Friday, July 24, 2015

Tod Kelly Is Right/Wrong About The GOP

I actually wrote this to get it off my chest, but since I don't have time to defend it or participate in a conversation about it, I am just going to kind of deposit it here where I can look it up but . Tod wrote a post about the GOP, Donald Trump, and swinging for the fences. Here are my thoughts: I largely agree with the content of this post. Which means I must nitpick details. First, I don't recall Rick Perry saying much in line with what Trump has said, except in an "all anti-immigration politicians sound the same to me" sort of way. Perry was attacked from the right on the issue, and called the view of those to his right heartless. He apologized for the "heartless" comment, but stood buy in-state tuition for illegal immigrants and his opposition to a wall. Rubio is Rubio and Jeb is Jeb. Leaving Walker, who didn't run in 2012 and has shifted to the right on the issue since 2013. This is important because it helps describe Trump's popularity among those on the hard right. It's not because of his cred on social conservative issues. He has little and seems barely interested. He's taken the "right" positions on abortion and gay marriage, but in a pro-forma way. Except on immigration, which is an issue he absolutely owns in large part because none of the major candidates have any more credibility than he does. But that's not a phenomenon that can be used to describe "social conservatives" generally. If Mike Huckabee were out in front, or Ted Cruz, you'd have a point. But Trump is not particularly illustrative of the phenomenon you describe. And beyond that, what the polls tell us about Trump isn't all that much more than what they were telling us about Rudy Giuliani in 2007 (except Rudy never had negatives like this within the party). Immigration isn't a good example because, unlike gay marriage, the party itself is pretty divided on the issue. And Trump isn't a good example because he is not going to win the nomination and it seems unlikely somebody proudly waving his banner is going to win the nomination. So with all of this, why do I largely agree with your assessment? Because though you focus on "social conservatives" I think if you modify it to be "Republican activists" I think it's pretty much on the nose. Party activists are swinging for the fences, playing as hard a hardball as they can, and they struck out pretty big. Not just at the polls, but increasingly within a party that seems to fear them a lot less than they did.

Monday, May 02, 2011

How To Become A Smoker

A response to Phi, though tangentially involving a subject that I've been considering a post on for a while (for non-smoking writers who want to write characters that smoke).

As with others, I would seriously recommend against going this route. It's not just lung cancer that you have to worry about. There's also the prospect of spending your golden years carrying around an oxygen tank. Smoking also exacerbates a number of other health problems (I got pneumonia when, with a less occupied immune system, I probably wouldn't have if I hadn't been heavily smoking at the time). With that out of the way...

I would go cheap, if you can. You can always go from cheap to more expensive, but I've found it hard to go the other way. In between the expensive name brands and cheap-arse no-names are some rather good mid-range products. USA Gold do not taste any different to me than Marlboros. Liggett and Maverick pack a punch. If you're looking for something less strong, Doral and Pall Mall are among the best (and most affordable) of the "weak brands." If you go below that, it'll seem like you're smoking air. On the other hand, if you prefer weakness, it might be better to go with Star Scientific or Gold One than Marlboro Ultra Lights due to the significantly lower price.

Though they have some stigma among white men because they are primarily smoked by women and blacks, menthols are preferred by some early smokers because of their sweet taste. They also mitigate the unpleasantness for people that smoke but don't like the taste of cigarettes very much. Cloves are another alternative, I think (I say "I think" because they might have been banned). I don't like them, but the smell tends to go over better with non-smokers, mitigating concerns about the odor. They're more expensive, though.

My preference is for cigarettes primarily because they're omnipresent (as oppose to pipes), you can use them in short stints, and they're inexpensive. On the other hand, cigars will make you less likely to develop a habit. For cigarettes, you hold the cigarette in between your index and middle fingers, not between your index and thumb. Contrary to what you see on TV, you do not leave the cigarette in your mouth while smoking. I don't know what good it does, but generally speaking I smoke without inhaling. You still get the high that way, but without as much throat irritation.

Also, get the box rather than the soft back if you can. The prices are the same and cigarettes in the soft packs are more likely to get damaged. Some people prefer short-packs and some long-packs (100's or, in the case of Camel, 99's). You get more bang for your buck from the long packs, which take longer to smoke but cost the same. Short packs are more conveniently sized, though, and typically have shorter filters.

