Friday, September 29, 2006

Sporadic Whining

I know that my posts have been somewhat sporadic recently. Partly I haven't had much to write about, but also I've been pretty busy too. Things have started to calm down a little bit so I'm hoping things will get more regular. So I don't think I mentioned that I filed an insurance claim on the bike. Going in to the story, it's important to remember (as I mentioned in a previous post) there is currently no none Madone Trek with all Ultegra components.

So I called the Claims Adjuster, and I started talking about the bikes, and she wanted to know where I was getting my info, so I pointed her to And we started looking at prices. Things were going pretty well. I wasn't trying to get the Madone, just trying to explain the difference between component groups, and things seemed to be progressing when she decided it would be a good idea to call Gutherie's the bike store where I got my bike. Initially this didn't seem like a bad idea...

So we call the bike store and we start talking and he says well if you're trying to replace a 2300 so I would recommend a 2100 so I say, "Well yeah but that doesn't have full ultegra." And he brushes it off like it's the difference between a red bike and a blue bike. So that's what the insurance adjuster settled on. I'm a little angry. I don't think I'm going to replace the bike (if and when I do) at Guthrie's. I mean I just don't understand that at all, and perhaps I'm not being objective, but if the insurance calls up a store and says we have a customer, his bike was stolen, how much would it cost to replace it today? There's a huge probablity he would replace it with you. So wouldn't you want to get him as much money as possible, rather than treating it like any old bike, even a lower model would do? Instead he treated my protestations that 105 and ultegra were not the same like I didn't know what I was talking about...

Spring will bring the reckoning

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


So I was exiled at work yesterday. See they hired a third DBA, and they wanted the first two DBA's to be able to hold his hand. The problem is that the row with the DBA's (my row) was already completely full. So in order to make a place for the new person they had to decide on one person to be kicked out of the aisle where the rest of the group sat. The corporate policy is that people who work closely need to sit closely. I, apparently, work closely with no one so I was the one chosen to be kicked off the island.

I have to kind of wonder about that logic (work closely, sit closely). While I think that it's nice if someone whom you frequently interact with is in walking distance, I don't know that they have to be within arm's reach. In fact I think that with at least two of my co-workers it's created an unhealthy co-dependence where neither of them does anything alone. The other day they both went together to share out a hard drive, and these are network admins...

The day before was the final activation of the big project I've been working on since this time last year. I'm hopeful that things will calm down, now. At a minimum today should be a little bit of a break since most of the people who normally bug me are on a plane flying to the convention where they will unveil the big project. I'm staying here to make sure nothing breaks...

A prison of my own design

Monday, September 25, 2006

Quick Update

***Warning this post contains nothing other than the story of the Dreamblade tournament I went to on Friday evening, so for those that could care less about that, you should probably just come back tomorrow.***

So my new FLGS does Dreamblade Edge Tournaments every Friday. I had some plans last Friday, but when they fell through at the last minute, I decided to go to the tournament. I managed to convince a friend of mine, who had only played a few games to come as well. So I gave him a slightly modified Chessbeater, and I took a band my friend Wil designed which he calls, "The Worker's and Peasant's Red Army" or WPRA for short.

It was weird playing a really competative game with real pieces, mostly, in person, I play pseudo-sealed games with co-workers and family members, all my hyper competative stuff is on-line. So I don't think I was really playing my best. In fact as I think back, in my second game my opponent was up 4-3 when time was called, but I quickly finished my turn and won the round, tieing it up and then winning the next round to win the match. Not sure if that was legal or not, though at rule enforcement level 1... Still I have to thank my opponent for letting me tie it up, since it was pretty clear that unless the game was called right then that I would win.

It was somewhat funny when I signed in and the store owner looked up my DCI number. Since I'm the only one from Utah to play at GenCon I had 500+ points, and was the top player in Utah, #2 had all of 46. Apparently they were all wondering how I got some many points since they had never seen me at any of the tournaments.

