divining must take more into account. If you’re looking in the freezer, unless you’re a burglar looking for some cold cash, you most likely know the owner. Are they a vegetarian? There is one avenue that can be followed or bypassed. You must narrow down your information to become a diviner extraordinaire.

So onward with our deeper look into the fridgidiviner. The freezer also contains a couple of ice trays and a container for ice cubes. Are the ice trays full? Is the container full? Does an ice tray have only one ice cube left or is it empty? From this we can determine if the freezer is just a storage place for two trays “because that’s where they go” or an actual ice cube factory. The container can shed even more light (even though the freezer does not have an automatic light like its partner) because if it is full, the trays are basically breeding grounds for ice cubes and almost always full themselves. The owner just reaches into the container when they need ice and when it gets low, they empty the trays into them and refill to birth the new cubes in a matter of hours.

Then, of course, there are the freezers with the built in ice makers. A convience that can fork the divination. A built in ice maker provides for a reasonable amount of ice at any given time but do the owners like to party, just plain ol’ lazy or did they just get it because it was an extra 50 bucks? The built in ice maker can cause false predictions and should be approached very carefully.

Amongst the ice and piles of meat, there are also a bunch of silver bundles. These are the mystery wraps of food that could be labeled but are most likely not. What could be in these packages? Sometimes the shapes give it away, that cylindrical shape over there looks like a stack of burgers, those over there look like hot dogs and that blob of once malleable meat now dented ever so precisely by a box of Hot Pockets (Hot Pockets ® is a registered trademark of Nestle USA.) could have been chicken.

The Hot Pockets, or even other easy to make meals, shed more light on the owner. Just how much of it do they have? Do they have dozens of Hungry Man dinners (Hungry-Man ® is a registered trademark of Pinnacle Foods Corporation) or maybe just one or two tv-dinner type meals. A full freezer could suggest they don’t like to cook and you should be wary of anything they take off the stove, or it could also just mean they work their butt off all week and can’t be bothered cooking.

There are many more chilling discoveries that await the fridgidiviner and they are but a few steps away. What have you found out lately?

August 07, 2005


Fridgidivining posted by Jess

I would like to introduce you all to the art of Fridgidivining.

Fridgidivining involves divining information about one's personalities, likes, dislikes, and general traits based on the contents of their refrigerator at any given moment.

For example, here's what a professional fridgidiviner might say about my fridge at the moment:

"A ½ gallon of milk can look ordinary to the untrained eye. But what the unsuspecting doesn’t realize is that the expiration date of the milk has met its maker long ago. An act of laziness to not remove it? Forgetfulness? And why was it not drunk? Are the owners not particularly health-conscious?

I sense a longing to learn new things...to explore new horizons... an insatiable curiosity. This sensing mostly comes from the realization that the back of the fridge yields several incredibly curious-looking science projects carefully concealed in their Tupperware igloos until the study is up. 'Leftovers', you say? Hardly! There are far too many containers to possibly be leftovers. They simply must be there for some higher purpose.

A six-pack of Mike's Hard Lemonade suggests a love of sweet drinks, as one would want to keep a fridge stocked with things they like. Again, to the untrained eye, I say 'pshaw!' The six-pack is complete, none have been drunk. A dislike of sweet drinks, most likely. In-stock for someone else, perhaps?

I saw the hummus and edamame on the right as I opened the door. Immediately I thought, 'worldly, in a swanky, sexy, healthy sort of way.' Then I saw the diet soda, chocolate sauce, caramel dip, and cookie dough mix and thought, 'they’re not fooling anyone.'

Hmmm… a fridge containing more condiments than fruit, meat, or basic meals alone is not natural. In fact, looking closely, I'm not seeing much actual food here. These are fly-by-night people! They’re probably not that organized. But once they get the meal, with this arsenal, it will probably taste really, really good.

This is a peaceful household. The fridge gives me good vibes. Except – I sense tension. See the butter and margarine? They are both here! A most unusual turn of events... I sense indecisiveness... an unwillingness to concede. See, come here and look closer - note how one stick has been sliced at the ends, while the other one has been slowly shaved off the top over time? See how one has crumbs in it, while the other remains pristine? Someone clearly has cross-condiment contamination issues.

Ah, real maple syrup. Classy."

July 17, 2005


"The Death Star is fully operational..." posted by Jess

One of the neat things about both Matt and myself being computer geeks is that we can tell each other about the projects we're both working on, and we can actually understand and even help each other out.

But it's the coding dilemmas, bugs, or extra special development challenges that we really talk about, mainly because we both can understand and appreciate the feeling of accomplishment once it has been solved.

Over time, our emails helping each other out or just listening have yielded a language of their own, mostly from movie quotes.

For example, Matt and I both know when the other is working on a grueling programming/application project. Maybe it's not working, or maybe it's just taking a long time. However, all it takes is one simple voice mail message, text page, or email with one line for a progress report that it’s working and time for celebration:

"The Death Star is fully operational!"

Here's some more and what they mean:

"Don't move until you see it... it's 10 moves away, but don't move until you see it!" - Searching for Bobby Fischer
This one is used when we're playing a game together that involves some sort of puzzle solving, and the other person has already figured it out. Both of us hate being given the answer, we like figuring it out on our own! But, if we need a little help, it's nice to know that at least one of us can solve it.

"Frosted Flakes!" - Tony the tiger
This one's used, surprisingly, if something's GREAT!

"Orange whip (pointing at someone)? Orange whip? (pointing at someone else) Three orange whips!" - The Blues Brothers
Pointing at people, whenever a count of who wants anything is involved!

"Magnavox"
Remember that old ad campaign of Magnavox? Smart. Really Smart. So if someone did or said something clever, that's the answer.

"Oh, I get it, stars above!" -Kung Pow, Enter the Fist
When something becomes clear and all of a sudden the pieces make sense. This is from a very funny scene in Kung Pow when the main character is begging a character for help, and is given a cryptic answer, "it's in the stars above". When he asks what the cryptic answer means, he's told "it's a riddle, doofus, it's not supposed to make sense now! So in the end, when you finally DO get it, you'll say, 'oh yeah, stars above, I get it!'

What are some of your phrases for certain things?

April 30, 2005


Towel Anyone? posted by Matt

Yesterday was an interesting day. At work, we just got a new storage server that holds 8.8 terabytes of data. The interesting part was it did so by having 42 hot swappable hard drives contained within it. Any other day I would have said “cool” but the significance of the 42 on opening day of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy just gave it more meaning. Jess & I have been looking forward to the movie for a long time. We planned on going to see it opening day but we didn’t know when. There was talk at my office about an “offsite meeting” at the cinema as well as talk amongst our friends about going at night. With the offsite meeting falling through, it was going to have to be at night. Our friends, Bill & April, also wanted to go so we found a time that worked for both of us. The time of the movie was 10:10 PM so Jess & I had some time to spare.

We called in an order to D’Angelo’s for a steakbomb and a chicken stir-fry pocket and on our way to pick it up, we stopped off at Strawberries to pick up the full set of the Firefly series. Jess had been reading her daily dose of blogs and found one that had this link. In typical Jess fashion, she did her research and found out Firefly was yet another series Fox destroyed (see Greg the Bunny and Roar for a few others). That alone suggests it would be good. Anyway, we get home with the food and Firefly and get ready to watch the first episode. But there was a problem, the chicken stir-fry pocket is a steak and cheese sub. By now it is 7:00 and we don’t have time to go back and get the right order so we just dealt with it. Besides, we were looking forward to watching Firefly. The first episode ended (it was a two hour pilot) and we grabbed our towels and headed out to the movie.

We got to the theater at 9:20, got our tickets, I played Time Crisis 3 and then Jess & I sat down to wait for Bill and April. A long time ago, Bill used to operate on “BST” which was Bill Standard Time. Even though we can’t remember the last time he was late, I doubt we will ever forget BST. BST was defined as ST + log(BQ) = AT where ST = Suggested Time, BQ = Bill Quotient and AT is Arrival Time. Once again, defying BST, Bill showed up promptly at 9:30 as we agreed to, and he even made sure to point to his watch in a “See! I CAN be on time” manner.

We went to claim our seats and then Bill and I went back out to get some refreshments. I had a bunch of quarters in my pocket so what were we to do? Back to Time Crisis of course! After one game, we figured we better get back. We went to the concession stand and got what we needed (there was no line, nor was the ever one) and when we got back to the girls, we of course complained about the long wait at the counter (good cover for the video game playing). The movie began and the first 30 minutes were great. Then I fell asleep and woke up 10 minutes before it ended. It was a crazy day but you know what? Douglas Adams was right. A towel is the most massively useful item an interstellar hitchhiker can have, and it goes without saying a late night movie goer as well. It made a great pillow. No, the movie was not bad, but my battle with my eyelids was a losing one. I guess I should have checked with orders logged in the back of my head hours before the movie stating my eyes will close promptly at quarter to 11. Had I, I could have filed a petition by drinking a red bull :-) So, does anyone wanna go see movie?


By the way: That Greg the Bunny link, if you pay close attention, you will see Count Blah flipping you off :-) Or maybe it’s a little “F.U.” from the creators to Fox?

April 18, 2005


Is Infinity equal to One? posted by Matt

Things are changing and I am happy to say that in the way of funny insults, I am finally getting an equal (no I’m not the best, just that I was better then Jess. Seems that she always becomes better then me at a lot of things, but that is another story). It used to be that Jess was always the brunt of my insults and jokes but now, the tables are turning. I must say that since Jess has started working on her own, she is much happier and as every day goes by, it just gets better. You don’t see the changes on an every day basis but then one day she just takes you completely off guard.

Last night was the perfect example. Instead of me being the initiator, she was. She laid into me because, apparently, I waved my arms about complaining that she asked me to take too many things down to the basement. With her best impersonation of a fool waving his arms around, she danced around the kitchen repeating what I had said. It was humiliating and rewarding all at once. Humiliating because I realized she was making fun of me and rewarding because “she started it”. I was more in awe then anything. So, here is my best recollection of the play by play.

