Friday, December 28, 2007

Thursday, December 27, 2007

New Favorite Band

The Black Keys. Great blues band. Kind of freakish blues, a phrase coined by Jimi Hendrix, but they sound a little like Cream and a tiny bit Allmanny too. Of course, the comparison to the White Stripes is there, but they aren't that freakish.

I forgot how I found them. Luck I guess. I asked for and got their album Rubber Factory for Christmas. I'm hooked. Now I won't stop until I have all their albums and then I will complain for 6 months that I don't have any new music to listen to.

Yes, in case you are wondering, I still buy CDs. I like having something I can hold in my hand. And lose. Or scratch.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Home Improvement

Don't mind me just jotting down some of the home improvements I would like to do.

  1. Ceiling fans in upstairs bedrooms. Currently, no ceiling lights at all

  2. Exhaust fan in upstairs bathroom

  3. A back door. Preferably french doors

  4. Small deck and patio

  5. Heat pump/AC

  6. Chair rail in daughters room

  7. Paint youngest boys room

  8. Build a shed

  9. Paint kitchen ceiling

  10. Tiled backsplash in kitchen

  11. Paint living room. Add crown molding. Rope light behind crown molding

  12. Add overhead light to living room

  13. Wire living room for speakers

  14. Plant row of fast growing hedges on edge of property abutting the junk collector

  15. Landscape the front of the house

  16. Sandbox

  17. Insulate crawl space and replace crawl space door

  18. New storm doors on front and side doors

  19. Weatherstrip front and side doors

  20. Replace outlets and switches in living room, kitchen and family room

  21. Exhaust microwave to the outside

  22. Replace all interior doors (and doorknobs)

  23. Install rail fence along property line abutting the junk collector

  24. Plant more bushes along fence

Tired of Snow? Need a Job?

My company is looking for a DBA and a .NET Developer. People less smart than me only need apply (kidding). But, seriously, if you are smarter than me, than you have to at least like me, so I don't have to watch my back.

Richmond Restaurants

Just trying to keep track of the restaurants I have been to.

Europa Mediterranean Cafe - Good panini and soup.

Southern Railway Deli - Great sammiches. Make sure they leave you some room to add milk to your coffee.

Jo Jo's Pizza - Really, really, really good pizza.

Friday, December 21, 2007

End of First Week

Phew. One week down. The "stupid new guy" feeling is going away. It's weird not being completely flat out busy all day. Weird but good.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Meet the New Boss

I've been trying to figure out who my new boss reminds me of, it suddenly just came to me.

Todd Packer.

It's gonna be an interesting ride. Hang on.

Monday, December 17, 2007

First Day

So, what's the worst way to start your new job? If you answered waking up nauseous and then upchucking last night's cheetos and this morning's coffee into the bathroom sink whilst brushing your teeth, then you are correct.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Last Day

To me, last days kind of suck. You expend so much energy looking for a job, interviewing for a job, preparing for leaving, and being ecstatic about moving on that you forget until the very end around 4:30 pm when people start wishing you good luck and saying good bye that you are essentially leaving a bunch of semi-good to very good friends behind. Some you might talk to occasionally in the future, most you'll probably never see or hear from again. It seems to be a little worse this time around because I don't know anybody in this area besides the people I've worked with. Now, I have to essentially start over.

It usually takes me at least 6 months to feel comfortable with a bunch of people, and that is the part that I am not looking forward to in my new job. Am I nervous, scared, anxious? No. Well, not about the job, only about making a jackass of myself. That's why, unlike some people, I tend be really reserved for a long time.

Part of my Autumn Resolution this year, and I've stuck to it pretty well, was to get better at maintaining contact with past friends, acquaintances, and coworkers. So I made sure to give at least a half a dozen people my personal email address and resolved to email each of them at least every month. Even if they don't reply. Like one of my old bosses that I contacted a month ago. If you are reading know who you are.

I worked hard for these people and surprisingly I think they appreciated it. I got five cards, one tin of the most amazing cookies that you have ever eaten in your life, craisin white chocolate oatmeal cookies, a 12 pack of Pilsner Urquell, a cake, a $50 gift certificate to Walmart, a coffee mug, 2 free personal days that I will get paid for, and last but not least a big hug from my boss who used to scare the daylights out of me, all 99 lbs 60 inches of her, not but 2 months ago, until I realized she was getting screwed by the merger just as bad as everyone else and cared about her employees more than any boss I have ever had before.

One thing I will miss: Being important. Being The Guy for about a hundred people does kind of feed the ego. But I won't miss being The Guy because I could never ever concentrate on one task and complete it to the level that I desired because somebody was always pulling me in another direction.

A short list of things I won't miss: Visual Basic 6, Belligerent A-hole, screen scraping terminal screens, getting abused by IT.

Anyway, I am really glad to be moving on, I just hope a couple of the friends I made "stick".

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Andy Art

Its about that time of year when I start getting geared up for the annual trip to the mountains of West Virginia. Last year around this time I started making a picture of our group from the 2006 trip. I was going to have a t-shirt made, but I decided against that. I might have it printed and framed though.

This is that picture:

I'm gonna start working on something using our group shot from last years trip:

Missin' You

I miss being able to take pictures. Stupid camera. I don't think I'll buy any more Sony stuff. Everything of theirs that I buy breaks. And those stupid memory cards they use. Ugh.

Jump to Conclusions

There's a new contractor at work that they hired to replace me. Yesterday, he spent the day with the other contractor. Unfortunately, the other contractor was out sick today (not really a good day to take off, what, with me leaving tomorrow), so the new contractor had to spend the day with me.

I got nothing done.

He looks and sounds like the guy in Office Space who invented the Jump to Conclusions mat. Hence, the picture.

His breath smells bad and his BO got progressively worse during the course of the day, but thats not the worst of it. It was his aggressive invasion of my personal space and the way he "suggested" a better way to do just about everything that I was doing.

He sat right behind me with his elbows on my desk, bumping into me, sweating, and breathing hot air on my ear.

I gave up programming after about a half hour. I couldn't think with him jabbering in my ear. Use DateDiff...That won't work there...I built a control that does this...blah blah blah. I decided to fill out forms to get him his access, and fill out a 10 page questionnaire for IT about our ancillary apps.

Things got so bad at one point I actually went over to my old department for a couple hours on two separate occasions and helped them with some stuff that I have been putting off for months. They were happy. I was just happy to get away.

The first time I left I didn't tell him because he was on the phone, and when I came back he was all indignant and said that he "shoulda just gone home because they aren't paying him to surf the net all day." My response was simply, take advantage of it while you can.

The second time I left he was in my office so I said that I had to head over to Corporate Actions. He volunteered to come, but I stopped him by saying that its probably better if they don't know who he is. "Maintain your anonymity."

He finally left at 5:10. I got more done in the next 20 minutes than I had all day. Well, I got stuff done that I wanted to get done.

Get this, he actually interviewed at the company where my new job is. He probably annoyed the crap out of the hiring manager. One of the things they told me when they interviewed me was that they wanted to hire someone who would fit in with the group.


Friends are friends and pals are pals

So Clemens and Pettitte stuck it in each others bums. Steroid needles that is.

Can we let it go now? Moving forward, test and punish the guilty, but going back in time seems like, well, a waste of time.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Turn on the AC

Its amazing how hot 78 degrees feels when it was just 38 degrees a few days ago. I mean, in August when its 98 for 12 days straight, and then it drops to 78 you're digging out the fleece. But today, shorts and a t-shirt are de rigueur. For me anyway.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Pretty Lame. Prreeettyy Laaaame.

Pretty lame error page, Google. I'm digging the late 90s logo. Retro is king.

