Showing posts from April, 2005

Gettin' my Whine on...Sideways

Sideways: What's the big deal? I mean, it's a decent story and it WILL make you want to try Pinot Noir, even though it's the most tasteless, bodiless wine out there. This is not a funny movie, as it's made out to be.

It's a sad, cautionary tale of a divorced man beginning the long decline of middle age who must witness the joie de vive of every other person in Napa valley as he reflects on his own failures. It's well acted, and there are moments of comic relief, but the general thread ("This guy is SUCH a loser") runs so strong that I never could get into the other characters.

Virginia Madsen is good, and certain scenes have excellent dialog, but the whole Nihilistic uselessness of the whole story turned me off. It's worth watching, if only to encourage you to do SOMETHING with your life (kids, career, hobbies, marriage) by the time you're 40.

On Being Blown...

This is as blown as I've been since that time in College where I wrote my 'History of the South' term paper in 30 hours, from the start of the research to the completed, bibliographied, 20 page work.

I've been overseeing the translations workshop, trying to use my damn product along with the translators, and it's been a revelation. We're 4 weeks from release, and the product doesn't work. Not even close.

Certain features perform under ideal conditions, and certain features just don't. I'm tempted to host an amnesty day, in which all the programmers get together and reveal all the hacks, bad code, and issues that exist with their pieces of the codebase, because unless everyone gets very real, very soon, we're doomed. I can't BELIEVE how embarrasingly bad the user experience is at this point.

Anyway, I've been here past 9 or 10 at night since Monday and I'm starting to see things floating through my vision. I'm going to go home…

Review: Spanglish

Spanglish is a revelation: Touching, genuine, intimate, and involving, it's the "small" picture at its best. The story is one of integration and separation, as a single latino mother (the stunning Paz Vega) makes a way for herself and her daughter in the swankiest parts of Los Angeles, amid a family tearing itself apart. The mother is a control-freak basket-case (Tea Leoni, taking a page from Annette Benning's character in American Beauty), the father (Adam Sandler) an irresolute chef afraid of his own restaurant's success. Their two children are amazingly well adjusted, considering.

Scenes in this movie will make you remember the sweet moments in your life--unrequited impossible love, the joy of simple kindness, the awkwardness and discovery of a new culture and place. In particular, the scene between Sandler and Vega speak volumes with a single look.

The grass is always greener....

Conversation I had during the 2 1/2 hours I was working the course yesterday whilst the wind froze me and the sun burnt my face to a crisp:

John: Man, Tony's WRX is awesome!

Me: Yeah, he's got everything on it...his 6-speed transmission alone cost $4k

John: Holy SHIT...what does he do for a living

Me: He's a programmer, I think...

John: See, now that's what I need to get more of this turning wrenches for Uncle Sam

Me: :-) You never know...sometimes, it's not what it's cracked-up to be

Random complaints

Why were American cars from the early 90's so crappy? Specifically, I'm speaking of the the Chevy Lumina and Ford Taurus. Granted, these were cars of the (now non-existent) cheap, mid-size, soft suspension class, but where's the quality? Drive a 10 year old Accord versus a 10 year old Taurus, and the Honda is a revelation.
Why is it people at autocross keep trying to kill me? I was 10 feet away from 3 spins this weekend, one of which saw a guy in a Mitsubishi Evo sliding at me WITH HIS FOOT STILL ON THE GAS. Also, got to watch a 4000 lb Volvo S60R slide right into a patch of grass I'd been standing in just 10 minutes before.
Why must mother/daughter relationships be so rocky? Is there something about estrogen + estrogen that's similar to magnetism: Like charges repel? Is it the Electra complex, only lasting for 40 years? I had serious relationships with 3 women, and none could stand her own mother.

Wigging, part 2

The day is nearly over, and I've done quite a bit:

took the powerless powerbook to CompUSA down in Lexington for its first warranty service. Turns-out the PB is fine, my A/C adapter's worn-out. I have a new one on the way from Cupertino, all free of charge.
Had a rather fruitless quest for a new cell phone (which I don't need, anyway..) The Nokia 6230 is backordered in the whole region, and I don't like the Motorola V551 very much
Got a new Sam's Club card and bought a year's supply of razor blades for $28
Visited the mecca of tools (sears) and got a new pair of gloves and a Craftsman Strap-wrench (sounds like a sex-toy, doesn't it?) for my next task...

