Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Habitat for Whatever

Jimmy Carter inarguably has done great work for this country. His string of public service was only broken one documented time, that being the four years he was President.
I was absolutely certain that the Carter administration was almost completely without monumental historical worth until this morning.
There is a "Rural-Urban" legend around South Carolina of a place off the coast called "Monkey Island". The story is that thousands of monkeys live there and are routinely harvested by the hundreds for medical research purposes. For the most part, they just run wild on an undeveloped island, only visiting the shoreline to meet the monkey chow boats which regularly visit to ensure the monkeys are getting adequate nutrition.
It sounds weird, but it turns out to be true.
The place is Morgan Island off the coast of Beaufort County. I couldn't make up that place name if I tried.
Anyway, at the end of the Carter administration, rhesus monkeys were imported and released on the island in a super-secret wildlife relocation project. And certainly hundreds of healthy monkeys are removed from the island at a time and sold to medical research facilities and military institutions. The monkeys (which now number close to 6000) produce about 750 young a year.
The area is marked with signs prohibiting people from landing on the island. It is also shrouded in an Area 51-like veil of secrecy.
But why?
I'm not a fan of animal testing, but it isn't a secret.
We all know it happens and we have to assume the animals come from somewhere.
I'm going to come right out and say it.
Sure, some of the monkeys are removed every year for research.
But the majority stay.
No one lands on the island ever and the monkeys which are collected are collected pretty much right from the monkey chow boats.
The secret is related to the original 1979 reason for the creation of this monkey space.
The Jimmy Carter administration started Operation: Monkey Island, SC for the training of a Top Secret force of Ninja Assassin Monkeys, possibly as a slow-moving strategy to mitigate the Iran Hostage Crisis.
Operation Eagle Claw failed, the Carter Presidency was on the ropes and Carter wanted to risk no more American lives.
Had the ninja training moved at a faster pace, Ronald Reagan may never have been elected President.
This doesn't mean that the project ended with Reagan's inauguration, though.
Reagan was a pragmatist, and he wasn't one to give up easily on things designated "impossible" by most sane people.
Also, there is some evidence that the guy loved monkeys anyway.
I am certain he authorized the continued training of these deadly ninja monkeys, and possibly added glowing blue LED stripes like in TRON or, more likely, robot parts like in Short Circuit.
We can't forget that Reagan had a lot of Hollywood contacts, so it is no stretch to assume he had access to the same resources that filmmakers had.
The fact that we are left with is that only a monkey's inability to swim separates the East Coast from a devastating attack from surly, poo-flinging, semi-robotic monkey ninjas.
Anyone intent on upsetting our national security only needs to drop 6000 pairs of water wings on Morgan Island, South Carolina and wait.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Still Sick

But I spent a lot of time at work this weekend anyway.
In order to make up for my total lack of post on Friday, I'll post some pictures I took while I was working. Who doesn't love pictures?

Here is the sign on the coffee machine where a dollar will let you watch dark liquid get squirted into a cup behind a plastic door. After it stops, you can take the cup and drink the "coffee" if you are brave.

My father teaches Latin, so he would know better than I would, but I'm pretty sure CafeDiem does not mean "Live for the coffee". In fact, as far as I know the Romans never had coffee. That's why there is no Roman Empire anymore. At least according to some spotty research I've done.
This machine is the only place to get coffee at all after work officially closes. It is kind of a geek destination near the cafeteria.

Look! Stairs:

Nothing special about these stairs late on a Saturday afternoon, really. People could totally walk up and down them for hours if they were really really bored.
The stairs are not good for our disabled employees, though, and we here at (company name deleted) are all about workplace diversity.
So, here is a ramp configured at a standard one inch per foot incline:

In the upper left, you can just see the stairs from the last picture.
As ramps go, this one is pretty nice. I used it myself quite a few times while trying to figure out why I've been working Saturdays lately.
The slope is gentle and it invites the user to elevate himself slowly.
Of course, the destination is the point in utility building access fixtures, right?
So I ask, what the hell?:

The wheelchair ramp connects the street to this blank brick wall. On either side is some type of vent.
There is no building access anywhere near the wheelchair access ramp. The access is all about the ramp itself, it seems.
I'm not suggesting that this landing is a poor destination, really, but there are nicer, more shaded areas in other places.