I got up from the couch to go change my laundry over and picked up the wrench and tape measure to bring down to the basement (Jess had asked me to bring them down when I changed over my laundry. In my opinion, I deserve points for just remembering). Now here is when things went sour. I had the bright idea to say “Honey, is there anything else that needs to go down to the basement?” Well that just opened the door and Jess replied with “Can you bring the floor mats downstairs and put them in the wash?” So what do I do? I put down the wrench and tape measure to pick up the mats and then bring them downstairs. What did I forget? The wrench and tape measure! So I come back up from putting the mats in the wash and my clothes in the dryer. Jess comes back out to the kitchen to get a drink of water and she picks up the wrench and just holds it up. My first reaction was to be on the defensive. “You distracted me” (tried to somehow turn it around and put the blame on her but it backfired). Jess ran around the kitchen waving her arms around like a moron repeating “You distracted me”. My first reaction was humiliation because I did NOT remember flailing my arms as if I got electrocuted (It was most likely an over emphasis by Jess) but what made me smile was the realization that she was getting better at the insults.

I looked at her and said “Isn’t it fun?” With a big grin on her face she said “I got 10 years to make up for” so I poked her in the stomach. She poked me back and said “I poke you infinity.” I did the typical poke back to “infinity plus one” but then came Jess’s rebuttal poke with “I poke you infinity times infinity. In fact infinity to the infinity-ith power. And there is no beating that.” Well, what can I do, there is “no beating it”. But then it there was the revelation. I seem to remember that in school, we learned that the only number you could raise to itself and get itself was one. In true geek format, the paper was out and we were calculating... But what do you get if you raise infinity to the infinity-ith power? Infinity! Just a new one for us to ponder. Any insight?

April 01, 2005


New IBM server guarantees 100% uptime / AltaVista adds new translation to BabelFish posted by Jess

New IBM server guarantees 100% uptime

IBM, in a bold announcement this morning, has announced that it has finally achieved 100% server uptime, guaranteed. What is this amazing technology? Eliminate the server completely.

"If it doesn't exist, than it can't go down," explained IBM's head of development, after extensive testing. "100% uptime achieved." She agreed to this interview while simultaneously pouring champagne for a long-awaited toast of this momentous occasion. "Our clients have spoken. 99.9999% from the iSeries just isn't good enough. It was that last .000000001 percent that kept us up at night. And now we've solved it with the IBM Global Unified NoSeries.

Coming up with the idea was easy", she explained, "hearing all the same jokes over and over again wasn't." When pressed for an explanation, she argued. "Remember in 7th grade algebra, when you first discovered the 'imaginary number', and then tried using the old 'my homework's imaginary too…' line? Picture seventy-five percent of your employee base cracking the same joke simultaneously about work. Not funny."

IBM US has already put in place a migration procedure for all its 300,000 employees to move to the new server. They've all been given a GMail account for email. Their large, overhead-filled accounting packages will be replaced by PayPal, and instant messaging technologies will be replaced by AOL Instant Messenger by late afternoon.

IBM stock soared late this morning as news of the announcement spread the globe. IBM Global Unified NoSeries Express is also available for Small Businesses. This option gives users 10M Hotmail accounts instead of the roomier GMail, and instructions on how to use "Net Send" for instant messaging.

A patent is currently pending.

Corporate speak now an inter-departmental language translation option on AltaVista’s BabelFish.

This new language addition came as a result of demand from ongoing market research. The Sunnyvale, California company AltaVista had long been deciding what language to choose as it's next addition of it's impressive list of invaluable language translation features known as BabelFish.

After long boardroom meetings and thousands of dollars on market research, AltaVista employers came to the unanimous decision after they themselves needed to create the software just so they could understand the results of the market research given to them by the hired consulting company.

"Apparently they were trying to talk to us about their interpretations of the results", said one employee of AltaVista. "We knew it had taken them awhile to get back to us, so we asked why. They started going on about how they had a lot on their plate, and had been trying to keep us in the loop and ping us occasionally about it, but someone over there had dropped the ball. To this day, we still really don't know what language their research indicated we should attack next."

Now that the employees of AltaVista have built their addition to BabelFish, servers have been overloaded as harried employees rush to find out what their corporate managers have been telling them all along.

As for the outside consulting market research company that has not been identified, employees at AltaVista can finally reply to them: "FYI: we apparently aren't on the same page here, but we'll keep you on our radar screen should something come up."

April-fools-2005-Babel-Fish.gif

Inspired by this thread over at NotesTips...

April Fool's 2004 - Blog Trackbacks Create Digital Cartel
April Fool's 2003 - C++ Under Trademark Infringement on School Grading System

March 29, 2005


My blog got reviewed! posted by Jess

A new blog in RI consists of marketing tips. I’m still not really sure who runs it, but it’s not really that important to the story here. As one of his blogs (I do know it’s a 'he', but it will all make sense later!), he reviewed the advertising potential of the blogs.

As a starting point to find some local blogs, he headed to SNEBloggers.com, (Southern New England bloggers) and picked five blogs to review, mine included.

As my favorite comedian Mitch Hedberg did on his site when he released his first CD, I would now like to review his review.

"Briefly, I'll review the premise: these reviews examine area blogs to determine what value they might have to advertisers, and what types of businesses might use them."

I don’t think I'd be keen on advertising on this site. While I'm not going to rule it out, at the moment I've got no desire at all for that.

Each of this edition's five entries will include the blog's pluses, minuses, what types of businesses might want to advertise with them, and an overall "ad-worthiness" ranking of 1 to 5. I can't emphasize enough that I'm not judging these blogs on innate quality, just on their advertising potential. The randomly chosen blogs might not have any desire to include advertisements, and if so, they can feel free to denounce me to the blogosphere.

With a statement that like sir, I would never denounce you to the blogosphere, rather I will now profess my respect to you. Nicely done!

After going through a bunch of blogs that aren't mine...

An interesting personal blog with a good dose of computer talk mixed in, the site is ostensibly co-written by a husband and wife team.

Geez. In one sentence, he managed to say what I've been trying to figure out the best way to put it for years.

However, it took me ten minutes to find an article written by Matt, leaving me to figure that Jess, much like my wife, is firmly in charge. (Something about us whipped Rhode Island husbands...)

Yeah, it takes us about ten minutes, too. At least he gave us a couple articles a few weeks ago. Here's hoping they continue! And, as we like to laugh, (or at least I do, now that I think of it), Matt's not whipped because I say he's not. Got it?

Pluses: The site has a lot of content, whether you just like a humorous look at women and sci-fi or something more technical. The writing is good, the formatting is good, and the use of pictures breaks up the text nicely. The gaming section has good advertising potential.

Wow, those are a lot of pluses. Again, nixing the advertising potential, at least he found the gaming section.

Minuses: It's a personal blog, which has its drawbacks, and a lot of the technical content will only have a limited appeal.

Well, the technical content will have a limited appeal to technical people. Um, I'm pretty sure that's the point.

Will Appeal to: Technies, gamers, whipped husbands. Local computer and video game stores would be the most likely advertisers.

Yup, see, I was right! Though I said technical people, not "technies". He makes it sound like a derogatory word. And it will appeal to whipped husbands if they are allowed to read it, remember.

Overall Advertising Potential: 3 out of 5. This is pretty good for a personal blog...just goes to show you that good writing and a specific focus counts for a lot.

Again with the "good writing" bit. This guy's OK in my book! Er, blog.

Overall Reviewing Potential: 4 out of 5. This is pretty good for a personal blog review. It just goes to show that telling the author they write well counts for a lot.

March 14, 2005


Gretchen Wilson's High-Tech Woman. Er, what? posted by Jess

I warned you I spent a lot of time in the car. I was listening to Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman" the other day while cruising down the highway. In honor of all the gender discussions lately, I thought it would be fun to celebrate us techy ladies for once...

Remember, you've been warned!

Sung to the tune of Gretchen Wilson's Redneck Woman: Click for original lyrics

Well I ain't never been the baby doll type
No, I can't bear to be called vain, I'd rather type code all night.
In a chat room, or in on a message board, or fragging you while playing Quake,
I've got posters on my wall of an old sci-fi remake.
Some people look down on me, but I don't give a rip.
I'll stand Doc Martened right by my PC with a big hoop in my lip!

'cause I'm a high-tech woman
I run on high-speed baud
I create products from my source code
And I'll use Firefox and Opera
And I keep my old Atari on
My TV all year long
Just so I can keep on playing old school games like Pong!
So here's to all my sisters out there keeping it geeky,
Let me get a big "woot, yeah" from the high-tech girls like me, woot, yeah!

Dell and HP, well their stuff's real nice.
Oh, but I can build the same damn thing from my spare parts for half price
And it still looks sexy, just as sexy, as those models on TV
No I don't need no designer brand to overclock my PC!
Well you might think I'm dainty, just part of the décor,
But in the room where we play Doom, I just beat your high score!

'cause I'm a high-tech woman
I run on high-speed baud
I create products from my source code
And I'll use Firefox and Opera
And I keep my old Atari on
My TV all year long
And I know all the words to every Monty Python song!
So here's to all my sisters out there keeping it geeky,
Let me get a big "woot, yeah" from the high-tech girls like me, woot, yeah!

Well I'm a high-tech woman
I run on high-speed baud
I create products from my source code
And I'll use Firefox and Opera
And I keep my old Atari on
My TV all year long
And I can watch my movies in DTS mode all night long!
So here's to all my sisters out there keeping it geeky,
Let me get a big "woot, yeah" from the high-tech girls like me, woot, yeah!

March 09, 2005


Bloggification Proclamation posted by Matt

Well, I never really blog so along with my thoughts of renaming this site to www.jessAndWhereTheHellIsMatt.net, I would like to bring in a few thoughts. There are so many I don’t know where to begin. I guess I should start by explaining why the posts from me are as frequent as Haley's comet. It is not that I lack the ideas for blogs, on the contrary, I have had many ideas but they come to me late at night or while lying in bed. I know they are good because Jess and I can’t stop laughing about them or just being amazed at the epiphanies. Come sunrise, however, the effect is gone and so is some of the context.

