Dave Barry's Blog
Thursday, October 30, 2003
Costumes, Parties and Candy oh My
Well I am having a Halloween party at my house tomorrow night, but the creepy thing is that I am not having the party. In fact I think I am lucky in that I was invited. I have a friend that is really good at planning things, so she wanted to have a Halloween party, but didn’t have the space for it. So she asked if she could have her party at my house.
Well she made it a costume party, and I have still not come up with a costume I am willing to don this year. Last year I got away with wearing a robe and boxers all day, but I think I can only pull that off once.
Also since I haven’t had any money for the last few weeks I also still don’t have any candy for giving out to Trick-or-Treater’s this year. And since this is my first Halloween owning a house, I figure now is a good time to become known for giving out good candy.
So I have to come up with a costume for tomorrow, go buy candy for tomorrow, and clean my house so that people can actually come over.
posted by Jason 1:22 PM |
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Locked Out from Locking the Door
Last Thursday I had a problem when I went to get into my car after work I found that I could not unlock my door. After some testing I found that I could jiggle the lock a bit and get the door to unlock. I needed to take my car down to get my Driver’s side chair fixed anyway since it is under recall for spontaneously reclining. (I have never experienced this problem.) But I haven’t taken it down yet. Well last night while jiggling the lock it went POP and then unlocked. Well as of this morning I can no longer lock my door. It won’t allow it. So now I really need to get my car down to the shop.
posted by Jason 1:47 PM |
Monday, October 27, 2003
Every guy knows there are just certain cardinal rules you don’t break. Most guys know them even though they were never taught, or passed down from a parent. We just know them.
So why do some guy’s not know them? Do they actually know them and just ignore them, or do they really not know them. And if they don’t know them how do you teach them the rules? Especially when they are 50?
A guy here at work apparently does not know them, and it is really uncomfortable. Now everyone knows the “Don’t talk to me while I am pee’ing” but this one lots of guys ignore. And it is easily dismissed as just being rude or ignorant, instead of breaking a rule. On the other hand, “Do not touch me while I am pee’ing” is considered steadfast. Another rule, a slightly stiffer version of No Talking, is “Don’t talk to me while I am pee’ing, but especially if you are not pee’ing.” In other words don’t follow me into the bathroom to continue a conversation, and then just stand around talking to me, that is just creepy. This guy has broken both of these rules within the last 4 days and I am not quite sure how to handle the situation as a man.
Men don’t talk to each other about etiquette, and I surely am not going to bring up urination habits to some guy I barely work with.
So do I sign him up for the grade school class that they pull the boys aside and teach them all the boy stuff, at the same time they are teaching girls the technique of “If you are mad, never tell a him why, he should just know.” If that is the only option, could someone tell me where they offer this class?
posted by Jason 1:11 PM |
Friday, October 24, 2003
So I got assigned a task from my boss about 2 weeks ago, and I was supposed to buy some stuff for this project. Well the only company that I could find on the internet to get what I wanted for fairly cheap was x10.
Now I don’t like this company. They have had some of the most obnoxious advertising since Old Navy, except all of their advertising was on the web, and you couldn’t just mute it like you could the Old Navy commercials. Anyway, I kept putting it off because their site looks like it was written by a 5 year old playing on daddy’s computer. And they resort to obvious underhanded advertising techniques. i.e. “Sale ends today 10/18/03!”, except the sale has been going for at least the last 2 weeks, and the date just keeps changing. I hate companies that prey on the unintelligent. So I kept putting it off, until my boss made me make the purchase, and I told him, “I just don’t like this company it gives me bad vibes.” But he made me buy the product anyway.
Well we finally got the product in and it is broken. But not only that they have no phone support, and not only that, but the day after we received the shipment the company filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy!
Now I hate to rub it in that I told you so, but . . . . “I Told you So!!!!”
posted by Jason 3:41 PM |
Here we come to Save the Day, Microsoft is on its Way!
A Couple of days ago I upgraded my work computer to the new Office 2003 suite. First impressions are that most all of the changes are cosmetic. But there are a few Pluses and a few minuses to the new gift from Microsoft.
First the pluses. The new Outlook is significantly faster, and the new interface is pretty slick. I would recommend the new outlook for those that use outlook in the first place. The new features really do make it a much better e-mail/personal scheduling program.
