Bryan's Little Corner

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Simpson Moment

I was all set to post a bitching post about my medical insurance company. I was going to toss out some details about how stupid the rejection letter was as they had details wrong in the letter. A new programmer could have written a program to generate that letter better. But…

It turns out it was me, all me. When I went in to have some blood workup I must have handed them an old and dead insurance card. Where I found it I will never know as I have not had that insurance for at least two years. Anyway that old insurance company said nope, not covered. And you know what? I wasn't … at least by them.

So much for something to blog about that might have been interesting. Let me just reach back a few posts and grab that dunce cap and head off to the corner.

You don't wanna know what I think... Now look sad and say "D'oh!..." –The Simpsons

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


OK this post is being done for two reasons. First to spare everyone from having to read that last post. And second that seems to be the topic of the day ... or was that yesterday? I can't remember.

Well I don't have to much interesting to say about poop other than mine does not float. Also I do not go walking around to many cowpie fields or by to many horses so once again I am safe. Of course there is always those darn inconsiderate people out walking their dogs that let them poop and never even think to pick it up. One of these days I am going to pick it up and leave it at their place for them. Well I guess there is one story, silly as it is.

I used to work with the most super guy. He is the best friend you could ever have and he was fun having around at work. One of the many things he used to to was take this

and put it many different places like in someones desk or in their mail box. Yep, fake dog poop.

It was so popular that at one point there was even two of them going around. When he left he willed it on to poeple he left behind.

OK, that is my story about poop. I now feel like I fit in.

Marcel, did you poo in the shoe? --Friends

A Day in the Life of a Starving Programmer

OK, I do not look like I ever started a day in my life. I suppose if you do not include diets that is most likely true. Moving on...

Monday was a typical day. The alarm went off at 6:00 am. I had plenty of time to lounge around and get myself ready for work. After checking in on blogger a little it was time for a shower, shave and other various activities and then I was on my way in to work.

I arrived early and grabbed a quick breakfast sandwich from the snack shop in the building. Up to the office it was now time to plan my day.

It was kind of fun being back, having just returned from a weeks training. I was looking forward to continuing what I learned over the coming weeks. So I talked with my partner in crime at work a little while and then headed off to see what trouble I could get into.

All our batch processors looked great and I did not hear any of our users screaming so it was time to get down to work.

There are two of us that support this particular group of people at work. He was not up to anything critical so he came over with me to check on the install of programs we were going to use on Wednesday. Part of the system was brought up and, oh no, two machines were not upgraded. Not only that but, when the program was upgraded, it looked terrible on those machines.

Panic set in. I had less than 24 hours to get some type of solution in place and less than 48 hours to figure out what was wrong and fix it for real. I quickly found out the problem. Typically most IBM type computers run with the normal font set, but not these machines. They were using the large set. This was throwing off the program.

Back to the shop I spent 12 hours trying to track down the problem. I finally discovered that if I set machine to the new resolution, with a little effort I could compile a program that could only be run on the machines with the new resolution. I hated the solution but it would get me through the 24 hour deadline.

I called it a night just short of midnight, headed home, ate (see I was starving for a little while) and called it a night. Now one of the hazards of being a developer, at least for me, is that I never stop thinking about what I do. Sometime during the night I came up with a solution.

Morning came early and I went through the routine of getting into work. I slipped in and implemented the temporary solution so my first deadline would be met and then headed back to the office to see if I could not get this fixed properly.

Within the hour I had the fix programmed and ... IT FAILED! I went back to my buddy, the Internet. I did more research. Surely others were seeing the same problem in their developing environment that I was seeing. I could not be the first one to notice it. I mean this environment I am using is ten months old. Try as I might I could not find any other references to what I was seeing. Now there was lots of other things out there but not anything that applied.

Time for a new track. I reviewed the program. There was one of two things that could be causing the problem. I stock control or a custom control I wrote. I examined the stock control for properties that might help and I found 6 of them. I went through them and it did not seem to help. But one in particular got my attention. I looked up the method. This led to several other articles and then finally something that talked about how this new environment handled auto scaling. The more I read I knew I had found the problem.

OK, I board you long enough. I checked and my control was set to scale on font and not on screen resolution. I had no idea this feature even existed but 14 frustrating hours later I had my solution. A quick compile and install on one machine and 30 minutes of testing various screen resolutions I had the final fix.

The install went fairly quickly so we had to find something didn’t we, it is never that easy. We found three machines that were having problems starting. What a fun couple of days. Today we go live. The good news, I feel confident all will be well. Just the same I will be pacing as the day progresses. I can’t help it. Despite how cautious I usually am there is always the possibility I missed something. All I can say is it is good I double and triple check myself on the important items or we would have had problems today.

I hope your days goes as well as I am sure my day will go... I need a drink! I can’t wait for 5:00 pm.

What you see on these screens up here is a fantasy; a computer enhanced hallucination! --WarGames

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Saturday's Photo Scavengar Hunt - Blue

Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.
Photo Theme. Join the blogroll. Visit participants.

This weeks theme is BLUE.
I have been busy this week and I was not sure I was going to participate since I had not prepared. But then I found the perfect picture. Something I took probably 3 weeks ago.

