Friday, March 27, 2009

I wish I spoke Japanese

Accuracy in Dilbert

Today's Dilbert accurately describes my attitude this week. Only problem is I can't throw a coffee cup at people in meetings. I can only fantasize about it.

Earlier this week, I gave a presentation on an effort I've been working on for about 4 years to senior management. Apparently, they didn't know just how much work I've been doing, and how much progress I've made, because they were astonished at the results I was showing them. Now they want high level talks with our corporate masters as to whether or not we want to be doing the effort anymore.

I apparently threw a hand grenade in their henhouse when I pointed out that the effort made good technical and business sense, and showed them why not doing it would be a bad idea.

Don't get me wrong. Everyone from the local VP on down is telling me what I've done is great, but it goes beyond what the policy I was working under asked for. I call it exceeding the standard. Others may differ. But at least it's got people talking about something I care about.

Thank goodness I go on vacation for the next few days. By the time I get back, all of this should be decided, one way or another.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Overheard in the office

CoWorker # 1: "How do you explain the difference between 32 bit and 64 bit OS's to someone?"

CoWorker # 2: Several lines of technical explanation that can be confusing.

CoWorker # 1: "OK, I got that, but what if you had to explain it to one of our customers?"

DaddyBear: "When a daddy bit likes a mommy bit a whole bunch....."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I want to see a pic with her Galil

Miss Israel 2009 is a corporal in the IDF, and she's quite the cutie.

Martial Law in New York

Saw this linked to over at the Agitator

Basically, a mayor in New York feels that the police department in his city is out of control, and is trying to decide on a strategy for improving things. This may include disbanding the police department and bringing in the state police and National Guard.

I'm not sure how I feel about that, and others who are better orators and writers than me have and will continue to comment on it.

What struck me was this quote from a local politician:

Schenectady's Corporation Counsel John Van Norden said, "If you abolish the police department you still have a need - not an obligation - but a need to police the community. You would need something in transition. Declaring martial law would be one way to bridge the gap."

The emphasis is mine.

At least he's being honest about it. The state has a need to provide services that keep the civil peace and order. But they have no real obligation to do so. You would have a real problem suing the county because the sheriff didn't send out a patrol car in time to catch and stop someone about to commit a crime.

Remember, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away. And they have no obligation to come and do anything in the first place. Take care of your own, noone else has to.


Took myself to the movie on Sunday afternoon.

I've been wanting to see Taken since it first came out, and I seemed to scoot in just before it gets pulled out of the first run theaters. There's nothing like being the only one the theater for a movie.

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. It's not going to go down as a classic in cinematic art, but it was a great way to spend a couple of hours, and it got me thinking after the movie was over, so it must have something on the ball.

I'm not going to spoil it for those of you that want to see it, but I'm going to talk about it. I may put a few minor details in this, but I hope I won't ruin it.

Basically, Bryan is the divorced father of a 17 year old girl that he loves dearly. His ex and he don't get along. He's spent years away from home working for the government in some kind of secret organization, but is now retired. His daughter and ex talk him into letting the daughter go to Europe for the summer, where she is kidnapped. He then flies to Paris and proceeds to kill and beat people like the price was about to go up on beatings. One thing I liked is that he didn't get into fist fights with someone and come out unscathed. He left each fight with a new bruise or limp. That's more realistic than watching Stephen Segal beat up people for 2 hours and look like he just stepped out of a shower.

Two things that touched me:

1. At one point in the movie, the daughter and father are discussing the ground rules for her trip to Europe, which are mostly about making sure that Mom and Dad know where she is and who she's with, and checking in with them on a very regular basis. The daughter quips that Mom thinks that Dad is paranoid because of his previous line of work. Dad makes the observation that his work made him aware of how bad the world can be, not paranoid about it.

In a lot of ways, that's how I feel about my outlook on the world. Remember, I was as far from being a badass when I was in the Army as you can get, but since I was 18 I've been in a lot of places and done a lot of things that I either can't or don't want to talk about. I've seen people act badly in slums, mansions, jungles, deserts, and mountains. Basically, I'm aware that no matter where you are, you're only a walk of a few paces away from strangers stripping your naked corpse of anything of value.

I don't walk around expecting that every person I meet will try to hurt me, but I'm aware that any person could. I'm not ready to wall off my family in a compound, but I'm not naive enough that I don't lock my doors and watch who's close to me when I walk down the street.

If you've ever read this piece about sheep and sheepdogs, you'll start to understand my worldview.

2. When Bryan and his ex are disagreeing about the trip to Europe, she throws the fact that he was away from home and not in constant communication during their marriage and his daughter's life in his face. It was a low blow, and it obviously affected the father character.

Been there, done that. My first wife said almost the same thing a lot during the last year of our marriage.

Sometimes a person, be they a soldier, policeman, or whatever, needs to make a choice between the duty they signed up when they started their profession and staying home with their family. Until very recently, being deployed meant your communications to and from home were the same as they were in World War I: snail mail. Occasionally, you might be able to make a call home, but that was unpredictable and infrequent.