Honda in the Living Room

I've been dreaming about getting a new stereo receiver and surround speakers. My old receiver died a while back and would only produce sound out of one channel. It lived a good life, but I am dying to get a new one. Unfortunately, certain economic realities prevent me from getting a new receiver right now, but it doesn't hurt to browse. Something just dawned on me while perusing the Best Buy website, how come Honda doesn't make receivers and speakers like Yamaha does? That would be sweet if they did.

HTA Application

Ever heard of it? Me neither until I started my current job.

The "application" part is redundant actually as the "A" in "HTA" stands for "application".

Anyway, I have one I need to fix at work preferably before my last day this Friday.

It's an unholy mix of VBScript and JavaScript in a gelatinous* mass of client and server side code with a healthy dash of classic ASP and PHP (and now I am adding some ASP.NET into the mix). Throw in a lot of XML and you have a recipe for disaster. I guess this type of application predates ASP or AJAX.

It could be kind of cool, but whoever wrote it was lacking in several key areas. Namely a basic grasp of logic. And skill.

I would never have touched it but I kind of have to and I thought it would be fun.

It, along with all of this departments web apps, were moved to a production IT environment and the old web server (a 5 year old Dell sitting in an empty cube) is supposed to be removed from the network. I haven't taken the old one offline yet, for no particular reason other than I like to annoy the IT guys.

Now, for the past month I've been going through all of the department apps and updating them to all use a global config wherein the connection string to the database is stored because IT is kicking us off our current SQL Server and moving us to a production IT environment.

This story is taking way too long.

In the course of updating the programs I discovered that this HTA application has tons of hard coded references to the old web server. Include files, regular links, style sheets, ASP pages that receive database queries and spit back out recordsets in XML. Good stuff. This app is used by everyone. Their bread and butter.

I can only imagine the hell that would have broken loose if the old web server was remediated before this was discovered.

I fixed the hard coded links by using variables to which I assigned certain property values retrieved from JavaScript objects.

The ASP pages that returned XML were funny. They literally built the XML by doing a whole lotta this response.write <record>.

This post is boring. I quit. I had a conclusion but I lost it.

*I edited this post to change the word I used from glutinous to gelatinous because glutinous actually means glue-like or sticky and this thing is anything but.

Fabulous Grilled Cheese Sandwiches®

Edam. As in, "I like to eat'em."

Mmm. It's good cheese. A little bit sharp like cheddar, but it's a bit like Swiss too in texture and aftertaste. Meltability is not as high as Jarlsberg, but still high at 8 on the meltability scale. Flavor is a 7.

I was a little disappointed because I had to buy pre-sliced bread, but it turned out okay, and I got more slices from it than when I slice up a loaf into inch thick slabs. And as an added bonus, each slice has a consistent thickness throughout, instead of being an inch at the top and transparent at the bottom.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

This Just In...

I got the job! Yesterday at 4 and it truly was one of the happiest days of my life. Unfortunately, I couldn't give my notice because all of my managers had the day off.

Anyway, here's where I'll be starting December 17. Stop by and visit if you are in the area.

View Larger Map

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fabulous Movie Review®

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
I hate it when Hollywood Better Than Yous attempt to preach in their movies. Adam Sandler is going to teach me how to accept people? Really?

Just make me laugh and spare me the Hollywood life lesson.

Anyway, I did laugh during this movie, but what got me the most was the large number of famous and semi-famous actors in it. Here's a list and the role that is most memorable to me:

Adam Sandler: Well, duh, Little Nicky. The greatest movie ever.

Kevin James: Fat guy on a TV show.

Jessica Biel: The only reason you ever watched 7th Heaven.

Dan Aykroyd: Yep.

Ving Rhames: Not entirely convincing as a gay guy in this film and his man-love for Adam Sandler in the extra features not very convincing either. I got the impression he was duped into this movie and was looking to kick some white ace.

Steve Buscemi: Weird creepy guy in this movie. Imagine that. While researching this post and thinking about Buscemi, off the top of my head I could remember four Adam Sandler movies he has been in, this one (duh), Wedding Singer, Big Daddy and Happy Gilmore.

Nicholas Turturro: Most famous in my mind for being a detective on NYPD Blue, one of my most favorite shows of all time.

Allen Covert: He's had a role in every Adam Sandler movie. Even Airheads, but curiously not Billy Madison.

Richard Chamberlain: 1960s heartthrob. Don't really know him, but I recognize the name.

Blake Clark: Every Adam Sandler movie. My favorite, the coach from Waterboy that you couldn't understand.

Lance Bass: NSYNC

Dave Matthews: Yes, that Dave Matthews

Gary Valentine: Dopey cousin on King of Queens

Jonathan Loughran: Another Sandler movie staple.

Peter Dante: Yet another guy on Sandler's permanent payroll.

Becky & Jessica O'Donohue: I couldn't remember where I had seen these twins before, but Google jogged my memory. They were on an episode of Fear Factor, and also American Idol. Jessica didn't make it to Hollywood but Becky was in the top 24. I remember when they were on American Idol I couldn't remember where I had seen them before. Thanks, Google.

Chandra West: I remember her from NYPD Blue.

Dennis Dugan: From Happy Gilmore, the president of the golf tour, or whatever the golf league is called.

Rob Schneider: Self-explanatory.

Thats it I'm done. Thanks for humoring me.

Gagknee's grade: C

No New Job Yet

I haven't heard back from the company for which I did my oral presentation and written exam yet. Not worried or anxious though. They took two weeks to call me after the phone interview.

I'm not the type to call after an interview. Don't want them to think I'm easy. Or desperate.

If they want me, then they want me and a little gluteolingus won't make a difference. Or maybe I am naive. They could be on the fence and have decided that the first person to call back gets the job.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Fabulous Grilled Cheese Sandwiches®

Dude. Jarlsberg rocks. It might just be the best grilling cheese ever. It scores a 10 on the meltability scale. A nine on flavor. Amazing.

I'm not sure what cheese to try next. Maybe something in the blue family. Or something made from an animal other than cow.

Fabulous Movie Reviews®

I had never seen this, so I decided to see this. Halloween is a classic of sorts, launching a new genre of horror, or so I've heard. It's good. I liked it. Wasn't really scary, but I can appreciate it for what it was at the time it came out. There was almost no blood and gore, something that surprised me. Halloween 2 picks up right where this one left off, so I'll watch that next. After that, I won't bother with anything else in the Halloween series.

Gagknee's grade: B

Spiderman 3
A lot of people had a lot of disparaging remarks about this movie. I thought it was alright, better than most comic book movies I have seen, but not up to the quality of the first two Spiderman movies.

In this movie, MJ loses her job in a play because she is a lousy actress/singer. One can only hope that this happens to Kirsten Dunst in real life. Seriously, how did she get the part in these movies?

Gagknee's grade: C

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Results of the Written Test

The written test for this job that I'm hoping to get went well. I used the entire two hour period I was allotted. Although I am ashamed to admit that I used half of the time trying to figure out two riddles that they stuck at the end of the test.

One of the riddles I was able to get, the other I couldn't. The answer felt so close, but I couldn't quite get my mind to grasp it. Kinda like feeling around the back of your computer in the dark looking for a USB port.

I'd share what the riddles were but the few people that I did share them with figured them out faster than I answered the first question, "What is ASP.NET?", so I choose not to embarrass myself anymore.

I've never been good at riddles.

Most of the questions I aced, a few I fudged because I couldn't remember the specific method that I would use (that's what Google is for), so I made up something that sounded good, and I only flat out missed three of them. A web service question, but I had already told them I didn't have much experience. Same for the XML question. The third question, the difference between OLAP and OLTP, I still don't know even after Googling it when I got home.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

So, Tell Me About Yourself

The time leading up to an interview always causes me shortness of breath and heart palpitations and the time afterwards is sweet, sweet relief.