So why the sudden change in my bloggification? Well, I guess I am still in a bit of a semi-vacation mode. Jess and I were in Orlando for the past few days for the American College of Cardiology convention (sorry Joe, Shirley and Julian for not getting in touch but we had no time). Not really a vacation for either of us but a nice get-away from the cold up here. For those who don’t know, I am the lead engineer on a software product called the Encompass Review Station (ERS). In simple terms, it is a piece of software that cardiologists can use to review and diagnose images of patients.

With that said, there are 2 things I would like to bring up. One is the ability for just about everyone to read the “jessAndWhereTheHellIsMatt” mentioned above. This was a topic that came up in Florida. Since most of us are programmers or have seen some sort of code, you can (hopefully) easily break it out into “Jess and where the hell is Matt”. ifNotPleaseSkipToTheNextParagraphAsThisOneIsOverYourHead. So the topic of conversation was “why is it that programmers don’t capitalize the first word?” The short and long of it (Get it??? that’s my bad programmer joke of the day people) is, in my opinion, is we got tired of pressing the shift key. Hell it is one more key press! It's funny to put it in perspective with ERS because doctors don’t use variable names but instead want the most direct route to reviewing a patient. This means to analyze and diagnose in the shortest amount of mouse clicks while interacting with our software. In efforts to accommodate this, we have provided a lot of automation for the doctors in our software. It sounds kind of silly that one more mouse click is the make it or break it of this type of software but I heard it a lot at the convention. Just like one more key press for us programmers. Of course there are the acronym or obscure variable names following the philosophy of “if the code was hard to write, it should be hard to read”. Any veteran programmer will tell you that adopting that mentality, though perfectly fine in the beginning, bites you in the butt 3 years later when you need to fix a bug in the code.

The real impetus for this blog however was an email I received when I sat down in my cubicle today. It was from Nigel Deed. No, I don’t expect you to know him, I don’t either. My finger was inches from the delete key when I realized, why should I waste my energy with an extra key stroke :-P Actually, I thought it was part of my regular inundation of spam in the morning until I saw first that it was properly formatted, addressed to me and had a link to www.mattandjess.net (or is that www.mattAndJess.net???) In it he pointed out a very interesting fact. Not to ruin the surprise, I instead request that you go to Google and search on “hamlet soliloquoy” without the quotes. (or just click this link and I will save you a few key strokes)

With that, I'm off. I blog ya in another year and a half, or less, check back to find out :-)

Jess here - clickTheExtendedEntryToSeeTheAnswer.

Jess here!
I figured out the answer, and I didn't realize how funny that was until Nigel was kind enough to point it out, and then Matt pointed it out to me.

Here's the screenshot:

badspellersuntie.gif

We went into Google and typed in "Hamlet Soliloquoy" (without the quotes). The first result was my site. The excerpt from my site is text saying "You go to a search engine such as Google. In the search query box, you type in "Hamlet Soliloquoy" without the quotes. It's a home run!"

There's gotta be a rhetoric term for that somewhere... basically I just explained exactly what someone had to do to read what I wrote.

Anyway, back to the original topic, these are the epiphanies that Matt and I have on a nightly basis. Something interesting that makes us look at each other and crack up. When we finally stop laughing, we say "that is REALLY cool!"

Actually, here's what REALLY made us laugh. Yes, I spelled 'soliloquy' wrong, and that's what made my site number 1. (the Internet for Beginners links get a lot of hits). But please note the quick links at the top, most notably, "Dictionary" and "Google".

Sigh.

Bad spellers of the world, untie.

March 07, 2005


Beck's new song posted by Jess

The extremely talented and severely underrated artist Beck has a new song out. It's rough, it's edgy, it's going to be released on March 29, and it's called.... drumroll...

"E-Pro."

So Libby, if your E-Pro referrer logs show a lot of young people searching for "E-Pro" and "downloads", unfortunately, they may not be the aspiring Lotus Professionals we hope for. :-D

February 14, 2005


Women – The Real Sci-Fi Special Effects Pioneers posted by Jess

Let's face it. Science fiction movies usually have a generous sprinkling of special effects, outrageous costumes and cool robot-cyborg type characters. But I'd like to pause and take a moment to honor the ladies, for whom I am about to prove that I believe is where the REAL inspiration for sci-fi came from.

Remember the Cylon Raiders from Battlestar Galactica? Have you ever seen a woman at a wedding? You can see our eyes sliding back and forth at everything, over and over and over again. Taking it all in...getting ideas....filing them away for later. It's a most unusual phenomenon.

Just like the makeup artists did for the movie Thinner, women have been achieving fake cheekbones for centuries – just add some light blush over the cheekbones, and dark colors in the hollow of your cheek. Instant no-workout weight-loss.

Who needs to spend thousands of dollars on secret training rooms with fencing to improve hand-eye coordination? Women have been long improving their dexterity by learning how to polish one’s opposite handedness nail, and hair dry the other side of their head.
Secret training room, complete with tools and henchmen: Millions of dollars.
Con-Air ionic hair dryer and Opi's nail color "Wyatt Earple Purple": $40. Need I say more?

Digital compositing is the process of putting together multiple images to make one final image. Again, let's go over these logistics. The first magazine was the New York Post, first published in 1821. The first issue of Cosmopolitan came out in 1886. By means of comparison, the first issue of Time Magazine came out in 1923. But I digress...
The Spring Collection: Prada shoes, page 24. Dolce and Gabbana handbag, page 59.
It didn’t take us long to figure out that if you rip out both pages, buy them all together and wear them at the same time, you're achieving a desired result of large-scale glamour. And, like digital compositing, this element is also the biggest drain on the budget.

Okay, I'll admit that I'm sure the idea of morphing as a special effect wasn't created by women, but rather by men because of women. By morphing, I mean turning one form into another. A human becomes a vampire, a human becomes a metallic robot, etc. The idea actually came about by the reverse, really. Men were long fascinated with the idea that a woman can disappear into a bathroom in the morning looking like a vampire, or werewolf, or some other form of heinous jabberwocky, and then the door would open and she would emerge a stunning beauty. It wasn't long before it was realized that stopping the film when she went into the bathroom and restarting the film when she emerged would create the illusion of instantaneous change. No one had to know there was a two hour time difference. This is where the process of stop-time photography really came from.

Forget the Hobbits. Women have been using forced perspective tricks for years to make themselves appear taller, not limited to standing a few feet behind our husbands for pictures, and jamming our sensitive feet into size 5 ½ heels while simultaneously teasing our hair. In fact, loud earrings and hairstyles have many times been credited as a misdirection trick while the woman walks down the street on the sidewalk, while her husband walks on the street.

Miss Cleo vs. John Edwards. Proving you don’t have to have a handsome face to make a lot of money as a psychic; just really, really annoying television ads.

Who do you think came up with Rosie, the maid from the Jetsons?
Here's some proof that it's entirely possible for a robot to have huge hips and still get the job done.

Let’s talk about talking cars for a moment,
the most notorious of all being KITT, the know-it-all and sometimes attitudinal Trans-Am from Knight Rider. If we can assume the car can drive itself, we can therefore deduct that it can also park itself. Now who do you think came up with THAT idea?

Still, even with that all said, this is probably the most important lesson any woman can teach a sci-fi film creator. At the end of the day, no matter how big your budget is for makeup artists, special effects and fancy costumes, it still might flop without a compelling storyline, interesting character development and a splash of humor.

rosie.gif

January 16, 2005


20 cents for a flight change? posted by Jess

In trying to amend my mistake of leaving Thursday from Lotusphere, I decided to try and get a new flight out on Friday instead.

Southwest.com made it easy, and by the way, if you are in the Northeast, they are still running their $50/one way special.

Well, $50.20. But that's just on Friday, apparently.

At least that's what I found when I went to reconcile the ticket differences on checkout of changing my order online. I owed them a whopping $0.20. I had to put it on my AMEX.

Doesn't it cost a vendor about $.30 per transaction to allow a credit card to be used? Did Southwest Airlines just lose $0.10?

If I were management, I would at least make an executive decision that if the act of using the card would cost me money, I would say let's waive the fee. What's to gain? A happy customer. What's to lose? $0.10, at a minimum. Multiply that by at least one hundred other people, and they’ve just lost a thousand dollars.

And they wonder why the airline industry isn't doing well?

Now, here's the REAL kicker. It sure doesn't help matters to have something like this happen, and to be a programmer to boot (as usual, pun very much intended).

In fact, I'm sure I'm thinking the same thing you are right now.

"Just one line of code!!! One line!"

And thanks, Ed, for suggesting I write about it. :-)

December 17, 2004


Jess's List of Christmas Song Superlatives 2004 posted by Jess

The Holiday season brings good tidings, yule logs, and oodles of radio stations that completely forgo their usual programming to bring us 24 hours of holiday accompaniment.

I do like it, and in my car, the dial occasionally creeps over to these stations, because there are a lot of holiday songs that are really, really beautiful.

However, there are those *other* songs that I have completely mixed feelings about, and it seems they deserve their own category. So here it is, without further ado, Jess's List of Christmas Song Superlatives 2004:

1. Best Horns To Get Everyone Dancing:
Christmas Rapping by The Waitresses

2. Best Song To Get Your Butt Moving When it’s Christmas Eve And You Still Have Gifts To Get:
Run, Run Rudolph

3. Song I’d Most Love To Hear Redone By Danny Elfman:
O Holy Night

4. Song I'd Be So Thrilled If I Never Heard Again:
Tie! Twelve Pains of Christmas, or Band-Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas

5. Song With the Most Painfully Obvious Attempt At Glurge:
The Christmas Shoes

6. First and Most Famous Attempt at Modernizing a Christmas Carol:
Deck the Halls (1984), Manheim Steamroller

7. Most Evil Threatening-Sounding Christmas Carol:
The Carol of the Bells (1988), Manheim Steamroller

8. Song with the Most Misheard Lyric:
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Olive, the other reindeer)

9. Most Unforgettable Christmas Song Appearance in a Movie:
Deck the Halls in the Chinese restaurant, A Christmas Story

10. Best Use of Onomatopoeia in a Christmas Song When Sung By Many People Simultaneously:
"We wwwwwwsssshhhhh you a merry Christmas!"

