Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sergeant Fuzzyboots

Sgt. Fuzzyboots.
Apparently we have been adopted by a cat!

A few weeks ago we noticed an orange tabby cat hanging around the neighbourhood.  We did not think much of it, and went on our merry way.  Little did we know we were being investigated. Last week I was loading Zeke into the car, and the same cat came out of nowhere and jumped into the car (on the floor in the back seat, not on Zeke).  Ever since then he has been hanging around our side door and greeting us when we go outside.  We apparently passed the investigation and were deemed worthy.

I can haz family?
This cat is incredibly friendly.  We can pick him up easily, does not get spooked with loud noises, and has a sweet disposition.  Even the presence of Bailey The Wonder Puppy does not phase him a great deal.  Either he has a home and has roaming tendencies, or he was a house cat and was abandoned.  Given the frequency with which he is outside our door (aka constantly) I am guessing its the latter.

Since winter is coming on... eventually - we northerners still have not gotten used to the concept that Halloween does not mean snow is imminent - and the cat does not seem to have a home, we (ok, ok: I) started feeding it, gave it a box to sleep in, and of course I gave him a name:  Sergeant Fuzzyboots.  

Note the dogs in the background thinking either "are
we being replaced?" and/or "what is it?  It looks tasty."
"Why a sergeant", you may ask, probably not overly interested, but you are nice folk so you smile politely and hope I won't give a long answer, "instead of a Colonel or General?"  Rest assured that I am almost done with this post, thank you for your question, and answer thusly: We have not adopted him officially so he can not be an officer in my pet army, but he deserves to be more than a common foot soldier, so I drafted him as a non-commissioned officer into the Pet Corps - Special Forces: Mouser Division.

He really seems to be the type of cat, if one was so inclined to be a cat person, that one would adopt. If I was not allergic to our feline companions it is quite possible that I would adopt him.  Since I can not have cats in the house, he will have to remain an outdoor cat. As it stands we are feeding him, and I am going to get him fixed, but he is still free to roam as his kitty heart desires.   Hopefully he will pay us back with kitty snuggles, and do some mouse and mole hunting.

Jon Stewart's Speech: Rally To Restore Sanity

Jon Stewarts final comments at his Rally To Restore Sanity in Washington D.C.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Princess And The Frog

~o~ BOO! ~o~

A few months ago my wife found a cute little frog costume for Zeke to wear for his first real halloween (he was around for last year, but at 2 weeks old, I don't count it as his "first").

The town I live in held a trick or treat event on Friday where all the stores down town gave out candy to the kids from 3-5 in the afternoon.  My wife took Zeke dressed in his frog outfit.  At the last moment she came across the awesome idea of dressing herself up as a princess.  So a quick dig into her costume box (a result of years spent working in the recreation department of an old age home, and Debbie simply being fun - Sometimes she seems like the daughter of Mr. Dressup) and *poof* she became a princess.  The results are what you see before you.  My wife and kid, the Princess and the Frog.

Note:  For those curious, my wife kissed the frog and he did not turn into a prince, so my status as her prince still stands.  Zeke will remain our amphibious cohort for the next few days :)

So you may be wondering:  What did Yours Truly dress up as?  We I tend to frequently have this natural and unintentional Indiana Jones look about me (see pic below), so lets pretend I dressed up as him intentionally this year.

Regular everyday Dave-wear.

~o~ Happy Halloween! ~o~

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Schools Kill Creativity

A humorous TED talk containing some interesting thoughts about our education systems and creativity by Sir Ken Robinson.

Encouraging and maintaining Zekes sense of creativity into his adult life is probably one of the more valuable gifts I can give him.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Useful Advice For FInding A Good Job

A fellow Googler, Aaron Boodman, wrote an excellent article on a new approach to getting into a new career, namely software engineering, without having to spend years in college.

If you are interested, check out his post:  "Wherein I help you get a good job"

Saturday, October 23, 2010

1000 posts viewed!

I was looking at my blogger stats recently and I discovered that I have had over 1000 page views for my blog.

