Friday, September 28, 2007



Thanks to some help from my co-workers, my wastebasket found its way back home yesterday.

I was afraid my method of motivation wasn't working. My whining about it and wheeling myself to various trash cans all over the floor to dispose of whatever seemed to be pretty universally tuned out. I knew that a concerted effort by everyone would have results.

I thought (in the interest of fellowship and team spirit) that bringing everyone together in the shared cause was important to the ultimate return of my wastebasket.

The Team Building technique I settled on was simple. I walked to the vacant cubicle of a co-worker who was at lunch and wheeled the office chair out of there. On my way back to my cubicle, I stopped at every desk and grabbed something. By the time I wheeled to a stop, I had a label maker, two staplers, a dry-erase board, a tape gun, a keyboard, the handset from a desk phone, the toner cartridge from the printer, a potted plant and a framed picture of someone I don't know, all loaded into the office chair.

Note: Always grab the wheelie chair first.

Once everyone was reminded how crappy it can be to have one's stuff stolen, that team spirit kicked in and my wastebasket found its way back into my cubicle even faster than I'd dared to hope.

I was happy to have my wastebasket back, but I was even more happy to have used petty theft to bring our group closer together. Building bridges is hard work, and sometimes the key foundation stones have to be stolen.

Let me clarify by stating that I do not condone or endorse theft as a problem-resolution method. Please be sure to research local laws in your area before trying this where you work.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

But I Never Got To Say Goodbye . . .


Again, I took a personal day yesterday to take care of various things which were. . . you know . . . personal.

Anyway, I dragged myself back into my cubicle this morning to discover that someone has made off with my wastebasket.

What are they even planning to do with it? The contents, by definition, were valueless. It isn't even like the street value on the basket itself is too great. Believe me, I've done that research.

Ever since I was laid off from a job years ago and replaced by foreign I.T. workers in some sweat shop in Kuala Lampur I make a point on accepting a new employment opportunity to determine the resale value of every item within twenty feet of my desk. I got caught off guard once. I have my Looting Exit Path planned out from day one now.

However, my own larcenous ways are not on trial at the moment. I want to know who stole my trash can and when I'm getting it back or, preferably, how I get my cut of the profits.

Maybe I don't always recycle. Sometimes I even use more than one styrofoam cup per day. Neither of these things, even taken together in one giant Earth-hating, eco-terror, iceberg-melting, pollution-a-palooza, means I don't deserve a place to dispose of things.

Long time readers know that this theft of my company-issued waste receptacle means two things:

1. I will have to find a new place to dispose of my personal refuse. It will need to be functional, not already used for someone else's trash, and amusing enough to make it worth my time.

2. I will get absolutely nothing done until the thief is caught and my rightful wastebasket is returned, preferably containing the still-twitching severed hand of the miscreant who removed it without permission.

Harsh? I'm holding an empty disposable coffee cup with no place to dispose of it. I'm holding trash!

For Great Justice,


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Not, so much, working


I took the day off from EVERYTHING on Monday. I'm back at my desk today, but let me tell you -- yesterday I was much less vertical. What did I learn?

I learned that my presence in the house during the day was not stressful to our cats. It seems they do every day what I did yesterday. I tried to emulate as well as I could, though they seem to possess an unnatural talent for just falling to the carpet mid-stride and being asleep before they slide to a stop. I wasn't that good, but I have rug burns on my chest from trying.

I learned that on rare occasions AT&T experiences an outage in the coverage area which impacts both my personal and work phones making them unable to get a signal in my house at all. Actually, I knew that already. What I learned is that I love AT&T for that.

Today I'm back at work. I've got a bunch of emails I probably should have checked yesterday and I suppose they aren't, as they say, going to delete themselves.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng -- The Early Years

coffeehelps I mentioned in a post earlier this week that I grew up in a small town. I actually got emails about that! Apparently, my sophisticated, cosmopolitan mannerisms seem at odds with a small town background. While I admit to having adapted to big city life remarkably well, my small town past helped make me what I am today. Namely, a paranoid neurotic with a nearly painful physical addiction to every legal stimulant and a few marketed as "Herbal Energy Boosters" that slip (for now) under the radar of the FDA.

I grew up in Post, Texas, which had a population of less than 4,000. Post is named for its founder C.W. Post, who is known mostly today for Cocoa Pebbles. Back in the day, C.W. Post was a breakfast visionary. He invented Elijah's Manna (which was later renamed Post Toasties) and Grape Nuts, which were probably named between a couple of Mr. Post's frequent visits to the Sanitarium. Talked to him, the Grape Nuts did. They told him things. Things about the end times.

