28 December, 2006

Earrings + touch screen phone = bad news

Yea, title says it all. I just placed my phone on my shoulder, held it with my head as I've done many times before .... and suddenly it went quiet. I glance quickly at my phone, only to realize that it's put my current call on hold and started dialing another number! Nooooo! Luckily I didn't miss anything important. Still not good though. I'm going to have to be very careful with these things.

Moral dilemmas

These are the most difficult decisions to face in your life, but also probably the most important. Perhaps the situation they relate to isn't all that important, but the choices you make set a precedent for future choices. If you make a choice now that hangs on your conscience, it will make it much easier to do the next time. If, however, you make a choice to keep your conscience clear, it can also make these choices easier. The difference here, I suppose, is how you wish to lead your life. It may not seem like it with the individual choices you make, but they do add up over time. The accumulation of these choices is what ends up being known as a person, you. Each individual choice helps to mold that person.

I'm facing one such dilemma currently. On one hand, I can clear my conscience and provide a bit of a warning and openness to a friend... but at the same time, risk trouble for myself at work. On the other hand, I can keep my mouth shut, have that blemish on my conscience, and risk losing the trust of my friend. As cold as it may sound, friends come and go. But at the same time, so do jobs. The question is which one I would rather risk, and which has less chance of failing. The more important question, however, is whether I want that blemish on my conscience.

25 December, 2006



"Never take your loved ones for granted: they could be gone tomorrow"
all of my dreams seem to fall by the side like a discarded thought or the day's fading light
but I know that if I could just see you tonight forever at times we may fall,
like we all tend to do but I'll reach out and find that I've run into you
your strength is the power that carried me through forever

Your kindness for weakness I never mistook I worried you often,
yet you understood that life is so fleeting,
these troubles won't last forever inspired me truly you did from the start to not be afraid
and to follow my heart there's a piece of you with me they can't tear apart forever

Forever I'll find you, forever we'll be
Forever your power and strength stays with me

21 December, 2006

Branching Out

So I'm working on branching out some lately, expanding my horizons as it were. I've complained a fair bit that I don't get out enough, don't meet new people... so I'm doing something about it now.

Last night, I went to the grand opening of a local club, "The Cherry Lounge & Pit". It was a VIP only event, free drinks until 11pm, and I was offered a ticket... so hell yea! The place actually turned out to be very nice. The crowd was definitely a mixture that I wasn't expecting. The sign on the door claimed "strict dress code".. but the clientele didn't quite show evidence of that. Perhaps this was simply because of the nature of the event, but I was very happy with the diversity. While there, I met several new people, found a good new club, and perhaps somewhere I may try to spin in the future.

Today for lunch, I also decided to try something new. I had to run an errand at lunch, so I decided to stop somewhere near there for lunch: Teakwood Tavern & Grill. This place surprised me, I like it. My first impression when I walked in was that it was a total dive... albeit a bit bigger than your typical dive. Not that this is a bad thing, I've haunted my share of dives. The staff was very friendly; perhaps a bit slow, but it was a busy lunch time so that's excusable. I took my seat at the bar, got a glass of Kilt Lifter (bonus!) and ordered some kind of... honey mustard chicken sandwich. This thing comes out, and holy hell it was big. Tasty too! I couldn't taste too much of the honey mustard, probably not enough with the huge chunk of chicken on there. It also came with a small cup of "fresh" fruit.. well, mostly fresh anyhow. I may have just gotten a bad part of a pineapple, who knows. Overall though, I was pleasantly surprised. I can definitely see going back there again.

I gotta keep this up, I like this whole "new" thing. It suits me.


...at the wrong time, or too late, can have disastrous consequences.

But in every change, there is good. It just depends how you handle the change and how you adapt to the results.

19 December, 2006

Self awareness

Whether or not I've said it, admitted it, whatever.. I've been on a journey of self awareness for a while now. Strange that L and I should be doing this at the same time... but it works.

Obviously, according to my last post, I'm changing. I have been changing. Hell, I've made that pretty obvious in many of my previous posts. Some of this I've done on my own... some I've done through the help of teachers, some through friends like L, and also through the Landmark Education Center. (Thank you Sonia!) (Yes, there is one in Portland also. Yes, you are going.. some day. You know who you are.)

All this has made for the most challenging.. emotional rollercoaster period of my life so far. But it's also the most rewarding. The lows may be low, but the highs are in the clouds. Where am I going to end up from all this? I'm not really sure... but I like that idea. The future is open, a canvas yet to be drawn on. I know that I'm becoming much more aware of the world, the environment, my personal impact on it.. and the impact of our people as a whole. I would like to think that eventually I will make some kind of impact as far as that is concerned. Do my part to make things better. Perhaps I already am, simply by talking and helping educate others. I want to be able to reach more people though, a broader audience.

Coming up in February, I'm going to be attending a Landmark Forum... this is going to be something very big. I've seen the impact that it has had on Sonia, and I can see that she is a completely new person since attending... a much happier, more open person. I'm actually a bit scared of attending, because I don't really know what I'll discover about myself there. Even just attending the Introduction opened many doors in my mind, and incited many breakthroughs for myself. Attending a 3-day forum... who knows what may happen.

18 December, 2006

The search for a better life

"The grass is always greener on the other side." Right?

No, not always.

But that doesn't mean you should just stop and settle down once you've found a decently green patch of life. See, that's what I've got right now. I've got a pretty decent life. I make a decent salary, working a decent job. I live in a decent house in a decent city. I own lots of decent things. This should all make me a happy person.

But it doesn't.

The one thing I'm still searching for is the life that I actually want to stick with. The life where I'm no longer discontented with my situation; where I don't feel the need to improve my situation, because I'm certain I could be happier living differently. My greatest problem in this regard is, in fact, perhaps my greatest strength. I am constantly growing and improving as a person; and as a result, I need my surroundings to grow as well. I need my situation to change along with me. I've outgrown this city. I've outgrown this house. Though I've only been there for just over 6 months, I have more than outgrown my job. In essence, I've outgrown all of my surroundings... and yet, I still find myself in them. This is a constant point of frustration for me. I have, in fact, been looking for a new place to live for some time now. Currently, Portland is a very strong contender. I don't know that I could stay in Portland, however. It's a wonderful city, full of wonderful people, and I believe that it would be a good fit for me at this point in my life. I fear though that even Portland may not allow me to keep up my momentum of personal growth.

Guaranteed, as soon as it's a viable option, I will be dropping off the radar completely and living out my days on some remote island with nary a care aside from whether or not I want to get up from my chair for another drink.

15 December, 2006

Being Irish

So today I went out to lunch with the guys here at work. We had this little joke running about "Oh, you like that? Well that's just cause you're Irish." Oddly enough, it fits for a lot of things. Some of the things named were:
  • Dropkick Murphys. Irish punk music.
  • The Corrs. Irish pop-folk music.
  • Drinking. Go figure. This also fits with the German in me.
  • Guinness. Goes along with the drinking, but it's really in a class all its own.
  • Boondock Saints. A movie about Irish Boston.
  • Meat & potatoes. I grew up on them. What do you expect in an Irish family?
That's all I can think of off the top of my head. I'm sure there's more, but yea... those really do seem to fit.

12 December, 2006


My eyelid won't stop twitching. It's really starting to irk me.

I want to stab it.
That might suck though, since I'd end up stabbing myself in the eye.

Code Restructuring

Recently it was decided that I need to go into a documentation/maintenance phase at work, which I'm totally cool with. There was next to no documentation for me to work with when I came into this position, and I've had to figure everything out from the ground up. Some things I'm still not fully sure of... but that's what this period of time is for.