The Minuses are more personal complaints. The new Access has a few new features that are just plain annoying and they are there to give stupid people a sense of security, and make them think that Microsoft actually cares, and is trying to remedy the rampant virus problems their software has. I cannot open any of my Access files without having to answer three questions relating to “Unsafe Expressions.” All three say exactly the same thing but insist on making triply sure that I really, really, really want to open this file. What is stupid about it is that they didn’t stop anything. In fact the help about “Unsafe Expressions” actually tells you how to run “Unsafe Expressions” on computers that are blocking those commands. And it is not a hard process to do. Although the Help on how to turn off the “feature” that protects you refers to a menu that does not exist! At this point I cannot seem to turn the dang “Feature” off.
I will keep you updated as I come across other revelations about the New office product.
posted by Jason 2:57 PM |
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Today I have a new employee. I had an employee hired a week ago but he failed his drug test, so we had to go back to the interviews, and picked out the young man who started today. (He insists he will pass his drug test.) So today has been spent attempting to train him into my archaic ways. I guess I don’t document things very well since he keeps asking me “is there a process for this”, or “is that documented somewhere?” And I keep answering with a “No, or at least not that I know of.”
I don’t micromanage so I really hope this guy is good at self motivation, I really don’t want to have to baby-sit.
posted by Jason 1:21 PM |
Monday, October 20, 2003
College students look up to me!?
OK Not really, but I did just have an odd experience, well it’s not really odd except that it happened to me which makes it odd. I just had two college students from the local university, both studying for their CS Degree, come over to my place of work and interview me as someone from the real world of where they want to go.
Now normally I would not have thought of myself in this capacity, I would have thought someone older and wiser than myself. The problem is that I am that older wiser version of myself and I am no longer anywhere near college age anymore, so I am OLD!
The other creepy part is that I never completed college. I and school don’t get along very well, so I decided a while ago I would just use work experience to get to where I want to go. And for the most part it has worked for me. Anyway back to my post and out of the past, I just found the idea that College students interviewing me to get an idea of where they are going was a little odd.
posted by Jason 4:19 PM |
This last Friday night, I was introduced to a new game (Well new to me) called Elixir.
This game is a type of card game that is very funny. I only played it once, and the experience was good. I think future games of it would be even better since I would then understand most of the rules better. I think the game would be good for playing between close friends, or even a good “get to know you” type of party game. I highly recommend this game if you like to get together with fiends and play board games. I will now give a brief rundown of the game:
You start with a specified number of points that you spend on spells, the spells range from 1 to 4 points. Level 4 requiring 4 ingredients to cast, level 3 requiring 3 and so on. Thus the higher the number the more difficult it is to get the cards needed to cast the spell. You then start the game, and the point is to cast all of your spells first, using the draw pile “Finds” to get ingredients and other sometimes helpful items. Most of the spells carry very humorous affects. Some examples, 1. You pick an opponent to cast the spell on, and they must then call you “Master” every time they talk to you. If they do not they must give up one of their finds. 2. Everyone at the table picks a Wizards name, and you all must refer to each other as that name for the rest of the game.
There are ways to counteract spell, and other special items available, and many many more different types of spells.
Overall it made for a very entertaining game experience.
posted by Jason 2:07 PM |
Thursday, October 16, 2003
Bank Error in your Favor!
Monopoly is not based on reality. If it were the card “Bank Error in your Favor” would read like the following:
Bank error in your favor, collect $200. And the next time you owe a large amount of money to somebody the bank will correct the error right afterward and debit your account $200.
In other words the bank made a billing error on my home loan, and I waited 2 months to see if the bank would notice, then I took advantage of the error. A month and a half later after I spent the money, the bank corrected the error and billed me. Now if they had noticed earlier there would not have been a problem, but No!
I think they have someone spying on me that informed them of the worst possible time to correct the error.
posted by Jason 1:58 PM |
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Lack of Reception
So as I said yesterday I would touch on why we currently have no receptionist in our company.
My company has this creepy idea that “Flex”ing into other positions around the company can improve your value to the company by knowing more than 1 position. The problem is that it has become more of a “I can get free work out of another department’s employees by using a ‘Flex’ position.” Thus, here is what happens.
