As we sticky the wicket

November 2nd, 2007

November has roller-bladed in with all the grace and gentle maneuver of an epileptic hippopotamus. The drama that has taken place in just the first two days makes me want to nap past Thanksgiving. How has the month been treating me? Open book time.

  1. I'm sick again. My throat is all sore, my muscles achey. Hertz/Postal Tim is similarly afflicted, as is Denise, which makes me think it's an actual plague as well all got sick immediately on the first. Oh well.
  2. Work is being annoying. There is no direct, approachable way to do the things I need to do. Specifically, the XSL-FO spec by design has no provision for blocks that span a number of columns smaller than the total number of columns on the page, but larger than one. So, I have to write insanity using third-party extensions to XSL-FO. Usually I would be energized by such a challenge, but the tools that I have to work with limit the number of ways that I can describe that insanity. I'm a huge fan of TIMTOWTDI, and XML is based around a single "right" coding strategy that covers 80% of what I want to do, but leaves the non-trivial 20% as a sacrifice so that implementations take off. This is what happened with "span." It's hard to make blocks span arbitrary numbers of columns, and the XML group wants the FO standard (and XML) in general to be implemented widely so that the terror of SGML doesn't happen again. Their response is to nerf the standard so anyone (except apparently the Apache group) The problem is that an almost-completely-useful standard is also almost-completely-frustrating. Oh well.
  3. New relationship drama. Though it seems to have cleared itself, there were some awkward conversations and non-discussions. I'm concerned, but have no basis for how to change behavior or conversation patterns. On the one hand, this is frustrating. On the other hand, I'm having a hard time feeling guilty without knowing the cause. Oh well.
  4. Old relationship drama. Being nice to exes causes problems. Being civil to exes causes problems. Being a jerk to exes causes problems. Ignoring exes causes problems, and is impractical. I'll just have to cause problems being nice as that's the way I deal with the world, regardless of complexities or weird coincidences. Oh well.
  5. No good way to deal with the above. My better conscience has me at a debate tournament helping out Blake this weekend, so Tulsa is out. Boston is like a million miles away, so queso is out. There go my two best support structures for a few days. Oh well.

My congressman won't let me give my brother a clean syringe.
If he should get AIDS and die, that's just too bad.

$5 on the over

October 15th, 2007

Yes, it's been a while. Doug was right in his betting. Summary time!

Good things happened in the last two months. I knelt before my altar of consumerism and extracted therefrom some discs to make the all-too-near winter more comfortable. I got the second season of the Muppet show, a copy of Krrish, and Katamari Damacy.

Probably more importantly than just the discs is the new medium of play. I finally gave in to the compulsion I've had since, probably, 2002ish and got myself a giant TV. It's a 46" LCD 1080p monstrosity from Polaroid that has already gone down in price by $50 in the couple of weeks since it's been in the TV loft. The good part is that the picture is beautiful, it has all the inputs I need for cable, DVD, computer, and gaming systems. The bad part is that it's probably going to explode at any moment. Eh, such are the chances you take buying the off-brand. I've had good luck in the past, so I'm not feeling any real trepidation (he said as he knocked wood).

More good: I've been hanging out with the esteemed Dr. Kim more and more. We hit up the Stone Lion Inn murder mystery extravaganza and found ourselves well entertained. It's a really big and pretty house, very well kept, and the evening's entertainment was welcome. Good times were had by all.

Less good was the chunk of September that I spent sick. Across this great land of ours spread a plague of coughing and hacking and wheezing and aching that could not be stopped but for the power of one magical beverage. Behold! The Tussin Cocktail!

  • 2 shots Maximum Strength CVS Tussin
  • 2 cups PCFOJ
  • 2 shots Tanquerey Gin
  • 1 tablespoon Grenadine

Pour the tussin in a glass, fill with the orange juice and gin, then stir. Add the grenadine on top. The whole result looks like a fruity drink that Dave Foley would order during the "coconut monkey's head" sketch. The acidity of the orange juice helps clear some of the phlegm and the gin and tussin calm the cough reflex while also making you stop caring about coughing in the first place. It's an overall win.

You're fear in the face of strength I guess spinning 'round till dizzy better suits you.

Let's rock it like a Saturn V

August 2nd, 2007

One of the defining characteristics of the past weeks is the growing number of board games that I've been playing. Chris Brodt and I started off with a festively hosted game of Axis and Allies with some friends of mine from Hertz. Similarly, Chris's new thang was sweet enough to treat us to a game or two of Settlers of Catan. Both are really entertaining, and a good excuse to get people together to chat and make merriment. It will happen again.

