Showing posts from December, 2004
Muhahahaha....The .Net Passport is dying.

Of course it's the deafening answer to a question nobody asked.
Lots of randomness today:

Something irks me about "The Western Whitehouse," George Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. The man's the leader of the free world and commander of the most powerful army the world has ever known, but he's still AN ELECTED OFFICIAL. We the people pay his salary, and he has a nice place to live near that's in proximity to the rest of the government...the ACTUAL whitehouse.

(Pic taken at the aforementioned WWW:)

It just struck me last night how haughty this man is that he could, by fiat, designate HIS OWN HOUSE as the adjunct seat of the American executive Branch. Is it too much to ask a guy to do his job in the traditional way?

Consider: Phantom of the Opera (the movie version). Visually lush, the movie delights the eyes, especially the stunning transition from B&W to color as the chandelier resurrects itself and arises to the heavens. Unfortunately, Phantom falls flat, as none of these people can actually SING! How do you ha…
Ahh yes, this is what my GTO looks like in Australia.
Check out this snazzy bluetooth headset Whitney got me for Christmas:

Works really well so far...I'm talking to Whitney, and my phone is across the room, plugged into its charger.
Requiem for a Gladiator:


You shall be missed, #92. God be with you.

Images of my Christmas 2004

The GTO's freshly washed and put away, the MINI's loaded with winter clothes and shod with Dunlop snow tires, and I've padded my midsection with fruitcake.

Winter, do your worst!
Geeze, it's cold out there this morning...7 deg F on the MINI thermometer.

Driving the Pup after a weekend in the GTO is a study in contrasts: The clutch effort in a MINI is non-existent, making it a much better friend in dense traffic, and the much-maligned British Midlands 5-speed is like silk compared to the 6-speed Tremec in the GTO. And it's SO easy to blip the throttle for a perfect heel-and-toe downshift in a MINI.

The Pup's 1000 lbs lighter than the GTO, but it feels even more than that. And, gotta love those heated seats!

One caveat: Going from a 6-speed to a 5-speed can be a problem. All the way right and down is 6th gear in the GTO. It's REVERSE in the MINI. Not something you want to find-out going 45 mph :-(
Finally some pics of the New GTO, salt encrusted though it was after my travels this weekend.

Went down to Jackson to do some computer work for the library, and to show-off the new car. It was a magnificent ride down, and only a little scary during the snow bursts we saw today on the way back.

The car already has over 900 miles on the odometer, and it's averaging around 20mpg on the highway on 87-octane gas.
:-) Here's the Vortex Thread that got me to buy the GTO.

3 guys (maybe 4) got GTOs out of the deal, but Gateway, the thread originator, didn't pull the trigger.

Lots of good GTO pics in the thread. :-)
Serenity NOW!


Okay, when you're going on vacation there are certain things you don't do:
-- don't break the build. This is the prime directive, because if you're gone, you can't fix it.

-- don't lock half the libraries in the project just so you know no one (Harold!) can change them on you. This is the "this code is mine damnit" syndrome.

I'm hung-out-to-dry today, and I don't know whether to laugh or cry. My parter on this project is out until Monday, and she screwed-up our library system royally. The only workable version of our component is on her system, and I have no way to get to it other than calling her cellphone and asking her for her system password. She didn't check-it-in to our code library, so I can't do any of the work assigned to me.

Learned something on my way to South Lexington to pick up my office-mate Patrick: Don't try to ease into the throttle while your shifting the GTO. Clutch-in, shift, and STAY THE FREAK AWAY FROM THE THROTTLE until after you're in the next gear.

I had the poor car (still searching for a nickname..."Goat" is the traditional name for a GTO, and Big Blue is Robin's car's name...we'll see what pans-out) bucking like a bronco in traffic just shifting through 1-2-3. Once I stayed away from the throttle all driveline lash ceased.

* * *

Today's the day of the yearly Holiday potluck for my area. Everyone brings a dish and we all pig-out from 11-1. Usually some good ethnic food, thanks to all our Chinese, Filipino, Indian, and Japanese workers. They get to sample my ultimate taste of Kentucky--Maker's Mark bourbon brownies, made with a new recipie Whitney found on the Marker's Mark website.
What can I say? I found a 2004 GTO for a steal this morning at 9:30, and by 12, I had signed the papers, traded-off my Chevy Silverado, and powered down the road in a Kentucky-Blue Pontiac that could take-on anyone.

The seats are amazingly comfortable, the 350hp LS2 is both smooth and menacing, and the transmission is chunky and satisfying. The car feels brutish and blunt--it's all force and no apologies. No wussy cylinder deactivation...if you keep your foot in it, this thing's good for 158mph and 6mpg

The car stickered at $33k, but there was a red-tag sticker on the doorjam that had it at $24,990, which was lower than my target price from last night, even before I started to haggle. Why can car-buying be like this all the time? How much does the darn thing COST?

Seriously, I took one look at the color of the car, and fell in's a metallic blue color that's just like Kentucky blue. The test drive was lengthy and representative--the car drives small, and…
Why OH WHY do I read The 'Tex? I mean, all it does is give me car fever, something fierce...

So, here's the deal...Pontiac brought the GTO back to America for 2004, and priced them right out of the market at $31k. This is roughly the same price as a Chrysler 300C.




Anyway, for $32k, I'm buying the Chrysler, no question.

...but the plot thickens...