I've decided to take this to the next level though. Notice I said "documentation/maintenance", not just documentation. I'm taking the opportunity to rewrite and refactor a lot of the core functionality of our code. Build it the way it should have been done to begin with. Reorganize things, make things more readable and understandable, and document the whole process as I go, of course.

This is really turning into quite the project... one of those ones where I'm not really sure how it's ever going to end. Right now, I'm working on rewriting all of our database connection code... which is a large undertaking in itself. I think overall, this is going to be a very worthy project though. I'm building a more solid base for our code to run on, trimming a lot of fat in the code, getting it all figured out for myself and any future developers... plus I'm increasing my own understanding of PHP's object oriented programming, and in fact object oriented programming in general. This whole thing will definitely be good for my resume and my future experiences in programming.

I just hope I can actually give this project a finite timeline...

08 December, 2006

Movies != Real Life.


Yea.. that guy is awesome. He's my hero of the day.

07 December, 2006

My (lack of) style

So my webpage right now is pretty ugly.

At least I think it is.

I've been wanting for quite some time to update the style, make it not so sucky. The problem has been that I just can't come up with a design that DOESN'T suck. Technically, I'm very good with XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, whatever... I can make web pages do lots of fancy things. What I can't do, however, is create a site design to fancy up. I've had a couple of failed attempts at new designs... both with different concepts, different layouts, different colors, all that. Those were definite failures though.

However, this time, I think I've got it! I got a wild hair up my ass and managed to throw together a layout that I'm actually happy with! Of course, I did have some helpful advice this time, from an excellent designer. I'm sure I'll be getting more advice before this is finished as well.

Anyhow, this means my site is actually going to get the rewrite it greatly deserves! I'll be trimming the fat, pulling off all the bs pages that are never really used (Including my guestbook... all it gets is spam these days) and sprucing up the pages that really need it. I will have a real programming section now, with full code samples, and lots of them! In fact, I even have one I just wrote up to aggregate the contents of this blog and display them on my page. OoooOoOoh, fancy!

So now, for your previewing and critiquing pleasure, here is the new design: http://tarken.lyrical.net/testsite/test3.htm

06 December, 2006

Song of the day

Dropkick Murphys - Bastards On Parade

I've lost all the time that I have in this world
I spent it unwisely, unwisely you see
And I can't get it back and I can't move forward
I'm broken and I'm empty, it's over for me
If I could undo all the wrongs that I've caused
Fall to my knees, pray for swiftness and just
For I'm just a fool, a fool driven to dust
And the world ain't gonna change for me

So give me one more chance to prove these problems and frustrations
Aren't just manifest in memories we're destined to repeat
A second chance to prove I know right from wrong
I swear I'll do things different but can't promise to be strong

So come on all you losers, you bastards and cheats
Vagrants and barflies down on the street
Follow this path to salvation, vindication awaits
We're marching on East Broadway street tonight

If you could look into this old face and try to see the young man
I swear I once was pretty, not the monster you now see
But I squandered all my chances, lost my faith and took for granted
This life and precious one chance, the whirlwind I'll reap

If I could undo all the wrongs that I've caused
Fall to my knees, pray for swiftness and just
For I'm just a fool, a fool driven to dust
And the world ain't gonna change for me


Element Shift

When I started out 2 years ago, my life was ruled primarily by the element of earth, with an underlying tone of water. Earth is about docility, receptiveness, acceptance. I let people trample all over me, never stood up for myself. Water is about danger, change... water is always adjusting, compensating... I would roll with the punches. I would accept the shit that people would throw at me, and I would adapt to it.

Earlier this year, I changed. Those two elements switched, and my life was ruled more by water. Everything about me has been changing. I'm a totally different person from who I was before. But I've still been taking people's shit with no retribution. I'm constantly changing and rising to new challenges... but I'm still not standing up as much as I should. I've been on the path to the person I should be, but I haven't arrived.

Now is the time to be. This period of change is coming to a close. It's time for my life to be ruled by two completely new elements, wood and sky. Wood is about penetration, following. It's about strength and power. Sky is strength, creativity and pure will. Sky is being the person I've been working towards. It's time to stop dreaming and start living in what I've been working towards. I have no reason not to. My own doubts and fears are all that's been holding me back, I realize that now. It's time to shed those and live the way I'm meant to.

You think I've changed?

You ain't seen nothing yet.

05 December, 2006

The First Agreement.

Be impeccable with your word - Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

\Im*pec"ca*ble\, a. [L. impeccabilis; pref. im- not +
   peccare to err, to sin: cf. F. impeccable.]
Not liable to sin; exempt from the possibility of doing
wrong. -- n. One who is impeccable; esp., one of a sect of
Gnostic heretics who asserted their sinlessness.

Of all the four agreements, this is possibly the most difficult. This means not only to be honest, to be truthful... but to speak whole truths, hide nothing. It's like they say in court, "I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help me God."

That is the gist of this agreement.

And breaking this agreement can have incredibly dire consequences.

04 December, 2006

Sustainability; aka, Living The Way It Was Meant

Having just read the story of Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn, I can't help but think that we have it all wrong. The way we live is at odds with nature. The way we go about our every day routines is not the way it was meant to be.

In the grand scheme of things, we believe ourselves to be not only the heirs of the world, but the divinely appointed monarchical rulers of the world. We are the end all, be all of evolution. But this is obviously not so. If this were so, then we would not be destroying the world as we are. If we were meant to rule the world, then we would know how to rule the world, we would have a way to obtain this knowledge. There is, however, no way to obtain this knowledge, as there is in fact no such knowledge.

Actually, let me rephrase that. The way to rule the world.. the way to conquer the world.. is to be at peace with the world, to allow others around us to grow as we have. We must become benevolent, helpful leaders, rather than the tyrannical, dominating, power hungry beasts we are now.

This is the way it was meant to be.

And if this is not the way that comes to be, then we will come to realize the end... not only of mankind, of our own species, but of everything around us. What we do in our culture, in our lives, effects not only us but everything in our environs. Everybody sees this, but nobody accepts this fact. It stares us in the face through deforestation, holes in the ozone layer, extinction of countless species... and yet people still don't realize that we are causing this, and at an ever accelerating rate. More importantly, people don't realize that we can change this. People don't realize that we can stop being this way, live at peace with the world.

Am I trying to say that we should live like aborigines, or like American Indians, or perhaps like a cannibal tribe in the Amazon? Certainly not. They all have their own ways, and those ways work wonderfully for them, but they would not work for our people as a whole. No, the way we can accomplish this is through a move forward. We can accomplish this by ceasing to destroy the environment with harmful chemicals. We can accomplish this through discontinuing the destruction of natural habitats, killing off everything that gets in our way. We can do this by realizing that our culture itself needs to evolve.

Of course, perhaps an evolution isn't enough. We've been progressing towards our destruction at a steadily growing rate of speed for centuries now. Who's to say that this speed won't grow so intensely that we seal our own doomed fate within the next ten years? Perhaps the next five? Hell why stop there, what if we perfect our destruction of our environs so absolutely that we end our very existence in the next year? Is that so inconceivable? Not to this mind. So then what needs to take place, if an evolution is not enough? The only other option... a revolution. All people... society as a whole, needs to be brought into the realization of what is happening in the world... what they, themselves, are doing to the world. They need to learn, and quickly. That is the only way to prevent our untimely demise, and that of the world itself.


If anybody is ever in Portland, Oregon wanting to get pierced.. go to Captain Jack's Tattoo and Piercing Studio, and ask for Fara Te. She is the best. She rules. I hope to be in Portland when I get my next piercing(s) so that I can have her do them as well.

