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Showing posts from January, 2006

Why women hate men who love cars.

Read This thread and you'll get it.

Guy streeted his girl for a GTO.

Proof that you're having a bad coupla days...

...you look down at work two days in a row and notice that your pants aren't zipped.

* * *

Drove the MINI to work today; I'm rather tired of having only one car, and certain expediencies require separate vehicles. So, what did I notice about my garage queen (king?) when I got out to put the floormats in it?

Two burned-out bulbs in the front lights: one lowbeam headlight (driver's side), and one driving light on the passenger side. My baby misses me. :-)

Is the car dying along with the baby boomers?

Is the car dying?

Is the automobile, the symbol of American freedom and excess ceasing to be an object of status & lust for the populace?

I'm not writing to persuade you of this fact, but rather to pose the question that occurs to me. Are cars just necessary appliances that no longer inspire their owners? After 4 generations of automobilers (Great Generation, Boomers, Gen X, and the latest unnamed gaggle), is the automobile so taken for granted?

The MINI remains the same...

May Zep forgive me for a pun...

* * *

The Pup's still glorying as our garage queen of January, awaiting his next playful buyer with more money, affection, and less debt. We've lowered the price from our original $18,500 to $17,500 and we've yet to have one serious interested buyer. We've advertised on autotrader, cars.com, roadfly.org, NorthAmericanMotoring.com (MINI club site), and in the Lexington Herald-Leader (regular classified ad), but no bites yet.

To keep the fluids and seals fresh, we drove him around Saturday down to Sam's and recalled how harsh the ride is, but how sweet the handling, steering, and shifter are.

So, this puts us at a crossroads...wait it out, lower the price, or forget it altogether. I don't really see the latter as an option--we need out of debt, and we're doing all we can to achieve that. Hopefully, with selling the mini and our forthcoming tax return (no whammies, no whammies, STOP!!), we'll be much closer than we are right…

On "out of body"

I had an out-of-body experience at church last night, right in the middle of "Shout to the Lord". I was happy, sad, sweaty, crying and not-quite-there all at the same time. I lost all consciousness of my surroundings and the other people singing, as though the sound enveloped me with waves of tactile velvet.

My senses lost all meaning, much like that passage in "A Wrinkle in Time" where they land on the planet whose inhabitants have no eyes: "No, don't describe what it looks like, dear. Describe what it *is*."

It was joy, and peace, like my soul existed on its own in that moment, no longer contained within my body, and that it resisted getting shoved back in my body. Didn't see any lights or tunnels or hear voices or see dead people or anything like that. I was just "in thrall". :-)

Very cool stuff.

What really annoys me...

...men who wear ballcaps indoors...

I agree hathead sucks, but it's just...disrespectful.

Quality

Quality must be considered as embracing all factors which contribute to reliable and safe operation. What is needed is an atmosphere, a subtle attitude, an uncompromising insistence on excellence, as well as a healthy pessimism in technical matters, a pessimism which offsets the normal human tendency to expect that everything will come out right and that no accident can be foreseen -- and forestalled -- before it happens.


-- Hyman Rickover, founder of the US Navy Nuclear fleet.

* * *

Thank the LORD that guy was in charge.

Found the perfect E30...

I WANT THIS CAR

- under 200k miles
- it's an iS model with all the sport goodies (Limited Slip Diff, etc.)
- it's from Napierville, Illinois, which is the ultra-posh part of chicago (A BMW is like a Honda Accord there...)

Only thing would be underbody rust. Thing should sell for ~$5k in that condition.

Cool site..

Okay, so I decried myspace and Hi5, but 43Things is just, well...neat.

Here's my page

Software introspection, Part Deux

Okay, here's the scary reality of writing software: It's like building a railroad from Chicago to Los Angeles. Everything's hunkey-dorey until you get to Denver and go: "Who put a MOUNTAIN RANGE here?".

Sad part: A project manager would look at the above and say, 'well, we're halfway there, and it only took us 6 months so far, so you should be able to surmount...um...whatever's in the way from here on out...in 8 months. Work overtime. Think outside the box.'

The mountain remains unimpressed.

Computers as 'applicances' reaching critical mass

I'm not much for prophesy, but I believe we'll see the death of the personal computer in the next 5 years, at least in its current form. Reason? Virtualization, the ability to be at one terminal, but feel like you're on a completely different machine.