After the inital hype died, Pontiac couldn't give away the GTO. Styling was somewhat bland, and the 6-speed got panned for being vague, but the essentials were there: 350hp V-8 engine, manual tranny, independent rear suspension, and room for 4 people. GM's stepping up to the plate, adding some "visual excitement" to the styling, and plopping-in the 400hp v-8 from the Z06 corvette

...which leaves a problem...what to do with the 2004 models languishing on dealer lots. GM has slapped $5500 of rebates on the vehicle, and combined with an invoice price of $29k for a manual tranny GTO and you c…
I hate our firmware guys
I hate our firmware guys
I hate our firmware guys
I hate our firmware guys
I hate our firmware guys
I hate our firmware guys

I'm not letting this ruin my day or anything (it's almost over, come hell or high water), but things like this get on my nerves: Firmware and us agreed upon the behavior of our protocol 2 MONTHS AGO, and now it comes-out that both sides misunderstood the requirements.

So do they have to change? "Well, we can go ask our manager for permission to bail you guys out, but you guys do it because it's easier for you." They don't have to change, because the lot of them is going on vacation tomorrow until after the 1st of the year.

Frigging Code Cowboys.

[end rant]
Pics from the MINI Christmas part last night:


We arrived 45 mins late to the party with 8 MINIs there, total. Brad and Raecarol Ennis hosted the party in their pretty house in an affluent neighborhood. Most of the partygoers were families, and all the kids loved Brad's downstairs full of toys.

The only bad part of the night is it REALLY has me wanting a MINI Cooper S, especially after hearing that the new 'Hyper Blue' color is just like the the old Indi-Blue. Priced-one-out, and it'd be $24k, which would be about $10k over what I could get for my MINI. >>Sigh<<
Watched The Whole Ten Yards up at Whitney's on Saturday night. It's embarrasingly bad, as neither the plot nor characters make any sense. There were maybe two or three funny lines in the whole movie.

When I was about 11, my Dad and I were laying-out sticks in the field for the forthcoming tobacco harvest. I looked at the whole task, the number of rows, and the number of sticks. I told Dad, "We'll never get this done!"

"Don't look at the rows ahead, just the row you're on, son. We'll get done."

And we did.

* * *

When I'm having days like today, it feels good to remember that.
If nothing else will convince you, Allison Krauss's voice will assure you there's a God. Nothing so pure, sweet, and perfect could come about by accident.

Whitney and I went to The Louisville Palace last night for a performance of Allison Krauss and Union Station at 7:30. Being the last night of their two-night engagement at the Palace, the band was relaxed and playful, taking the audience through a setlist that ranged from haunting ballads to hard-thrumming bluegrass to more contemporary Country, mixing light banter and anecdotes along the way.

Jerry Douglass lent his signature Dobro to the rest of Union Station, made up of Allison doing both vocals and fiddle; Dan Tyminski on vocal, mandolin, and guitar; Ron Block on Banjo and Guitar; and Barry Bales on Bass. Their sound is tight and well-rehearsed, but retains the improvisational flair and virtuosity that keeps me coming back. Douglass is peerless on the Dobro, having redefined the instrument's modern sound, and both B…
Great entry
over on Josh's Blog about how my puny hometown made it into the New York times as a counterpoint to New York's education reform efforts.

I'm one of the few people who liked KERA, but then again, I like to write. I feel KERA works well, if applied to students from 7th grade onwards (as it was with me) by teachers who are motivated. Unfortunately, the teachers from my hometown are lazy and complacent, with those who believed in students and their education moving "up the hill" to the now-bankrupt Independent city school.

Seriously, my idea for education is this:
* learn traditionally throughout grade school. KERA doesn't work if you can't form a sentence, let alone a paragraph. Furthermore, certain skills like arithmetic and spelling lend themselves to rote and repetition. For all the complaints about how bad our educational system was, I would've put my 3rd grade class from Mrs. Dora Holbrook up against anyone doing spelling, readi…
So, today at work pretty much stinks. I missed my 9am meeting, I'm basically relegated to doing garbage-cleanup work on the codebase 12 hours a day for the next month (Merry Christmas everyone!), but this video brought a smile to my face:

video (right click->Save Target As)

It's Gilles Villenueve vs Rene Arnoux back when Forumla 1 was real racing, not technological overkill.
This makes 12 hours at work (and counting), and I've been up since 5. Yike.
I get the blessing of a quiet weekend after what's been a hectic week at work. Thank you, Lord!

Whitney invited me to her office Christmas party at the Gault house, and it was decent, if a tad boring. We arrived fashionably late (halfway through cocktail hour), and we sat with Whitney's boss and CEO, both women, and their husbands, as well as David and Anne, a great couple from WV who've just had a baby girl this past year.

The evening was okay. The food was great, the service was attentive, and the conversation was...umm...okay, not to my taste, but bearable. Then the entertainment began with the emcee and his partern beginning a LOOOONG party game involving each table of 7-10 people acting as a 'team', playing trivia. The game dragged-on for two hours, intermixed with Christmas bonuses and door prizes, finally ending with dancing, but by then I was pretty much pooped.

Whitney and I danced for about 20 minutes, then decided to leave.
Take the quiz: "How much road rage do you have?"

Display more anger than half.
Well, I'm not exactly proud. But, at least there are more people who display more road rage than yourself. You may get angry at most drivers, but you aren't a psycho who does drive by shootings.

There's an emergency project at work that I've been pulled off to work on. It means long days and maybe weekends from now until after the first of the year (Bah-humbug).