(or, alternatively titled, Best Disappearance of a Vowel in a Christmas Carol When Sung By Many People Simultaneously)

November 19, 2004


Sno-Caps are NOT portable. posted by Jess

Among the other seemingly useless observations that pop out of my mouth from time to time, I had mentioned to Matt once that you never see Sno Caps anywhere but a movie theater.

Remembering this, he came home from work the other day with a box of said confections, plunking them down on the table and saying he found them at the grocery store.

We were enjoying them for a bit over a nice movie and a fire, when I happened to notice the words "On the go" on the top of the box.

DSC01515.JPE


Huh?

Besides the fact that the box doesn't close (see the picture. It doesn't even have those tabs like cereal boxes do), the candy itself is not necessarily filling enough to constitute wanting to take it with you in case you get hungry later. "Nothing like a nice Sno-Cap to take the edge off. " Hmmmm... Nope. Doesn't work.

On the back of the box, they have a "Questions or comments" number. So Matt called, because at this point, we really, really needed an answer for the reason to have an "On the go" slogan for candy that really isn't an on-the-go kind of candy.

After waiting on hold for a few minutes (is the Sno-Cap question hotline REALLY that popular?*) a woman answered the phone, and told Matt that she really had NO idea what the line meant either, and she was going to forward his question to the marketing department.

Bonus! To thank us for calling, she asked for our address so she could send us lots of free chocolate.

I still don't have my answer. But soon, all too soon, I'll have some delicious other Nestle products to make up for it.

I can live with that.


* No, the Sno-Caps questions are few and far between. Most people call Nestle for recipes, apparently.

November 08, 2004


I meet the best people in my job... posted by Jess

In addition to consulting for Lotus Notes/Domino, I also am kept extremely busy in my residential computer consulting business. My time per week is usually spent 40% Lotus work, 40% residential, and the remaining 20% are all marketing and bookkeeping*.

One of the reasons I love my job is because I get to spend time meeting new people, and then finding out how they are on subsequent visits. I love being a part of these people's lives, and I myself am richer for knowing them.

Among the highlights:**

  • During a lengthy check-disk operation, I commented to Karen about her Mini Cooper I saw in her driveway. More specifically, I asked how she liked it, as I was thinking of getting one. "The problem is," I had stated, "there aren't any dealers around here to test drive." Imagine my surprise when she hopped up, threw me the keys, and said "This is gonna take awhile, right?"***
  • Phone call: One teary bride-to-be, two hours away from her wedding ceremony. The problem? Her wedding vows were conveniently typed in a Word document, yet inconveniently password protected. As she hadn't touched the document since the engagement, the password was equally as inconveniently forgotten. I recovered the password, which was '1 2 3 4 5'. How convenient.
  • Upon talking to Mrs. Parker, who is about 86 years old and couldn't get online to play Bridge, I discovered she recently went to the doctor's office for her yearly appointment. Mrs. Parker was horrified that her doctor wanted to give her medications for her aches and pains. "I'm 86 years old! These kneecaps aren't new, you know. Are you telling me there's no wear and tear? They're supposed to be achy."
  • I visited Joyce and had several return visits, the ‘Illegal Operation’ messages were not going away no matter what I did. Joyce had a home office, and was distraught as she could get no work done. Finally, in an act of desperation, I asked to observe Joyce as she worked for a few minutes. As the windows flashed and the documents were opened, printed, and then closed (before they were even finished opening), sure enough, the confused, disoriented and maltreated computer responded the only way it knew how – by popping up the Illegal Operation box and promptly fainting. The only advice to Joyce I had was to tell her to stop working so hard.
  • And finally, Mrs. Shannon, the sweetest, kindest, most soft-spoken lady I’ve ever met, who preceded every single sentence with, "will there be a charge for this?" I sincerely wanted to say "No, not for you Mrs. Shannon, not ever." And if I didn't have to make a living doing this, I probably wouldn't have charged her.

* Bookkeeper. This is the only word in the English language that has three double-letters in a row. Don't say you never learned anything here. Or at least anything less useful than an average night of Jeopardy.

** All names have been changed. This IS Rhode Island.

*** Mini Cooper. Mmmmmmmmmm. Me want.

September 17, 2004


I've made it into a web comic! posted by Jess

So, I'm not usually quite so fresh. Actually, I'm NEVER fresh, but this one just happened to slip out. Bill was telling a story, and it went nowhere, and, well, I wisecracked. Luckily, everyone started roaring with laughter (most likely because I never say stuff like that). Coincidentally, Bill's wife April has her own web comic site, and does a comic about some of the more, brain-cell challenged things he/we say. Coy Comics/My Life With Scott #8.

So, she decided it was perfect, so now I can say I am part of a comic. Thanks April!

Oh, and be sure to read My Life With Scott # 5, in which we are introduced to "Scrabizzle". I had completely forgotten about that. We decided that to make Scrabble a bit more enjoyable, why not add a rule that if you can use it in a sentence, you can play it on the board?

April 10, 2004


D20 pendant - I LOVE being a geek. posted by Jess

02420F.gif

This will be mine someday. Oh yes. And I'll wear it proudly.

April 05, 2004


To Save or Not To Save? posted by Jess

That is the question. And when it pops up when you go to close a document that you've had open for about FOUR HOURS, don't you hate it when you can't remember if you intended to save it or not?

Case 1:
You save it, and you weren't supposed to. So you reopen the document, and discover that you're Pulitzer Prize-winning sentence was wiped out while you were on a conference call and needed a document open to type "capitalize" because someone asked you how to spell it and it's easier just to type it and see if it comes up red.

Case 2:
You cautiously said no to the save, not remembering what you did, only to discover that you just wiped out the one line of code that you've been beating yourself against the wall with all day.

The annoying thing is, at that point, usually it's too late to do a Save As. No, I've gone too far and must now commit to "Yes" or "No".

I just hope my brain works faster than my mouse finger.

CLICK

"@#%$#!"

April 03, 2004


Who needs a spa? Get a new cell phone. posted by Jess

Perhaps I've taken my love affair of 'always have something pretty in sight' too far.

Nah.

All day my cell phone rings, and I pick it up and answer. And then I open it again in the midst of a busy day to make a call. It could be raining, it could just be a really bad day.

What's a girl to do? Buy a new phone. Yes, I have gone off the deep end, and bought a new cell phone purely because of the sunflower wallpaper.

So now, whenever I open my cell phone, I can deep breath, and say "ahhhhhh...." ... even if only for a few moments until the craziness kicks in again.

DSC00977.jpg

On a side note, for $5/month, my Nextel gives me access to my Lotus Notes mail, contacts, and calendar. I've died and gone to heaven.

I didn't want to carry around a PDA *and* a cell phone, but I needed the ability to check my calendar while on the road to make appointments. This is perfect. (It definately wouldn't have been as nice without the new phone that was colorized and had a larger screen, beware.)

It can alert me when I get new email messages from either any new mail, or only from people I specify. Right now it's set to alert me when Matt sends me an email. ;-)

This way I get the best of both worlds. I get to look at a pretty sunflower, AND discover that my hubbie just wrote to say hi.

April 01, 2004


Blog Trackbacks create digital Cartel posted by Jess

April 1, 2004 – New York City, NY

Blog Trackbacking has taken a nasty, digital turn. It started when the owners of two blogs, "Life's a beach" and "Swimming with sharks" set their blog publishing programs to auto-ping trackback entries.

When the blog software discovered it did not need it’s user to post back to each other’s site, the bandwith started flying.

The owner of "Life's a beach" noticed one day that users were posting comments to a blog entry he did not remember writing. When asked why he did not immediately raise a red flag about the entry, he commented, "Well, the grammar and diction was actually much better than usual, so why complain? The amount of comments posted tripled overnight."

The topic of the blog was asking for advice on illegal activities such as money laundering, non-casino gambling, and drug shipping.

Said the owner of 'Swimming with sharks', "I think my blog saw frequent web use of the words 'syndicate' and 'traffic', and took it seriously. When I programmed the XML to syndicate itself, it was all over."

Over the next several months, the blog software pair decided to scrap the daily blogging, and instead went to join forces with other rogue blogs to create their own Wiki: ditch the stupid humans.

When asked why the owner of "Life's a beach" did not notice the deletion of the blog software on his own server, he replied, "Oh that stupid blog? I gave that up months ago. It got boring. Do I still have a web account? I’m not still paying for it, am I?"

Other blog users gave similar answers, not realizing their blog software had turned shady due to lack of interest anymore in returning to their own blogs. Many had not even gone back to their own to check to see if comments had been posted.

Said the President of Blogs R' Us, "This kind of thing happens every day. There's millions of abandoned blogs out there with their trackback auto-discovery still turned on. There just sitting there, watching, waiting. It’s only a matter of time…"

On a related note, the popular blog tracking service Daypop has changed it’s name to Datepop, after auto-trackback has romantically linked several blog owners who did not know they had so much in common until their auto-trackback discoveries were proving solid matches over the course of a year.

April 1, 2003

March 08, 2004


Call me Nynex. posted by Jess

"If it’s out there, it’s in here". No, silly, not the Yellow Pages. I’m talking about the Internet. And if it's out there, I’ll assume Google will find it.

You just gotta know how to look.

I've always enjoyed knowing that I can find the answer to anything I’m looking for on the Internet. I'm not about to start qualifying the validity of the answers I get, just that I get answers. As my brother once said, when I told him about eHow.com, "I could go there and tell the world how to perform a tracheotomy if I wanted to. It wouldn't be correct, but I could do it." We all know there's lots of crap on the Internet, I'll agree, and we'll move on.

I love being the person everyone comes to with questions.

"How do I find out if my MX records have propagated?"

"My friend sent me this email about HIV needles on gas pumps. Is that true?"

"Who’s playing at Lupo’s tonight?"

Not to mention I have my own silly arsenal of endless "how do they…", "what the heck is a...", "how long has THAT been…?"

Searching the web quickly is a skill I've acquired due to lots of practice*, and two factors without which I never could have done it: too much time spent surfing, and the rest of the time spent thinking up silly things I needed to find the answer to.