I did well enough that they called me later in the day and asked me to come back Thursday for a written test.

Written test? Not to sound cocky, but it's always been the oral presentation that I've screwed up. The written part should be cake.

If ever a statement was going to make me eat my words, its that one.

Also, I think this was the first interview I have ever been to where I wasn't asked to name three of my best qualities. Man, do I hate that question. I was prepared to say, "Patient. Really patient. Super patient." Or something like that, just to get a laugh. Hmm, maybe I shouldn't try to "get laughs" during an interview. Something to think about anyway.

Oh yeah, and at my current job I had a conference call with a bunch of holier than thou IT people. Their leader sounded like Brendan Fraser. All I could think about was how underrated Blast from the Past was.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Job interview tomorrow.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Fabulous Movie Reviews®

I've got a bunch so I am going to blow right through them.

The Benchwarmers
Mildly amusing tale of geeks versus jocks. I was impressed with Rob Schneider's ability to throw a ball and swing a bat like a real person and not like your typically Hollywood wuss, a Hollywuss. Jon Heder is funny too.

Gagknee's grade: C

Evan Almighty
Great movie to watch with the kids, the most offensive thing in it is bird poop. The ending involving the ark is pretty cool to watch also.

Gagknee's grade: C+

Knocked Up
Honestly, I don't know what the fuss is all about with this movie. Yeah, it's okay, but funniest movie ever? Hardly.

Gagknee's grade: B-

You've probably never heard of this movie. I hadn't until I accidentally clicked on a flash advertisement in some website I can't even remember. It looked interesting, so I added it to my Netflix queue. Definitely the most unique, good movie I have ever seen.

Gagknee's grade: B+

Whats that movie where the hero drove a Pinto?

Find it here:

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Didja See the Game?

I bought one of these hats for 5 bucks at Walmart about 6 months ago. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I needed a new hat and it was cheap. I like the state of West Virginia and the colors, gold and blue, are cool.

I need to find a new hat. Something not associated with college football or any other sports team.

At least twice a week someone makes a comment about it. From "nice hat!" to "did you go there?" to simply "Mountaineer!". The dénouement occurred yesterday whilst walking on some nature trails with my family. We passed another couple, and before I could even smile and say hi to the male half of the couple, he started immediately talking about the game that day. I was cornered because my wife was lagging behind waiting for my oldest son. Luckily, I HAD watched about 5 minutes of the game so I could almost sound intelligent and not even close to the poser I am.

Guy in woods: "What a great game today, huh? 31 to nothing. Rutgers didn't even make a game of it."

Me: "31?! Man. I had to leave and it was only 7 to zip. Wish I could have seen it all!"

Guy in woods: "Yeah, Rutgers had 7 dropped passes!"

Me: "Jeez. I saw one of them. It was the rain, tough."

Guy in woods agrees emphatically.

Me agree.

Guy in woods: "It was a great win for them."

Me: "It sure was."

I've tried to get to know the school's football team, watch a game here and there, but I can't just get into it. That 5 minutes of the game that I watched yesterday was only luck, because I was amazed out how clear the rain drops were in HD. I couldn't have watched a better game because I saved myself form total embarrassment.

If I see someone in a Red Sox hat and they know nothing of the team or who won the most recent game, well, verbal abuse and probably an arrest are in the cards.

The WVU hat has got to go, in case I meet someone like me someday and go home crying.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I don't like job postings that try to be cute. If I can't be cute in my cover letter or whilst describing my current job responsibilities, then you shouldn't be allowed to be cute in your job description. Oh, wait, thats right, I need you more than you need me so you have the upper hand. Touché.

Anyway, I miss the humor in this little excerpt:

# Pixels count.

# Has an opinion on what Web 2.0 means (hint: not a pre-cursor to Web 2.01).

# Pixels count (repetition intended).

If anyone would care to explain it to me, please, feel free. In the meantime, I'll pass on this one.

Lawyers, Guns and Money

Why is it when you are not in the market for a house, car or job there seem to be plenty available, but as soon as you make up your mind and start looking the market dries up?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fabulous Movie Review®

Without giving away any of the plot, all I can say is, "Whaa? I don't get it."

Unfortunately, now I have to fill up some space in order to have enough text to wrap around the image. Why is Sandra Bullock called everyone's favorite girl next door? I don't get it. Is it because she has brown hair? Isn't it kind of insulting to be called the girl next door? Implying, perhaps, that you are kinda plain and not pretty?

Phew. Done.

Gagknee's grade: C-

I Love Me Some Crying Indians

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Now Batting...JD Drew

Hey, you know what? Any season where you make it to the ALCS should be considered a success. But, man, this team should have been so much better.

We didn't get bounced out of the playoffs by the MFYs.

And we won the division.

I've had a really hard time rooting for this team all year. Not sure why. That's not true, I do know why. The don't have any fire. Listless. Disinterested.

There were many enjoyable moments to the season. None of which I will list now. There's no need. If you care, then you already know what they are, and if you don't then you certainly won't feel like reading them.

Anyway, no matter what happens tonight, it was a good season, and let's hope that JD Drew decides to hang up the cleats for good and Julio Lugo joins the Peace Corps.


Burning the roof of your mouth on pizza is probably the most annoying, and surprisingly the most preventable, of all food related accidents.

At Work

The 6 month project to move all of our web apps to an IT supported web server from a Dell GX270 sitting in an empty cube is almost finished.

Today I began testing the two disaster recovery servers. On one of the servers, nothing worked. Twenty apps.

On the other server we had issues with images missing, third party controls and crystal reports not working. All of which we had fixed previously when moving from Dev to QA and from QA to the two production servers.

Did anybody in IT keep any notes? "Oh I need to do this and this and this after I move the applications." Apparently not. Again these are the same people who are going to "help" us point all of our apps to a newer, better SQL Server.

I had a conversation with one of these IT guys today, an Asian guy named Charlie, and he was asking me about some of the apps, specifically, what do you do if any of these things break, do you have someone in IT to help you?

No, Charlie, I avoid that at all costs.

Me and the new guy had a good chuckle about that one.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


cleaning up my labels, in case you were wondering.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fabulous Movie Review®

Grindhouse: Death Proof

When Grindhouse was released in the theaters it was originally two full-length films combined to make sort of a double feature. For the DVD release, they've been split into two. Death Proof is the first to be released.

This movie can be separated into two simple parts, first half and second half. Each of those halves can be further subdivided into "Boring Character Development and Irritating Dialog" and "Wrecked Cars".

Let's tackle the first half. Seems logical to me to begin the review at the beginning of the movie. On second thought, lets start with the first half of the second half, the Boring Character Development and Irritating Dialog (BCDID) half. Of course, I am not an enemy of character development and dialog, but I think Quentin Tarantino is. Yes, the man who made dialog cool again in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and even Kill Bill, now hates dialog with a passion usually reserved by Hollywoodians for Republicans. How else can the utter ridiculousness that is the BCDID of the second half of Death Proof be explained? The conversation that the four girls who appear in this portion of film have is awful. Barely watchable. Probably the worst thing I have ever seen put to film. Worse than any Ben Affleck movie, although I've never seen Gigli so I can't say that for sure. Ohhh, I get it. I am missing the whole point of the film. It is supposeda be awful and barely watchable. That's the whole effect Mr. Tarantino was trying to create. His vision. Riiight. How silly of me.

I'm sorry but there is a difference between being cheesy on purpose and being cheesy because you are trying too hard to be cheesy. Frankly, in the BCDID half of the second half of Death Proof, I think the writer, director and actors are trying too hard to be cheesy.