Before his apparent suicide in 1914, C.W. Post also invented a breakfast drink called Postum. It is a (shudder) caffeine-free "coffee alternative" even available today, though the ingredients are different. On store shelves today, Postum contains wheat and molasses, mostly, but the original formula was reported to contain these with the addition of cocaine and a couple of rain forest opiates -- All in the interest of eliminating caffeine. The marketing even featured a caffeine-fueled super villain with a jet pack:


"Mr. Coffee Nerves" was apparently (if these comics are to be believed) responsible for the complete destruction of many, many families.

Whatever Mr. Coffee Nerves was really about, C.W. Post founded what he envisioned a "Caffeine-free Utopia" in the West Texas desert. And that is where I grew up. In hindsight, I suppose that may explain a lot.

Please feel free to email me any and all questions about my various psychological issues. I'm comfortable enough answering just about anything thanks to the power of caffeine. Let's get better together, dear readers. Dr. Phil would be so proud.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

NOT a Paid Endorsement


I swear. No one has contacted me about shilling for anything. Not that I wouldn't, necessarily. I'm just saying I haven't been contacted. Side note: Any company wishing to contact me about pitching their product/service/pyramid scheme need only email me at All requests will be evaluated with regard to the "legal tender" status of the offer. Um, and also the quality/safety/legality of the product in questions. /end side note.

Let my love of Google never be called into question. I've gone on and on about their Microsoft Office replacement. Their image search possibly makes this blog a bit more visually interesting. There may be no question Google cannot answer, even if some of those answers are delivered sarcastically or by weird conspiracy theorists.

However, I have been directed at a new search engine.  Now, on the first visit one will be prompted to install a browser plug in (Microsoft Silverlight) but after that the lucky searcher will be witness to the most visually stunning search page I've ever seen.

The person who first pointed me that way did it with multiple repetitions of the description "sexy". At first, I silently mocked. However, I find myself at a loss to come up with a better term after having actually used the search engine.

On the left, one will find spinning icons for various types of searches. The results are displayed in the center and results found appropriate can be dragged onto a "glass shelf" on the right side which will store the results for later access. You can drag in links and RSS feeds and URLs and have them all stay there through later searches just waiting for you to need them again.

Just for fun, you can reset the results to a tree format which arranges them on a graphically rendered, slowly spinning 3D tree with the search results hanging at the end of the branches like information-laden fruit.

The site is still officially in Beta and the end results may change, but right now Tafiti is the very definition of a "Pretty Geeky Thing".


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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Things I Don't Remember


I've always read. A lot. From the exclusion of normal childhood activities to a profound inability to sleep unless I've finished a chapter even today, I've forever nursed a fear of being "out of book".

These days, I hit Half Price Books or Borders regularly enough but when I was little I relied on the library. Specifically, my small town public school library. My class's library days were almost a holiday for me. I knew where everything was and could instantly tell if there was anything new. Anything new in that library was almost painfully rare.

I specifically remember one fateful trip to the school library when I was in second or third grade and I found one of those never-before-checked-out-by-anyone books. I remember looking at the bright glossy-wrapped golden-orange cover with a pirate ship on it. I remember worrying that the book was possibly too new to check out for some reason and that I'd be sent back to the old shelves again to check out the same familiar copy of Robin Hood I'd already checked out a dozen times that year.

But I successfully checked it out and took it home and read it almost completely that first night. There were two boys and high adventure and a pirate ship . . . and for the life of me I could not remember the title or author no matter how hard I tried. And I tried for years.

Since my daughter is about the age I was when I read it, I started really trying to figure out what it was again. Google was no help, or rather I could not provide Google with enough information to go on.

Then, possibly due to a happy coincidence of vitamins and cola and the hyperactive regurgitation of my subconscious I remembered the first four words of the title!

"The Day the Sea . . . something something". No author came to mind but I figured, being that it was giant hardcover novel (to my third grader hands, anyway) it would belong to a prominent children's book author from the late seventies.

Amazon came through for me with just that information. "The Day The Sea Rolled Back" is an out-of-print novel from 1979 in which two boys wander out into an exposed sea bed in search of pirate treasure during a freak tidal event. The author? M. Spillane.

M. Spillane? As in Mickey "Mike Hammer" Spillane? 180px-TheErectionSetpaperback 

Apparently, yes. The author of gritty, sex-filled, violent detective novels also apparently wrote a couple of "Young Adult" books.

This goes a long way towards explaining my life-long love of pulp fiction. I had attributed it solely to the works of Robert E. Howard up until now, but apparently my introduction was much earlier.

