Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I think deep down, what bothers me the most about the typical 8:00-5:00 grind is the monotony. But it's a different sort of monotony then what people generally think of. A monotonous situation is generally considered to be one that is boring or tedious, but not generally stressful. I think I have a monotony of stress, it's not a lot of stress, it's just the same amount... forever. One would think that eventually I would acclimate to the background stress, but instead the opposite is happening. It becomes increasingly annoying, like someone snoring when you're trying to sleep. It didn't used to be this way, there used to be periods of relative calm punctuated by the occasional massive crisis. There is no relative calm anymore, there is rather a constant background noise of millions of voices crying out in terror and then suddenly silenced. Wait... that's Star Wars. Anyway there is no peace.

I don't mind the true crises, they're actually engaging and I always feel a sense of comraderie with the rest of the IT department, but as a counterpoint to that I would once like to take a vacation and not have some crisis at work come up that needed to be dealt with. You can ask anyone who's been on vacation with me, that hasn't happened in a long time... Of course there's all the normal kind of monotony as well. Showing up at the same time every day, having the same meeting every morning, working in the same cube, having the same arguments, etc. And it's actually this more mundane form of monotony that triggered this thoughts. I was driving to work this morning and I realized that as I waited to make a left turn into the business park where my work is located that I was right behind the exact same subaru I was behind yesterday. I don't know exactly why this was depressing, but it was.

Anyway that's enough whining, and for those of you who missed yesterday's epic entry because it was posted so late, go back and read it, it's much better than this one.

Bill Murray, sage of our time

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Some Good Stories

Well as you may have gathered from my lack of a post over the weekend, my performance was... mediocre. Of the 8 rounds of competition on Saturday I won 4 and lost 4. I finished #44 out of 76, which means that my opponents were weaker than average. But it was one of those situations where I can take comfort in the mutual suffering of others. Also finishing with a 4-4 record was the #1 player in the world (36 out of 76), the #2 player in the world (41 out of 76) and the #6 player in the world (45 out of 76). So as you can see lots of people were having a rough tournament. But I'm getting ahead of myself I really should do this chronologically.

As I mentioned on Thursday I was taking the redeye in that night. As soon as I got on the plane I balled up my fleece jacket to make a pillow and put my hat over my head. By starting early and doggedly focusing on pretending to be asleep I would say that I managed to sleep through about 80% of the flight, only waking up near the end when my left ear refused to pop and it felt like a very long, very sharp thorn was piercing my brain and a few times in the middle. One of those times I was awakened by a hand coming through the window side of the seat. It was the hand of a child sleeping in the seat behind me. So I tried telling him to move it, then I tried gently moving it back, but he was obviously comatose and time after time I would move it back behind my seat only to have it flop forward again and hit the back of my arm. I'm not sure how I eventually got the kid to stop, but I do remember being relieved to find the child unharmed when we finally landed in JFK.

We had the hotel room on Thursday so we were able to go straight there and crash, which was nice, although we had to switch rooms during the middle of the day because we'd requested a room with two beds and we started out in a room that only had one. I was a little panicked because I didn't have a ticket for the dreamblade events. The conventions I'm used to attending allow you (some may say the require you) to sign up in advance. So I was determined to go down to the convention center and figure out what I needed to do to get into the 10k the next day. My friend had told me that it was about a 15 minute walk, looking at the directions it was apparent it was going to be closer to 30, but I was optimistic. So I set off, I suppose if I had realized that I was going to have to basically walk from the east side of Manhattan to the west side I might have been more eager to figure out how the busses worked.

