Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy last day of long weekend to you!

Happy Memorial Day!

That is all.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Crystal And Jeff

So, I'm no great Photoshop artist. This we know. But I am a fan of Crystal Bowersox.

I'd like to think she's a fan of mine, too.

Her hair is an unholy pain for a novice to crop out of a picture, you know? It was a lot easier last year with Allison.

Ah, well. A dork can dream. :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Friend Request

Ah, the internet age.

My wife and I were across the street, talking to a neighbor ("Wax-Man"). He's a nice fellow, but all the times we've ever talked to him we've learned nothing about him except that he likes to wax his cars.

Then he mentioned having a Facebook account.

"Really?", we perked up. "What's your last name? We'll 'friend' you!"

kabuki man is sadWax-Man's Facebook wall was a bit of a revelation. We found out his job, his college, his extended family, the mileage on his cars, his shoe size, his pizza phobia, his love of kabuki theater, he used to be a horse, and he's had a runny nose since 1989. He owns stock in Kleenex. He owns a pair of Jimmy Carter's underwear. He holds a patent on the word Zberfimax, and is patiently waiting for a pharmaceutical company to come along and make him rich.

He's comfortable telling the internet these things, but not his neighbors. At least, not verbally. Verbal communication is dead.

In fact, in less than a week of being Facebook friends, we've had more conversations with him than we have in the past two years.

By the way, if any of you are interested in using "Zberfimax Pro" as a product name, let me know. I hold a patent on it now.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Fire Alarm Testing

Yeah, this is gonna hurtSo, we got new fire alarms n' such in our office back in January.

Last week, they tested those alarms.

It was memorable. Some of the units didn't work, so they had to re-test. Some of the units that worked at first broke along the way, so there were more re-tests. It wound up lasting two days.

Every time the buzzers sounded, the one right by my head worked like a champ. I have absolute confidence that in the event of a real fire, I will instantly be reduced to a nauseated dizzy jibbering drooling cursing puddle of nerd. Then I will burn.

This is a lifeline?Amazingly, it was worse in the stairwell. Obviously that's a confined area, but I really think the buzzer was louder. It was nearly enough to liquefy my bowels. I have to imagine that in a real emergency, the bodies would pile up pretty quickly from all the folks who slip or get knocked over by violent sound waves.

By the end of the first day, I would jump and cry every time my phone rang.

The second day, SWoAN went up to the forklift / heavy machinery floor and got us all some industrial-strength earplugs. Those things were awesome. I worked in a cone of silence for hours at a time. Of course, every time I took them out the alarms would sound. Just my luck.

The nice part was that while the earplugs were in, I couldn't hear my phone. I'm going to leave them in.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Windex, Graphs

Really Silly Friday Joke About Windex

If you ever get the sudden URGE to run around naked, You should sniff some Windex first.

It'll keep you from streaking.

I warned you it was a silly joke. :)

Modern Life Explained In Graphs, Part 3

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dog Pack, Graphs

Dog Pack Attacks Gator In Florida

At times nature can be cruel, but there is also a raw beauty, and even a certain justice manifested within that cruelty.

The alligator, one of the oldest and ultimate predators, normally considered the "apex predator", can still fall victim to implemented 'team work' strategy, made possible due to the tight knit social structure and "survival of the pack mentality" bred into the canines.

See the remarkable photograph below courtesy of Nature Magazine.

Note that the Alpha dog has a muzzle hold on the gator preventing it from breathing, while another dog has a hold on the tail to keep it from thrashing. The third dog attacks the soft underbelly of the gator.

Not for the squeamish

Modern Life Explained In Graphs, Part 2

Monday, May 17, 2010

Elephant, Graphs

So, nothing happened last week. Nothing blog-worthy, funny-ha-ha sort of thing, anyway. Maybe I was just a fuddy-duddy all week, who knows. In any case, here's some stuff from my email archive. :)

The Happiest Elephant

There is no reason for this other than to make you grin on a Monday.

Modern Life Explained In Graphs, Part 1

The size of these graphs will help me create the illusion of content this week. :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Some Instant Message conversations I've had recently:


Jeff: So I just wrote out a couple of methods in code. 20+ lines or so each. Not crazy stuff.
Jeff: I run the web app. Error on line 1.
Jeff: I fix the error, run it again. Error on line 2.
Jeff: Then, error on line 3.
I actually nightmare'd about this little guy when I was a kidJeff: The pattern held for a distressingly long time.
Jeff: I have just gotten to the end of the method with apparent success.
Jeff: I feel like a climbed a mountain.
iCanSpell: Oh! Like that mountain climbing yodeling guy on the Price is Right!
Jeff: Exactly.
Jeff: Thin, nerdy, and eventually falls off.


