Monday, April 30, 2007

As I'm sure the press releases have communicated to everyone on the planet a dozen times already, this week is the World Wide Managers' Meeting for my company.
Okay, maybe people in what we like to refer to as "the outside" don't get all the press releases, but by the sheer volume of them I'm certain a few million were spurted out the firewall at some point.
The World Wide Managers' Meeting means a few things:

1. There are no managers in the building, or indeed the city
2. Productivity should actually improve company-wide based on numbers from prior years
3. I'm wearing cut-off shorts so short that my pockets hang out the bottom
4. Good luck scheduling a round of golf anywhere near Austin, Texas for the next week

Also, this week I'll stagger home on Thursday night, load up on legal stimulants, then head back out to attend the midnight showing of Spiderman 3 with some friends at a theatre that serves beer.
The following morning I'll load up on more stimulants and drag myself to work.
There won't be anyone else here on the Friday of the World Wide Managers' Meeting, but I plan to set a new standard for impaired productivity.
The thing is, I have to see Spiderman 3. I owe it to Sam Raimi.
The first Spiderman movie is the film that actually made me expect comic book movies to be good again.
It totally blew away years and years of history to create a cinematic optimism in a large portion of the geek community. Peter Parker is, and always has been, one of us.
A little known statistic is that over 90% of spider bites requiring medical treatment occur inside server rooms.
We hunt spiders down, hoping they have been exposed to Intel or AMD radiation at some point, and then we goad them with Shakespearean insults and Monty Python quotes until they overcome their gentle natures and attack.
Of course, then our delicate constitutions fail us, or the sight of non-3d accelerated blood causes a swooning incident.
Either way, spider bites are nasty things. I'd much rather watch it on a giant screen with beer and popcorn and stimulants.
Oh, hey, speaking of stimulants . . . The results of my "random" drug test came back. As you probably know, there was nothing . . . hang on I'll read . . . "nothing technically illegal, though caffeine in this quantity from a single living person is almost unheard of and is, in fact, used in place of lethal injection (in lower dosages) in some less developed West African nations" . . .
See? I'm multicultural!

Friday, April 27, 2007

And so anyway, over half of the disaster recovery servers have now been shipped to our secure location.
At least they are no longer threatening to crowd me out of my cubicle.
I'm not about being crowded out.
I've checked my calendar for today and there seems to be an odd blank space after 10am that stretches until Monday.
This could not be possible.
Could there really be a meeting-free Friday afternoon?
As soon as I'm done posting this I'm cancelling the 9am meeting to find out what is wrong with the server that keeps track of appointments.
But wait.
What if it is true?
What if I truly have a clear afternoon on a Friday with which to (gasp) accomplish things?
What would happen to the productivity graph if it were to actually slope upwards at the end of the week?
Hopefully, someone will send me a meeting invite to a long and drawn out discussion for something for which I am only peripherally involved.
Otherwise I fear for the very fabric of our existence, which will certainly be torn asunder beneath the crushing weight of the wrongness.
Do you suppose the "fabric of our existence" is a cotton/poly blend?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

While it used to be a lot worse than it is, certain parts of the I.T. environment at work are still in pretty sad shape.
Our current domain is alright, but the old one is awful.
It is so awful that it has been made a priority to remove all the applications and servers and make the whole mess just go away.
Of course, this involves a lot of migration. Big time decisions need to be made. If this old and crappy stuff is going to get all crammed into our new and less crappy stuff, some ground rules must be established.
Yesterday we met for over an hour about the naming convention for security groups.
These are basically just organizations full of users which streamline the assignment of permissions to data.
This company is global, however, and our workforce is quite diverse.
The names must follow a standard for construction, or we could end up with multiple confusing groups called "Payroll" or "Forklift Safety Inspection".
I quickly decided that we should turn our global nature into an advantage.
The first section of the name should illustrate geography, the second section should demonstrate purpose and the third should indicate the date of creation so that we can tell these new and awesome groups from the old and crappy ones.
Here is the fun part:
We demonstrate region by naming the group with a beer from the area.
The second part ties into mythology and the use of fable to tell a story.
The third part is the date, but everything is separated by underscores, since geeks love stuff named with underscores, beer and mythology.
In that order, actually.
For instance, chemical formulas in Aberdeen would be Guiness_Hephaestus_04252007.
In Singapore, Human Resources is Tiger_Shinigami_04252007.
The Vice President group in Calgary is MolsonDry_Jupiter_04252007.
Australian sales reps fall into the Fosters_Loki_04252007 group.
See? Very easy to remember and completely transparent to the users.
Our admin group is now ArrogantBastardAle_Thor_04252007. Because Thor is awesome and can call down lightning on the users.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Last week was completely jam-packed with work-type stuff.
I got to help cover for a friend while he spent a week in Mexico attending a wedding.
A week filled with wedding stuff is equal to at least a year in real time, so I figure I got the better end of the deal.
Even that improved drastically when Manny returned to work yesterday, as he came bearing gifts. Now, I'd never known exactly how much I needed a luchador mask, but in owning one I can attest to the former void in my life and wardrobe:

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As you can see, I was born to play "El Santo".
Never had I so keenly felt the need to own a cape . . . But one step at a time, I suppose. Too much awesome can be fatal if it is applied too quickly.
I spent the rest of the morning at work strutting around a flexing, like a normal day but this time wearing the mask.
As an odd coincidence, I seem to have been selected for a "random" drug test this morning.
However, there was no time for urine tests yesterday afternoon. No way. Not with the mask of "El Santo" firmly in my possession.
I considered fighting crime, of course.
Then I considered the more lucrative angle of committing it, but quickly decided against that.
As I've said many times, I'm too pretty for prison.
The mere presence of "El Santo" freaked out one of the cats so much that she wouldn't go near me almost an hour after I'd put the mask away. She must fear the justice.
What possible function could my luchador mask serve?

Apparently, the very best use is in frightening my (soon to be eight-year-old) daughter as she walks through a door:

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The image after this one involves a swift upward kick on her part, followed by a series of "El Santo" writhing on the floor in pain, trying to not vomit into the mask.
I'm leaving those pictures out of the post though. "El Santo" cares about bandwidth.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Yeah. Monday. Whatever.
This week marks a very special event on the national calendar (and two on our family calendar). Thursday is "Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day"!
I think there is a very special way this should be celebrated, and I'd like to request anyone with kids to participate in this manner:

Not at all.

Seriously. Our kids have enough issues. The only way a kid could ever possibly come out of seeing their parents at work with any kind of hope for the future is if their father is:

a. Tony Hawk
b. Batman

Any other job on the planet will let them know that as soon as they enter the workforce all attempts at coolness are stopped dead cold.

"Well," I can just hear myself, "This is the old cubicle. Yep. That's my spinning chair."

"No. I don't actually get to spin in it. More of a swivel. And this is my laptop."

"No. No games on it, really. It is against policy and there is a special program that checks for those and emails the CIO. And so this is my desk."

"Actually, I don't honestly know. All that was here when I moved in and I haven't thrown it out because I don't know if it is important."

"Yeah, I don't have a key to that."

"You can use that legal pad, but I need this one for the two hour meeting about procedures we are about to attend."

"So. . . . Want a Diet Coke? I'm saving the caps in this drawer here. Sometimes I like to just sit and count them."

"Nope. Sorry. Nine more hours like this."

"Don't cry. We usually wait until after lunch and do that in the stairwell as a group."

Let your children go to school like any regular day, my friends. It is too early to crush their dreams.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Okay, listen:

Holy crap!
Both gaming magazines, Dungeon and Dragon, are closing shop in September!
I've read those since I was a kid!
Wizards of the Coast (Hasbro, now) plans to offer an online version with a paid subscription.
Holy crap!
Who wants to lug a computer to the gaming table?
So now I have to pay and print everything?
I'm all about saving trees, but Dungeon and Dragon (I'd assumed) were printed on sickly trees. Or trees that were depressed. Or maybe trees that the other trees were a little bit sick of being around.

As if I weren't disgusted enough with that bit of corporate nonsense, Coke "revitalized" the rewards program.
This apparently means they add a few products, remove a bunch, and jack up the prices.
As if my kidneys didn't already pulse with agony.
I have no choice but to ramp up the project yet again just to keep them from getting away with it.
I'll show them. Oh, yes. Revenge will be mine as soon as I stop crying when I try to go #1.
I did manage to find a couple of bottles of Diet Coke Plus on my way in this morning, which should at least stave off scurvy for a few weeks.