In any case to cut to the part most people are interested in. I did win the tournament. Of course there were only 7 people and three games, so that's not really saying much. But I did get the one promo mini I was missing, and a booster, so over all not a bad evening.

Th-th-th-th-that's all folks!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Time keeps on slipping

I should be heading for home, but I thought I'd give you a quick update on the bike. I filed a Police report and an insurance claim. Apparently my insurance doesn't factor in depreciation on something like this so the deal is they'll buy me (actually give me a check minus the $250 deductible) a new bike that's equivilant. This brings up an interesting point because they don't make the 2300 anymore and even the 2100 is now a mixture of carbon and aluminum. You have to go all the way up to the Madone 5.0 to get a bike that has all Ultegra components like mine did. The insurance agent mentioned it might be a better bike, but that would be really cool. Course if I did get a bike that nice I suppose I would have to ride it.

Into the future

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Good Education is Expensive

It's like my Daddy always said, "A good education is expensive". I'm always amazed at the enormous range of situations that statement covers. I was struck by the truth of it again last night... When my $1400 road bike was stolen. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

There are moments in one's life when you think, "I am a man now." Occasionally when I am walking into the house I pause and think, "This is my house. My parents didn't buy it for me, I didn't steal it, every month I make the money that pays the mortgage." These moments are actually fairly rare, and I only bring them up because last night I had the opposite moment, "You're a child. You can't handle having nice things because you'll do something stupid and ruin them."

Allow me to explain. See a few months ago the garage door opener broke. Now had I been a real man I would have immediately replaced it, but instead I disconnected the chain so it wasn't hanging down in the middle of the garage and since then the wife opens the garage by hand in the morning and we close it at night, and in between then it's open the entire time.

When this started I thought about my bike, I thought, "Perhaps I should lock it to something in the garage, rather than letting it sit there the entire time, a tempting target." But I didn't, and after a while I no longer thought about it. Until last night when I returned from Family Home Evening to discover that my bike was gone. What's interesting it that was all that was gone. There are other bikes, there are other nice things in the garage, but that was it, that was the only thing that was taken. What's even more interesting is that with all the crap in that side of the garage they had to step over quite a bit to even get to the bike.

I have a hard time imagining the situation, because after all the door is closed at night. So someone walked up, probably in broad daylight, climbed over all the crap, picked up the bike and walked away with it... Of course the question now is do I try and get the home owners insurance to replace it? Do I report it to the police? I hesitate to do either, for the reason I mentioned. The last thing I need is two more organizations telling me I'm a child... Plus with depreciation, my high deductible and the possibility it would raise my rates I can't imagine it would be worth it to use the home owner's insurance. And the police are never going to find it either...

How many roads?

Friday, September 15, 2006


It this point it's a cliche, but I am once again hoping for the weekend to heal me, Though at the moment it could go either way. The good news is that Saturday is basically wide open. The bad news is that that doesn't mean I have nothing to do, just that I don't have anything that has to be done at a certain time. I definitely need to do some yard work, and I have a three hour consulting job that I should probably crank through tomorrow as well. As if that didn't do enough to put the healing power of the weekend in jeopardy, I have to work on Sunday. Not time-consuming work, mostly just pushing a button a couple of times and then going in at 10 pm and making last minute changes.

As for tonight, it's the "Block Walk", the fund-raiser for the kids PTA. Basically you get long-suffering family members to pledge a flat amount or a certain amount for how many blocks the kid makes it around. Then your kids walk around the big playground a bunch of times. They also have inflatable slides and stuff, and food, and a silent auction, but mostly it's walking. For someone who obviously doesn't get enough exercise spending the evening walking is actually strangely attractive.

I did nothing, and it was everything I hoped it would be

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Car Wreck

The anniversary of 9/11 and the associated coverage of the conspiracy theories, combined with the suspension of Steven Jones and my brother-in-law's comments on Monday's blog have all conspired to draw me back into the world of the 9/11 conspiracy theories. Thus the title (they're like car wrecks, I can't look away).

