Wednesday, October 31, 2007

300th Post (on Blogger)

I obviously didn't time it right, I should have timed it such that the end of my month of blogging every day, fell on the same day as my 300th entry. In fact tomorrow would have been better for other reasons as well. But of course I'm kind of opposed the numerological mysticism inherent the idea anyway, so if you were hoping for something epic, today is not the day, maybe tomorrow.

Today is mostly being consumed with setting up my "new" laptop. I put new in quotes because it's new for me, but it's not new as in recently purchased. My boss gave me his laptop and he bought a new laptop for himself. I suppose I can't blame him, particularly since I'm not going to be here for very much longer. Anyway as anyone familiar with computers can tell you getting them set up the way you want is incredibly time consuming. Particularly since my boss restored this one to factory defaults, which means that in addition to installing all the programs I need I had to uninstall all the crap it came pre-loaded with (my favorite was an icon to connect to AOL with dial-up, not now, not ever).

Overall it's gone reasonably smoothly though there was a moment when I threatened death to all and sundry if I didn't get admin rights on that puppy ASAP!!! The cause of my rage was a pre-loaded application that kept trying to install, it would find out that I didn't have sufficient rights and throw an error. When I hit cancel it would immediately attempt to install itself again, creating a perpetual supply of pop-up warnings.

It goes without saying that Microsoft annoys me

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Physical Reactions to Psychological Events

It's always surprising and somewhat interesting when I realize that I'm having a physical reaction to something that's purely psychological. One of the best known examples of this is the Placebo Effect. Though this particular example has recently been called into question so perhaps I won't spend much time on it. Perhaps even more common than the Placebo Effect though less perhaps less widely recognized as an example of this phenomenon is heartache. Hopefully you don't have too much experience with this, but I think everyone has experienced physical reactions to psychological grief.

Another area where people frequent self-report physical reactions to mood is in the area of stress. I think I'm experiencing that right now. But I'm not sure. For one thing I don't have any huge looming deadline that I'm struggling to meet. I have huge deadlines but none are immediate or impending. For another I wouldn't self-evaluate as being incredibly stressed (very, really, hugely, but not incredibly). I think it has to do with the number of balls I'm trying to keep in the air as it were. None of them is particularly stressful, but there's so many of them...

I've often heard that men are bad at multi-tasking. I'm not sure if that's necessarily what this is, but just trying to determine what needs to be done when and where, what should be done first, how it should be done and who I need to talk to is proving to be... stressful. Possibly more stressful than I have previously admitted. In any event I'll keep you posted.

Ulcer's appear on the horizon

Monday, October 29, 2007


So the lasers finally arrived. Mine has a peak output of 136.7 mW and an average output of 133.7 mW. It's really bright... Just looking at the dot it makes when I shine it against the walls of my cube hurts my eyes. I should really probably get some goggles... I don't see any problem shining it into the heavens on a dark night (as long as I don't accidently hit any aircraft) but using it in close quarters may be a bad idea. I was a little incredulous about the claim that it could etch dark leather, but sure enough all you have to do is point it for a second and you'll start seeing smoke. Based on that I expected it to feel warmer against my skin. You can feel it, but it takes a few seconds.

Nova Lasers also genereously tossed in a "Matrix Diffraction Grating" as well. It's a lens endcap for the laser that splits the laser into multiple pin-points of light, almost like a small (very uniform) field of stars. That's one I'm very eager to try on a cloud one of these nights. Of course that's what I'm really looking forward to is night time. Particularly someplace without a lot of light pollution. I'm going up to my parents tonight and they live far enough outside of the city that it's pretty good for that sort of thing, you better believe I'll be taking the laser.

Anyway I'm pretty excited. I'll let you know how tonight's tests go.

Ready for Daylight Saving Time to be over

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Almost Forgot Again

I realize blogs about how I almost didn't blog are about as dull as things get. But unfortunately not much else is going on. I'll try and have something better tomorrow. I will mention that running the Family Campaign on Friday did make me somewhat eager for 4E. Supposedly one of the huge improvements is that monsters are a lot easier to run. The characters in my campaign are only 8th level, but the monsters they're encountering can still be a pain to manage, particularly once you start hitting outsiders and the like. Of course they definitely don't want to switch, and I can't say I blame them, since they're finally getting the hang of 3.5, but we'll have to see.