Jeff: As I was walking in to work, there was a little bit of rain and many high winds.
Jeff: My umbrella turned inside out.
P-Ziddy: Awesome!
Jeff: That exact moment, somebody walking the other direction pointed and laughed.
Mockery made simpleJeff: And I thought, "Am I in a Simpsons cartoon?"
Jeff: "G'morning Nelson." "HA HA!"
P-Ziddy: And once more, the blog writes itself
Jeff: Quite so.
P-Ziddy: No creativity on your part is required
Jeff: There ya go.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Painter

We needed to paint our house. We were actually planning to do the work ourselves, but then we both remembered how much malignant joy P-Ziddy gets when he hears the words "Jeff" and "Ladder" in the same sentence. We got some estimates.

I get paid in salty high-fat snacksOne painter really impressed us with his low bid. He's a huge overweight middle-aged redneck for the ages. He misspelled "Professional" on his paperwork with the estimate. I knew he was the one.

In the days between "estimate" and "job", he came out to give another estimate to a neighbor of ours. The husband I'll call "Wax-Man" because he waxes his cars every couple of weeks. I'll call his wife "PrettyLady" because I have no idea what else to call her :).

Painter showed up for their estimate wearing shorts and cowboy boots. PrettyLady (who never goes outdoors) pointed at him though a window in open horror. "What is this thing you've hired?!?", she wailed. "It's not a man!"

When he showed up to paint our house he was wearing white coveralls and and a white shirt. He quickly got to work and did an excellent job. He also started losing buttons from the sides of his coveralls almost immediately.

This could get uglyHe stepped in our front entryway briefly to touch up a spot he missed on the door. When he bent over he gave my wife a show. It shouldn't be possible to have plumber's crack when you're wearing overalls, but he managed it somehow.

As he moved on to another area my wife leaned over to me. "He has blue underwear," she whispered, horrified. "I shouldn't know that!"

Through it all, Painter was just as cheerful and casual as could be. I don't know if he realized he was flashing the neighborhood when he climbed that ladder, but I'm sure he wouldn't have cared.

When he finished he waddled away, happy as could be. As he drove away my wife told me, "I don't believe him when he says he doesn't drink anymore."

I would highly recommend this Painter. No nonsense, quick work, good price and one heck of an interesting show.

AfterBeforePlus, as you can see, a coat of paint from this huge good ol' boy makes a big difference.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day With Birthday Ribbon

There's not much to say about this one, so I decided to make it into a super-short Tuesday extra.

My wife handed me a package and said, "Wrap this while I go to the store."

So, what do you get when you give a Mother's Day gift to an idiot and ask him to wrap it?


I'm not in charge of wrapping gifts anymore.

Monday, May 10, 2010

MSDN Event

The technical presentation is kinda dull, but the next group to take the stage is Pearl Jam!Last Tuesday afternoon there was an "MSDN Event" that our office attended. Microsoft was showing off new versions of several of their programming tools. If the words "Nerd Conference" just went through your head, then you're not far off.

As a lifelong nerd, obviously I thought it was great. :) Here's a few of the amusing bits that happened along the way.

We had lunch at Fuddruckers before the event started. My order was called out by a heavily-accented guy who christened me, "Yeff".

SWoaN mentioned that her toddler son (who I've met) thinks my name is Fred. I told her, "Well, it beats 'Yeff'."

Hello. My name is 'Yeff', but you can call me 'Fred'They were out of 1/2 pound burgers, but offered to give me a 2/3 pounder for the same price. Gee, twist my arm guys. I figured I'd leave some of it behind since even a 1/2 pounder is a bit big for me. Then I ate the whole thing anyway. It was 2 hours into the conference before I could comfortably bend at the waist.

Of course, I'm a scrawny overeater and I have several large friends. This always leads to comments about my metabolism. I said, "I've still got the metabolism of a stress-addicted over-caffeinated 18-year old." I thought there was enough exaggeration in that statement to get a laugh. There wasn't. Everybody just nodded in agreement. Big Dawg got the laughs when he added, "... on speed."

It's a Jeff-Portrait mugAs with most MSDN events, there was some free swag at the front door. I got a free shirt and a pen. But the best freebie was this mug from P-Ziddy. He said he saw it and knew that I needed it. Random gift from da 'Zid! Whoo-hoo! I love this mug!

Some gems from the presentation itself:

"Code tends to go bad"... When the presenter said this, I thought about how a car loses 30% of its value once you drive it off the lot. I'm like a used-code salesman. Makes me feel good about my career choice.

The presenter was talking about test procedures, and said that he thinks of his testers as "Bug Hunters". I leaned over to P-Ziddy and Metacow and said, "Are you hearing this in a Steve Irwin accent right now?" They both laughed and said yes.