The walk wasn't that bad, the run-around I got once I arrived at the convention center was what was really annoying, but eventually I did figure out that I had to enter the exhibit hall before I could get the info I needed. The exhibit hall was going to be opened to normal (non-press, non-professional) badge holders at 4:00 pm when I found this out it was around 3:15 so I figured I'd grab something to eat come back and walk right in. I knew there was a line I just didn't think (based on my experiences at other conventions) that once the doors opened it would take long for the line to be gone. I was about to discover how wrong I was, and uncover the major failing of the entire convention. When I returned around 4:10, not only was there still a line, but it was a long line stretching down some stairs back and forth through some temporary barricades out the door down one side of the convention center and then back up that same side on the street level. After waiting 15 minutes for the line to dissapate and discovering that it was basically staying the same length I got into the line and after 30 minutes of queueing finally got in and was able to find out that I would have to sign up for the 10k tomorrow morning... So not exactly the most productive outing I've ever taken.

That night me and my two friends from Salt Lake went out for dinner with a Venture Capitalist we were in town to meet. We went to an Italian place and ordered a family style dinner which basically consists of them bringing out plate after plate of food until finally you beg for mercy. But this, at least, despite my distended stomach was very productive, and in fact from a business side of things, it's hard to imagine the weekend going much better. Anyway I went home to get some sleep before the 10k while the rest of them went out bar-hopping. This was also the beginning of another (somewhat lesser) problem. My friends ended up being awake whenever I was asleep and asleep whenever I was awake.

For some reason my estimation of how big the line would be Saturday morning was based on the size of the line Friday afternoon. I figured it would once again take me about 30 minutes to get through the line, I doubled that and decided I needed to show up at 10 am if I wanted to make the 11 am start time. As it turns out I was horribly wrong. At this point I refer you to a map of the area around the convention center. The line once again started inside the building, down the stairs, back and forth through temporary barriers, out the east side, south around the corner, along the building down to 12th ave back up the hill along 34th street, up 11th Ave., down 11th Ave to 40th street and back down to the river. It took me 10 minutes from arriving just to make it to the back of the line. And an hour and 20 minutes before I got to the gaming hall, so I was late, but so was everyone else so they pushed it back an hour.

As far as the actual 10k, I've already covered a lot of that, but I should mention that I had a good time, I was somewhat despondent when I was at 1-2, felt pretty good when I rallied to 3-2 and then sanquine by the time I finished at 4-4. Other than meeting some cool people and having some exciting games the most interesting story involved the coat check. I realized about halfway through the tournament that it was probably going to run long, and I figured that with my luck the coat check would be closed by the time I was done and I would have to walk home through the bitter Manhattan winter in my short sleeve polo. As a matter of fact the coat check had closed by the time the tournament was done, but by doggedly moving from one security guard to another I eventually managed to get someone who had a key to where they had moved the coats.

The next day I entered the 1k. More to get the Dreamblade duffle bag and the other swag. I thought about running another warband I had with me, but I really wanted to play the the original warband some more and see what I could make of it. I did have a really good 2nd game against the #3 player in the world. It ended up going to 6-5 and I think if I'd rolled a little bit better I might have pulled it out. In any case I dropped before the end because I hadn't seen the con at all and I was meeting some friends I have in New York for an early dinner. Which leads me to the next story...

So my friend told me to take the #6 to Bleeker Street and then take the F to Delancy. This all went off basically without a hitch (okay the initial subway station was on broadway not Lexington, but that was no big deal). After a really great dinner we parted ways and I tried to retrace my steps. On the way down Delancy was two stops from the Bleeker transfer, on the way back the second stop was Broadway and Layfette, momentarily frozen with panic I didn't get off, by the next stop it was apparent that Bleeker street wasn't coming, so I got off and looked at the subway map. It turns ot that going uptown it's a different stop then downtown. So I got back on the subway and rode back one stop, but it turns out that you can't transfer to uptown from that station, the sign said you had to ride the route to the end and then you could turn around and head uptown. Finally I found someone who told me the uptown stop was really close, just not connected. Since I had an all day pass it was no big deal, but I still had to find this other station once I emerged from underground in the dark and the fog. Fortunately every time I asked for help (and even when I didn't, which will become apparent later) New Yorkers were unfailingly courteous, so I eventually made it back.

