One of the people at work put a picture like this up in her cube. I think we can all empathize.
One of the people at work put a picture like this up in her cube. I think we can all empathize.
Far too much has happened, and most of it hasn’t been that good. On Christmas Eve, the kitchen drain got clogged. The plumber couldn’t fix it—the pipes had not been set up to make fixing the clog possible. So instead of having Christmas dinner at my place, we had to have it at Stephanie’s place, since I couldn’t wash dishes at my place. Argh. At least dinner mostly worked. The plumber fixed the pipes on Dec. 27, but the drywall is still utterly horked up, because the plumbers just do plumbing, not drywall, and I’ve got to get a drywall guy to fix the holes in the wall at some point.
Anyway. We had probably the largest volume of Christmas presents ever piled in front of the penguin tree, since Stephanie’s keyboard bag and keyboard stand were huge. Christmas dinner also worked well, even with the venue change. We had my parents, Steve, and Joy over for shrimp with crab, red beans and rice, turducken, potatoes, salad, brioche, and fruit. Stephanie actually managed to deal with that with less than 24 hours advance warning, which is pretty awesome.
And that’s about it. Lots of stuff has happened; I just don’t feel like writing about it in detail….
The last month or so has been really busy. I really haven’t felt like writing here, because there’s been so little time to say anything. The picture is here because a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that a nickel I’d gotten in change was a funny color. I took a closer look at it and found it was a 1944 wartime nickel. These didn’t have any nickel in them—they were made from copper, silver, and manganese, because nickel was necessary for making tank armor. It’s probably worth more than 5 cents, but probably not more than 25 cents. I’ve had the badly worn buffalo nickel on the right for about 25 years. It’s probably not worth anything because it’s been so heavily abused.
And Stephanie got me an iPod shuffle as a slightly-early birthday present. If it were any smaller, it’d be almost impossible to use with your fingers. At least I was able to get it to work with gtkpod, so I don’t have to fool around with iTunes’s interface fascism.
Saw the baseball game on Saturday with Stephanie. That was fun, though the game took forever, and we left a bit after 9pm. Sunday, Stephanie cooked a huge dim sum lunch with duck for all the trivia group and some other folks. Monday, I had the day off, so I spent a lot of time relaxing and went out to dinner with Stephanie.
I don’t know how often I’ll be able to update this from now on. There are enormous, nay, ludicrous amounts of stupidity ahead at work, and dealing with those will consume a bunch of time and sanity.
It’s that time again. Howard Tayler’s got pre-orders open for The Sharp End of the Stick. You can read the story on the web here, but the book will offer less waiting and the ability to read more than one strip at a time.
So: What would you do if you were a small squad of 31st-century mercenaries trapped on a hostile planet with no assets besides pointy sticks and a 500-pound ambulatory talking poop ball? If you’re Kevyn Andreysn, you find a way to win. Even if you have to deal with carnivores, losing your clothes, forest fires, and the occasional zombie uprising. There’s a lot to like in the story—metric tons of humor, plenty of action, and romance. What makes the story stand out from the other comics in its class is Tayler’s writing. Schlock Mercenary has always had foreshadowing, details mentioned offhand being really really important a few strips down the road, social commentary, arc words, and more bad jokes than you can shake a small mammal at. And somehow, Tayler makes it all work together, and makes it mostly make sense. Because of that, I’m going to buy myself a copy.
For what it’s worth, there’s a contest going on where if you write a blog about the book, you could win a free copy. Yeah, full disclosure, I’m participating in that contest. I’ve been reading Schlock Mercenary since roughly July 2000, I’ve bought a bunch of the books, and I’ve never regretted spending a minute or so every morning reading the comic.
Been a long time since the last update. I’ve been really wondering whether it’s worth it to keep updating this thing, actually, since so few people read it.
But anyway. Not that much happened last week. It rained like hell last Wednesday while I was getting off the bus, but the rain kept up for only about half an hour. There were various work things. Went to see “The Avengers” on Sunday, and that was pretty good. There were a whole bunch of references to obscure things from the comic books, which is always kind of fun. When Thor and the Hulk were fighting, the Hulk couldn’t lift Mjönir, even though the Hulk is stronger than Thor, because only those who are worthy can lift Mjölnir. And Tony Stark referring to the Avengers as “Earth’s mightiest heroes, that sort of thing,” because that’s been the tagline of the Avengers comic book for a very long time.
