Showing posts from July, 2004
A retrospective on my day off.

(sorry...first a pic)

VW of America is totally clueless, and the legion of people that bought cars in 1998-2002 have pretty much rotated out of 'em. Bad build quality, terrible customer serice, and hearing the answer "Oh they all do that [leak oil, fail to start, creak, groan, ride like a buick, blow ignition coils, flake off their paint]"

* * *

Anyway, I arose yesterday surrounded by the insane mess of my apartment, and then I smelled the 57 degree air outside and I had a Ferris Bueller moment, "Cameron, I'm TAKING THE DAY OFF". Whitney's dad's offer of free tix to the Louisville Bats (Triple A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds) sealed the deal. Three phone calls later, I was off for the day.

Made some yummy Pilsbury Cinnamon rolls & a quart of pure Sumatran coffee, and then I made my todo list + shopping list. Won't bore you with the details, but my proudest moment came as I sewed buttons on two different …
Harvid brainfart moment of the day:

So, I'm coding up this fix that AT&T is demanding, and I've solved the problem with a little hack WAY down inside this one module. Without going into too much detail, what I have to do is invert the array that I was returning from this one function (I said it was a hack!)

In java, to do that, you need to use a java.util.Comparator class inside the Arrays.sort() method call. Inside the comparator, I need to change the sign of the return value of the java.lang.String class's compareTo() method.

So, genius me, I'm sitting here for like 15 minutes trying to figure this out, so I code-up something like this:

int ordinal = fileName1.compareTo(fileName2);

switch( ordinal )
case -1: return 1;
case 1: return -1;
case 0: return 0;


Which is just about the most ridiculous code I've ever I say to Patrick: "What's the easiest way to flip the sign of an integer?" and he goes: "Uhh...multiply by n…
GAA! National Faggot Week?

Warning: British false cognate content!
The weekender blog:

Spent most all of this weekend up in and around Louisville. Friday night, I went up for dinner with Whitney and Joey, then Saturday we found ourselves in sunny New Haven, KY:

Where we found ourselves at the Kentucky Railway Museum to ride Thomas the Tank Engine on his tour of America.

The start of Saturday was a disaster; Joey hid Whitney's keys inside the laundry and we didn't leave until a few minutes after 11, when we had tickets for the 12:20 train. It takes a little over an hour to get to New Haven via US 31E through Bardstown. On the bright side, we got to take the Pup and the drive was a blast with Whitney and Joey in his car seat in the back.

Gratuitous cute kid pic:

Anyway, we got to the railway museum and it was really fun. We got to ride on the train, with Thomas sitting at the front. It was actually a faux engine, but looked convincing enough. I was rather impressed--very kid-friendly environment, and not too commercial. Other than tickets, w…
Suddenly, Central Kentucky is the Scottish Highlands:

The high today was ~70, with tonight's low expected to be 61 degrees, and a low cloudlayer blankets everything with a diffuse, gray light, and a mist hangs low.

>>cue the Hound of the Baskervilles. :D

Some hellacious thunderstorm blew through Georgetown at around 6am. I was so desperate for sleep that I put my pillow over my head to muffle the thunder and turned off my alarm.

So, after getting up at the crack of 9 am, I didn't make it to work until around 10. >>sigh<<

Totally spent today...

Hand clap of praise: I was a good boy and went jogging last night around the subdivision across from my apartment house. Only got chased by one dog, and a little pug at that :-)

Made it to Bible study last night (late, as usual). sleepy....
From the automotive newsletter that I read every Wednesday:

Lessons you learn in life

Fav quote:

Suffice to say, Nadine is my "ex" - the fiery redhead with an equally fiery temper who is comfortable around firearms and who, in a drunken rage, inadvertently shot me, twice, when she found out I was leaving her for Ms. Jolene.

Sleep is such a good thing.

