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Journal Journal: Bipolar IT Policies 1

From the IT oddities department:

At the place I was temping, they had draconian web filtering software in place that blocked off 90% of the internet. The PCs, however, were completely unlocked and I could install any software I wanted on them. That was great for my geocaching hobby as I was able to install my waypoint management software, and Streets and Trips. I also installed my copy of Dreamweaver Studio and spent my free time developing a site from scratch which earned me a nice bit of spare change.

At the current company, I can browse pretty much anywhere short of pr0n sites. Even high-bandwidth sites like YouTube are allowed. The PCs, however, are so locked down that I can't even plug in a printer without filling out three levels of requests for permissions, and even then, someone has to come out and install it for me. The second time I had to make such a request, I got lucky and was talking to the right person, as he agreed to enable admin rights on my PC temporarily for I could install the drivers I needed. Fortunately, I was prepared with all the other software I wanted to install and did so in the window of time I had available. TAKE THAT, MR. IT MAN!!!


Journal Journal: Still not dead 7

The past two years (abridged version):

July, 2005: Unexpectedly laid off from my job of ten years. At least the company gave the 700 of us a nice severance package as well as some helpful job hunting resources, great for those of us who haven't had to write a resume in ten years.

January, 2006: Severance package runs out. Job market thin. Still searching.

March, 2006: Unemployment runs out. Still looking. Crap.

May, 2006: Finally find a job temping with a local company which manufactures various cleaning, skin care, and storage products which you probably have in your home right now. I'm working for the regulatory department, which is interesting, but it involves sitting on my ass for eight hours a day. The pay is about a 40% cut from what I had been making before, but at least it's income. No opportunity for overtime, vacation pay, or sick time, though. On the plus side, there were fantastic discounts on products at the company store.

December, 2006: While perusing the job listings, I notice a position open at my old employer. After reading the description, I realize that it's for the lab I used to work in, using the technology that I spent seven years working on. I call up my old contacts there to find out, and sure enough, it turns out that the lab wasn't able to function with the skimpy staff and high-turnover temps that they were currently operating with. I let the current manager (who I originally interviewed and hired) know I was applying. He called up HR and specifically requested my resume. I was brought in for "interviews" which seemed to be merely a formality.

January, 2007: The division of the company I had applied to gets sold off to the healthcare division of a major light bulb manufacturer. I hear nothing more about the position and assume that a hiring freeze is in place. I sigh and start looking at the job postings again.

February, 2007: I get a phone call from the hiring manager asking if I was still interested. Duh. The next day I get a package from FedEx with the offer. They will hire me back at my previous pay rate, plus 4%, and I get to keep all my seniority, so I'm still vested, etc.

March, 2007: Start back to work. I take a look at the instrument which I was hired to run (which was currently inoperative and the tech who was currently operating it was at a loss of what to do) and have it working in less than an hour. I become a minor celebrity. Life is back to normal.

On the plus side, our third baby was born in April, 2005, so with the long time off work, I got to spend a lot more time with him than I did with Things One and Two. I can't believe he's going to be two in a couple weeks!

It's really weird being back here again. This would be an interesting psychological study; it didn't take long for all the muscle memory for entering data into all the different systems, walking the routes to various locations, etc. to come back to me. I just have strange moments every now and then when I come across something that was never there before or a place where I know there used to be something there, but is now gone.


Journal Journal: [POLL] DRM-Free music 8

So, EMI becomes the first major label to make the DRM-free jump. Personally, while I see it as a good thing from different angles (customer: music can be played on any software/player, reseller: Apple makes more money because people will come to them to buy DRM-free tunes, supplier: EMI makes more money from the higher per-song price, artists: still get screwed) I don't see it as jumping for joy news. I'm not much of an audiophile, so the higher quality would probably be lost on me, and I drank the Apple kool-ade years ago, so I'll be using iTunes/iPods forever so the presence of the DRM doesn't really impact me..


1: If you buy music through iTMS, will you spend the extra $$$ for the higher-quality DRM-free versions?