Anyway, I won't be picking up a copy for Gwynyth until she is old enough to legally drink. She is bound to be warped enough without the assistance Mickey Spillane could provide an eight-year-old in that regard.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Teh Interwebz kill!!1!!!!


Every once in a while, a story surfaces which chills a gamer to the core. Sometimes driver support for a beloved piece of hardware is discontinued. In some cases, a new expansion pack promises to trivialize everything one has accomplished in game to that point. In more than one case, a thread on a message board "outs" a popular female character as being, in fact, a dude.

In the case I linked above, someone sat in an internet cafe in China playing video games for three days and then fell over dead. According to the story, there were unsuccessful attempts made to revive the man before most of the people playing along side him packed up and moved to the internet cafe down the street (I assume) out of respect.

Anyone remember (way back in "the day") when people talked about "cyberspace" as a place to go from time to time where one could assume a different identity and live a different and parallel life? I've heard another term lately and I'd like to share it.

The alternative to being logged in and actively pursuing a virtual life (be it Second Life or World of Warcraft or Grand Champion Bejeweled) is starting to be referred to as spending time in "meat space". Meat space is where most of us have families and jobs and interests outside the world provided by the programmers. And, more and more often, it fills a subordinate role in the consciousness of a lot of people.

When I vacate this weak and fleshy shell and log in to my game of choice, no matter what time of day it is I see the same people online. They play constantly and I have to wonder if neglecting their meat space is having an impact on their IRL lives. More, do they care? 

The article didn't specify which game the man was playing. It also didn't say that he had three max level characters and was probably running a lucrative Alchemy/Herbalism/Dark Moon Faire card scam through multiple virtual identities and had banked a few hundred thousand gold. At least, that's what I'd do if I planned on killing myself through gaming for three solid days.

It is painfully easy to lay the blame at the feet of the game. It is, in my opinion, much more accurate to find fault with the dead. If I play a game and decide I need sleep, I sleep. If I get hungry, I grab some food. If I get thirsty . . . I drink too much Diet Coke to ever experience that sensation for more than an uncomfortable moment or two. I suppose thirst is answered by reaching less than a foot to where my beverage is mounted. At all times. Must save Coke Reward Points.

So. This guy sits in a crowded internet cafe for three days and no one notices until he dies. Aside from the obvious tragedy, this also lends fuel to the idea that people become too involved in online games and forget the world around them. It gives credibility to the thought in the media that gamers are an anti-social bunch with no idea how to interact with real living people. In short, it makes defending games harder for those of us still listening to the noise about gamers in meat space.

This is the truth: When I was little, defeating the evil necromancers at the end of Keep on the Borderlands merited a trip (outside) to someplace for burgers and a long round of cola toasts to our success as a group.

In high school, when one of us made it to an unknown, high-score level in Super Mario Brothers during lunch, we all stayed to watch even though it meant being late for class.  

When my group of total strangers on EverQuest banded together for a 15 minute attack of a monster we all needed to kill, we stayed in touch in game until all of us had moved on with our lives. Except that one guy who I believe still plays.

When I played the PlayStation 2 with my daughter and she (through savant-like button mashing) managed to pull off finishing move after punishing finishing move with her deadly pig-tailed avatar and severely pwnd my own, her trash talk was delivered with the dignity and grace of a seasoned warrior -- And in-person, human to human as all trash talk should be.

Gaming is an inherently social activity. Gamers are just like any group of people whether they are lawyers or actors or doctors or cable repairmen -- a very loud and awful minority possesses the ability to make the rest of them look like total asshats.

What do we do about it? I'd like to suggest that those of us who game invite a non-gamer to play a little. Don't drag them on an end-game raid first off. I'd suggest a button mashing fighting game or maybe something where cars are raced against one another. Let people see how much fun it can be to sit with a friend and enjoy a game together.

Just remember, their thumbs are not like our thumbs. Try not to be too mean when you completely pwn them.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Misunderstanding the Target Market


Gaze with wonder upon the glory that is the Dell 6950! Holding a ridiculous amount of processors and hosting an obscene amount of RAM, this information powerhouse is designed to serve the enterprise as the backbone of its server farm. Twin 1570 watt power supplies ensure constant uptime and four hot-swappable fans keep the temperature down in spite of an available AMD architecture and a face full of SATA drive slots.

The specification I tend to be most concerned with is, however, the base weight. 82lbs of awkwardly angled steel make up this beast. When coupled with the fact that it seems fated to slide into racks in which the bottom slots are already full, it is a nightmare to lever into place. It is so heavy, in fact, that once in place even DOA servers that never boot may just stay there forever -- LEDs forever dark in tribute to the monumental effort it took just to get it there.