You don't need to get one of those really nice, refillable lighters, but don't get one of those cheap, translucent ones, either unless it's one of those 10/$2 things and you're prone to misplace things. Ovular Bics are probably the best. Check your pockets before doing wash. Don't get the little bitty lighters as they're most inclined to get lost, don't last long, and make it more likely you will burn your fingers. All of this holds triply true if you're in a place with any wind.

There are several things about the smell. First, the biggest enemy is prolonged exposure (without washing). It's ideal to wash your hands and face after each time you smoke. If you wait for the end of the day, it's less likely you will "get the smell out" without a full-blown shower. The hands are the most important thing (especially if you don't have facial hair). The same goes for clothes. Obviously, it's impractical to change your clothes after every cigarette, but if you're not in the routine of changing clothes each and every day, you need to start. The same goes for showering. Except for outerwear or any sort of repeat-wear, you're fine washing it with regular clothing.

Regarding outerwear and repeat-wear (this includes jeans for some people), the best thing to do is to have specific outer-wear for smoking in. I have a "smoking jacket" and a "regular jacket." If you're not wearing outerwear, there's no problem because you're always changing clothes. But since you wear a jacket all the time, the smell can get so ingrained that it's harder to get out. It can always be done, but you want to limit the number of times you put anything with a zipper through the wash because the zipper gets warped in the dryer (and without a dryer, heavy stuff takes forever to dry out).

Also, you can buy some Febreez. Unlike some sprays, Febreez is more of a deodorizer rather than something that introduces a smell. If you try something that tries to cover a bad smell with a good smell, you end up carrying the bad smell. Anyone who has been trapped in the elevator with a heavy smoker wearing cologne can attest to this. Febreez keeps that to a minimum.

The good news is that, given time and treatment, you can get the smell out of just about anything. I smoked in my old car for years and it took less than a couple of months before the smell was entirely gone. The big exception seems to be watches. The smell sticks to watches (maybe anything leather) and cleaning solutions are not easy to come by. This is especially true in warm weather when you're not wearing a jacket. Made even moreso by me because I hold my cigarette in my opposite-hand, the wrist of which my watch lays.

I'm probably the last person to give advice on how not to get addicted, but my main advice in that regard is to compartmentalize it as best you can. Decide beforehand what times and places are appropriate. Don't do it while doing something else (driving, working, even listening to music). Both Mom and I had some success in limiting our smoking on this basis.

I have no good advice on breath and teeth. The good news is that it's pretty easy to get your teeth whitened these days. I think Altoids live and die based on smokers. The breath-smell comes and goes based on time and frequency. If you smoke irregularly, you need to worry a lot less than if you smoke a lot. A couple cigarettes in the morning will be gone by the evening with some gum or Altoids, but a pack a day can take a couple days to go away no matter what you do. If you don't presently use it, I would recommend using mouth-wash, the smell of which overwhelms just about anything. There are also certain foods that take over your breath (pepperoni, garlic), but the cure can be worse than the disease.

Direct all responses here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Life, Etc.

A Response to Phi's "Tired of Life" post:

Even apart from PC, the crimes on Life were typically pretty lame. I enjoyed the show mostly because of the premise and characters. A good portion of the crimes presented are along the lines of what you're talking about (minus the PC). Things that, if they happened in real life, the media would have a complete field day about if only for their utter weirdness or the notoriety of the victim. It was the only thing that I didn't really like about the show.

Do yourself a favor and never watch Detroit 1-8-7. It's obvious by the show that the city of Detroit has been ruined by professional-class whites, retired cops, crooked land developers, and right-wing Republicans so popular in the city. I'm not as sensitive to PC as you are, and it didn't stop me from watching the show, but it was enough that I won't lament the fact that there won't be a second season.

On the other hand, if you're interested in a show with a more demographically credible set of bad guys, The Shield more or less fits that bill. The Strike Team spends week-in-and-week-out going after gangs, which they don't pretend to be a bunch of middle class white guys. It also has some of the moral dimensions that you found lacking in Dexter. The only real PC thing that comes to mind is a subplot involving a repressed gay cop, but it's a subplot that comes and goes for a second-tier character.