Finally on Monday I slept in a little and then walked to Rockefeller Center to meet up with my New York friend again and have lunch. I had gone the entire trip without getting a call from work and I was optimistic that it would be the first trip without a crisis at work. Such was not to be. I got a call from work that the web search server was down. I tried everything I could think of over the phone and eventually I had to remote in from my friends work and look at the server. Even then I was only able to determine that it was an issue they were going to have to go to the vendor with. It eventually turned on that a core config file on the server had been emptied. It was blank. I still am trying to figure out how that happened, but once we restored from backup the server started working again.

From Rockefeller I took the subway down to the WTC site. There was less there than I thought (in terms of a memorial) but it was still very powerful. Across the street was St. Pauls Chapel, built in 1766. George Washington's church during the time the capital was in New York. It had an old graveyard on the grounds which I always enjoy walking through, but the most gut wrenching story was about how the firefighters would hang their civilian boots on the fence of the church and chang into their firefighting equipment. Boots that remained on the fence on September 12 meant the firefighter hadn't made it, and they became testimonials to their sacrifice...

After going to the WTC I still had some time to kill so I thought I'd walk from the Museum of Natural History to the Met, west to east across Central Park. It turns out there was a road that did just that but it mostly was below ground level so I really couldn't see anything, and it was kind of a sloppy mess. I didn't mind too much though I was kind of in a hurry, because my friends wanted to meet up for dinner before we had to go to the airport. As I was walking along a bus stopped, the driver said "Get in." When I started to try and pull out my metro card he said, "Don't worry about it, just get in." So like I said, New Yorkers, at least in my limited experience are pretty nice. In any case after that we had dinner with the VC again, then went to the airport. I didn't sleep as much on the way back as the way there but I'll bet I still got two and a half hours in.

Anyway this went on longer than I expected, and it's now past my bedtime so I better wrap it up.

BTW I'm still sick

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Well my trip to New York is open me and not only do I not feel better I think I actually feel worse... The cold or virus or flesh-eating bacteria I have has moved up into my head, so I have a stuffy nose and a sinus headache. When these new symptoms first started I thought it might be a good sign, that the medicine was finally working, the lungs had opened up and spread their pestilance to another area, but the lungs are just as tight as always, I'm still coughing just as much I just now have a whole new set of symptoms to make me miserable. This wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't taking the redeye tonight (and vice-versa).

As a result I'm far less excited about the trip then I should be. My big worry is that the redeye on top of already being sick, will so wipe me out that I won't be able to enjoy anything I do or perhaps do anything I enjoy. To say nothing of how it will affect my performance at the 10k on Saturday. Which brings me to another concern, I have a warband that I'm quite happy with and I've been practicing like crazy with it. Last time I had a band that I wasn't entirely happy with, and which I hadn't practiced much, and I came in 9th. So of course Murphy's Law would dictate that I'll do even worse with this band... Or perhaps I'm just trying to start out disappointed so anything will be a pleasant surprise.

As you might tell I've got kind of a bad attitude about the trip. Mostly because I don't get to take trips like this very often (though most would argue I take them more often than I should) and when I do it's time-consuming and expensive, so of course I want everything to go perfectly, and instead I'm sick, my flights (redeye tonight as I mentioned and arriving back around 1 am on Tuesday morning) are likely to make it worse, I'm still trying to finalize my warband, and this is my first time at this convention (my experience is that it takes several times, or hooking up with a vetern, before you really get the feel of a con).

As I alluded to above, hopefully by going in with negative expectations I can't help but be pleasantly surprised, we'll have to see. If I do really well in the 10k I'll attempt to blog about it before I return, so if you don't see anything in this space until Tuesday you'll know I had a lackluster showing.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Still Sick

Near the beginning of the month when I first came down with my chest cold I considered it inconceivable that I would still be sick at the end of the month when it came time to go to New York. Now I consider it inconceivable that I will have recovered by that time. I considered going in to see the doctor again before my trip, but for some reason I decided not too. I think I wanted to make sure that I gave the current treatment (the slow-acting steroid inhaler) time to work before I gave up on it. I figure if I'm still coughing when I get back then I should definitely go in again.