Why, I ask, not aluminum? How about fiberglass or some type of heat-resistant plastic? Steel? Really? Steel lined with lead in case someone with X-Ray vision wants to hang out in the server room frantically jotting down a series of 1's and 0's to later decrypt into valuable data?

Dell, in designing this beast of a device, has failed to take into account the average upper body strength of members of the I.T. set. In so doing, they have made at least one (that I know of) curse their name in anger with profanity foul (and creative) enough to turn heads as far away as the break room.

And speaking of the break room . . . Last week we suffered a terrible loss. The brand-new CJ-2000 robotic coffee . . . making . . . automatic . . . pod-based . . . thing developed a leak in its heating tank, at once covering the countertop in hot water and filling half the floor with pore-opening steam. It did not recover.

We have not been notified what the plans are for the future. We do not know if the space it once occupied will ever be filled.

The repair tech did leave the rack of pods. Consequently I have learned that in desperate times a person can chew an espresso pod directly and forego the hassle of heating water altogether. Score one for "Team Efficiency".

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Saturday, September 15, 2007


To: (username deleted to comply with non-disclosure agreement)

From: Pass, Garrick

Subject: FW: Technical requirements

Good morning,

I hope this email finds you in good health. I know we've all been really busy lately with the tight project deadlines recently put into place, so I'll jump right ahead and explain about the subject of this email.

You can clearly see that the prefix to the subject is a "FW" and not an "RE". This prefix is generated automatically whenever someone forwards something from their own "Sent Items" folder -- As I have done here with my repeated request for clarification of the guidelines of your original business technical need. Were this email a reply to your answer to the questions I originally asked, we would see a much more friendly "RE" there, followed by some text in the body of the email where I thank you for your time and promise a speedy turn-around to what I had originally assumed to be a fairly pressing technical issue.

While I truly hope that my next email to you is prefixed by an "RE", I can almost promise further delays in responding will result in shorter and shorter "thank you filler" material.

In closing, I'll relate an amusing factoid/anecdote from the Technical Services team.

One of my dear co-workers (who is well familiar with my love of collecting odds and ends) dropped off an amazing piece at my cubicle earlier today. It is a gorgeous and quite solid-feeling rusted metal pipe, blunt on one end but with a nasty, wicked-looking sharpened other end.

I just thought you'd like to know.

Eagerly awaiting your response,


Friday, September 14, 2007

Moore Pr3++y

GeekyRAM Hey! The shirt showed up in Southern California and is being enjoyed by its new owner!

In this image, we see Andrew Moore sporting his brand-new "Karma. Kicks Me In The Junk Every Time." Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng T-Shirt. You may recall that Andrew provided the slogan for the banner proudly displayed at the top of the page.

I believe I requested an "action shot" of the shirt in use. I requested it for a number of reasons. First, it allowed a post without a Google Image search beforehand. Second, I needed some semi-tangible proof that Zazzle had, indeed, shipped the shirt.

Finally, I've known Andrew forever and knew (on an almost molecular level) that he would offer a picture that invited (nay, demanded) discussion.

To begin, Andrew looks fabulous for reasons beyond the exceedingly classy shirt. His jeans are seemingly distressed in a way that suggests a casual contempt for purchasing jeans which are pre-distressed in some third-world sweat shop. The level of "weathering" suggests many hours spent in the active creation of art. These are not faux ranch hand jeans. These are all-night, coffee-fueled brainstorming jeans. If more people legitimately developed right-brain wear patterns in their garments the world would no doubt be a better place.

A corn cob pipe adds a touch of dignity to the ensemble. The pipe itself indicates Andrew's disregard for convention. While able, no doubt, to enjoy a smoky refreshing tobacco-fueled trip into "flavor country", Andrew uses this pipe as an accessory to this outfit in a way that makes it seem much more likely to contain other substances. Bubbles, perhaps?

The photographer seems to have captured Andrew in a candid moment of T-shirted enjoyment. It isn't as though people commonly pose with a mandolin unless they were in the process of . . . mandolining . . . at the time. Further, this is the finest image of someone preparing to "Rock the Druidic Enclave Old (really old) School" that I have seen in recent memory. Nice mandolin, my friend. And that last statement is 30% less flirty than it probably sounded.

Finally, Andrew's expression conveys a sense of joy which can probably only be achieved through the concurrent application of a corn cob pipe, a mandolin, and a T-shirt which simultaneously references an ancient Hindu philosophical belief and a violent act targeted at a humorous slang term for genitalia. 