I'm not talking about professional trade questions, there are already places I can go to rely on the brilliance of others when I am stuck. It's an old friend, that which I would not be where I am without it.

I'm talking about the far greater pressing inconsistencies of life, that which we accept, but often stop to wonder about. It's those little details that nag at you long after the workday is done. How could you possibly have gotten through life without knowing? Before the Internet, one had to play Trivial Pursuit to find out the technicalities of how the Postal service works, how they get carbonated soda into cans without it overflowing, and my latest defeat: how did they install telephone wires across the ocean?

Yes, it is a sad, tragic, utter defeat.

I have looked. I have scoured. I have searched until I can search no more. I still do not have my answer. Are there piles of wires just sitting there at the bottom of the ocean? Is there just one wire? What if it breaks?

One day, I will find my answer, even if I have to read every last Trivial Pursuit card.

*The other part of the skill came into play when I discovered an amazing Internet-based game called, simply, The Stone. The Stone consists of a web site with a matrix of puzzles. The puzzles are images. They may have a mouseover, which reveals a word, they may not. You must solve the puzzle. What is the actual question? You have to figure out that, too. The game is played by plugging in what you see into the search engine, and piecing together clues to figure out what the puzzle is meant to be asking you. No two people probably visited the same sites to find the answer to the question. Not only is this a search engine skillbuilder, but it ends up taking you on a journey of great websites, history, and incredible bits of knowledge and trivia.

January 14, 2004


Computer geek + Health Club just don't mix posted by Jess

I love a good fish out of water story. As with any consultant, the one thing we get to do is get a glimpse of many industries, verticals and office situations.

The other day was spent working onsite at a health club. Now, before I go any further, I feel I should add that my idea of working out is lifting computers. My idea of a perfectly balanced diet is ice cream (dairy), red wine (grapes/fruit), goldfish crackers (fish), and candy corn and JuJu beans (vegetables).

I was there for about 8 hours, and forgot to bring food with me. By hour eight, I would have eaten my scarf. (The only thing that stopped me was the fact that it was about 4 degrees outside, which is good, because I heard that wool is murder on the digestive system.) The computer I was working on was called smartly called "CHECKIN", at the reception desk. I was at a command prompt trying to get something going, and couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I kept getting "file not found." Turns out I was typing "CHICKEN".

This should be a reminder to me to bring a snack with me no matter where I go. Though, hindsight being 20/20, I should plan ahead and bring a snack that won’t ruin diplomatic relations with my clients. I guarantee you, if I had brought a snack with me, it probably would have been a Snickers bar or something like that.

There’s no way I could have brought out that bad boy in the middle of a health club, I would have had to shrink and huddle in a corner somewhere and open up my prize, praying not to get caught. On the other hand, maybe I could have scalped it. It’s a health club, so maybe they don't eat that stuff very often. Who knows, I bet they would all be secretly whispering to me, "c'mon, just one little bite!". The staff eats behind the counter, sure, but it’s always an orange, or "Protein Dew".

Though I know we all have our professional nitpicks, it’s what we do for a living. As soon as they would look at me and say "my god, look what she’s eating!", I could just as quickly come back with a "I saw you power computer down without going to Start first!".

At least they are in better shape than I am.

December 23, 2003


Time is Relative. posted by Jess

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Maybe it's because I have NO sense of time whatsover. I'm great with direction sense. I can face a particular way, point left, and say, "we need to go THAT way to get out of here."

Time? Forget it. One day I'll think it will only take me 5 minutes to make a 20 mile drive. The next day I'll be sure to leave 20 minutes early, because that's how long I think it will take. But it will leave me enough time to get gas and stop somewhere for coffee, right?

Perhaps the best example (at least my friends probably think so) is when we were at Denny's, and reminiscing about high school songs we used to listen to. This was last year. I started talking about one particular song I listened to when I was a sophomore, it was 1992. I said, "gosh, it seems so long ago. But it's not like it was 10 years or anything."

Cue blank stares from my friends. "Ummmm, Jess, it WAS exactly 10 years ago."

Don't get me started on the time I said that Denny's had their anniversary special a few weeks ago. Matt said it was more like 6 months ago. He was right.

I suppose my clock situation in my bedroom doesn't help things at all. We have two clocks. One on my bedside table. One is across the room. When I set the alarms for them, I set the one on my bedside table a 1/2 hour early so I can keep hitting snooze. Finally, the one across the room goes off, and that's when I need to actually get up.

Oh, and did I mention that they were both 45 minutes fast? It's a psychological thing. Matt and I just decided yesterday that when I tell him what time the alarm is set, or if he asks what time it is, I can tell him two ways:

"8 o'clock CT", or "7:15 RT".

Real Time and Clock Time.

But I don't have issues or anything. just a very, very bad (nonexistant) sense of time. :-)

December 14, 2003


What a maroon.... posted by Jess

Matt: "Jess, what kind of car is that next to us?"

Jess: "An echo."

Matt: "A what?"

Jess: "A Ford Echo, I think."

Matt: "A what?"

Jess: "An ech- D'OH!"

Matt: "*snicker*. Every time...."

December 02, 2003


Doesn't everybody? posted by Jess

Jess: "During poker last night, I usurped Matt's attempts to steal my chips."

Matt: "Who the heck uses the word 'usurp' in a sentence?"

Jess: "Didn't I just use it?"

:-)

November 21, 2003


Skirting around the blog posted by Jess

I was having a moment of nostalgia the other day. Maybe it was because my high school reunion is coming up in a week, but I don't know what that has to do with blogging. Unless it's because I was thinking about my 11th grade English teacher. Mrs. Marge Kimpton.

Every time she assigned us a paper, we used to badger her with the million-dollar question for a student: how long does it have to be? There was nothing worse than being forced to agonize for hours over five pages of filler material. In fact, in college, we had one professor whom we swore did not read our papers, he just placed it on a scale. If it was over the amount that seven pages should be, we got an A.

So whenever we asked her about the length, Her answer was always the same, and priceless:

"I always say writing a paper, or an article, or a review can be compared to a lady's skirt. Long enough to cover everything, but short enough to keep it interesting."

That's all I have to say about that.

September 29, 2003


More coolness from thinkgeek.com... posted by Jess

Available here...

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August 28, 2003


Corporate concepts that will never make it... posted by Jess

Seems how recreational (well, that’s a bad choice of words. Not for profit?) web ideas always turn into the productive/corproate ones.. email, IM, blogging, etc.

It’s like corporations and the world waits to evaluate the usefulness of a certain concept, and then puts it to use in a business sense.

Here's some ideas I had that probably won’t make it:

Quake arenas for corporate meetings: Employees must capture the flag to speak (typing to chat). You have to EARN your right to speak, dammit!

Workstation Napster: Need a Corporate Policy document from HR? No time to email it? Steal it! Want to find out how many users actually kept a copy of their Employee Handbook? Search and see how many results come up. No need for expensive backups anymore, rest easy knowing there are at least 300 other copies of your document lying around somewhere.

Chain Letter Newsletters: Tired of your employees not reading your monthly newsletters? Leave a message at the bottom of it that if they don’t forward it to ten more employees in the next 30 minutes, something terrible will happen to them on the way to the parking lot.

BossMoodBug: This small program stays in your system tray and constantly updates you with the current mood that your boss is currently in. Alerts occur during periods of high tempers. The latest version comes with an option that lets you enter your latitude and longitude and chooses the boss physically closest to you, for the most accurate conditions.

Help-A-Dying-Corporation: This program ties in with the company bank account. Whenever it drops below a certain level, an auto-email is sent out to everyone in the company. The email contains a story about a randomized child’s name needing an operation for a randomized medical emergency. It asks each person to donate $5. The final stage of the email is to automatically contact Mailboxes, Etc. to set up a mailbox and includes the address in the email. The program will continue to send out the email with different randomized names until the bank account is back up to its starting level. The “economy” version asks the person to donate $10.

Project eBay: Tired of your employees not happy with the projects they are given, or not stepping up to take projects? Auction them off! Employees will be addicted to refreshing the screen every two seconds to watch the latest projects go “up for auction” and see what tasks they’ve “won”. Bidding starts at getting to leave 15 minutes early on Friday.

August 14, 2003


My first consulting job: posted by Jess

My first consulting job:

"See, you’re not leveraging your ability to use background agents. You’ve got 4k of memory, let’s not waste it."

Jess_consult_small.jpg

jess_PET_small.jpg


Okay, so by today’s standards, this means nothing. Nowadays, two year olds can whup my ass at Half-Life and anything on Pogo.com. But this was 1978-79. As you can see, I was destined for geekdom.

Didn’t I tell you recently we’ve been having fun with old photographs? This is why it tops my list of things that make me happy.

Go look through your old photographs and see what you find. You’ll thank me.

Go!

What are you doing still reading this?

August 06, 2003


New use for cameras? posted by Jess

So I'm sure we've all heard on the news how a little boy used his cell phone camera ability to foil a would-be abductor. The boy took pictures of the man, who were then able to identify him.

It seems like digital cameras aren't just for souveneirs anymore. It's neat, because we all like to learn new practical uses for everyday things (though I'm still waiting to see where integrals can help me).

Case in point:

Reboot had her next series of vaccines on Monday. Tuesday morning she woke up and wouldn't eat, and was extremely lethargic. I had to go to a client site all day, and Matt needed to go into his office for a few hours.

I was SO worried. I knew Matt had talked to the vet, but I was panicking because it seemed like she was having some sort of reaction. Shepherds are prone to all sorts of gastric problems, and it's how we lost our last shepherd.

However, I got an email from Matt later in the day, who knew how upset I was.
The contents of the email?

"Reboot is resting comfortably, and watching TV."

Reboot


I felt better instantly.

June 23, 2003


Divison Street posted by Jess

One of the reasons I always wanted a digital camera was for those times you always say, "Geez, I wish I had a camera right now!"

Lucky for me, the one Matt chose is small enough for me to carry on with me at all times. This little gem is something I've wanted a picture of since we came to Rhode Island.

divisionstreet.gif

June 16, 2003


Problem Solving 101 posted by Jess

There are many, many ways to solve any given problem. This is just a fact, though not necessarily that interesting. What’s interesting is that certain ways may never occur to one person, while it may be the first thing another person thinks of.