Case in point: Here at LXK, we go to meetings. Alot. However, in each of those over-attended, useless meetings, 80% of the people have some form of laptop open multitasking--IM to their team or answering email. This 'laptop' culture has gone through several distinct phases:


Nobody has a laptop. Ah, the days of the short, focused meeting.
People replace their desktops with laptops. Yeah, carry-around your office. Thing is, the laptops have slow, small hard disks and weak processors, and really powerful ones are heavy, so what's the point
Today: People go back to the super-fast desktop machine, and use Windows XP's Remote Desktop to be back "at" that machine via their laptops + wireless internet.


Cr…

Rally results

Place Score Driver & Navigator Club

1 211 Ginny Eager & Robin Murphey SCCA
2 240 Lo Arnold & Phil Schneider SCCA

3 495 Ken Partymiller & Lee Wegner PCA
4 690 Whitney & Harold Combs SCCA

5 801 George & Deanne Luxbacher PCA


Not DFL, but pretty close. However, the more I think about it, this was my first "real" TSD rally as a navigator, and Whitney was driving an unfamiliar, non-performance car (hard to make turns on a dime, plus you can't maintain speed in an automatic as easily)

Church, a bad rally, and a long winter's nap

Church was amazing today, with the music, atmosphere, message, and Sunday school coming together perfectly. I was very glad to be there.

Gary had a rally today, and I stank it up horribly. It was a straight TSD, without all mileages, so I had to navigate using mileages and times AFTER each offset. I was irritable, intense, and it turned out, I did it for nothing--we came in 4th out of 5 cars, beaten by two novices. Along the way, I managed to act like a baby, screw-up my calculations, and forget to feed Whitney the next instruction (we got lost in Stamping Ground...)

To survive heads-down navigation with my incredible motion-sickness, I have to pop a Dramamine before the rally, and it caused me to zonk a around 5:30, sleeping until 10:30.

:) read the last two sentences as Al Sharpton

Know any big guys that want a leather jacket?

Shameless Ebay link

:) I'm selling everything that's not nailed down.

Bad movie: Tristan and Isolde

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This godawful tripe, shot in location in Ireland, is slow, pointless, and invents ways to make love, battle, and death boring. Don't see it, even on netflix. You've been warned.

Ode to subversion

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This isn't normally a tech blog because:

there are enough of those
I generally don't think about computers outside of work


However, I wanted to write a quick blurb about subversion. Subversion is a "version control system", which is a computer program that lets you store incremental versions of things. Back in the old days, when computer programs were on punch cards or tape, there were jobs for people who kept the cards or tapes, catalogued them, and lent them out to programmers who were working on them. Today, that job is fully automated by systems like RCS, CVS, subversion, Clear CASE, PVCS, etc.

Version control is not a self-evident concept, until you screw something up. Why would I want every single change stored away on a separate machine? Well, imagine this scenario: You're coding, it's 2 days to release, and it's late. You make a fairly boneheaded change (*cough*hack*cough*), and you put it into the product. Let's say your change touched 14…

Hardcore programming topic of the day: Java sucks

Today's wonderful Joel Spolsky article.

My comments: Amen. I was taught CS at a very small, liberal arts college, but it was REAL Computer Science, damnit, including sections on Data Structures, pointers, linked lists, compiler design, operating systems concepts, etc. This was from 1997-2001, and even then the shift from "harder languages" and platforms like C, LISP, and pascal to java was already underway.

In essence, Joel's argument in the article is that some people just won't 'get it' enough to survive interesting computer applications in the hardest areas. That is, you can be pretty dim--and I've had such people on my team--and stil get by in the Java/J2EE world. Java hides enough ugliness from you that you can be mediocre and get by.

The quandry here is you don't WANT to use the older languages in production...you want the productivity gains and cross-platform compatibility of Java, VB, C#, or even scripting languages like Python or Ruby. …

It's ME!

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Nerd factor 6...engage

Not only did I get this, I converted the hex in my head and almost had the ASCII offsets memorized.

Thank you, Bryan Crawley.

No more excuses, you want an Apple

Daddy wants one of THESE BABIES

Dual-core intel chips, 4x faster than my powerbook....15.4" high-contrast display...YEAH!

Next time, ask for a "Short"

Starbucks info

Yeah, if you ask for a "regular," you're nuts, but if you ask for a "short" they have to stand and deliver.

Grand!...er...Grande!