The Blue Screen of Death as it is know by. Now this is not your typical blue screen. This say your registry is screwed up and also, you lost your lap top. This made me feel BLUE.

Luckily I was able to hook up the hard drive to my home unit and get a lot of the files I have on it off. You would think, being in data processing for almost 30 years, I would be smart enough to have backed things up but no. The only thing I have is real old. Well I have had a hard time with this hard drive since I got it. I could replace it or, maybe it is just time for a new laptop.

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Thirsty Thursday

One more update on school. I survived my first day of the second class. Not only that but I was doing the work too. Now I was slow. Out of the 11 people that are in class, I had the least amount of experiemce with building WEB applications. So it does not surprise me that I did not get things finished but, I came close. And the interesting part is I was not the slowest person in the class.

I am learning lots in the class, even some stuff indirectly. I have struggled designing WEB pages before trying to get things where I wanted them to be. I used the visual designer and never could get things right. Well yesterday I found out you really can not do parts of the design with the visual designer. Of course this made things a lot more tedious but I actually was able to accomplish what I could not before. Well I will stop there as this is TMI. I do not want to bore people with my profession.

In a funny way I am so proud of what I accomplished so far. I am finding it easier to me than the first class and that is a shoker to me. The more intersting part is I am sitting thinking the one complex program I have, the one that really needs to be re-written anyway... maybe I can change the way it is written and turn it into a WEB application. Now there would be challanges for sure but still. So yes, I think the class has accomplished what it should be and I still have one full day to go.

The best part of yesterday was happened when I left class for the night. It was Thirsty Thursday at the ball park, $2.00 beer drafts all night. At a ball park that is one sweet deal for sure.

I was not sure I was going to go. When I got home from class I changed, took some food out of the crock pot (but saved my appitite for some good old ball park food) did a couple of other things quickly and headed out for the park. Now here is the rub, it was raining. Not real hard but still it was one of the Michigan rains where it looks like it is going to rain all night, not one of those Florida rains that are hit and run.

As I got closer to the park I stated to rain harder. Now normally I may have turned around but I was meeting up with Jenny. She is one super person that I am really fortunate to work with. So I was looking forward to meeting her spouse, grabbing some beer and some ball park food and just kicking back.

You know what? Her spouse was such a super guy. It is official, they are the most super couple I know other than my best friends in Kentucky that is. You know it must be something about the name because there is someone else I know (SG) who is one super person too and her spouse was a pleasure to meet earlier this year.

Jenny and I talked a bit and that was fun in itself. One thing that came up is she works with 3 other people. They never do anything in the form of a Christmas party and she is dissapointed. She would love to do more with the people she works with. Well the group that I directly work with (we are 16 strong last I checked) have a Christmas Party almost every year. I think I cam going to try and smuggle Jenny and hubby in. Besides, I get the feeling they are the life of a party anyway. Again, it must be the name.

Well the game was suppose to start at 7:05 but it went from wet to out and out pouring. We were all up under the large awning taking advantage of Thirsty Thursday and it was fun. I met some other friends of my coworker that were also there and they were all neat people. I ended up getting along well as when ever I went up for a beer I brought back two. I never had a hard time finding a home for the other beer either. You know, even though it was raining and was looking like a rain out and I was having a good time.

Well it rained pretty hard for probably an hour and then they had to try and get the field ready to play. Finally things got under way at about 9:00. I had my philly steak sandwich (I know Denny, not the real thing but I love it just the same) and I watched some B Ball. I left after 6 innings because it was getting late and I needed to keep in mind I have the last of my class today but what a super night and what super people too.

Well back to reality, it is class time. I am so looking forward to this now. Then it is time for a wonderful weekend with a little rain sprinled in there for flavor. Everyone have a great weekend.

P.S. Sorry for the jumbled mess but I am just typing as I think. I did not try and organize my thoughts.

If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything. --Back to the future

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

School Update

Here I am almost half way through my week, half way through the 2 classes I am taking. I thought I would post a quickly on how things are going.

I have been trying to get my sleep but still get up early and do a little studying. You see, I am a morning person. I can stay up late but I really do not function well at night. I have learned how to CHEAT. Yes, that is right, I AM A CHEATER.

Here is how the class is set up. We get 10 percent lecture, 75 percent hands on, and 25 percent review. Each lesson has not only the files that we start with and alter but it also has the resource files that allow you to figure out what you are doing and it has the solution.

I have been looking at the step I have to do, going to the solution, copy and paste into the files I am working with. That is the CHEATING part. But then I look at the book and at the code to make sure I understand what is happening and make sure I understand it. Until I do understand it I do not move on.

Now I have been to class before and tried to keep up. Usually I just barely finish the tasks and do not always understand what I just did. I am just going back into the material we just covered and mimicking something I find in the book. My goal is to finish the class and at least understand enough so I can repeat the courses over the next couple of weeks on my own after work. At that time I will not be cheating. I will be doing all the work myself with the aid of the resource material. I think I will get a lot out of the course that way and you know what, that means I should be able to brush up on things in the future.