Interestingly enough my most popular post is "My Cat Is Evil", with 42 views.  It also ranks 13 on Google for the search term "My Cat Is Evil".

So for all my friends and family that have read my blog, thanks! For the poor unsuspecting souls who stumbled across it, sorry about all this. :)

And for everyone who is afraid the "fun" is just beginning, don't worry!  Your fears are about to come true.


Replacing The Beast with The New Hotness

The Beast:  Made in the 50's "upgraded" in the 70s. Died in
Last night we had our furnace and A/C replaced.
About a week ago I noticed that it was getting cold in the house, so I decided to fire up The Beast and see how it survived the summer.  I got air movement, but none of it warm.  So off to Google Maps I go to find a local furnace repair guy

The first repair guy I called mentioned that it was a bad control board, and the parts are almost impossible to get, so I'll probably need a new furnace.  The second guy, from 72 Degrees of Hickory, was more thorough, and gave the furnace a better looking over.  It turns out The Beast had a few issues:

  • It was converted from oil to natural gas.  They did this for a few months back in the day, but stopped when they started exploding. Conclusion:  The Beast is a death trap.
  • The venting for The Beast is perfectly valid for an oil furnace, but no where near appropriate for a natural gas furnace. Conclusion: Death trap.
  • The heat exchanger had a crack in it, which may be pushing carbon monoxide directly into the air. Conclusion: Death Trap.
So I decided that it was perhaps time to replace The Beast with something a little more civilized.  The repair man gave us a quote on a new furnace, which took a couple hours to spec out and explain all of the details. I also got  another quote from another company, but they were way over priced, so I went with 72 Degrees.

The New Hotness being worked on by her installers.
Yesterday their installers came to remove the furnace and A/C, and replace it with a much nicer hybrid unit.  It took them 11 hours to do the job, 3 of that included fighting with the old wires running to the old thermostat.  They did a very thorough job, and their work ethic and customer service was spectacular.  This is definitely a crew of furnace installers who enjoy what they do.  Despite starting their day at 6AM and not leaving our house until 10:30PM, they never stopped cracking jokes.  It was fun to see.  Reminded me of HWOps.

So now I have a new hybrid furnace/heat pump with a new A/C unit.  I tested it out last night, and it worked well.  Best part:  New touch screen thermostat in my hallway.  Geek toys FTW!

So if you are ever wondering to yourself "I wonder if dem Canadian fellers are warm enough over there in that house of theres" (being in the south, that is valid english), the answer is "yep!"  We're rockin the heat with our brand new furnace, lovingly named The New Hotness.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

NASCAR - An Experience In Redneck Culture

My father-in-law posing beside Jeff Gordons car.

I have never been a NASCAR fan, or a fan of any racing in general, aside from Super Mario Cart, but when my in-laws mentioned that they were going to Charlotte NC to attend a NASCAR race, I decided to tag along.  I figure I should at least experience the alter of redneck culture before I can honestly write it off as the mindless, uninspiring, boring drivel that I figured it would be. I was not disappointed.

Yours Truly and the Energizer Bunny. Note
the awesome bunny ears.
So we headed out the door around 8:30 AM and drove the 1.5 hours it takes to get to the Charlotte Motor Speedway.  We ate breakfast at Cracker Barrel, and finally arrived at the speedway at 11:00ish.  Already the tail gate parties were in full swing.  There is actually a lot to do at a NASCAR event aside from the race itself,  There were a lot of vendors selling NASCAR themed items, as well as other vendors (Spring, Energizer, Bank Of America etc.) that were advertising their products.  It is like a cross between a vendor fair at a computer convention and a county fair, but with fewer livestock.  They had games, giveaways, freebies, beer, live bands, and food.

We spent the afternoon checking things out, and loading up on the freebies.  I also discovered that the Energizer Bunny is real, which gives me greater hope for the Easter Bunny.

We found our seats in the stands a couple hours before the race began, got some amazingly crappy food, and waited for the race to begin.  It took a while but eventually the opening ceremonies started, the drivers were announced, the cars lined up, and the race began.