But wait!
In a bit of good news, Starbucks has fled the field of battle since I exposed their conspiracy.
Cinnamon Dolce has vanished entirely from the menu, both online and in every store I stopped in.
I'll celebrate my victory as soon as the last of it leaves my system -- probably at the end of one of these weird shakes I've developed.
Perhaps next time they will think twice before tangling with an angry blogger.

I'll gloat when I next order a quad-shot venti breve no-foam latte. Probably later today.

Maybe twice.

I'm so very thirsty.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

As anyone with a GMail account can tell you, one of the most well-developed features is the targeted advertising system.
Based on the content of the emails, people will see ads that Google thinks will most appeal to them.
This went horribly wrong for me yesterday.
We had been discussing how Gwynyth wants an American Girl doll for her birthday and how there is a sale coming up on the 5th for her preferred clothing line.
I noticed the ads start appearing for boutique baby clothes and knew something had gone wrong. In this exchange, you can see my lovely spouse and I try to correct this demographic error:


Oh, hey. We have to stop this conversation.
My gmail ads are for boutique children's clothing and collectible dolls.
So . . . Monster trucks RULE!
We should totally go sport fishing!
I need buffalo wings!


Okay, I am trying to pull stuff to auction quickly. Gwynyth's swim practice is off today so I'll have time to work on it.


Since Google still thinks I'm a woman, I think I'll spend the evening watching professional wrestling and working on my taxidermy skills.


I'm sorry. I am working as hard as I can to fix this problem. If you have another solution, please let me know.
Man. BBQ. Hunger buster. Baseball. Football. Bass Outdoors.Fishing. Hunting. Spitting.


It is like Google knows we have five cats!
NFL. Hooters. Basketball. Pee standing up.


Is this helping at all?

The Man Show.


Not yet.
Jock itch. Collectible jersey. Pleated slacks. Hooters. Lawnmower. Ammunition.


Sweet! ESPN ads!


You've used Hooters twice. I am sorry for ruining your online cred.

Burp. Grilling. Steaks.


Yeah. Now Google thinks I need weight loss products. :(


Sit ups. Viagra. OMG.


I ignore them. I never notice that stuff.

ADD. OCD. Anxiety.



Look how bad we confused Google:

That's right, dear readers.

They make flame job kits for kitchen appliances. And Google thinks I need one.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

There can be no doubt, what happened Monday at Virginia Tech was awful.
There can be no reason, no justification, no excuse to decide to wander purposefully through a crowd of strangers while spraying bullets all around.
So why would people try to give this murderer one?
Jack Thompson turned up on Fox News almost immediately (taking a break, I suppose, from preparing for his disbarment trial) to supply the killer with Thompson's own favorite scapegoat -- Video games.
I've played a lot of video games.
I've played Quake and Doom and Unreal Tournament, as well as the more realistic variations of Half-Life.
I've also been angry and depressed and bitter. Sometimes I played violent video games while being angry and depressed and bitter.
I have not, to date, gone on anything that could be identified as a killing "spree".
Mr. Thompson regularly enables violent behavior by attacking the media instead of the actual suspects.
And he is, of course, not alone in this.
Dr. Phil McGraw said this on Larry King the evening of the massacre:

“The problem is we are programming these people as a society. You cannot tell me - common sense tells you - that if these people are playing video games where they’re on a mass killing spree in a video game, it’s glamorized on the big screen, it’s become part of the fiber of our society. You take that and mix it with a psychopath, a sociopath, or someone suffering from mental illness, add in a dose of rage, the suggestibility is just too high. And we’re going to have to start dealing with that. We’re going to have to start addressing those issues and recognizing that the mass murderers of tomorrow are the children of today that are being programmed with this massive violence overdose.”

