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Showing posts from August, 2007

You Might be a DnDer If...

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This makes you laugh out loud! (Which it did for me.)



To whomever had this idea-- awesome!

Decisions

Having autoimmune illnesses means that my immune system is attacking my own body in various ways, as though I have had a transplant and my body is rejecting that new tissue. To combat that, I take steroids that are designed to suppress my immune responses to keep the damage to my organs to a minimum.

Up until recently, all of my medications were oral. Each medication did a minimal job of suppressing these immune responses, but the results were clear-- I went from being someone who was rarely sick to someone who got sick regularly. I started having headaches that would last weeks, and then to having migraines. I went from having few allergies to having many allergic responses.

I recently was put on a new medication for my rheumatoid arthritis (which is also an autoimmune illness). Enbrel has worked wonders on my pain and swelling from the arthritis. However, this medication suppresses my immunological responses to an even greater degree than any previous medication. I have had two bloo…

IT A-Go Go

When IT gave me a new laptop and set it up for me, I was sure to mention the change in policy over emails and thought that my IT rep had understood me and set me up so that the new policy would not affect me. The policy is that, for most users of the system, all emails over 6 months old would be deleted. For the corporate vertical I happen to be in, that policy is 60 days. Originally, the policy only deleted items from the Inbox and Deleted Messages folders in Outlook. Now it includes all folders attached to the email server.

The entire time I have been using this new laptop, I thought I was safe and didn't have to worry. I was diligent about moving items out of my Inbox and saving them in the folders IT had provided. What I didn't know was that my IT rep hadn't understood what I was looking for and hadn't set me up in a way that old emails would be immune to these policies. All of these folders were still on the email server and not on my hard drive.

Yesterday I went …

What He Said

I have been thinking about and trying to formulate a post concerning the recent spate of movies and which were good and why. The directions I have so far come up with allowed me to stray too far off topic and each draft I wrote was discarded.

Today I saw a hyperlink to an article and followed it. The article addressed one half of what I wanted to say very clearly and concisely, so I thought I would just share the hyperlink rather than continue to try and write it myself.

Link

While I agree with what he says, I will add that Bourne Ultimatum is one of the two best films I have seen this year (the other being The Lookout). At the next tier of high-quality movies are the other two he mentions plus 300. Each of these films delivers what the audience expects, is well presented (direction, story line, editing), and has solid or better acting.

Aside: I also think that HP: OotP is the best one of the series so far. Die Hard had two very implausible, totally outrageous scenes that took me out of …

I Know Where The Angus Is On A Cow

I guess Jack in the Box thinks we're all stupid. It isn't wrong, of course, but it is frustrating that they rely on it for its current advertisement.

Angus is, of course, a breed of cow. Sirloin is a cut of meat. So, while the company may sell sirloin burgers, I have to wonder how many of those sirloin burgers are from Angus cows? Probably a lot of them, as it is the most popular breed of cow in America.

It is just getting irritating to watch these commercials where Jack and his crew are laughing at the competition and asking where the "angus" is located on a cow (making a thinly veiled allusion that it might be the butt), while pointing out exactly where the sirloin is.

I don't understand why the competition hasn't come back with the exact opposite commercial, showing the American person that the Sirloin comes from Angus cows.

Politics

I practice what I preach. I have mentioned before on this blog my disappointment with the current administration's actions and policies, and recommended that readers contact their Senators and members of Congress if they agreed. I then contacted all of mine. While two of them provided some fairly generic responses, I received the following back from one:

Dear Mr. ######: Thank you for your letter concerning impeachment proceedings against President Bush. I appreciate the time you took to write and welcome the opportunity to respond. In our recent elections, the American people expressed clear disapproval with the path this country was on. They are tired of partisan politics and of an Administration that pays little heed to the wishes of the American people. They want-and deserve-a Congress that holds the Administration accountable and fulfills its Constitutional responsibility to check and balance the Executive. I share this sentiment and am determined to work ha…

Druids

I lean toward Druid-type classes in the sword and sorcery games I play. Whether online or on paper, the class has a certain something that draws me to it. However, I don't think that most game systems get the druid "right."

When Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 was first released, the Druid class was the second least made/used class after the Bard. They both suffered from the same problem-- good at a lot of things but not really great at anything. In the case of the Druid, they had created a class that had good, but not great, offensive spells. They gave it good, but not great defensive spells. It had the ability to transform, but the rules were less than clear how it worked and it had some very serious drawbacks. On top of this, the class had some serious armor and weapon issues, low hit points, and a slow progression on most saving throws. Its one bright spot was that they got an animal companion to start. However, by about level 8, the companion was already lagging behind an…

A Lion's Chance

Apparently, as lore goes, Bobby Layne, one of the Lions best quarterbacks ever, said that the Lions "won't win for 50 years!" This was said early in the 1958 NFL season after he helped get them to, and win, the Championship game the season before. He was injured and the Lions traded him because they thought he couldn't recover from the injury.