Redirect all comments to Phi's blog.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Comment to Phi's Post on Manchildren vs Womenchildren

Below is a comment that I cannot, for the life of me, post on Phi's blog. Direct all comments here.

I lived with my folks for about three weeks while I was engaged. I was actually kind of looking forward to it. I was working across town and saving up for the move to Deseret. Mom and Dad both wanted me to move back in after college until I got my feet on the ground, but I carefully avoiced that. But here was kind of a last chance before I moved far, far away. The plan was for me to move in for about four months. The fact that I left after three weeks gives you an idea of how well it went. My problem was not with my father, but rather my mother.

Notably, all of my significant exes lived with their parents through college and beyond. Two (Julie and Evangeline) moved out to cohabitate and the third I lost contact with. It was problematic in all three cases. With Eva there were specific problems with a step-mother who resented her presence. With Julie it was what I think is more typical. It's hard to establish the distinction between parent/child and landlord/tenant. Even if they're more liberal, you're still living under the rules of the house. Things like cleaning up after yourself and the like are done not because you have determined them to be valuable, but because your parents say-so. It ends up frustrating both sides. Things were so problematic with Julie that I was actually moderately supportive of when she moved in with the boyfriend, despite my belief that it's generally a bad idea. As long as it got her out of that house (and I *liked* her parents).

Regarding the double-standard, I consider it a branch off the same tree that has parents bankrolling their daughters moving to NYC looking for unlikely or doing unprofitable work while telling their sons to get a damn job. Girls have intrinsic value. Boys have to earn or prove theirs.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Party at My New Place

Almost everything has been moved over here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Fuzzy Feelings

They've put a sign over the Customer Support section that says "Good Intentions (does not equal sign) Profits!"

Not sales, but technical support!

I gotta tell you, that just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Good Boys & Girls

Barry has a heart-breaking post about his son's difficulties fitting in at school and the role that his strict (compared to other children, anyway) household plays in that. It is, unfortunately, a very familiar story. It's also likely to be the source of an inevitable conflict between Clancy and I should we have children down the line.

Clancy is one of three super-children. Clancy is a doctor, her middle sister is a lawyer (married to a doctor, no-less), and the youngest just got out of college with 4.0 GPA honors degree from the University of Carolina. Only the youngest doesn't have an upper-level degree and she's only 23 and I'm sure will get one someday. Her parents, a college professor and a CPA, expected no less.

I come from a slightly less ambitious family. My brothers and I are all middle-professionals just as Dad was. The oldest works with databases, the middle is an engineer like Dad, and I am a general IT person. We all graduated from college (middle bro has a master's). This was expected of us as well.

I am disinclined to criticize my parents because all things considered they did a phenomenal job. Our successes are theirs and our failures are our own. But if I am inclined to do anything differently than they did, it's to push them a little harder. I'm not sure if there's any reason my family couldn't have been as successful as Clancy's. Not successful in the monetary sense, but in the sense of living up to our full potential. At least two of us Truman boys haven't. Instead of living up to our full potential, my oldest brother and I have instead lived up to our parents expectations of us. Had those expectations been set higher, we would have achieved more. Had they lower expectations, we probably would have achieved less. Even successful middle brother got where he is by following in Dad's footsteps. No more, no less.

While there are exceptions to every rule, this is the case more often than not.

I won't speak for my brothers any further, but I will say that I was a problem child waiting to happen. I like to push all the wrong things. I have a scientist's curiosity to find out "what would happen if?" Add a peculiar personality and more difficulty learning than a lot of people my age, drugs, alcohol, and quitting school were all waiting for me, but by the grace of good parenting.

My parents wouldn't get me a Nintendo because my grades were bad. I couldn't watch Rated R movies. We didn't have cable except in the main room and even then not until I was in the fifth grade. Dad sat with me every night after dinner to walk me through the homework that was giving me great difficulty. Small disciplinary infractions were treated sternly and so they never became larger ones.

But I look back at how hard I didn't try in school and how well I did (better than "smart" people that tried a lot harder). Maybe I could have been a lawyer or a doctor instead of in the middle of a dead-end career that stopped interesting me long ago. Don't get me wrong, I like my life, but I would want better for my children. Isn't that what every parent (or in this case would-be parent) wants?

Which brings me back to Clancy's family and what it took to get them where they got.

