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TMBG

I've been a They Might Be Giants [?] fan for years: some of my fondest memories from High School are ramming around with my best friend with 'Flood' on tape cranked up to ungodly volumes singing along at the top of my lungs. Lincoln and Apollo were great too. Sure, Factory Showroom blew, but recently on a whim I bought 'Then' and finally heard their first real album. All I can say is 'wow'. I've listened to it like 30 times in the last couple weeks (Its disc 2 in my car's CD changer, and its the current album running in xmms). Its simply amazing. My life has been pretty stressful for the last few weeks (with the server move, new code, and assorted business related responsibilities) and this album came along at the right time. Energy. Insight. And those catchy melodies. God what an amazing album. I think I'll go listen to it again.
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I Hate When That Happens

So this is a great way to wreck your day: You're sitting in your office hacking away (it seems that holiday weekends are really the only time to get anything done) and the phone rings. A mans voice on the other picks up and says "May I speak with Rob Malda". I tell him that's who's talking and he says that he needs my address, I ask him 'What' and he says "You're being served with papers and I guess I have what I need." And then hangs up the phone. Suddenly my heart stops beating. I'm gonna get sued. So I call the number that showed up on the caller ID. After a lengthy delay a different voice answers and when I ask, he was mowing his lawn.

So I'm being sued by someone, but I don't know over "what". And their lawyer's caller ID lies. This is not a good day. Remind me never to work on a holiday.

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One of those days

Yesterday I went kneeboarding. This morning I woke up with every muscle and bone hurting. Plus I woke up with an INBOX full of angry email about a few DoS trollers in a discussion. So I set out to fix it. Unfortunately it took longer than I had expected so I had to cancel my plans with my gf today. I'm really bummed now. Now I'm trapped in my house on a holiday weekend, without the gf, trying to debug code made necessary because of some little prick decided to make a pain of himself on my website. Plus all my bones hurt. This sucks.
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Paper Paper Everywhere

So over the last few years I've noticed a distinct increase in the amount of paper required in my life. Originally it was pretty easy: just a credit card bill and a few receipts and some paystubs each month. Then the student loans started piling up. Then I started renting a house. Getting Insurance. Getting Jobs. The net result was a folder (labeled 1998) that could make god cry. It truly was a glorious achievement (and one that took Kurt days to sort through when my taxes got all screwed up by certain anonymous cretin)

1999 was looking to be even better: with the end of school, I now have student loan payments, crap from E*Trade, more insurance, Older family members wills, jobs with benefits, a few credit cards... and suddenly its august and the '1999' folder is twice as big as 1998 was at the end of its lifespan.

What this means is of course the dreaded "F" word: Filing. I've divided up my gigantic folder "1999" into a dozen nicely labeled folders with titles like "Checking Account" and "Credit Cards" and "Inusurance". For those who know me, this isn't that surprising: I'm fairly anal, but I think that my rats nest of personal documents was kinda my hold-out against the grown-up world.

I'm 23 now, and now my documents are pretty well organized. In fact, I'm considering moving them into a safe: Hemos's house burned down once: I know what a hassle losing all your shit can be. But the now I have this box that pretty much contains the paper trail of my existance in a dozen green hanging file folders.

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Save/Die/Reload/Repeat

So what do you do when the odds are insurmountable? You save, try something, probably die, reload, and then try again. What video games need to compete with that is the ability for the computer to do the same thing. So you're cruising along, doing pretty well, and then suddenly a message pops up and warns you that the computer has restored from a saved game: You go back a few turns to when the computer was at an advantage. It seems only fair when we use it as a strategic decision that the computer gets to also. Jeff says "I'd be a great general if I had a save button".
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Holy Shit! I'm not Y2K Compliant!

I've just discovered that I'm actually not Y2k compliant. Come the turn of the year, I will be stricken with fear. I will sit huddled in the corner screaching about all of these things that are new and strange to my primitive 19th century mind. Cars, Planes, Indoor Plumbing, The Super Bowl, The Internet, E-Mail, Women's Lib, Space Exploration, Television, Genetically Engineered Dinosaurs that run amock and kill everyone but the children on an island run by a mad man, Perl, Fast Food, Drive in Movie Theaters, Elvis Presley, The Spice Girls, The Beatles, Backmasking, Uninteruptable Power Supplies, Civ:CTP, Star Wars, Those Zero G pens that are supposed to work in space, chicken McNuggets, the assembly line, "Made in Taiwan", Simon and/or Garfunkle, The World Wide Web, hackers, crackers, slackers, Howard Stern, Indiana Jones, Citizen Kane, Psycho, Austin Powers, South Park, Disneyland, Disneyworld, Disney Inc. World War I and its less popular sequel: II, Ghostbusters and its less popular sequel: II, George Bush and his less popular sequel "Moron". The shock will likely kill me. I'm gonna have to seek out therapy, and fast because the days are ticking.
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State of the Taco

Why is it that my personal value as a human being is always tied 100% to the status of my server. Since last week the box has been cranky (a blown power supply, resulted in the harddrive being happily moved to a machine with 128 megs less RAM, which means the whole thing is just sluggish as hell today. And suddenly I feel like shit. I feel tired unhealthy, and burnt out. A few weeks ago, I was on top of the world: the machine was stable, kicking out 640,000 pages in one day, and performing snappy for everyone. And I was cheerful. Its really strange that a chunk of steel and silicon 3 time zones away defines my mood.
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Damn Rugrats

We live in a sort of cul de sac of duplexes. We have 3 of the 8 (and actually CowboyNeal is moving into another one that will hopefully be in range of the wireless LAN). But it turns out that there are small children living on the opposite side of the dead end. Several of them. A herd, or a gaggle, or whatever term you use to refer to a clump of the little monsters.