Anyway, it looks like our security work over the weekend broke some stuff no one tested. I'm going to go over to the Application area to express concern which I do not feel.
Go, Team Theatre Degree!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oh, Noes!

I'm leaving as soon as possible today.
Aggressive deadlines make everyone come in and work while being all contagious and everything.
I hate them so much for that.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Who Should I Call About This?

Allow me to present a picture of the backyard pool taken this morning as I was leaving for work:

This isn't right. At all.
My garden hose crackled when I stepped on it.
My steering wheel was actually physically painful to touch.
I thought it might be cold up on the mountain here, but this is just stupid cold.
The natives seem fine. They've been calling me "soft" all morning from inside their freshly-constructed ice block houses with two-ply seal skin flap-style doors.
When I suggested "lichens and caribou" as a lunch option, I was completely disregarded. I'm still trying to fit in here, even though my fingers have crystallized and I can no longer feel my feet.
My remaining question is:
Who can we blame for this? This kind of cold s completely unacceptable.
Here is another question:
Do you guys recycle? Do your part to conserve energy? Reduce your carbon footprint?
If so, this is pretty clearly all your fault.
What I need right now is some solid, sustainable global warming.
If it isn't too much trouble, I'd appreciate everyone ditching the car pool and taking the long way to work this week.
I'd do it for you.
Also, we could use a nice, slow-burning tire fire around here. I'll be stocking up on the neighbor's tires this evening and starting the preliminary gasoline soak.
You guys have neighbors. And gas is almost to the point where it seems cheap again.
If you happen across any baby seals while out and about this week, remember you are always one swift clubbing away from me being able to feel my toes again.
I miss them so much.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This Was Not Covered In Orientation

Again, as a public service, I'm going to go over some things it is apparently not okay to say in a corporate environment:

"I've looked at the server that doesn't work, compared it to the one that does, and have tried, unsuccessfully, to recreate the error the tester is seeing. Unless you want me to take off my shirt and rub my nipples on the monitor to try to find an issue using my other senses, I'm done here."

"Please let the user know that they need to call the Help Desk and have their machine reloaded. Also, tell him that our 'target number' for 'less hassles in the future from him' is a flat 40%."

"I know all my current tickets are flagged 'end-user issue'. My stuff works fine. By process of elimination, this is clearly their fault somehow."

"It isn't that I don't care about that user's productivity. I just care so little it appears that I care not at all."

"How did you get this number? Who told you we could help you at this extension? And what was their user ID?"

"All we hear from these people is how stuff doesn't work. Would some constructive criticism be too much to ask? How about : 'I think the logon screen is pretty but I can't seem to click on it anywhere' or 'I like it but I'd find it more useful if all the access weren't stripped out of it'?
It isn't like I call them all 'dumb'; I say they are 'functional' yet 'shockingly somehow still able to remember to breathe given their obvious mental deficiencies'."

"Issue number 618 has been open a long time, but the issue has been resolved for weeks. I've just been using that issue number for everything else since then because I didn't want the system to email me new numbers."

"I'm not going to be able to help you until I get coffee. I'm just going to set the phone down here. I'll be back, prolly."

What's wrong with any of that?
Honest and open communication is key in an office environment, in my opinion.