Say our order entry department needs some temporary help through our busiest season. So they announce a Flex position, anyone in the company can apply for this position, and can move into it without a change in pay. So our receptionist, wanting to make herself more useful, applies for the position. She is accepted and moves into that position for a few months. Now the department that employs the receptionist needs to fill that position so they announce a flex position. This could go on for many positions, but in the end we end up needing temporary help in the last location that nobody wants to flex into.
Well that happened to be the receptionist position this time, and we had a somewhat bright young lady apply for the position, where in reality she was wanting a completely different job in the company, but figured this was a good way to get a foot in the door. Well we didn’t end up hiring her for the position that she wanted, so the day she found out that the other position had been filled, she quit. That was the same day I found out I had to go to this seminar I went to Monday. So that was annoying, since the regular receptionist should have gone to it instead of me.
Now I have painted a negative look at this whole flexing thing during this post, and really that is my underlying feeling. Although right now it is hard to hold to that feeling when the temporary receptionist we hired this week is So-Dang-Hot!
posted by Jason 4:06 PM |
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
People who Talk in Theaters Annoy Me.
People who talk in seminars as though they where talking in a theater annoy me more.
Now I am not talking about the guy who sits there in the theater and talks to his girlfriend/wife about everything but the movie. I am talking about the guy that has to vocalize every thought they have about the movie as it occurs to them, even though they went to the movie by themselves, and no one is sitting anywhere near them.
“Ah, so it’s that guy that killed the woman.”
“Whhhooo that guy should be careful!”
Etc. Anyway, I was in a seminar yesterday learning about our phone system. Now normally this would have been the receptionist of the company going to this seminar, but currently our company is without a standard receptionist (although I will save that for a later story.) Soooo, I was in this seminar, and the guy sitting down a couple of chairs from me, is one of the afore-mentioned people. Every time the speaker asked a question, he answered. Even rhetorical questions, this sometimes confused the speaker into asking “What?” Thinking that the guy was talking to her, and that would prompt a “oh, nothing” from the man that could not shut up.
This went on throughout the day, and was excessively annoying. At least in the movie theater you can Shhhh the person and feel somewhat better, since then if they continue you can just mentally assign them as some derogatory name, and assume their parents never taught them any manners.
But what could I have done to silence this guy, aside from the desire to slice his throat with the side of a manila folder?
posted by Jason 4:43 PM |
Friday, October 10, 2003
Yesterday was my sister’s and mom’s Birthday, so I thought I would say publicly Happy Birthday to them both. I am heading over to my mom’s house after work to have cake with them. Although due to “mis-forecasting” my finances I am currently worth a whole -$100. So Birthday gifts will have to wait until after my next payday.
posted by Jason 12:52 PM |
Thursday, October 09, 2003
I just receive the most pointless SPAM message ever. I have received completely blank Spams before that where more productive than this one.
The Title was “See Young Hotties take it up the A**”
Now because I use Outlook and my preview pane opened up the message I was able to see that it was all text, I was intrigued since I figured it would be a giant, grossly under censored, picture of something I didn’t need on my monitor at work. But it was text, so I was masochistically interested in how a bunch of text was going to make me want to visit this sex site. To my surprise it wasn’t an add for a sex site at all, but rather for low mortgage rates!
OK, so which marketing genius came up with this?
My problem is, these are completely separate market groups. If you are looking for mortgage rates, in e-mail, 1 you are stupid, and 2 you are not likely going to be reading a message titled this way. And if you are looking for a good sex site, you might be excited by the title, and then excessively disappointed to find out there is no sex site.
So to recap, your actual target customer is never going to read the message, but you are going to tick off a completely separate market group and get no return.
What was that guy thinking?
posted by Jason 12:18 PM |
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
It’s a good thing I don’t hold grudges.
Or else I would have missed a free lunch today. I had a run in with a co-worker yesterday (I even posted about it), he had me pretty irritated for most of the afternoon. Although this morning when I came to work, I had gotten over my little tantrum, and had let the whole thing go. Well I was standing at the right place at the right time before lunch today, and got invited to lunch with someone else here. Well the co-worker I barked at yesterday was also invited.