The Hardwick family wasn't allowed to watch television to the extent that most families, including the Trumans, were. School was their job, as their father used to say. Clancy is an avid reader, but most likely couldn't tell the Star Trek from Space Ghost. Also, intense focus on academia necessarily diverts energy away from socializing and acculturating yourself with your social environment. There are some people who can do it all (including Clancy's youngest sister), but it requires a special gift that very few people have.

Clancy doesn't have it. Her childhood was miserable. To this day I want to go back and kick some junior high butt because those kids were so cruel.

Now Clancy is an odd duck like myself. Even if she had been availed of the newest games of the day and popular television shows, while she might not have her current animosity towards it, she would never have completely bought in to pop culture.

While I think there's a lot that Clancy would do differently than the way that she was raised, those are the values (work hard, play productively) she was raised with and she's taken to them. I definitely get the sense that she would want similar guidelines in any family that she's raising. It's certainly hard to argue with the results.

But I don't want any children we have to go through what she went through. While I don't want them to be cheerleader popular, I don't want them to be unpopular either. I don't want them to go through what Clancy went through, what I went through, and what Barry's son is going through.

And yet what choice do parents have? Do they let the kids buy in to the superficial, materialistic culture that is leaving a lot of kids emotionally unequipped for the "real world?" Do we let them slide on grades so that they can spend more time on frivolous activities just so that they can conform to the backwards priorities of youth?

Barry's right, what the other parents let their kids do has a direct bearing on those households that won't buy in to that. So do you give in? Do you fight it, letting your child take the brunt of the damage?

It's really a no-win situation.

I may not be as concerned about violent movies as Barry is, but the older I get the more socially conservative I seem to be becoming. I've seen what permissive parents, overly accomodating teachers, sexual promiscuity, drugs (including alcohol first and foremost), and sexual promiscuity have done to a lot of my friends. I consider myself lucky to have (mostly) moved beyond that. I admire the wall that Clancy has managed to built between herself and all of that. I'd want the same for my children.

But at what cost? And to whom?

You give in a little and it doesn't do much good. My classmates didn't care that I finally got to see Nightmare on Elm Street 13. They just noted that I'd missed the first twelve. They didn't care that I managed to get ahold of one killer trendy outfit, they just noted that the rest of the time I wore slacks and polo shirts. They didn't care that I finally started wearing jeans because their opinions had been formed by my stubborn insistence of wearing slacks until I was thirteen.

It doesn't even seem like compromise is possible. You have to buy in. And by that point, instead of being what your (older and theoretically wiser) parents tell you to be, you're what your young and stupid friends tell you to be.

But you do have to acclimate yourself to your surroundings. No matter how much sense it might make to wear an African robe in the desert heat, you wear pants because you're expected to. It keeps society going. No matter how smart a supergenious kid is, it does him no good if s/he isn't understood by those around him/her and doesn't understand the world around him/her.

And somewhere in the midst of all this is an answer that eludes me.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Hypothetical Application

I just sent off my updated resume and cover letter. Reading over the job description was a bit discouraging. I probably wouldn't have applied if my boss Willard hadn't encouraged me. One of those easy things to talk myself out of.

I'm one of two people in Reports applying, though the choice between me and Edgar is a no-brainer. In fact, his applying might be good cause it'll help Willard draw a distinction between his endorsement of me and his not-so-much endorsement of him.

Willard seems a lot more confident than I am about all this. He's already preparing for the vacancy. Though for reasons I'm not sure, neither of us have actually discussed it since this whole thing started.

Conversations have gone like this:

"If I were to apply for a job in Systems Analysis, who would I write the cover letter to? Hypothetically speaking, of course."

"Theoretically, I would say John Hansen. He's the CIO and while you'd be working for Hilton Wilde, it never hurts to aim high. Hypothetically."

"Well I'm going to theoretically send the email right now."

"I'm sure everything will work out. Figuratively, speaking."

Definitely going to miss those kinds of conversations if I were to get transfered out.