I'm not a doctor, but if you take anything and mix it with a psychopath, a sociopath or someone suffering from mental illness the outcome is as bad as the illness makes it.
Maybe if lawyers like Mr. Thompson weren't pushing lawmakers to give public schools the right to demand that children with mood or behavior issues be medicated through their entire childhoods (not by Dr. McGraw, who is a psychologist) fewer people would grow up so unable to cope with the everyday stresses of being a grown up.
In my opinion, the issue isn't how many hours some kid plays Grand Theft Auto. It comes down to personal freaking responsibility.
Mr. Thompson and Dr. McGraw seem to have no issues downplaying that.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Okay, I'll admit I'm not one for calls to action in this space. In fact, I'm one of the biggest proponents of inaction you can find on the internet (capitalization left off intentionally) and the blog-o-sphere is loaded with pro-sloth inactivists.
However, if there was ever a cause that fit the focus of this blog, I found it yesterday.
I don't know how you, dear readers, feel about the war. However, I'm certain we can all agree that supporting the troops is a good thing.
We just talked to Gwynyth Sunday afternoon about the scrap metal drives and Victory gardens of the 1940's, so this cause could hardly be more timely for us personally.
Alright, so we all know being an American soldier in Iraq sucks.
There is sand everywhere (a fact that makes me think, unfavorably, about Jedi romance from Episode 2), the comic books are old and access to even email is questionable. It is like camping but with people trying to kill you all the time.
However, one base has planned an event unheralded in the history of the military.
Ziggurat Con promises to be a phenomenal moment in gaming on June 9th, held at the very ziggurat (on base) of the ancient city of Ur, right next to the reported birthplace of Abraham himself. Dungeons and Dragons in the desert.
Here is the problem and a proposed solution:
While they have state-of-the-art weapons and the best armor they can construct out of whatever was laying around, some of the troops didn't bring their dice with them.
Some of them may have to resort to . . . I hesitate to speak it . . . sharing dice.
This . . . Just . . . Isn't . . . Done!
What if someone accidentally rubs the lucky off another player's D20? Remember, these players are heavily armed.
They probably need other stuff, and I'm sure you could find out exactly what from Con Organizer David Amberson ( However, I'll save you a step.
Dicepool offers dice by the pound at a reasonable rate and there is plenty of time to order some, pack it down with fresh comics, hand-painted miniatures, Mountain Dew and mechanical pencils and ship the whole box to:

SPC David Amberson
A Co 86th Sig Bn
APO, AE 09331

They might even ship directly there.
It looks like they plan to spend nine hours reclaiming the acronym "RPG" for "Role Playing Games", as God intended.
I don't know if it is tax-deductible, but I'd claim it anyway.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Friday night OMG!
I spent the evening (until after 4am) exploring the joys of the cube farm with a few of my co-workers.
We experimented with turning the lights on and off, playing MP3s on the laptops, and bouncing a rubber ball all over the multi-level parking garage. Until an unfortunate mis-bounce, I'd never considered the need for wearing a cup during Data Center Maintenance, but I know better now.
Also, we did our monthly maintenance during the approved outage window.
Together, we altered some network parameters, configured the voicemail server for restoration in the event of a failure and moved a few terabytes of user data from where it shouldn't be to where it should.
We even verified at the end that the users would be able to find their data in its new home. Go, Team Data Verification!
Saturday was less fun, since I got home about 5am and crashed a lot.
Gwynyth had a sleep-over and (because Shana is the bravest person in the world) three little girls attended Disney Princesses on Ice Saturday morning so that I could both sleep and not attend Disney Princesses on Ice.
Imagine if you will, being dragged around by three second grade girls who love princesses in one of the largest and most crowded venues in the world filled with overpriced sugar products (most of it pink) where you are the sole responsible adult, and you can well imagine what my spouse willingly endured so that I could sleep as much as the cats would let me. For those of you without kids, imagine walking into a twenty foot by twenty foot room filled with clear plastic tubing (some random parts electrified by some hidden wiring) and trying to capture and tag and release over and over the thirty incontinent ferrets dashing in and out of the pipe work. You lose if any of the ferrets is electrocuted, however mildly, and the exercise lasts for several hours. Oh, and there is Disney Princess stuff going on in the background the whole time.
The horror!
Of course, all "cool parent" points for the day went to Shana, so I feel obligated to buy Gwynyth a pony just to keep up.
Make that two ponies, since there was ice skating involved.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I apologize in advance about two World of Warcraft posts in a row, but this one features almost no in-game references.
So, one of my co-workers has characters on the same server as me.
Late last week, after experiencing some weird error on the laptop he normally plays on, he trudged upstairs and tried to log into WoW on his desktop computer.
In the middle of the log in process, he noticed a bunch of pop up ads and (since he never uses this machine) realized the virus definitions were out of date.
As any skilled tech tends to do, he immediately set about formatting the hard drive and re-installing Windows from the ground up.
While this went on, he played WoW on his laptop.
Last night, he tried to log into World of Warcraft again from his laptop, probably intending to get some things in order for our overnight at the datacenter monthly maintenance window and LAN party.
But his password didn't work.
And it didn't work on the Blizzard website, either.
So he called support, verified his identity a dozen different ways and had his password reset.
When he logged in, as he'd feared, he found that his characters had been completely stripped of all material goods and left, mostly naked, somewhere near an in-game mailbox.
One character was left with 20 copper, not even enough for in-game postage to mail anything else to whoever the rest of the stuff got mailed to.
So, sometimes a computer virus will steal even non-banking personal information. Sometimes all the virus writers want is access to a person's WoW account for a few hours.
"At least," he said, "I didn't sleep with anyone to get all that stuff."
How messed up is that?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I know everyone is wondering just how Webinara is doing in the great World of Warcraft (Duskwood server, Innkeepers guild).
The short answer is that she is fine. You'll be pleased to know she just dinged level 44 and finally got to wear her ub3r 1337 scorpid scale pants. I know scorpid scales are more of a Fall outfit, but she also carries a dagger with +16 attack power so the n00bs don't hate on her.
While she is relatively happy with her weird emu-looking mount, she has been by the wolf dealer several times and plans to make a final decision as soon as her faction is high enough.
And then, there are epic mounts to consider.
Released in the latest expansion, these flying beasts cost 5000 gold. However, as you may guess, (since I called them "flying beasts") they fly.
Everyone wants one, but my character has never seen 10% of that amount of gold and she shops around for everything. She made her scorpid scale pants herself out of things she pulled off of dead animals (mostly scorpids)!
How does a player ever earn 5000 gold for an epic mount?
One enterprising night elf druid seems to have come up with a unique solution.
I read through that a couple of times before it finally registered. She isn't talking about an in-game freaky situation, but a real-life (IRL) encounter. For WoW gold!
But wait!
I've mentioned the exchange rate compared to the peso and to the US dollar, but apparently other things can be exchanged for WoW gold as well.
So then I thought it was a joke, of course. Like this one guy I know who quit a guild and told all his former guildmates that he was forming another guild made up of the other girls who worked at Hooters, even though he is, in fact, a guy who has never worked at a Hooters. Good times.
But seriously, this night elf druid seems to have been successful.
At least as far as a person can be called "successful" in a game which has no end and definitely no one who can be considered a "winner" in any sense of the word.
To her credit, Shana pointed this little tactic to me. Hopefully, it was a hint to save my own WoW gold for a wyvern at level 70 instead of cramming for it at the last minute through a desperate plea on Craig's List.
The alternative is that this just goes into the substantial pile of evidence convicting me as a nerd, this time through association with the type of people who offer physical services in exchange for WoW gold or, worse, pay for physical services with WoW gold.
The whole sordid incident makes me want to head to a player vs. player battleground to punish the Alliance for letting this sad woman join.
Plus 16 attack power is nothing to laugh at, but WoW prostitutes definitely are.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Ebay is totally Airwolf.
I managed to secure (as part of convention overstock, according to the listing) a full case of William Shatner's new cologne, "Engage".
Thus, my irresistibility is confirmed inarguably and (in 10oz bottles) for a solid several years.
Good times.
In other news, our Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery project is rolling along splendidly, with the first batch of servers due to be shipped to our "secure location" this week sometime. When they arrive, I guess Dick Cheney will rack and cable them. Or shoot them in the face. Whatever.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