I've been assigned "Professionalism Training" on December 2nd.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Not As Fast As I'd Like

On the week of the launch of Wrath of the Lich King, I put in over sixty hours at work, including almost 15 over the weekend.
This stage of the project involves today's scheduled upload of our raw scan results to the Department of Defense. It was intensely important that everything be fixed before that scan, because government contracts are on the line and if those go away people lose their jobs.
Next weekend, I'll be at work again doing the same thing for our Medicare environment since we have an audit starting the following Monday. Again, contracts and jobs depend on it.
Both of these environments contain impossible-to-support legacy systems which have been largely un-patched for a number of years.
In one case, the patch installer wouldn't run on the servers so we had to extract the updated files from the patch and manually put them in place on the server. We don't even know if that will make the issue go away on a scan, but we know we can have it flagged as a false positive based on file version if it comes down to it.
And the application may still run, though we hardly cared late last night.
So that takes care of last weekend and next weekend.
The following weekend I'll be at work all weekend turning off these servers forever because the project is over.
Yes. I'll be working two complete weekends on servers which will be powered off the final time on the following weekend.
I.T. Security can sometimes suck a lot.
I did have a little time to play, though, and Wrath of the Lich King is completely pretty.
Webinara ran around the snowy landscape of Northrend doing every available quest and exploring every tiny peninsula and fog-shrouded forest.
Of course, the leveling process is slow since I have been playing in short bursts.
The first character on my server to reach the new level cap of 80 did so on Saturday morning.
Webinara is still level 72.
playing is becoming a bit of a frustration because, with the new "Achievement System" every time someone in my guild does something cool I get told all about it automatically. New level? I hear about it. Awesome new dungeon completed? Yeah, I hear that too.
Meanwhile, Webinara is running around a snowy wasteland collecting ram's horns.
However, my play time has not been completely boring.
While gathering the requested horns for the Walrus people (don't ask) Webinara was attacked by a bunch of weird blue dragon things.
Not wanting to upset the fragile frozen ecosystem by killing them, Webinara chose to leave the area. Quickly.
Then, what seemed at first glance to be a gradual slope down to the beach turned out to be, in fact, a cliff.
So Webinara bravely (accidentally) leapt (plunged) to the bottom of the cliff, landing on a penguin.
But wait. This penguin was huge.
In fact, it carried the name "King Ping", and he was more than a little annoyed at Webinara's perceived attack.
While Webinara's pet gorilla went to work on the penguin, the dragon things (having navagated around the mountaintop and down the gentle slope to the beach like cowards instead of following Webinara off the cliff) caught up and continued trying to eat Webinara.
For some reason, the penguin and the dragon things died before Webinara did.
And, apparently, there was an "Achievement" connected to defeating this particular penguin.
This was announced to the guild by the computer as a "Guild First", evoking a round of congratulatory messages.
"Thanks." Webinara responded in the Guild Chat channel, "I've been tracking that penguin for hours."
Then I logged off and went to work.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Gone Wrong

Thursday was Greek Day in the cafeteria.
You may remember that this is something of an event around here.
The issue arose when I decided that I just wasn't "feeling it" this week.
It seems like we just had Greek Day a couple of weeks ago. There is only so much I can take, really.
So I said that I'd be going along, but that I'd probably just have a turkey wrap.
At this point, my co-worker Dave flipped out.

"If you don't want to be a Team Player, you can just eat somewhere else."

"Hey! I'm a Team Player! I'm going!"

"It doesn't count if you don't eat the Greek food on Greek Day!"


"Don't 'Opa' me, you Greek Day traitor!"

"I just don't want a chicken feta wrap today."

"Fine! But don't expect us to care!"

And, as a result of last-minute guilt while in line, I got the chicken feta whole wheat wrap. You'd think this would count for something, but you'd be wrong.

"Look! I got Greek food! Opa!"

"I told you to get whatever you wanted."

"I'm a Team Player!"


The hostility continued to simmer like artichoke casserole under a heat lamp for most of the afternoon. It was ignited again, unfortunately.

"The current application issues can be completely explained by a total lack of team synergy on Greek Day."


"She's right. You crapped all over Greek Day."

"I had a chicken feta wrap!"

"How was it?"

"Dry as hell, like always!"