Still many moons

Saturday, October 27, 2007


On Wednesday I sneezed and threw out my neck (basically it was painful to move it at all to the left). It was getting a little bit better every day, but was still bothering me quite a bit on Friday during the Family Campaign. And then sitting in the hard kitchen chair started my back acting up, so overall I was kind of miserable and grumpy (for which I apologize to the good people who had to put up with it). So I finally decided that it was time for a muscle relaxant. I'm pretty careful about using them because it generally wipes me out for about 18 hours.

Sure enough I slept from about 10:30 on Friday night till 9:30 Saturday morning and then took a nap from 12:30 to 3:30. So of course I was way behind on what I wanted to get done. In between all that, I forgot to blog... But through the magic of the internet I'm going to backdate this blog to last night. And it will be like it never happened.

A little deception never hurt anyone

Friday, October 26, 2007

Family Campaign

Tonight is the family campaign. For a variety of reasons ranging from illness, to scheduling, to other things lost in the midst of time we haven't met for several months. That does make it kind of tough to keep the campaign continuity going, but they seem to be enjoying themselves so I guess it's not all bad.

I came across a post by one of the D&D developers with some suggestions for making the monk and the bard class more playable. I'm strongly tempted to implement these changes, because the bard and the monk do seem kind of underpowered, but then so does the half-dragon favored soul, and the rogue. So basically everyone other than the arcane archer and the barbarian (half-orc str 20) seems under-powered. I guess it would be easier just to nerf the two of them than buff the other four, but no one really likes being nerfed, and its not as if I'm having a hard time challenging them.

So here are the changes he suggested along with the changes I'm thinking.

1/1 BAB progression.

Swift action to start bardic music, swift action to keep it going as needed, no restrictions on spell casting.

Increase hit die to d8.

Spontaneous casting - swap a spell to give a target an attack and AC bonus for one round equal to the spell's level, and heal 1d6 per spell level.

1/1 BAB progression.

Increase hit die to d10.

Those were his suggestions, now here's what I'm thinking for the other two:

Half-Dragon Favored Soul
Make the Half-Dragon only ECL +2

Give him +2 on effective caster level (making his caster level equal to the levels of the rest of the party)

Allow sneak attacks to work against creatures normally immune to crits (undead, oozes, etc.)

I know the latter modification is pretty ham-fisted, but I don't have the time to be more elegant.

Let me know what you think, particularly if you're in the family campaign and you're one of the people being affected.

You'll do what I say and you'll like it

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cell Phones

Earlier today I was chatting with one of my many brother-in-laws (brothers-in-law?) and I was reminded of a pretty good story that I realized I had never shared. This happened while we were at "Paint Your Wagon". In the middle of the play I heard some faint music. Just then the actors on the stage said, "Can you hear that?" So I figured that it was part of the play, that perhaps the lead actress was supposed to be off in the distance singing. But the music started getting louder and the louder it got the less it sounded like part of the play. But the actors kept acting like they were listening to something off stage. But soon they clarified that they heard a coach off in the distance. Well whatever else could be said about the music it did not sound like an approaching stage coach.

Well as you can guess, it was a cell phone with some song (a recent pop song, by the sounds of it, but I have no idea which song it might have been.) And I guess it was on a setting where it started out relatively quiet and then just keep getting louder and louder. Of course you would expect that in a theater that first off people would turn off their cell phones, or at least set them to vibrate. And failing that, that they would turn it off pretty quickly once it started ringing, but this just keep going and going. I leaned over the edge of the balcony to see if I could figure out who it was, and it didn't take me long, there in about the middle of the loge, a young lady was ripping her purse apart trying to find her phone. She was eventually successful, but I would guess that it probably rang for a full minute or even a minute and a half, which when you're in the situation we were seems like an eternity.

The thing that brought it up was this video my b-i-l sent me. It basically goes through all the different varieties of annoying cell phone user, the too loud ring, the "hands-free guy". Still they missed the biggest one of all, the driving cell phone talker. I can't remember the last time I was annoyed by some driver and when I pulled even with them they weren't on a cell phone (yes I know that's a double negative, but hopefully it still makes sense).

Yeah, yeah

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Well after 23 straight days of blogging my repository of current stories and humorous observations is getting a little bare, so I thought I'd pull out something from my past. I was reminded of this story when I ended up walking and talking with one of my friends and ended up sort of inviting myself into the larger group he was going with to get a drink. I apologetically told them that I had pulled a "Sheldon". That's where this story comes in.