Robert Downey, Jr. is basically the perfect person to play Tony Stark. Tom Hiddleston was great as Loki. You had to suspend disbelief, especially for the invisible flying aircraft carrier, but whatever.
And then on Monday, things were pretty normal for most of the day, then several people thought that 4:15pm was a great time to ask for really complicated things and say, “Something’s been screwed up for about 48 hours, can you fix it right now?” Sigh. . . .
The big excitement last week was Patrick’s farewell thing on Thursday night. I think almost everybody showed up. This was sort of fun and sad at the same time. Oh well. And, of course, when I got back and took care of Stephanie’s cats, I found that Pinto had knocked a lot of stuff off the bookshelf and broken a picture frame. Cats. Sigh.
Friday after work, I picked Stephanie up from the airport. She was kind of tired from the trip and the conference.
Saturday, not that much happened. Sunday, we went to meet Nacho and Luly at Rocket Burger, which was actually pretty good. They have a large set of coolers with hundreds of varieties of gourmet pop. Nacho thought that was really cool. I did too, since I got to try Diet Dr. Cane, which is really pretty good.
I finished reading David Zindell’s Ea Cycle. It was OK. Not insanely great, actually not as good as his previous Requiem for Homo Sapiens trilogy, but it was worth reading. Even if the protagonist is sort of a Mary Sue. The last 2 books in the series haven’t been released in the USA yet, so I had to pay too much to have them shipped from booksellers in Australia and the UK. Fair dinkum, mate, we’ll throw a fantasy potboiler on the barbie for ya!
Not really that much happened Monday. This can be a good thing.
Long time between entries, as there’s been a lot of stuff going on. Stephanie left on Sunday for a conference in Indiana. Ordinary work things all week.
Trivia on Tuesday, with most of the usual crew, where we got 3rd place. During trivia, I saw that there’s a ballplayer for the Brewers who’s named Corey Hart. He was not wearing sunglasses at night, though, and Kelli thought that was terrible. I hadn’t seen Nathan in a while. He said he’s lost a lot of weight. He also said, “When I’m bored or I have nothing to do, I tend to cook elaborate meals and then eat them. I’ve been trying not to do that.” I guess everyone needs a hobby, and cooking is less bad than many things.
Wednesday, I had the day off. I did laundry, read, petted Moira, and took some canned goods to the food bank. There was going to be Rock Band 3, but Steve had to stay late at work, so it didn’t happen. Ah well.
Thursday is Patrick’s last day at work. End of an era and all that. Sigh. We’re all going to get dinner at a nearby pub after work, so I’ll probably get back late and won’t be able to write an entry up. Anyway….
Wednesday had a reasonable number of ordinary work things. It also had a retirement lunch for 3 people who’d taken the early buyout. This was nice, but I’m sure we’ll miss these folks when they’re gone.
Then when I got the usual Golden Eggroll food, they said, “Um, it’ll take longer than usual. OK?” I really didn’t have much choice, so I said OK. Moira meowed so much and so often that I gave her some canned food to quiet her down for a couple of hours. Stephanie said she’d be late because of traffic. Steve got here on time, so we talked about video cards and TVs. Stephanie got here late, but before the food showed up.
So we ate, then played some Rock Band 3, and that was fun. What wasn’t fun was not being able to go to sleep that night. Every time I was on the verge of snoozing, somebody started yelling loudly in the parking lot and/or Moira started meowing. I finally sacked out around midnight.
So, on Thursday, I was drinking coffee like the above kitten in order to stay awake. There were some minor kerfluffles and some odd-sounding database stupidity. Aaron said he was going to have a party on Friday for the hockey game (Coyotes in round 2 of the playoffs for the first time ever! AHWOOOOO!!!!) but I’m not going to be able to go to that. His house is a long way away, and I’m still on call this week. Guess I’ll watch at least part of the game from my couch, since there’s no way I’ll be able to afford tickets.