"I had no idea Greek Day was such a freaking issue! I just didn't want a heavy, sauce-laden chicken thing in the middle of the day!"

"No one said you had to participate in team activities, Garrick."

"But I did participate!"

"We know when you don't mean it."

"I'm just trying to heal this apparently chicken-based rift in our relationship. Do I need to march back upstairs and buy some freaking chicken?"

"Just forget I mentioned it."

"No! Obviously it is an issue!"

"You don't like the chicken. Don't eat the chicken. And stop yelling."

"I'm fine with the freaking chicken!"

"You sound perfectly reasonable about it, yeah."

"Reasonable? I'll give you reasonable! O-freaking-Pa!"

"Opa, yourself!"

Today is Build-Your-Own Nachos Day.
Someone is going to lose an eye.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Giving Thanks

We had some pretty major application issues yesterday.
There was a script mapping three network drives and then accessing a program stored on one of them.
Initially, it would work.
The second attempt was almost always a failure. The "almost" is important since if a computer or program is broken, it is almost always broken every time.
I tried mapping the drives a different way. It still failed.
I thought maybe the drives weren't mapping completely before the application started and there were files not found. This was also not it.
Finally, I determined that the initial drive mappings were staying resident and then showing up on subsequent attempts in a disconnected state.
Changing the script to un-map the drives before mapping them solved that particular issue.
I bring all this up to tell you that in the middle of it we discussed Thanksgiving.
Our Project Coordinator mentioned that her family has two separate meals on that day and that the one at her husband's family's house is not as good.
When pressed, she said that the menu was different.
I attempted further clarification, "What are they? Communists?"
She responded,"There are regional menu variations. Like the addition of rice and gravy and mashed potatoes."
I felt the topic had shifted dramatically, so I pursued my original line of inquiry,"But I noticed you don't deny that your husband's family may be Communists."
This issue was never, to me, satisfactorily resolved.
On the bright side, EBGames has apparently managed to deliver my Wrath of the Lich King World of Warcraft expansion pack to my house, on release day, before noon.
Of course, it's there and I'm here, so I still have to install it when I get home.
I'll tell you exactly what I told my family:
I'll see you guys in Mid-December, prolly.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm A Little Distracted

The new expansion pack for World of Warcraft is released this week.
As part of the giant player immersion (marketing) push, there have been a lot of in-game events added recently.
This pre-release build-up has included a full-on zombie invasion, random attacks by the twisted minions of the Lich King all over the game world and, most recently, an attack on the beloved but poorly-designed capitol city of the Horde, Orgrimmar.
It was pretty awful, since Frost Wyrms and massive undead creatures were completely destroying the lovely architectural elements of the Valley of Honor and killing the poor noobs trying to skill up their fishing in the pond there.
Of course, Webinara felt compelled to rush over and assist in the defense.
She also got to see Thrall, Warchief of the Horde, get completely beaten down fighting an enemy in the arena.
It was over pretty quickly, but the event seems to restart every twenty minutes.
This schedule makes this epic event seems somehow less . . . epic . . . but it gives everyone a better chance of seeing it if they haven't logged in.
And logging in has been a pretty big problem lately. The regular Tuesday morning maintenance stretched past the normal 11am Pacific time until well after midnight.
The servers are down again today to correct some of the things broken yesterday.
With the expansion coming out at midnight, I honestly don't care how long the servers are down today. An update like this one is virtually guaranteed to come with a large amount of bugs, server downtime, game instability and rolling restarts.
It would have been nice to see some more Frost Wyrms pwning the noobs at the fishing pond.
That never fails to warm the heart.