And if you do go there, be sure to give her a hug and tell her she's awesome!

30 November, 2006

Shoes rule.

Okay so in some ways I'm almost as bad as a woman.
I have 2 pairs of dress shoes, a pair of running shoes, and a pair of sandals .... and I just ordered a new pair of shoes yesterday, from Zappos. They're totally awesome though.

I'll definitely be wearing the black laces with these. The white would just be too much white. I totally love em though. And they're Vans, so you can't go wrong.

Hopefully these will arrive here at work tomorrow. UPS says they are on time... and I keep refreshing every few minutes to check. Yay!

I see stupid people....

And they make me want to cry.
I've probably spent as much time at this job fixing and covering for stupid stupid stupid things that were done before I was here, as I have spent on new development.

Then, there's the users .... don't even get me started.

29 November, 2006

Microwaves suck!

Why the hell can't all microwaves just be a standard power and all that? I just put a bag of popcorn in for the recommended time... 2 minutes, 30 seconds... and even before I opened the door, I could smell that it was burned. So I pull the bag out, open it up, and find out that probably half the bag is burned. Hell, there's a chunk of BLACK popcorn. It's like freaking charcoal! And now the entire office reeks of burnt popcorn.


28 November, 2006

Database Relief

So, I've been battling with a database problem for a while now. I have this table that records all the traffic to every website we host at work. Needless to say, this grows. Quickly. At a rate averaging about.. ehhh... 35k hits/day.

Now, thanks to the wonderfully forward thinking engineers in this position before me, we have run into a built-in limitation of MySQL. By default, when you create a table, it's built with the ability to grow up to a size of 4gb. Well with as much traffic as we get here, that 4gb point has quite obviously come and gone. In just over a year worth of traffic. Brilliant.

I have finally found a solution to get us by for now though, as opposed to deleting old traffic records for inactive accounts. (I hate deleting archived data. Always bad.) One little query has made my world all better:
ALTER TABLE traffic MAX_ROWS=1000000000;

Yes, that is 1,000,000,000. One billion. We're at around 12.4 million records in that table right now. I figure if we get to a billion, I'll be retired on a tropical island, sipping on drinks with little umbrellas in them. Now, in the process of rebuilding this table with the greatly increased row limit, MySQL went ahead and recalculated the maximum amount of disk space the table could take up. The new number it came up with is 281474976710655 bytes. That comes out to exactly 256tb. Two hundred and fifty six TERABYTES. Yeah. Drinks with little umbrellas. Definitely.

24 November, 2006

I complain a lot.

I'm realizing that I really do. I feel sorry for anybody who has to listen to me.

20 November, 2006

Body modding

I've been thinking very seriously lately about getting into body modding.

I already know that I'm going to do tattoos over a large part of my torso. I have a back piece planned, as well as something for my left shoulder. I would like to get pieces figured out for other parts of me as well... and I know already how I'm going to link them together. That way it's not just a bunch of random patches of ink across my skin... they will actually flow together in a way.

More recently though I've been thinking about piercings as well. Partially because these are much cheaper than tattoos... and partially because I've always liked piercings. Once it was suggested that some piercings might look good on me.. well, it was all over.

So far, I'm thinking I would like to get (eventually) ears, septum, labret and bridge... all nice and symmetrical. The bridge might be a bit awkward, with the way my glasses sit... since I've got such a narrow bridge, my glasses sit right exactly where the piercing would go.

I still have a huge fear of needles... and I would definitely have to give my standard disclaimer of me + needles = passing out when I got pierced.. but I think this would also help me overcome that fear. Maybe.. somehow.

My other problem is, I don't know how these piercings will be viewed at work. I'm not even sure about ear piercings simply because of my job. Granted, this is a business casual environment... but some of these people are also very straight laced. Plus the fact that I actually have to meet with clients on occasion... which I hate (see my previous post about that.) I really want to start doing this stuff.. it just really interests me. I guess I'll have to ask if there's any kind of policy here about that. It just somewhat bugs me that work might actually restrict me from doing things like this, when really, it doesn't change at all who I am or how I perform my job. It just changes how I look... which really, they shouldn't give a damn about, as long as I'm presentable.


So I posted here previously that I will soon have somebody working under me, and the stress and doubts associated with that. I think I can safely say that I'm over those fears. I'm certain that I will be a strong leader and also a good teacher. I have no doubts there anymore. The problem is, now I'm doubting if I want to be in that type of position. It may be that I was born to be in a leadership role of sorts... I have always somewhat fallen into that role in most situations in my life. I'm just not sure if I want that to be my job. I like obscurity... I like being the man behind the curtain, making things work from the shadows. I like having the freedom to actually work, without constraints, without distractions. Most of all though, I hate dealing with political bullshit. And to me, that's what comes with a management role. You have to deal with customers and other managers all the time, and you have to play political footsie with them. That's not something I enjoy, that's not something I want. Sure, I can bullshit with the best of em when I have to, but I couldn't live with myself if that's what I did for a job. I would start to hate my job, and I just got myself out of a position where I couldn't stand waking up in the morning, because it meant I had to drag myself in for another day of worthless time at my job.

Then again, who knows, maybe it won't be that way at all. I may be over analyzing. Being in a management position here might be just what I need. I suppose only time will tell.

19 November, 2006

Rust 'n Bass

So I was listening to a drum 'n bass mix that I recorded last night... just about a half hour worth. And I realized, that I sound like CRAP. I am way rusty with that stuff. I can't believe how incredibly out of practice I am now... so yeah, I need a lot more practice with that stuff. And probably more records. Definitely more records. Or I could just stick with tech house & breakbeats. Both of which I'm at least decent at mixing. Grr, decisions decisions!

17 November, 2006

I <3 RedHat.


RedHat rules. Plain and simple. Microsoft pushes, and they shove back. They won't take guff from anybody. That is awesome. More people should follow their example.


I really need to start getting things organized. I keep finding myself forgetting to do things, or ending up doing them several days later than I really should. It's not that I have too many things to do... well okay maybe I do, but all of this really should be manageable if I just put my mind to it. At least I've started to get my dates and appointments organized, thanks to my wonderifical new phone.
I love my phone. I really do.
I just need to figure out what to do to organize everything else.... my white board is filled with chicken scratch, and I've got sticky notes every freaking where.

16 November, 2006

Drum 'n Bass +10

I've learned a very valuable lesson tonight.

Spinning drum 'n bass with all the tracks at or near +10% pitch is very difficult.
And it sounds like crap.

Note to self: Never do that again.

Fortune of the day

Slous' Contention:
If you do a job too well, you'll get stuck with it.

Yeah. Yup. That's very true. I now realize, that's what's happened to me. But I like it... dammit.

13 November, 2006


I tend to be a pretty indecisive person. Okay, at times, that's a massive understatement. But when it comes to important, potentially life changing decisions, I tend to put my mind to them and figure out an answer. Especially when it affects other people's lives. Why can't other people have this same courtesy? It really bugs me, the fact that my entire future could hinge on the decisions of another person, and they refuse to make up their mind.

06 November, 2006


When did this happen? When did I suddenly become responsible for so much? I've had to take on far more in this month than I ever imagined I would have to. And now, I'm finding that I'm going to have a new employee under me at work. I'm going to be a boss. I'm going to be totally accountable for this person.

How did this happen?

Am I ready for this?

Will I be able to handle all of this new weight, or will I collapse?