Other than that things are going okay. I have a donor appreciation dinner tonight. Everyone who donates platelets or blood a certain amount of times gets invited to a big banquet every year. I may not stay for the whole thing, we ended up being pretty desperate for a baby sitter so the one we ended up with would probably like it if we were home as soon as possible, and last year the part where they recognized all the people who've donated a massive number of times was pretty boring. Which is precisely where this entry is headed so I'll wrap it up.

Hacking my way to a 10k victory

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Othello, Zelda and the Fleshless Reaper

I didn't mention it in any of my entries at the end of last week but Sunday was my birthday, and on the whole not only was my birthday enjoyable, but the entire weekend went really well, three days of sleeping in spoiled me. And not only did I relax, but we also got quite a bit done around the house as well. Much of my time was spent practicing Dreamblade to prepare for the New York 10k I'll be competing in this Saturday. Initially I had a lot of faith in my band, but we've been testing it against a band archtype called "The Passion of the Reaper" and it's having some issues... This isn't to say that it can't win against PotR in fact my impression is that it wins about 50% of the time but of course you'd like for odds that are a little bit better than that, so we'll see I'm still tweaking it. The one thing I don't want to do is panic at the last minute like I did with the 1k and abandon something I know really well.

That's probably the limit of the Dreamblade I can talk about without some sort of a warning or disclaimer, so I'll move on. My family gets together every other week. Many of those weeks are devoted to celebrating peoples birthday's and on those Sunday's the person whose birthday we're celebrating gets to pick the meal, so here's my meal:

Appetizer: Grilled Garlic and Basil Shrimp with Home-made Cocktail Sauce
Salad: Green Salad w/ Bacon, Avacado, Mushrooms, Red Onions, Sharp Chedder, Tomatoes, and Hard-boiled Eggs.
Side Dish 1: Jarlsberg Potatoes, A cassarole type dish with scalloped potatoes and lots of Jarlsberg cheese.
Side Dish 2: Oven-Baked Asparagus w/ Asiago Cheese.
Main Dish: Dry Rubbed Pork Ribs, grilled over charcoal
Dessert: My Mother's Pumpkin dessert (not sure how to describe it other than that)
Drink: Sprite w/ Limeade

Let me just tell you as someone who was there it was even better than it sounds. In addition to this wonderful meal I got the latest Zelda game for my Wii. I got a chance to play that yesterday and it was a ton of fun. I really do like playing it with the motion sensitive controls, fighting is a blast. My kids played it first and they were having a hard time getting past the prologue, it turns out that you have to summon a hawk, by playing a certain kind of grass, then you have to use the hawk to snatch the baby cradle from the monkey then you have to give the cradle to the lady who lost it and then she'll give you a fishing pole, you then have to go fishing, catch a fish feed it to the lost cat who returns to her mistress, who then becomes happy enough to open up shop and sell you a slingshot which you then show off to the kids, which is finally how the next act begins...

After playing Zelda for a couple of hours I went out to dinner and a play with my wife and some friends of ours we've known since we lived in student housing. The play was Othello. Othello is my least favorite of Shakespeare's four great tragedies, but it was still quite good. I particularly liked the actor playing Iago, one imagines that's a good thing since it's hard to imagine that you could have a good production of Othello without a good Iago. Of course there are all these instances of dramatic irony where characters go on about how honest Iago is. At the intermission I asked my friend how he liked it, he said he wasn't picking up much because of the language but he did get that Iago was honest. He was joking of course.

