Saturday, March 31, 2007

Pretty Good Week

I had a surprisingly pretty good week at work. The new cube definitely cuts down on walk-ins.

The first half of the week I built a "dashboard" for my boss in ASP.NET. My web skills have gotten rusty in the past 5 months. The first few hours of this project were torturous. I downloaded a free graph control, actually I downloaded two. The first was more customizable because it included the source code, but I didn't have the time or wherewithal to make it do what I wanted. So, I eventually went with the 2nd choice. It seems silly to me that I would have to use free stuff when I work for a multi-billion dollar company.

The second half of the week I wrote a program in Visual Basic 6 that will screen scrape the mainframe and then compare the results to another screen on the mainframe. It was an interesting exercise.

Let the Bodies Hit the Floor

After killing a snake and bringing a live mouse into our house which he proceeded to torture and slaughter this week, I am considering reviving the body count. Bodycount 2007.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Fabulous Movie Reviews®

The Upside of Anger
An interesting movie and not too bad either. If you watch it though, and don't like it, don't blame me. I have one complaint, the star of the movie, Joan Allen, really needs to gain some weight. The muscles in her neck were distracting. 2.8 stars out of 5.

Flushed Away
Some of the jokes were "the oldest in the book" but kids don't notice things like that and it was probably the first time they heard the jokes anyway. Its funny and has a pretty original story (unlike that borefest Cars). 3 stars out of 5.

Stranger than Fiction
First of all, let me apologize to Will Ferrell for saying he can't carry a movie. I loved this movie from start to finish. I'd watch it again. Highly recommended. Also, I decided while watching this film that Maggie Gyllenhaal is not attractive. 4 5/8 stars out of 5.

Saturday Fun

We took advantage of the nice weather on Saturday and went to Belle Isle and the Canal Walk in Richmond.

I took a bunch of pictures. Here are a few.

Richmond Skyline

Log jam

There were people actually swimming here and using the rope swing before I took the picture. I'll be back to try it when the weather is a little bit warmer. The current was pretty strong there. As soon as you hit the water you have to start swimming back.
Rope Swing

You can make out the foot bridge that is used to cross the river to get to Belle Isle. I thought I had taken a better picture of this, but I was having issues with my camera. It malfunctioned a few times. I blame the Ray-o-vac batteries.
Lee Bridge

Inside Pictures

Its not much, I got them from the appraisal. I had to take screenshots of the pdf.

The upstairs bath. Not a master bath but the master bedroom does have its own entrance to it.

The downstairs family room

The kitchen

Friday, March 23, 2007

Restaurants To Go

A list of restaurants to which I would like to go (in no particular order):

I forgot one: Carrabba's Italian Grill

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Must Not See TV

No Office. No 30 Rock. Earl repeat.

Sorry, Andy Barker. NBC is selling you short. I doubt that I will be watching tonight.

Note to NBC, not that you care, because I know that you don't, but a better strategy for marketing new shows might be to sandwich them in between two good non-repeat shows. Non-repeat is key. I don't know. Maybe.

Same thing with 30 Rock. I heard that it has low ratings and might get cancelled. Ohh, but its got the Scrubs lead in you say. Ohh, but you screwed Scrubs in its early years so it doesn't have the audience that it should either.

If you were really smart, and you're not, you would do something like Earl, 30 Rock, Office, Scrubs.

Anyway, buh-bye, I'm off to Lowpot.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

C is for cookie, that's good enough for me!

Two strikes against me this morning when I came in at 9 found out my boss had been looking for me already, and then when I went into his office and "apologized" for not coming back to me work on Friday after my home inspection and he looked at me disapprovingly.

Hey, first of all, nobody told me when I started here what time I was expected to arrive and until somebody does, I'll arrive when I want. I'm not cheating your multi billion dollar company out of 100 bucks a week. In fact, I'm actually doing a couple of hours a week pro bono. And second of all, there is no second of all.

I sound like the worst, most disgruntled employee ever, but in reality I'm not. I am polite to my coworkers. I go out of my way to help them even if it is outside the "parameters" of my job. I do what I am told and I learn quickly.

I'm not punctual though. It's not something I mention in the standard, "What are some of your faults?" question during an interview.

Theres a technical analyst in another department that is closely related to my department. He's been doing this for three years, so I am supposed to collaborate with him on stuff. This guy, he's alright, but he is kind of a blowhard, and a little condescending. For example, he's got it in his head, despite interviewing me and having a copy of my resume, that I am some guy who got a certificate in web design from the University of Phoenix, and by luck of the gods got this great job. Ooo. Long sentence. Where was I? And he feels the need to over explain everything to me. Its to the point where I avoid him at all cost.