2: Will you spend the $$$ to take up the offer to "upgrade" any existing music you have previously downloaded?

3: How long will it be until major label #2 makes a similar announcement?

The Almighty Buck

Journal Journal: Best Salesman Ever 4

A young guy from Minnesota moves to Florida and goes to a big "everything under one roof" department store looking for a job.

The manager says, "Do you have any sales experience?"

The kid says "Yeah. I was a salesman back in Minnesota."

Well, the boss liked the kid and gave him the job. "You start tomorrow. I'll come down after we close and see how you did."

His first day on the job was rough, but he got through it. After the store was locked up, the boss came to see him. "How many customers bought something from you today?

The kid says "One".

The boss says "Just one? Our sales people average 20 to 30 customers a day. How much was the sale for?"

The kid says, "$101,237.65".

The boss says, "$101,237.65? What the heck did you sell him?"

The kid says, "First, I sold him a small fish hook, then I sold him a medium fishhook, then I sold him a larger fishhook. Then I sold him a new fishing rod. I asked him where he was going fishing and he said down the coast, so I
told him he was going to need a boat, so we went down to the boat department and I sold him a twin engine Chris Craft.

Then he said he didn't think his Honda Civic would pull it, so I took him down to the automotive department and sold him that 4x4 Expedition."

The boss said "A guy came in here to buy a fish hook and you sold him a BOAT and a TRUCK? Is that right ? "

The kid answered, "No, the guy came in here to buy Tampons for his wife, and I said, 'Dude, your weekend's shot; you might as well go fishing.'


Journal Journal: Joke du Jour

A couple is golfing one day on a very, very exclusive golf course lined with million dollar houses. On the third tee the husband says, "Honey, be very careful when you drive the ball. Don't knock out any windows; it'll cost us a fortune to fix."

The wife tees up and promptly shanks it right through the window of the biggest house on the course. The husband cringes and says, "I told you to watch out for the houses! Alright, let's go up there, apologize and see how much this is going to cost."

They walk up and knock, and a voice says, "Come in." When they open the door, they see glass all over the floor and a broken bottle lying on its side in the foyer. A man on the couch says, "Are you the people that broke my window?"

"Uh, yeah," the husband says. "Sorry about that."

"No, actually I want to thank you. I'm a genie that was trapped for a thousand years in that bottle. You've released me. I'm allowed to grant three wishes. I'll give you each one wish, and I'll keep the last one for myself."

"OK, great!" the husband says. "I want a million dollars a year for the rest of my life."

"No problem; it's the least I could do. And you, what do you want?" the genie says, looking at the wife.

"I want a house in every country of the world," she says.

"Consider it done."

"And what's your wish, Genie?" the husband asks.

"Well, since I've been trapped in that bottle, I haven't had sex with a woman in a thousand years. My wish is to sleep with your wife."

The husband looks at the wife and says, "Well, we did get a lot of money and all those houses, honey. I guess it's OK with me if it's OK with you."

So the genie takes the wife upstairs and ravishes her for two hours.

Afterward, he rolls over, looks at the wife, and says, "How old is your husband, anyway?"

"35. Why?"

"And he still believes in genies?"

Input Devices

Journal Journal: 30 Facts about Alton Brown 9

1. Alton Brown grinds his own peppercorns. With his teeth.

2. Alton Brown's chili cheese fries are healthier than raw carrots. Even after he adds the bacon and lard.

3. Alton Brown brushes his teeth with wasabi and gargles with pickle brine. But still his breath smells like lemon merengue.

4. Alton Brown can boil a three-minute egg in thirty-seven seconds.

5. When Alton Brown was born, he collected the hospital slop they'd left for his mother and made it into an zesty, appetizing goulash. The dish fed the entire maternity ward for a week.

6. In the first, as-yet-unaired episode of Iron Chef America, Alton Brown single-handedly defeated an all-star team of Bobby Flay, Cat Cora, and Hiroyuki Sakai. The secret ingredient was 'whimsy'.