I was thinking back to the discussion a few weeks ago about how certain games will change the way you think about problem solving.

I remember years ago I had a VCR in my trunk, because I had brought it over to a friend’s house to watch a video and she didn’t have her own. As it was due, I was going to return the video on the way home. I get out of the car at the video store (which is closed, I was going to drop it off in the slot so kindly provided) opened the trunk, and realized something.

I had forgotten to take the video out of the VCR.

I did the only thing I could think of at the time, I walked around the entire building until I found an outside outlet, plugged in the VCR, ejected the tape, and returned it.

Later, I was talking about it with my parents, and asked how they would have handled it. My father, being a computer guy and engineer himself, said that he would have cracked that bad boy open with a screwdriver and gently unwound the tape from the innards of the VCR itself.

My mom said she would have just cried. Looking back now, I'd probably solve the problem by bringing it home and paying a late fee.

June 04, 2003


Frrrrreeeedom! posted by Jess

My laptop arrived yesterday, and it didn't take me long to get all set up with a wireless access point and be ready to go. I've set up more laptops for other people than I'd care to say. I've never had one myself. There's nothing worse than having to give up a really fun toy five minutes after getting hooked on it.

Oh. My.

At the moment, it's 7AM and I am in the living room sipping coffee (well, okay, that was a lie. Chugging with a vengeance is more like it). What's different this morning you say? Why, I'm also typing this blog right now from my living room futon.

I wish I could say that developing is the only thing I plan to do in my living room, deck, or dining room.

As Matt jokingly pointed out to me yesterday, "we can now play Game Show Network's Interactive Lingo!"

We can also look up people on IMDB when we think of them to see if they are still alive.

We can settle bets a heckuva lot faster to see if a certain actor was in a certain movie.

I can be outside when Weatherbug changes a degree to see if I can actually notice a difference.

We can email companies immediately when we approve/disapprove of a particular ad, or are just left scratching our heads saying "what"?*

And lastly, we can check the Easter Egg Archive whenever we put a new DVD in.

*Matt and I are very interested in ad effectiveness, we sent off an email after seeing an anti-marijuana ad stating "Marijuana. It won't get you nowhere." So we sent them an email saying, "ah, so it WILL get us somewhere."
They sent a terse email back with one statement: "We get your point."

May 17, 2003


Hi! How are you? You’re welcome. posted by Jess

When we were en route to drop Matt off at the airport awhile ago, we passed a cop in the breakdown lane. I wasn’t driving, so I peeked at him. He was talking on his radio. Matt slowed down, and I said “don’t worry. He’s not out to pull anyone over.” Matt said “I know, but….”.

Seconds later he said, “I have NO idea why I said ‘I know’ to that.”

And only last week I was at the Mini Super getting supper, and the checkout girl took my debit card, swiped it, and said “Thank you, have a nice day”. It took her a few seconds, and then we laughed and she said, “Sorry, I don’t know WHERE that came from.” I told her no worries, and then asked her if I could help her find something. ;-)

Have you ever done that? Come out with a response without thinking about it first? Or are we just conditioned with canned responses? I know I’ve given someone something, expecting them to say thank you. It never comes. But without missing a beat, I still say “you’re welcome.”

It’s the same principle that when you ask someone how they are, you expect them to ask you back. Therefore, no matter what they say, you say “good”, thinking they asked you how you were. Unfortunately, they DIDN’T ask, and instead, they told you that their dog just died, they are being audited, and the eviction notice arrived yesterday.

We have a kitchen island in our new house. I’m not used to it yet, and run into it at least a few times a week. For some reason that I have yet to discover, I still say “ow” every time I do this. It usually doesn’t hurt enough to warrant an “ow”.
I have no idea why I say it.

May 05, 2003


Horse Doves? posted by Jess

I was reading a book the other day, and the word “hors d'oeuvres” came across the page. While reading it, I read it too fast for my brain to process, and I thought “horse”, realized what the word was, and had to go back and start all over again.

That just struck me as so interesting, on two levels. The first being that I thought it was incredibly neat that I actually caught my brain red-handed processing something in a slightly faulty way (though I’m sure the warranty expired LONG ago), and then promptly correcting itself.

The second was that I started thinking how many different ways I have seen and heard that very word pronounced and spelled. Let’s see, first there’s Horse Doves. Then, my favorite, Whores Devores, and we can’t forget Our Doovey’s and Horse Duvrey’s.

Don’t get me started on the spelling. Hors D'evoures, Hors Dourves, Or Derves. Harley Davidson’s?

It’s a homonym nightmare.

I say forget the Hoarse Dovers, just bring me some appetizers, please!

From the Department of Respect... Tonight's episode of CSI:Miami will be shown in every state but Rhode Island. It involves investigation of a nightclub fire caused by pyrotechnics. The fire itself occurs in the episode, not just the aftermath. The episode was apparently filmed over six months ago. I found that highly respectful of CBS.

April 29, 2003


Press 9 to get another copy of that memo... posted by Jess

What’s worse than not knowing what to press in telephone menu hell? At some point in our lives, everyone’s made the wrong choice. But that’s fine, you can just start over, right? Have you ever made the wrong choice and got chastised by the customer support representative?

I had to call my insurance company, my car had the pleasure of meeting a stray rock on the highway, and I have a large crack in my windshield.

“Press 1 if this is your first time calling us. Press 2 if you have an existing claim number. Press 3 if you are reporting a new claim. Press 4 if you are calling about auto glass repair. Press 5 if….”

Well, it WAS my first time calling. But then I needed glass repair. But what if there was important news for first time callers that I might miss by choosing number 4? But it’s also a new claim.

Before the cold sweats set in, I made my choice. I pressed 1.

“Good afternoon, , may I help you?”

“Yes, this is my first time calling. A stray rock hit my car, and there is a crack a foot and a half long on my front windshield”.

“Weeeeellll, did you take the time to hear the menu option about auto glass repair?”

“Yes, but as it was my first time calling, I figured that should override any other possible choices”.

“Riiiiiiiight. Okay, here’s what you can do….”

I felt like telling him where he could stick his TPS reports. But, no matter how razzed I get, that’s just not my style.

April 26, 2003


Equalizers rock. posted by Jess

Growing up in a household of electronic musicians, my bro, my dad and I each had to take our turns on the keyboards (not the computer kind). For whatever reason, we usually all used headphones to practice, therefore quality was important. Due to the quality I had growing up, I am forever cursed with being a compulsive EQ fiddler to try and get the most out of any electronic device as possible.

Whenever the power goes out in our house, furnace schmurnace. Did our TV and receiver retain their settings? Do I have to block out the calendar again to recalibrate all the speakers?

Matt cringes every time I borrow his car. Because he knows when he gets back in it, the settings on his stereo are all changed. He once joked that when couples argue, they threaten to break favorite vases and such. He, however, said if it ever happened he would pick up the remote and threaten to change all the settings.

I can be in the bedroom, with the stereo playing in the living room, perk up my head and say, “there’s an airy noise coming from the speakers. They’re not balanced”.

Now if you REALLY want to see me cringe and develop sudden ticks of the neck, watch me in the car with someone who has the bass turned all the way down, one speaker all the way to the right, and the fader all the way to the front.

April 23, 2003


The Care and Feeding of your Geek posted by Jess

Congratulations! You’re the proud owner of a geek. With the proper care and feeding, your geek will flourish and give you years of satisfaction. Improper care can cause your geek to wither. With that in mind, we’ve set up some guidelines so you’ll know you’re taking care of your geek in the best possible way.

Language – It’s ok to say hello to your geek before asking them to fix something for you. In fact, you may notice that the more you engage your geek in pleasant conversation, the happier your geek will be to fix something for you in subsequent visits.

Toys – Your geek requires a substantial amount of toys, and it is recommended that you keep their area filled at all times. New toys come out every day, be sure you stay on top of what your geek needs to play with.

House Training – Your geek has to go to the bathroom just like everyone else. While housebroken, it is still recommended that if they pass you on their way to the bathroom, let them go. You can ask your question when they are on their way back.

Sunlight – Never, ever, under any circumstances, expose your geek to sunlight.

Typing – Yes, your geek can type fast, probably faster than you can. It’s what they do. They should be fast at typing. They are aware of how fast they type.

Territories – Your geek can be very territorial, especially towards what is commonly called “the server room”. While there is no danger of them peeing on the servers (see HOUSE TRAINING), it is highly recommended that you do not enter their territory.

Alcohol – Contrary to popular belief, geeks drink alcohol too, so it’s ok to invite them out with you after work. However, geeks can easily drink too much. The warning signs that your geek has drunk too much alcohol are when they brag about their ability to recite the Fibonacci sequence. Backwards.

Rewarding – Your geek needs to know when they’ve done a good job. While a simple “thank you” is sufficient, other rewards will do the trick (see TOYS).

Follow these simple rules, and enjoy years of rewarding experiences with your geek.
GOOD LUCK!

April 22, 2003


Oops, I did it again. posted by Jess

Remember when I talked about disk-thrashing sentences?

It seems to be a problem I have that just will not go away.

Last night, I was telling my family about my recent trip to NYC. For some reason, I couldn’t say "Times Square". It was always "Times New Square".

When Matt asked me earlier if I still had the photocopies of his identity just in case, I said, “yes, I didn’t delete any of those files. I mean throw them away!”.

Being an optimist, I supose at the very least, I do realize what I’ve said right after. The day it rolls of my tongue with neither myself or anyone else noticing, I’ll be very, very worried.

April 20, 2003


C’mon, just give me one little error! posted by Jess

We’ve all done it. Sat through virus scans, those Norton remove utilities, disk scans, etc. I had to on Friday, and I see that Mike had a similar problem recently. I, however, had no luck.

Is it just me, or do you feel a little cheated when nothing is found?

I mean, c’mon. I take the time to run this program. Even on an old 4G hard drive, it still takes about a half and hour to run a thorough scan disk for errors. At least give me ONE error. Something to fix for my trouble? I’ll take one file fragment. Okay, fine, just PICK a file. Any file. Rename the extension to .000.