This post is late, but I've had a lot going on lately.
Okay. I've mentioned (among a chorus that seems to grow every day) That Joss Whedon's Firefly series was too awesome for network TV.
The Fox network killed it with poor scheduling and promotion and even Serenity (a movie that continues to win awards and growing cult status) was not enough to bring it back.
Aside from the movie and one episode of the TV series (Once More With Feeling -- and I remember it vividly though I watched it years ago) I totally missed out on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
It seemed too violent to watch in front of a toddler, though the concept of a strong female lead was appealing for educational purposes (side note -- Mr. Whedon is no longer a part of the Wonder Woman film project currently in development, though I can think of no one else capable of making that character at all three dimensional) we just never tuned in.
It lasted seven seasons and prompted a bidding war when it jumped networks.
I've mentioned the Marvel comic created specifically for him, Astonishing X-Men, as the only X-title I currently read every time it comes out.
One of his early plot lines involved a cure for mutation -- an idea unapologetically stolen for the most recent X-Men movie.
His portrayal of these decades-old characters makes the X-Men fresh and yet familiar.
His strength seems to be solidly in the realm of human (and mutant and vampire) interaction and his dialogue is among the best, comfortably swapping adjectives for nouns and nouns for adjectives in a way that doesn't make my internal language arts instructor vomit.
And now, he is teaming up with some of the writers for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show to make the never filmed season 8 in comic book form.
I've bought it, because I have a pathological need to support Joss Whedon, but I think I may have to NetFlix seasons one through seven before I read it.
My fear of not being able to catch up on a series about a cheerleader who fights vampires says a lot about my respect for Whedon as a writer, I suppose.
In other news, some co-workers and I microwaved a Marshmallow Peep Monday afternoon to watch it swell to the size of a basketball in twelve seconds before bursting and deflating sadly.
Should you wish to duplicate the experiment, your results may vary by wattage and Peep color.
This little guy was old-school yellow, for the record.
I'm told the flavor was intact at the end, even if the Peep was not.

Monday, April 09, 2007

So, Monday, we meet again.
There is nothing quite like a nice long weekend to lull a person into a false sense of security. This allows a Monday (the ninja assassin of the work-week) to assault them with the blare of an alarm clock or, in my case, the growl of two cats on the landing each trying to convince the other of their whiny ferocity at 4am.
Sometimes I hate the cats, but most of the time we settle into a mutual distrust that is, in its way, quite comfortable in its consistency.
I called last night and have been released from jury duty officially.
Not to create ill will, but I feel those of you in the States should know ~$70 of your Federal Income Tax bill went towards having me spend two days at the courthouse reading a paperback and listening to lawyers dance around the subject of why they didn't want me on their jury.
In other news, there is still no cure for cancer.
The past few days have been unseasonably cold in the greater Houston area and I blame myself.
We planted a garden on Monday and I had made a comment on how delicate the tiny new leaves on the trees looked. In retrospect, I'm surprised there was no sleet.
So now I sit in my cubicle, wrapped securely in the leather coat I'd been meaning to remove from the back seat of the car for a few months, annoyed by the bubbling, sucking noise made by my latte as I drink it through the tiny hole in the top as much as by building management's liberal use of the building heating system to make me contemplate removing that jacket -- if not for the fear that I'd spend the next few months meaning to remove it from my cubicle.
One incident in grade school where I left a coat in my locker over a cold weekend has made it all but impossible for me to remove such a garment outside my own home.
Monday, with its brutal assault, has me contemplating the many layers of my own psychosis -- or at least the layer that makes a person wear a heavy leather coat to a crowded conference room in spite of the discomfort.
"I keep my mechanical pencils in the pocket," I try to convince myself, knowing as we all do that they put clips on the things to make carrying them as passengers on a legal pad even easier than slightly bending those clips out to make them more suitable mobile rubber band launching devices.
I can count on one hand the number of times I got the bend just right so that by combining the legal pad with a rubber band I could actually launch the pencil itself with a suitable degree of accuracy, but the goal is there, looming, at every team-building meeting. It lurks under the first couple of bright yellow pages at every "Respectful Workplace" workshop I've ever attended.
"Status Report" meetings? The goal of the high-velocity pencil weapon is on page one, or even written next to "Office Depot" across the top on the part with the staples that don't prevent the ugly tears north of the perforated line.
Yes Monday, while a flying mechanical pencil holds no power over you, coffee most certainly burns your vampiric nature as surely as any Splenda-infused holy water.
You will not claim me as prey without a struggle.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The results are in.
The bold initiative taken by Congress in shifting Daylight Saving Time forward three weeks seems to have saved the nation . . . about nothing in energy costs.
It looks like the Department of Energy was right in the prediction that energy not used in the evening would just get used the following morning.
I said the same thing. Of course, so did Australia who tried this a couple of years ago and realized it was pointless.
No one listens to me and no one listens to the Australians.
With them, I assume the skepticism is due to their assortment of freak mammals -- but I just choose to take it personally.
From a tech perspective, the server patching was a massive pain in the outback and only actually worked in random cases.
Anyway, power companies are reporting in that there has been no impact on usage while congress persons are still congratulating each other for looking busy.
There are other considerations, I suppose, like the reduction in crime (but not criminals?) which is scheduled to pick back up in November.
Arbitrary and government-mandated changes are awesome!