The other day he was at my desk showing me some VB6 code he just did. He said, "Ok, now. I want you to look at that function. Go ahead and..." And when I right-clicked and went to "Definition" before he was finished his sentence, he said in a perfect Sesame Street voice, "Heyyy, alright look at you. You're gettin it." I must have blown his mind when I later clicked "Last Position."

He won't give me access to use his underground web server. Any changes to the SQL Server database must be made by him.

My boss has had this project on his mind since I started here. Actually he mentioned it to me in the interview. A dashboard. A place where he could quickly see all his most important stats in one place.

Five months later we are still ironing out all the details. Five months. He finally decided on TWO different stats. Just two. And he wants it to be a web page. Great. That means going through Mr. Hooper.

Mr. Hooper tells me that he can set up a Sharepoint site for me. "That'll be great for you to customize!"

If my life was an episode of Scrubs at that point the scene would cutaway to me flipping his desk over and bashing him over the head with his 21 inch LCD monitor.

Would you ever talk down to a colleague? I don't. Not even to the people who double click a link.

Four in the Morning

I wake up a lot at or around 4 in the morning and cannot fall asleep again sometimes for hours. Each time this happens after about 20 minutes I swear I am going to go out into the living room and watch TV or catch up on the dozens of web comics I read, but that never happens. Stubbornly clinging to the hope that I can eventually fall asleep before my alarm goes off, I just end up tossing and turning, my mind racing from inane topics to the larger issues that a 30 something father of three faces in daily life.

I realized today that I always sleep better on the couch. Within minutes of resting my head on the armrest I am running around in the land of chocolate in my mind. So, I decided that the next time I can't sleep I am going to do one of two things, one, if its a worknight, move immediately to the couch upon self diagnosis of a sleeping problem, and two, if its a weekend night, load up the ATV in the truck and drive to West Virginia and go riding.

Kip Journal 4/22/1999

If Kip says, "Permission to..." one more time, I cannot be held accountable for what may transpire.

"Dude, I'll recycle you!"


This wins the award for the stupidest thing Kip has ever said.

There is apparently a web cam on Bourbon St. in New Orleans. Kip said he memorized the spot and he is going to go moon the camera.

Jen's going to babysit one night while they are in New Orleans and Kip is going to go try to get arrested out on Bourbon St.

Read the Kip Journal FAQ


Yay Ricky!

Love that Ricky Schroeder.

Again, I ask how did Powers Boothe come to be the Vice President. He's too evil to have been picked as a running mate by Palmer.

Good episode though. Great actually.

Audrey being killed in China that was a good twist. Although, if I was Jack I would have kissed first (his ex-sister in law) and asked questions later.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Cleaned Out My Memory Card

And I found these pictures from January. My wife took them while I was at work. Very creepy.







New House

A picture of the house we are set to purchase. I'll be spending my summer painting the outside and landscaping. The inside has already been completely remodeled courtesy of the flipper who purchased it for 100 grand.

What I don't understand is, how do you get foreclosed on a home you purchased in 1975 for 38 grand?

Kip Journal 4/21/1999

Today in the internet betterness meeting, kip kept his mouth shut.

I've noticed for a long time that Kip walks like a weirdo. I don't know why but today it just ticked me off and i wanted to kick him in the nuts and slap his face many times.

Read the Kip Journal FAQ

Fabulous Movie Reviews®

Saw 3
Much, much better than the 2nd Saw and as good or slightly better than the 1st Saw, I will give this one 4.001 stars out of 5.

Due to the nonsensical plot, I'm guessing that this movie was probably based on a comic book. Not only that but it had a lot of bad acting. I didn't understand the significance of a vampire/werewolf hybrid. Is it because he is impossible to kill?

Some people who never go outdoors probably loved this movie and are salivating at the return of Kate Beckinsale and the werepire in Underworld 2. I am not one of them. 1 1/2 stars out of 5.

Home Inspection

We had the home inspection yesterday. Nothing out of the ordinary except for a couple of faulty light switches, but those are like a buck each at Lowpot.

I got to get out of work early which is always nice, although I did fib a little and tell my boss I might be back.

No pictures yet. I probably should have brought my camera yesterday.

There's a creek in the backyard that turned into a rushing, um, whats in between a creek and a river? Well, it was pretty high with the torrential downpour we had all day yesterday. No danger of it flooding my house or anything but the back third of the yard was pretty soggy. Probably don't want to locate my shed back there.

I can't wait to hang my TV on the wall.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Television Seen Before and Not Seen Ever

That was one of my favorite episodes of The Office, and had 30 Rock been on tonight (nbc sucks) it would have still been ranked #1.

