Monday, March 31, 2008

Go Diego, Go!

Yesterday, we traveled to my sister's house to celebrate my youngest nephew's second birthday! Can you say, "Chaos?" I knew you could. :)

I promise, in real life this boy has facial featuresFor me, the very best part of the whole evening happened early on. I was out in my sister's front yard, and little Nephew saw me and came running. He jumped into my arms without hesitation and gave me the best little hug he could manage.

Uncle Jeff needed a minute before he was able to speak clearly again. It was a special moment. :)

One of nephew's mostest favoritest gifts was a big battery-operated jeep. Nobody's ankles were safe. He had no idea how to steer the thing and no clue why it sometimes went in reverse instead of forward. But everybody was watchin' him doing whatever it was he was doing, so he was happy.

Vamos, Diego! Esto es INS!I was desperately amused by the logo on the hood of his little jeep. By now we're all used to seeing Spanish translations on many of the products we buy, usually in small print under the big English words. This was the first time I'd seen Spanish so prominently displayed on a children's toy... check out the pic to see what I mean.

Dig it!I also got to show off my Vibe to my oldest nephew and my niece. It was classic... we walked out into the yard toward my car. Nephew shouted out, "I bet it's RED!" We got up close to the car, and both kids shouted, "Yay! It's RED!" Then they turned and ran back to the house. I had my keys in my hand and everything... but all that mattered to them was the color. I should have guessed.

Happy Birthday, little Nephew! I had a grand time celebrating it with you.

Friday, March 28, 2008


I was pretty amused by this headline:

Fighting with spouse can be good for your health

For many couples, spats are a necessary evil, something to endure or avoid (for the sake of the kids!). But new research at the University of Michigan shows that hashing out marital disagreements is actually good for your health.

Lemmie tell ya something...It made me think of Lightyear and the stories he likes to tell about his relationship with his wife. To hear him tell it, they've been fighting for years, usually over something he said. For example:

"My *next* wife will be submissive!"

I printed out the article and waited for Lightyear to stop by. When he did, I handed it to him and said, "You'll love this."

Enjoy my wisdom!Lightyear took the page with some skepticism. He read the headline and instantly broke into a wide grin. "I've been sayin' this for years!", he drawled.

Consider those to be the words of a true SME (Subject Matter Expert).


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Best "Out of Office" Email Reply Messages

From an email I got recently...

Your message is not very important to me...1. I am currently out of the office at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position. Please be prepared for my mood.

2. You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of the office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn't have received anything at all.

3. Sorry to have missed you, but I'm at the doctor's having my brain and heart removed so I can be promoted to our management team.

4. I will be unable to delete all the emails you send me until I return from vacation. Please be patient, and your mail will be deleted in the order it was received.

5. Thank you for your email. Your credit card has been charged $5.99 for the first 10 words and $1.99 for each additional word in your message.

When was the last time you rebooted, P-Ziddy?6. The email server is unable to verify your server connection. Your message has not been delivered. Please restart your computer and try sending again. (The beauty of this is that when you return, you can see who did this over and over and over....)

7. Thank you for your message, which has been added to a queuing system. You are currently in 352nd place, and can expect to receive a reply in approximately 19 weeks.

8. Hi, I'm thinking about what you've just sent me. Please wait by your PC for my response.

9. I've run away to join a different circus.

10. I will be out of the office for the next two weeks for medical reasons. When I return, please refer to me as 'Lucille' instead of Peter.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Book Of Psuedo-Celeb

There is no treasure!Monday, as I was walking to my car after work I walked right past a guy who was a dead ringer for John Voight.

I honestly did a double-take. This was no casual resemblance. It was like the Sammy Davis Jr. incident, where it took me a minute to realize I actually *wasn't* looking at the real deal.

In fact, I was so surprised, I almost walked right into him. That would have been awkward.


History of sightings:
John Ratzenberger.
John Belushi.
Charlie Chaplin.
Sammy Davis Jr.
Sherlock Holmes.
Carol O'Conner.
Charles Barkley.
Al Sharpton, Hurley (again), Santa.
  Drew Barrymore, John Cleese, Richard Simmons, Amanda Plummer, Jack Black.
Rainn Wilson.
Cousin Itt, Corpse Bride.
Samuel L. Jackson, Dick Cheney.
Emma Thompson.
Selma Blair, Wolf Blitzer.
Michelle Ryan
Dr. Phil McGraw.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Beverage Spill

A green bouncy-ball, a golf ball, and a marbleLate last week, there was an incident. It involved one of my office toys.