The first half of the movie is cool (Although, I will say, the BCDID half of the first half, runs waaay too long). Its definitely got a 70s vibe to it with poor picture quality, bad sound, cheesy (but not too cheesy) acting and dialog which I truly believe is the reason this movie was made. Put all of that together without going overboard, for the entire movie, and it gets a grade A-, in my book.

Unfortunately, it does not have all that for the entire movie. Tarantino gets lazy. The second half of Death Proof begins in black and white stays that way for a few minutes and then switches over to a perfectly edited and crisply filmed movie with modern cameras. Throw in overreaching dialog and lots of poor acting and it makes for disappointing viewing. It lacks the "1970s bad movie" feel and just screams "straight to DVD bad movie".

Ok, I've ranted incoherently long enough about the BCDIDs, how about some wrecked cars?

The second half of the second half, the Wrecked Car (WC) half, saves the film from the $7.50 rack at Walmart, I think. It'll probably never sink lower than the $9.49 rack. It's long but not too long. Two souped up musclecars + car wreck + three chicks beat up a dude = dyn-o-mite.

The first WC sequence is very good, I particularly liked how the scene is replayed to see the effect of the accident on each character. Well done, albeit too short.

Gagknees Grade: C+ First Half, c- Second Half

Actually lets break it down further:

C ~ BCDID First Half
B ~ WC First Half
D- ~ BCDID Second Half
B+ ~ WC Second Half

As you can see, the mind-numbing atrocity that is the first half of the second half really drags this movie down.

Phone Interview Post-Op

Well, I'm glad it wasn't in person as I forgot to rinse the shampoo out of my hair this morning, reminding me of the Shower Head episode of Seinfeld.

In other news, I kinda blew the interview. Out of practice I guess.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Gotta Phone Interview

Man. Do I hate those.

Face to face. That's the way it should be.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bullwinkle's Favorite

I was researching cheese for my next grilled cheese sandwich and stumbled upon this. I don't know why it repulses me. Cow is an animal too and I have no problem with that.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fabulous Movie Review®

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Comic book movies. You either love'em or you hate'em. If you love this particular comic book movie, then you probably have mommy issues. Take down your Jessica Alba in Sin City posters, take a shower, comb your hair, brush your teeth, climb up the basement stairs and GET SOME FRESH AIR! Seriously, it will do you a lot of good.

The only worse adaptation to come out of Hollywood in my recent memory is Daredevil, starring my favorite whipping boy, Ben "Manny, you can have my wife anytime" Affleck. But now, on second thought, Elektra, ironically enough starring said wife, might actually be worse. I can't remember. I hit rock bottom during my first spiral into the twisted world of pork rind addiction around that time.

Rise of the Silver Surfer also featured the stupidest product placement I have ever seen in any film. The ugly scientist guy pulls up in their space rocket plane thing and the Human Torch asks if its got a Hemi. Camera points to the grill. Sure enough. It does. Imagine that.

And finally, let me pose a question for you. You know, Rogue, from X-Men? How she can't, ya know, do it with any guys because she might not be able to control her powers at critical mass? Couldn't the same thing happen to the Human Man-whore, err, Torch?

Gagknee's grade: D+

Coming soon...Grindhouse: Death Proof

Well, I did it

I applied for that job. Mostly out of curiosity. I want to see if it is a job in the sub department of IT that has been torturing me for the past year.

Leave Me Alone

I am working on my resume right now, and I am so sick of Word telling me I have fragments everytime I make a change. Cut it out. I know already!

Edit: I figured out how to turn it off. They don't pay me the small bucks for nothin'

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I'm thinking about applying for this job.

It's exactly what I am doing now (well, in a perfect world it would be), it's the same company that the new guy works for which also happens to be my company's "preferred provider", and it was posted just a few days after IT decided it was going to "help" us migrate our apps from and old sql server to a new one. See the connection?

Sunday, October 07, 2007


92 degrees today. I had already put all my shorts and t-shirts away in the attic. That's what you do in the fall, right?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

My Impressions So Far of Must See TV

30 Rock
Amazing. This is probably the funniest show of the three. Two words: MILF Island. Comedy gold. Also, read Frank's blog.

The Office
Yeah. I love this show, and the first two episodes were good, the 2nd clearly the best of the two, but I think it's suffered in an hour long format. Too much Michael Scott.

My Name is Earl
The funniest season premiere I had ever seen until 30 Rock's premiere this week. Oh well. Earl isn't my favorite Thursday night show but it is consistently solid week after week.

At Work

In my last post about work, I mentioned how IT was no longer adding users to a particular database on a particular server.

I had to relay my concerns to my supervisor*. Those concerns basically being if they remove that database entirely from that server without notifying us or giving us ample time to make the necessary adjustments, then we are hosed. Hosed being a technical term I use often.

She in turn forwarded my email asking the manager of that particular group in IT, if what I said could occur.

As a sidenote, the database that all of the department's applications use is also on this server.

I am getting tired of this post, so I will be brief. He said he wants everything off that server in a couple of weeks.


My supervisor* and now my manager called me into an office and grilled me about this because they really don't have much clue about the ramifications or what would be involved.

Basically, I told them it was impossible to do in a couple of weeks. Maybe in 6 months if I didn't have anything else to do.

Some of the highlights of my emphatic, but controlled, rant:

  • Every application would have to be modified, because currently all connection strings are hard coded

  • I don't have up to date source code for at least a couple of these applications, so if I recompile them, who knows what I'll get

  • Testing? I can't test these programs. I don't even know how to use most of them or know precisely what they do. There will be four levels of testing too. Development, QA, Production, and Disaster Recovery. So, me and a bunch of overworked end users are going to have to test all of these apps at each of these levels all the while keeping the current applications running and happy.

  • Responsiveness of the IT team. This is the same group of people who took 3 weeks getting the new guy access to our database. And I trust them with migrating data from 50 or 60 tables to each server? In a timely manner?

  • Documentation. If the migration of our rogue web server to an IT controlled environment is any indication, the change management documentation and forms that are required will be a nightmare.

  • The department might not even exist anymore before the project is completed, getting shipped off to St. Louis.

There were more but I am tired of typing, and it's hot in here.

*She isn't my supervisor, but just happens to be the one I deal with the most.

Fabulous Grilled Cheese Sandwiches®

My wife told me that her boss was going to make himself grilled cheese sandwiches using Gouda cheese. "What a fabulous idea," I thought to myself. So we stopped at Kroger for a loaf of freshly baked bread and a small block of Gouda.

The end result was fantastic, and once a week or every other week, I'll make grilled cheese sandwiches with a different kind of cheese. Next up, Jarlsberg.

Monday, October 01, 2007


I was a little spooked about the idea of walking to the store after dark today. My wife offered to go with me, but what good would that do? I would have to defend her and not be able to run away.

Fabulous Movie Review®

Blades of Glory
What a wonderful film. Uplifting. Chicken soup for the soul. It took my breath away. The feel good movie of the year. I feel the need to apologize once again to Will Ferrell for saying he can't carry a movie, because I know that I hurt his feelings and he has yet to forgive me.

Gagknee's grade: A-

The Messengers
Something my wife added to the queue, and I had never heard of it. A PG-13 rated horror flick? Oh, lordy.

But wait! It was a really decent haunted house story. A nice scary ghost story. Very not bad. To say that I was pleasantly surprised would be not incorrect. The acting wasn't the best and Dylan McDermott's dreamy blue eyes make me want to punch myself repeatedly in the nads, but hey it made me jump a few times, something The Hills Have Eyes 2 didn't do. I don't base my ratings on IMDB ratings, but I am very disappointed in its 5.2 rating there.

Gagknee's grade: B-

Snakes on a Plane
I'll admit I was dying for the scene where Samuel L. Jackon says, "I have had it with these emeffing snakes on this emeffing plane!" Of course, they made me wait until three quarters of the movie had passed, just like the teasers on E! News.