05 November, 2006

Mental Exercise

Given the circumstances that I'm currently in, and the state that my mom has come to be in, I can't help but sit here and think that the most important exercise we can get in our lives is mental. You can work your body as much as you want, and even extend your life through these physical pursuits. Unless you constantly exercise your mind, however, who can say how many of these extended years will be happy, harmonious years? How many of them will be spent in misery, wishing that you were no more for this world? How many years will you spend in regression, not really knowing the current or what is going on around you?

I'm not trying to downplay the importance of physical exercise here, not at all. Our country is obese, that is a fact. More people need to get off their lazy asses and work out. But just as many people, and probably even more, need to work their minds a lot more than they currently do. It's nothing terribly difficult. In fact, mental exercise is even easier than physical. You can remain seated on your lazy ass while you do it!

There are any number of things you can do to exercise your brain. Pick up a book, a magazine, or a newspaper and start reading. Do what I'm doing right now and write down your thoughts. Grab a deck of cards and play a game of solitaire. Work on a crossword puzzle or a sudoku puzzle. Troubleshoot a problem in something; a car, a computer, even in your fridge. Any of these activities and thousands more will work your brain and keep it fresh. All you need to do is think, keep thinking... be creative, solve problems, learn new things. This is how you exercise your brain. This is how you keep your brain young. And most importantly, this is how you ensure that your brain will stay fresh through your life, and your final years will be happy ones, not years spent wishing it would all end.

03 November, 2006


...makes totally awesome headphones. I've got great headphones for all of my mixing and listening needs, that cost only $60. I would totally recommend these headphones to anybody at all. They sound incredible, they've got excellent noise cancellation, and they're extremely comfortable.

Problem is, the cables they sell with them are CHEAP ASS PIECES OF CRAP!

I've now had 2 cables die on me, just through regular use. Yeah, they get tugged on a bit. They're going to. It's a good thing these cables are detachable and replaceable. Of course, you have to order them directly from Sennheiser. The cables aren't too terribly expensive... $7.62 each (Which is better than last I checked, I swear they were $12.)

Overall, I'm happy with these headphones. I'm just pissed off right now that I can't use either of my pairs, because both of the cables are broken.

I'm ordering 2 new cables as I write this.

Pure, raw stupidity.

You know how it's called a "flash flood" when there's a sudden downpour and areas become flooded nearly instantly? Well, I've just gotten what I like to call a "flash migraine". Except, these aren't caused by sudden downpours of rain. They're caused by sudden downpours of stupid.

I just ran into one of the most ridiculous bugs I've seen since I started at this job. On the locator website for one of our clients, I could add a space (yes, " ") to the end of a zip code in which I wanted to find a location.... and somehow, this managed to make all locations display as being over 5,000 miles away. Even ones that were.. oh, say, 18 miles away.

How do you not notice things like this in development? How do you not CHECK for things like this in testing? Hell... how do you manage to maintain a job in the IT industry, making totally stupid mistakes like this, on major corporate websites!?

I just don't get it .... but I praise the inventor of Excederin migraine.

Home again, home again

Oh, to be home again.

I can't express how glad I am to be back.

I was in Spokane for 10 days, and I'll be glad if I don't have to go back for another long while. While I was there, I experienced below freezing temperatures... in fact, I experienced temperatures near 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Several nights while I was there got down to 9 degrees. Do you realize how cold that is? I saw SNOW! I haven't seen snow in over 5 years! No thanks, not for me.

So glad to be back. I came back to 80 degree weather. In November. Awesome. I want this year round. Actually, maybe a bit warmer... like, upper 80s, low 90s.. that would be perfect. Plus rain. Yeah, I need tropical.

Anyhow, I've wandered and I must work. Just sayin'. It's good to be home.

11 October, 2006

"Among the lucky, you are the chosen one."

That's what my fortune cookie read yesterday at lunch. This was after the owner told me that my lunch was on him. Seems pretty lucky to me!

Then again, he only said that because I found a moth in my soup. Must have fallen off the wall or something, but still, that doesn't seem very lucky to me.

"You will be advanced professionally without any special effort on your part." -- this is another one that I got a few weeks ago. It's a nice idea... but a pipe dream. I've had to fight hard and work even harder to get to where I am, and I still have a long ways to go in my career. Hell, I'm 24 and I haven't even started a retirement fund yet!

Who the hell writes these fortune cookies anyways? I want to see some that have sayings like they were shouting in Fight Club. "You are not special.", "You are no better than anybody else." -- those would be awesome. Those would actually make me laugh and smile.

But maybe that's just me.

17 August, 2006

I've sold out again

Not only am I now maintaining a blog (Well.. sorta.. I've been slacking lately, I know.) I just signed up for last.fm as well. Yes, that's right. You can now see what music I've been listening to. Exciting huh?

Well, if it does interest you, then you can see my page in all its lackluster glory here: http://www.last.fm/user/Tarkatronic


02 August, 2006

Passionfruit Starburst

So I was having a bit of a debate about my Jesus Juice, with one of the servers at Kobe. She kept insisting that it tasted just like a Passionfruit Starburst... I'm not entirely sure, and I'm deferring to her knowledge of them, as it's been a very long time since I've had that particular kind of candy. However, when I went and had another Jesus Juice last night (yes, I'm there too much,) it was made by accident with pineapple juice instead of the orange juice. The bartender obviously offered to remake it... but I was curious, so I tried it. And holy crap! I'm not sure which way I like better... they're both very tasty! But with this one.... I was actually thinking about Tropical Starburst when I was drinking it. I think the other one may have been close, but this nailed it on the head. So I think I have now, with the assistance of the staff at Kobe, created 2 new drinks with just a minor variation.

First, Jesus Juice, with the orange juice. Second, Tropical Starburst, with the pineapple juice.

I love it. I need to come up with more drink recipes.

01 August, 2006

Jesus Juice

This is the name of my new drink I made up last night. I believe I've made it once before at my house, but it was never officially christened, nor did it make its public debut, until last night. It was a slow night in the bar, I didn't really have anything particular in mind to drink, and the Bartender's Handbook produced nothing useful... so I had the bartender, Sariah, mix this one up for me. After trying a little bit, her reaction was something along the lines of "Jesus, that's good. I can't wait to have one!" ... after which she was quick to name it, "Jesus Juice".

Here's how we made this wondrous wonder of a drink:

Mix equal parts of the following, over ice, in a tall glass:
  • Vanilla Vodka (I generally use Stoli, but Skyy was used last night and it turned out quite well)
  • Malibu Rum
  • Midori Melon Liquer
  • Orange Juice
I like mine shaken, but in general the ingredients will blend pretty well on their own. Either way, sit back and enjoy! If made properly, you shouldn't taste a damn bit of alcohol, but you'll definitely feel it!

20 July, 2006

Rock Climbing

So I've been talking lately, amongst myself and with a few other people as well, about wanting to start doing some kind of physical activity on a regular basis again. I miss it. One of the more prevelant ideas I've had has been indoor rock climbing. It's been years since I've done it, and I loved it when I did.

Today, for work, I'm going to be going way the hell up into north Phoenix, way far away... so I pull up a map of where I'm going... look carefully.... look again... scratch my head, and say "Hey.. I recognize that area. I've seen a map talking about this location...", then it hits me like a donkey punch! That's right up there next to one of the rock gyms I used to go to! I think it's time for me to start making up excuses to go up to our co-location facility. Now I just need to find somebody to go climbing with me.

Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

12 July, 2006

SSL woes

For those of you non technical types, feel free to tune out now. I won't be offended. Honest. This is going to be quite a rant.

So I've got this job, right. And at this job, we do a lot of website hosting, some of these on "secure" (https) servers. For these servers and their hosted pages to work properly, I need an SSL certificate. Easy enough, right? Haha, I wish.