I did watch the debate on Democracy Now (linked to in Monday's comments) between the two guys that made Loose Change and the two guys from Popular Mechanics who wrote the Popular Mechanics on 9/11: Debunking The Myths article. And I have to agree that the "Loose Change" guys did not come off well at all. There are of course various levels of the conspiracy and these two are right at the top (or bottom I guess). Their contention was that planes did not crash into Pennsylvania or the pentagon. Let's look at this for a moment...

The motive generally given for 9/11 by the conspiracy theorists is that it was designed to be another Pearl Harbor. An violent event so shocking that it would give Bush and the affiliated Evil Ones™ carte blanche to pursue their militaristic adventures, in particular the invasion of Iraq. So you've already flown a plane into each towers of the WTC. At this point the contention is, "Well that wasn't nearly as dramatic as I expected, lets blow a hole in the ground in Shanksville and launch a missile at the side of the Pentagon. Then we'll find two planes and uh... land them somewhere else... blame the hole in the ground and at the Pentagon on them... and kill everyone on board!" "Brilliant!"

Seriously what possible motivation could, say, Dark Lord of the Sith himself, Dick Cheney have to go to all the trouble of mimicking two additional plane impacts and causing two actual planes to disappear? There are some intelligent conspiracy buffs out there who claim that obviously planes hit the Pentagon and Shanksville in Pennsylvania, but the government has "baited the trap" tossing little bits of doubt in there about the two "Pen"'s so that they can easily pounce, and as I did point out how idiotic you would have to be, and thus, by extension, paint the entire movement as idiotic. Who know's they maybe on to something.

Trying is the first step towards failure

Monday, September 11, 2006


Lot's to blog about. First up we have the news that Steven Jones has been put on paid leave for his theories about 9/11 and the collapse of the WTC (in particular WTC 7). So perhaps there are still some level heads in the world, perhaps even at *gasp* BYU! Though one would never get that impression glancing at any of the 700+ comments left on that news story.

While I was looking into things a little bit I came across a mention that he was the Co-Chair of the Scholars for 9/11 Truth, so I decided to check out the wikipedia article on the "Scholars". The minute I opened it up my eye was immediately drawn to the list of researchers on the right. Looking at each of there entries I discovered that their researchers are:

David Ray Griffin -- Retired Philosophy Professor
Jim Hoffman -- Software Engineer
Alex Jones -- Radio Host
Steven E. Jones -- Physics Professor
Don Paul -- Poet, Writer, Long Distance Runner
Barrie Zwicker -- Political Activist

Now I would assume (perhaps incorrectly) that if you had a group called "Scholars for 9/11 Truth" that your researchers would be the very most impressive scholars in your organization. That if there was a structural engineer anywhere in your organization that he would be one of your six researchers... And that just about anyone would be put in the "Researchers" slot ahead of the poet. But what do I know, I've never been affliated with anything nearly as impressive as "SCHOLARS FOR 9/11 TRUTH", I think the closest I ever came was "Evil Genuises for a Better Tomorrow".

For this reason and many others the weekend was pretty good. Everyone liked the surprise at the family campaign. I was looking for a clever way to introduce the campaign and the characters to one another, so I decided to have all the characters have some very realistic dreams featuring scenes from the end of the adventure path (or rather scenes similar to what might be in the final adventure) of course this would also mean that their characters would all be 20th level. So I put together 20th level versions of all the characters and passed them out. It was my sons first time playing and he managed to kill two of the really tough monsters so he was pretty happy with things. I made sure to go into great detail with the death blows.

In more great news my good friend Wil won his local 1k Dreamblade tournament using a warband I sent him. The deal was I provide the warband and he splits whatever winnings he makes. Which means my cut is $250. That together with the $250 I made at the introductory tournament means that I've actually made more money with Dreamblade than I've spent. Course I haven't seen any money yet (allow 4-6 weeks for delivery) so it may be premature to celebrate. Oh and finally have all 96 minis in the same place, so I was able to set them all out and show them off to the family. So the first set is complete, now I just have to start saving for the next set.