:-) was waiting on this one...

link to bella's blog

(this is written with a grin on my face...)

Reason I didn't invite anyone to Myspace, hi5, or any other such place? I think they're dumb, self-masturbatory places that are like blog-comments gone bad. I don't go on the internet to participate in anarchistic community, which is what I view myspace to be. The site has no point, those who run it keep it alive just to do market research on the communication patterns of the young.

There's a thinly-veiled dark side there, moreseo than the rest of the internet. While an IP address provides anonymity, myspace breaks that and goes further than your worst mafia nightmare. Looking for someone? go on myspace. Given the 6-degrees of separation principle, you can probably find the person you're looking for. My contention is, live long enough and you'll WANT to avoid that letch, scheister, dope fiend, con artist, stalker, rapist, drug dealer, child molester, or just banal annoying person you knew…

On "March of the Penguins"

March of the Pengins does many things for you:


Makes you thankful for being human
Impresses you with the stark beauty of Antarctica
Reminds you how fragile life is


This is a wonderful film to share with the family, and became the centerpiece of a warm evening with Whitney, Joey, and I in front of the fire.

On cascading failure...(or murphy's law)

As I sit at my desk on a sunny day, I'm contemplating Murphy's law, which states that whatever can go wrong will, at the worst possible time. :-) today, would seem like that day.

I came in this morning to merge and commit some changes to the library, and then do about 3 hours of administrative/clerical stuff that needed to be done, helping out my programmers as needed.

Yeah, about that...

For some reason my subversion client decided to stop talking to the server. Is anyone else having this problem? no. Also, I.T. ran their checks on our mail files today, so I can't send or receive any email until I get rid of 200MB of backlog on my notes file.

And I broke the build, and I was a complete asshole to Joey earlier. Kid just wants someone to PLAY with him, for goodness' sake.

* * *

What's really eating me is this book I've been reading, called Microserfs It's supposed to be a hilarious look at the whacked out lives of geeks in Silicon Valley during the 1990's…

Bella pulls a "me"

I talk in my sleep. I didn't know this until I went to college & I got a roommate. Up to this point, I didn't think Whitney did, until...

[interior]
[my bedroom, 6am]

Bella: mphrfhfhfhfhfh...chicken

Me: Huh?

B [mumbly]: did you take the chicken out of the oven?

Me: Huh?

B [annoyed, distinct]: Did you take the chicken out of the OVEN?! It'll burn..

[I go to the kitchen and verify that the only think in the cold oven is the breadstone, then return]

Me: Honey, there's no chicken in the oven...

B: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ....[snore]

* * *

Ah, good to see sleeptalking is catching.

:-) Marital bliss.

With the MINI washed, detailed and snug in the garage, we're now a one car family, and I can tell this is going to be fun :-) Getting me to work involves getting everyone out of bed, loading the car, driving me to work and them going back home. And, I'm not the best passenger in traffic. (Sorry, honey!)

But the day did start off very well (); let's hope it's better than yesterday. I was in a real funk yesterday, thanks to my Mom, who's convinced a used car is always "somebody else's problem" in all circumstances. Since every car on the road is a "used" car, I disagree. Granted, some people take care of their cars, and some don't but keeping things in perspective, no one needs more than a $4k-$8k car. Our Intrigue was in that range, and it's a marvelous car so far. I've had AAA for three years now through work and it works.

Everything breaks; you just need a well-manufactured car (no Chryslers!) that's easy to repair and …

here's what I'm talking about

Fark Link

In 1984, the savings rate in this country was 10.9%, but last year that declined to just %0.9. If/when the economy hits the skids...yikes.

It's a fur suhl

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The rather depressing link

The Pup, my one and only, my truest automotive love, my daily driver, my autocross mount, my introduction to all things BMW, is up for sale.

Rationale
I'm trying to cash-out the equity I have in it, pay off CC's and Whitney's Intrigue ("Sharkey") and get something fun, but lots less pricey. Full coverage insurance + $600/year in property taxes suck. I really don't want to begin the new year living AT my means the way I have been. When you're a Dave Ramsey follower, and a Christian in general, there comes a time where you have to make hard decisions--decisions about following God and securing the lives of your family.

Let's face it...I don't know where my job's going overall, and this moves us from making 2 big payments / month to being able to save, both long-, intermediate-, and short-term.

Does it hurt? Damn straight it does. I ordered that car to my exact specifications, waited for 6 months for its arrival, and h…