Monday, November 10, 2008

This Isn't Right

Long ago, there was a time when the "cool" thing to do with a beverage was to make it clear. The idea was that it made even semi-toxic cola seem somehow more pure and therefore more healthy.
This is not a trend which should ever be repeated. Especially with coffee.
This morning my normal conference room desk was usurped by some other team for testing or hanging out or something.
As a result, I'm spending today in my "normal" cubicle. "Normal" is in quotes since, while my name is posted on the outside, I'd spent about ten minutes here total prior to today.
I'm in a totally different building listening to totally different office sounds.
There is a totally different cafeteria downstairs which does not offer whole wheat pancakes. Further, the Splenda is next to the cash register where I did not see it until after I'd dosed my disgustingly weak coffee with something out of a blue packet.
If it weren't for the fact that the tiny amount of caffeine in that semi-transparent (like I can see the bottom of the cup through the hole in the lid, semi-transparent) coffee is probably keeping my liver working, I'd manually purge in the completely unfamiliar restroom.
How do people get anything done in this building?
Any why are the keyboards so freaking loud?
I heard a rumor that there is no one in the conference room in the other building this morning. I moved out all my stuff to keep them from messing it up and it looks like they didn't bother to use the room after all.
If I'd been paying attention when I was told who needed the room, I'd spend a little time this morning deleting accounts. Unfortunately, I wasn't, so I have no one to blame but . . . The Application Support Team.
They haven't specifically done anything and, to be honest, I have very little interaction with them. But in my time in Corporate America I've learned that the first step in troubleshooting any problem is the Assigning Of Blame.
With the AOB out of the way, I can continue on with my day.
Select > Group > Application Support > Delete > Force Update

Friday, November 07, 2008

Where Has It Been?

First published over the course of three months in 1939 in the magazine Weird Tales, this story then vanished for almost 70 years.
As I've mentioned before, I absolutely love the adventure stories from this time period.
Most of them are undeniably bad, like literary placeholders between books that became "the classics". But pulp, named for the low-quality paper it was printed on, is an almost inherently American style of writing.
I just finished Swordsman of Mars by Otis Adelbert Kline, courtesy of Paizo Publishing's Planet Stories line.
Kline was is more famous as Robert E. Howard's literary agent than as a writer on his own, but back in the day there seems to have been quite a rivalry between Edgar Rice Burroughs and Otis Adelbert Kline in the fledgling field of what I lovingly refer to as "crap fiction".
In the twenties and thirties, their stories were wildly popular. This was possibly due to the cheapness of the books in conjunction with the Great Depression and a total lack of a Home and Garden Television Network.
It may also have been due to America's need for an escape from the day-to-day abject poverty and unemployment rate.
Pulp provides that. The stories are straightforward action in fantastic locations. The characters are cookie-cutter archetypes. Burroughs' Tarzan and Howard's Conan were always the leads, but sometimes the names were changed. There is absolutely no learning curve in these books.
The characters reject modern culture and return time and again to a more primitive lifestyle fighting giant monsters for survival. Society is portrayed as corrupt and a weakening agent on the human spirit. The aristocracy is uniformly evil and foppish.
I think that was the key to the success of pulp, and when people began to make money again they lost interest in stories about turning away from it.
Swordsman of Mars was not, by any definition, a good book. Kline telegraphs every twist and every plot point seems completely stolen from Burrough's John Carter series. But sometimes not being a good book and not being a good read are not the same thing.
It was fun.
Almuric, on the other hand, is well-written. And fun.
The protagonist is dropped on an alien planet where he must survive without the benefits of the modern world in both books, but Howard just does it better.
With the current state of the economy I'm hoping to see a resurgence in pulp, possibly even in online serialized format.
Escapist entertainment is a time-honored American tradition.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Post-Election News