7. Alton Brown doesn't reduce sauces. He demoralizes sauces.

8. Alton Brown prepares his fugu blindfolded, with one chopstick and a plastic spork. Alton Brown ain't afraid of no chump neurotoxin.

9. Alton Brown's blender has four speeds: 'stir', 'mix', 'frappe', and 'plasmify'.

10. Alton Brown can split a pineapple in half using only his pinkies. For coconuts, though, he has to use his thumbs.

11. Alton Brown knows where capers come from. And he grows his own, on a Chia pet in the pantry.

12. On Rachel Ray's show, she shows people where to eat for less than forty dollars a day. When Alton Brown eats, people pay him.

13. Alton Brown slices ham so thin, it can only be seen using an electron microscope.

14. Some knives can slice through a tin can and still cut a tomato. Alton Brown's knives can slice through a Pontiac, and still cut a tin can.

15. Grown men have been known to weep for joy in the mere presence of Alton Brown's vinagrette. His hollandaise sauce can kill a man from sheer ecstacy at forty paces.

16. Alton Brown can eat just one Lay's potato chip. If he ever bothered to eat food he didn't make himself, that is.

17. Alton Brown once got carried away slicing carrots, and julienned his cutting board. Undaunted, he sauteed the splinters in olive oil and spices -- and they were delicious.

18. Every Burger King Alton Brown has walked into has immediately closed forever -- try as they might, they simply can't 'do it his way'.

19. Alton Brown can pair a wine with any food -- including hot dogs, ice cream, raw eggs, Alpo, sawdust, and soylent green. It's people!

20. Alton Brown's cakes don't rise. They ascend.

21. Some meats are so tender, they seem to melt in your mouth. Alton Brown's meats are so tender, he's had entire turkeys vanish into thin air.

22. Alton Brown's no saint. But if his chicken Kiev cures one more kid's leprosy, the church will reconsider the evidence.

23. Alton Brown doesn't whip potatoes. Alton Brown's potatoes whip themselves, if they know what's good for them.

24. Alton Brown's other car is the Wienermobile.

25. Alton Brown's show is called 'Good Eats', because 'Multiple Shuddering Mouthgasms' didn't play with the network's target demographic.

26. Alton Brown's freezer operates at minus-twenty-seven degrees. Kelvin.

27. Alton Brown once prepared shrimp gumbo for a cooking competition, using only salt, water, canned Spam, and a packet of Arby's 'Horsey Sauce'. He took second place. He would have won, but one of the judges was allergic to shellfish.

28. Alton Brown can fit three hundred and forty-two cookies on a standard-sized baking sheet. Without any touching.

29. When Alton Brown slices onions, the onions cry.

30. Alton Brown was once asked to participate in a blind orange juice taste test. He was the only person able to successfully identify the brand, style, vintage, temperature, pH level, distance to the orchard, age of the grove trees, and the names of the workers picking the fruit. Including the one who needs to start washing after bathroom breaks.

User Journal

Journal Journal: [HUMOR] I've been banned from Walmart! 1

Dear Mrs. Samples:

Over the past six months, your husband, Royse Samples has been causing quite a commotion in our Lawton store. We cannot tolerate this type of behavior and, as a result, will ban your entire family from shopping in any of our stores if even one more incident occurs. We have documented all incidents on our video surveillance equipment.

Three of our clerks are currently attending counseling from the trouble your husband has caused. All complaints against Mr. Samples have been compiled and are listed below.

Mr. Wally Brown
President and CEO
WalMart Complaint Department

MEMO Re: Mr. Bill Fenton -- Complaints -- Things Mr. Royse Samples has done while his wife was shopping:

1. November 15, 2005: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in people's carts when they weren't looking.

2. November 23, 2005: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute intervals.

3. December 10, 2005: Made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the rest rooms.

4. December 23, 2005: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official tone, "Code 3 in housewares!" ..... and watched what happened.

5. January 10, 2006: Went to the Service Desk and asked to put a bag of M&Ms on lay-away.

6. January 23, 2006: Moved a 'CAUTION - WET FLOOR' sign to a carpeted area.

7. Feburary 15, 2006: Set up a tent in the camping department and told other shoppers he'd invite them in if they'd bring pillows from the bedding department.

