Monday, April 30, 2012

Project Raptor

So, I'm on a project that (for various long-winded reasons) has been jokingly referred to as "Project Raptor".

I couldn't resist. I made a logo for us. Check it out...

I love that the raptor is clearly pouncing. And yet, if you tilt your head a bit and squint, he's spreading his arms like a rapper shouting, "WaSSUP!, Yo!"

I think we should have t-shirts made. Big Dawg and the Golfer are not quite as convinced.

What do you think?

Friday, April 27, 2012


So, last week I showed you my un-assembled Starfury model from 15 years ago.

I actually worked on it a bit last weekend! As promised, I have no idea what I'm doing. Also as promised, pictures. First, a pic from the back of the box...

This shows the 4 versions of Starfury I can build. I'm going with "Black Omega", in part because the paint job will be easier. Also, because I wanna be Alfred Bester when I grow up.

Anyway, here's the stuff that was in the box.

I started with P-Ziddy's expert advice, which was: "Don't twist the pieces off, cut them off. Leave your fingers attached." I was really hoping that at least some of the pieces would snap together and the amount of gluing I'd have to do would be minimal, but...

Holy buckets. I miss Snap-Tight. What the heck am I doing?

Even with my complete lack of skills and foresight and common sense, I still managed some progress. No cut fingers! No glued fingers! Only mild hallucinations from the glue fumes! Check it out...

This represents a good two and a half hours of work. Note the page number on the right. "2". That's right. I'm on step 2.

It may not seem like much, but I let this thing sit in the box for 15 years before I even started.

I'm gonna try to get to step three before I die.

Wish me luck!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Just Say No To Hot Dogs And Dancing

My wife and I have been attending a Bible study on Wednesdays. It's a very intelligent, insightful group... but often hilarity will jump in and take over everything. It's wonderful.

I'm disgusting!
Last week there was a rambling discussion about food. I'll skip ahead to the part where...

Baalam's Donkey: "I used to eat an entire package of hot dogs as a snack. I'd slice them down the middle and fry them flat, then cover them with mustard and mayo."

There was general amused disgust, but not as bad as when a lady in the group confessed:

Lady: "I used to peel off the outer skin like it was a banana, and eat the rest raw."

After the dry heaves, there was a somewhat rambling discussion about gluttony. Suddenly, our reformed Catholic spoke up.

... not as I do.
Reformed Catholic: "So here's the Catholic question... do the Seven Deadly Sins figure in with Baptists at all?"

Pastor: "More than you might think, but most Baptist preachers don't like to talk about gluttony." He patted his rail-thin stomach and smiled. "I am not the norm."

Jeff: "We take gluttony off the list and replace it with dancing."

There was laughter. Another guy in the group spoke up...

Guy: "Reminds me of an old joke. Baptists don't approve of sex before marriage, because it might lead to dancing."

After the second round of laughter, there were a couple of stories shared along those lines. Friends of friends who didn't have dancing at their wedding, that sort of thing. Suddenly it dawned on our reformed Catholic that these stories were not exaggerations.

I do what I can, baby
Reformed Catholic: "Wait... seriously? Dancing? That's a thing?"

Somebody Else: "Well, not *us*, but there are still lots of Baptists who refuse to dance."

Reformed Catholic: "I thought Kevin Bacon took care of all of this back in the 80's."

No lie, folks. I haven't laughed that hard in years.

That Kevin Bacon line brought actual tears to my eyes. Wow. I don't even remember what happened for the next two minutes or so.

I may try to work in lines of "Footloose" dialog to the conversation tonight, and see if anybody notices.

If you ask me, Ren is a total fox!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Farewell, Spanfan

Last week we said goodbye to Spanfan. She was one of our BEST.

During all the heart-felt "goodbye" stuffs, Cowboy spewed out an especially cheesy line. "When they make a 'Mount Rushmore' of Programmers, SpanFan will be on it."

I was trying to think of something our department could do for her before she left. Something a little beyond simply taking her out to lunch. Then, it hit me... she's got a five-year-old son who makes little stick-figure drawings for her all the time. She's got some posted on her desk, and others on her Facebook wall.

I emailed my idea out to the department. *We* should all make goofy little drawings for her! LadyPatsFan even volunteered to bind them into a yarn book for her.

Of course, for *my* stick figure drawing, I went back to Cowboy's cheesy statement. I created:

The Mount Rushmore of Programmers. SpanFan, Bill Gates, Gandhi, and Gandalf.