Luckily, it appears that has gotten better. With VOIP, email, and chat, communications with home are better for those away from home. But you're still not physically there. I spent the majority of Junior Bear's first few years away from home, and I know he and I missed out on a lot of things. But sometimes things that we don't want to do have to happen. People who get bitter about these things fail to take joy from the time they have with their loved ones, and focus on the negative of them being away.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Father Daughter Dance

Took Girlie Bear to a Father-Daughter Dance on Friday night. A good time was had by all. She got me to dance a couple of times, and I had a good time talking basketball with a couple of her friends' dads.

However, here's a note to parents out there: It's not stylish to dress your 5th grade daughter in something slinky, low cut, and backless for a father-daughter dance. It's creepy. Stop it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Interesting restaurant

The Irish Woman and I decided to go out to lunch today.

I drove downtown and met her at 4th Street Live, which is one of the efforts to get people to use downtown Louisville as something other than an open air drug market.

We decided to try something new today, so we went to a sports bar we hadn't tried yet.

We made our way up to the place, and got a booth.

The place had a bar area, several tables, and two banks of booths. Between the booths was a platform about 8 feet wide, with a mirrored column and two poles rising up from it to the ceiling. We took a booth so we could talk in some peace and watch the basketball game.

We ordered our meals and watched some of the Tennessee/Oklahoma State game. As we were finishing up, I looked over and noticed that one of the brass poles needed polishing. I then noticed that it was a brass pole, and had circular smudges from hands and other body parts on it from its base up to about 8 feet.

My guess is that it's a normal bar and grill during the day, but during the evening it's a bit more, shall we say, risque in order to draw in a larger crowd.

I mentioned my observations to the Irish Woman, who declared that she hadn't noticed, but now that I mentioned it, it did look like a stripper pole.

Guess we won't be taking the kids there for dinner.

I must try this sometime

Check this out over at the Fail Blog.

I have been in a running battle lately between a doctor's office and my insurance company. I may have to use this technique next time I mail out a check to them.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More Irish Humor

Found these over at IMAO.

My favorite is:

According to one rather obscure Irish legend, a ringing in your ears means a deceased friend stuck in Purgatory is ringing a bell to ask for you to pray for him/her. Or that you got drunk and passed out in the church belltower again, Father.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Saint Patricks Day Humor

Monday, March 16, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

From Riches to Rags

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

This asshat took money from other people, used it to either finance his own lavish lifestyle or gave it away to make himself look good in the public eye.

Now a lot of his victims, who had something when he started in on them, have nothing. And he and his wife try to argue that a $62 million nest egg they've put together shouldn't be considered the fruits of a crime.

Pure balls, nothing but pure balls.

I hope he spends as many years as they can get out of him cleaning portapotties with an old toothbrush. When he dies, I hope they toss his remains into a cesspool so that he can slowly decay into fertilizer. Then I hope they use it to fertilize a swamp somewhere in New Jersey.

Hey, Bernie, welcome to the federal pound-me-in-the-ass! Jerk!


A claymore hitch cover.

It's what Dad wants for Father's Day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I guess

my cooking isn't as good as it sounds.

Scene: A semi-suburban, semi-agricultural neighborhood in Louisville County. A father and daughter are getting ready to leave for the day. Father has put a well marinated pork roast in the crock pot for the day, and the kitchen is beginning to smell of garlic and other spices as it warms up.

DaddyBear: Mmmmm, doesn't dinner smell good?

Girlie Bear: Is that what that smell is?

Daddy Bear: Yes, that's dinner cooking. Doesn't it smell good?

Girlie Bear: I guess so. I thought I just had bad breath.

Nothing like the honesty of a 10 year old to deflate your ego.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hollywood is Burning

For those of you who are considering what you should do to prepare for and how to respond to civil disruptions, it looks like this will be a great story for you.

I've read another story arch on Big Hollywood by Avrech. He's a good author and interesting read.


Monday, March 9, 2009

I probably shouldn't

show this to the Irish Woman, but I probably will:

College Open House

The Irish Woman and I took Junior Bear up to Indiana University Southeast for a visit on Saturday morning. Baby Bear went to one of the Irish Woman's surrogate mothers for the morning, and we made our way up to the wilds of Southern Indiana. The drive up was pleasant, but I think there must be a bounty up on my head in Indiana, because every Hoosier I came across tried to kill me with their vehicle.

The campus and programs at IUS are really nice. Junior Bear got to meet the head of the Math/CS department, and they spent the better part of half an hour talking. Much better than when I tried to find out about programs at Cal when I was in high school. All I got was a quick blurb about the program and assurances that I wouldn't get in.

IUS has been around for a while, but it seems that all of the existing structures are relatively new. Junior really liked the dorm, which are basically a set of 2 or 4 bedroom apartments. Each set gets at least one private bathroom and a kitchenette.

Junior Bear is pretty stoked about the place at the moment, and I made pains to point out how inexpensive a bachelors degree would be at IUS when compared to the other state schools he's considering, much less the private universities he's interested in.

Hopefully he'll make a good decision on where to go to school. It'll be the first major one he makes as an adult.