OK, now for the fun part. We are almost over with the first course, Data Access with VB.2005 and ADO.NET. That is the easy part. I have already been doing some of that but still I have been learning. This will be very good for me. Now the hard part starts. The second class is on writing WEB applications with ASP.NET. I have only written a couple of WEB apps and they were minor in nature. I should know a lot more before going into this course. This is going to be a struggle. I will learn tons in it but it may take me some time to get it absorbed. This is the course I have been fearing the most.

So recap, first course almost completed ... with CHEATING but I actually think the way I am doing it is working for me. The second course is just about to start. Yikes!

Well off to do some more studying. Happy hump day everyone.

I don't know Drake, all this cheating makes me feel... dirty. --Drake & Josh

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Excerpt from A Charlie Brown Christmas

Lucy Van Pelt: Are you afraid of responsibility? If you are, then you have hypengyophobia.
Charlie Brown: I don't think that's quite it.
Lucy Van Pelt: How about cats? If you're afraid of cats, you have ailurophasia.
Charlie Brown: Well, sort of, but I'm not sure.
Lucy Van Pelt: Are you afraid of staircases? If you are, then you have climacaphobia. Maybe you have thalassophobia. This is fear of the ocean, or gephyrobia, which is the fear of crossing bridges. Or maybe you have pantophobia. Do you think you have pantophobia?
Charlie Brown: What's pantophobia?
Lucy Van Pelt: The fear of everything.
Charlie Brown: THAT'S IT.

First lets see what Webster has to say about fear:

Main Entry: fear
Pronunciation: 'fir
Function: verb
Etymology: Middle English feren, from Old English f[AE]ran, from f[AE]r
transitive verb
1 archaic : FRIGHTEN
2 archaic : to feel fear in (oneself)
3 : to have a reverential awe of
4 : to be afraid of : expect with alarm
intransitive verb : to be afraid or apprehensive
- fearer noun

Here is a list of phobia’s that I found, The Phobia List

We have Necrophobia- Fear of death or dead things; Sexophobia- Fear of the opposite sex. (Heterophobia); Aichmophobia- Fear of needles or pointed objects; Arachnephobia or Arachnophobia- Fear of spiders; Chiraptophobia- Fear of being touched and the list goes on and on and on.

It is amazing the things we are afraid of. One person I used to work with had the fear of being touched. If you should ever touch him or even just get close to him he would spring up and out of there in a heart beat.

Another person I worked with had a fear of germs. We were mean to him. We were in a cubicle environment. The person on the other side of the wall from this unfortunate person started to fake sneezes. He did this many times. Now this was enough to set that person off period but it got much worse. They dipped their fingers in water and, on their next fake sneeze, they flicked their fingers toward the top of the wall. I think it took a couple attempts but you could tell when he was hit with a drop of water.

I myself have a fear of mice. I think it is because they are so fast and can go just about anywhere. The one time I had a mouse in an apartment I lived at I freaked. The first night after I saw the mouse I tucked a towel under the door
when I went to bed to keep the mouse from coming to visit in my sleep. The next day I set a trap with peanut butter and, before I knew it, the trap had caught the mouse. I was not big on emptying the trap so I just threw it away and set other traps which never did catch anything.

Spiders also worry me but just at first. Once I see them and know there are there I have no problem getting rid of them. It just is that initial surprise that I do not worry about.

I did not see anything for fear of dating but I have that for sure. When ever I do try and date someone my stomach goes into a not, and, well let’s just say it is not pretty.

I tried to see if there was a fear of CrabCakes but I could not find one. I get the feeling you may not want to get her upset with you. LOL

I guess I have a fear of confined areas but not to bad. Just please never make me take an MRI. I do not think I could survive that.

I also have several other minor things that bother me but there is my one big fear. Fear of heights. I am ridiculous. I have something on my house that need to be fixed. It involved me going up on a ladder to where me feet are about 10 feet off of the ground and working there. I just can not do it. Now if I had scaffolding I could cautiously do it but the ladder, no way.

I had something I used to do at the high school I graduated from. I put microphones on the basketball back board so I could record Band a Rama. Basically it is a show to show off the talents of the band, some individual members and filled in with lots of skits and marching, including marching doing various formations while we played various songs.

You should have seen me. You would not have wanted to be underneath me. I would get up into the back board support and try and get those microphones mounted. The sweat would just pour off of me. I would get the job done, get things tested then take the microphones down so they would not get stolen. It was torture.

Well one time I stopped at the bar and had a few rum and cokes. Now I was not drunk or anything but you should have seen me. I flew up into the backboard area, reached out to the open backboard and pulled it shut and quickly put up the microphones and got back down. I could not believe what a difference it made. Gee, maybe the next time I go to ask someone out on a date I need to have a few drinks first.

Oh by the way, another place this fear of heights comes in ... driving across the Mackinac bridge. The center has steel grates which you can see right through and the guard rail ... Ha, they call that a guard rail?

So if you ever see me white knuckled some time you will know what is going on. I hope you have your fears under better control that I seem to have.

Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself - Franklin D. Roosevelt; First Inaugural Address

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt - Youth

Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.
Photo Theme. Join the blogroll. Visit participants.

This weeks theme is Youth.

I was unable to post on Saturday but I thought I would post something anyway on Sunday.