I think I speak for the rest of the readers when I say that our bliss-oriented shopping lists are pretty clearly spelled out.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Joining Can Be Fun

koolaidman Kool-Aid (while arguably one of the top causes of the diabetes epidemic of our generation) contains trace amounts of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential to the overall health of our immune systems and enables us, as a species, to combat the effects of illnesses both natural and lab-engineered.

Sometimes, "drinking the Kool-Aid" means something entirely different. In this case, it means I've just installed the beta version of Windows Live Writer.

Alright. I use Windows XP Professional at work and at home. Windows Vista Ultimate is running on my personal laptop. I use Windows Media Player to both manage and enjoy my media library (all internet options disabled, of course). My job revolves around supporting the internal workings of the entire Windows server line with all the associated applications people stick on them. Why not try the (free) Microsoft application which will (in theory) let me compose these posts in the style of publication and then (also in theory) actually stick them up on the blog for me?

Blogger doesn't have a WYSIWYG editor. What I write in Blogger looks nothing like what gets published. Windows Live Writer looks just like the blog even as I type.

I may keep it. It may end up an abandoned personal software fad by the end of the week. It is too early to call at this point.

My reason for remaining on the fence about this and, in fact, all Windows applications is simple. Microsoft Office.

You know, that isn't true at all. Microsoft Office is far from simple. Microsoft, in a press to replace all current installations of Office with the newest and biggest (at as close to full cost as possible), continues to add "features" and "enhancements" year after year and version after version until what was at one time a very nice word processor and spreadsheet program is now a massive bloated cross-functional suite of applications which consumes more and more system resources and requires longer and longer training periods just to get people up to speed on churning out the same documents they were able to produce on the old versions.

Did you know you can actually take classes and a test to get certified in the use of an office suite? To me, this indicates a level of complexity far beyond that of a standard office productivity application.

Whoa. I was completely supposed to be talking about Windows Live Writer and some form of anti-establishment rant about Microsoft Office just kind of happened. What I meant to say was that I'm using Google Docs more and more. Anything important eventually gets opened there and saved there to be freely accessed from any computer I want. Someone else handles my online backup solution and I completely love that.

I also love that I can compose a document and email it to my special email address to export it to Blogger for quick publication.

This leaves me wondering exactly why I installed Windows Live Writer. I suppose it is pretty but not revolutionary.

Just like Windows Vista.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Shana tova!
While my test of switching my Windows clock to the year 5768 had extremely grim consequences for some of my software settings, we are still looking forward to Rosh Hashanah this evening.
Before then, I have approximately a zillion miles of cable to run in the server room in anticipation of some rack moves this weekend which are necessary in order to accommodate a brand-new inter-rack glycol cooling system. Most of the equipment will be on the roof of the building, but supercooled fluid will be piped down, circulated between the racks and pumped back up.
This should prevent the issues we had last winter when the building chiller went offline and the servers cooked themselves. Unless this extremely complicated and no doubt robot-dependant system fails.
If we are lucky, the failure will cause another server cook out. If things go as I fear, bringing services back online will involve a trek through a swamp of knee deep, lukewarm glycol. I've never dealt directly with the stuff, but I suspect it qualifies as a "goo" and is therefore something I would try almost psychotically to avoid getting "on me".
On the bright side, my boss will finally get those freaky steampunk vent tubes out of his office and will be able to move back in there full time. This allows us to better track his movements. You know. For the good of the company.
The new cooling system should work well enough to keep everything in there nice and reasonable until we hit the next issue.
Actual physical space.
At the moment I think there are at least ten new servers waiting to be built and installed . . . somewhere.
We have ordered a new rack to mount them and the new rack will be installed . . . somewhere.
We already have to rearrange about four racks to reclaim about eighteen inches of space for the new cooling system.
I suspect that placing more server racks in that room will mean the installation of an emergency escape hatch for use in case of fire or robot uprising.
I hope the escape hatch has a slide. I like slides.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I don't want to come off like a whiner. Unfortunately, I am a whiner, so coming off as anything else is always a bit of a stretch. Today, I hurt. I still have that nasty H-shaped bruise and the whole left side of my chest feels like it stopped at the gym on the way home and freaked out a Spinning class by pedalling for a few hours as though it were being chased. As far as I can recall, however, the left side of my chest was with me all day yesterday. It is quite possible I put too much strain on it moving equipment and going easy on the elbow. This has taught me that my elbow is responsible for its own well-being. I can't have it dragging the rest of me down -- Especially when just holding my arms in the proper keyboard position hurts as a result of my coddling it.