When I walk out of my front door to go to the office, they are there yelling "Bang Bang Bang" and pointing invisible guns at me. We rushed them once, and now they've taken to playing ding-dong-digit every 5 minutes, and pressing their faces against the window on the front door every 10 minutes. Its a little bit disturbing. I think they're just jealous because we have more legos then they do.

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x10 Foo

So like so many Slashdot readers, I got one of those x10 starter kits that allow remote controlling your lights. Who knew that this was addictive? Since installing the starter kit, I learned that magnavox makes clones of the lamp modules. So I bought a motion detector, a pack of those, and an x10 capable light switch. Now my bathroom detects when I enter and turns the lights on (this is great because I'm almost blind without my glasses, and the morons who designed the duplex decided that a light switch isn't necessary anywhere near the door between my room and the bathroom) plus my Lava Lamps are now controllable via remote controls.

The next step is of course computer access. Maybe a gnome panel applet. Or a CGI application (Control-Taco's-Lava-Lamps.com?). It's really all down hill from here. I mean, they sell security cameras. My receiver has a spare RCA video input just waiting. Soon I'll never need to leave my couch- I'll just sit in all my paranoid splendor in complete control of my environment eating corn chips [?] , drinking beer [?] and hacking perl [?] . Probably ought to wait until I get better bandwidth than 56k before I go ahead and donate my legs to science.

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Who Wins?

Ya ever who wins out in the commercial wars? Well this time around, it actually is The Who. Or maybe just Pete (aka God). I've noticed that both Gateway 2000 and Dell have recently begun airing television commercials featuring background music by The Who. There's a small part of me that is offended (How could ya do it Pete?) But then again, I love knowing that Pete's getting huge royalty checks and buying Yachts or something. He's earned it. Wish he'd release some new stuff.
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Damn the Physical

As always, its the physical things that cause the problems. Sunday morning I arose to discover my laptop off. This was a bit surprising- especially when I booted it and discovered many fsck problems. This afternoon it turned itself off while I was working. Surprising considering it was plugged in.

So I swap batteries with nates laptop (haha! The sucker is still on his June Term in India!) and things work. But its not for another hour that I realize that the reason is that I sat my recliner down and sliced through my power cable. I got scared and dropped it as sparks hot out of the exposed metal. Apparently it was shorting out through the support structure of our sofa. Kinda creapy.

Anyway its always the physical that gets me down. Grr. Good thing Nate doesn't get back for a few days...

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Theater Rivalry

This angers me: Holland has 2 theaters: The "Holland 7" and the "Star Holland". The Hollad 7 is older with extremely uncomfortable chairs. The service at the candy stand is slow. The video games are terrible. Most of the theaters have crappy sound systems. And its dirty. The Star is bigger, has larger screens, more comfortable seats, and while the arcade isn't much better, there is a wall of big screen TVs showing previews so you have something to do while you wait to get in to your theater. Plus they actally are modern enough to accept plastic.

Now the problem is that they divide the films. Half of the movies go to each theater and this is all apparently pre-arranged. While The Star did get Star Wars, the 7 got Austin Powers and is scheduled to get South Park. If there was an option, I would always select the better theater. I mean, its even closer.

So when good movies go to the Holland 7, I have to drive 45 miles just to see them in a good theater. I hate holland sometimes.

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Damn Airport Security

I had a goattee for like 9 months. Not a good goat mind you, more like a small dead rat glued sloppily to my chin. And at the end of last summer I returned to a brush cut (not sure if that was to save money on shampoo, hair cuts, or because I just was annoyed by having hair in my eyes). Anyway, I also tend to fly frequently (conferences, biz trips, yada yada) and noticed something shocking: I always got searched. Every time. Not in my home airport (GRR security is really mellow although they make ya take your computer out of its bag which is a real hassle). For 9 months, every time I came back from anywhere, I'd get searched. Usually I'd be traveling with a group, and I was the only one checked. Apparently I look like the unabomber. They hassle me asking me to turn my computer on, running wierd lights over my bags looking for bomb/drug residue or something. Once they made me remove things from most of the pockets in my laptop bag. Sometimes they make me turn my computer on (several times I've had a dead battary. Thats pretty embarassing)

Anyway, I recently shaved my goat, and for the first time in 9 months, I wasn't searched on my way home. So my options are:

  1. Have a cheesy goattee, look like a dork, and get searched in airports.
  2. Remain clean shaved, nick myself regularly while shaving, look like I'm 13, a dork, and be left alone.