Youth is a funny word. It is relative, is it not? I mean to someone that is 3 years old, someone that is a few months old is young and they are a "big boy." Yet to a teenager that same three year old very much represents youth.
I remember as I grew up I would think that someone that was 21, now that person was old. Then it became 30. That gave way to 40 and the phase never trust anyone under 30. Now surely 50 is old, but then, I turn 50 next year so I guess that to will need to be adjuested.

So here is my contribution this week.

But who is to say that this picture

and even this picture

does not also represent youth. Truthfuly, I think youth is more a state of mind than anything. I hope everyone had a fun hunt on Saturday.

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Back to School

That is right, I am going back to school. Well, actually it is not school but one of those condensed courses only in this case it is probably 2 condensed week long courses condensed into one week.

The instructor, who can make or break it by the way, does some lecture and then tosses you into hands on time to reinforce what you just learned. This is repeated time and time again as the chapters fly by and more and more stuff attempts to be stuffed into you brain. Long about Wednesday your brain is just swimming in all that you have learned and by Friday there is nothing left upstairs but mush. Well at least that is the way it works for me,

So what am I learning? Well hopefully lots of useful stuff. It is on the latest developer environment. They touch on data access and using XML. They also touch on writing WEB applications. Big red flag on that play. Most of what I have done has not been WEB applications and I will struggle big time on this part which is half of what we learn.

Anyway I am worried. I want to walk away from this with a lot more knowledge that I came into it with. Now I have been working in this newer language for almost a year. I started with it when it was still in beta so I have lots of experience. I have learned a lot about Visual Basic 2005 and Visual Studio 2005. I have been using XML for years for what I do but still... I am worried I will not be up to the challenge. And for the money you pay for these things that just is not acceptable.

So I think it is time to get ready. Maybe I should hit the back to school specials. Maybe some new clothes. Oh wait a minute, that is not the way I need to get ready. I first need to see if I can not do some quick study on WEB applications so I will not be so lost. I also need to make sure I get plenty of sleep and I do mean plenty of sleep. I need to make sure I get a proper breakfast and maybe bring along some healthy snacks to keep myself at peak condition. I also think it is time to hit the gym or at least get out and do some fast walking to get that blood pumping.

I know this is a boring post but boy I sure am worried about these condensed classes. I guess all I can do is put my best foot forward and go from there. I just hope I survive the boot camp. So if you see me drooling on myself next week, please just hand me a napkin and understand.

Thornton Melon: [after answering 27 parts from one question of the final exam] No more!... I feel like I just gave birth...
Thornton Melon: an accountant –Back to School

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The WABAC Machine

I thought I would post a couple of pictures of me since I think someone has asked. Now I do not do pictures, I take pictures and they are rarely of me. So I have very few pictures of me. I thought I would get out the WABAC machine (Mr Peabody's WayBack machine) for a couple of pictures.

Back in 1999 I decided that I should go on a diet and diet I did. It took me a long time but by October of 2000 I had lost over 100 pounds. That is the good news. Now for the bad news. Since I lost my weight so fast one side affect was I developed gall bladder stones and the gall bladder had to come out and not the simple operation either. The other piece of bad news is I ended up depressed. How could you be depressed about losing all that weight? Well I was and I ended up puting all the weight back on.

In the mean time however, my brother was married. That is part of why I lost all the weight. These pictures are from me when I was at about the lightest I got. The first one is outside of the church. The second picture is me dancing with the person I stood up with in the wedding. That second picture was horrible. I did all I could with Elements but it sure did not do her any favors. She was actually very pretty, something you could not tell here.

Well time to close up the WABAC machine. I hope you enjoyed the brief trip back in time.

Could not find a good quote for Peabody's Improbable History. Just found this where
a show ended with Mr. Peabody telling some awful pun like Sir Isaac Newton's brother, Fig being responsible for the Fig Newton

Monday, August 14, 2006


I knew I was old. Now I guess it's time you did too.

The other day I was at a local ice cream shop. I had ordered something and was standing off to the side watching things be made. What did I see. I saw a girls butt. She had on almost respectable shorts but that was not the problem. Her shorts had ER! on thr right cheek.

OK, so I sat there wondering what the heck her shorts said. I must have spent 2 minutes trying to see but she was just turned the wrong away. Eventually she did turn around and I saw CHE. So it said CHE ER! or CHEER!

Here is what upset me a little. Did I realy have any business starying at her butt to being with? She was not even legal for heaven sakes. Even though I do happen to pay attention to that particular part of ones anatomy, if there was no writing on her back side of her shorts I would have noticed and moved on.

What is even more disturbing is I have seen much younger girls wearing the same thing. I mean pre teens. What on earth or these girls Mom's thinking? I mean it is bad enough when there is writing on the shirt right over the breasts. Come on, people know what they are doing when they design these. They do this to draw your attention.

Now I am not stupid. I do not get drawn to these young girls. Heck there are lots of 20 somethings out there if that is what I am interested in. But there are others out there that find that attractive. Why would you want to put your daughter in potential danger like that?

OK, maybe I am weird. Well, I know I am weird but this just does not seem like a good idea. Parents should pay more attention to what theit children are wearing. Also schools should not be promoting this sort of dress. Of course this is just my opinion but I just don't know.