The funny thing about this movie is that I can't really tell how good it was or if I liked it. I didn't not like it, but was I astounded and astonished and riveted to the screen? Nah, not really. Mindless entertainment in its purest form.

Gagknee's grade: C+


Another spider incident. I stepped into my bathroom and in my peripheral vision behind me I saw something zip past on the floor.

Turning around, an involuntary sissy shout left my lips, because there in the corner was an even bigger spider than the one who escaped through the underbrush. I would estimate its body size to be about the size of tootsie roll with inch long hairy legs.

What if one of those things crawled on my face whilst sleeping?

Jeez. I really really don't want to get under the house and insulate my crawlspace before winter.

Snakes are one thing, but I don't deal well with spiders. It's probably a good idea to invest in a Tyvek suit.

At Work

New guy didn't show up today. Man, those contractors. What a life!

Requested read-only access to two databases from IT today for a new user in the department. I was informed that they are no longer adding new users to those two databases on that server because they now have those two databases on a new better server.

I asked them if all of the users on the current server had been automagically moved to the new server. You bet, he said. Except me, apparently.

Fill out a form, send it to my boss for approval, she sends it the server owner for approval, who sends it to database access control who assigns it to a dba...Two weeks later, I will find out my request was rejected, but no one will have told me.

You laugh, but its true. This JUST happened last week with the new guy.

If I had to estimate I would say about a third of the applications in our department connect to the databases on the old server. Connection string hard coded of course. Given all of the missing source code I've come across and multiple copies of projects, percentage of converting all of those applications to use the new server without problems, 0.

I don't like those odds. Therefore, I will ignore the problem and I hope I find a new job. Soon.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


You know it's a big spider when you can hear it running away through the underbrush. The key word being "away".

At Work

Belligerent A-Hole and Mumbly Joe have been out all week. How sweet is that?

In other news, new guy, the contractor probably making double my wage, is getting special assignments from one of the supervisors. I don't know if I am jealous or relieved. He's over their programming away without a care in the world, while I am writing macros to find duplicate account numbers in a spreadsheet. I don't care about that really. What I do care about is when I attempt to show him some of the idiosyncrasies of this job and he blows me off.

Eff him.

I'm not showing him anything unless he asks, and I am not leaving a trail for him to follow after I am gone. Nobody left one for me.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Oh yeah

and I saw dolphins too.

Trying Something New

This weekend I spied an unusual product in my grocer's cooler. I love to try something new to drink, but this takes the cake.

Budweiser with Clamato.

I've tried Clamato before, and it made me nauseous. I love clams and I love tomato juice, it seems natural to combine the two. No.

I love clams and I love tomato juice and I love beer (not necessarily Bud), it seems natural to combine the three. No.


I almost finished the 24 ounce can. I did a lot better with it than I did with straight Clamato, but it's still awful. Never again.

Monday, September 24, 2007

More Virginia Beach

I have to mention a few of the places we went while staying at Virginia Beach.

Murphy's Grand Irish Pub. Unfortunately, I didn't have anything off of their menu that would be considered Irish. The Irish Stew or the Meat and Potato Pie or Corned Beef and Cabbage were what I was originally trying to decide upon while viewing the menu, but I went out on a whim and decided to try the crab cakes. They were GREAT. But next time, I definitely want to try the Irish Stew or the Corned Beef.

The next day for a late lunch we went to Ribley's which surprisingly enough specializes in ribs and wings. They hooked us during the morning where in between pan handlers and vacation salesmen we were offered a free sample wing. It was good. REAL good. Almost Hooters good. So, back we went. The ribs were good too.

The next day found us nearly on our way home and pulling into Captain George's parking lot. Mmm. Seafood. Mmm. Seafood buffet. Everything you could imagine was in this buffet. Here's what I had:

  • Blackened Tuna

  • Flounder, broiled

  • Salmon, also broiled

  • Green beans, fresh, steamed. I know, a waste of valuable stomach real estate

  • Stuffed mushrooms

  • Fried softshell crab (I didn't really like it)

  • Sauteed mahogany clam (in garlic and butter or whatnot)

  • Crawfish (spicy, cajun)

  • Fried shrimp

  • Fried scallops

  • Fried pollock

  • Shrimp in the same kind of spice that the crawfish were in

  • Steamed mussels

  • Some big steamed clams, which I can only assume were Quahogs, but I don't know for sure

  • Blue crab

  • Alaskan Snow crab legs

I was full. And it was good.

Earth to IT, Come In IT

IT person: "You realize that all of these programs that you have that are written in Visual Basic 6 are obsolete and will not be supported at all after or during the integration?"

Me: [shrugs my shoulders] Uhhh, ok.

Catch a Wave

My life's greatest dream has been to swim in a warm ocean. Well, this weekend I went to Virginia Beach with my wife to celebrate our 10th anniversary a year and 2 weeks late (we were in the process of packing up and moving last year so we didn't have a chance to go away anywhere), and while I wouldn't call the water warm per se, it didn't cause me pain like the water at York or Hampton Beach might cause. In July. Or August. And I was able to swim in it to my heart's content. The waves were bigger than I am used to also. I actually got a big raspberry on my lower back when a ginormous wave caught me off guard and body slammed me into the sand. Fun.

It is off-season so the beach wasn't crowded. We could walk around town and up and down the boardwalk without bumping into people which was nice. There were still a large (and I mean LARGE) number of women who had no business wearing bikinis wearing bikinis, but luckily I had so much sand in my eyes that I could barely see with my contacts.

We did run into a couple of pan handlers. The first was harmless and just seemed a little slow, the second we actually saw twice, once at one end of town and later, three hours later, in a grocery store parking lot. He had the same story the second time... "Me and a friend are stranded here. We went to a church but they said we needed to attend a service before they would give us anything." I had the same story too. I don't have any cash. Which I didn't.

Worse than the pan handlers was the timeshare hawkers. They would sneak up on you. Being all friendly. "Hey! How you guys doing? Did you see this thing going on over there?" The first one we hit asked us if we were both over 28. Well, yeah, I said. My heart hit my liver. And my liver punched back. I gave him his 5 minute shpeal (sp?) and said I wasn't interested.

The next time, "28? I ain't that old!?"

The third time I walked past while waving my left hand frantically in the air, "Naaaaaaaaah."

These were the only times they actually made contact with us. We actually walked near their various booths many times, but managed to avoid eye contact or they had other suckers in their claws. Annoying. I wish I could have just thrown them a dollar to make them go away.

My biggest disappointment of the weekend was that I really wanted to dig a big hole or make a sandcastle, but, man, I just felt stupid doing it without kids around. How weird would it be for me to walk up to a bunch of kids and say, "Hey, can I help you make that?" Too weird. If the weather is close to 80 next Saturday we are going back with the kids. So I can make a sand castle and not be embarrassed.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

At Work

Today was surprisingly a halfway decent, not sucking kind of day at work.

I estimate that about 7 hours of my 9 hour day were spent with headphones on whilst coding. Admittedly, I was trying to fix a 5 year old VB6 program, but I always (snicker) view the glass as half full.

One of Mumbly Joe's underlings, the Belligerent A-Hole, did send out an email copying my Boss, the 5 foot 0 woman who scares the crap out of me, 4 other supervisors and about a dozen other insignificant people, saying that I had not installed two programs on his computer yet rather than just come remind me to do it, but I was basking in the glory that is Icky Thump and other assorted White Stripes albums and truly did not care.

Oh, Please, Let Me Opine About the Red Sox

You won't here me talk about the Red Sox very often in ye olde blog, mostly because I get too emotional and therefore inarticulate about expressing my opinions, but also because there are many people who do it much better than I could and many forums where the idiot masses already add to the noise pollution on the interweb.