I'm not sure about the Andy Richter show. It wasn't bad, but unless it's in a time slot where I am already watching TV after this one episode I wouldn't be seeking it out just yet.

The Andy Bernard character on The Office is great, but I, and several other people the I know, didn't know what happened to him after this episode. He kind of vanished. Little did we know that we had missed the little epilogue telling us that he was in anger management. Looking forward to his return.

In other news, in French class in high school my French name was Bernard. My first name is Andy.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


One of the benefits of working at my company is a cheaper mortgage. In theory that sounds great, but in reality when you compare what they offer an employee to what other banks offer any dope off the street, you realize that there is no benefit to getting a mortgage through your employer, and one more supposed "benefit" is crossed off the list.


What I was trying to say in this post was that I can never find a car or truck when I am actually looking to buy one, and I was in the midst of a similar situation since we had just started looking for a house. After a few duds and less than stellar prospects I was just a little discourage because it always seems like there are tons of good houses out there, except now.

But that is all moot now because after looking at 8 houses in two nights we put an offer on one. We had 3 that we really liked. Or I should say, I had one I really liked and my wife had one that she really liked. The third one was our compromise house. We both would have been okay with it.

Unfortunately, that house went pending after three days on the market and before we could put an offer on it.

So, we put an offer on the house my wife liked, and it was accepted. It was only on the market for 2 days and there was another offer on the table.

My house was prettier and had better curb appeal, but her house was 15 grand cheaper, completely remodeled on the inside and had a much bigger yard.

Plus, her house has some really sketchy neighbors that I will be able to use for blog content. I miss Lurleen and Butch sometimes.

Funny thing my wife said: "Maybe we can get the county to make them clean up their yard."

My retort: "This is Virginia, not Marblehead, Mass"

And God bless the Commonwealth. Of Virginia. Not Massachusetts.

Twunny Fo'

It was good to see the return of Rick(y) Schroeder to network television last night on 24. To this day my favorite season of NYPD Blue was the one he was in. Good stuff.

As far as the rest of the episode goes...that show should be 2 hours long. Give us 12 episodes a season. Better yet. Do it American Idol style. Three episodes a week. You bass turds.

Television That Must Be Seen

It's hard to form an opinion when most of the lineup was repeats. I'll do a better job next week regardless.

This week, there were 6 episodes. And in my opinion I guess it should be ranked something like this:

1. Office Episode 2
2. 30 Rock Episode 2
3. 30 Rock Episode 1
4. Office Episode 1
5. My Name is Earl
6. Scrubs


I got to program from 4 until 5:30. It was beautiful.

Hmm, You Don't Say

"Hey, did you know that your last name is French?" said the woman at work.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Many Hats

I know that I said I was too tired to finish the last post, but I need some angst release.

Currently my duties at work include:

1. PC Tech - my computer is slow, my drives aren't mapped, hook me to that printer, etc.

2. PC Coordinator - (similar to a PC tech, but lower on the totem pole, like Help Desk without phones) getting new user accounts, getting people access to a multitude of crap, getting new hardware

3. Business Analyst - (while the current BA(BO) is out.) Determining the business, automation and technical needs of the department and determining how to meet those needs.

4. Project Manager - Getting the requirements and scope of any of the previously mentioned needs and coordinating with vendors and IT or the technical analyst (Me :)) about those needs and creating the schedule for development and testing and release.

5. Programmer - Working with the BA and PM in determining feasibility and timeline and scope for development of software projects (unfortunately I can never agree with myself or myself) and then creating prototypes, testing and release.

5a. I have 6 projects on my plate from 5 different supervisors/managers. One is almost done. The other 5, in a perfect world where I could actually work uninterrupted 4 or 5 hours a day, are at least a month's worth of work each. Of course everybody wants their project to be the highest priority and with no real higher authority above me to dictate priority I have to pick "who I want to piss off the least".

6. Liaison with the (I CAN'T CALL IT BY ITS REAL NAME) Expensive Software Analysis team to stay abreast of the $5 million software project for the department since I've been informed that I will be one of the system admins for it.

6a. The Expensive Software Analysis team consumes three hours of my day. Every day. 9 to 12.

Going to California

My entire life, most of it anyway, I always had the philosophy that when you are actually looking for a car there are none to be found that fit your criteria, but when you currently have a car that either runs or you owe too much on it, then it seems like there are a lot of "good" deals out there. With one exception, my 1982 Buick Regal. I was driving the Ford Empo at the time. Not looking for a new car, and no intention of buying a new car, I happened to drive by the Hilltop Chevrolet lot and I spied way in the back the most beautiful car of all time. A two tone '82 Regal. After whipping into a frantic u-turn I found a sales guy, hoping that it was a trade in or something. The first sales guy I found said that it was his and he had just bought it at an auction.