You know you want me, BabyThe presenter also mentioned, "I met the guy who tests Notepad. It's one guy." Whoa! I want that job!

One of his slides mentioned something called "Baked-In Best Practices". As far as I could tell, he never actually explained what that meant. It gave me a vague notion of potatoes.

Our slogans are sacredHe also hit us with a modified Full Metal Jacket quip. "This is our app... there are others like it, but this one is ours." OoRah took offense when the presenter said the quote came from a movie. "But... they got it from us!"

The presentation concluded with him showing us a new Windows Phone... Microsoft's iPhone competitor that comes out (I think) later this year. He told us, "I've been using it for two weeks now, and I really like it."

OoRah leaned over to me. "He gets paid to like it."

True. I make my living as a Microsoft guy, but it was hard not to notice how most of the crowd spent their breaks comparing iPhone apps.

Friday, May 07, 2010

I Dreamed A Dream

I had a freakin' weird dream the other night.

Your touch is like the cold finger of deathIt started with me holding a cat. Kitty wasn't happy about being held, so he arched his back and tried to push away. Then, it was like what mama's everywhere say to their kids... "Don't make a face, it might freeze that way." The cat froze. I turned him sideways and cuddled my little half-moon shaped arch of kitty fury.

Then, my parents arrived in Dad's truck. The truck was loaded down with furniture. Dad parked it in my cavernous garage... there was room for at least 6 cars in there, and he parked as far away from the door as possible.

I miss my footstoolSomehow, a day passed without us unloading anything. Mom insisted that we unload her footstool. Dad and I started the long trek across the garage to his truck but somehow wound up outside instead.

"Where's Grandma and Grandpa?", I asked. "On one of their road trips," Mom replied. "They'll be back in a few days." Dad looked over his shoulder. "They're home early," he said, and then jumped out of the way to avoid being run over. Grandpa fearlessly drove his truck up into the yard and through my fence on his way to the back yard.

They weren't especially fierce monsters, honestly"I'll go help him," I said. Grandpa was in his truck in my backyard. There was a wide creek just beyond my back fence, and the neighbor on the other side was known to have monsters in his yard. Grandpa was trying to back his truck across a small bridge that went over the creek.

I climbed onto the front of his truck. Grandpa said, "Let me know if I'm about to hit anything," and then he floored it. He hit everything. He destroyed a swingset, crushed a lawn mower and knocked over my forklift. I have no idea why I had a forklift in my backyard.

Forklift did not deserve such treatmentI waved my arms and screamed, but Grandpa couldn't hear me. He backed the truck halfway onto the little bridge and knocked over part of the fence. The neighbor's monsters looked up and grinned.

Dad appeared in the backyard and started yelling. "Pop, why'd you do that? Slow down and listen!" Grandpa still couldn't hear what was being said and kept shouting, "HUH?!?". Mom appeared with the rigamortis cat and started asking about her footstool again.

Yeah, you knew I was gonna go thereThe monsters started to climb what was left of the fence. We paused to watch. The monsters were all mostly man-shaped with evil grins and weird eyebrows.

I woke up.

OK, time for some dream analysis. What the heck did all of this mean???

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


I see how ya'll are. Keeping secrets from me and such. Karma's gonna get ya, in the form of an overly large close-up that you'll regret.

Don't complain. I cropped out the nostrils.

I caught of glimpse of this in a bathroom mirror and was stunned. That one overachieving eyelash looks like it's trying to meet up with my hairline, doesn't it? It's like the majestic giraffe; all the others are napping ferrets.

So, how come none of you have ever mentioned this to me? Heck, the way it's protruding, I could take out somebody *else's* eye with that thing.

Nip it!As Barney Fife would say, "My whole body is a weapon." You don't wanna know how dangerous my back hair could be.

I guess I should applaud the effort. You don't see any of the other eyelashes reaching for the stars, do you? Lazy bums. They'll never achieve anything.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Emergency Preparedness

I think I just stepped on a trailer parkAt P-Ziddy's office, they had an emergency preparedness drill. The tornado alert went up and everybody was herded down to an old vault that no one knows the combination to ("Hooray, we survived the apocalypse, but now we're trapped in a vault!").

Shortly after the drill, the following email went out:

Subject: Shelter-On-Site Needs

Please let us know if you have any special needs that we should consider in our shelter-on-site planning.

Examples of such needs would be difficulty standing for extended periods of time (which may require a chair) or diabetes (which may require special emergency food storage).


Minutes later, one of P-Ziddy's more direct superiors sent him the following private reply:

I like to make sure my emergency preparedness has a head on it
Subject: FW: Shelter-On-Site Needs

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT list beer as a "special emergency food storage."

It's like they *know* him.

Although, as Big Dawg pointed out, if they *really* knew him they'd already be checking the Shelter-On-Site area for active brewing kegs.