The funniest part was when I showed the drawing to my buddy Scruffy. His hyper-analytic mind broke when he saw Gandalf on there. "Gandolf wasn't a programmer!", he complained. "And Gandhi was?", I countered.

I also love that my Gandhi looks so much like Groucho Marx. It's silly, but it makes me happy.

Farewell, Spanfan! We miss you!


"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas I'll never know."
― Groucho Marx

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I don't have much for you this week, so I thought I'd show you my project for the next few... eh... well, I'd probably better not commit to a timeline. :)

It's a Starfury model:

For those not in the know, Starfuries are the little fighter spaceships from the TV show "Babylon 5". I actually bought this model at a Star Trek convention more than 10 years ago. It's just been sitting in a drawer, waiting to be loved.

I haven't put together a model since I was a kid. The only models I even did then were puny little "Snap-Tight" things.

So basically I have no idea what I'm doing. Wish me luck! I'm sure I'll super-glue a few fingers together before it's all over.

I'll share pics if I actually do crack this thing open. Yes, even of the fingers.

Blog Note: I won't have a post again this Friday. Go outside and play, instead.


Monday, April 16, 2012


My little nephew (almost 6!) is turning into a bit of a shark. Check this out...

He keeps a little bowl in Grandma's pantry. He calls it his "cash register". Every time my mom goes in there to get something, he charges her for it.

"Grandma, those beans are 50 cents." Grandma pays for the beans (that she already bought once already) and he puts the money in his "cash register". He's turning into quite the little capitalist. Trump would be proud.

So, a couple of weeks ago he announced that a book fair was coming to his school. "I got two books picked out," he said. The books were 4 dollars each, but all Grandma had to give him was a $20. "I don't want to give you this," she explained, "I'll need to make change for you first,..." She didn't get any further before Nephew got annoyed. "I'll get it from my cash register," he huffed.

He got out 8 bucks and went to school.

Later, Grandma asked him about his day. "What books did you get?" He proudly showed off 1 book. "I thought you got two?"

Nephew held up an eraser that was molded into the shape of an iPhone. "I got this instead!", he proudly announced. "Now I can talk to my friends, play games... I can even Twitter."

Grandma was skeptical about his claims, but decided to let that part slide. "How much did it cost?"

Nephew's eyes went wide. "Uh... I don't remember." "Oh really?", asked a doubtful Grandma. "Did you get any change back?" Nephew had yet to blink. "I don't remember."

It appears that our little businessman was skimming off the top a bit there.

Trump would be... proud?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Witch's Day Off

I'm trying something different today. Generally my writing is only *mostly* fictional. Today I give you a 100% fictional short story that was inspired by a wierd conversation I had with V.


Witch's Day Off

It was a dark and stormy night.

No, seriously. This wasn't your average torrential rain. It was like someone took an ocean and turned it upside down.

Of course, even rain like this wasn't really a problem. The witch's broom could still fly... or swim, if it came to that.

The lightning was a bit of a concern. The sky was lit up like a Tesla Coil. Still, it made a nice backdrop for evil deeds, so the witch didn't mind too much. Direct strikes still tended to sting, but her cloak and hat were non-conductive.

The big problem was the hail. Massive lumps of ice were coming down from the heavens like rocket-propelled grapefruit. The witch would probably be reduced to mulch before she even hit the ground. They'd never find her broomstick.

The witch sighed. "I guess I'll have to take a sick day."

She called the main office. "Yes, I know I was supposed to bring vengeance to the villagers tonight... Yes, I know Kathy is on maternity leave... Have you seen what it's doing out there?..."

Eventually she hung up. And then pondered... what does a witch do on a rainy day off?

She peeled off most of her "Lee Press-On Warts" and took a hot soaking bath.

She put on a comfy soft lavender frilly robe and bunny slippers.

She put on some soft classical music and stretched out on the sofa.

She sipped a cup of tea and watched a "Dukes of Hazard" marathon.

She called her mother.

And when the hail finally started to let up, she scheduled a contractor to come out and inspect her roof.

When the last of the hail had fallen and the lightning wasn't quite so dizzying, the witch grinned. She twisted on her hat and pulled her cloak out of the dryer. "Hm, that really does smell 'Springtime Fresh'," she commented. "Well... not for long!"

Cackling happily, she hopped on her broom and swooshed off toward the nearby village.

The day off was nice. Now it was time to earn a little overtime.

Monday, April 09, 2012

My Newest Superpower!