I test drove it. A week later I had begged, borrowed and stealed the thousand bucks I needed to buy it. (Remember when a thousand bucks was almost impossible to come up with?)

Best. Car. Ever. I wish I could have kept it.

Anyway, back to raison de post. It seems like whenever you aren't looking to buy something there are tons available, but when you are ready or desperate to plunk down cold hard cash (or credit i.e. many years of your life) the market vanishes.

(to be continued, I'm tired)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

For Sale by Idiot

I don't get the whole For Sale by Owner craze. Yeah, you are going to save yourself 10 or 20 grand or more in commissions, but when you put an ad in the paper and it says, "House for sale. 3 or 4 bedrooms. Must see. Call XXX-XXX-XXXX", you are not really doing a good job. I wouldn't call. You could be a man-rapist for all I know. You didn't specify a price, address, subdivision, style of the home, or a picture. How do I know you aren't some crazed lunatic who is going to pick me off with a 30 aught 6 when I come up the driveway.

But besides the fear of crazies, it's hard for the prospective homebuyer to find your house. I don't even bother. Occasionally I might pull up a few of the FSBO websites but its a pain, there are many and none of them have all of the same listings. It's so much easier to pull up a realtor site that is on MLS. You know you are getting the same listings that someone at some other realtor site is getting (usually). Also, it seems that a lot of FSBOs have a greatly inflated sense of what their house is worth, which is discouraging right from the start.

I love the FSBOs that just have a red and white "for sale by owner" sign in their yard with nothing else but a phone number. Ooo. I can't wait to get home to call that number...How about a price? Or maybe a listing sheet from a little box by your sign?

One of the great things about the internet is being able to search instantly for home s in a wide area with any conceivable criteria. See a picture, check the price, get the address and then drive by it to get a look see. If you like it, make an appointment, if not keep going.

Basically, I'm just annoyed because I am afraid that I am missing a good deal on some FSBO out there, but in deep down I know that I am not.


Do you ever feel guilty when your boss gives you a pep talk and he asks you if you have any issues that you want to talk about and you say, "No I'm all set", but deep down you just want to spill your guts about the big black guy who harasses you whenever the printer farts, or the scary hillbilly chick who sweats on your desk when her mapped drives mysteriously unmap themselves, and rant how about how you used to do this kind of crap 10 years ago for 11 bucks an hour and the benefits that seemed so good on the surface really suck (adoption assistance??), and your boss is talking about long term plans for you (i.e. 18 months +) and how he believes the entire department and the $5 million software initiative depends on you and all you can think about is "if i can make it 6 months and only have to pay back half of the lousy 2g's (before taxes) they gave me to come here."?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Fabulous Movie Reviews

I'm a little behind in my Fabulous Movie Reviews® so I've got four. Luckily, they all left me speechless in some degree or another so it should all be pretty simple.

The Da Vinci Code
Huh? 1.9 stars out of 5.

The Time Machine
Ohhhhkay. 2.3 stars out of 5.

The Departed
Whoa. 4.71 stars out of 5.

American Haunting
Whaaa? 2.49 stars out of 5.

P.S. I thought accents in The Departed were good, except for the trollop psychiatrist-type person. She sounded baaad. A combination of Rhode Island, Bronx, Long Island, Minnesota, Maine, and North American Slut.

P.P.S. Recently we watched a video of a wedding from 1987 and I was in it reading scripture. I was surprised to hear my own accent. Yeesh. Not to mention the leather tie I was wearing.

Friday, March 02, 2007

See, TV, Must

In order of good to bad, with 1 being the best, in my opinion of course.

1. 30 Rock
2. My Name is Earl
3. The Office - This was a repeat. The other three shows might have been repeats too, but I had never seen them. If I had never seen this episode of The Office, I would probably bump it up to #2.
4. Scrubs - it was funny when he poked fun at sitcoms that are lazy and do flashbacks. That didn't save it from the 2nd straight week at #4.

Warm Weather Is Good, Says I

The nice thing about warm weather is that I can sneak out of work early because I don't have to put a jacket on. I can just quietly slip my keys into my pocket, lock my computer (but leave the monitor on), and just saunter out like I am just going to the bathroom.

In other work news, I found out my boss lives in Bumpass. That is cool. I should move there.

This guy gave his notice today. No matter how much I hate a job, I NEVER want to be the guy who people rejoice, literally dance in the cubicleways, about when I quit.

Another work week completed another 2 hours of programming performed. So thats 5% of my time spent programming. Yay. I am getting so tired of the headhunters calling me at all hours of the day.