At least I think he was joking

Friday, February 16, 2007

American Fascists

So here it is the moment you've all been waiting for (or dreading). Now to start of with I do have to confess that I haven't actually read the book, obviously that's a huge negative right there, perhaps enough so that you'll just want to stop reading. However I have seen him out promoting the book twice, a long fairly in-depth program on CSPAN, and a fluffier piece on the Colbert Report. I've also read every other review of it I could find, so absent reading the book itself, which I have neither the time or inclination for, I've tried to get as close as I can. With that caveat aside, here we go.

So the central premise of the book is that radical christians are on the verge of taking over this country in the same way the Nazis took over Germany. His principle argument for this in both of his television appearances was that historically, evangelicals and other true-believers have eschewed politics, but no longer. Well the mere fact that someone enters the political arena does not automatically crown them as the victor. Looking at his other writings (for example here another main point of his is that the christians are taking over the military. Certainly I agree with his point that the military and law enforcement slant more right than other organizations but I have a hard time making the same intuitive leap from that to an incipient coup.

He mentions that "It [The Christian Embassy] hosts weekly Bible sessions with senior officers, by its own count some 40 generals, and weekly prayer breakfasts..." DA DA DUM!!! As if this was some sort of prima facie evidence of the vast christian conspiracy he imagines. The point I would make about this is that religious observances of this sort have been going on for as long as the country has been around, that 50 years ago "under God" could be added to the Pledge of Allegiance without the country ending (imagine what Hodges would make of such an attempt if it happened today). That in fact the Christian right is not revolutionary it's reactionary. For a long time they've had it pretty good, but the wind has largely shifted against them. Gay marriage is just a matter of time, despite the increase in the conservative side of the judiciary, no serious threats to Roe v. Wade have appeared. They've temporarily won on stem cells, but I can't imagine they see that as anything more than a Pyrrhic Victory. I think most of them would just be happy to hold the ground they have.

Now don't get me wrong I think the christian right has done a lot of dumb and even damaging things, and I think the Republican Party has become far too beholden to those groups, but Hedges idea that we are in "...the final and perhaps most deadly stage in the long campaign by the radical Christian right to dismantle America’s open society and build a theocratic state" is ridiculous.

Where is the charismatic leader? Where is the leader period? While these evangelical groups may seem fairly similiar in goals and aims and beliefs, that's only on the surface, underneath there are all sorts of divisions, to say nothing of the divisions you'll begin to find once you start talking about Protestants and Catholics.

Where is the galvanising motive, the desperate poverty and humiliation of the Weimer Republic? Hedges admits it's going to take "...a period of instability caused by another catastrophic terrorist attack, an economic meltdown or a series of environmental disasters..." but does he really appreciate the scale of the economic meltdown in the Weimer Republic or the catastrophe that was World War I? Or how fragile that government was?

Perhaps I'm cherry picking by focusing on the Weimar Republic but that's the same example Hedges wants to use. And by comparing the USA to the Weimar Republic he demonstrates an appalling lack of faith in the resiliance of our democracy, which is perhaps what bothers me the most. Perhaps you'll recall the blog I wrote about countries which have survived intact since 1911. Now I admit that can be read as either "Countries are more fragile than you think" or "The US is execeptionally durable." But you'd have to go a lot farther back than 1911 to include the US in the list of countries which didn't survive, so I would choose the latter interpretation.

Interpreting things to suit my purposes since 1971

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Teaser

A took a long lunch with a cousin of mine that I hadn't seen much of in quite a while, so I don't have the time for anything substantial, but I feel a political post coming on. Take this either as an enticement to check back tomorrow or a warning to stay away until Tuesday. The subject will be the book "American Fascists" by Chris Hedges. The teaser is that I think he's smoking crack.

Say no to crack!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"The Ross"

I have this particular breakfast that I greatly enjoy. My kids and friends call it "The Ross". In its basic form it requires potatoes, ketchup, meat and a runny egg (sunny-side up or over-easy). The potatoes should be easily cut into small pieces, but not too small (so no mashed or baked potatoes.) Scalloped potatoes or some kind of hash browns work best. The meat can be anything from steak to sausage, though I prefer pork chops. The key thing is to dice everything up, put on just the right amount of ketchup and mix everything together, that's "The Ross".