Several years ago we had a guy in the IT department named Sheldon. He was one of these people who got a job during the desperate dot com crunch and then struggled to hang on to it after the crash. His cause wasn't helped by his incesssent web-surfing, and frequent naps, but those weren't the attributes I was referring to when I said I had pulled a "Sheldon". That comes from a time when one of my friends had an H2, which he graciously allowed me to borrow so that I could have some fun. This was one of the days when I had borrowed it and I was taking a group of co-workers with me for a little drive. We had left the building, crossed a street and were nearly to the car when suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere Sheldon appeared. I liked the guy well enough, but he hadn't been invited and for him to make such an enormous effort to invite himself (I have this vision of him looking out the window, sprinting down three flights of stairs and across the street) frankly took me aback.

I was so surprised that I ended up yelling at him. (things like "Where the Hell did you come from?!?") Later I felt kind of bad I'm sure he just wanted to be part of the group. But ever since then I've been very conscious of situations where it may appear that I invited myself. Lord knows that I don't want to get yelled at by some self-important prick.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Legacy Apps

One topic that keeps appearing over and over in the last couple of weeks is the weird throw-away decisions that end up still be around and often still significant many years later. To give you an example of what I'm talking about I'll start with something fairly big. When I started college in 1989 (yes I'm old) I took a Fortran class. And in the class I was told that a certain amount of white space had to be included at the beginning of each line (I believe it was six or seven spaces). That if commands were started before then they would be cut off. I was told that this syntax dated back to when Fortran was primarily used on punch cards. Now I know it hadn't been that long since people were using punch cards (particularly since this was Fortran 77) but it still seemed pretty ridiculous to still be using syntax based on them.

Closer to home (at least my home, or my work more specifically). The name of the primary network where I work is "eur-domain1". For the vast majority of people who have to type that string it's just a cryptic collection of letters and symbols. Even for people in IT it doesn't make much sense. For one thing there is no "eur-domain2" or "0" or "3". And what is a "eur"? It actually stands for end user resource, but almost no one knows that anymore, in fact the guy that told me is now dead. In another example from my work there's a directory called NTUtils buried deep in some corner of the eur-domain1 network, and it turns out that just about anything you'd ever need to install is there and that in fact it's the primary resource for the whole hardware group. But rather than being someplace near the top of the directory structure and easy to find it's deeply buried in a really counter-intuitive place. Why? Because one of the original hardware techs put some installers there for his personal use and people started using them and now everything goes there.

Of course probably the greatest example of all is the Y2K bug, a decision that seemed harmless enough at the time, but ended up being a lot bigger deal than anyone thought. Anyway I've just been noticing it a lot lately. Though I know I'm forgetting some of the better examples I've come across recently. If I remember them I'll make sure to blog about them.

Go ahead, I deserve it

Monday, October 22, 2007


With everyone still in various stages of recovering from the illnes of last week we took it pretty easy over the weekend. As a result we managed to get through all our netflix movies. In addition to "The Usual Suspects" (which only I watched) we watched "In America" (just me and the wife) and "National Velvet" (the whole family). They were all pretty good, I have a vague memory of already seeing "National Velvet" but other than the ending I didn't remember much else. "In America" was better than I expected, but I'm a sucker for stories about little girls and Irish Immigrants (my own ancestors were just that, actually more accurately Scots-Irish). And of course I've already talked about "The Usual Suspects".

"The Usual Suspects" is #20 on the IMDB list of the top 250 movies which prompts me to run down the list and see which ones I'm still missing (out of the top 50): 15,18,19,33,40,41,42,46,47,48,50. Could be better, but not bad either, 39 out of the top 50. I'd be curious to see what other peoples numbers are. (here's the link to the Top 250 List and you can see which movies I'm missing.) My excuse for most of them would be that they're too recent or too old. I'll have to see which of the ones I'm missing are on my Netflix queue.

Too many balls in the air

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Day Off

So when I first started feeling sick on Friday night I called the guy who normally subs for me in Sunday School and told him that he would probably have to fill in for me. He told me that he would prepare the lesson, but that if I had recovered by then that I could still teach. I'm feeling better than I expected but still not 100% (but when do we ever fill 100%?) This is always a tough call for me. It's kind of a clash of cultures. In my family it's kind of assumed that unless you're in danger of vomiting during the actual lesson, that you should probably be there (okay, I might be exaggerating a little bit.) In my wife's family they build in recovery times and periods for quiescence.

I decided to let him sub for me, though not without a certain degree of guilt. To counter balance that I take a little bit of comfort from the fact that he loves the chance to substitute, and that I still haven't moved on from saltines and gatorade. Also having to prepare a 40 minute lesson every Sunday for the last four years (well almost it will be four at the beginning of the year) is pretty wearying. The occasional break is a welcome respite.