A couple weeks ago, it comes time that we need to order a new SSL certificate, for a new secure website. We go to Thawte, where we've ordered all of our certificates from before, place an order for a new one, and give them all the information they need. After numerous correspondences and far too much time wasted, it becomes glaringly obvious that we're not going to get a certificate from Thawte anytime soon. Alright, screw them, we'll go with the new trusted name on the internet, GoDaddy. They know what they're doing.

Don't they?

We place the order with GoDaddy and receive our new certificate almost immediately. Wonderful! I'm liking this already. Follow their instructions to install the certificate, all goes smoothly... but just to be safe, before I restart the web server, I run a "configtest", to make sure it likes it.
$ sudo apache-sslctl configtest
Syntax error on line 1213 of /etc/apache-ssl/httpd.conf:
Invalid command 'SSLCertificateChainFile', perhaps mis-spelled or defined by a module not included in the server configuration
Wonderful. Doesn't work. Hmm well, what if I just comment that line out? Can't hurt too much, right? So I comment the line out.... run a configtest... it's okay! Groovy! Restart apache, and we're up and running! So I open up Firefox, go to the website, it's secured... no problems! Oh wait, just to be safe, I better check it in IE also. Open up IE... bring up the site... what? Can't verify the certificate? What the hell is this? Oh crap. That line that didn't work. GoDaddy provides an "intermediate" certificate for ... whatever stupid reason. That's great. Well, we can't have IE users always getting an error. This just will not do.

Time to call up GoDaddy support, see if they can help out. I talk to the general tech support girl .... she has no idea what I'm talking about, says she has to pass me on to SSL support. Alright, cool. They've got good hold music anyways. A whole bunch of swing/ska music.... I could stay on hold here all day! (And I nearly do....) Several songs and a good while later, I'm talking to an SSL support guy. I describe the problem to him... he thinks for a minute... asks a few basic questions.... and then decides that I need to re-generate the key.

Woah. Hold on. What?

I tell him the problem again. Still he insists that I should regenerate the key. Okay, I'll try a different approach. I ask him if GoDaddy can possibly create a key WITHOUT the intermediate key. Apparently this thought is blasphemous in his world, and quite an impossible feat. Lovely. I ask for his recommendation on the stipulation that our web server, for some reason, doesn't support using an intermediate key. "Uh.. well.. you should regenerate .... " oh wow, I can see this is getting nowhere fast. Okay okay, another approach.. quick. I ask him if he thinks I might need to upgrade OpenSSL. We've got a 0.9.7 version... that sounds relatively up to date, but I'm not sure how recent. Maybe this is just something not supported there. At which point he lays this whopper on me: Apparently, the GoDaddy servers, are running OpenSSL 1.3. Ahem. coughcough.
The current version is available from http://www.openssl.org. OpenSSL 0.9.8b was released on May 4th, 2006.
Well hello Mr. Future Man! What's it like to be in the year 2025? I'm done with this fool. GoDaddy's support is USELESS. I guess I'll have to do some more creative Googling. Eventually, I come across this site. Exactly what I've been needing from the beginning. This confirms my suspicions that GoDaddy's documentation and tech support is lacking. We're using another (apparently widely used) ssl package. And what it all comes down to is changing the directive for that line. So instead of having "SSLCertificateChainFile", I use "SSLCACertificateFile" .... and then it works perfectly! Shiny!

*sigh* The trials of working in an undocumented environment.

10 July, 2006

Crazy times...

Ah, the joys of drinking with old punks. Good times.

I'm so surprised they still let us come back to this place. I'm also quite surprised he made it to work today.

05 July, 2006


That's what I did with my 4th of July.
How about you?

21 June, 2006

Best. Gimmick. Ever.

So I decided, by some random chance, to stop at Starbucks this morning on the way to work. I needed something in my stomach, I wanted some coffee, and I didn't want cheap quickie mart coffee. So I end up in the drive thru. It's a few minutes' wait -- they're usually pretty busy in the morning. As I pull up and order my drink, I see the girl at the window talking more than usual to the lady ahead of me, and making a few hand gestures. I also overhear something about "It's been going on all morning". At this point I'm thinking maybe they are having some issues with debit card purchases. I hope not. But then the girl takes the lady's debit card, swipes it, hands her a receipt. Okay, cool. My turn.

I pull up, to a happy, smiling girl at the window. Kinda cute too.
She leans out and strikes up a bit of a conversation. Here's what I remember of it:
Her: Hi! Are you having a good morning?
Me: Why yes, I am!
Her: Well, I think your morning is about to get a lot better. The lady ahead of you just paid for your drink!
Me: (head spinning with confusion) Really!?
Her: Yeah, one person started it earlier today and it's been going on like that all morning! (*click* gears grinding in my head with realization of what's going on)
Her: So what you can do now is, you can take your drink for free, or you can pay for the person behind you and keep this going!

Now, at this point I'm thinking... hmmm, well, mine was $7.95 for a quad venti white mocha and coffee crumb cake. The lady ahead of me had what looked like a venti drink of some kind and a small one for her daughter in the seat beside her. Probably about the same price as mine, possible a dollar or so less. There are 2 girls in an SUV behind me. I wonder what they ordered. Well, probably just 2 light drinks. Why the hell not. It's a gamble, but sure, I'm game.

Me: Sure, I'll keep this going, why not.
Her: Great! Just let me swipe your card .... here's your receipt ... ($10.95 -- not bad) ... and here's your coffee crumb cake and mocha.
Her: Also, I've been giving these cards out to people for doing such a good job. With this, you can get any size free of our new drink. (*click* again)
Thank you very much! Have a wonderful day!
Me: Thank you, you too!

After which I proceed to drive off. Then I pull out, and wait at a stop light to drive off. As I'm sitting there, I decide to read the card she gave me. It reads:
Spread Summer Sunshine

Somebody's going to do something nice for you today. Maybe they'll
let you go first in the register line. Maybe they'll give you some
change so you don't have to break a twenty. Or maybe they'll just hold the door for you when your hands are full.

Whatever the nice thing turns out to be, return the favor by giving that anonymous benefactor this card. You'll both find a little karma
goes a long way.

This card is good for a Banana Coconut
or Bananas & Creme Frappuccino blended beverage.

So that's what this is all about. A fancy gimmick to advertise their new drink. But damn, what a hell of a gimmick. Seriously! It makes the person happier because the person ahead of them paid for their drink, and it makes them feel better about themselves and like they did a good deed by paying for the person behind them. Plus they promote the drink by handing out the card, and encourage you to promote it by what's written inside. And the great part is, you actually feel compelled to hand it to somebody else because of the way it was given to you! I can't believe this... whoever came up with this idea is a GENIUS!

But the one big question that's been nagging at me is this: What about those people who drop 40 or 50 dollars, buying coffee for the people at the office? Do they sucker some poor sap buying a $4 coffee into paying that bill? How the hell do they handle that situation? Surely the person with the $50 bill would never believe that the person ahead paid their whole bill. How would they pass off that it was a continuing chain in that case?

Oh well, either way it's a great idea. Kudos, Starbucks! You definitely made my morning better!

17 June, 2006

Tarken, the cynic

n : someone who is critical of the motives of others

Cynic \Cyn"ic\, n. (Gr. Philos)
2. One who holds views resembling those of the Cynics; a
snarler; a misanthrope; particularly, a person who
believes that human conduct is directed, either
consciously or unconsciously, wholly by self-interest or
self-indulgence, and that appearances to the contrary are
superficial and untrustworthy.

