Friday, July 29, 2011

Screen Time Screen Saver Factory

When I started my current job five years ago, I inherited a pile of instruction manuals and reams of odd documentation. I threw away more than half of it, but then stored the rest in a file cabinet "just in case". I've never opened that file cabinet.

I decided to start going through that cabinet again. The very first thing I pulled out was this:


A screen saver instruction manual. Even better, it's got little bookmark tabs in it! Somebody *studied* this thing! I knew I was in for a treat even before I opened it.

And then I opened it. Check out the Serial Number...


If you don't know what those first four letters stand for, please do not Google them. It's safer that way.


System requirements go all the way back to Windows 3.1! Aw yeah. And it's highlighted! I imagine some previous developer carrying this thing around in his pocket, ready to jump at a moment's notice to *just* the right page. It was his personal printed version of Wikipedia.


And he had such nice handwriting, too.


At this point I'm starting to wish he'd used a different highlighter color. "Pea Soup Green"... mmmm. Yummy. Pardon me while I go 'urp' in a corner...

So, my "clean out the drawer" project is off to a roaring success. I've moved exactly one item, and I dare not throw it away.

Maybe I should just leave the drawer alone for a while. Again.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Super" Bad Math

On a game show last week, the host asked his contestants, "How many letters are in the word, 'supercalifragilisticexpialidocious'?"

If you say it loud enough...
I had roughly two seconds to come up with my guess. I blurted out, "35!". The correct answer is 34, so I was pretty happy.

"How did you do that?", my wife asked.

"Well, I said the word in my head and came up with 8 syllables. I figured there were about 6 letters in each syllable, and 8 times 6 is 35."

We basked in my genius for a minute. Then, my wife turned her head sideways a bit and said, "Wait... 8 times 6... is?..."

"Thirty-five," I confirmed. Then I blinked. "Uh. Wait. Not 35. Uh. Hm. Well. Uh..."

There was a long moment of silence. Then, my wife said, "Are you sure there are 8 syllables?"

"Of course," I scoffed. I began to count them out on my hand. "Sue. Per. Cal. Ee. Fra. Gil. Is. Tic.... Uh..."

‎(x + a)² =
x² + 2ax + a²
Turns out there are 14 syllables in the word.

"Well done," my wife said. While grinning.

"Look, I still got the question right!"

"You were off by one," she pointed out.


It's not easy being me.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Incremental Moron Password

I was showing OoRah how I reset user passwords. "That's pretty much it," I explained. "Now you have to email the user and let them know."

"What about folks who forget their password more than once?"

"It's tough," I said, "But I can usually find a way to notify them without using the word 'idiot'."

"Ah." OoRah pondered this. "So you use 'moron' instead, right?"

"Tempting, but generally no."

OoRah made a beautiful suggestion. "You should note all the people who do this more than once. "Your password is 1moron", then "Your password is 2moron", and so on."

It was really hard to keep from shouting "YEAH BABY!" at the top of my lungs. Instead, between gasping laughs, I said "Don't put ideas like that in my head! I'll *do* it! It's your fault!"

OoRah seemed OK with this possibility. "You can call it 'The Incremental Moron Password'."

It was clear that a pinacle had been achieved. "Well," I decided, "I will at least make a blog post about this and use that title."

OoRah was overjoyed. "YEAH BABY!"

I think we're both more than a little insane. Send help.

Friday, July 22, 2011


On my random day off last week I had a checkup with the doctor who diagnosed my hip problems (I'm doing fine, thanks for asking).

The next day when I went into work, the Golfer asked me how the doctor's visit went. "Well," I said, "The doctor actually recommended that I take *today* off also, but I am FAR too dedicated and loyal to even consider such a thing!"

The Golfer nearly fell over laughing. I guess the rumors of my dedication and loyalty leave a little something to be desired.

This is a short post, so I'll leave you with a bonus pic from OoRah.

Can you outrun the fox?

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I'll Meet You In The Bathroom

Hello boys and girls! Are you ready to pound out some code?
At work, I am usually one of the last to arrive every morning. My habit is to wander through the department past everybody's desk and say "hi".

"Good morning, LadyPatsFan."
"Hi, M16."
"Sorry to see you again, Big Dawg."

And so on.

One morning I wandered through, and the Golfer wasn't at his desk. There was a likely explanation, and as luck would have it I needed to use those facilities myself.

I opened up the bathroom door and shouted, "Good morning, Golfer!"

There were four guys in the bathroom. None of them were the Golfer.