Gonna get ya!
So, at work the other day I picked up my computer mouse to move it. Somehow it flipped over and the little laser thingy caught my glasses just right and blinded me. BRIGHT LIGHT! BRIGHT LIGHT! I nearly fell over.

Depth Perception? Pshaw. Who needs it, am I right?

Anyway, as is standard policy in these cases, I notified P-Ziddy. These opportunities to mock me are not to be wasted.

"Maybe the radiation gave you a new superpower," he suggested. Then, he offered up a name. "I am Slightly More Radiated Than You Are Man!"

I considered the acronym. SMRT YAM! "I love it," I replied. "It fits on a license plate. I even feel moderately mighty."

P-Ziddy continued the train of thought. "I don't so much have Heat Vision as I do Stink Eye."

Glorious. "My new superpower is... Quantum Stink Eye!" After all, everything's better if it's quantum.

P-Ziddy agreed. "Beware my Double Click Action, evil doers!"

"Throw in Kung Foo Grip, and I'm all in."

V, as usual, saw things in a slightly different light. "People will yell for you across crowded stores, 'Hey Yam Man!', and give you free Yams," she cautioned. "And because we know your nature, you will feel obligated to eat the yams rather than throw them away."

I yam what I yam
"If you eat too many yams, your skin will turn orange. Then one day, while out doing some small task of home improvement involving aluminum foil, you will fall from a ladder, roll yourself in foil and bake in the summer sun."

I actually think I like the mental picture that's forming here. Sun-baked Jeff in a heroic crouch, giving the quantum stink eye, fist of kung-foo grip raised.

Creatures of the night, step lightly! Your doom approaches!

I... am... SMRT YAM!

Friday, April 06, 2012

Later In Life

From the email archive... "Why some people have issues later in life"


(Actually, I think this one is kinda awesome)

(Granted, this one is prolly fake...)


Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Dirt Return

My wife planted some Spring flowers in front of our house. Very pretty stuff.

When she was done, she had one whole bag of "Miracle Gro" dirt left over. The stuff is 8 bucks a bag, so she wasn't going to just toss in the yard anywhere. We prefer not to store bags of dirt in our garage long-term. She had other errands to run anyway. An idea began to form.

She called Lowe's. "Can I return this bag of dirt?"

The customer service lady stuttered. "Uh, I think so," she said. "Is it defective somehow?"

My wife hung up and hit the road. When she arrived at Lowe's, there was a different lady at the service desk.

"Can I return this bag of dirt?" "What?!?"

My wife explained, "It was expensive and I got too much of it." The service lady was stunned. "I don't think we've ever had anybody return dirt before."

"I don't mind being the first. Can I have my eight dollars back?"

The customer service lady was still struggling to understand what was happening. "I don't know where to put it. We don't have a refurbished dirt aisle. I'll have to call a manager."

A nearby customer overheard part of the exchange. "Are you returning dirt?", he asked. My wife glared at him, defiant. "Yes." The man paused for a long moment, confused. "Did it have bugs in it?" My wife drew back her hand and shouted, "I'll bug you!" The customer ran away, whimpering.

She eventually got her 8 bucks back, but the manager made her pose for a cell-phone picture standing next to the dirt ("I'll tell my grandkids about this one day!").

Totally worth it.

Monday, April 02, 2012

That Thing With The Stuff

Not an actual pic... just a "demo" demo pic
At work, there's an old hotel that's being demolished two blocks away. I can see it from my office window. Several times a day OoRah, Monty, Big Dawg and I will gather and just stare at the big crane pulling down pieces of building.

Any day now, I expect OoRah to run away and try to join the crew. He practically drools while watching. "Ooh!", and "Yes!" noises are common.

So, recently some (office) work came up that involved me deleting some old databases. It's only data, right? I've been working with Monty on this one and I have to say... destroying old data structures isn't as much fun as pulling down that old hotel looks to be. But it *is* still pretty sweet.

I sent an email to Monty that said:

This is kinda fun. Not quite as fun as "Dude with a giant metal crane/hand thing pulling down a building", but it has its moments.

Monty seemed to enjoy that. He replied:

So if I ever want to look for a job working outside .... I know what that one is called.

Best. Toy. EVER.
You are having too much fun. Its kinda like when the parents notice, "Hey the kids have been too quiet for too long. I wonder what they're up to?" And then they find them with the bag of flour poured out all over the kitchen floor.

I could let that one go by un-commented. My reply:

How did you know about...?

Never mind. Got a mop?

I don't know how he knew. Spooky.