The view of the track from our seats.
I got to admit that the race was interesting at times.  Some of the spinouts where fun.  The first few laps as the cars jockeyed for initial position on the track and sorted out the faster from the slower was interesting.  The last 30 laps started holding some excitement as each position change became much more important to the final result.  However the middle 300 laps were completely superfluous.  A car would build up a huge 50 car length lead and appear to be uncatchable, then someone would throw a can on the track, and everyone slows down, waits for the can (seriously, a can - what kinds of wimpy drivers fear a can?) to be cleared, then they all start in formation again, completely wiping out any lead the cars had (and if the lead car makes a pit stop in that time they can lose their position completely).  It is completely goofy.

The race is on!
I spent a bit of time with my Android smart phone downloading apps to measure things.  For example I discovered that the cars were travelling at 180mph around the 1.5 mile oval track.  The sound volume off of the cars measured at 140 decibels (75 or so is when ears start taking damage).  I am glad I brought ear protection.  I also noticed that my coke bottle vibrated, which I took initially to be vibration of the cars going around the track, but the vibrations stopped when the bottle's lid was on, and started again when I took it off.  I am assuming the wind off the cars (which was considerable, even from row 56), was causing the air in the bottle to vibrate, similar to when blowing across the mouth of a bottle causes it to make sounds.

It was an interesting experience, and I am glad I went, but it is not something I am likely to do again.  I would probably do the vendor fair again, but the race itself I would pass on.  If we didn't get good prices on our scalped tickets ($33 per, for $100 seats), I would feel ripped off.  As it stands  I think I got my moneys worth for the experience of hanging out at the Redneck Mecca for a day, but it is not a world that was meant for me.

At least my car came in second!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Chicken Fight

The best 120 seconds of violence you will ever see... I give to you... The Chicken Fight:

Notice the life lesson: always check the expiration dates on your coupons before passing them along.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Internet Classics II: The Top 100 Things I'd Do If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord

  1. My Legions of Terror will have helmets with clear plexiglass visors, not face-concealing ones.
  2. My ventilation ducts will be too small to crawl through.
  3. My noble half-brother whose throne I usurped will be killed, not kept anonymously imprisoned in a forgotten cell of my dungeon.
  4. Shooting is not too good for my enemies.
  5. The artifact which is the source of my power will not be kept on the Mountain of Despair beyond the River of Fire guarded by the Dragons of Eternity. It will be in my safe-deposit box. The same applies to the object which is my one weakness.
  6. I will not gloat over my enemies' predicament before killing them.
  7. When I've captured my adversary and he says, "Look, before you kill me, will you at least tell me what this is all about?" I'll say, "No." and shoot him. No, on second thought I'll shoot him then say "No."
  8. After I kidnap the beautiful princess, we will be married immediately in a quiet civil ceremony, not a lavish spectacle in three weeks' time during which the final phase of my plan will be carried out.
  9. I will not include a self-destruct mechanism unless absolutely necessary. If it is necessary, it will not be a large red button labelled "Danger: Do Not Push". The big red button marked "Do Not Push" will instead trigger a spray of bullets on anyone stupid enough to disregard it. Similarly, the ON/OFF switch will not clearly be labelled as such.
  10. I will not interrogate my enemies in the inner sanctum -- a small hotel well outside my borders will work just as well.
  11. I will be secure in my superiority. Therefore, I will feel no need to prove it by leaving clues in the form of riddles or leaving my weaker enemies alive to show they pose no threat.
  12. One of my advisors will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plan that he is able to spot will be corrected before implementation.
  13. All slain enemies will be cremated, or at least have several rounds of ammunition emptied into them, not left for dead at the bottom of the cliff. The announcement of their deaths, as well as any accompanying celebration, will be deferred until after the aforementioned disposal.
  14. The hero is not entitled to a last kiss, a last cigarette, or any other form of last request.
  15. I will never employ any device with a digital countdown. If I find that such a device is absolutely unavoidable, I will set it to activate when the counter reaches 117 and the hero is just putting his plan into operation.
  16. I will never utter the sentence "But before I kill you, there's just one thing I want to know."
  17. When I employ people as advisors, I will occasionally listen to their advice.
  18. I will not have a son. Although his laughably under-planned attempt to usurp power would easily fail, it would provide a fatal distraction at a crucial point in time.
  19. I will not have a daughter. She would be as beautiful as she was evil, but one look at the hero's rugged countenance and she'd betray her own father.
  20. Despite its proven stress-relieving effect, I will not indulge in maniacal laughter. When so occupied, it's too easy to miss unexpected developments that a more attentive individual could adjust to accordingly.
  21. I will hire a talented fashion designer to create original uniforms for my Legions of Terror, as opposed to some cheap knock-offs that make them look like Nazi stormtroopers, Roman footsoldiers, or savage Mongol hordes. All were eventually defeated and I want my troops to have a more positive mind-set.
  22. No matter how tempted I am with the prospect of unlimited power, I will not consume any energy field bigger than my head.
  23. I will keep a special cache of low-tech weapons and train my troops in their use. That way -- even if the heroes manage to neutralize my power generator and/or render the standard-issue energy weapons useless -- my troops will not be overrun by a handful of savages armed with spears and rocks.
  24. I will maintain a realistic assessment of my strengths and weaknesses. Even though this takes some of the fun out of the job, at least I will never utter the line "No, this cannot be! I AM INVINCIBLE!!!" (After that, death is usually instantaneous.)
  25. No matter how well it would perform, I will never construct any sort of machinery which is completely indestructible except for one small and virtually inaccessible vulnerable spot.
  26. No matter how attractive certain members of the rebellion are, there is probably someone just as attractive who is not desperate to kill me. Therefore, I will think twice before ordering a prisoner sent to my bedchamber.
  27. I will never build only one of anything important. All important systems will have redundant control panels and power supplies. For the same reason I will always carry at least two fully loaded weapons at all times.
  28. My pet monster will be kept in a secure cage from which it cannot escape and into which I could not accidentally stumble.
  29. I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion.
  30. All bumbling conjurers, clumsy squires, no-talent bards, and cowardly thieves in the land will be preemptively put to death. My foes will surely give up and abandon their quest if they have no source of comic relief.
  31. All naive, busty tavern wenches in my realm will be replaced with surly, world-weary waitresses who will provide no unexpected reinforcement and/or romantic subplot for the hero or his sidekick.
  32. I will not fly into a rage and kill a messenger who brings me bad news just to illustrate how evil I really am. Good messengers are hard to come by.
  33. I won't require high-ranking female members of my organization to wear a stainless-steel bustier. Morale is better with a more casual dress-code. Similarly, outfits made entirely from black leather will be reserved for formal occasions.
  34. I will not turn into a snake. It never helps.
  35. I will not grow a goatee. In the old days they made you look diabolic. Now they just make you look like a disaffected member of Generation X.