He could obtain from one morose cynic, whose opinion
it was impossible to despise, scarcely any not
acidulated with scorn. --Macaulay.

This, unfortunately, describes all too well what I have come to be. It is how I have come to view the world. I keep trying to change for the better, and through these changes I keep finding that I can rely less and less on other people. I am finding one ultimate truth: "Take care of yourself, cause ain't nobody else going to."

I hate being like this. I have very little, if any, faith left in humanity. I wish it wasn't that way. Maybe some day, but not today.

There was nothing specific leading me to post this. It's just something that needs to be said. Some people have noticed that I seem more bitter, or that I'm less trusting. They're right.

One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given was this: "I am the Mac truck. Get out of the way, or get run over."

15 June, 2006

I got a toy!

So I got paid yesterday, and I decided that, in honor or my new job... and due to the fact that I need some way to entertain myself on the flight back to Spokane at the end of this month, I was going to buy myself an MP3 player.

After much frantic, quick research.... well okay maybe only like a half hour of looking at a bunch of random websites, I came upon the iRiver T10 1GB.

I've always been a fan of iRiver, in large part due to the fact that they support OGG Vorbis audio. Which makes them totally awesome in my book. So this is my newest toy... and so far, I love it! People's only complaints really have been that the USB port cover doesn't actually close (It does), and it looks a little weird (I think it's cute!) so I'm all good! It sounds awesome, it holds a gig of music, it's even got an FM tuner! And I can even access it in Linux, via gPhoto2.


13 June, 2006

Databases.... grr.

Well, it's been a while since I've posted up another blog here. I've been bad, I know. In my defense, however, I've been very busy. Right now though, I'm sitting .... waiting .... watching my machine grind .... because of a stupid, slow, database.

Now, I can respect the fact that restoring 750mb of data into a database might take a little bit of time. That's a lot of data. What I really don't get is how it would take well over 2 hours. That is so not cool. This is one of the many, many, MANY reasons ... I no longer use MySQL. Granted, this is an ancient version of MySQL. 3.23 has been long since antiquated, deprecated and dropped like the bad habit it is. But at the same time that this was out, PostgreSQL had a far superior product which would have taken nowhere NEAR as long to accomplish this same task. Since then, PostgreSQL too, has come out with newer, better versions. In my opinion, it still stomps the living crap out of MySQL, in any application, in any environment.

Then again, maybe this ridiculous amount of time has to do with the fact that I only have 256mb of RAM allocated to that virtual machine. Hmm. I need to get more memory in this system.

02 June, 2006

It is done!


I'm finally gone from that job! WOOHOO! I'm so glad to be done with that place finally. I will still talk to a couple of the people I worked with, but that's the closest I'm going to come to "visiting" that place again. I hope.

Now bring on the drinking! Tonight is a party night for sure!

01 June, 2006

Cleaning day

Well, today's the day I'm cleaning out my desk and preparing to leave this job. It's definitely a finalizing.. and sobering moment. Everybody here is pretty wound up today, because two of us will be leaving tomorrow. I've become pretty mellow at present though. It's dawning on me just how much of a change this is. How much I'm leaving behind. How much I've accomplished here. I wish I could take some of these pieces of code with me.. but I'm sure I'll reconstruct some of the bits later, and do it better the next time.

My desk is now cleared, save for a few wires.. a couple books.. and some dust. It's pretty strange. My desk hasn't been this clear since we moved into this building. It's always had papers scattered over it, or even stacked neatly. Either way, it's been covered in information, covered in work. The signs of a busy person. I really have kept busy through most of my time here, and I really have done a lot. In a way, I'm sad to leave some of this behind. But then again, I'm glad to be furthering myself. I'm glad to be picking up and moving along on my own, without assistance. This new job will actually be the first job where I am completely on my own... in more ways than one. Every job I've had to date, I knew somebody on the inside. I had somebody with whom I was already acquainted, that I could easily talk to. And I've always worked in a team also. This new job, I don't know anybody there, save for meeting them at my interview. At this new job, the only "team" is the company. There is no IT department. I *am* the IT department.

Right now, I'm cleaning files off my laptop. Talk about a long process. You can store a lot of crap on an 80 gig hard drive. I already took care of the biggest part, which was the music. 4 dvds worth. Still a lot of other crap to get rid of.

Yet another hectic day. I really need that happy hour tomorrow.

31 May, 2006


Well I said before that I'm seeking change in my life... and I'm definitely finding it. This year has probably had more changes in it than any other year so far in my life... and it's not even halfway through yet!

Last year ended with the closing of the martial arts school that I had basically spent the entire year at. Was I happy to see it close? No, definitely not... I invested a lot of time and money in it? Was I sad to see it close? Again, no. I needed a break. But a break, I have not gotten.

Off the top of my head, I can't think what changed in the earlier part of the year... except that I know that life has been different. It's just not the same, somehow. This past month is where the majority of the changes have been though. I'm starting a new job next week. I'm helping my mom move at the end of this coming month. My sister is going back to school (again).. I know, not a change directly effecting me, but it may well have some effect. Now a large portion of my close friends are moving out of town, so I'm finding myself grasping at straws for where I'm heading. But with my new outlook, I just figure I'll roll with the punches and I'll just make new friends. I don't expect to replace the friends I have now... but I've been wanting to meet new people anyways!

Do I have a point to this post? Not really. Just wanted to say all that. It's funny how life works.

Here's to change! *sips wine*


What a day.

I was originally going to post on here about the wonders of Robert A Heinlein. And I still am going to. He is easily one of the best authors *ever*. But now so many other things are happening today, it's hard to keep my brain organized. Wow, and it's not even 10:30 yet.

First big thing is... well see, I gave my 2 weeks' notice here on Friday. So I've now got until next Friday before my job here is over... technically. Not that they've really got me doing much here at the moment. Obviously, since I've got enough time to sit here and blog. But now, my new job that I've got... well once I accepted the position, they let go the guy who was there. Which means they're VERY anxious to see me start working, asap! Not that I'm not chomping at the bit to start working there either, don't get me wrong... I'm giddy as a school girl at the thought of getting out of here and going to work at my new job! But I did give two weeks' notice here... so I do have that whole moral obligation tying me here for that period. I asked if they can let me go early from that though, and let me head over to the new job. I think they may be talking about it now... I hope. If all goes well, this Friday will be my last day here, and I'll be working at the new job on Monday! *crossing fingers*

Alright, now on to other things.

Oh yes! My sister has like... published artwork, for sale 'n stuff! Check it out! http://www.deviantart.com/print/327721/
It's pretty good... she's getting to be an awesome photographer :-D (They need to add smilies here on Blogger.. especially automagical ones that replace as you type. Woot. That'd be cool.)

Now that all of that is out of the way, I can get back to the original topic here. Heinlein. He really is an incredible author. Unlike any I've read before.

The first of his books that I read was "Stranger in a Strange Land". Since then, I've read "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls" and "Friday", and I am currently digesting "JOB: A Comedy of Justice".

...we now interrupt this blog for an important announcement...
They have decided. I just have to write up a new letter saying that this Friday is my last day and it's all done, no hard feelings!
...we now return you to our randomly scheduled blog...

I've also read a few bits of short stories from a collection of his, called "The Past Through Tomorrow". Very good stuff. Next, after I'm finished with JOB, I'm going to be moving on to "I Will Fear No Evil"... after which I will need to go hunt down more of his works. I really am quite enamored with his writing. The worst part of all of it is going to be when I reach the end of his works. I'm not looking forward to that day, for sure.

Alright, that's it for now. I'm off to write another resignation letter! (Isn't that bizarre... two resignation letters from one job...)