20 days down, 11 to go

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Flu and cold season started early

Well I thought that I had escaped the stomach bug that got my two sons and my wife, but last night while I was at Ikea (it's very cool, wish I had had more time) I started feeling nauseated. I managed to make it home, I even helped my friend carry all the furniture he had purchased into the house. But it got progressively worse and last night was not fun. I'm feeling a little bit better now, mostly because I spent the majority of the day sleeping. I did manage to watch my NetFlix movie which I've had checked out for far too long. It was "The Usual Suspects". A very good movie, but since I already knew about the plot twist it wasn't quite as good as it could have been.

Anyway that's all for now, I need to husband my strength...

You pleasant know young, a nuclear reactor is like a woman, you only must read the manual and to tighten the correct bellboys

Friday, October 19, 2007

Chess club

A few weeks ago I mentioned my kids chess club. It was held again this morning. It's actually probably less stressful than it was when I first blogged about it. But this is not to say that all of the annoyance is drained out of the event. As I mentioned this year we've combined two chess clubs. The low-key one I helped out with over the last few years, and the high octane one that has been going on in parallel. Well the high octane group has set up a ladder. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I think it's good that there's a system so that the kids can be playing people close to their own skill level, but the way they've got it set up you can challenge someone up to five rungs above you, and if you beat them then you switch places. If the challenger loses then nothing happens. This means that all the pressure is on the person being challenged. I know that in most ladder's you just drop a place rather than switching places, anyway...

Even though the ladder has only been in place this time and last time there's already someone who's clearly on top. The kid is a 1st grader, and obviously has the gift. I'm not saying he's Bobby Fischer, but he's definitely in a different league from all the other kids.

Most of the continuing annoyance is just the general having to be someplace at a certain time and how that warps everything around it, particularly since Friday is the one day where I have no commitments at the day job, so I'd like to really hit the ground running, but instead I have something else I have to be at first thing in the morning. Initially I told them I could only do it every other week, and I think that if that was still where things were at I'd be okay, but for the month of October the other guy has been busy every single time so I've had to fill in, so perhaps the rest of the year won't be quite as bad... I do enjoy spending time with my children, though I think I would enjoy it more if they were really enjoying themselves, but most of the time I get the feeling that they're only going for me.

There's far too much time to sit around and do nothing, but far too little time to do anything else

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ambivalence and Mania

One of the readers of my blog said that my last post sounded ambivalent, his concern was that I am no longer excited about my new company. I'm not sure if ambivalence is the right word, but I am busy enough that it's hard to let my natural joie de vivre shine through all the time. It's actually kind of paradoxical that I should appear grumpy (though I don't deny it) because the last couple of days I really hit a productive cycle. For instance last night I was up till 1:00 working on the business running mostly on adrenaline. And as is usually the case when I get into these sorts of quasi-manic moods I don't feel particularly tired today.

I don't want to give people the impression that I'm bi-polar, though I think to an extent everyone is a little bit, and to that extent I'm sure I suffer from that condition, perhaps even to a greater extent than average, but certainly not at the level where it would be diagnosable. Of course when you're really feeling the need to work, not being able to is even more disappointing and frustrating, since you're aware of all the things you could be doing if it wasn't for this appointment, or this interruption, or this blog entry...

Short, Sweet and Sassy

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Late nights

Under my current work arrangement I work 9 hours on Monday's and Wednesday's at the "day job". To keep from working to into the evening I try to show up to work early, but the other job often keeps me up pretty late (last night I was up until 1!:30). I think part of my weariness is due to this dichotamy, and much of it is just due to general stress. Of course my big goal for today, which I am powerless to really do anything towards, is to keep any other members of the family from getting sick. The wife seems to be past the worst of it, so that's good.

Last night when I was over at my new office I got a call from my #1 daughter, wondering what to do with the kids now that it was bedtime and my wife was asleep. I told her to wake her up, assuming that she wouldn't mind, and indeed she didn't. In fact she had instructed the #2 daughter to do just that, but at 4 years old the #2 duaghter is still a little bit flighty. I was glad that my daughter felt comfortable calling me. Obviously I don't want constant calls, but I'd far rather have her (and the rest of the kids) err on the side of too much calling rather than too little.

As you can see my life has not gotten dramatically more interesting, but we did, once again, avoid tapping into my rage, so I guess that's something to be grateful for.