I introduced a couple of co-workers to it yesterday and they quite enjoyed it, now they're bugging me about the history. I know it started in college, before then I just didn't go out for breakfast often enough. It started with steak, just because I have a habit of beginning with the most expensive item on the menu and then working down. Also that's about the time I got in the habit of mixing things together. It's amazing how far you can stretch some rice as long as it has something mixed in it... Of course I was still poor so it wasn't long before I was trying other meats than steak and it's at this point that I discovered you have to find each restaurants inner "Ross". At some the ratio of meat to potatoes is off and you have to order another side of hash browns. At some you order the sausage patty, at some you order the steak, and at one you actually have to get the crab cakes.

This means that each example of "The Ross" is going to be a little bit different, some better, some worse. The best I ever found, and a staple for many years was at a little greasy spoon right across the street from the mall that's being featured so prominently in all the news stories the last few days. It was called "Bill and Nada's" and it was home. They had little jukeboxes on every table, and every visit someone would play Cash's "Ring of Fire". It was in this little cafe that people first started calling it "The Ross". Unfortunately eventually Bill and Nada died (I forget who died first) and it was their explicit wish that the cafe not continue on without them, so eventually it was razed. Here's a picture of the cafe in it's prime, and if you're more ambitious Here's a whole page of pictures of Bill and Nada regulars no my picture isn't there, I was a lightweight, there were people who ate three meals a day there.

In any case I'm lucky, the cafe here at work, though horrible at making lunches, has the ingrediants for a pretty decent "Ross", but it will never be the same as it was at that little greasy spoon.

Every restaurant I've ever loved has broken my heart

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Office=good, Cubes=bad, Nothing=worse

Aozora asked whether things would be better without cubes... This may be the only thing I can imagine that's worse than cubes, though it's hard to imagine at all. For one thing I have a female co-worker who is constantly complaining about the noise, I'm sure that would definitely get worse if there were no cubes. She'd probably have to quit, hmm... maybe that wouldn't be so bad. And then there's the privacy issue of course, I confess that I'm not always 100% on task and it's nice to be able to hit alt-tab when the boss shows up, of course with these high cube walls it's normally too late, perhaps if I could see him from a longs ways away... Hmm... may be no cubes would be better than I think.

Last night was Family Home Evening, and it was my #2 sons turn to pick the activity. Initially he wanted to go bowling... But somewhere along the way he decided it would be better to have pizza at home and bowl on the Wii. I was grateful for that decision because I'm still feeling poorly and I had a lot I wanted to do. But also I think it was just as fun if not funner. Certainly the youngest kids were able to participate on an equal level with everyone else. Plus it was a heck of a lot cheaper, and we didn't have to drive anywhere. There's some small part of me that feels guilty about going virtual bowling rather than real bowling, but at the moment I can't figure out why that would be.

On a more serious note I'm sure you've all heard about the shootings at Trolley Square. In case anyone was wondering no one I know was even at the mall when it happened. Though despite that my wife was pretty shaken up. I can't blame her, we've been to that mall many times with our family mostly to have dinner, so it's definitely one of those, "There but for the grace of God go I" moments.

A Moment of Silence if you please...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Not everything it could be but not bad either

The weekend was pretty good, not fantanstic put pretty good, this describes a lot of things, like The Police Reunion at the Grammys. It was really good, but suffered from only being one song long. I have a hard time understanding this, you finally reunite one of the iconic bands of the 80s, a band that has been broken up for over 20 years, and you have them do one song? I'm baffled.

On Saturday we played Shadows Over Camelot this new game my wife got me for Christmas. It's a multi-player co-operative game, so they made it reasonably tough to win, otherwise it would become boring. Playing through it for the first time and trying to learn the rules it was brutally tough... We played it twice without winning and we didn't even have a traitor... So once again great game would have been better if we could have won, but at least now we have something to shoot for. Health-wise I seem to be ever so slowly improving. Improvement=good. Rapid improvement=better.