On the subject of things which are government-mandated, I again attended jury selection proceedings on Wednesday.
Again I answered questions honestly.
Again I suppose I was deemed incapable of being impartial.
Justice will need to find its way without me, I suppose.
Someday they will pay. Oh, yes.
Someday they will all pay.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Back to jury duty on Wednesday for me.
The goal is to get myself eliminated in the lightning round where the scores can really change.
I called at 6:03pm and listened to enough of the recording to know I need to be there.
Of course, having been there Monday I am well aware of the details so I hung up.
At 6:05pm, I got a call from the jury duty answering system which insisted that I listen to the rest of the message.
I learned nothing.
I'm not even there and already they are finding ways to waste my time.
So I answered the questions wrong, I guess.
It seems with big-time Federal Jury Duty, the juror (also known as the "Taxpayer", in some circles) is on-call for an undisclosed amount of time. Every day, until "they" tell me different, I'm required to call a toll-free (but taxpayer funded) hotline after 6pm to find out if I'm being called for the following morning.
This makes scheduling meetings and sorting a task list at work fairly impossible.
It also annoys the (taxpayer) potential juror to the point that I'll vote to convict just about anyone at the moment.
I'm kind of hoping the case for which they are trying to fill a jury box is something to do with the RIAA and some file-sharing elementary student so that I can show off my excellent pirate impression.
"Ahoy, ye scury dog! Ye best be handin' over tha Kenny Loggins MP3 and a pile o' doubloons fer me lawyer friends here or me crew'll feed ye to tha sharks!
"Or hand over some doubloons to the sharks and we will feed you to the RIAA lawyers. I get confused and I doubt it makes much difference anyway."
Or maybe the case is related to tax evasion! Having just done our own taxes, I'm in a great frame of mind to evaluate someone who chose to skip the hours and hours of paperwork.
Our current administration seems proficient at finding reasons to press charges on all kinds of people, so I could sit on a jury for just about anything.
I've made it a policy to agree with the thought police wherever possible. There is no reason to fight them, and even less point.

In short, if I'm called back as I suspect for Wednesday service, I'll have at least posted my beliefs on a public website which can later be used to disqualify me for service yet not kill my lucrative book deal and the rights to the Lifetime movie about my bold struggle against the closed-minded jurors as I steadfastly vote to acquit the defendant because maybe I remember him from High School and one time we pushed over a Port-A-Let near the football field and then he threw up orange juice.
I hope my character is played by Judith Light.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

I'm afraid it is that time again, my friends.
Less than a year later, I'm due back for Jury Duty again.
While my "I read a lot of comic books, and if there is one thing I know that thing is justice!" got me promptly dismissed from County service on June 6th, I still need to show up for Federal service in the morning.
This time, I plan to pepper my conversations with the phrase, "It may be illegal, but I don't see why we should make a Federal case out of it" until I get to go home.
If that fails, I plan to ditch the sequester by informing them that I can only eat things that are Kosher for Passover.
As I've discovered recently, the list of things that are officially Kosher for Passover is only about six items long.
I've also discovered that Kosher for Passover matzo crackers are nearly impossible to find in Katy, Texas. Who knew?

On to politics:
I was elected by my peers to set up our "Innkeepers" guild on the Duskwood server.
What I did not know was that I'd need to quit my old guild before even buying the charter.
Since I was in a hurry, I mailed the guild leader my tabard and hastily /gquit.
Later, there were questions.
The people in the old guild were universally nice and I felt bad for just quitting even with a completely legitimate real life reason.
So I told them that the other girls who worked with me at Hooter's wanted to start a guild and I needed to join that one.
If anything, they are even nicer to me now for some reason.