Dreamblade Base Set 96/96

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Dear Prudence

As long time readers of my blog now, I get a lot of my news and politically commentary from Slate. I find that it's a good source for fairly intelligent liberal commentary, with the occasional dash of conservative commentary (i.e. Christopher Hitchens). I also enjoy their weekly advice column, "Dear Prudence". But at no time more than today. The first letter will surely go down in history as one of the classics of modern advice columns (assuming that it is not eventually exposed as a hoax). So go forth and read the column, then come back and we'll discuss it.

The first reaction the three people I've pointed it out to have all had was "Holy crap! Is that for real?" There doesn't appear to be any hint of a joke in there. It seems plausible. Obviously Slate thought that it was credible enough to print. So for the moment I'm inclined to suspend disbelief and take the letter at face value. I guess one of the things which makes it a little hard to believe is the fact that the circumstances he described are fairly narrow which leads one to wonder whether someone might put two and two together and figure it out anyway. Of course I guess if he chooses not to reveal his horrible crime he can always deny everything.

Obviously the legal ramifications are also very interesting. I guess since this would at most be manslaughter there may be a statue of limitations depending on the juristiction, but I don't know that there would be one for a civil suit. In any case the day got away from me so I'd better wrap things up and post this.

Dear Foolish

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Still trying to get over my cold

I'm still sick, though I'm definitely at the tail end of things. What really sucked is it pretty much wiped out my Labor Day weekend. Which is not to say that I didn't have fun, just not anywhere near the fun I could have had. I think I'd be farther along in my recovery, but I had to come in really early yesterday to switch over to the new website at work. The transition was pretty bumpy. My part went off without a hitch, but once it was moved over it was discovered that many pages wouldn't print and that marketing had inexpicably deleted a lot of really important files.

After coming in really early I expected to leave really early, go home take a nap and finish recovering. As it was I stayed late, got home and still had to crash, which may have made things even worse, but I was so ridiculously tired... I guess I could have hung in until 6:30 or so and just gone to bed for the night then, in retrospect that probably would have worked out better.

This is not to say that yesterday was a total bust. I did get the long awaited first installment of the 3rd adventure path. We'll be starting that on Saturday in the Family Campaign, though I'm not going directly into the first adventure I'm doing a short prologue first, and I have a big surprise planned. I'd mention it here but since most of them read my blog it would pretty soundly defeat the whole point of the surprise.


Friday, September 01, 2006

Wrapping up the week

Well there was a request in the comments to finish out the Provo story. The miniatures I ordered did all arrive but of all the people I ordered from he was the slowest, irrespective of distance. Once you factor distance in then he really looks bad. I have been taken to task for my hasty generalization of Provo, based on the actions of this one individual, but he is not alone. No there were the BYU students we overheard discussing North Vietnam, the co-worker who thought that BYU had a better football program than Notre Dame (when considered over the lifetime of the program), and then there is of course the worst provo-ite of all, Steven Jones.

Steven Jones is of course the physics professor who has given great support and comfort to the enemy. The enemy being in this case all those people who believe that the World Trade Center was brought down buy controlled demolitions rather than being struck by a plane. I had managed to almost forget about him (though as you can see the bad taste he left for all the inhabitants of Provo remained) but then I came across a link to the NIST FAQ on the World Trade Center Collapse and I was reminded of his crimes.

In any case I don't exactly want to go down that manhole again, so I'll leave it at that. It's nice that Friday is here, even nicer that it's a three day weekend, but unfortunately all is not well in paradise. I appear to have come down with a cold. Last night was pretty bad, but so far today has been okay. Still I plan on leaving early and taking a nap to try and stay ahead of it. Obviously I would hate to have it ruin the vacation.

Until Tuesday