  36. I will not imprison members of the same party in the same cell block, let alone the same cell. If they are important prisoners, I will keep the only key to the cell door on my person instead of handing out copies to every bottom-rung guard in the prison.
  37. If my trusted lieutenant tells me my Legions of Terror are losing a battle, I will believe him. After all, he's my trusted lieutenant.
  38. If an enemy I have just killed has a younger sibling or offspring anywhere, I will find them and have them killed immediately, instead of waiting for them to grow up harboring feelings of vengeance towards me in my old age.
  39. If I absolutely must ride into battle, I will certainly not ride at the forefront of my Legions of Terror, nor will I seek out my opposite number among his army.
  40. I will be neither chivalrous nor sporting. If I have an unstoppable superweapon, I will use it as early and as often as possible instead of keeping it in reserve.
  41. Once my power is secure, I will destroy all those pesky time-travel devices.
  42. When I capture the hero, I will make sure I also get his dog, monkey, ferret, or whatever sickeningly cute little animal capable of untying ropes and filching keys happens to follow him around.
  43. I will maintain a healthy amount of skepticism when I capture the beautiful rebel and she claims she is attracted to my power and good looks and will gladly betray her companions if I just let her in on my plans.
  44. I will only employ bounty hunters who work for money. Those who work for the pleasure of the hunt tend to do dumb things like even the odds to give the other guy a sporting chance.
  45. I will make sure I have a clear understanding of who is responsible for what in my organization. For example, if my general screws up I will not draw my weapon, point it at him, say "And here is the price for failure," then suddenly turn and kill some random underling.
  46. If an advisor says to me "My liege, he is but one man. What can one man possibly do?", I will reply "This." and kill the advisor.
  47. If I learn that a callow youth has begun a quest to destroy me, I will slay him while he is still a callow youth instead of waiting for him to mature.
  48. I will treat any beast which I control through magic or technology with respect and kindness. Thus if the control is ever broken, it will not immediately come after me for revenge.
  49. If I learn the whereabouts of the one artifact which can destroy me, I will not send all my troops out to seize it. Instead I will send them out to seize something else and quietly put a Want-Ad in the local paper.
  50. My main computers will have their own special operating system that will be completely incompatible with standard IBM and Macintosh powerbooks.
  51. If one of my dungeon guards begins expressing concern over the conditions in the beautiful princess' cell, I will immediately transfer him to a less people-oriented position.
  52. I will hire a team of board-certified architects and surveyors to examine my castle and inform me of any secret passages and abandoned tunnels that I might not know about.
  53. If the beautiful princess that I capture says "I'll never marry you! Never, do you hear me, NEVER!!!", I will say "Oh well" and kill her.
  54. I will not strike a bargain with a demonic being then attempt to double-cross it simply because I feel like being contrary.
  55. The deformed mutants and odd-ball psychotics will have their place in my Legions of Terror. However before I send them out on important covert missions that require tact and subtlety, I will first see if there is anyone else equally qualified who would attract less attention.
  56. My Legions of Terror will be trained in basic marksmanship. Any who cannot learn to hit a man-sized target at 10 meters will be used for target practice.
  57. Before employing any captured artifacts or machinery, I will carefully read the owner's manual.
  58. If it becomes necessary to escape, I will never stop to pose dramatically and toss off a one-liner.
  59. I will never build a sentient computer smarter than I am.
  60. My five-year-old child advisor will also be asked to decipher any code I am thinking of using. If he breaks the code in under 30 seconds, it will not be used. Note: this also applies to passwords.
  61. If my advisors ask "Why are you risking everything on such a mad scheme?", I will not proceed until I have a response that satisfies them.
  62. I will design fortress hallways with no alcoves or protruding structural supports which intruders could use for cover in a firefight.
  63. Bulk trash will be disposed of in incinerators, not compactors. And they will be kept hot, with none of that nonsense about flames going through accessible tunnels at predictable intervals.
  64. I will see a competent psychiatrist and get cured of all extremely unusual phobias and bizarre compulsive habits which could prove to be a disadvantage.
  65. If I must have computer systems with publically available terminals, the maps they display of my complex will have a room clearly marked as the Main Control Room. That room will be the Execution Chamber. The actual main control room will be marked as Sewage Overflow Containment.
  66. My security keypad will actually be a fingerprint scanner. Anyone who watches someone press a sequence of buttons or dusts the pad for fingerprints then subsequently tries to enter by repeating that sequence will trigger the alarm system.
  67. No matter how many shorts we have in the system, my guards will be instructed to treat every surveillance camera malfunction as a full-scale emergency.
  68. I will spare someone who saved my life sometime in the past. This is only reasonable as it encourages others to do so. However, the offer is good one time only. If they want me to spare them again, they'd better save my life again.
  69. All midwives will be banned from the realm. All babies will be delivered at state-approved hospitals. Orphans will be placed in foster-homes, not abandoned in the woods to be raised by creatures of the wild.