Where is it?
Obama is getting a dog when he moves into the White House?
This is only really news if he names it "Maverick". However, if he does, I may actually die from laughter.
More importantly, our Consultants-Only Super Party Spectacular Ass-Off '08 was called off early.
Shana broke her finger during a bad rugby hand-off and needed to see a doctor. She's all splinted and mildly drugged, but the wait at the doctor's office meant I needed to leave early (pre-Ass-Off) to meet Gwynyth at the bus.
I was happy to do it, but today there is the suggestion that I chose to leave early for fear of losing.
This is completely not the case.
We had it pretty well organized, really, and the vote would have been as fair as possible.
Instead of parading in front of a group of voters, we were using Xerox copies of the . . . entries.
That way, votes could be placed with no preference to gender - a vital part of any guy getting voted "Best Butt" in a room full of other guys.
There were comments, which I would assume to be complimentary, such as "Did this one fall off a frog?" and "The back pockets on this one actually appear concave." That's good, right?
Anyway, the final vote was never tallied and the question is now hanging over the room like a dark cloud of ass-uncertainty.
I mean, I'm not uncertain.
No way.
I can't wait for all the Full Time Employees to head off to their next elitist off-site gathering so we can settle this.

EDIT: I've gotten a lot of email asking for details about Shana's rugby accident. I can no longer keep up the fictionalization. The real story is that, due to a bizarre convergence of events, while walking Gwynyth to the bus stop yesterday it became necessary for Shana to punch a rabid bear in the face. Since she was holding Gwynyth's lunch box, her fist was insufficiently formed and her finger was broken.
But you should see the bear!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

My Liver Hurts

I learned an important thing about the electoral process yesterday.
In South Carolina, liquor stores are closed on election day. What the hell is that about?
I was pretty irate about it, and expressed my feelings to my co-workers.
I was told that the law about closing liquor stores on election day was to prevent people from voting drunk (a law which did not prevent Strom Thurmond from keeping his Senate seat for like a billion years, by the way).
"That's stupid!" I told the room, "I was completely trashed when I voted absentee. I could hardly even make it to the mailbox and it's just right over by the cafeteria."
"Are you implying that you were drunk at work, Garrick?"
"I'm not implying anything. Your liquor laws are puritanical. Now give me back my coffee mug before someone gets hurt."
Shana made two pitchers last night, one with blue Kool-Aid and vodka and the other with cranberry juice and vodka. Mixed together, these became a delightful Bi-Partisan Punch.
Oddly, the blue parts did not mix well with the red parts, so it ended up kind of splotchy looking.
Then, there was beer.
And vanilla vodka with Diet Coke.
Oh, I participated in the political process like crazy.
Today, I have my traditional post-election headache. And I may die.
This afternoon there is a special off-site meeting for all the I.T. people. It is catered and there are supposed to be special speakers and all kind of awesomeness.
Well, it isn't actually for all of the I.T. people, since all the hourly consultants are specifically not invited.
This exclusion kind of angered me. And when I say "kind of" I mean "really".
So I decided to organize a consultants-only on-site meeting this afternoon.
We will have skits and interpretive dance. There may also be pie.
But everyone there will be able to bill for their time.
In fact, there were a couple of full-time people talking about calling in sick this morning and coming in just for our on-site meeting of awesomeness. This would still not mean they are invited, though.
Finally, the challenge was issued.
Apparently, the project lead who sits in front of me had become tired of hearing me talk about the awesomeness of my butt -- the stories of how you can bounce a quarter off it apparently got to her.
This afternoon, by consultant-only vote, we are settling this matter in an event we've named "Ass-Off '08".
We've already started the pre-game trash talk ritual.
I think we'll be just fine without door prizes and motivational speakers.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Breaking My Own Rules