I think I'll be a restless, and vaguelly disaffected 30-something for Halloween

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A quick note

I've finally got myself into a position where I can really dig in and get some work done. One of the problems I had last week was that I had something every night. It's tough to really dig into something when you have an artificial stopping point, most work does not easily lend itself to being split into nice definable chunks. Mostly you just have to do it till it's done. Of course even today things are not as straightforward as they might be. Whatever bug got the #1 son, got the #2 son yesterday and appears to have hit the wife as well. Neither appear to have suffered as badly as the #1 son, but full health is always preferable to even the mildest bug.

Well as I said in the title this is a quick note, the quotidian details of my life are too mundane to share, but perhaps tomorrow something exciting will happen. If not I can always tap into my rage... Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Pressure is building

Monday, October 15, 2007


Well it looks like I'm going to lose the reading contest I'm having with my son. He's got about 50 pages left in Fellowship and I'm still have 20 pages to go before finishing Towers. But as I mentioned I'm happy for him to win, the whole point of the contest was to get him to finish the book, so in that sense mission accomplished. And in fact I've done even better than that. He wants to continue reading as well. Obviously it's actually pretty tough to make someone read a book and not have them dislike the book because of that (as many literature teachers discover to their dismay. But of course I don't think he feels like I made him read the book and therein lies my genius. :)

It's also possible that I'm going take my first legitimate loss in Weewar. I say legitimate because I do have one other loss (my record is 14-1-2) it came when in an effort to cheer up some friends I made a game called "Gang up on Ross" it was a three player game on a four player map where my two friends got to split up the resources of the absent fourth player, I was sandwiched between them and they declared a truce. So I ended up with about half the resources of each of them and had to split that half across two fronts to their one. Basically every unit of mine was up against four of thier units. Anyway back to my legitimate loss. This one is on a four player map, and we actually started with four players, though the two who are bedeviling me (the fourth guy surrendered) have gone the entire game up until the last round or so with basically a detente. So if you were to look at the amount of money they've spent on their front with me and the amount they've spent on their front with each other... There's a vast disparity... But I'm not bitter...

If anyone out there want's to invite me to a game my username is LidlessEye (I just changed it, that was the handle I used to use when playing Warcraft II and re-reading Tolkien reminded me of it). Or if you want to be invited let me know and I'll send you an e-mail.

Woman left with 'wind phobia' after hurricane, can no longer eat beans

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Well here I am blogging at the 11th hour again. It's not literally the 11th hour, but since I was kind of thinking I might be in bed by now, it has the same affect. The big news is that I bought a laser. Actually my friend was so desperate for someone to share his laser joy with that he offered to buy it for me and allow me to pay him back on an installment plan. Well obviously I couldn't pass that up, so there you have it. Here's a link to the model of laser we selected. According to the website it will do the following:

  • Beam visible in the night sky (city)
  • Beam visible indoors without smoke/fog (lights on)
  • Pop balloons
  • Melt through thicker plastics (ex. electrical tape)
  • Etch into black leather
  • Ignite matches without collimator optic accessory
  • Ignite cap gun caps

And though the company we bought it from doesn't like to make distance claims, with good visibility it can probably be seen for nearly 100 miles. As you can imagine I'm pretty excited. I've wanted a laser since I was a little boy, so to finally get one that is actually a LASER and not some wimpy little laser pointer is the fulfillment of a very long held dream.

If you have to ask why, you don't understand

Saturday, October 13, 2007

After Action Report

Well the wife and #1 son got back from the emergency room around 3 am last night. They had given him a couple of bags of saline solution through IV, and put some dermabond on the cut on his head. His white cell count was a little elevated, and his EKG had a long QT (I'm not sure what that means), so we're going to take him to the doctor for a follow-up. He's still throwing up today, but he hasn't passed out again, so that's good. We're obviously keeping a close eye on him, but I think the worst has passed.

Other than that not much has happened since I last blogged. Things have been kind of crazy, but I'm hopeful they'll settle down a bit.

It's better to be a pirate than to join the Navy

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hospital Visit

Once again, I almost forgot to blog, but this time I remembered on my own. The wife and I were supposed to go play some games with two other couples, but right before we were going to arrive my wife got a call on her cell phone. Turns out the number one son had thrown-up, and then passed out, falling straight backward and cracking his head pretty hard on the floor of my Mother-in-law's kitchen. So we drove the rest of the way, dropped off the drinks and the games and quickly drove back.

So from there we headed home. The wife then headed to the emergency room, and I'm here with the kids. The emergency room is as much about getting the cut in his head stapled as it is about the throwing up, but it will be good to make sure that both conditions get the attention they deserve. I haven't heard any updates since they left for the emergency room. But I'm sure I'll give you a full update in tomorrow's blog.