Okay. That is probably enough complaining. The important thing is this: Today's post comes with required viewing. If you haven't seen it already, the Ironman trailer demands your attention. While I never doubted that Robert Downey Jr. was perfect for the part of Tony Stark, actually seeing it in polished trailer form caused my opinion to solidify, to congeal into a thick lump of barely contained fanboy glee. Since Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng is the place for confessions, I feel compelled to admit that I was never a huge fan of Ironman. There were always much cooler super heroes and, as a child, Tony Stark's struggles with substance abuse were fairly meaningless to me. When I read them today, I appreciate it, but when I was little Rom Spaceknight was my metal-clad hero of choice.

Anyway, Ironman. The movie isn't coming out until May and this makes me sad. Of course, The Dark Knight isn't out until July and this also threatens to send me spiralling into despair, though I'm coping (in my opinion) admirably well.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sunday morning I spent too long bleeding in the back of a bus. In fact, I'm certain it was the longest spree of back-of-the-bus bleeding I've ever been involved with.
There was a blood drive at the temple and I had nothing better to do after sticking Gwynyth in religious school.
Apparently, I was the first to arrive at the blood bus, because they immediately pulled up my information in the computer and started checking my ID and vital signs.
My iron levels? Spot on.
My blood pressure? Consistent with meditative Tibetan monks and long-term coma patients.
My complexion? Flawless.
I got locked in the little room built into the bus to complete the secret questionnaire - Those questions too embarrassing to ask aloud but which everyone must address before their blood goes into . . . circulation.
Any overseas trips? IV drug use? Recent tattoos? Vaccinations in the past two weeks? Ever been paid for sex? Any homosexual encounters between 1975 and 1982? Contact with animals who may have passed through central Africa in the past six weeks?
I am so very, very boring. I console myself with my ability to give blood.
As the needle went into my arm, my friend Todd sat in the chair across the bus from me.
"Race you!" he joked. However, I don't take any competition (no matter how stupid and pointless) as a joke.
"It's on!" I began to frantically squeeze the little foam basketball. Instead of every three seconds, I stepped it up to every two-and-a-half.
Still, Todd pulled into the lead. Even with my 90 second head start, his blood packet continued to fill at an almost unnatural rate, easily surpassing my futile trickle.
The phlebotomists laughed at us, though it was not a mocking laugh or even a particularly amused laugh. It was the laugh of people who have actually seen bleeding races before often enough that there is no challenge in choosing sides.
Either way, Todd was up and out the door with a bottled water while I was still pressing gauze to my elbow pit and holding my arm up like the Statue of Liberty.
I had been defeated and lost a pint of blood in the process.
Also, when I pulled off the arm band later that afternoon I noticed a weird H-shaped bruise disfiguring my formerly elbow-model quality elbow pit and more blood, fresh blood, continued to leak from the wound. It was as if my body was still trying to bleed our way to victory hours later. While I admire the effort, that's gross.
"Second place is fine" I spoke in a soothing voice to my elbow while pressing a paper towel into the bruised area. I guess, even though I don't believe that second place is just fine at all, that my elbow took some comfort and began to finally clot like the champion it is.
My elbow and I began to plot our eventual re-match with Todd.
Next time we will be better prepared. We intend to raise our internal pressure by drinking at least a gallon of water beforehand. Actually, I'll be drinking it but my elbow will do most of the lifting. We further intend that this water will also serve to wash down an almost criminal amount of aspirin to thin the blood and help with the pain of a new and (now expected) weird H-shaped bruise.
Also, we will not rely on the weak squeeze of a foam basketball. I'll bring my own tennis ball with finger grooves worn into it from constant prep squeezes from the hours and hours of training I plan to do.
There was, at one time, a pretty firm list of things I do well. This list used to include bleeding.
I need to step this up. Apparently, I'm losing my edge.