How does someone just start drooling? Chase? Were you wearing your short shorts? --House, M.D.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt - Funny

Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.
Photo Theme. Join the blogroll. Visit participants.

This weeks theme is FunNy.

So what, you may ask, where they doing. Now this picture turned out much more funny looking than the actual event. Could she be kissing her chin or maybe, just maybe trying to eat it? Who knows, who cares. They are kids and they were having a fun time.

We should all try and let our kid trapped inside out more often. Life would be so much more enjoyable.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Anonymous is No More

I have been getting more and more BS anonymous comments lately with links to a site and then follow ups that make it look like this is a great site. Obviously trying to get other people to visit that site.

I WILL NOT TAKE PART IN THIS. I will not allow people that I know to be fooled by this deception. I have disabled Anonymous comments because of it.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I'm Not Dead Yet

I have been busy on the yard. Most people would have got all the work done in a day, two tops, but not me. I did finally finish except I still want apply a weed and feed to the lawn. Problem is I think we had 69 mile an hour winds today and I need a calm day. Maybe tomorrow morning.

Of course most normal people will keep up with the flower beds and catch the weeds when they are small and easy to catch. But not me. Heck, most people would even plant things in their flower beds but then again, not me. Well that is not completely true. I have hosta’s in one area, some nice iris's in a couple of areas and tulips which have long since bloomed out. I need to get me some nice shruberies and some bulbs to plant this fall. I best dig into my notes from Lara to find something interesting to try, planting wise that is. ;)

I finished my clean and jerk phase at work. Clean, well we are moving to temporary offices so our floor can be redone. I threw out so much it is not funny. I got my files in order to. My catch all file, marked Personal, is pretty big. I have three boxes already packed and, wouldn't you know it, I had to unpack one of those boxes to see if a computer communications card I knew I carefully packed, was the same card someone brought documentation and software to me asking if they could pitch. I don't know when we will move but I think I am not going to like this.

The jerk phase, well I was not the jerk. Actually jerk was not the proper word. It was just used to be funny. The problem is there are two groups moving at the same time. The other group has their area right next to our area with only cubie walls semi separating us.

When we first moved in the other group took away area from us before we moved in. My boss allowed it to happen. Then there was a problem with what they did to the flooring when converting the hotel to an office building and they needed to move everyone out and redo the floor and guess what, that group once again took space away from us which our boss allowed.

Now we have a new boss and he has said no way are we giving up space especially since there is no reason they need more space. As a matter of fact they should give up some of their space. I suspect we will win this time and just keep what space we have. Work can be interesting sometimes.

I saw several funny bumper stickers today which I promptly forgot so let me end with one sticker I have at work (but not posted up anywhere). It says I am going Nuckin' Futs.

Carlton, I'm not dead yet. --The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Special Day

Today is special for several reasons. Can you think of what that might be?

Well that is not fair. Rather than make you think to hard lets begin by wishing Roxi Moon and happy 24th Birthday. I hope you do your birthday up proud tonight Roxi. I am sure the town will never be the same again. Oh and try and keep those clothes on.

Well now what to get your for this special occasion. Well lets start out with a cake but not just any cake. I think Roxi calls for something unique. So here is the cake I got you.

Now next we need to get you an outfit for the occasion. Now not knowing your size and not being a metrosexual like someone, I guess we will need to just settle for this outfit.

Now Halle Berry is not included but if you like I can inquire how much extra it would be.

I think we need to take care of the footwear next. I think these will do nicely.
I figure after you and Dan hit the bars and have a great time, you will need somewhere special to go. I hope this will work for you.

And finally, not knowing for sure what you will be drinking and since one can never have enough, how about some spending money. But of course we can't just do this the normal way. So how about this.

Now the rest is up to you to. Have fun you two.

Now the other reason today is special is it is time to vote. We are having primaries for non national offices tomorrow.

Now I have not felt like voting for years. There just never seems to be any candidates running that I want to vote for. Even when I do see someone I like, someone that I think might represent me well, that candidate loses. That is right, I vote for losers. Don't ever ask me to vote for you.

So why is today special for me? Well you see a long, long time ago in a land far, far away, I used to work for a research company. One of many things we did was do political work. We helped draft new district boundaries and plot them. We build large registered voter lists and generated phone lists, walk lists, etc. We also did exit polling in Michigan and I must say we were good. I remember many times knowing by 10:30 to 11:00 who was going to win. We knew which districts to poll, we knew how much to weight them. We knew where something unusual was happening and were able to expand our sample to correct for that. Yes we were good.

Now this was exciting in itself. I was involved back in the office with collection of data and cranking out results. I was more or less in command center which was fun. One year I was even at the television studio that had hired us feeding them numbers directly to their prompters. If you looked you could see me in the background when they were doing the local coverage for election night. That was also the night I got to speak with Mayor Coleman Young. Now I did not speak with him much but I was really impressed with how smart and how well connected he was.

I also loved being at the studio. You could see just how fake everything was. Just out of the view of the camera was lights, sets from many others shows, the lottery equipment, you name it. I have always been a sucker for this sort of thing.