Now those guys think they are heros of the workplace for preventing an illicit bathroom rendezvous.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Harry Potter And The Unruly Crowds Of Fandom

I had a random day off last Thursday, so my wife and I went to the movies. We saw Transformers 3, which was quite good.

Dos Equis? Don't mind if I do!
There is no chin behind Hagrid's beard... only another fist
I'll let you make your own 'magic wand' jokes here
Dance, little man! DANCE!
Thursday was also the day before the opening midnight showings of the last Harry Potter movie. We knew it would be nutty around there, we just didn't think it would start so early in the day.

When we left the theater at 6:40, there were already people camping out in the lobby, waiting to claim their spot for the midnight shows. Not just teenage girls, either. I saw kids, adults, grandparents... it was pretty amazing.

"We're smart to wait a week or two before we see that one," I commented. A little girl who was dressed like Professor McGonagall glared at me, hard.

"Can you imagine how insane this crowd is going to be?", I asked.

A kid with a Hagrid beard and several pillows stuffed under his shirt confronted me. "Are you saying we're insane?", he demanded.

"Is this a trick question?"

Another kid with a black cloak stood up and shook his wand at me, fire in his eyes. "Avada kedavra!!!", he roared. The Hagrid kid took the opportunity to kick my shins.

It was clear we wouldn't escape without a distraction. I pointed toward the far theater and shouted. "Equus!"

There was a stampede.

We eventually got out, although I now have multiple lightning-shaped scars.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Police Blotter

... in the name of love
Disco fever
TPS Cover Sheet? What's this for?...
I eat lawbreakers!
The police have an interesting job. Sometimes they deal with very dangerous people. Sometimes they deal with donut shops. And sometimes they deal with very, *very* stupid people.

The following all came from the same police report. In other words, these all happened in the same week.

Was it a full moon last week?

Stranger! Stranger! (mamma said don't talk to strangers)

4:48 p.m. — [address omitted] Caller said strange people were knocking on her door. Advised that the “strange people” were, in fact, the police. Handled.

Flashy (bright lights, big city)

2:25 a.m. — [address omitted] Officers responded to report of vehicle with flashing lights. It was Cox Communications. Handled.

Rx Litter (also, there's a lot of dirt and rocks down there)

8:44 p.m. [address omitted] Officers responded to complaint of pills on the ground. Handled. They appear to be vitamins. Given to medics for disposal.

Cruisin' (just what the doctor ordered)

5:07 p.m. [address omitted] Complaint of driver of truck allegedly drinking beer while driving. Officers went on-scene. The drink was a Dr. Pepper. Handled.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Being Awesome

Sometimes we Programmers end up working on the same files. This is fine as long as we all communicate with each other... otherwise we over-write each other and things get confusing.

I had to edit a file that I knew Big Dawg was also working on. I sent an email to the group, saying "I have made a change to [file]," and a few other technical details.

Obviously, this disrupted Big Dawg's work a bit. He gave me a short, slightly-annoyed reply:

Hate! :)
> I have made a change to [file]...

I was feeling punchy, so I replied to his email.

I'd take the time to mock your distress publicly, but I'm too busy being friggin' awesome over here. :)
> Hate! :)
> >
> > I have made a change to [file]...

Then things got hurtful.

I'll let that pass since I know how much effort it takes for you to be awesome. :P
> I'd take the time to mock your distress publicly, but I'm too busy being friggin' awesome over here. :)
> >
> > Hate! :)
> > >
> > > I have made a change to [file]...

I might have continued the exchange, but there was no point. Big Dawg could hear me laughing from over in his cubical, so he knew he'd won.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lady Slipper

So, last week I mentioned the "Iron Man" gel I'm using to help my tricky hip get better.

One of the ingredients is "natural botanical extract..." of something called "Lady Slipper".

I didn't bother to look it up, I just made a quick joke and moved on.

The day that blog post went up, I got an email from OoRah. It had no subject line and no text, just the picture you see over on the right.

I puzzled briefly over why OoRah would send me flowers. Then I thought, "Gee, those even look like..." and it hit me. Lady Slipper! Well played, OoRah.

I wandered over to his desk. "Did you get my email?", he asked. He had a manic grin and was cackling as he said it.

"Yeah, that was good." I stayed vague... OoRah's desk is near many other desks, and sometimes good comedy can come from keeping the eavesdroppers guessing.

"Just making sure you know that I didn't send you flowers for no reason."