Better go check on the kids

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Whew! That was close

Well my wife just asked me if I had blogged today. That was a close one, I just about missed a day. Most of my forgetfulness stems from just being tired and stressed. It really exploded yesterday. Just after lunch I got this horrible headache, at this point I made one of the first of my many mistakes. I took a couple of Excedrin Tension Headache Pills. I think they have as much caffeine as entire 400 acre Brazilian coffee plantation. The pills took the edge off, but by about 8:00 that night I felt like I imagined someone with a hangover feels (I've never actually had a hangover). When my wife got home and told me with exaggerated faux excitement of her 7:00 am call time on Sunday (she's going to be on Music and the Spoken Word) I told her that loud noises hurt my head.

So anyway I went to bed about 10:30 and had arranged it (by getting my wife agree to drive the kids to school) so that I didn't have to wake up until 7:45, so I thought I was set. When I was getting ready for bed I saw a Prilosec tablet still laying on the counter from where I had forgotten it that morning. At that point I took the pill that I had forgotten, but it was too late. On top of that it was kind of hot (not ridiculously so, but it was one more factor). Furthermore I had the hourly chime going off on my watch (I'm trying to train myself to only check my e-mail once an hour), so when I did manage to doze off a little bit it woke me back up. In any case a combination of all these factors kept me up until sometime after 2:00 am (that was when I went back to bed after getting up for a little bit to see if being vertical would help with the heartburn.)

Obviously I was really worried about how today would after having such a horrible night, and it wasn't great, but it wasn't as awful as I feared either. I never get as much done as I want to, but I did get some good stuff done. Anyway, as you can probably guess, I need to get to bed.

Sleep, that's where I'm a viking

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Paint your Wagon

Well we went and saw the stage version of "Paint Your Wagon" last night and it was pretty bad. See growing up we only had to cassette tapes: The "Paint Your Wagon Soundtrack" and "The Greatest Hits of Peter, Paul and Mary". (Would any of my family members like to chime in and confirm or deny that? Those two are all I can remember.) So I know the music from the movie pretty well. As a result I'm not your average audience member, but even my wife, who presumably had a much broader exposure to music while growing up, thought it was a horrible adaptation. (She wrote up a pretty scathing review of her own, perhaps I'll get her permission and post it.)

It would be difficult (in the space and time I have available) to list all the things that were wrong with it. But just to hit a couple of the high points: None of the songs they added were any good. Only one of the songs that appeared both places was as good in the stage version as it was in the movie ("I Talk to the Trees") the rest were poorly performed, and oftentimes shoe-horned into the new plot in a really awkward fashion. Oh, did I mention that there was a completely new plot? To put it in terms of the movie Clint Eastwood was gone, Lee Marvin had a daughter and they introduced an oiled-down latino beefcake to create a romeo and juliet story set against the turbulent storm of immigration reform.

I was ready to leave at the intermission and go get some ice cream, but the other couple we were with seemed to be in to the play somewhat, so we stayed till the end. Which is fine. Obviously I'm glad that whatever venom I choose to direct at the play is based on a full and complete viewing. I would hate to have an asterix next to my review *this review is only based on the first half of the play.

Nine Days and still going strong

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Sometime in the last few weeks the number of to-do lists and notebooks (with notes scribbled in them) and project lists and e-mails, etc. reached a sort of critical mass, that being that there was so many that I could no longer maintain what might be called a "master list" in my head. So I set out to whip things things into shape. It's not that I didn't have an organization system, it's was that that system had lost. In the war between it and chaos, chaos had won (of course chaos does have the 2nd law of thermodynamics on its side, which many people consider an unfair advantage.) So I set out to build a better organization system, I had the tools; I had the technology; I was going to make it better, faster and stronger.

When I set out to revamp my organization system into something better, I invariably succeed, but that's not because the system itself is inherently better, but more because the excitement and energy I experience at the beginning of any new thing is so great that it doesn't really matter what my new system is. However if you're curious I'm using combination of the system described by David Allen in "Getting Things Done" and my own "Habits" system (which I described in an earlier entry (one that was kind of clunky so I'm not going to link to it, but feel free to look it up if you'll die of curiosity otherwise.