26 May, 2006


I just had one of the most amusing conversations, with some random person. See, for some reason, I've been getting a lot of messages on ICQ lately from people ... and I have no idea who these people are. They just strike up a conversation, and I'm like ... .uhh, what the hell? So I've decided to start fucking with these people.

Here's an example from today:

(13:29:13) 231848220: hi, do you speak english?
(13:39:03) Tarken: No sorry, I don't know any English.
(13:39:16) 231848220: why?
(13:39:32) Tarken: I don't believe in the English language.
(13:43:42) 231848220: hm...
(13:43:46) 231848220: :-

They didn't seem too eager to talk after that, I don't know why.

Shortly after this, I got a message from some Russian chick (actually from Russia) saying she wants to have sex with me.... what is with some people's children today? She actually says that she is going to be here at 3pm on a plane. From Russia. And it's 2:04pm now. Right. Yeah I believe you. I just do not understand these people.


This is possibly one of the strangest things I've had to do in a very long time.

Right now, I'm trying to write up a letter of resignation. I mean, come on, I'm a web developer. These things are for high executives and politicians. What am I doing writing one of them? And even more importantly, what the hell am I supposed to say in it!? I'm having trouble coming up with anything that isn't filled with expletives!

I'm also a bit nervous about this. Maybe it's just the freezing cold air conditioner, but my hands are vibrating ever so slightly right now. It's quite nerve racking. I'm making one of the largest steps I have ever made in my life right now. Moving from the safe, warm blanket of job security and people and places I know and love ... into a totally unknown world. I'll be working with a group of people I've as yet only met once ... working on a product that I've only gotten a brief glance at. Do I doubt that I can do it? Not in the least. Even during my interview I was working out in my head how most of it might (or at least *should*) be working behind the scenes.

Anyways, it seems my thoughts have drifted off in a totally different direction. I've still got this problem facing me of ... what the hell do I write? Then once it's written, how do I present it without it sounding like a big "fuck you"?

Oh well, time to suck it up and just do it. Here goes nothing ... and everything.

22 May, 2006

The time for water is now

Earth: Docility, receptive, acceptance
Water: Danger, change

Of the 8 elements that best describe a person's ways, these are the two that have always been most dominant in me. It has always been earth, however, that's been at the forefront. Simply accepting what's given to me, sitting back and watching as everything happened and not actively pushing forward myself.

Now is the time for water. Water is constantly changing, always penetrating, always finding a way through. Put water into a vessel and it will form to the shape of the vessel. Give it time and it will find a way out of that vessel.

Water has taken over. It is time for me to actively seek changes. It is time to take control. It is time to make my own path. It is time to live.

18 May, 2006

Thank you Dan Brown

I just got a thorn up my butt to find a bit more info on my previous post, and here, in the words of Dan Brown himself, are the answers.


Thank you.
That is all.

DaBullshit Code

Alright, so it was inevitable. The new movie, "The DaVinci Code" is coming out... and again, the religious right has their panties in a wad over it. Just like they did when the book came out. Just like they did when "Dogma" came out.

Yes, I just compared this movie to Dogma. And with good reason. They both have one VERY important thing in common: They are WORKS OF FICTION! They are fictional characters! Fic-tion-al characters ... am I ... am I getting through to you? Okay so seriously, all obligatory Kevin Smith references aside... what's the big deal people?

What has got everybody so worried about this book?

Oh yes, it uses real names and real events as the basis for its story. So what's wrong with that? So did "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark". Where's the big riots over that movie? What about "The Chronicles of Narnia"? It's rife with religious overtones. Are we truly to believe that God is a big lion?

If I constrained myself to one of the organized religions whos officials were getting in a tizzy over this story, I would be pissed. Why? Because it's insulting! They are telling all of the followers of their religion(s) not to read this book! And why are they doing that? Because they're afraid. They are afraid that the followers are stupid, that they will think these books are in fact not fictional, and take every word as fact. How insulting is that?

Although on a more positive note, I did gain a lot of respect for the Filipino Roman Catholic leaders in this whole mess. They are the ONLY high church officials I have seen who simply reminded people that this is a work of fiction, and in fact did NOT call for the book and/or movie to be banned. That's how things should be run. If anything, I think they should encourage people to read the book, to see the movie. Then once they've read the book and seen what Hollywood has done to it, come to them with questions. This is a work of fiction. There are many fictional pieces in it, easily pointed out by any monkey with a highlighter. If nothing else, it will at least make people think, make them ask questions. It would lead to education. If the leaders think that everybody is so stupid, why not encourage education?

Okay, I realize I'm rambling on.. ranting, raving, but ignorance and censorship are touchy subjects for me. I despise both of them. And this whole topic is just full of both.

Funny thing is, I had hardly even heard of the book, nor did I have any interest in reading it, until the churches started making a big hubbub about it. Only then did I say, "Hey, this might be an interesting book. If there's this much controversy over it, it's GOT to be a good story." A very appropriate quote for this situation, which I heard in the TV show "The West Wing" is "If they're shooting at you ... you know you must be doing something right."

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

17 May, 2006

More movies...

It just occurred to me tonight that I'll never have enough movies. I've got somewhere around ... I'd say about 90 DVDs. But I'm just not in the mood to watch any of them. And my immediate reaction is "I need more". I think they put crack in the movies these days. Gotta do something to get everybody hooked.

Good thing I get paid tomorrow, cause I think I am going to have to find another movie to buy.

Oh well, that's all I've got for now.
Just as I have said in the past, "music sucks", I now say "movies suck" for much the same reason.

Buzzword Bingo

Alright, so yes... I've been in the market for a new job. Looking, searching, hunting. I need a change. I need a challenge. I need .... fair compensation.

But I've come to realize that I really dislike most employers. Maybe it's just their HR departments. Maybe it's the heads of IT who just know "What's Hot" in the industry... who knows. But they all love their buzzwords. Me? I hate 'em. I keep seeing more of them all the time. And, sadly enough, I keep on adding them to my resume.

Some of these buzzwords I see are based around things I've been doing for a long time, just never really bothered naming it. One of the (relatively) new crazes is LAMP and WAMP development. Double eww tee eff is that? Turns out, it's exactly what I've done for ..... uhh... 6 years? Well, sorta. LAMP generally stands for "Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP".. substitute in Windows and you've got WAMP. Hey, come to think of it, you could also have WIMP (Windows, IIS, MySQL, PHP).. heh, appropriate. Anyhow, back on topic, LAMP is something I'm very familiar with... but it's never been on my resume, and still will never be. That's way too buzzword for me. Anyways, I graduated from MySQL years ago.. been using PostgreSQL for several years. LAPP doesn't have quite the same ring to it though.

So I'm finding all these job postings that require me to know all of these buzzwords... and some of them are just ridiculously stupid. Okay so example, I see a job requiring experience with , XML, and XPath. Okay well I've got XML experience ... great! But hell, I've never used XPath ... have I? So I grab an XML reference from the bookshelf, read for 15 minutes ... okay, I now know XPath! How silly is that? If it's something I can pick up in a matter of 15 minutes, why BOTHER having it on my resume? Because I've seen it on so many different job requirement lists is why. I don't get it. I really don't.

I just wish the era of the buzzword would DIE.

Oh and don't forget "Web 2.0". Grr. Hiss. Spit.