  70. When my guards split up to search for intruders, they will always travel in groups of at least two. They will be trained so that if one of them disappears mysteriously while on patrol, the other will immediately initiate an alert and call for backup, instead of quizzically peering around a corner.
  71. If I decide to test a lieutenant's loyalty and see if he/she should be made a trusted lieutenant, I will have a crack squad of marksmen standing by in case the answer is no.
  72. If all the heroes are standing together around a strange device and begin to taunt me, I will pull out a conventional weapon instead of using my unstoppable superweapon on them.
  73. I will not agree to let the heroes go free if they win a rigged contest, even though my advisors assure me it is impossible for them to win.
  74. When I create a multimedia presentation of my plan designed so that my five-year-old advisor can easily understand the details, I will not label the disk "Project Overlord" and leave it lying on top of my desk.
  75. I will instruct my Legions of Terror to attack the hero en masse, instead of standing around waiting while members break off and attack one or two at a time.
  76. If the hero runs up to my roof, I will not run up after him and struggle with him in an attempt to push him over the edge. I will also not engage him at the edge of a cliff. (In the middle of a rope-bridge over a river of molten lava is not even worth considering.)
  77. If I have a fit of temporary insanity and decide to give the hero the chance to reject a job as my trusted lieutentant, I will retain enough sanity to wait until my current trusted lieutenant is out of earshot before making the offer.
  78. I will not tell my Legions of Terror "And he must be taken alive!" The command will be "And try to take him alive if it is reasonably practical."
  79. If my doomsday device happens to come with a reverse switch, as soon as it has been employed it will be melted down and made into limited-edition commemorative coins.
  80. If my weakest troops fail to eliminate a hero, I will send out my best troops instead of wasting time with progressively stronger ones as he gets closer and closer to my fortress.
  81. If I am fighting with the hero atop a moving platform, have disarmed him, and am about to finish him off and he glances behind me and drops flat, I too will drop flat instead of quizzically turning around to find out what he saw.
  82. I will not shoot at any of my enemies if they are standing in front of the crucial support beam to a heavy, dangerous, unbalanced structure.
  83. If I'm eating dinner with the hero, put poison in his goblet, then have to leave the table for any reason, I will order new drinks for both of us instead of trying to decide whether or not to switch with him.
  84. I will not have captives of one sex guarded by members of the opposite sex.
  85. I will not use any plan in which the final step is horribly complicated, e.g. "Align the 12 Stones of Power on the sacred altar then activate the medallion at the moment of total eclipse." Instead it will be more along the lines of "Push the button."
  86. I will make sure that my doomsday device is up to code and properly grounded.
  87. My vats of hazardous chemicals will be covered when not in use. Also, I will not construct walkways above them.
  88. If a group of henchmen fail miserably at a task, I will not berate them for incompetence then send the same group out to try the task again.
  89. After I captures the hero's superweapon, I will not immediately disband my legions and relax my guard because I believe whoever holds the weapon is unstoppable. After all, the hero held the weapon and I took it from him.
  90. I will not design my Main Control Room so that every workstation is facing away from the door.
  91. I will not ignore the messenger that stumbles in exhausted and obviously agitated until my personal grooming or current entertainment is finished. It might actually be important.
  92. If I ever talk to the hero on the phone, I will not taunt him. Instead I will say this his dogged perseverance has given me new insight on the futility of my evil ways and that if he leaves me alone for a few months of quiet contemplation I will likely return to the path of righteousness. (Heroes are incredibly gullible in this regard.)
  93. If I decide to hold a double execution of the hero and an underling who failed or betrayed me, I will see to it that the hero is scheduled to go first.
  94. When arresting prisoners, my guards will not allow them to stop and grab a useless trinket of purely sentimental value.
  95. My dungeon will have its own qualified medical staff complete with bodyguards. That way if a prisoner becomes sick and his cellmate tells the guard it's an emergency, the guard will fetch a trauma team instead of opening up the cell for a look.
  96. My door mechanisms will be designed so that blasting the control panel on the outside seals the door and blasting the control panel on the inside opens the door, not vice versa.
  97. My dungeon cells will not be furnished with objects that contain reflective surfaces or anything that can be unravelled.
  98. If an attractive young couple enters my realm, I will carefully monitor their activities. If I find they are happy and affectionate, I will ignore them. However if circumstance have forced them together against their will and they spend all their time bickering and criticizing each other except during the intermittent occasions when they are saving each others' lives at which point there are hints of sexual tension, I will immediately order their execution.
  99. Any data file of crucial importance will be padded to 1.45Mb in size.
  100. Finally, to keep my subjects permanently locked in a mindless trance, I will provide each of them with free unlimited Internet access.
This list has its origins on the now-nonexistent FidoNet Science Fiction and Fandom (SFFAN)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Internet Classics: Dr Suess's Computer Manual