Speak of Hertz, I must admit that I'm pretty happy I got out while I did. Now that the new CIO has pretty much come out and publicly said that outsourcing is where the company is headed, I'm feeling a lot better about having a job that has been around for ~250 years, and can legally not be moved out of the country. That being said, I'm honestly pretty pleased that all of this has been made public, because now the people who want to get out can. I'm always a fan of putting cards on the table and letting people decide what to do with them. Apparently, what several of them have decided to do is complain. Can't say I blame them.

Today, I sit in beautiful Baltimore, Maryland, the second of a set of unending trips that I will have to take up here for my job. The meetings that I'm attending are the kind of boring that makes my kidney cry. Luckily, I have my mastery of Will Shortz to keep me from falling asleep for the first hour or so. Between that, HBO in the hotel room, and the amazing crab cakes, I find ways to keep myself entertained that don't involve Ravens and Orioles.

The other problem with Baltimore is that it means that I can't get up to visit the lovely town of Tulsa as often as I'd like. So now, there are broken air conditioners and soap dishes that need looking after, yummy pizza to eat, and cute girls to entertain.

You shut your mouth
how can you say
I go about things the wrong way

The Mariah Carey Glitter Fund

July 16th, 2007

Just got back from a week in Baltimore helping the Eagle fly. Boring times were had. More on that later. First:

Why do I love Oklahoma so much? Fun random adventure! During some coffee shop time shortly before I went to Baltimore, my esteemed roommate met a cute little air traffic control student. (Apparently the *only* reputable air traffic control school in the US is here in OKC. I never would have guessed.) Apparently through the past week, the two of them have been seeing quite a bit of each other. Patrick was kind enough to pick me up from the airport and directly took me for some coffee with the two of them. Cherie had started making some glitter signs for her friends from Utah who were coming to visit. Her plan involved meeting these girls at the airport, screaming and waving her sign. Such good will need not be left as a voice alone. After a quick trip to the local dispensary, we had a few more sets of glitter pens and posterboards, and did it up proper. Chris Brodt's welcomed them to Okie Noodlin', mine suggested we go eat giblets, Patrick's yodeled a gleeful "Yee-Haw," and Floyd's (more on him in a moment) greeted them in the full spirit of "Okie City." We then trucked down to the airport (my second trip in 4 hours) and stood waiting for them while the monitors overhead described the status of flights as one of "In Air," "Arrived," "On Time," "Landed," and "Now at (time 10 minutes ago)." Sometimes even in that order. As we waited, I made conversation with Floyd. Turns out that as well as being a Vietnam veteran turned electrician with sleeve tattoos, he's also been a late-night Denny's waiter, an oil platform roughneck, a truck driver, a mechanic, and in lockup for something that he doesn't talk about anymore. Really cool and interesting guy. After tracking the girls down we went for an evening of drinks at the HiLo. They were appreciative of our enthusiasm. We were appreciative of their company. How equitable.

Somewhere in this crazy world, there's a great picture of all of this.

I came in here for that special offer
A guaranteed personality

On the bending of spines

July 5th, 2007

As has been brought up elsewhere, the Billy-Casey romantic interaction is no longer. It's upsetting, but I really think for the best.

At the time of my divorce, I decided that I would try my best to lead a life that had no secrets. I consider myself an open book, in that anyone can ask me any question they want, on any topic, and I will respond fully and truthfully. I have nothing and have done nothing that I need to hide. It's kept me from making a lot of mistakes in my day, as I can't justify that "if no-one knows, then it didn't happen." It had another, more devilish advantage too, in that if I got the story of what all happened with Rosie out in the open first and most plainly, then I could control the rumors, and be sure that popular opinion was on my (correct) side. It worked really well. The rumor mill does not work against you when the most reliable source for information is your own openness.

The problem that I'm running in to is that very few people seem to share this ethos. I decided as an amendment a while back that any of my secrets are available, but I can hold the secrets of others. Tales that I don't "own" are not tales that I can decide whether to share or not. I have to respect the decision of the person that crafted the tale. Unfortunately, the "ownership" of stories as such is often not so cut-and-dry. How do I deal when I am involved in the creation of the story, but it's non-trivial to make it public? Historically, I try to throw some disclaimers out before I do anything worth gossiping about. Darn if I forgot this time. Now I have to climb up the back side of the bracket to make all of this work out according to how I see the world.

The 4th of July was entertaining in the way that only the Man can make it. My first run-in with the Moore police came at about 1 in the morning when all the fireworks that Chris Brodt and our various associates were shooting off in the backyard became subject to civil forfeiture. Granted, just a warning, but that's a good start. Certainly, the Man did not need to bring the 'cuffs and backseat rides.

Also, the rain? Yeah, we can be done with that.

Transformers is a good flick, but you don't need me to tell you that. Just go see it, and get excited for the sequel.

And if you're not content to just believe
And if you don't consent to just let it be
Stretch out your legs and dance with me
All night.