In any case, it would be interesting to see how much a Willard endorsement is worth!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Technical Difficulties

As incredible as this sounds, my Blogspot account was hacked. The template was replaced by some ads for cheap auto insurance. I'm trying to get the old template back up, but my internet connection is spotty right now, so it's going to look weird for a bit.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Avoiding God's Soldiers

The missionaries stopped by again tonight. Each time it seems to be a different set. I think I might have been too rude to the last set. They never should have changed sets to begin with. I had a cordial relationship with the first ones and a sorta understanding (to the extent that a missionary can graph the concept of someone being somewhat interested in learning about the religion but very much not interested in converting). But since those two were pulled in favor of the others I've been a little more rude.

But even so, I can't be too rude even when I need to be. I am also sympathetic to the fact that being a missionary isn't easy (though it's gotta be easier in Deseret than Somalia).

Right now I just need to buy a little bit of time. They often don't take "I'm busy right now" for an answer (last time I was clearly on the phone). But how can they not take "It's April 15th and I haven't finished my taxes!" for an answer?

Quite possibly the best excuse to weasel out of anything that I've ever come up with in my entire life. Ever. In my whole life.

Friday, April 15, 2005

I Met Lex Luthor

Becky tells an interesting I-met-a-celebrity story. The only celebrity I've ever met (outside of a convention of place you're supposed to meet celebrities) was Sherman Howard, the actor for Lex Luthor in the old Superboy TV series (at least I think it was Howard, it might have been the other Lex Luthor from the first season).

Our conversation consisted of him saying "Excuse me" and me saying "sorry" and getting out of the way of the door to the beachside condominium we were each staying at.

But my middle brother's ex-girlfriend's mother has a much more interesting story, which I will recount to the best of my abilities. I have no verification that this is true, but she not an inveterate storyteller like my mother and I are, so it holds a bit more credibility. And, whether true or not, it's amusing, which is what counts.

Mrs. Douglas was in a casino/hotel elevator in Las Vegas when it stopped and three black men - two very large ones - entered. One of the men said "Hit the floor."

She dropped to the floor. One of the men clarified "The ground floor, ma'am" as he pressed the Level 1 button on the elevator.

She was understandably mortified.

For the rest of the trip, the hotel restaurant and bar declined her money. Everything, they told her, was paid for. When she was checking out, she was informed by the hotel that her room had been paid for. She asked "by whom." The attendant said that she didn't know, but gave her an envelope.

It read: "Thanks for the biggest laugh we've had all month. Best, Eddie Murphy and his two bodyguards."

Homestretch Slow-Motion

I wish I could hypnotize myself into thinking today was Thursday. Knowing that I have another day would help me keep my nose to the grindstone rather than counting down the minutes until weekend freedom.

Then the spell would wear off at about 5:05 and I'd realize that I am done for the weekend.

Seeking Teddy's Promotion

A few posts are going to tie together here.

Not long ago (it couldn't have been long ago, this blog isn't a couple of months old) I mentioned that I was being considered for a promotion to QA. The perks were a bigger workspace and a raise. The downside was that I was going to work under a guy I didn't want to work under and a slightly less pleasant job.

As it turns out, every single factor in the equation was false. The raise was nixed, the department was moved under the control of my current supervisor, and QA now has the same 4x4' cubes that we do.

I expressed a lack of enthusiasm and the promotion opportunity was withdrawn.

A week or so ago I took some Meeting Notes about some attendance troubles in the RLD departments and in particular with a QA employee named Teddy Forbes.

Now I've got a lot to say about Teddy, but I'm not ready to at this juncture. But the important thing about Teddy is that he has been dissatisfied with his position for some time and has wanted out of QA and in to System Testing.

When they were moved back into the smaller cubicles, he issued an ultimatum: either you get me out of QA or I quit.

To which the company responded: "We have no other positions available to you at this time. Do you intend to excercise the latter option?" Our boss Willard actually talks like this.

So Teddy is gone.

Lesson: Never issue an ultimatum to this company. According to Willard, there have been some very essential people that have gone off the tracks to senior management by being impatient and issuing ultimatums.

So two days after Teddy leaves because they will not transfer him to Software Testing because "there are no openings for [him] at this time" they send a company-wide email job posting for two positions in... Software Testing!

I noticed that there were no requirements for the job that I did not meet. Willard then pulled me into the small conference closet room. He strongly suggested that I apply for the Software Testing spot and said that I could put him down as a reference.