And such a bad thing when you're not getting enough.
Kudos to my wondermous girlfriend who, after hearing about the powerlessness and depression of my team at work, set us a snack basket with 10 pounds of junk food: 3 kinds of pringles, gummy worms, doritos, devil's food cookies, hard candies, salsa + chips. I asked her if she ordered the "Programmer's Special" :-)

Way to go, honey!
Let's face it, Morning Drive is a time of extremes for radio listeners in America today: You're stuck in your car for a few fleet minutes or monotonous hours as you and 10,000 of your closest friends who eschew public transportation wind your way to work. To escape, you flick on your radio and you get the complete spectrum from Howard Stern to Bible-thumping Baptists to Classic Rock.

And so much of it is just crap, isn't it? Most of the Howard Stern wannabes continue to disgust us, and shows like Bob and Tom feature the same tired jokes and made-up group dynamics year after year. NPR is a respite from the canned laughter and naked lesbians, though it seems broadcast from Communist China.

So, I expect very little from my morning commute, but the other day on the "Rick 'N' Bubba" show on 101.5 here in Lexington, I heard a genuinely provocative topic: Judges are the new lawmakers of America. Think about it: With the president busy with foreign policy …
Heard complaints lately that the 'Blog is a real bitter pill to swallow. As in, "Harold, you're frickin' depressing, man!"

So, my hand-clap of praise for the day: My mom found the watch I "lost", my Eddie Bauer watch that was a graduation present from my father. Awesomeness!

Also, a small report from the autocross at EKU yesterday. Short course, with lots of sweeper elements and good flow. Not very technical. With the low turn-out we had 3 heats with 6 runs apiece. (I would have pics, but Whitney absconded with my Nikon digicam.)

List of times & tire pressures

34.7 (45f/40r)
34.4 ""
34.6 (45f/36r) [ misread my tire gauge ]
35.4 "" Whitney's ride-along run
33.9 (42f/40r) Found the right pressures for good turn-in
33.4 ""

Even with that, I was 3rd for the day in H-Stock. Scott & his co-driver beat me by .3 and ~.15, respectively. So, out of the money for my 2nd home-region event …
This is just hilarious:

Thursday: Bought new "big honkin' mower" at Sears
Saturday, 10:00: Sears mower delivered
Saturday, 10:30: It becomes apparent that the mower was assembled by chimpanzees. Really stupid chimpanzees. On crack.
Saturday, 1:00: Sears mower in pieces all over the floor of the garage
Saturday, 2:00: Call to Sears - "Come get this mess"

Monday AM.........Big Honkin' Cub Cadet Mower to be delivered :-) :-)

Jeff (Marshall) had an interesting weekend, it would seem.
What follows is me whining about my job. You've been warned.

I am so bored with my job. It has a crushing sameness that I cannot escape, and when I do, it seems like the inertia of this corporate black-hole pulls me right back. I've done exactly the same job for 3+ years, without much variation nor change in skill set. Got a new machine yesterday, and tried to go against the grain and install SuSE Linux 9.1 on it. Well, because genius me ordered it with a windows-only hard drive controller (Promise FastTrack...don't go anywhere near it, people!) I couldn't get it to work.

So, here I am, stuck developing on Windows, which I hate with a passion and have to patch at least twice a week to stay ahead of worms and virii. It's INSANE!

Yes, I've had plenty of 'wins' in the last 3 years for my software. I've designed its plugin architecture, I've shepherded countless screwed-up things through when no one else could, and that's gratifying, but …
Submitted for your approval: Godzilla, the 1998 remake of the 1954 monster-movie classic.

It was awful...I somehow avoided seeing this disaster during the summer between my Freshman & Sophomore year of college, but I thought, "I've got Netflix, so why not?" In any case, I can now join in the complaints about this movie that promised so much, but delivered so little.

My main problem with the film is its unoriginality: In changing nearly everything about the classic Godzilla, you'd think they'd come-up with some original stuff. Instead, you see stolen bits from other movies here: The eggs in Madison Square Garden, reminiscent of "Aliens", the desperate escape from young that they lifted wholesale from "Jurassic Park". And why is it raining the WHOLE TIME? I felt sorry for Matthew Broderick having to endure 6 weeks of shooting under rain machines.