Now what was best of all is the election party the company through. It was the best. They reserved several rooms and even had rooms if someone had a bit to much to drink. You would find sets everywhere. One or two of the rooms were reserved for fairly serious viewing of election returns and I believe more than a few cigars were always going. And then there was the main room that was were most people were. You could watch the returns, get drinks and even listen to some music.

Election nights will always be special to me. I always follow the returns now. I generally don't go out and monitor as many stations as I can. I stay up way to late and slowly watch the numbers change and finally see what is declared. This election should be interesting as they changed almost all of our voting systems. Hopefully everything goes well.

So now you know my little secret. I love election night. Not because there is someone I really want to see win but because but just for the memories of times gone by.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

OK, first off this is not what you think. Yesterday and today I have been pulling weeds. It has been fun, NOT.

Actually the weeding has not went to bad. There where a few that just had to shift my retaining wall a little. Slowly I made progress and finally I could see the real difference it was making.

I still have two spots to weed. The bigger area will be easy. I am not looking forward to the small area. Then it is on to triming and edging and cutting the lawn. All this I was suppose to get done yesterday. The return of some of the heat did not help. Hopefully I will be done today.

Now you know what fun weekends I have. Well I best get back at it.

That's a very energetic way of doing the weeding, Jack. --The Magical Legend of te Leprechauns

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Saturday Photo Scavanger Hunt - Money

Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.
Photo Theme. Join the blogroll. Visit participants.

This weeks theme is Money.

So first up here is how we save to amass the family fortune.

Saving for the Family Fortune

And here we have the family fortune. To bad it is almost all pennies.

The Family Fortune

And how about a closeup.

A little closer look at the Family Forturne

NOTE: These are flikr pictures. I hear they are having problems being displayed for some people. So for you how about I reupload one of the pictures.

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Spring Cleaning

Today was spring cleaning time. Now right about now you are probably thing, Spring cleaning, it is summer (or Winter if you are in the southern hemisphere). Well it was basically like spring cleaning.

I have been working on a project at work that has taken more time than it should. I really wanted to get this one complete. Well yesterday was my big day and I finished most of the testing I need to do. So now, what to do?

In anywhere between 2 weeks and 2 months we will be making a temporary move at work. We will be there about 2 weeks and then we move back. What is going on is they are replacing the cubicles, replacing the carpet, and touching up the walls and painting, We have been in the same place for at least 10 years. Where I am I think it is more like 14 years so they decided something needed to be done.

Over the 17 plus years I have worked at the same place I have accumulated a lot of junk. Paper work that is no longer needed. Books that are so outdated. Trinkets and other little things that I never put out any more. Flower vases, a stereo, coffee mugs, water cups, Phone books, tea, first aid stuff, aspirins, ... you name it. So now is the perfect time to go through everything.

I did this many months ago and reduced the number of books and binders and the like that we had from 3 book cases, a filing cabinet and a flip down to one bookcase. Today I cut that in half and you will be proud, I pulled the pages out of the books so I could recycle the pages.

Next I started to go threw my paperwork and tossed a bunch of that and am working on organizing what is left. So far I packed up 3 boxes of stuff I should be able to do without for a while. I will have a box of personal stuff or things that I do not want broken or lost that I will pack when it is time and then another that, again when it is time, it will contain all my active things that I need to keep available the whole time. I would say about another day and I will be finished.

But what I discovered was I was in a good mood. You know where you are going through something and you think, should I keep this or should I pitch it. Almost all of my decisions where to pitch it out. So I thought, my house could use a complete cleaning. So it would appear that this weekend I will get my yard in order (needs a cut, trim and weed job bad) and then concentrate on my house. I think I will start with removing everything in the kitchen, wash it and the shelves and reorganize every thing. Who knows what is next... maybe my JUNK CLOSET! Oh nooooo Mr Bill...

Additional note: Nothing to do with this post but I just had to share. I went out to a chinese restraunt for dinner. When I was about to leave they gave me the traditional fortune cookie although this was nothing traditional about it. It said "Come back later... I am sleeping. (yes cookies need their sleep, too)" Also I saw something cute on the ride home. It was a bicycle built for two but what it actually was is a regular bike with a bike attached, at the seat, that a small kid could ride. Gold old Dad had his 5 or 6 year old out with him and he had a maybe a 2 year old on the bar up by the handle bars. Maybe I am sappy tonight but, awww.

It is time to clean house! Total... spring... cleaning --The People Under the Stairs

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The BAR diet

I have been working on refining a diet that I thought I would share with everyone. By the way this post may get a little long, big shocker there, so I will let you know when might be a good bail out point. Watch for it.

Over the last several days I have been working on a new diet. No it is not all drinking and no eating as you might think the BAR diet might imply. BAR is just my initials. By the way, I never go my monogram, BRA,,,

Basically you start the day with a good breakfast. It is the most important mean of the day. Now I am not a breakfast kind of person, except on weekends, but it makes sense to eat more earlier in the day when you have a whole day to burn off the calories.

Now you follow this up with a decent lunch. Not to huge as you are trying to lose weight but still get the most of your eating out of the way.