The worst part is that at 23 I am carded every time I order a drink, but the goattee saved me from that. I may look like an axe murderer, but at least I look like a post pubescant axe murderer. What a world.

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Smooth as a baby's bottom

So I had a rotten morning. Dealing with legal crap is never fun, and this time I kinda snapped. So I stomped home and took a shower and decided to shave my head (its tuesday, I buzz my head down every tuesday). Upon completion of my weekly ritual, and trimming of my mediocre goattee, I decided to screw it and shaved it off.

So now I'm cold. Its been there for like 9 months. I didn't realize it was keeping me warm. Apparently the little bit of chin fluff served a purpose. Now my chin feels wet all the time. Wierd. Maybe next I'll try to grow mutton chops. Sure, I'll hit my midlife crisis before I look anything like elvis, but it would be fun.

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It says a lot about you...

I believe that you can tell a lot about a person by looking in their bathroom and seeing what they read on the crapper. So I've recently stolen all the literature from the upstairs bathroom at GH2. This is the hole shared by me, Hemos & Kurt the Pope. I file this evidence before you:
  1. Victoria's Secret 1999 Swimsuit Edition (sent to one Jeffrey C Bates)
  2. Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Manual
  3. Derek and the Dominos, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (guitar tabs)
  4. Victoria's Secret Spring Fashion Issue (sent to one Rob W Malda)
  5. Linux Magazine, the Spring issue. I have read about 3 paragraphs out of this thing, but its there.
  6. The Perl Journal (Issue #10- Summer of 98)
  7. Wired (March 99- the issue with hemos & I in it, and the only issue of Wired I own. I haven't read it)
  8. The Perl Journal (Issue #11- Winter of 98) Everyone should subscribe to this thing.
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File This

Hi, my name is Rob and I'm a Chronic Nail Biter

"Hi Rob"

Ugh. Seriously I've been chewing my nails down to the flesh for as long as I can remember. Its not healthy, in fact its quite gross. And sometimes I bite just a little to far, and then I have a finger that hurts and it impedes my typing.

This is compounded by my obsessive guitar playing. For an hour or so each day I try to play my beloved Gibson SG. But if I chewed a nail short, that doesn't happen, and my only stress outlet is to yell at Hemos or Nate. That doesn't make anyone happy. Plus I'd really like to be able to pick with my finger nails. That would be so cool.

So I'm resolving to quit. For the last week I've done a good job. Except today when the server was flaking I got really stressed out and totally chewed the middle nail on my right hand down to the flesh. Ouch.

So Now I'm filing my nails. My Leatherman Wave has this handy little filer, so I sit and I file my nails down. I'm pretty sure this doesn't matter because whether I use my teeth or a file, I still don't have any nails, but somehow my brain tells me this will break me of this evil habit. We'll see.

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Where's Noah!

I'm sitting in the floodlands. I can't see the road. Its a big lake. I'm getting concerned. I've started collecting 2 of every life form I can find in my house (2 mice, 2 of those strange glow-in-the-dark fungus's from the basement, 2 of whatever that stuff is behind the toilet, and I'm seeking a mate) and I'm going to start building an ark before its to late. I need some sort of battery powered satellite feed...
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It's the Little Things

Some weeks suck. You get a lotta flame mail. You don't have enough time to write code you want, and the code you do write seems to be buggy. The weather sucks and you just feel "Blah" all the time. Then the IRS rams a huge iron rod up your rectum and wiggles it around while some while some bastard that "forgot" to send you your 1099 in time laughs.

But then you apt-get upgrade to catch up on the latest bits and pieces in potato... and you decide to play tetris... and then you discover that the down arrow behaves properly! Like, it doesn't just slide the piece down to the bottom, instead it drops at an accelerated rate until you let go of the key. Just like the original.

Then you piss your pants and think 'maybe it ain't so bad after all'. It really is the little things ain't it?

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Taxing Situations

My taxes are fucked. My income was fairly screwy considering that I had a real job, some cash from that website thing I do, and now another "Real" job with BSI. Factor in student loans, and some consulting and I've got an IRS nightmare that I think even kurt fears. Its really annoying that my taxes are this screwed up, and I still didn't make much money. But the worst part is that I got screwed over by one company (in the losest sense of the term) who still hasn't sent me a my tax info- even though he was required by law to have it here months ago. He didn't even know he needed to do this. What kind of business is this? This bastard has thrown my life into financial limbo. Now I have to file for an extension on my taxes... sitting here in tax pergatory. I hate debt.

I wish I had no morals. I'm rarely the sort of person that would considere revenge- I get angry and stomp and yell, but for once I think I'd be justified to do more than throw a tantrum. To bad I'm a wuss. I just burn off steam writing here instead of posting it somewhere less appropriate and really hurting them. God damn morals.

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What Year is It?

Ok, this is my advice: If a crazy guy, panting, looking exhausted and stressed out runs up to you in the street and yells "What Year is It?!", then he is undoubtedly from the future here to save us from some terrible apocolypse. Give him what he wants. Tell him the year. Give him a few bucks. Especially if he is naked.