The lone bright spot for me is Jean Reno as the French Secret Service officer that doesn&#…
Random Slashdot quip of the day :D

Slashdot | Can Your Car Get 1,700 MPG?: "I'm not impressed. The Spanish in the 15th century in their voyages to the New World and back were getting thousands of miles per galleon."
The Autocross

Yes, that's a Ford Festiva with a motor-swap.

Last Sunday was my first autocross with the Cincinnati Sports Car Club, also known as The Guys Who want to Autocross, but Can't Follow the Rules. Basically, this is a parallel group to the Cincy Region of SCCA, but they do their own thing at the deathtrap of a site known as Scarlett Oaks.

The site's on the northside of Cincy, just East of I-75 on I-275. There's no way SCCA'd allow an event there: The course cuts between buildings, beside big ditches, and it's rimmed with 3" concrete curbs. You get off-line, you kill your car. (On the bright side, LOTS of good accident stories while you're in grid.)

Stock classes ran first, and it was the usual battle between me and Scott in his Civic. I lost, but I acquitted myself well--I kept getting better on each run. Thought I did pretty well for my first time there.

So, I ran 1st and worked the 3rd of 3 heats as the undefined 'Spotter' posi…
It was a fun, exciting, and tiring weekend for me.

Saturday saw Whitney, Joey, and I head up in the Green Dragon to Joe Huber Family Farm, just north of Louisville in Starlight, Indiana.

Huber's is a Louisvillian tradition, apparently, though I'd never heard of it. (Gotta say I love the name more than Georgetown's own Double Stink Hog Farm) Anyway, Joe Huber has invented the best racket since Tom Sawyer himself: He gets thousands of city folk per year to PAY HIM to harvest his own produce. But hey, when in Rome, right?

Kidding aside, the Blackberries we harvested and peaches we bought were both delicious. Oh, and while you're in the fields, you get to eat all the blackberries you want right off the bush. I consumed roughly half my weight in blackberries in 45 minutes' time. (Warning, blackberries are about 30% indigestible material...YMMV)

After the pickin' (my 'g' mysteriously goes away whenever I'm in the country...go figure), we settled-…
Wonderful site that Joel Jirak just showed me: 2BlowHards. Don't worry, it's very Safe For Work (SFW).

Everything a blog should be: Incisive, personal, devil-may-care, provocative.
Forgive me...just can't get enough:

- The requirements you give your real estate agent are (in order of importance):
1) 8 car climate controlled garage with an attached shop.
2) Outside parking for 6 cars, a motorhome, a crew cab dualie, a 28'enclosed trailer and a 34' 5th wheel.
3) 3 phase 220V outlets in the garage for your welder.
4) A grease pit.
5) Convenient to a hazardous waste disposal site.
6) Deaf neighbors.
7) Across the street from a paint and body shop.
8) Some sort of house with a working toilet and shower on the property somewhere -or- hookups for the motorhome.


I particularly like:
- Your email address refers to your race car rather than to you.
- You have car parts in your cubicle at work.
- After your answer to "What did you do this weekend?" the next question is always: "And you do this for fun? Right?"
- Your first date involves asking her to crew for you.
- A neighbor asks if you have any oil, to which you query, "Synthetic or organic?" and they reply, "Vegetable or corn."
- Everywhere you go, you try to find the fastest line through the turn.
- You always do a toe & heel downshift while whoever might be your passenger gives you a real funny look.

\Viz\, adv. [Contr. fr. videlicet.] To wit; that is; namely.

[Try Merriam-Webster Unabridged.]
Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

I always thought viz. was short for 'vis-a-vis', but I was totally wrong. My guys in India use this abbreviation all the time, and for like 2 years I had no idea what they meant.
From Slashdot:

when the economy is good treat your company with the level of loyalty and respect that they showed to you.

This is typical American neurotic thinking (I'm American too, I'm not trying to flame you here).

Loyalty is to other people. Respect is something you show other people. It is nonsense to be "loyal" to a company, or to "respect" a company. This idea is simply American corporate brainwashing.