Friday, September 07, 2007

At last count, 3,299 Diet Coke Reward Points were hanging out in my account. While most of this number can be held almost directly responsible for the damage to my own internal systems, a number of people have been regularly emailing me codes in an attempt to keep my kidneys working.
My dad sends codes and has ever since he found out about this project. They come in emails marked as sent via a BlackBerry handheld device, which suggests they were emailed while away from the computer doing something awesome or at least that the urgency merits navigating the tiny thumb-cramping keyboards on those things. I really appreciate it either way.
Also, my friend Ted sends codes -- though he says the true credit for them goes to his daughter for reminding him to save them.
This is especially neat when one considers that I've been getting codes from them for months and she just recently asked (through Ted) what the end goal was supposed to be.
I replied that the end goal was a Nintendo Wii but that it would run just about 7,000 points.
However, I was inspired by the question to visit the Coke Rewards site to take a look for myself just to remind myself why I'm drinking enough Diet Coke that I sweat aspartame and caramel color, why I only sleep 28 hours a week, and why (I hesitate to admit) I have to go #1 more often than a whole group of third grade girls on a bus tour of the Catskills. I rarely go to the official site since they switched to a bloated flash-based interface. I can enter codes through a desktop widget thingy and just do that most of the time.
Hey, now that you've read all that, would anyone care to guess what Nintendo-branded game system is no longer offered in exchange for Coke Reward Points?
I was a little relieved, to be honest. I could cash out early. End the damage to my liver. Drink mountain spring water and enter into a purification diet of tofu and activated carbon.
But guess what else? They seem sold out of everything in my point range that is the least bit interesting.
They still offer Nintendo stuff, though. This isn't like when the partnership with Sony fell through and all references to them on the website were forever destroyed. They just switched to offering games for one's existing Wii which, in my case, is an imaginary one which fails to play any games at all.
The whole Coke Rewards Conspiracy is weakened by the serving of two masters -- The drive to sell increasing volumes of Coca-Cola and the need to push the products of the sponsor partners, in this case offering rewards which can be used only by people who drop the cash on a new gaming system. Actually, there is a third master -- Nal-Ahnana, Abyssal Dark Queen of Kidney Stones, though her ambitions are not so clearly spelled out on the official website.
Am I quitting? I just twisted the cap off a delicious and vitamin and mineral enhanced Diet Coke Plus (37% of my Vitamin B6 for the day is hidden in there somewhere) so probably not.
But I'm afraid to admit the project has no driving purpose at this point.
I may wait until they re-invent the program again next year and hope for better stuff. I may have built up enough points by then to pick up a red and white striped hybrid SUV (with extra drink holders for even more Diet Coke) or perhaps some kind of super-weapon to strike fear into the hearts of my enemies or anyone who drinks Pepsi or, worse, drinks Coke and discards the codes.
So the current plan is this: I will continue to drink Diet Coke and collect the points. I will hoard them into an ever-increasing heap. I will bide my time and wait for the Coke Rewards people to make a move and then . . . I will cash in my rewards for something entirely unrelated to a T-Shirt featuring the Grand Theft Auto guy from the parody commercial they showed during the Superbowl.
I will purchase no Coke-branded desk lamp or bumper sticker pack to advertise their delicious fizzy and refreshing product line.
I will buy no key chain or wall cover or ring tone.
There will, one day, be something cool. And I will be ready.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Oh, no! Another World of Warcraft post!
But wait! Before you click over to look at the new iPods, let me explain.
Actually, this next part is too much explanation for readers who play the game, but it is a necessary evil for those who don't but want to hear what happened.
Okay. Here is how some stuff works:
Characters die all the time. That's fine, because all that really happens is that those dead characters without someone to resurrect them get a nice jog as a ghost returning to their body to get their stuff. There is no penalty other than some damage to everything you were wearing which can be repaired in towns in exchange for gold. That light "death penalty" is part of what makes the game fun because there is little fear of exploring into new areas.
Another mechanic I need to explain is combat initiation.
If Webinara is wandering along and sees a monster doing something . . . monster-like . . . she can shoot an arrow at it and it will come over and pound on her until either combatant is dead or runs away.
But if that monster is near another monster, there is a possibility that the damage from Webinara's arrow will annoy that guy, too, and he will join his friend in the great race to send Webinara home for armor repairs. This process is known as "pulling" since the goal is to bring the monsters to the character -- Like pizza delivery but slightly more violent.
Now that that is out of the way, let me tell you why I was awake until after 2am Wednesday morning.
My real-life friends and I (3 Innkeepers total with two guys I don't know IRL from another (lesser) guild) attempted an assault on an underground fortress known for complicated monster pulling set ups.
We powered our way through the first area with the power of sheer awesome and moved on to the second room with a big bad guy.
This room was filled with groups of eight linked monsters all ready to completely hate on everyone who attacked any one of them. Four groups of eight, with some other monsters wandering around. I'm not sure why they were hanging out there, or where they go to the bathroom, but that was the basic set up.
So our brave and heroic priest, Mairick (Innkeepers member and long-time personal friend) stepped up and cast "Mind Control" on one of the monsters and had it attack his former friends.
This was awesome and fairly amusing until the controlled monster died and all of his surviving friends (and they all survived) ran over to kill us all. A lot.
So, one ghost run later, we were facing the same room one monster short. Then Mairick formulated a plan.
Stepping to the threshold of the cavern, he commanded the rest of us, "Get back!"
We did, but were a little bewildered.
Mairick cast Mind Control again, with predictable results. His controlled monster was slain and then a bunch of still-angry bad guys ran over and smashed Mairick into the flagstones. The rest of us were far enough back to not share in the pain and the monsters went back about their regular business.
At this point, the genius of his plan became clear. He asked another party member to resurrect him and stand back so that he could do it again.
We all knew this would eventually be bad, since everything he was wearing would need to be repaired and those trips back to town would take forever and cost a fortune.
Mairick calmly soothed our fears with a knowing, "I thought of that. That's why I'm naked."
And that is the story of how a naked priest killed every monster in Blackheart the Inciter's room.
To his credit, he wore his Innkeepers tabard the whole time for modesty as well as advertising.
This should also provide some background as to why playing D&D with the same player in real life makes me "twitchy" -- If not twitchy in an entirely bad way.
Also, the picture for this post is just a World of Warcraft priest, not Mairick specifically. It was as close as I wanted to get after Google image searching the term "naked priest" with disastrous results.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Today, a new era dawns here at Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng. No longer must we labor under the default Blogspot text-only banner rectangle.
No longer must this blog blend into the "Safe Weight Loss Herbal Supplement" blogs, the created and abandoned husks of derelict blogs spinning in the blackness of cyberspace forever emitting their tiny trails of sparks and spam-laden comments, and the "Tokyo Subway Phonecam Upskirt" blogs.
No, my friends. Today we have a banner.
And who do we have to thank?
Andrew Freaking Moore. He provided the winning slogan in the slogan contest. He went far enough in a later submission to reduce my age by two years. While picking a single slogan from all the choices was not easy, Mr. Moore has not only solidified the past 400+ posts into a single unified meaning . . . he has given Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng a vision for the future, a purpose for typing this stuff out every day and configuring countless mobile devices to vibrate whenever a comment is posted.
What thanks could I possibly offer? I believe the customary gift is a T-Shirt.
It will be provided as soon as Zazzle can churn it out and ship it.
I also must thank my lovely and supportive wife who sat for far too long with me "backseat banner editing". I think the traditional gift for that is socks, but I'll Google that later to be sure. Those would have to be phenomenally nice socks, believe me. If only backseat banner editing were the most annoying thing I do.
I'd also like to thank everyone who submitted an entry. They were all completely awesome.
Tomorrow we may go back to the regular topics, but Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng will never be the same.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