Cautiously Optimistic

Friday, February 09, 2007


After being mercilessly berated by my wife to my reaction to last weekend, I've decided to ask myself, "What would Norm do?" I think I'm going to have to look at this question from a figurative rather than a literal standpoint, since I doubt my wife would view hanging out at a bar all day as an improvement. But perhaps I have been a little too "glass is half empty" lately, and it's time to be more "just give me another beer!" (Once again I'm speaking figuratively rather than literally...)

Last night I slept with a humidifier next to my head and I think it definitely made a difference, so I'm hoping that by the time next week rolls around not only will I have a better attitude, I won't be sick. The weekend promises to be relatively low key, so I'm optimistic that it will be a good one, and things have settled down a little bit at work so Monday should be tolerable as well. In fact the rest of February is looking pretty good. Next weekend is a three-dayer. The weekend after that I'm going to the New York Comic Con, principally to compete in the DB 10k, but I also have some friends who are going to for some business (of which I am also involved) plus an old friend from my mission lives out there as well. Last but not least the 18th is my birthday, so overall February promises end well.

Yes... I'll be 36...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

5 minutes

Well I have about five minutes here, so we'll see what I can put down. I went to the doctor and she decided that I had parainfluenza, not a cold but not quite the flu either, whatever that means. She says she's seen a lot of cases where people bronchial passages get really inflamed, causing a shortness of breath and trapping mucus and other stuff. So you cough to try and bring it up, but the passages are so tight that your cough is mostly unproductive. The key way of telling was to blow into this little device she had for measuring air outflow. At my height and age they expect 600 (not sure what the units are) the first time I got 250, the second time I got 325 and the fourth time I got 400 but it caused a massive coughing fit. So she gave me this new type of inhaler, it's pretty dang cool, it has these micro doses of the stuff and by taking the cap on and off it loads a new dose each time. It even has a counter to tell you how many doses are left. She also said I should start using a humidifier, so I'll start that tonight. Hopefully now that it's finally being treated it won't be long before it's gone.

5 minutes is up

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Still coughing after all these days

I've had a cold since probably the 30th of January. It's starting to annoy me, in fact I'm thinking of using it to excuse my bad mood of the past week. (Although last night on the way home from work I had one of those brief moments of light when you feel like everything is going to be just fine. You ever had that feeling? It's pretty rare for me.) I'm trying to get better, I've been going to bed early, eating a lot (feed a cold right?) and in general trying to take it easy, but so far I haven't been able to shake it.

Hacking cough

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


In response to Aozora's question, yes it is safe to ask my opinion of my day job. I really like my day job. I consider myself pretty lucky, but like every cube dweller there are good days/weeks/months and bad days/weeks/months. The good part of my job is the people I work with in IT. The bad part lies outside of IT, this is not to say there aren't good parts out there just that there are no bad parts in IT (or very few).

The "badness" started last week when someone over in marketing asked me why I wasn't working on his project. I told him that someone else in marketing had told me that a piece of that project was on hold and so I thought we were both waiting on the third guy. He then chewed me out for not telling him that the other parts of the project were on hold and then basically told me I needed to keep working on the other parts. I told him that I had plenty to keep me busy, and so when one part of a project was put on indefinite hiatus, then the whole project was going to end up getting less attention and a lower priority, and I was going to move on to focus on more time sensitive stuff.

His next e-mail was a request for the various people in marketing to have a weekly meeting with me where they would set priorities. For me the implication was that they would set my priorities. I had a problem with this. But the biggest problem is that I already fell that my core job is getting neglected because I'm getting nickeled and dimed by all these requests from marketing. I'm finding it difficult to work on any of the big projects that are out there because every day there's another dozen e-mails from marketing, and they all seem to think they're pretty important. So having a meeting would just further warp the perceived importance of their tasks over my core tasks.