Here's an easy game to play.
Here's an easy thing to say:

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
And the bus is interrupted as a very last resort,
And the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort,
Then the socket packet pocket has an error to report!

If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,
And the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash,
And your data is corrupted 'cause the index doesn't hash,
Then your situation's hopeless, and your system's gonna crash!

You can't say this?
What a shame sir!
We'll find you
Another game sir.

If the label on the cable on the table at your house,
Says the network is connected to the button on your mouse,
But your packets want to tunnel on another protocol,
That's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall,

And your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss
So your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse,
Then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang,
'Cause as sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang!

When the copy of your floppy's getting sloppy on the disk,
And the microcode instructions cause unnecessary risc,
Then you have to flash your memory and you'll want to RAM your ROM.
Quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your mom!

This was written in 1995 by Gene Ziegler.

The Myrtle Beach Diaries - Day 7 & 8: Back to Life, Back To Reality

Friday was our last day of vacation.  We spent it shopping and relaxing on the beach.  I bought some new hiking boots at the Bass Pro.  The mall had a very nice play area for toddlers and Zeke spent a half hour playing there.  Then he realized that the door was open so he made a break for it, spending the next 20 minutes crawling and pushing his stroller around the mall, to much amusement to passerby's and store employees.  Apparently being an 11.5 month old baby and on the lam is all it takes to garner attention :)

That evening we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with the family in the non-traditional style of KFC take-out.  After we ate we had an early celebration for Zekes birthday.  Since my side of our family cannot make it for his actual birthday we decided to give Zeke two parties.  He had his first birthday (cup)cake, which he destroyed and devoured with all the intensity and enthusiasm that only 1 year olds can muster.  He enjoyed himself immensely.

The next day we started out on our journey back to western North Carolina.  We packed up the car and headed across state lines to Ocean Isle NC to check out the sites and grab a few geocaches.  Then we drove straight home with just a small detour to Dunkin Donuts.

We arrived home at 5pm and spent the rest of the evening gathering up our dogs from the various puppy-sitters, unloading the car, and relaxing.

So that ends our adventure to Myrtle Beach SC.  Below are all the pictures I took for your amusement.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Myrtle Beach Diaries - Day 5-6: Dining Inside Crustaceus Maximus.

Wednesday was a day of fun and relaxing.  While Zeke took his morning nap I did some more geocaching.

After lunch we all went to the beach.  This is not the first time Zeke has been in the ocean, but it was the first time he's been in the ocean at Myrtle Beach.  He "walked" with Daddy & Mommy, then sprinted/crawled the last 20ft to the waters edge.  He got to the point where the first wave splashed his hands and he stopped.  He played in the water for 10-15 minutes, then went off to play in the sand for the rest of the day (until nap time).  Zeke slept extra long so he was up for enjoying an evening of festivities.

For supper we ate at the Giant Crab.  It is a 170 item sea food buffet, in a building with a giant crab on top.  The crab is 36'x25' and weighs 4.5 tons.  It is the largest crab in the world (according to them).  The food was very good and I overdosed on crab legs.

After supper we headed to Barefoot Landing - an outdoor shopping center surrounding alligator infested  ponds - with the entire family to do some shopping.  A cute little area.  We stayed until 9pm - a time only really noteable as its 1.5hours passed Zekes bedtime, but he was well behaved until we got back to the condo.

On Thursday I abandoned the family and went 30 miles south on an adventure to Huntington Beach State Park to do some hiking (and caching, naturally).   The parks centerpiece is a large salt marsh where many birds, crabs, and alligators call home.  I went on a 3 mile hike along Sandpiper Trail, and then explored the marshland.  Once I finished my hike I wondered if there was any geocaches in the area.  Turns out I was standing on an earthcache.  I managed to grab 3 caches in the park, and 3 more on the way home.