Companies are incorporeal entities, not deserving of loyalty or respect. Be loyal to yourself and your employer (your employer is a person, not a corporation). Think nothing of this vaporous concept called "the company."

"The company" can go f*ck itself.

:-) Amen. The checks keep clearing, I'm there. Otherwise, fuggetaboutit.
"All your base are belong to us!"
The next trip has been (re)scheduled:

Whitney and I will be heading to Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park via a non-stop Frontier Airlines flight from Indianapolis to Denver on August 25th, returning August 29th.

I'm looking forward to it greatly...getting to be Out West again, if only for a few days, at altitude, enjoying nature. I really liked Colorado on my abbreviated trip through in 2000, and I think I'll enjoy spending more time there, visiting some sights, my lady Love in tow :-)

I have no idea why today feels like such a bad day, but it just...does.

I'm not sure if there's some conspiracy against IM traffic here at work, but neither Trillian nor MSN Messenger will connect through our firewall. I've always predicted they'd block 'em, but it would seem they're finally following through.

I just feel unmotivated somehow, which is not a very good feeling. Guess it's just the wear and tear from running all weekend from Louisville to Jackson and back. Did very much enjoy it, though. :-D
Well, it's official: Kerry/Edwards '04 is off and running.


Best suggestion I've heard all day: "Why doesn't Cheney resign and let John McCain jump on the Republican ticket." Heck yeah! Remove the greatest objection to the Bush/Cheney ticket (Cheney's corporate connections + general creepiness), then add the most compelling Republican since Ronald Reagan. Makes sense to me...

On Blogs with comments enabled:

(or "Harry's Blog Comment Manifesto")

Some blogs allow readers to comment on the articles. Mine does not, and will not. I can't say this in a way that doesn't come off as mean: I think they're stupid. (er...'silly', for those households that have banned the use of stupid.)

Why do you 'Blog? I think in essence, it's to get your views on life out there for others to see, and to express yourself, be introspective, practice your writing, and comment on the course of your life and the world in general. (and given that last sentence, it also allows one to be highly redundant...)

One hopes his blog entries are provacative, well-written, and interesting, of course, but at the heart of it, I don't blog because I care what other people think. I blog because I want to say what *I* think, and to Hell with everything else. Some of my friends read this Blog; my whole purpose in starting it was to keep people inform…
Just a moment to mark the passing of Marlon Brando. Renowned as a Method actor, Brando means just one thing to me: Don Corleone.

Random, bawdy, offensive bumper-sticker...

Racing: The only sport that requires TWO balls.

:-) Kinda silly, but made me smile.
Latest Neflix:

Dr. Strangelove (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb)

Kubrick's satiric masterpiece, aided by Peter Sellers (a.k.a. Inspector Clouseau), George C Scott, and the unforgettable Slim Pickins, the movie delights and terrifies. Though we face a world fraught with terrorism and uncertainty, this movie is a window into the time of Mutually Assured Destruction, when the only certainty was the concept of global annihilation in 30 minutes or less.

The Bridge over the River Kwai

Okay, so I'm watching this masterpiece thinking "Use the Force, Luke!" Honestly, I've watched this film so many times on TBS, heard that damnable tune they whistle, that the true message of the movie gets lost one me in the wake of "Bridge blows up real good". It's a wonderful movie, carefully done, with great characterization. We really grow along with the characters, and one can say that about few movies.
The process chronicles, day 27:

Perhaps the most preposterous thing in our overworked, self-involved world is going to work and being told not to work, but that's where we are. After three meetings today, each resembling a 'talking to' from a teacher to a relucant, whiny pupil, my manager rolled-over and said, "My people won't do the work you promised them they could do? SATISFIED?!"

I feel let-down. It's not that I don't have other stuff to do; rather, it's that for once it seemed we had opportunity and approval to do things "The Right Way". Seemed a *little* too good to be true, and it is.

Just like planes, decent conversation, and most threads on the Usenet, the process has been hijacked by those jackass managers. Our project dangles on a string while those managers who understand the political game maneuver into stronger and stronger positions, while we stay sill or move backwards. Listen, fokls, altruism is great, but sometim…