Friday, March 6, 2009

What was he thinking?

The other day, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the UK gave several small, but significant gifts to President Obama as a token of the long standing friendship between the UK and the US.

Mr. Brown's gifts included a pen holder made from wood from a British ship that was used to try to shut down the Aftican slave trade in the 19th century. For a man who identifies himself as African-American, and whose wife and children are the descendants of African slaves, it must be very significant. The White House maintains that the pen holder is kept on the president's desk.

In return for this and other emotionally significant gifts that were tailored to Mr. Obama's sense of history and the significance of the relationship between our countries, Mr. Brown was presented with 25 DVD's of classic American films.

That's right, in exchange for articles of hugely symbolic significance, we gave Britain movies. Not only that, but Mr. Brown is blind in one eye and has some sight problems in the other, so movies are a less than optimal choice.

What, was Taste of Kentucky not open last weekend? Heck, he could have put together a basket with Bourbon (he is a Scot, after all), a Louisville Slugger, maybe a bottle of wine, and it wouldn't have been any less inappropriate than this. Heck, he could have thrown in a talking Billy Bass and I would not feel any less shocked.

We've been allied with Great Britain for more than a century. We've fought multiple wars with Britain on our side. When the rest of the world is thumbing our noses at us, we can count on at least getting a kind word out of the UK.

And we give their Prime Minister movies as a gift to signify what that relationship means to us.

Of course, the public in the UK is horrified with this. And I don't blame him.

What's he going to give Queen Elizabeth when he meets with her later this year? A vintage Def Leppard Union Jack t-shirt?

We have enough problems in the world without insulting our friends. The President should issue a formal apology to the UK and make an effort to do better in his relations with our allies in the future.

Hee Hee Hee

From Are We Lumberjacks:

Despite the recession, Microsoft is planning to open retail stores to compete with Apple.

Microsoft says that their stores will be just like Apple stores … except the staff will freeze when you ask them a question.

I'd have also said that when you wanted to put up new posters for products, you had to lock the store up and shut off the lights for a few moments.

Or that the cash register would have no lock, and would be located out in the mall instead of behind a secured counter.

Or that every so often, thieves would dress up as store employees, take your money, and then make off with your credit card reciepts. None of the other employees would notice or do anything to stop this.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Barista with a Gun

Saw this over at Alphecca.

Apparently, a coffee preparer at a Washington DC Starbucks shot himself in the leg at work the other day. Actually pulled a Burris on himself right there at the counter.

Jeff asks if the people at Starbucks actually call themselves a Barista, and the story he links to asks the question why a Barista might want to bring a gun to work.

To answer Jeff, their title is Barista. I'm not sure what they call themselves. I call them the guys behind the counter who bring me my hot bean juice.

As to why a Barista might want to bring a gun to work, have the "journalists" who wrote the article never been to a Starbucks during the early morning rush? If I had to put up with a never ending crowd of angry, jonesing coffee monkeys who aren't happy with my speed of pouring them their fix, I'd come armed.

Heck, I might come to work with a pistol, a machete, and a couple of torches to keep them at bay.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New Knowledge

Did you know that if you leave a cough drop on the console of your car overnight when it drops below 10 degrees, and pop said cough drop in your 98.6 degree mouth first thing in the morning as you start the car, the cough drop will immediately shatter, sending a migraine-inducing cracking sound through your skull and filling your mouth with menthol-lyptus shards?

Neither did I before this morning.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Good Movie Weekend

Saturday evening, all of the kids were either out of the house or asleep early. Irish Woman and I actually got to sit through an entire movie without interruptions.

We ended up watching Goodfellas. The Irish Woman had never actually watched the entire movie, and she found it interesting. I'll have to rent the full movie for her someday.

Then on Sunday morning, AMC ran a Clint Eastwood western marathon. We got to see "Hang Em High" and "For a Few Dollars More". We stayed home on Sunday morning because I felt like death warmed over, but we at least got to watch a couple of classic westerns. I haven't see Dollars for almost 20 years, and it's the only movie I can remember where Lee van Cleef is a good guy.

Junior Bear and a friend went to see "Taken" on Saturday night, and he highly recommends that I check it out. I may just do that next time I can get away for a couple of hours.

For those of you who work in IT

This will remind you why normal human beings shouldn't have root or administrator priveleges.

"Don't worry, I know what I'm doing" has caused me more problems over the years than anything else.

Range Day

Saturday was a good day at the range.

The weather was dry, but it was overcast, cold, and a sharp wind made me wish I'd brought my gloves.

I finally worked the kinks out of one of my guns, and I did some practice with off hand shooting. I discovered that I need a lot more practice with off-hand shooting.

We stayed at the range for about 2 hours before good sense took over and we packed up. It started raining ice and snow an hour or so later, so I think that was a good decision.

Only two friends braved the cold, but we had a good time. We will definitely be doing it again when spring finally rears its ugly head.

Headline of the week

From the Onion Radio News:

"Norway Returns to Pillage-Based Economy"

Sharpen the axe, prepare the longships, and get me a map of Ireland. I've finally found my calling.
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