8. March 5, 2006: When a clerk asked if she could help him, he threw himself down on the floor, began to cry and wailed, "Why can't you people just leave me alone?'

9. March 26, 2006: Looked right into the security camera; used it as a mirror, and picked his nose.

10. April 2, 2006: While handling guns in the hunting department, asked the clerk if he knows where the antidepressants are.

11. April 15, 2006: Darted around the store, looking around suspiciously while loudly humming the "Mission Impossible" theme.

12. April 26, 2006: In the auto department, practiced his "Madonna look" using different size funnels.

13. May 1, 2006: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through, yelled, "PICK ME! -- PICK ME!"

14. May 12, 2006: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed the fetal position and screamed, "NO! NO! Sheila! It's those voices again!!!!"

And last, but not least, just today....

15. May 16, 2006: Went into a fitting room, shut the door and waited a while; then yelled very loudly, "Hey, Somebody! I need some toilet paper in here!"

OS 9

Journal Journal: Saying Goodbye to the Classic(s) 2

After a couple odd crashes, I finally decided to reinstall MacOS X 10.4 on my Powerbook, which is actually the first time I've done a full reinstall since I got it over two years ago.

It was really starting to run pokey. I'd get the Spinning Beachball of Doom more frequently than I should, /Library/Preferences was chock full of plist files from long-departed apps. I've have various networking apps on there, such as Cisco VPN which I've deleted, but who knows where they might still be poking about. MySQL was set to run as a service. I had the Developer Tools installed. And I still had Classic installed, which only got used if I popped in a really old game for one of the kids.

I finally bit the bullet and did the Total Reinstall, not the Archive and Install. The initial installation was quick and painless. It took longer to download all the updates for everything.

It was almost blunder-free, compared to when I did the same for my desktop awhile back. I remembered to deauthorize iTunes first. I remembered to grab my Quicktime Pro registration code. I remembered to save all my Safari bookmarks. I've since switched over to IMAP, so I didn't have to worry about saving my mail. Too bad about that, as I probably would have remembered to save my Address Book contacts. At least those I can recover between my cell phone and the other computer.

The thing screams now. (once all the Spotlight indexing was finished...) I watched a movie at full-screen and it didn't seem to get as hot on the bottom as it used to.

The only hitch I'm having right now is getting my RAZR (Verizon) working with it again. I'm able to connect to the phone to up/download pictures and MP3s, but I can't seem to get the phone to act as a modem which I was able to do before. I don't know if I'm not using the same modem driver as before or what.

At any rate, while it's no MacBook Pro, it almost feels like a whole new computer!


Journal Journal: Bread and OCD 2

So I've got this loaf of bread that proclaims itself to be "great for sandwiches!"

It has an odd number of slices...


Journal Journal: [GROAN] Looting 1

Police in the Israeli port city of Haifa were searching for a man suspected of breaking into a number of businesses in the downtown area. The suspect, named Joseph, is believed to have occasionally worked as a farmer in the area. He has been seen playing the flute on city street corners, and is the son of a German father and a former nun from Spain.

In other words: He's a Haifa-lootin', flutin' Teuton, son of a nun from Barcelona, part-time plowboy Joe.


Journal Journal: Elephants

A man was on holiday in Kenya. While he was walking through the bush, he came across an elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed so the man approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot. There was a large thorn deeply embedded in the bottom of the foot.

As carefully and as gently as he could he removed the thorn and the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man and with a rather stern look on its face, stared at him. For a good ten minutes the man stood frozen -- thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned and walked away.

For years after, the man remembered the elephant and the events of that day. One day the man was walking through the zoo with his son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to where they are standing at the rail. It stared at him and the man couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant. After a while it trumpeted loudly; then it continued to stare at him.

The man summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. Suddenly the elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of the man's legs and swung him wildly back and forth along the railing, killing him.

Probably wasn't the same elephant.

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"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972