You can see them in the pic on the right. I put some round "objects" (balls of various types) there in the base of my monitor. Big Dawg is a big fan of them. When he walks by my desk, he almost always grabs the green bouncy object and bounces it a few times. He describes this habit as a "near-autistic need."

Late Friday, he once again grabbed the green object and bounced it a few times. Then he sat down near my desk to chat. He bounced the object again, and things went wrong. The bouncy object jumped up onto my desk, and knocked over a full, tall styrofoam cup of hot tea.

Very full. Very hot.The hot cuppa spilled all over my desk, keyboard, and right knee. The object bounced happily along, its quest for destruction fulfilled.

The janitorial crew was called, the keyboard dried out. My knee stayed damp all afternoon, but the crisis was averted. At the conclusion, I walked over to Big Dawg. "Are you ready for this?" I asked. I got a blank stare from Big Dawg. "You know this is coming." Again, I got a confused look. So I took a deep breath and said;

"You are no longer allowed to play with my [objects]."

It was quite a moment. :)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter House-Guest

Happy Easter!Obviously, this past weekend was Easter. My wife's best buddy Kat wanted to go to church with us on Sunday, so we invited her to stay with us for the whole weekend.

I like Kat a great deal, because she's such a good friend to my wife. She's welcome at our place anytime. We did have one smallish hurdle to overcome this time, however.

My boss went away on a long weekend trip to visit family. I was gonna be on call. My computers are all in the guest room, where Kat was going to stay. So, it was possible (unlikely, but possible) for me to get a call in the dead of night. Then, I'd have to fire up a computer, with Kat in the guest bed just a few feet away.

I am unrelated to this story. But I'm cute.When informed of this, Kat merrily said, "Oh, it's OK... if you get a call in the middle of the night, just come in and do what you have to do... it won't bother me!"

My wife and I both said, "Riiiiiiiigggghht."

Thankfully, my IT department had a loaner laptop with a wide screen and a wireless connection. Problem solved. And naturally, since I was prepared for a call to happen, there was no call.

Now there's a new problem. I've always wanted a laptop with a wireless network interface, but I've never been willing to spend the extra cash on it. See, there's this house thing we've been savin' up for that's about to pay off... :)

Tempting...Now, I want it more than ever. *sigh* It doesn't take long to get spoiled by toys like that.

Maybe for my birthday this year... since the house will finally be a reality...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Lawnmower Man

This should help me trim the carpet down a bitI now have a lawn mower in a box, in the middle of my living room. It's sitting more or less under some folding tables. There was no other place to put it.

Hey, it could have been even more out-of-place. The original plan was to sit it up on its side in the second bathtub. However, the box is too tall. Plus, there's a "this side up" thinger that I am compelled to obey.

Why would an apartment-dweller like myself buy a lawn mower?


House! (click for more pics!)

Spielberg's letting me borrow one of his for the day!3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage. Fenced backyard. Our closing date is a little more than a month away. The previous owners are the sweetest people. Our realtor has bent over backwards to make this work. Our parents have always loved and supported us. Our co-stars were so fantastic! The director really understands this genre. You like me! You really like me!

I hope I don't stub a toe on that lawn mower.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I was passing through the break room recently, and walked past two of my I.T. cohorts (Network Admin and Desktop Support Guru, although I will call them "Mac" and "Daddy" to protect the guilty). They were deep in conversation.

How Are You Gentlemen!!"Hello gentlemen," I said happily as I approached. Then I stopped in my tracks and stared at Mac. "... and... well,... Mac."

It took them a second to catch on to the joke. Then Mac and Daddy both nearly fell over laughing.

Mac, bless him, has a great sense of humor. As I continued on my way he said, "Thank you for that distinction. It is well-earned!"

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Two-Alarm Night

A couple of nights ago, my wife and I settled in for a long winter's nap. Or something. It was later than normal.