Now for some that would have been awkward or they wouldn’t have been able to be civil with the person. But I did a pretty good job about not even being bothered by the previous day’s happenings.
posted by Jason 2:18 PM |
Ahh Dave Barry,
So not only is this guy really funny, but he also shares a remarkable number of my views on things. There are some things I am just really annoyed about and he puts them to words for me. Some of his best Columns (Or at least in my opinion) have been him bitching about something, and 99% of them I have agreed with. This weeks column realtes again to the Telemarketing issue and the Do-Not-Call list. He touched on it in a previous article and gave out the ATA’s phone number, at which so many people called that the ATA shut off the phone number, and then openly slammed Dave for not having warned them of the publishing of their number.
Well this time he did it again, and listed another number of the ATA’s.
I think Dave has found a new playmate, and should make for an interesting rivalry between a man, and a giant corporation that annoys everyone.
I personally hope this little competition goes on for a while; it is quite entertaining.
posted by Jason 2:13 PM |
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
Ever been in a perfectly good mood, and motivated to get stuff done, and some dork comes around and ticks you off for no good reason, and all that motivation to do anything just goes straight out the window?
Well that just happened to me, and now all I feel like doing is venting. Of course that means I am not getting any work done here now. And that is ticking me off more.
I was in a good mood, because our company agreed to let me donate 16 computers to a local High School, and I got to deliver them today, but now all of that is gone, and I am irritated.
Don’t these people know what I do around here for them? And then irritating me for something as piddly as having a box of mine in “Their” area for 7 days, when I gave them that area in the first place? Aaaarrrrrggggg!
posted by Jason 3:27 PM |
Monday, October 06, 2003
I LOVE this site
Escher's "Relativity" in LEGO
You should also check out their other LEGO renditions of Escher, they are all really good.
posted by Jason 4:23 PM |
Ah, the simple things.
It was a pure joy yesterday, to do ab . . . so . . . lute . . . ly nothing all day. I decided when my alarm went off, that there wasn’t anything I REALLY needed to do that day, so I shut of the alarm and went back to sleep, then woke up and laid there for another hour, and finally dragged my butt out of bed at 12:00. Ate breakfast (Is it still breakfast at noon? Even if you have cereal?), never combed my hair (or really even got dressed for that matter), watched some football, played computer games, watch some more TV, ate dinner around 9:00, watched a movie, then went to bed. It was a great day!
posted by Jason 4:14 PM |
Friday, October 03, 2003
Wow, talk about jumping the gun on that report.
posted by Jason 1:56 PM |
Thursday, October 02, 2003
Ouch, That’s just wrong.
I have been reading since about noon, that Valve’s Half-Life 2’s source code has been leaked onto the internet. And I felt the need to voice my opinion on the topic, since I am a software engineer.
I have been reading people’s comments like “Why did he have the source code on his computer that was connected to the internet? Why didn’t he protect it better?” and stuff like that, but it is really easy to look back on the situation and point out all the things he could have done, but how many of you keep personal records on your computer? I will guarantee you that you don’t have nearly the security system running on your network/computer that Valve has running on theirs, yet you, and I still do it, why?
Is it because we are stupid? Is it we are uneducated? Well the answer may be both, but there are other reasons as well. Most of us took a good portion of the following into account.
1. Risk vs. cost/convenience. Now you may not have sat down and did all the figuring, but a version of it has passed through your mind. It may have even been unconscious, but you still did it. When you went down and bought, or decided not to buy that software/hardware firewall, unless you fall into that first question, you are aware that nothing is impenetrable. So buying that $50 firewall as opposed to the $3500 firewall we use here at work seemed like a good investment. Then again who owns a second computer specifically to do their finances? And who wants to? I like using 1 computer for everything, it is all setup the way I like, and if I change something it stays.
2. Motive vs random attack. What are the 3 dangers of the fire swamp? Flame spouts, Lightning sand, and ROUSes. Wait, no, that’s not it but close. There are the random attacks: i.e. Send out a non-targeted virus that installs a Trojan and see who runs it. Well we all know of this one anymore, and think we can avoid these pretty easily. i.e. don’t open e-mail we don’t trust. Direct attack, well who is going to attack my computer directly? As long as I am not out there on the internet spouting off about my millions of dollars, it is unlikely my computer’s address will draw enough attention to be directly attacked. And 3rd if I keep my stuff at least decently hidden/password protected who is going to spend the time getting to the few dollars that I might have available.
3. Ego/experience. The belief that “It will never happen to me.” Or it never has happened to me, so what’s the likelihood that it will in the future?