Finally dinner, ah dinner. The last several nights I have just skipped dinner. It can get you into trouble anyway and you will be going to bed before long anyway. Who needs a dinner. Besides, if you were ever threatened with you were going to go to bed without dinner ... no problem, you had not planned on eating anyway.

Well lets close out the diet with exercise. Every good diet needs exercise. They say you need at least 30 minutes a day, 3 or 4 times a week. It doesn’t have to be much. Hey how about replacing that dinner with a nice walk.

WARNING. Bail out point. I am going to get serious about diets now. No one wants to hear that. You have been warned.

Actually the “diet” I mentioned about is not a real good idea. I have been dieting more of my life than not dieting so I have learned a thing or two. One of the worst thing you can do is starve yourself. Your body is a wonderful thing. If it thinks you are not eating enough it will shut your metabolism down and it will be hard at best to lose weight. Same thing with water. Don’t drink enough water and it will start retaining what water it can. If you drink more water then the body will allow that water to pass on through.

Actually, and now I have not done this, I think it is much better for you to spread out your meals and maybe eat more, much smaller meals.

Breakfast is the most important meal and it makes sense. You have a whole day in front of you. Why not start it out right. Besides, you are much more likely to burn off anything you eat in the morning then what you eat for say dinner.

Lunch, again don’t over do it and watch what you eat but by the time you are done with lunch you should have a majority of your eating sone fore the day. Now what I said above about skipping dinner. Yes I did not eat dinner for the last several nights but that really is a bad idea. You should eat that dinner, just keep it much lighter than you might normally eat.

Exercise, now that part was true. If you can not exercise 30 minutes straight then do several things that add up to 30 minutes. Now they really would like you to get your heart rate up there and stay elevated for the majority of your exercise but I believe they are now saying that there is still a lot of benefit to just getting that exercise time in. Some people push for 30 minutes (or even 60 minutes a day everyday. That probably is a good idea, especially if you are trying to lose weight. When I lost a ton of weight I was working out 5 days a week between 1 hour to 2.5 hours a day. It payed off.

There are a ton of diets out there and I have tried a lot of them. One of the craziest was a liquid protein diet. Out of all the diets out there I think the best one is Weight Watchers. For those that can handle choices, WW gives you the freedom to choose what you want to eat, as long as you stay within your points. If you are one of those people that need to be told what you should do, I think WW has a different program that will work out much better for you. Personally I loved the freedom. I mean, following WW I was able to actually eat a packzi and stay within my points for the day. Now a packzi is a heavy donut that comes out just before lent begins. It is something like 1600 calories and a ton of fat but by eating lightly and exercising a lot I was able to fit it in. Now that is not a good idea to do.

So what is it I like about WW other than the flexibility? It is a sensible diet. They push drinking your water but actually you probably should drink more water than they expect. They also push you eating you vegetables and fruits and don’t forget that milk. Of course with people that are diabetic or have problems with dairy, there probably are little tweaks you will need to do to the diet to make it a better fit for you.

Another thing I like about WW is that it gets people together to form kind of a support network. I helps you want to lose weight. Also an instructor is there to help guide you through some of those trouble spots you may run into and encourage you to keep going. Also the weighing in every week is a good idea. Now you can weigh in more often but you have to be careful because the body will fluctuate and you may retain weight or even slightly gain from day to day. I think a lot of what is going on is water retention by the body. If you have been following the diet you should be losing weight.

For me WW has its problems however. It is geared toward women big time. When I was attending for about a year, it was not uncommon that I was the only man there or maybe 1 or two others. Everything seemed to be geared toward women including determining what weight you needed to lose down to. Now I am sorry but I did not ever make my goal weight but I was just a few pounds over a toothpick and they wanted me to still lose weight. I think they need to be more flexible for men in that regard. Another thing that bothered me in WW is they always wanted people to share about mow much weight they lost. Now I felt so guilty. Week after week I was losing between 3 to 5 pounds. The people around me were just thrilled to lose a quarter pound. I just really felt out of place in the class.

Beyond just watching what you eat and getting that all important exercise in you need to do a few things. First set your over all goal of what you are trying to accomplish, how much you want to lose. Next, break that up into chunks that are much more manageable and something that you can measure progress. For me I built a chart. I put down my goal weight. Actually I had two goal weights. One was for me to lose a half pound a day. So I would write down say 200 for the first day, then 199.5 for the next day, then 199 for the next and so on. The next goal weight was a little more relaxed. I think that one was more like a quarter pound a day.

Once I had that chart I then marked my actual weight in and watched to make sure I was meeting all my mini goals. Now having a lot of small goals allows you to see progress and to make sure you stay on track. Also it is mush less overwhelming then saying I want to lose 25 pounds. Oh one more thing. I also went through and set other more major goals. Having been dieting forever I knew there were points where I looked noticeably better. So I went through and made those points my major points. First WW pushes 10 percent of your body weight. Sure, why not. It is a fun goal. But then I tossed in those extra points and now I had additional things to keep an eye one. Something off in the horizon to shoot for.