But after seeing the division lead slip to 1 1/2 games, I feel that I need, no, must make my opinion known.

This season has sucked. If you look at that team and the amount of talent it has, that pitching staff, oh my, we should have been the 2001 Seattle Mariners. But, no, we're supposed to be okay with just slipping into the postseason. It doesn't matter how you get there, you say. Right.

I wanted that division title. I wanted all of these freakin' Yankees fans to eat their own shorts if for only one season and have to settle for something less.

Oh, sure, we won a World Series. I know. That's exactly my point. We won a World Series, and humiliated the Yankees in the process, so we are now free from that "must win it all" mentality. If you beat someone at chess, don't you also want to beat them at checkers? It doesn't mean as much, but it's another notch in your headboard.

"Ha. You suck at chess and now you are so lame you suck at checkers too"

Unfortunately, this team, its manager and its front office don't feel the same way.

Just sell more pink hats and Red Sox Nation cards. Yay!

Somebody light a fire. It's an entire team of listless, emotionless J.D. Drews.

If we can't win the division, then I would rather that the Tigers have gotten the wild card.

Eff you, Red Sox, if you sneak into the playoffs as the wild card, then I hope you get swept. I'm done.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Facial Hair

If you've known me for any length of time you know that my greatest dream since I was 14 was to be able to grow some kick ass facial hair. Well, I crested the 30 year old wave a few years ago and I still cannot grow anything close to even 1970s cool facial hair, well, maybe a scuzzy mustache, but man, the hair in my ears and nose grows like a forest right after a wildfire. Luckily, its not dark hair, completely blond, so only the most ardent of Gagknee admirers can see it, but I still pluck it out. The ear hair because it is just too freaky and the nose hair because when I breathe it tickles and/or feels like I have snotties blowing in the wind.

Nose hairs HURT to pull out.

Job Search

I happened to check the internal job postings last night while I couldn't sleep and found a Web Developer position at our office downtown. Working downtown would be cool. Being able to walk to places for lunch, just taking a stroll down by the river or perhaps fishing with Rob. Not too mention its a shorter commute. Oh sure its the same company, but when you're company has 90,000 employees, getting a job in another side of town in a different department is pretty much like getting a whole new job anyway, except you don't have to fill out all of the insurance enrollment forms or go to orientation.

Usually, all of the jobs available internally that I would want to do are in Charlotte, corporate headquarters for the bank side of our company. These are all eCommerce and other web related positions. Everything IT in Richmond is usually system administrators, help desk (been there almost killed myself), and other assorted project managers and "analysts". So, when this posting appeared I was surprised to say the least.

It has a weird requirement though, one that I can honestly say I have never seen for a web developer position: Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science.

Are you kidding me? I can guarantee you that if I had a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering web developer of human resources web sites would NOT be my first job choice. Or my second. Or third...

Here are the other requirements: ASP.NET, SQL, HTML, and JavaScript.

Oh well, damn, I can write JavaScript while hepped up on goofballs and sometimes when I talk SQL comes out of my mouth instead of English, like my grandmother speaks Franglish. ASP.NET. Jeez. Duh. HTML? My daughter is learning that in kindergarten.

Ah, but that elusive Master's Degree. I guess I will continue to slave away in Double A.

I can only assume it was a typo. Some intern copied and pasted from another job posting, right?

At Work

Four o'clock today and Mumbly Joe comes in rambling about flipping R's to P's and duplicated U's...Sorry, man today you are at the bottom of the list (and it was a long list today) and I am sneaking out before 5.

I don't get overtime and last week I worked 47 hours. That's not gonna happen this week. Nope, no sir.

Can't Sleep

Stupid job.

I bet Norm Abram never has any trouble sleeping.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cracklin and Pork Rinds

There is a difference between the two, which I found out while watching Dirty Jobs, and confirmed with a trip to my neighborhood mom and pop store.

I had the red pepper flavored.

At Work

There's this one guy at work who is a real thorn in my side. He's not angry or belligerent, pretty nice actually, but he's always got SOMETHING to talk to me about.

He's the guy who came in at 5:20 the other day.

He's also the prime suspect when it comes to talking in nothing but financial mumbo jumbo.

Oh, and he also uses this phrase: "Quick question for yuh" as the opening line for what I can tell is pretty much every conversation he has with me. I bet it was his favorite pickup line back in the day too.

This guy needs a nickname. Mumbly Joe will do for now.

Yesterday at 5:15 (I really need to make sure I leave at 5!), I finished fixing one of his programs. It's a neat little program (I didn't write it) that interfaces with the mainframe and lotus notes and some other stuff in a nice little package. Its written in C# which is cool, but the kicker is that there were 6 copies of the source code.

So, where was I. Oh yeah, I finished fixing a small bug in it and let MJ know that it was done. I should have bolted out the door at that point, but I didn't and they ran one of the functions that they had been waiting for an hour (a whole hour!) to run.

The results of the function were not exactly the results for which they were looking. Something about marking records with "OD" when they should have been marked as "OK" because the customers had fracs. Ohhkay.

"I didn't touch that part of the program," I said, but because, like I stated previously, there were 6 copies of the source code, I wasn't able to sound too convincing. Heck, I couldn't even convince myself.

To make a long boring story much shorter, after hemming and hawing for 45 minutes, Mumbly Joe remembered that the mainframe will actually mark some of those records "OD" automagically based on its own logic regardless of whether the function in my program has been run or not.

Thanks, MJ.

As I was grabbing my backpack and heading out the door, Joe called out, "Thanks, Andy. You earned your paycheck today!"

No. You didn't just say that.

Fabulous Movie Reviews®

The Pursuit of Happyness
I am afraid that if I say anything bad about this movie, bad things will happen to me. Really bad things.

Yes, it is meaningful and uplifting, but so are a lot of other things which involve you interacting with other humans. Go do that instead.

Gagknee's grade: C+

The Sentinel
Knowing this movie starred Kiefer Sutherland, I was initially semi-excited about seeing what I assumed was 24: The Movie, but as soon as Michael Douglas appeared you could audibly here my brain click off. I never finished it. Can't bring myself to do it. Sorry, Kiefer. One can only assume you did not know that Michael Douglas was involved with the project when you signed on. And one can also assume once learning of that fact, you hog tied and pistol whipped the producer and made him tell you all his dirty little secrets.

Gagknee's grade: D

Never Assume

That an entire room is on the same circuit. Always test each outlet before wildly jabbing your screwdriver in there.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I'm finally using the domain that I registered last spring.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Lost and Found

My iPod has been missing for about 5 months. I assumed it was stolen from the front seat of my truck, but today while cleaning I discovered it hidden deep within the bowels of the couch.

That makes up for the pile of crap our kitten left for us.

New Look

I've hated the way this blog has looked for a long time, and even though I've put a canned design into place at least its different.

Friday, September 14, 2007


This smell unleased by my cat...I think I might was nice knowing some of you...

You Stink

Our kitten, now almost a full grown cat, stinks. Stinks up the whole house. It's awful. I hate animals. Hate'm.

UUUHGH. I can't even type right now with this stink.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Just finished watching the third and final season of Deadwood. Man, I can't believe it was cancelled. It truly was one of the greatest shows I have ever watched, and like in the immediate aftermath of watching all three seasons of Arrested Development, I feel like I have lost some friends. Hard drinking, murdering, cussing, and womanizing friends, but friends nonetheless.

Not articulate enough to really describe the quality of the show effectively, I defer to W. Earl Brown who played Dan Dority in the show:

"But DEADWOOD was a rare thing. It transcended craft into that rarified air of art - Art on television as hard as that may be to believe. It did not require a Masters degree in compartive literature to appreciate - there was enough sex, violence, and "f***s" to keep even the most cretinous viewer glued to the tube. However, if one did possess an understanding and appreciation of literature, there were numerous layers of meaning and allusions in that show. It was to the tv western what Larry McMurtry's western novels were to the hand-me-down dime-store books of my youth."