4. Someone you trust in “The Field” told you it was ok.
Between these things you have made the rationalization that it is ok to do. Well if anyone of you ever gets something taken, any one or all of those reasons above will fail you, and someone can point it out that you where foolish. Well Gabe at Valve, and his IT department definitely went through the same process, likely more formalized than the version you went through though. I have gone through the same thing here at work with my boss as well. We plug the holes we see as glaring, or we have had experience with in the past, and we try to learn from others experiences to be prepared for the future. They did the same thing, and I don’t fault them for that. The attack that took their source code, was specifically directed at them, and likely took a lot of planning, intelligence, and time to pull off. Plus was excessively risky for the culprits future, if they are caught it could mean a good deal of time behind bars. Who would have guessed that source code was that important to someone? Now we can say beyond doubt that it was that important, but then again that is looking into the past.
Anyway, I think it is a shame this has happened, and although I don’t think I will play Half-Life 2 (I am looking forward to Doom III myself), I am still very sorry to hear of this happening. That code took them a very long time to create, and now it isn’t worth much.
Take the last 5 or so years of your life, and undo it, and see how that makes you feel? That will then touch on what I am sure the guy’s over at Valve are feeling now.
posted by Jason 4:40 PM |
Now that is quite the topic.
Over at Dave Barry's Blog there is a current debate on the techniques used for male urination. Who would have guessed so many people would have such passion for their method, that they would be willing to argue for it in public.
I can't even beleive that Dave would be so un-tactful as to publish anything about male urination on his site!
posted by Jason 2:15 PM |
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Our new Drug and Alcohol guidelines have just been released here at work, and the guidelines are 2 whole pages of statements like this:
“Specific articulable observation(s) relating to changes in work performance, appearance, behavior, speech, etc”
Why can’t the entire policy be this:
“If you are asked to perform a drug test at anytime, and you fail, or refuse to comply, you will be terminated. The Company can ask you to take a drug test for any reason, at any time.”
I think this would work well, and the whole “That is an invasion of my privacy” thing, is just ridiculous. If you are on company property, your doing drugs is not part of your private life any longer. I think that would be much simpler, and leave no room for interpretations. And I think would be more of a deterrent to take drugs at work, since then those on drugs would actually be able to understand the policy.
posted by Jason 4:50 PM |
Dang-It I can’t win
I am apparently no good at being nice. There have been times in the past, and one just a few minutes ago that have led me to this conclusion.
Someone asked me if I could change something for them. I didn’t want to, didn’t think it was a valid request, and actually felt as though the request was born out of a superiority complex, so needless to say I told him “no.”
Now I didn’t just say no. I know the person is rather high up on the food chain at work, so I tried to be as tactful, and polite as possible. I wrote a well worded e-mail, and proofread and edited it 4 times before sending it to him. I took out any sentences that I thought might have had a negative undertone, and added more logical explanations as to why I was unable to fulfill his request. I also CC’d my boss so he was apprised of the situation just in case someone else brought him in
I have not heard back from him, but in an effort to be helpful, my boss sent me a reply stating the following and I quote “I think this e-mail is just going to piss him off.”
Dang-It that is why I proofread it, to make sure that wasn’t the case! I think I need an interpreter, I will tell them “Tell so-and-so ‘no’, just because they think their so F’n special does not mean everyone else does.” And they will interpret that and tell so-and-so “no” in a much more polite way, that I can’t think of because like I said, I am no good at that.
posted by Jason 4:31 PM |
Now this is a set of practical jokes I can appreciate!
BBC NEWS | UK | Car stunt shocks newlyweds
posted by Jason 12:54 PM |
It Has Been so Long.
It has been quite a while since the last time I was able to sit around at home and do nothing but play video games. It has been a friend severely neglected lately, and I think it is time we get re-acquainted. The last two nights in a row I have spent no less than 4 hours a night playing video games, and it has been a tremendous stress relief.
I want to know where the scientific tests, and studies, are that test weather or not stress is decreased in people who regularly play video games, compared to those that do not. I bet the overall stress level of people who play is significantly lower than those that do not. The only problem I see in this is that if I get involved in the game I am currently playing, and it takes me a few weeks to get bored of it, I am likely to get sucked right back in when This game is released. I have been looking forward to this game for a very long time, and I miss the old days of playing Elite on my Commodore 64, hopefully X2 will be the game that appeases that desire of mine.
posted by Jason 12:45 PM |