Changed the oil in the GTO with fresh 5w30 Mobil1 and a AC Delco PF46 filter. The gloves and the strapwrench made it a nice, easy job, and I finally had a good drip-pan from Wal-Mart. This is the point at which I really started to enjoy my day
I watched my first DVD in a long time...Lock Stock and Two Smoking…

Wigging....Day 1

I just feel frickin' OFF today. I don't know if it's my job, the crushing importance of EVERYTHING I do these days, or various other things.

Called in to work to take the day's going to rain until Sunday and I just don't really want to be around people today. I feel like a total lout...

What's bothering me? :-) Guess. Go ahead. I'll wait....

Anyway, I'm going to try and get a few things done today and get outside and just generally try and feel a bit more like myself and a bit less like an automaton. Again...just OFF. Off-center, off-kilter...OFF.

Free as in...Gas?

The only thing worse than someone hollering FREE BEER in a bar is a bank saying FREE GAS to a town of yuppies and rednecks driving SUVs.

Started lining-up @ 4am this morning, and they're repeating the promotion this afternoon...

Review: "Closer"

Mike Nichols' Closer is one of two movies I hate but grudgingly respect, the other being The Rules of Attraction. Closer is the depressing tale of relationships gone wrong, fidelity ignored, and carnal lust indulged and counter-indulged to the last.

This is one of those art house films that can't quite decide if it's brilliant or irrelevant. As it begins, we find Dan (Jude Law) meeting the displaced American, Alice (Natalie Portman). Dan's a failed novelist who's writing obituaries. Later, we see him publishing his first novel, as Anna (Julia Roberts) photographs him. Dan makes a pass as Anna, even as Alice is on the way to meet him at the studio. All the characters read brilliant lines with no emotions.

As the movie progresses, the characters become more and more emotional, less rational and more randomly evil. Ironically, the only "pure" character is Alice, the inveterate smoker, stripper, and liar. The other points of the compass are, altern…

Things you don't know when you're working 14 hour days.

Prince Ranier of Monaco is dead. Ruler of the poshest principality in the world, husband of Grace Kelly, father of two beautiful daughters. Lived to be 81.
Yale and Columbia graduate students are about to strike Well, so long as Magenta doesn't go too, we can still have the Rocky Horror revival at midnight...

And the saga...ends...I hope

So, there I was, outside on a beautiful spring day, noting the change in the dogwoods from flowers to foliage, crusing at 95 in my GTO, Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," awash in my ears. The tranny hummed a mechanical song beneath my fingertips, comfortably loping in 6th gear.

Life is good when your new house is perfect.

Philip Preston (of "Preston Home Inspections" fame) had given his stamp of approval ("It's one hell of a house, man"), with his wife/gf/squeeze's agreement.

So, from now, it's just getting the title search completed, signing the post-occupancy agreement (they can't leave until June 20th b/c they're building a new house), and closing.

* * *

And on the way back, my first honest-to-goodness "friendly contest". I was on the cell calling Bella when I saw a dual-exhaust mustang cruise up beside me in the fast lane. Dark tint. Sounded mean.

Ordinarily, a 'Stang is nothing to an LS1-equipped car. Rangin…

Something ruining your whole day...

Image rather surprised competitor at the Atlanta Nat'l AutoX.

Shout out

And now, a shout-out to the incomparable, Mrs. Shannon Suzanne McRoberts:

Do you need interesting art for your walls?

More Wedding bells...

Man, people hit about 25-27 and they just GOTTA GET MARRIED!

The Barger-Fields wedding


As Promised:


So, the reality of being team lead strikes home.

Four million nits to pick, people complaining, and everyone wants a piece of my time.


On the BRIGHT side...They accepted my offer on the new house at 100 Sardula. I called the home inspector, gave my 30 day notice at my apartment (I'll be out by May 14th), and sent off my check for house appraisal.

Exciting :D


Well, it's been about a month since I dl'ed the ROM image for the original FF1, and I just beat it tonight...