I could almost feel the eyebrows raising around us. Excellent. It was time to raise my voice slightly.

"Yeah, I know why you sent me flowers, and yes, I will go out with you."

From the other side of the cubical wall, M16 said "GAH!"

There were multiple crashing noises. M16 was convulsing in his chair, and OoRah was laughing so hard he nearly fell out of his.

Well done, OoRah. Oh, and is Tuesday night at 9 good for you? :)

Friday, July 08, 2011

Thank You. Have A Great Weekend. Be Careful!

Life is full of dangers, frail one! Live in fear!
Scruffy and I went out to lunch last week. While standing in line, the guy in front of me was talking to the lady behind the counter.

"Thank you," he said as she handed over his soup. "Have a great weekend," he sincerely continued. Then, his eyes bugged out in the weirdest, fiercest show of concern I've ever seen. "Be careful!"

I figured there was more to the conversation that I simply hadn't heard. Maybe the soup lady was going lava-diving at Mount Etna with a rabid fox and some poisonous scorpions. It could happen.

Zeus hid something here for me, I think...
Anyway, we worked our way through the line and up to the cash register. The lady there ran his credit card and handed it back. "Thank you," he said to her. "Have a great weekend." Again, his eyes bugged out in horrified concern. "Be careful!"

I was beginning to sense a pattern.

The cash register lady smiled kindly at him, and then stopped him before he could walk away. "Oh, sorry, there was a problem with your card. Can I see that again, please?"

He handed over his card again. She pushed a few buttons and handed it back to him. "Sorry about that," she apologized.

I'm afraid of fear itself!
"Thank you," was his reply. "Have a great weekend. Be careful!"

I swear I am not making that up. He gave his entire "thank you" reply, including the bug-eyed cautionary plea, TWICE to the same lady.

Scruffy and I finished lunch before he did. I considered telling him to have a great weekend as I walked by, but I was afraid he might freak out.

Gotta be careful, you know.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Hip Update

My tricky hip is getting better, thanks a combination of powerful meds, ice, stretching exercises and miracle gel.

I do feel a weird about one of the stretches, though.

I don't know why this stretch has to be done in my underwear, but it's given me a great idea for a "Photoshop Jeff"... too bad my wife hid the camera.

Then there's the miracle gel.

This is my connection with greatness. Real men use stuff like this after hard workouts, or huge physical accomplishments. The smell alone is enough to clear your sinuses. A thin layer is all I need for my entire leg to go blissfully numb. Every time I open the tube, rugged bearded mountain climbers come by to ask if I wanna go out and play.

Surely, such a powerful product must be made of titanium, whiskey, and the crushed dreams of lesser men, right? Let's see...

Oh. Hm. "Lady Slipper"? Really?

I have new-found respect for lady's footwear.

Finally, since my lame injuries seem to be increasing in frequency, P-Ziddy has issued the following prediction about my condition in the near future.

I should be horrified, but I'm kinda looking forward to having auto-tune permanently installed on my voice.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy 4th of July, 2011!

Today is a non-blog day. Enjoy the holiday! Try not to melt.

Happy 4th!

That is all.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Personal Space

We like crowds. Crowds make us happy. Hooray.
At work, a group of us were talking about crowds. M16 expressed a dislike of big crowds because it's impossible to move your arms around without slapping somebody.

Personally, I find it hard to believe that M16 doesn't like slapping people. Maybe I'm just projecting my own hobbies onto him. Oh well.

In any case, there was general agreement. After all, "personal space" is a normal thing for most people. Even so, I made a note.

None shall refract
Later that day, our newest employee (a gent who I'll call "Monty") had a light bulb go out over his desk. Naturally, this led to a debate about the merits of light over nerd cubicles.

"I like the lights on," I said. Monty agreed; he got the maintenance guys to come down and swap out his light. "I like the lights on," said SpanFan, "but not too bright."

"I like it dark," said M16. "Your cubical is too dark!", insisted SpanFan. "Naw, it's perfect." "I can't see my hand in front of my face in your cubical!"

I saw my opening. I walked briskly toward M16. He started backing up in his chair, eyes wide. I walked right into his cubical, right up to his chair, practically in his lap. Then I jumped back.

Personal Space Violation! Backpedal! Backpedal!
"Oh! Sorry, it was too dark. I didn't see you there."

The expected laughter was nice, but I knew I could do better with a nice callback to an earlier moment. "The best part," I informed everyone, "was seeing the look on his face as I invaded his personal space."

One of these days, he's gonna hit me.