It took a while to drift off to sleep that night. I'm not sure why. I just know I was really only starting to sleep deeply when

I love my job!BEEP!!!

Gah! My wife sat upright in bed like a shot. It took a little longer to wake me up, by which time we'd heard the beep a few more times. One of our smoke detectors was whining about a low battery.

1:30 in the morning, and we're standing up on chairs replacing a battery in a smoke detector. I was overjoyed. I used lots of adjectives to describe the smoke detector. I'll let you use your imagination.

Sleep did not return easily, but it did return. I was having a very relaxing dream about

I have lost my capacity for loveBEEP!!!

Gah! What?!? Again?

My wife prowled around the apartment and discovered that we did have another smoke detector with a low battery. It was 4 AM.

There are only 4 smoke detectors in the entire apartment! Two of them went BEEP!!! in the same night, within a few hours of each other.

There were more adjectives.

From now on I'm sleeping with a hammer next to the bed. Just in case one of the other two detectors decides to cry "wolf" in the night.

This is gonna hurt you more than it hurts meTechnology, I will rule thee.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Bridge Is Out

My bridge is out. :(

The Boulder Street bridge is between the office where I work, and the lot where I park. I've walked across that bridge every day for the past two years.

No more!

With this bridge out of service, I have to walk an extra block east, then south across a different bridge, then a block west again. Most annoying.

I did some poking around late last week and made an important discovery. There's an entrance to the BOK towers over on the north side. Suddenly, my walk to and from work is interesting... I can cross the un-condemned bridge, go into the BOK towers, and then use their walkways and pedestrian overpasses to cross two full city blocks before I have to step outside again.

All I have to do is some minor trespassing. Yeah. That'll be fun.

Maybe I could just break through that chain-link fence with some bolt cutters instead...

At any rate, here's a fun video for you on the theme of "Bad Bridges". You have to give this guy credit for persistence...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Antagonizing My Wife

NOTE: I try not to get political on this blog, because that's a can of worms I just don't wanna open. However, for these jokes to work, you simply have to be aware of the Eliot Spitzer scandal. If you don't know what's going on there, just click the link and read the first three paragraphs.

OK, ready? Here we go...

I have a mission for you...Lightyear stopped by our office to chat last Friday. He pointed a finger at me and announced, "Jeff, I have a job for you this weekend."

I had a feeling I knew where this was going. "You're going to tell me to antagonize my wife again, aren't you?"

Lightyear had a huge grin on his face as he continued. "You look her in the eyes and say, 'Babe, I got bad news for you. I'm Client Number 10.' "

This is not a joke. You can actually buy Client #9 shirts from Cafe Press.I looked up at him. "Lightyear, there's no way I'm gonna do that."

"Why not? Are you too afraid of your wife to pick on her a little bit?"

"First of all," I replied, "yes, I am. Secondly, if I'm gonna make up a story like that, I'm sure not gonna go for number 10. I'd be Client Number 1!"

Lightyear laughed. Then he proceeded to tell me all the horrible things his wife would do to him if he were to pull such a prank. I'd bet anything he tried it anyway.

awww....For the record, the *real* reason I wouldn't pull this prank on my wife is that I love her. And because I hate using somebody else's joke. ;)


Friday, March 14, 2008

Baby Do's And Don'ts

A friend sent me a link to this outstanding site. The full list has many more items than what I'm reposting here, be sure to click over to it for maximum hilarity!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I was really tired yesterday. "Spring Forward" is partially to blame, but mostly it's allergies. I didn't sleep well the night before.

My body was actively refusing my commands. Even things like raising my arms seemed like a lot of effort. And then I got up to go to lunch.

It's comforting to know I'm not the only one who has trouble with doors.I walked toward the door. No problem. I raised my arms to push the door open. No problem. I tried to push the door open. My arms folded up like rice paper. I walked face-first into the door.

Thankfully, the only "witness" was the security guard, who was engrossed in a game of Solitaire.

Since this is a short post, I'll give you a little extra. In addition to the dancing, this video features people walking into things. I can relate.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Water Heater

My wife and I were wandering through Lowe's the other day. We walked past the Water Heaters. We didn't think much of it, we just noted a couple of prices and then moved on.