I know.
Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng is not about politics.
My whole I.T. career can be summed up the same way.
Still, today the people I work with, and the people you work with, and the people you see in the check-out line, and the people who cut you off in traffic or stop a whole line of cars to let you make a stupid left turn will be picking a brand-new shiny Leader of the Free World.
It's about time. Even if the approval ratings for the current guy weren't completely horrible you have to admit the shelf life on even the very best Leader of the Free World is eight years plus a memoir.
Whatever happens in a today, everything changes.
This election, even with all the name-calling and finger-pointing and catch phrases, is going to fundamentally change reality in a new and awesome way.
Politics aside, this election makes me think of my parents.
When they were in school, they were taught that people, American people, would visit space and walk on the moon.
And they believed it, sure, but until late at night on July 20th, 1969, it was a belief based on a theory.
And when I went to school it was historical fact.
My belief was based on video and audio and books about it
My belief was based on my parents having seen it happen.
And when I went to school I was taught that anyone could run for President if they were the right age, born in America, and stayed out of prison.
It didn't matter what color a person was or what gender, anyone could potentially be President of the United States.
I believed it. But until this election, that belief was also based on a theory.
And when my daughter goes to school and they tell her the same thing they told me, she will believe it because she saw it.
She will believe it because a woman from Alaska may be elected as Vice President (even though Ferraro was first to run for VP) and a black man from Hawaii may be the new Leader of the Free World.
And in a couple of weeks after all the legal wrangling and chad slapping is over, history will have been made.
Undeniably, this is awesome.
Of course, this election is also hitting pretty close to home for us, and not just because the economy is completely shot and our troops are not, for the most part, happy troops and congress keeps freaking trying to regulate the flow of information. I'm telling you people, we are one genetically-engineered virus away from a total zombie apocalypse.
But anyway.
This election, I'm looking at the issues from an officially Jewish perspective.
There have been numerous reports of Republican push polls targeting Jewish voters alleging the Democratic candidate's ties to the PLO.
As little as I fear these tactics would ever work on informed voters, I still have some concerns.
Why do Republicans even keep a list of Jewish people?
The important issue, as I see it, is:
Which would-be LFW will best save us all from the inevitable zombie/robot/alien infestation/uprising/invasion?
Since we all know the first thing to fall is our ever-so-fragile Government infrastructure, we will probably be best served by the candidate with real-world, grass roots, community organization experience, and not an especially long career in Washington. I mean, that place gets leveled first in almost any zombie/robot/alien scenario.
On the other hand, no one has produced footage of Obama wielding a chainsaw or a cricket bat, so the final determination is up to you. Remember, with either implement it all comes down in the end to upper body strength.
Now that the whole "Who do I vote for?" issue has been covered, I'm going to go over what you can do at home on Election Night.
The rules are as follows:
50 cards are labeled for the individual states and placed in a hat. Everyone draws until there are no states left in the hat.
If the state goes red, the holder of that state's card drinks something red like red wine, vodka and Red Bull, or Red Stripe Beer.
If the state goes blue, the holder of that state's card drinks something blue like blue Jell-O shots, Blue Moon beer, or Jones Blue Bubble Gum Soda with vanilla vodka.
The "Everyone Drinks" words from commentators for the evening are:

Swing State

Monday, November 03, 2008

A Very Geeky Halloween

Look! Our house had a Mac-O-Lantern!
While largely condemned as "geeky" and "elitist", I think my pumpkin turned out quite nicely.
Our quiet little cul-d-sac featured absolutely no trick or treaters. Zero.
We actually had to walk Gwynyth across the golf course and into a more populated neighborhood.
I decided to take advantage of the fact that I haven't had a hair cut since moving to Columbia to fulfill my lifelong dream of trying this costume:

While it may look like just another stunningly attractive I.T. guy in a red shirt, please allow me to remind you of the existence of this guy:

"I had a report due on space, so I looked it up in my Encyclopedia Brittanica."
Note the awesome five and a quarter inch floppy on that machine behind him. In vintage hardware circles, we call that a "tricked-out 5-dot-2-5".
When this commercial was made, computers like that one didn't connect to a global network of interwebz, and school children were forced to look things up in piles of shredded trees known as "books".
These were very, very dark times.
There was no Wikipedia to quickly settle arguments, so simple trivia questions were often settled with grim fights to the death. The only weapons a man had were his wits and crudely sharpened stones lashed to sticks with animal sinew.
Google was only a dream and there was no single web portal to solve all our problems with a mouse click.
Tell me my costume doesn't scare the hell out of you.