Huntington Beach State Park is a very nice park and a great place to kill some time and soak in some coastal nature.  I highly recommend checking it out if you are in the area and have a half day to kill.

That evening we went out as a family to the Golden Corral (it being a novelty for Canadians to have an all you can eat buffet that isn't chinese), and the we did some mini-golfing.  The Myrtle Beach area has many fantastic themed mini-golf courses, including the one we went to: Jungle Safari Golf.  We each played a round, with my sister getting the lowest score (35 on  a par 41 - not to shabby!)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Myrtle Beach Diaries - Days 2-4: Beach Bum & Defenders Of The Realm

Debbie on the beach at night, striking a pose.

The past few days I have been on  vacation in Myrtle Beach SC with my family.  For the most part we have been doing typical beach things - swimming in the ocean, lying on the beach, looking for dolphins in the surf, enjoying the hotels many hot tubs and pools, and taking long walks with the wife watching sunsets over the ocean.

On Monday while the girls went shopping I went geocaching with my dad and spend the morning exploring parts of Myrtle Beach that we have not seen before, despite our bi-annual visits to the area.

One of my planned activities for this trip was to go to Medieval Times.  For those not familiar with the place it is a dinner theatre set in the 1100s, and contains live action jousting, sword fighting and other pursuits of knights and kings.   My parents had offered to babysit Zeke for an evening so I had the perfect chance for a fun date night with my wife.

A falconer and his Falcon named Lady Athena.
Tickets to the show are >$50 each, so when I was offered the chance to get free tickets in exchange for a timeshare demo I was intrigued.  I have heard of similar tours in the past but never qualified (not living in the US was the main issue).  Now that I do qualify I figured I'd give it a chance.  So on Tuesday morning at 9:30 my wife, kid, and I headed over to the sales office to get our tour.  3.5 hours and a sales pitch later we left without a time share, 2 free nights in a hotel, and most importantly, two free tickets to Medieval Times.   This evening we ate and entire roast chicken meal with our hands (cutlery not being invented yet in 1100AD) and watched a very entertaining show full of drama, suspense, action and cheering ourselves hoarse.  Good times had by all :)

Saturday, October 09, 2010

The Myrtle Beach Diaries - Day 1: The Arrival

Note:  I am trying an experiment which hopefully will work.  I am currently on vacation in North Myrtle Beach SC with my wife, kid, sister, brother-in-law, nieces, and parents.  Sort of a family reunion.  We have been coming to Myrtle Beach as a family since before I was born so this is a continuation of a tradition.  These next series of blogs will be about this vacation, but since I don't want to let the world know I am not at my house I am scheduling these entries to post one week from now when I am back home... hopefully it works :)... now, on with the show!

October 2, 2010

Great Falls Mill - Rockingham NC
  We left our house in western North Carolina around 8:30am.  It is normally a 5 hour drive to the coast from my house, however we took 7 1/2 hours so I could do some geocaching along the way.  If you ever wonder why I like geocaching it is because of the interesting places it takes me that I would never see on my own.  This trip provided a perfect example of this as we stumbled across the ruins of Great Falls Mill in Rockingham NC.   These ruins are quite spectacular and remind me of the ruins of old settlements that are found throughout Europe.

Rockingham itself is a very nice small town, and if you ever pass this way I highly recommend checking it out.  We also spent some time exploring the Waccamaw River, which is a river I have driven over many many times on my way to/from the beach, but have never really seen.   Honestly I would rather spend the 7.5 hours driving country roads and checking out awesome views that spending 5 hours on an interstate highway.

Around 4:30pm we pulled into North Myrtle Beach, got checked in, and our stuff unloaded and brought to the rented condo where we are staying.  When I finally got a chance to check out the scenery, I was awarded this wonderful view of the beach, and the Atlantic Ocean.  This promises to be a fantastic week.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Asteroids for Everyone!

Little bit of fun this morning.  The link below will allow you to turn (almost) any web page into your own personal game of asteroids:

So far its worked on every site I've tried it on except