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?