According to the latest round of press releases from the RIAA and MPAA, everyone should know that file sharing (especially that most evil variety made possible by our abuse of the interwebz) is theft. Actually, it is worse than theft. It is piracy -- which is like theft but with boats and rum.
Even if you don't believe that there is a special level of hell reserved for the scurvy dogs who steal MP3s, apparently there exists the potential for terrible evil in our otherwise innocuous P2P clients.
Klaw is a character from the Fantastic Four comics who designed a device able to convert sound waves into physical objects. After being beaten into submission multiple times by both the Fantastic Four and The Black Panther, Klaw was transformed into a being made from "living sound" which doesn't sound too powerful really because once you move into a quiet area you are pretty much safe. In fact, I think an iPod could defeat most of his nefarious schemes if you replace the stock earbuds with some of those awesome (if battery draining) sound cancelling ones.
Actually, Ms Marvel absorbed him kind-of at one point and it was thought that he was dead forever -- Fitting punishment for his frequent Vibranium smuggling and horrible fashion sense.
But, back to the subject of nigh-unspeakable evil, the character Wizard from the comics has done the unthinkable. He has created a clone of Klaw. And he did it with MP3s he downloaded off Bittorrent. The whole copyright-infringing super clone adventure is there for you to see in Fantastic Four Issue #549.
What have we learned?
Filesharing is not only theft AND piracy. It is also sometimes used to resurrect dead super villains.
Under no circumstances should we participate in P2P filesharing.
If you are interested in learning more, I recommend Fantastic Four #549. You can download it yourself at the link below:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Side note: Spell check completely hated on this entire post. I think it must be run by robots.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

They know, friends. They know.
Having long since-detected my innate distrust of their kind, the robots decided on Saturday to spoil what might have been a perfect three-day weekend.
The robotic arm on the tape library chewed through its own ribbon cable to escape the confines of its metal prison. We need it confined, so I got to go in to pull out the old one and put in a new one with a chew-resistant cable.
It is only a matter of time before hostilities escalate and our fragile organic forms are imprisoned and traded among our overlords as living carbon-based Pokemon cards.
We can take heart in what was learned today, though.
Ribbon cables are a weak spot we must remember in our eventual flight. Cut them, burn them, or chew them. Do NOT let them take you alive.
Of course, eventually they will win. We really have no chance against the mechanized uprising.
However, we can make them pay a terrible price in ribbon cables on our way out.