This would be the second time in a month or so that he's tried to help me get a promotion. That means I'm either really good because he things I'm bound for better things, or I'm so bad that he wants to kick me upstairs.

There is some bad blood between Teddy and myself. He has, in the past, been quite condescending to our department. I'm frankly glad he's gone.

If I do apply and get for and get the spot that he has spent months pining for, that would absolutely, positively be icing on the cake.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Resume Question

When applying for a job within the company that you work for, do you:
(a) Put your current position with the company on the resume, thereby revealing that you have an updated resume and are looking to Get The Hell Out of your current job.
(b) Leave your current job off the resume, looking like your resume ended over a year ago.

Let's say for the sake of argument,
(1) You have an updated resume.
(2) You really are looking to Get The Hell Out of your current job, and
(3) You'd just as soon your employer not know about #2.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Temple's Timetable

Clem, a coworker in our sister department, is apparently getting married. It seems like it was just yesterday that he had a moderate crush on Mouse and was lamenting how difficult it was to meet girls around here.

It wasn't yesterday, but it was less than six weeks ago.

For the record, Clem is 21 years old.

One of my coworker Marcel's friends also announced his engagement, three weeks after Marcel introduced to two of them.

The Cranstons, the family we live with, have four daughters. I've mentioned Becki, the youngest and only unmarried and childless Cranston. The oldest, about my age (29), is married with four children. The other two have three or four kids between them (or will, hopefully, once her/their pregnancy/pregnancies lapse).

Many moons ago I very much loved a girl named Julie. She and I dated for almost five years when I started considering popping the question. The reaction among those I told was uniform: You're too young, don't do it!

I was 23.

Of all the differences between the southern metropolis of Colosse and Mocum here in the Deseret 'burbs, the most apparent to me (in part because I work with young people, mostly) is the timetable. In Colosse, as with most big cities outside of Deseret, you're expected to date through most of your twenties, start thinking about marriage at 25 at the earliest, try to be married by thirty, then have kids a few years after that.

Not that I believe in the big city model. It underestimates a woman's decline in fertility after thirty and (subjectively) it causes problems down the line when the parents can't see their grandkids graduate from high school.

I discussed the issue with Clancy last night and we both reminisced about how little we knew of ourselves at 21 and how much we had to learn about life in general. On the other hand, a good argument could be made that if you fully form by yourself, sacrificing the "me" for the "we" becomes much harder.

Nationally, the average first-time groom is 27 and first-time bride is 24. Most urban centers like Colosse pull that number up while rural areas pull that number back down. Deseret is somewhat unique in that even in Gazelem, our urban capitol city, that number is probably being pulled down.

In a state-by-state comparison of divorces per capita ("Divorce Rate"), for all it's religiosity Deseret is actually midling (#27). The reason that it's not higher is probably because of the church that so emphasizes family and marriage. Or perhaps I should say encourages young marriage and strongly, strongly discourages premarital sex. From what I understand, they actually "check" to see if you're a virgin before allowing you to marry in a temple. Though that could be urban legend, a couple LDS coworkers recently discussed a particular GYN whose job it was to check. So I don't know.

But in any case, the cultural pressure to get married young coupled with a biological pressure to have sex doubling back to a cultural pressure not to have sex (in any manifestation, including masterbation I think) before marriage undoubtedly leads to more than a couple of ill-advised marriages. It certainly leads to a lot more marriages, young or old, wise or dumb.

Viewed in that context, Deseret's midling divorce rate actually becomes somewhat impressive. Southern states (including my own) that have large rural tracts where people marry young and get married more don't do nearly as well as Deseret does.

In fact, if one were able to come up with a marriage/divorce ratio ("Marriage Success Rate"), I'd imagine that Deseret would do pretty well. The south would probably do a lot better as well. Most of the states with the lowest Divorce Rates (most located in the northeast) would probably not have as good looking Marriage Success Rate.

So the question is whether or not it's acceptable to have more failed marriages for even more successful ones or whether it is not, in fact, better to have married and lost than never to have married at all.

Compiler Dialectic

Compiler: Null Field In Parameters Disallowed outside partial units.

Will: What?

Compiler: Null Field In Parameters Disallowed outside partial units.

Will: What does that mean?

Compiler: Null Field In Parameters Disallowed outside partial units.