Sunday, Stephanie and I went to see the Braves play the Diamondbacks. This worked out pretty well. We rode the light rail to the game. Of course, everybody else also was riding the light rail, so it was really crowded and we couldn’t sit down. Ah well. It took longer than I’d thought to get to the game, so we barely had time to buy lunch before finding our seats.
The game was pretty good. Stephanie got up to go walk around and shop at the bottom of the 2nd inning, which was sort of a mistake, as the Braves loaded the bases, then walked Kennedy, the Diamondbacks pitcher, in for a run. And then Parra hit a grand slam. It was exciting baseball, and it was good to see the Diamondbacks win one.
We took the light rail home, and it was even more crowded than going there had been. Ah well. I made shrimp scampi for dinner, which was pretty tasty, and we watched “Project Nim”, a documentary about the first chimp they tried to teach sign language to. I’d read a bit about Nim in Carl Sagan’s The Dragons of Eden a long time ago, but the film provided a bit more info. Basically, chimps are mean bastards, and their language skills aren’t great, but Nim probably wasn’t as dumb as Sagan made him out to be. The people running the project probably weren’t running it as well as they could’ve, since they were sort of flying blind.
Monday seemed to last forever—people kept asking me to do “just one small thing”, so I didn’t make that much progress on the larger things that the bosses wanted. Sigh.
Also, I heard from the people who contacted me about advertising on this blog. I thought they wanted to put in a text ad (or several text ads) the way Google and other advertisers do on their right rail. Nope. The people at moredigital.com wanted me to write a blog entry and/or HTML page that praised their clients. They offered me $130 to do this.
I said no.
Marketing and advertising, in general, are morally and ethically questionable, and I really don’t feel comfortable taking money to be a shill. I want to have the freedom to be completely honest on this blog, and if I accept money from others to talk about things I don’t care about, I’ve compromised that honesty. I can see why many people and organizations have compromised themselves for money, but I’ve got enough money right now to tell the marketers to take a hike.
I hope I won’t have to write advertising drivel to keep food on the table. I think Bill Hicks said it well: If you’re in marketing or advertising, kill yourself.
It’s been a very long and busy week.
Last Tuesday, we learned that Patrick’s quitting. He said he wasn’t happy with the long-term prospects at the company, tired of the immense pigheadedness of corporate, and really wanted to go somewhere else and do iPhone development. Wonderful. What does this mean for ordinary peons like me?
Wednesday, there was no rock. Instead, there was an HOA meeting. I went, but it was really mostly useless. Not many people were there. Officers were elected. One cantankerous old coot complained and complained and complained about everything he could think of. This is pretty normal; some retirees with too much time on their hands do this and expect everyone to cater to them. Don’t know what you can do about that. I was just glad when the meeting was over.
Friday, the big excitement was the farewell lunch for Dan. Dan’s moving back to Pennsylvania, because he wants to do some sort of self-sufficient small farm hippy thing while working from home doing iPhone development. Larry was there too—he said that he’d just handed in his 2-week notice at WebPT, because, “It was boring as hell working there, the management were idiots, and I wanted to go somewhere else and do iPhone development.” OK then.
Everyone seems to want to do iPhone development, which seems odd to me. Real computers can do everything an iPhone can do, and more, for less money, and more easily. The only real draw is that you can fit an iPhone in your pocket, and you can’t do that with a real computer yet. Well, Apple’s spent a lot of money on marketing, which convinces a lot of people of a lot of things that aren’t necessarily true.
Saturday, Stephanie and I went to see “Legend of Zelda: The Symphony of the Goddesses”, which was a concert where an orchestra played a bunch of music from the Zelda series of video games. The guy who arranged the music talked briefly before each part of the program, and scenes from the various games played on a big video screen behind the orchestra. The theatre was fairly crowded, and there were a lot of people wearing video game T-shirts among the more formally-dressed folks. The orchestra played well, and the music was interesting. I’ve only played the first 3 Zelda games, though, so I couldn’t really appreciate the music from the later games as much as others might’ve.