A few aisles later, we heard the store's intercom click on. A lady's voice announced, "Code 3 at the Water Heaters. Code 3 at the Water Heaters. [click]"

We chuckled a little, since we had just been there. We continued to wander. A minute passed, and then we heard the intercom system again. This time it was a male voice saying, "Customer needs assistance at the Water Heaters. Customer needs assistance at the Water Heaters. [click]"

We saw several employees who were paying absolutely no attention to the announcements. Another minute passed as we wandered along. The lady's voice came back: "Code 3 at the Water Heaters. Code 3 at the Water Heaters. [click]"

This time, only 30 seconds passed before we heard the PA system click on yet again. It was the male voice again, and this time it was very stern. "Water heaters! [click]"

We left the store at speed. Our crazed laughter was starting to become a public nuisance. :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Let's get festive!Yesterday, I decided to try something I hadn't ever done before. I declared my own holiday. I wrote it up in an email and invited people to come celebrate with me. I sent it out to every person in my department, and one of the departments that I work closely with. I also sent it to a couple of former employees who still work nearby.

My message said:

I'm declaring a semi-holiday today. It's "Jeff-forgot-his-lunch" Monday. It's gonna be big... I can feel it.

I hadn't actually forgotten my lunch... it just sounded better this way ("It's Jeff-feels-like-seeing-how-many-people-will-blindly-obey-him Monday!"). I named a restaurant and a time.

Nobody showed up.

To be fair, I did get no less than 5 emails in reply from folks saying, "Oh, I wish I could, but today I...".

Ooo La-La?Even so, it seems obvious that I work with a bunch of filthy heretics. Oh well... next time I'll have to throw in some dancing girls and see how much interest that draws.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Eat Mor ChikinWe visited my in-laws over the weekend. It was FIL's (Father-In-Law's) birthday. He wanted Fried Chicken for lunch, so that's what he got. They made a pile of mashed potatoes and gravy to go along with it. Lunch was huge and wonderful.

Later, he was opening his presents. He and MIL are going on a cruise to Hawaii soon, and he decided that he needed a new "fragrance" (*not* cologne) for the excursion. He found a sample of something he liked in a magazine, so they ordered it online and made it one of his presents.

When he opened up the package, he discovered it was in a spray bottle. "Let's make sure I can cover this up if I don't like it... It should smell *just* *like* *Hawaii*!!!"

With that joyous proclamation made, he promptly lifted his shirt.

Oh! The horror!Words... fail me. Let's just say that this is a fairly over-weight 61-year old, and your imagination can fill in the gaps.

Anyway, he spritzed some of the fragrance on his surprising acreage. "Oh, that's nice," he purred. He began to lightly rub it in with the hand that wasn't holding his shirt up.

"Can I smell that?" said my wife's SIL (Sister-In-Law). She was honestly interested in the scent, but she got ... more than that.

FIL jumped up and waddled over to where SIL was laying on a couch. With the shirt still held high, he leaned over her so that she could smell his chest.

There were... dangling bits. I shall carry this image with me in my nightmares for quite some time.

BIL (Brother-In-Law... can you keep up with all these acronyms?) was laying on the other couch, nearly weeping with laughter. After all, it's not every day you see your dad give your wife a free peep show. FIL decided that BIL needed to experience some of the joy, too. He waddled over to that couch for an encore.

Sand and gravy!"What do you think of the scent? Just like Hawaii, right?", shouted FIL, laughing.

BIL wiped the tears out of his eyes and replied, "Mmmmm... smells like sand and gravy!"

I've marked Hawaii off my list of vacation destinations. It seemed like the right thing to do.

Friday, March 07, 2008


The Chrysler BuildingMy wife and I found these "Doodles" things at a store last weekend. They are wire frame models of things. Most of them are famous structures like the Chrysler Building, Big Ben, and the Empire State Building.

They did have a few that were symbols. I saw one that was an exclamation point. I was amused by one in the shape of a dollar sign. And when I picked it up, I was *desperately* amused by the one on the shelf behind it.

Dazed and Confused

It was very tempting to pick one of those up for my desk at work. Of course, as amusing as it would be, I'd hate to project the idea that I'm always confused or befuddled.