OK, something I should have probably talked about first. Even before you have your goals you probably should get yourself into the right frame of mind. Set your reasons to lose weight. Now when I lost a lot if weight I set all the wrong reasons. It helped me stay focused on the diet but that was it. My first goal was to be down to weight for my brothers wedding which I was in. I made it and I looked pretty good I might add. But the problem with this goal is it is just a moment in time. Then what is next. Why should you keep that weight off. The next thing I used was I had to get the girl. I said if you lose down to what ever you are shooting for you can ask her out. I really was self conscious about my weight. When I did lose the weight I tried to approach her several times and somehow it just never did work out. That depressed me and really did not help my diet at all.

A much better goal would have been just to do this for health. I was on blood pressure medicine and I eventually was able to come off of that. It is so much healthier to be at a proper weight. So I probably should have had the wedding thing in place ... forget the girl and just insert concerns about the health in there. Yes, at least for me, proper motivation.

One final thing and I did not do this so this is more theory than anything. You are suppose to also take you measurements. Not just at the waist but also on the calf, the next, the fore arms, pretty much everywhere. And you should keep up with those measurements. What this does for you is help with the plato's. You know, where you can’t seem to loose anything. Usually what is happening is you are losing weight but retaining water. If you are taking measurements you should be able to see you are still making progress even if you are not losing the weight. Like I said, this is more theory than anything.

I am so sorry. I have never written such a long entry before. If you have read this far I hope you found something of use. I think I might just owe you one for reading this. I hope you have a great week.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Music in my Life

You know earlier in the week I wrote about bad vinyl. I actually had a hard time with that one because, well I love music. Almost all music too. Back in my time, the 70s, there was a lot of music that I loved.

There was my old standby, Chicago. I Am a Man, 25 or 6 to 4, Does Anybody Really Know What Time it is, Mongonucleosis.

Then there was Peter Frampton, Frampton Comes Alive. I love that album. I love the way they made the guitar talk. I believe they were the first to do that. I have a lot of great memories when I hear songs from this album. Ah, college.

Eric Carmen was another favorite. I love All by Myself. Yes, I guess I went through a sad period or two in the 70s.

Manford Manns Earth Band. Love them but there was one song in particular. Blinded by the Light. OK, here is the thing. I worked at a galvanizing plant. I was in the locker room and the light was out so I went and got a lightbulb to get some light back into the room. I mean it was scary enough lit up. I had the radio on which was the norm. Especially when I ran the acid tank I would go crazy without my toons. Anyway, just as I finished screwing in the light the light came on and I just could not see anything because of how bright it was. Of course what was on the radio but Blinded by the Light. What can I say a simple little memory.

Boston and Kansas where a couple of other really big groups for me. I went to see a Boston concert. Yes, fond memories.

Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). Who can forget the Wizard of Oz ruby slipper cover, well at least I can't.

Jethro Tull. What can I say, I like things that are just a little different. I love the flute. Just love Jethro Tull.

Joe Jackson. I went to see him in concert at a very small venue before he was anybody. I was probably within 12 rows of the front. The Romantics were the lead band. I fell in love with Joe Jackson that day. I believe I still have the ticket stub inside the album I bought after that concert.

Oh wow, there are so many more songs and artists that I remember. The 70s, what a great time for me. Graduating from High School, college, drinking and ... good times.

So is it just me or does music play a large part in your life? Is there that certain song, or album, or group that brings back a lot of good, or bad, memories?

By the way, my little tag line today, for some unknown reason, says Wenchy to me, big time. Love you Wenchy, sorry I have not been stopping by as often as I should.

Let the music lift you up, sweetie. –Absolutely Fabulous

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


What ever you do, please don't feed me. But I am so hungry. Must ... have ... something.

Lets take a trip in the way back machine shall we.

A week or so ago I got this form to take with and get a blood work up done. No biggy, I am not thrilled about the needles but I do OK with them. But here is the problem. I needed to fast and not even drink anything, not even water, before the test. I never remember. I would always eat or more likely drink something. Well yesterday, yesterday was different.

With it going to be like a 1000 degrees out I made sure to bring a lite lunch with me. No going out for me. Since it was so lite I decided to supplement it with something from the snack shop in the building but still, that was not much at all.

Well after work I did not do anything for dinner at first and then it happened. What was that you might ask? (I will just pretend you asked, OK) I turned on the computer. I ended up chatting with a couple of people and helping Gab with her blog. Next thing I know it is way to late to eat dinner and then it dawned on me. I just fasted. I didn't even have anything to drink. Yea but oh my I am hungry. By the way, thanks Gab.

Now for the tricky part. I had a bag of chips sitting around. There was very little left in the bottom of the bag. I ate them. But when did I eat them? Do I go in? Don't I go in? I think I am going to go for it. I know I thought about the blood test for a while. It must have been before 9:00 pm that I had that snack without realizing it. It had to be, right?

Well time to get ready so I can go visit the vampires so they can draw some blood and send me on my way. And then, AND THEN...

Steak and eggs, pancakes, water, waffles, coffee, home fries, omelets, orange juice, umm... just give me one of everything and please keep my water filled. Now if only I could get my tummy to be quiet until then.

Phil: Yeah, three cheeseburgers, two large fries, two chocolate shakes and a large coke.
Ralph: [to Phil] And some flapjacks.
Phil: [to Cop] Too early for flapjacks?--Groundhog Day