The big problem with a new system (particularly one based on GTD) is that you have to gather all your old stuff (that's actually the term Allen uses) and put it into the new system. This results in you spending some of the most productive and energetic time you have on organization rather than doing. Sometimes I feel like this is a necessary compromise and that the increased productivity I experience once all my ducks are in a row will more than make up for the productivity I lost. Other times I think that this whole crisis started because I was falling behind on my projects and by taking a couple of days to whip things into shape I've only made the problem worse. And then of course there's the third voice that tells me I need to assemble all the guns I can lay my hands on and start hitch-hiking to D.C. I guess we'll see which little voice I should have listened to...

Less plotting more working!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Dreamblade Dead

I think the writing was on the wall even before GenCon, but it's finally official, Dreamblade is dead. My own passion for it ebbed and flowed, but that's more a reflection on my peculiar personality than a statement about how good the game was. In fact the game was very good, I would venture to say that it was the best collectible game ever made. Now I know I haven't played all the different collectible games out there, I mean who could? But I can, with certainty, say that it was better than magic.

Of course, as with many things, there is a silver lining. The biggest one being that all I have to do is finish out my Night Fusion set and I'll have a full collection of Dreamblade. It's always nice for a completist like me to be able to have some definable end where they can say they're done. Plus this gives me some available money for the purchase of all the 4E stuff. I've been following it pretty closely and it actually sounds pretty nifty, although there are some things which have caused me to raise an eyebrow or two, but we'll just have to see.

One final bit of news my good friend Wil Upchurch was crowned US Air Hockey champion over the weekend (in both the singles and the doubles competition) after a very intense tournament. I feel more important just knowing him...

Either I'm dead and I haven't done anything that I want, or I'm still alive and there's nothing I want to do

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Three and out

Well I'm definitely done talking about the Cubs now, since they were swept by the Diamondbacks. The way things are going all of the first four series could end up in sweeps. Obviously with the Cubs out my interest has lessened, but I would like to see the Indians win, since they haven't won it all since 1948. Plus how could anyone who's ever seen the movie Major League not have a soft spot for the Indians.

I finally finished watching the second season of Avatar last night. It continues to be really good though I'm starting to wish more of the bad guys would die. In discussing this with my wife we agreed that having the good guys kill the bad guys raises some problems in what is, ostensibly, a cartoon geared at the 6-11 demographic. Of course there's no problem with killing off good guys, so perhaps that's where my frustration stems. Episode 1 of season 3 is available through cable's On Demand, but we weren't quick enough to catch up to where the series is now, and apparently Nickelodeon isn't doing any re-runs (which surprises me) so I guess we'll still have to rely on DVD's. Fortunately the first disk of Season 3 comes out at the end of the month.

Other than that it's a pretty lazy Sunday. It's an off week (a Sunday we aren't going to my parents house in Ogden) and a conference weekend on top of that. I'm guessing I won't even shower. I'm spending the time trying to lend some sense of organization to my life, things have kind of gotten out of hand. I'm not entirely sure if that sort of thing is what would generally be considered permissible on the Sabbath, but it feels appropriate.

Weekends don't count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A post on Saturday! Will the madness never end?

I can see I've lost some of my regular readers with my focus on the Cubs being in the play-offs. I will say no more, save to point you at this article which elaborates my feelings on the subject far more elaborately then I ever good. Before I leave the subject forever (or at least until something else really newsworthy happens) allow me to whet your appetite with a few choice quote from the article.

The Cubs must go down. It must be gruesome, painful and tragic. They must, like Icarus and his wax wings, come tantalizingly close, and then, like Wile E. Coyote and his ubiquitous anvil, plummet to the canyon floor.

Losing the Red Sox to, well, winning, was painful. While their fans rightfully celebrated and danced and poured across the borders of Red Sox Nation like East Germans following the Wall's collapse, the rest of us felt frightened, saddened, abandoned.

A championship banner would only drive up the sale price, resulting in faceless, corporate owners so lacking in humanity that it would make the Tribune Company seem like volunteers at a homeless shelter.

In other news there isn't much. I have a bunch of programming to do for the new company and I'm finding that I'm a little rusty, plus I'm dealing with a very customized environment but I'm starting to get into the swing of things and it's actually getting to the point where it's enjoyable. Also WeeWar pushed out a major update on Thursday and it turned out to be pretty buggy so they had to take the whole system down to fix things. I'm going through a little bit of withdrawal, but it's probably good for me.