Yeeha...I'm suddenly 11 years old again :-)

A thanksgiving prayer

Dear Lord, on this sabbath day, thank you for the great gifts You bestowed upon us this weekend. First, thank you for the wonderous Spring weather, with sun from Friday afternoon straight through this evening.

Also, thanks for Whitney and thank You for letting her say 'Yes'.

Thanks for guiding our house search today, and keeping us safe on the roadways.


Random Harvid moment...


Got to troubleshoot a problem today on our Linux box, and despite it's nearly 3 years of age, the thing just SCREAMS. So good to be back in the Unix/Linux world where things are files, period. Everything works like a file, and the OS isn't going down, no matter how much you beat on it.

Definitely not the most user-friendly of systems, but for the professional who wants to get something done, a good SuSE box with tons of programming goodies and network utilities is hard to beat.

Yes, I've been at work for 11 hrs and 30 minutes...>>sigh<<

The saga of the message board continues...

Mike (handle: Gateway), the guy whose thread got me into the GTO has another new (read: leased) car: Read All about it

cool pic


My Team Lead style...

1. Get the right people
2. Give them the right tools and training
3. Remove all obstacles to their work
4. Profit.


Seems to be working so far. Of course, the downside to this is what you do if you don't have the right people.

The house saga continues...

Well, the current owner of 107 Secretariat street didn't like my requests to fix a couple things and give us an allowance for the roof he allowed to cook off his house. My realtor told me I was being somewhat unreasonable, and maybe I was. It was a nice little house in a good area, but it scared us.

A full repaint, a new roof, and repairs from general neglect would be our constant companions.

When I got the news, I thought someone had punched me in the stomach. Somewhere, down in my heart, I thought the owners would meet us halfway and we'd still have the cute little house. >>Sigh<<

But oh well. Whitney's searching for more prospects for us already.

Random thought...

Diane Sawyer looks like an older version of Paris Hilton.


One of my regular blogs on my RSS reader is having some Vonage issues (Warning: STRONG language


Pics from the last few weeks coming at ya!

Monday Musings...

We've come back to daylight savings time, much like a drunk returns to church, or a guilty husband returns home: We know this is where we need to be, but it's hard to do. We now have daylight after work to play with, and that leads to MORE hyperactivity and less sleep.

Had a great time this weekend up with Whitney and Joe-man, who is celebrating his 4th birthday. He got some Transformers, which I think Whitney and I love more than he does. Go figure.

Behind enemy lines

Two hot cars line the lot here, deep inside Indian country. Thor and the Pup, their catalytic converters ticking, sit in the parking lot on Breckinridge Lane, in the city that's holding its breath.

Yes, I'm a Wildcat fan surrounded by Cardinal Red. It's eerie.

* * *

It's a cold day in hell (aka Louisville), and Whitney, Joey, and I watched a good exhibition game this afternoon between the Cincinnati Reds and the Toronto Bluejays at Slugger Field. A stiff breeze blew in towards home plate from left field, and it was COLD. The Reds jumped out on bad Toronto pitching to a 3-0 lead, but Toronto came back, taking the lead in the 6th. After a full line change, the second string for both teams saw Cincy knock-in two to take the lead finally at 7-6.

Pitching for both teams underperformed, thought the Cincy starter was sharp, minus the hanging curve Toronto crushed in the 2nd.

Can't wait for baseball season! :D

All is not necessarily well in house-ville

For every magnificent up, there's usually a sickening down...

Just got back from my home inspection, done by a very throrough, straightforward man named Philip Preston. He found some "issues" with the house.

First is the grade. The house is on a completely flat plot, and there's not grade away from the house, so water will naturally tend to pool around it. Thankfully, he said the crawlspace was very dry, despite being poorly vented. (It has fewer vents than current code requires, but it's per code for 7 years ago).

He said that the main beam under the South end of the house was improperly shimmed using folded metal pieces, and these compressed, causing a squeak in the floor under what will be Joey's room. Nothing serious, and he said I could fix this by installing a proper, unfolded metal shim.

The big thing is the roof. He said the attic spaces hadn't been allowed adequate ventilation, so the shingles had essentially cooked over the past 7 years, halvi…

April Fool's day...

My favorite part of April Fool's Day?

Prank tech stories on slashdot