Those of you who want to point out that I *am* always confused or befuddled can just step away from your keyboards right now. Yeah, I'm talkin' to you, P-Ziddy. I see you there, with that smirk. Bad 'Zid! No biscuit.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Poor Dude

Bear with me on this one... there's a Jeff-Dyslexic moment comin' up, and it's debatable whether the payoff is worth it or not. :)

Makin' a list... checkin' it twice...I was building a web page yesterday that features a list of items. One of the requirements of this page is that my users must be able to remove items from this list.

So, I added a little checkbox for each line item. If you check the box, the item is removed. It looked something this:

exclude this item?

This was too wide, however. I needed a really narrow option. This just looked too goofy:


Plus, it was still too wide. I was having to deal with a *really* narrow space. What if I just use "exclude", and I hyphenate?


Dude!And here's where it gets fun. I took one look at this, and my poor little mind pushed that "c" and "l" together. I read it as a "d". Or, in other words, "ex-dude".

"Whoops! No, this one's a lady now, better check the little box..."

Ah, I *told* you the payoff was small on this one. :) Thanks for stickin' with me.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


He's got a case of the MondaysTuesday was a far better day than Monday. :) I knew it had to be. I was determined... Monday I felt like I got kicked in sensitive places, so I decided Tuesday was *my* day to be the aggressor. It seemed to work.

First thing when I walked in the door, I erased everything on my whiteboard. I didn't even take off my jacket first. Then, in the middle of the board I wrote:


I! Am! Winner!It got some attention. I got congratulated by a co-worker who thought I'd won some kind of contest. But the best was from Captain Silver Lining, who walked by and said, "No, *I* win today!" (I gotta say, I like that attitude). So I told him, "It's OK. We can both win." He said, "Really?" I replied, "Sure... you're not my competition." Then I winked.

On a side note, one cool benefit of my cassette to MP3 project is that I sometimes discover little treasures. Like this... I had a copy of a song called "The Ballad of Irving", by Frank Gallop. The audio and video quality are a bit raw, but hey... this is a song from 1966. It gets better as it goes along.

And no, I have no idea what's up with the rabbit and bear suits. :)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


[whimper]Yesterday was a hard day. Reasons include (but are not limited to):

- A poor night's sleep.
- A co-worker who chews loudly.
- Extra money spent on a parking garage when the weather did not get as nasty as fast as they said it would.
- A potent "Reverse King Midas" touch in my code - everything I worked on turned to poo-poo.
- A fairly serious error in my code that was discovered by a customer.
- For a variety of reasons, a house that my wife and I had fallen in love with is not going to work out.

There's a lot more than this, but most of it shouldn't be written in a public forum. :) Suffice to say, if my nerves are shot badly enough that somebody's chewing is bothering me... well, that's pretty significant.

munch munch munch...In fact, the chewing thing is really the only humorous high point of the day. I wrote in a message to my wife, ...

"I want to tell him, 'Your mastication has imprinted itself upon my nightmares for years to come. Please stop before insanity starts to influence my actions.'"

So I got knocked down pretty hard yesterday. Today, I get back up again. Watch out. :)

Monday, March 03, 2008

You're A Great Crowd... Don't Forget To Tip Your Waitress...

Tasty!It was lunchtime in my office. I had been eating at my desk, and was nearly done. All that was left were 3 Cheetos Puffs.

Big Dawg walked by my desk right as the cleaning crew came in to empty trash buckets and whatnot. Big Dawg pointed at the meager remains of my lunch and said, "Ah ha! I always knew you were three Cheetos to the full stomach."

The cleaning lady emptied my trash.

She wiped down my desk.

Ha! I laugh!Almost a full minute passed, and then I said, "OH!!! HA!, that was a joke!"

The cleaning lady visibly suppressed a mighty snork of joy. Big Dawd glare-grinned at me. 15 seconds passed.

"Oh! That was a comeback!"

These are the jokes, folksI looked over the cleaning lady. "Big Dawg could make a living as a professional comedian if he keeps repeating my jokes."

The cleaning lady lost it. Big Dawg didn't have a good comeback.

That, my friends, is how you win a conversation. :)