The death of a thousand e-mails

Monday, February 05, 2007

Not a bad weekend

Going into the weekend I wasn't expecting much. I was already in a bad mood and, what's more, I was sick. However, with the exception of the aforementioned illness, the weekend was pretty good. I played some Dreamblade online. We re-arranged and cleaned the entire family room to take better advantage of the new TV and to give people enough room to safely play the Wii. The guys came over and we played D&D for the first time in several months. The team I was vaguely favoring won the superbowl. And I found out that the Police are reuniting.

I think in some ways a nice weekend may be worse than the disappointing one. With a disappointing weekend, there's a sense of the lost opportunity of those days off, but since they were largely indistinguishable from the normal weekday, you don't mind going back to work as much. But if you have a good weekend (or even just a decent one) the contrast between the weekend and the workday is that much greater and it becomes really difficult to go back to work.


Friday, February 02, 2007

Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is on Sunday. I trust that most people hardly need reminding of that fact, but I run with a weird crowd, so I thought it might need repeating. As is customary I really don't have a horse in this race, which means that I default to the AFC team because of their 1-15 drought from 1982-1997. And I like Indy for other reasons, GenCon is held right next to the stadium, and I think Peyton Manning deserves to win the big game. However it's like I was telling my co-worker at lunch. If Indy went up 24-3 and Chicago started staging a big comeback my underdog reflexes would kick in, and I'd probably switch to cheering for Chicago.

The ironic thing is that I'm going to be at my parents on Sunday. So that huge new TV we bought, at a Superbowl sale, is not going to get used for watching the biggest TV event of the year. Though you can bet I'll be watching the Tour on it.

As I mentioned I'll be up at my parents on Sunday. Normally there is a subtle sense of disapproval about watching the Superbowl while we're up there. I mean it's on, but you get the feeling that, while you can glance at it as you pass through the family room, sitting down and really getting into it would be frowned upon. But this time we're celebrating my younger brother's birthday, and he already sent out an e-mail saying he was planning on watching the Superbowl. He then asked if that were okay. I told him that it was his birthday and that we didn't have a choice we had to do what he wanted. I'm hoping that will do the trick.

I just watch for the commercials

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Slow down you move to fast

At some point, I think it was last summer, something or someone cranked up the speed setting on my life. Ever since then I've felt metaphorically out of breathe. This isn't necessarily bad, metaphorical exercise is probably as good for me as literal exercise. Still it would be nice to get a breather every so often. One problem is that I'm a sprinter not a long distance runner (within the context of the metaphor, literally I don't think I'm much of either...) Now I'm trying to train to be more of an endurance man, little bits of effort every day, but it's not easy or natural.

As long as I'm seeing progress each day, then I'm pretty good about keeping the faith, but all too frequently I put in my incremental effort only to find that I'm losing ground. That the situation is deteriorating faster than my incremental efforts can keep up with. Obviously one can increase the level of effort but doesn't that just mean I'll wear myself out before the end of the race? At least I think that's how long distance races work, having never ran more than 50 ft, I'm basing this entire extended metaphor on hearsay and supposition.

I realize this isn't the most upbeat blog entry ever. I'm sure that part of it is fueled by being sick. I finally succumbed to my normal winter cold (which I'm sure it will linger until sometime in August.) And of course tomorrow's Groundhog Day, I always get melancholy around this time of year. I doubt that tossing a link in will do much to change the tone of the entry, but a friend of mine sent me a link to an application built around google maps that shows you where you'd come out if you dug a hole straight through the center of the earth. Nothing too fancy, but it is a useful tool if you're planning on making it to China the hard way, turns out you're really best to take a left once you hit the lower mantle.

Edit: Okay apparently that domain name just barely expired. So instead I offer you this creative look at Man vs. Machine.

I'll give you a winter prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life.