16 May, 2006

Moving Movies

I've just watched one of the most amazing movies ever created. It's the kind of movie that truly takes you to a different world, puts you into the life of the characters... and they become more than just characters on a screen. They become real people. They get cut, you feel the pain; they laugh, you smile; they cry, and so do you. Now, I'm not one to be easily affected by movies. I'll watches the saddest, the scariest of movies, and hardly flinch. In fact, only one movie before this has ever evoked such an emotional reaction in me. That movie was "What Dreams May Come", with Robin Williams. I still to this day can hardly watch it without choking up. This movie I watched tonight ranks right along side that one.

This movie was "Memoirs of a Geisha". I bought the DVD without having seen the movie before, and I'm very glad I did. I would have seen this in the theatre ten times and still bought the DVD at full price. It truly is that good.

Now, for all you macho men out theree, okay it's probably not the best choice of movies. There's no death or destruction and no gratuitous sex. For anybody else, however, this is a wonderful and moving trip into the life of another. It is a movie worth seeing time and again. I know I will watch it many more times myself.


So one of my co-workers discovered some engineer jokes today.. and they were pretty damn funny.. so I decided to find some more. and I just felt like posting them up here. So here's a nice collection of some of the ones I've found.

  • Two engineering students were walking across campus when one said,
    "Where did you get such a great bike?"
    The second engineer replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday
    minding my own business when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike."
    She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes, and said
    "Take what you want." The second engineer nodded approvingly,
    "Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn't have fit."

  • To the optimist, the glass is half full.
    To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.
    To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

  • A pastor, a doctor and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers. The engineer fumed, "What's with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!" The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such ineptitude!" The pastor said, "Hey, here comes the greens keeper. Let's have a word with him."

    "Hi, George. Say, what's with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?" The greens keeper replied, "Oh, yes, that's a group of blind firefighters who lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime."

    The group was silent for a moment. The pastor said, "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight."

    The doctor said, "Good idea. And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there's anything he can do for them."

    The engineer said, "Why can't these guys play at night?"

  • There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things mechanical. After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he happily retired. Several years later the company contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their multi-million dollar machines. They had tried everything and everyone else to get the machine to work but to no avail.

    In desperation, they called on the retired engineer who had solved so many of their problems in the past. The engineer reluctantly took the challenge. He spent a day studying the huge machine. Finally, at the end of the day, he marked a small "x" in chalk on a particular component of the machine and said, "This is where your problem is." The part was replaced and the machine worked perfectly again. The company received a bill for $50,000 from the engineer for his service. They demanded an itemized accounting of his charges.

    The engineer responded briefly: One chalk mark $1; Knowing where to put it $49,999.

    It was paid in full and the engineer retired again in peace.

  • What is the difference between Mechanical Engineers and Civil Engineers?
    Mechanical Engineers build weapons. Civil Engineers build targets.

  • Three engineering students were gathered together discussing the possible designers of the human body. One said, "It was a mechanical engineer. Just look at all the joints."

    Another said, "No, it was an electrical engineer. The nervous system has many thousands of electrical connections."

    The last said, "Actually it was a civil engineer. Who else would run a toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?"

  • "Normal people believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
    Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet."

  • An architect, an artist and an engineer were discussing whether it was better to spend time with the wife or a mistress. The architect said he enjoyed time with his wife, building a solid foundation for an enduring relationship. The artist said he enjoyed time with his mistress, because of the passion and mystery he found there.

    The engineer said, "I like both."

    "Both?" they asked.

    Engineer: "Yeah. If you have a wife and a mistress, they will each assume you are spending time with the other woman, and you can go to the lab and get some work done."

  • An engineer was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess." He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket. The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one week." The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket.

    The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you and do ANYTHING you want." Again the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.

    Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess, that I'll stay with you for a week and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?"

    The engineer said, "Look I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that's cool."

  • A physicist, an engineer, and a mathematician were stranded on a desert island. They were discovered by a passing airplane, but could not be rescued except by helicopter, so the airplane dropped a wooden crate of food and supplies to hold them over until the helicopter could get there. The three eagerly opened the crate, but unfortunately the food was canned and whoever packed the crate neglected to include a can opener. So the three thought hard to devise a scheme to open the cans.

    The physicist spoke first. He said, "We could take these cans over to the cliffs at the other side of the island and drop them off. The cliffs are tall enough that the cans should break open on the sharp rocks below."

    "I don't like that idea," said the engineer. "Those rocks are covered in guano. We'd have to lick the food off of them." "Do you have a better idea?" asked the physicist. "Let me think," said the engineer.

    After a few minutes the engineer said, "We could empty out the crate and take the lid supports off the inside. Then we could put one can inside, put the lid on top of it, and weight it down with rocks until the pressure makes the can break open. The food would still splatter, but it would be on the inside of the clean crate."

    "I don't like that idea," said the mathematician. "We'd have to lick the food off the crate, and we'd get splinters in our tongues." "Do you have a better idea?" asked the engineer. "Let me think," said the mathematician.

    The mathematician thought and thought for hours. He got a stick and wrote calculations in the sand of the beach. Finally he said, "I've got it! Assume the can is open..."

  • The graduate with a Science degree asks, "Why does it work?"
    The graduate with an Engineering degree asks, "How does it work?"
    The graduate with an Accounting degree ask, "How much will it cost?"
    The graduate with an Arts degree asks, "Do you want fries with that?"

  • John visited a psychiatrist and said "I need help. I go to bed and before I go to sleep, I start thinking that someone is under the bed and I can't sleep". The psychiatrist said "I can guarantee a cure if you visit me twice a week for a year. It will only cost you $200 per visit.". John said "that's awfully expensive, but I must do something. I'll call your office for appointments."

    The next time the psychiatrist saw John was on the street a couple of months later . He asked "How is your sleeping problem?" John said "No problem now. I mentioned it to Frank, my engineer friend, and he came to my house and sawed the legs off of my bed".

15 May, 2006

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

I was sitting here at home, thinking about how things are going, trying to figure out why I'm feeling down despite all the good things that are happening in my life, and this quote just kept running through my head.

I suppose, inevitably, this is what lead me to actually start a blog finally. You see, when I started thinking about this, what it meant, why it was sticking in my head, I sat down here at my computer, opened up Notepad, and just started writing. I let my thoughts pour out onto the screen and just ... let it happen.

This makes my first post a bit of a somber one, perhaps even melodramatic. But here are the contents of what I wrote out. I'm sure it's rampant with errors, both grammatical and spelling ... but I don't care too much really. It's just thoughts. And please do pardon the 3rd person narrative. It's just how I was feeling at the time. Don't ask me, I don't claim to know how my own brain works.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
Those words alone, kept ringing through his head. Things were really starting to look up. Life was finally heading on the right track. Job prospects were better than ever. He was on the verge of bringing home a salary higher than he had ever imagined; higher than any family members had ever seen.

So why this feeling? This feeling of dread, of foreboding.

He was finally living in a nice house, with roommates he liked. Hell, they were his best friends. That he was renting didn't really matter at all. The landlord was one of the best anybody could ask for.

Yet still, things were not right. His mood was not improving.

His friends are moving away now. Where are they going? Back home... but to what? Desolation? The only thing remaining in his mind of home is a grey fog. Home is long gone. Home is a memory left best forgotten. Home is dying, drowning, in its own self defeat.

How can he let them go back to that, with all that they have here? He brought them out of that grey fog, helped them find a life anew, in paradise. He brought them here when they had next to nothing, brought them into a real life, full of opportunities and wonders. Why oh why should they want to go back to that fog, to the desolation and decay?

But yet, how can he stop them? It is their choice. It is their own lives. What choice does he have in how they live? All he can do is spread his influence and hope that, in the end, they make the right decision. The decision that will make them the happiest, take them the furthest in life. That's all he can really do. After all, what more can be expected of him?