Yeah. What he said.

At Work

Yesterday morning I was locked in a small office with three other people who do nothing but yell and argue with each other. I had to feign illness and leave. There's no need of me being there for that. All I need to do my job is a list of your requirements, preferably by email.

Today at 1:00, this guy nobody really likes because he is a belligerent a-hole comes into my office and proceeds to be a belligerent a-hole. Apparently, he doesn't know Rule #1: Be nice to your IT guy. I wish I could say I really mucked up the program that runs that makes his life easier, but I can't. However, I did accidentally prevent it from running for the rest of the afternoon. Oops.

Today at 5:20 (twenty minutes past my scheduled time of departure) this other guy walks in and asks me how hard it would be to scrape all the accounts off this screen, scrape all of the accounts off this screen, and then for all the accounts that don't appear on on both, delete each worksheet and recreate it as some other type of worksheet.

I said, "It shouldn't he hard at all. To which he replied, "Oh, can you do it by 6:30 before the system shuts down tonight?"


I wish I could do an impersonation of him in my blog. Ooo, I could make an MP3 of myself. Nah.

He apparently doesn't know Rule #3: "Don't put off bringing a problem to your IT guy until he is logging for the night, what you could have brought to him that morning."


Also on Saturday...

Joined later on by my wife and youngest son, we went swimming amongst the rocks at Pony Pasture. The water was nice and warm.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

More Fishing Chronicles

No pictures of this past Saturday's fishing expedition to the Huguenot Flatwater area on the James River. My camera is on the fritz. Too many trips in my backpack on the river or maybe it was from taking video of a recent thunderstorm?

I took the two oldest kids. They didn't seem to have much fun. The oldest because his fishing pole is a piece of crap and because his dad gets mad at him for his inability to get the concept of letting the piece of chicken liver sit at the bottom of the river for more than 30 seconds and the girl, well, she had fun, I guess, building a house for tadpoles on the river bank.

I had fun. Caught three feisty channel catfish roughly about 5 pounds each. Woulda had two more except for my inability to tie a tight knot on my hooks that day.

This was my first time catching channels. They croak at you while you are holding them attempting to remove the hook. Yes, the first time that happened I jumped out of my skin and dropped the fish.

Quickly googling "channel catfish croak" I found this forum and it answered the croaking question. More importantly it answered "the why I wear gloves" question, which nobody asked but I feel inclined to answer once again regardless.

Join Me or Die

Sometimes at work, I kinda feel like this:

This is from a really good episode of The Simpsons from season 8 called In Marge We Trust. It is notable not for its main story, which isn't bad, where Marge begins counseling the townspeople over the phone, but for the subplot of Homer discovering a box of soap from Japan with his likeness on it. The Japanese commercial of this product is awesome.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

That Both Sucks and Blows

While many of you are enjoying the Patriots season opener today, I, unfortunately, am stuck with Dolphins versus Redskins. Yay.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Crazy Talk At Work

Today I gave the new guy at work an introduction to the wonders of screen scraping mainframe terminal screens using VBA.

I could tell he was totally impressed. Stick a pencil in my eye impressed.

Ahh, the wonders of 21st century technology. And this, the soon to be #2 brokerage firm in the country.

A large, loud, old woman burst into my office around 4:30 and barked, "This list you gave me ain't complete!"

In my head: "Your triceps are bigger than Conan the Barbarian's, but less firm."

What I actually said: "I will look into it."

After taking a deep, deep breath, what I told the new guy: "You'll probably see me flip out here pretty soon."

It was that kind of day, too many people doing too much bursting.

Another large, loud, old woman threw a thousand page report on my desk dated 8/6/2007 and asked why her "stuff" didn't get "built".

In my head: "How the eff should I know? I wasn't even here then."

What I said: "I will look into it."

I had the new guy look into it. There's a three part process in all of these reports. One program downloads them off the network, another program parses the files and puts them in the database, and a third program builds whatever it's supposed to build.

Of course, if any one of those programs crashes, which they do often, then the other programs can't do their job. A month after the fact, it's pretty hard to tell where it all went wrong, but I just told her it looks like "the program" "crashed" and because it only runs once a day, when it ran the next day, it only looked at the new batch of reports.

Sounds plausible.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fabulous Movie Reviews®

History. I love it. Other than the American Civil War era, nothing fascinates me more than ancient Greek history.

Greek history is filled with mythology, and this movie is no different. It certainly is not too historically accurate, but who cares? It's awesome. I only wish that it was longer and that I had seen it in the theater or that I had my surround sound system set up.

Also, best beard ever. I can only dream.

I do have a couple of small complaints, though. The soundtrack at times is a little too Guns N Roses and the dialogue, Motley Crue. Whatever that means.

Gagknee's Grade: A-

Disclaimer: I have never read nor do I ever plan to read the comic book, err, graphic novel that this movie was based on.

GIS Journal 6/11/1999

Some woman named Angela emailed me last week asking if I was interested in COM training. I replied and asked her what COM was. She never responded. I hope I don't get fired.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I finally took the time, almost two months later, to Simpsonize a couple of pictures using the only two pictures I have of myself.

Can't say I am much impressed with either, perhaps with the 'stache.


New Guy at Work

The new contractor just started today. After 20 minutes with me, I can't imagine whats going on in his head. "WTF" is probably close.

I can't sugar coat it.

No new development. A plethora of VB6 apps that break daily for no reason whose source code is not up to date.

A perfect job for a recent college graduate itching for some real world experience.

It doesn't get much more real world than this, baby.

It's Got to Go

I hate the layout and colors of my blog, but I can't decide what to do with it. Who cares really?

Friday, August 31, 2007

What...Is Are Those?

My apologies to all the sensible people out there, but of what are those made (hehe, nice grammar), clay?


At Work

A program that runs automagically crashed yesterday evening. A problem with a query. "Incorrect syntax near 'WATERHEATER'" was the exact error. Mmm. Informative.

This morning I needed to fix that error. Pulled up the source code, ran it in order to debug it. Got a different error. Type mismatch. Hmm, that's odd I say.

I start to root around in the program, trying to figure out this new error. Oh wait, I see, at one point in the program we have a 16 element array and at another point it is 11.

To make a long story short, the source code that I have in source safe, the ONLY source code that I have, is NOT the same as what was used to compile the last executable.

That big pile of crap on my desk just got a little bigger.

Fabulous Movie Reviews®

Featuring Dirk Diggler as an Army sniper who loses his best friend and decides to live way out in the mountains all by himself with his dog.

Pure unadulterated action movie. That's all this is. Oh, don't get me wrong, the story's not half bad, but it only serves as a necessary evil between all the explosions and kickassery. A very entertaining movie.

Gagknee's Grade: B+

The Hills Have Eyes II
I liked the first The Hills Have Eyes (the remake) and I gave it 3.8 stars out of 5. This one just plain sucked. The dialogue was awful. The characters were pulled straight out of the Stereotyper's Bible. Two white guys, two black guys, two girls and one Hispanic (actually one of the girls was Hispanic too). A lot of "cracker" and "homes" and "i'm a woman and therefore better than you" thrown around. Wow. Original. The story was lame, and there wasn't one scary moment. No tension. Nothing. Bad, bad movie.

To directly quote myself yesterday whilst talking to the Help Desk, "Pretty lame. Pretty laaaame."

Gagknee's Grade: D-

The Simpsons Movie
Wow. WOW. I went into the theater not knowing what to expect. Oh sure, people told me it was good, but since when have I put any stock into what people say? Well, those people were correct. It's the funniest thing to come out of Springfield since Clinton was the President. If they could guarantee the high quality of this film, then they should cancel the TV show and just concentrate on making a movie every other year.