Just promise me you’ll tell me about after so I can rename it back and know that it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

And that virus removal tool? Don’t tell me you found no instances of the virus on the computer. You took the time to scan every single file on the computer, at least have the mercy to make up the fact that you found something and removed it.

Next thing you know, I’ll have to run through the entire disk defragmenter (we used to sit around watching the paint peel, now we watch the disk defragmenter) before it tells me that my disk doesn’t need defragmenting.

Maybe they could throw in some added bonuses for us. “We scanned your disk for errors. We didn’t find any. BUT, you’ll be happy to know, that over the past hour, we finished your thesis for you and solved Myst.”

April 06, 2003


Disk-thrashing sentences... posted by Jess

Every so often we immerse ourselves in our trade so much that it begins to creep into everyday communications and thought processes. This is not unlike my mother, who I called at home one night and she answered "Good afternoon, *place of business* may I help you?"

Or myself, who was chosen to drive and pick up the pizza that was already called in. Upon leaving, I asked what every other normal computer professional would say when asking what name the pizza was ordered under:

"What did you save it as?"

Okay everyone, make me feel better. 'Fess up!

April 01, 2003


C++ under trademark infringement on the school grading system posted by Jess

Bjarne Stroustrup, inventor of the C++ computer language is under trademark infringement by the Scholastic Standards Committee (SSC), the creators of the common A-F grading system used by elementary, middle, and high schools across the nation. Grades can include plusses and minuses as needed.

“Not only is it a programming language, it’s obviously sub-par at that” said Keller Marks, President of the SSC. “Did he just pick a name from his old report card grade for phys-ed?”

When asked why the SSC was trying to sue Stroustrup, the response was purely for monetary reasons. “Everyone sues everyone nowadays for copyright infringement, and we could sure use the money”, Marks continues. “Do you have any idea how many packs of crayons we could buy with this lawsuit?”

Though not confirmed, Marks let on that they had explicitly pointed to Stroustrup that he was in violation of the trademark for all values of ‘C’ several years ago, but had received no response.

A court date has not been set yet, but sources say it will be in the next 0x00000010 days, and will be a private class that’s available to members and friends only.

When asked to comment, Stroustrup replied “This is so crufty.”

March 28, 2003


Dressed for success posted by Jess

I have been doing daily tasks ranging from hardware to sofware to admin work.
I love it, it keeps the job interesting.

However, in five years, I have not managed to get it right.

The day I wear my best shirt and a black skirt is the day I end up sliding across a dusty floor to find the other end of a network cable.

I will paint my fingernails, only to end up using them as a temporary screw driver to remove a troublesome chassis case.

Velour fabric looks nice. But I've learned it's not nice when you end up cracking open the dustiest computer in the room.

My car has no air conditioning. In the summer, my office's air conditioning is usually set to 10 degrees below zero. The one day I plan for this and head into the office wearing a scarf, ski jacket and three sweaters, I am sent out to a client site that is 2 hours away.

The one day I head into the server room for some admin work will always just happen to be after a late night of drinks and friends. Within minutes the soft, gentle sound of servers and fans running is close to putting me into a catatonic state.

The fact that I stay awake is only due to the air conditioner running, and I am wearing short sleeves!

March 26, 2003


Confessions of a closet screen shopper. posted by Jess

Hello. My name is Jess, and I'm a closet screen shopper.

"Hi Jess!"

What is a screen shopper? I coined the term a few nights ago while realizing that one of my favorite things to do (I find it relaxing) is browse "toys" online that at the moment, I have no intention of buying. But I'd like to!

You can relate. It's those things that are always just a smidge out of your reach. I say smidge because you could be walking up to the store with credit card in hand, ready to buy.... and your transmission goes. Then your brakes go. Then you have a $900 vet bill while your ferret gets a IV smaller than a nip of alcohol.

Two things I currently don't have but enjoy browsing is laptops and digital cameras. I go all out, picking a brand and carefully reading epinions.com to see what others have to say. Never mind that it will probably be obsolete by the time I get around to buying one. Hey, it's still fun to look!

Right now, it's cars that I'm looking at, more specifically, a Mitsubishi Eclipse. My Pontiac has been in the shop since January (yes, I'm aware that it's almost April. My mechanic has all the energy talking to me on the telephone, but I'm convinced that he goes into a cryogenic sleep once I hang up). It went in for a tune-up. Don't ask.

Or maybe he's just busy screen shopping.

March 14, 2003


The Frobozz Magic Blog Company posted by Jess


The Frobozz Magic Blog Company...
Copyright 1981, 1982, 1983 Infocom, Inc. All rights reserved.
ZORK is a registered trademark of Infocom, Inc.
Release 42 / Serial number 8675309

North of Blog
You are sitting in front of a computer. The screen you are looking at is bright green, and appears to be a journal, or blog of some sort.
There are entries to read.

>verbosity
Maximum verbosity.

>leave room
The rank undergrowth of actual work you have to do prevents you from leaving the room.

>read
What do you want to read?

>blog
Before reading, you notice a sign on a large wooden post beside your screen.
"WARNING. ANYONE CAUGHT READING THIS BLOG WILL BE EATEN BY A GRUE. THIS MEANS YOU!"

Continue reading?

>y

"Amazing.
Zork, Zork II and Zork III all freeware and available for download.
I played them when I was a kid, before I really understood what I was playing and just ended up getting frustrated, and typing 'WHY DON'T YOU JUST DO WHAT I WANT, YOU STUPID THING?'

Come to think of it, at the time, I'm sure thousands of others were typing something similar into their DOS windows, only they weren't playing a game. ;-)

Am I crazy because when I have a dog, I want to name it Foozle?"


You fail to hear the grue behind you. He walks up and turns off your computer.

**** You have died ****

Your score is 10 (total of 500 points), in 3 moves.
This gives you the rank of Junior Blogreader.

March 12, 2003


How To Give Your Spouse a Heart Attack 101 posted by Jess

Okay, so maybe I asked for it by labelling my Limerick post, "there was once a girl from Nantucket".

I get emails whenever someone posts a new comment, as does Matt for his posts. Therefore, Matt knows what the auto-email format looks like.

Matt quickly discovers he can fake this auto-email rather easily, especially as the From: address is that of the person who posted the comment.

Matt's been known to pull a prank or twenty.

Matt finishes his own version of the Limerick putting the right names in the right places and sends it off to Jess as a phony "comment".

Jess immediately goes to the website , and sees "0" comments for the Limerick category. Jess deletes her cache file, tries again. Still "0".

Jess, in a panic, calls Matt to see what's going on. Luckily, Jess knows Matt VERY well and recognizes the faint hint of a smile behind his voice and politely asks if it was a joke.

"Of *course* it was!" says Matt in a "I love it when a plan comes together" sort of way.

Luckily, Jess also has a very good sense of humor, and realizes that, as evil a trick it was, Matt definately deserves some mad props for that one!

It makes life a lot more interesting and certainly a lot more fun when you have someone around who keeps you on your toes! :-)


March 05, 2003


RU12? posted by Matt

In 97, I was working at a company called Omni-Multimedia. On my first day, my boss asked me "Are you a nerd or a geek"? At the time I never understood the difference. In high school, a nerd was a geek and vice versa. Having to give a response, I reluctantly said "Geek". Apparently I made the right choice and today, I openly admit it. Geek, in my opinion, has evolved from being the equal of nerd in high school to a respectable term today. Certain web sites like ThinkGeek and MegaTokyo actually promote this once shunned title.

Just how did I become a geek? Well, if I had to pick a time in my life, it would be 7th grade when I took a class on programming in BASIC. It was my first programming class ever but I LOVED it! Granted, at the time, it was a cheesy little program that showed a city street and cars driving by. However, I was naive, and was just starting to like "girls" (ewwww cooties). I had a building with flashing neon (just a few pixels really) that said "Matt's Girls". I never really knew the implications at the time but now I understand that it was either a Shack outside LaGrange or somewhere you could get Legs and Eggs. In either case, I never really thought about it til now.

I began college as a pharmacy major but it was not GEEKY enough. I needed something more. Junior year I switched to Computer Science(CS) when my geekiness really shined (granted it had to because I was, in essence, a freshman in CS with every gen-ed filled). I took core-classes for CS through my Junior, Senior, Senior, and Senior years in college but it was worth it! Me and a group of CS friends (I was never really any well at English grammar (sorry Libby, you English major you)) began to see just how small our code could be and still function properly. I could write 8 lines as one with in place swapping and a splash of recursion here and there. We had the philosophy of "if it was tough to write, it should be tough to read!".

Continuing down hill, in my first Senior year I found something new (old to others but new to me at least) and that was Multi-User Dungeons or MUD's for short. To my surprise, they were written in C so I lobbied to help code one of them. Finally, I got my chance and you can still see some of my old-school code on a simple google search for Zyrenthian. It is the CircleMud stuff that contains my code, but you can see my other geekiness in the links provided. Pretty sad that you can do a search on ONE WORD in google and only find pages pertaining to you, but hey, it goes with the territory of "GEEK" I guess.

So, if that is not enough to qualify me as a geek, I am also a gamer. From Warcraft (the original) to Everquest (was almost the death of me) to Warcraft 3, I have played em all. Everquest, however, took over my life. It was my food, my drink, my world! Level 57 out of 60 in only 3 months of game play time. The scary part is those 91 days, 12 hrs, and 15 minutes of game play in the world of Everquest was done in a 6 month period. You heard it right, in 6 months, I managed to spend 2196 hrs and 15 minutes playing at my computer. Still not geeky enough? I also write code for fun. I got a bunch of lil' utility apps (one that could be used as a virus if used improperly) that do all sorts of things such as remove read-only flags on all files in directories and sub directories, rename files, generate files... the list goes on and on. Give me a file and it's specified format and I will have a parser for you within a week but most likely a day if I am not busy converting software to Japanese or fixing bugs. I try to play Dungeons and Dragons every weekend but lately, I am too busy to do even that.