Will: Hmmm. [picks up phone and calls Willard]

Willard: That's one of our phantom errors. Start commenting stuff out*.

[twenty minutes later]

Compiler: Null Field In Parameters Disallowed outside partial units.

Will: Dangit! Hey Marcel, could you check over my code real quick?

Marcel: Sure. What's the error message.

Will: It's a phantom error.

Marcel: Which one?

Will: Something about partial units and null fields. Hold on.

Compiler: Incomplete IF statement on line 1304.

Marcel: Well I know that error is mysterious, Will, but I'd go ahead and check out line 1304.

Will: But... but that wasn't the error I was getting a minute ago!

Marcel: Yeah, yeah...

[five minutes later]

Compiler: Null Field In Parameters Disallowed outside partial units.

Will: Dangit!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Death Notice

Clancy's great-uncle passed on this week. She apparently found out via an email from her mother about the funeral arrangements (instead of an email about the death itself whenever it happened).

The notification issue reminds me a bit of Grandmother Albrecht, my mom's mom. Our family ran a little closer to the Truman family line than the Albrecht one since the Truman hub was in Hamelon, only a couple hours away, while the Albrecht clan was based back in Carolina.

At some point I realized that we stopped making trips back to Carolina and when we did, we usually only got to see my Great Aunt Susan. When I finally asked my folks about this they told me that she had died a few years prior.

It was years before I ever let them hear the end of that.

Grandfather Albrecht died before I was born and Grandmother Truman died only recently. The only other death from that era was Grandfather Truman.

Mom told Dad over breakfast that the Steins had died in a car accident. The Steins were the elderly couple that they sold the house in Carolina to when I was only four and we moved to Dixona.

Later that day my father was crying in his room. My father was never much of a cryer so I asked him what was wrong. He told me that Grandfather Truman had died. I ended up being the one to tell Mom, not realizing that Dad hadn't yet.

That day holds some of my earliest memories.

Addendum: Turns out there was a message about the death on our answering machine the whole time. She worked the overnight last night so it was my fault. Oops.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Ill-Timed Blindness

I have a medical condition that occasionally results in very obstructed vision. When afflicted, I can't watch TV, drive, read... or work.

So it's natural that it started coming on around 12:30, because that's when I take lunch.

And it's natural that I am getting my vision back now, cause I'm about ready to clock in again.

Heaven forbid something like this happen outside my websurfing window.

Friday, April 08, 2005

RIP, Mitch Hedberg

Will: Hey Willard, Mitch Hedberg died!

Willard: Who?

Will: Hilarious stand-up comic.

Willard: Oh. Not familiar with him.

Will: He's really good.

Willard: Not anymore, he's dead.

Will: True. He was really good on March 30th, though, before he died.

Willard: Were you there? He might have had an off-nite.

Will: Yeah. Well he's really good on CD.

Willard: I'll take your word on that. Do you need time to grieve?

Will: I'll grieve over lunch.

Willard: Don't forget that today's the luncheon. So I'm going to have to ask you to keep your grieving during that time to a minimum.

Will: Right. I'll grieve during the 3-3:15 standardized breaktime.

Willard: Okay, but I expect to see you in an ungrieving state at your desk once the clock hits 3:16.

Will: Mitch would have wanted it that way, I'm sure.


-{Invitation from Barry}-

1) The last time you filled up your automobile how much did you pay per gallon?

$2.179, though I never got my fractions-of-a-penny back in change, so I'm not sure how that works.

2) What was the last piece of clothing you purchased for yourself?

I took a trip back to Dixona for a spell. Unfortunately I didn't pack enough in the way of jeans, so I had to get some. I also wanted a nice-looking shirt for a meeting with an old flame, so I tracked down a shirt while I was there.

3) What was the last thing you bought at the grocery?

Mostly canned stuff. Beans, chili, etc. I'm about to have to go make an emergency trip to stock up on parmesan cheese and pesto cause I've been raiding Clancy's stash all week.

4) What did you do on the last night you went out with friends?

Had some coffee with a friend. Unfortunately I don't go out all that much (no kids, so no excuse).

5) Let’s spread some "It’s Blogcess" linky love?

I'm kind of the new kid on the block, so I don't have anyone to send this particular linkintine to except Larry, if he's interested.