Gagknee's Grade: A

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Camping Tales

Went camping last weekend. It was fun. I love to camp. The last few times that I have gone however the temperatures were a bit cooler. Those weren't family trips, just strictly Rubbed (haha. I love old nicknames. (really old, like 9th grade old.) I was Andscrew. Our other friend was Russhole, the best nickname evah.) and I.

October 2001. In the George Washington National Forest, specifically Tasker's Gap, after four wheeling all day getting wet and muddy, we discovered the temperature had dropped to an unseasonable level for Virginia and we shivered the night away in our summer weight sleeping bags. Miserable. The riding wasn't even that good because I blew a tire that day, and the next day, after almost dying in the cold, I threw a camshaft bearing.

May, 2002. First year at Hatfield-McCoy, we stayed at the Twin-Hollow Campground. While I will never say anything bad about the residents of West Virginia, that first foray into the wilds of their state for two Northerners (I will never call myself a Yankee) was a little bit scary. Especially when we couldn't understand their language. We've adjusted since then. Anyway, the weather at that time of year was perfect. And unlike the previous camping trip and subsequent camping trips where we had to subsist on a diet of cured tubed meats cooked over flame, we were able here to ride into town to get decent food, but we still ate plenty of sausage in the evenings.

November 2004. Again with the George Washington National Forest, but this time we started at the Pedlar trail system. I was nervous, and I packed accordingly. Last time I camped in this area it was a month earlier and freakin' cold. No need to worry, we were fine this time. It probably didn't get colder than 40. The only trouble we had was finding firewood in the dark when we arrived in order to cook our meat tubes. Man, they were good.

But anyway, my most recent camping trip was with the family and we went to Pocahontas State Park which is about 20 minutes south of where we live. Very family friendly, albeit boring, complete with four pools and two water slides. The only problem was the oppressinve heat. When it's a 100 its hard to sleep in, on or around a sleeping bag. Period. Other than that, it was good. And I made sure to ingest a healthy quantity of tubed meat. It was really hard to get a fire going in the humidity though. It took up to an hour of me babysitting the fire, coaxing it and telling it that it was the best fire in the world, before it worked up enough coals and caught on to some bigger pieces of wood to not need constant caring over.

Oh, I forgot to mention, while camping last weekend we saw several of these Skinks crawling up and over and around our tents and nearby trees. Apparently, they are pretty common.

At Work

"Let's give him as little information as possible, use as much financial mumbo jumbo as we can, act like the fate of the company is in his hands, and ask him to fix a program he has never seen or heard of, let alone written, which is performing a function he doesn't understand because he's only been here for 3 weeks and has never had any Dividend department training, and then ask him every 15 minutes how its going."

eff off.

Multiplied by five, the number of people who did this to me today. Oh yeah sure, suck it up, gagknee, you say. You're makin' the big bucks. Oh yeah, why don't you say it to my face? (hehehe, I'm kidding, I just like to repeat 6th grade playgroundese (then we would shove each other a few times before grappling into a mutual headlock)).

GIS Journal 6/7/1999

My supervisor always seems mad at me. I don't know what I am doing wrong. Hopefully, she won't get me fired.

Not A Fabulous Movie Review®

I started watching The Sentinel, twice, never a good sign, and I immediately spotted David Rasche, the President.

David Rasche!

DAVID RASCHE! TV's Sledge Hammer! My favorite show when I was in seventh grade. I've been meaning to get it from NetFlix, but I am afraid. Some things are better as happy memories. Like Welcome Back, Kotter, my favorite show when I was in fifth and sixth grade. My dad didn't like that show. I still remember vividly him saying, "It was banned in Boston!"

The Joys of Home Ownership and/or Fatherhood

My house has had several plumbing problems that I've had to fix since we moved in. All of them caused by poor workmanship (lousy plumber). But last night, my plumbing problems were caused by youngest son.

A little toy train was flushed down the toilet and got lodge inside. I bent a coat hanger so that it had a little hook at the end (for hooking the toy), but after 15 minutes that proved futile. So I dismantled the toilet in hopes of pushing the object out the other end.

Eventually I was able to get the train out, and the toilet back together. And it didn't leak when I was done. Nine times out of 10, in plumbing, if you take apart something that is working perfectly, with no leaks, it WILL leak after reassembly. This was my 1 time out of 10, I guess.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I stumbled upon this while reading something else on The Onion. I'm a little (very behind) on my Onion reading because I can't read it at work.

Link to The Onion. It makes fun of Ben Affleck.

At Work

There are always certain people at work who drive you nuts. All you have to do is see their face. They don't even have to speak in order for you to cringe and/or hide, and usually they each have their own personal catch phrase. Here are some of my coworkers catch phrases, past and present that make me shiver and sometimes wet my pants:

"Quick question for yuh"

"It's doing this and this and this. Why?" or simply "Why?"

"Recompile the kernel"

"We've got a problem"

"Whudya find?"

"Heeey, Andy"

"What would it take to..."

"I need you to fix my problem"

"Do you see what I mean?"

"That just can't happen"

"Why does it do that?"

"You got anything for me?"

In and of themselves most of these phrases are pretty innocuous, but I associate each one of them to a specific customer/user who has haunted me over the past ten years.

When I resigned from a job in Manch Vegas where I worked for three years, my boss said to me, "It's not because of Larry, right? Because there will be a Larry in any company you work for."

Obviously, I knew that, and its not the reason I quit, but it's true. Every company has its Larry.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

At Work

I tend to write programs based on what I would like to do rather than what I am supposed to do.

Boss #x: Did you go through that list of programs of which you know nothing about, dissect the code, and determine if it can be remediated?

Me (What I said): Phew, wow, all that stuff, it's such a maze, this program connects to that program and this program, and this program also feeds into this database. I'm trying but it's gonna take a little time.

Me (What I was thinking): Nah, as far as I am concerned all of your programs can be remediated, I spent the day writing something in to parse these gawd awful text files that our system generates and tomorrow I am going to do it in C#. Why? Because.

Not Just for Prospectors Anymore

For the first time in my life I find myself shopping for a pickaxe (I actually edited a small portion of this wikipedia entry (my first time ever doing that) because the grammar was just awfuller than anything I have read in recent memory).

I have a lot of gardening (I don't like that word, old women garden). I have a lot of yardscaping to do, and once you get below the topsoil the ground becomes hard-as-concrete clay. Digging through that with a Walmart spade is a bone jarring exercise in futility.

I recently removed
several Helly, err, Holly bushes from around my front steps. Now, there are many varieties of Holly, some of them, like the actual trees, are nice, but mine were almost deadly. The spines on the tips of the leaves are sharper than any thorn. They easily went through my leather gloves. I had one of these spines go through my fingernail. THROUGH it. The actual fingernail. That hurt. Another spine went into a knuckle and the tip must have broken off under the skin. The knuckle was swollen and purple for a month.

Anyway, I was glad to finally have these bushes gone. But now I have to replace them. I've been to three different nurseries, but my head just spins at all the choices. I'm leaning toward some mixture of dwarf crape myrtles, hydrangeas and other assorted small flowering plants.

Holy crap. That's enough talk about flowers for one post. Drink beer! Woohoo!

Getting back to the pickaxe...

It's a really dangerous looking thing. What if somebody is dumb enough to sneak up behind you whilst swinging it?

Fiberglass handle or wood?

Definitely gotta make sure I get the 5 lb head.

And in other tangents, Lowe's's website has issues with Firefox. Idiots. I don't have an example for you, because now it is working, but I swear it wasn't a minute ago. Don't make me go back to Home Depot.