So what distinguishes me from a nerd? Well, I guess it is the fact that I don't wear plaid and stripes in the same ensemble, I can interact with people, I don't have to put a 5 star ring binder over my crotch when a pretty girl walks by, and I shower. Ok the last one was a bit low... nerds shower, you just don't know it cause the showers are few and far between. If you dare, you can take their hair and reposition it any way you want. The grease will keep it in place. In the world of Object Oriented Programming (OOP), I would say that class Nerd (this is the only time class and Nerd should be used in the same sentence) inherits from class Geek. In simple terms, that means a nerd "IS A" geek but a geek is not a nerd. The geek will have certain private members such as "People Skills", "Personal Hygiene" etc that will not be inherited by Nerd. Ok, so I am a geek for explaining this through OOP but once again, it goes with the territory.

Well, for my first blog, I hope I have made a few closet geeks stand up, type it out, 3\/3n
\/\/h1+3 80yz 90+ 2 $h0u+, BABY GOT GEEK.


The lone "computer person"... posted by Jess

I'm not talking about being alone in an out-of-work environment. Nope.

Let's say you are the sole network admin, Domino admin, or the sole developer for your company. Let's also say that the rest of your company produces widgets.

Have you ever noticed that it's tough being in a roomful of people who talk and joke about the trials and tribulations of making widgets all day, yet you've got absolutely NO one to relate with about the trials and tribulations about being an admin/developer?

God forbid you joke about "those wild and crazy end users"... to the end users.

It's a weird and creepy feeling to shout out "and there was much rejoicing!" and NOT hear the well-known response of "yay".

I don't know how many great programming jokes I have that most people will never get.

I've been in a few companies where I was the sole admin/developer/resident geek. And it is tough when people don't understand that I might actually enjoy getting back on my computer when I get home from work and playing games.

Well, if anyone needs to throw a great computer joke out there, trust me. I'll be the one laughing my ass off, so go right ahead and share it! You're in good company.

Incidentally, this whole entry came because I noticed that I was one month and 8 days too late for this.

March 04, 2003


May your goofiness be plentiful. posted by Jess

I was remembering some old pictures.
I suppose some people would say that eight years can change people quite a bit.

Not us.

Looks like everything's right with the world. ;-)

wewereonlyfreshmensmall.jpgwewereonlymarriedsmall.jpg


February 14, 2003


Four Year Jet Lag posted by Jess



As a college freshman, during registration I had last pick of the classes I wanted. Stuck with the 8 AM class schedule, I counted the years until I could look forward to getting first pick of the later classes. In between classes, we all jealously watched the upperclassmen head to the registration hall, knowing we had weeks to wait until it was our turn… just long enough to be eligible for the bottom of the barrel.

Not to say that I went to bed early because of this. I went to bed late, after having fun the night earlier. I was just much more tired than the upperclassmen, not getting the privilege of getting to sleep later that morning. When I was in high school, I remember touring the dorms on Saturday afternoon. They were deserted. Quiet halls, it appeared they were empty, as if all the students had gone home that weekend. “Empty? Goodness no,” the tour guide replied when she was questioned about it. “They’re still asleep.”

The semesters passed, and finally it was my turn to get the later classes. I walked out of the registration hall, triumphant at my pick - 11 AM, 12 and 1 PM. That night, I went out just so I could enjoy the fact that I did not have to get up early the next morning. And the next night. And the next. I went from the sublime to the ridiculous. Weekends weren’t really weekends anymore. It was nothing to appreciate. It was just like the week!

All good things do come to an end. The years progressed and the classes became more specialized (and required!). No matter how early I got to register, the odds were against me: sooner or later I’d need to take a class that was only available at the crack of dawn. Twenty years old and still I considered 9 AM the crack of dawn. Oh, I had a lot to learn about the working world, but I wasn’t there yet. “Waking world” was more like it. I didn’t question why I never saw the working class on the road with me on the way to school. They had already been in their offices for a good hour and a half already. The morning show jocks on the radio were like Snufalupagus on Sesame Street. I always heard people talk about them, but by the time I was up to turn on the radio, they were long gone. But I digress. This new, hateful, pesty 9 AM class ruined my chi. It was jet lag that I’ve never known before. At the end of the day, my body was fatigued from walking around campus, while my mind was just getting ready to go.

How quickly the mind forgets! It was only a few years ago that I was up at 8 o’clock looking wistfully at the upperclassmen who magically seemed to materialize out of nowhere on campus hours later. Here I was now, a little older, a little wiser, pining for those days where my body had a sense of normality.

Winter break was the worst. I considered it a little teaser of what was to come once I graduated. As all students nearing graduation, semester breaks weren’t as fun anymore, as working was now required if you planned on keeping the roof over your head until the next semester started. It was then that I realized why work was actually called work. Actually, work was just getting out of bed on time! I’d been up for 5 minutes and I already felt like I had put in a full day. I learned a new appreciation for this mysterious little black drink that these working class homo-sapiens called “coffee”. By the end of the winter break, I was a card-carrying member of the Juan Valdez fan club.

Now that I have been in the working world for a few years, I am totally over my jet lag. Weekends are something to look forward to, not just another day. Coffee is still my savior, but it’s not because I absolutely need it to function. Rather it’s now part of my start-the-day ritual, which, believe it or not, includes listening to the morning show on the radio.

From Pomp To Circumstance, chapter 2

September 24, 2002


Fractals and Thanskiving Dinner posted by Jess

I was sitting at the kitchen table at my parent’s house one Thanksgiving day, watching my mother get everything ready, when it hit me like a bolt of lightning. I’d seen this before. Sure, it was the condensed version now, but it was still there. It’s in my genes to observe, analyze, think, ponder, and reflect. Yes! A fractal. Let’s review:

Fractal: 'frak-t&l. noun. Any of various extremely irregular curves or shapes for which any suitably chosen part is similar in shape to a given larger or smaller part when magnified or reduced to the same size.

It occurred to me that the whole day, the rigmarole and ritual of what we call preparing Thanksgiving dinner is a pure, beautiful fractal of one whole college semester. Bear with me folks, you’ll see it too. It’s all there. Not just the actions. The feelings and emotions are there too.

We begin right at the start. Right at the acceptance letter. “It’s MY turn to do Thanksgiving dinner this year?” You’re a little excited now. And more than a little nervous. It starts at the grocery store. Like an overexcited child, you begin to buy, and leave the store armed to the teeth with your turkey, pumpkin pie mix, candied yams, and potatoes just waiting to be roasted (pencils, notebooks, manilla folders, and day planner). As an afterthought, you add in a knife-sharpener (pencil sharpener?) and pat yourself on the back for the extra credit and good thinking!

That night, as you lay in bed, you repeat the words you say to yourself EVERY year. “This year is going to be the BEST Thanksgiving dinner yet. Those previous years, when dinner didn’t come out as good as I wanted, that’s in the past. I’m refreshed, I’ve got a clean slate, and now I’m ready to cook a damn good dinner!”. Now tell me you don’t say that every year when school starts. Ye old clean slate. Whoever invented that phrase should be furious they didn’t trademark it, because it’s being ripped off by millions of college students every semester. Cue sleep, followed by pleasant dreams of a prize-winning 4.0 dinner and nods of approval from proud parents and guests. You gently brush the tassel away from your eyes on your chef hat. Your mom may or may not have tears in her eyes. Pomp and Circumstance is playing softly in the background.

It’s Thanksgiving day. You make plans to wake up a little bit early to get a nice head start on dinner. In fact, you’re so early, you skip ahead and read a couple of extra pages in the recipe book. Sound familiar? It should. Even in the 8 AM classes, in those first few days of class, I’ve never seen so many bright-eyed, bushy-tailed spring chickens eager to learn. But I digress. It’s now 10 AM, and you’ve got everything under control. The potatoes are simmering, the turkey seems to be doing well, the veggies are chopped and waiting to be cooked, your first report was actually handed in on time…and you’re currently getting an ‘A’ in Precalc.

The first creases of worry cross your forehead. Are things going a little too well? Why aren’t you busier than you are? In fact, you’re so busy worrying, it’s easy to miss that packet of rolls that haven’t made it into the oven yet. And if cranberry sauce had a voice, I’m sure it would have yelled at you to buy it in the grocery store. But it didn’t. Just like that pop quiz you missed in class, because of that day you left your day planner in the bathroom in the Student Union. But it’s only 10 AM, and you know none of this just yet.

Dare I jump to 2 PM? What were you thinking? The best Thanksgiving dinner ever? You’ll be lucky if the turkey makes it out of the oven in one piece. You can’t quite remember when things started getting out of control. Was it when you discovered the lack of cranberry sauce and had to go back out to the grocery store? “Sorry ma’am, we haven’t seen your day planner”. The recipe book has long since been lost under a pile of flour and old asparagus (chopped at 10 AM), not unlike a syllabus buried under a pile of four-day old laundry.

At last… dinner. 3 PM. Everyone’s starving, and waiting to see the fruits of your labor and holding their breaths to see how nice the turkey will be. Leave it to the University to send your grade report weeks after you come home from finals. You open the oven door with one eye closed and the other wincing (who’s got the envelope opener?)…looks good! Passing. That’s all that matters. You proudly present your turkey, and no one has to know about how close they came to almost having no cranberry sauce (you had to settle for the generic brand, but that’s your little secret). The dinner topic covers how you did the whole thing without your recipe book. Give it 20 years, and you’ll be telling your children how it’s possible to finish a college semester with no syllabus (or day planner, for that matter).

As you go to bed that night, rest well, for you have passed. Now you’re ready to relax. Next year you get a clean slate all over again. Ready? Repeat the mantra – “Next year will be my BEST Thanksgiving dinner yet. I’m ready!”

From Pomp to Circumstance, chapter 1

August 01, 2002


There are some wierd, wierd people out there. posted by Jess


Have you heard the craze about Google Whacking? The art is to enter in two words into Google, with no quotes, and end up with a single, solitary result. Only one site on the Internet with those two particular words in it.

Why do I say there are some weird people out there? Because Matt and I tried *real* hard one night to stump it. I'd almost be embarrased to tell you what word combinations we tried. And we didn't find a single GoogleWhack anywhere.

Try it, it's mildly amusing. Hey, it kept us entertained for a few hours.

http://www.googlewhack.com


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