I'm at Helm's Deep my son is at the Council of Elrond

Friday, October 05, 2007

Test successful (sort of)

So last night I didn't watch the Cubs get beat, in fact I didn't even know they had been beat until five minutes ago when I finally went over to ESPN to check. I did, think about the game a couple of times last night, but if I'm really that powerful then there's no stopping me. So my contention would be that me watching a game has no impact on the outcome, at least as far as the Cubs are concerned. Though as Ed will tell you we have not ruled out the Jazz. I know I said that I didn't really want them to go all the way this year, but I did want them to acquit themselves a little better than this, of course they are headed back home so there's still a chance they'll make it exciting.

In other news I'm volunteering this year for the chess club at my kids elementary. I've done it for the last two years, and generally it's been reasonably enjoyable, but this year it's nothing but stress. There was another bigger more competitive club at a nearby elementary, but that went away so all the competitive kids with their competitive mothers are now showing up to our chess club. This by itself wouldn't be so bad except that they want to remake our club in the image of the other club. So we started a lot earlier in the year, we meet every week (rather than every other week), there's three times as many kids, they want to do t-shirts and have dues, and the list goes on. The guy who has always been in charge of our chess club has put up a valiant fight, but I think that ultimately we're out-gunned.

Being sort of self-employed now I only work half a day and I get to choose which 12 hours it is

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Once more into the breach

Well I watched most of the playoff game yesterday and as Ed might have predicted the Cubs lost. Despite my earlier... pessimism... I did want them to win, and it was a pretty close game. Oh well. There's another game tomorrow. I'm trying to decide if I should not watch this one, and test the theory. I may not have a choice, I'm not sure when it's on and I plan on being over at the office till fairly late into the evening. So we'll see.

I may just watch more avatar. Season two arrived in the mail on Monday so we've been working through that. It really is an awesome show. I think it has gotten a little more silly in the second season, which I have mixed feelings about (i.e. generally it's pretty funny, but I would hate to see it overwhelm things). But so far my fears have not been realized, the episode I just watched was a very serious look into the history of the main antagonist in the show and was excellent. Anyway as I've said before I definitely recommend it. If you're local to me I'm happy to lend it to you.

Anyway I have miles to go before I sleep so I better wrap it up here.

I wasn't alive from 1909-1970 so it's not all me

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Two days in a row!

For those who doubted my resolution yesterday, of blogging every day for a month well who's laughing now? Two days in a row! Of course part of the problem of blogging late one night and then the next morning is that not a lot has happened in that time. However I am saved, for now, by the fact that, as many of you have pointed out I haven't blogged that regularly in a long time so I have a bunch of stuff saved up. Not enough to last for 31 days I imagine, but enough that I should be able to get through today at least without any problems.

Let's start off by talking about the Cubs. Well as you may or may not have heard the Cubs have made it into the playoffs. As usual hope springs eternal, but they have the very worst regular season record of any of the teams who made it into the playoffs so I'd have to give them an even worse chance than the 1 in 8 a team defaults to (which are not great odds to begin with). This is fine with me, I know all the die-hard fans will hate me for saying this but I'd rather they didn't win it all this year. It's too close to the Red Sox and the White Sox breaking their long droughts. If the Cubs do it now it will be kind of a "so what? everyone is doing it." I think my ideal situation is if they come really close and then something horrible happens (within the context of the game I'm not talking about people dying or anything) then the myth would just increase.

Yes, I'm something of a contrarian

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A lazy no good slacker

Well lots of people have been bugging me recently about the lack of blogging. And to those people all I can say is please don't hate me... I'll do better. In fact I am hereby declaring as my goal that I will blog every day for a month, even on the weekends. It would have been nice if I had started yesterday, then things would appear neat and tidy, but instead it will have to go from the 2nd of October to the 1st of November. Oh well months are relatively artificial constructs anyway...

I have been pretty busy, I know that's not really an excuse, but I'll toss it out there anyway like meat to the dogs, merely hoping that it will keep you busy enough to not dig too deeply into things... If you did dig more deeply you might uncover a little turn-based browser strategy game called weewar. It's quite fun, and ostensibly I can play only when I need a break, since it's turn-based and I can go up to three days without making a move before they kick me off. In practice, it's a little more time consuming than that. Part of the appeal is that I haven't lost yet. (Check out this game, I'm red.) Actually if you check out my profile you'll see a single draw but I agreed to that to be charitable because I felt like that map was unfair to the other player. (Of course by the time you look at my profile I could have all kinds of losses.)

Other than that, things proceed. My 30 hour a week schedule is pretty nice, but also somewhat hectic. I mean it's not like 10 hours is really that much time, and in some respects I feel like I do just as much for the day job as I always did. That's not really true, but I do feel like I'm torn between two lovers.

Feeling like a fool