Well, he was right. Not only did he play 4 more seasons, but 1957 was the last year the Lions reached the Championship game. Note that I said "Championship," as the Super Bowl wouldn't be created until the 1966-7 season. Since that time, the Lions have actually only won one playoff game (in 1991, against the Cowboys only to follow it by an absolute trouncing by the Redskins on their way to a SB victory). Matter of fact, they are arguably the team of the decade for the 1950s, winning 3 Championships and being runner up 2 more times.

I'm curious to know if Matt Millen can trace his heritage through the Layne famil…

Remakes

I have a hard time believing they are remaking any of the following films.
The Birds - How can you presume to remake a Hitchcock classic and have it be better than the original? Yes, we can make "better" special effects now, but, other than that, nothing else will likely be as good.Conan the Barbarian - A lot of people laugh at the original, but forget that it was co-written by an Oscar winner (Oliver Stone) and directed by an Oscar-nominated director (John Milius). It actually tells a good story.
Death Race 2000 (as Deathrace 3000) - The original is a cult classic, with weird performances from David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone. How can you possibly top this B- (or C- or D-) movie classic?Enter the Dragon - One of the seminal 70s martial arts flicks and with the Man, Bruce Lee, in the pivotal role.
The Entity- An incredible ghost story, much more believable than other similar tales told around the same time (Amityville, et al). Barbara Hershey was incredible as the beleagu…

Ties that Bind

I cannot wait to put that wedding ring on my finger. I know a lot of men supposedly have issues with commitment and fidelity, but I am anxious to be fully, completely, irrevocably married and have that "badge of honor" on my finger.

My mother recently reminded me of a conversation we had when I was pretty young. She asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and, apparently, I answered "Married with children." Now, as I've aged, the children part of that answer has become less and less important to me (not a big fan of kids, really, but I'm told it is different when the child is yours). The married part has not-- I want to be married. To "settle down."

None of the women I have dated in my past were people to whom I should or could have married. Only with one of those did the thought even cross my mind, and it was good that I thought again.

Now, however, I have found the exact right woman for me. A challenging and interesting woman who seems able …

Plurals and Possessives

Part of my job at work is to review other people's work. Lately at work, but also online, in print media, and on TV, I have seen a plethora of acronyms made plural using an apostrophe and an s. So much so that I was starting to question my memory of what is correct! I grabbed our copy of the Microsoft Manual of Style, our bible on the job, and reviewed possessives and plurals as they relate to acronyms.

It says that acronyms are made plural by simply adding an s on the end, unless one of the abbreviated words is a plural form already-- then you don't add an s.

Correct
SUVs
CPUs
RBI (Runs Batted in-- run is already a plural)

Incorrect
SUV's
CPU's
RsBI or RBIs

This is also true of numbers.

Correct
1950s
486s

The only time you add an apostrophe to form a plural is when using a single letter. However, in addition to the apostrophe and s, the root letter should be in italics (but nothing else). Although the manual doesn't say it, I believe this is so that it doesn't look li…

The Fog (2005)

I like a good horror story. Not a slasher flick or a gore-fest-- good horror (suspense and frights as opposed to shocks and startles). I enjoyed the original The Fog. It is not a great horror piece, but it had most of the qualities I enjoyed. Some of the images from it, like the decaying hand holding the fish hook and knocking on the door as the fog swirls all around, stuck with me. It has a surprisingly strong story, too; it gives you just enough to follow the reason for the haunting and why the boat people are killing townsfolk.

Cut to last night. I watched the 2005 remake starring Tom Welling and Maggie Grace. Not one person in the movie had any chemistry with any other. Maggie Grace's Elizabeth is pivotal to the story, yet it is never really explained why she is seeing visions. Plus, she just doesn't pull off the "appear to be insane even though you are the only one who is figuring out what REALLY is going on" schtick. There is one character who is suspected of t…

Comfort

I have my off-white and wood accented chair reclined all the way back. The lights are off save for the cool bluish glow from the episode of Kyle XY I am watching.

I am laying on my right side, with my legs somewhat bent. The remote is in my right hand, which is hanging off the chair. My left arm is on my left hip. I am not quite in the fetal position, but sort of in a half spoon/half fetal. I'm relaxed, but completely awake.

I feel a movement and a weight behind me on the lower part of the chair. The chair rocks slightly. Caly has leaped onto the chair in the niche made by my calves and back of the thighs. She starts the usual kitty circling, thinks better of it, and decides she would rather be closer to my head.

She walks over my hips, making sure that each of her not-so-dainty paws lands on my hip bone so that I can feel the full of her twenty pounds as she passes to the other crook made by the tops of my legs, chest, and the wooden armrest. She nestles between my chest and the a…

More Cool Old Words

Here are some more cool old words from the calendar M got for me:
Blash - to soak, to drench. A heavy rain. Deluging; sweeping away by inundation. Applied to meat or drink that is thin, weak, flatulent, or viewed as debilitating the stomach. To blash one's stomach, to drink too copiously of any weak and diluting liquor. (1808)
Conskite - To befoul with ordure, as when one's bowels are loosed with fear. (1955)Chimble - to crumble into very small fragments; to gnaw like a mouse or rat. (1874)Ure - A dampish mist; an atmospheric haze, especially of a colored nature; Scotland (1926). To pray (1200s). to have good fortune (1400s).

TV Woes

Things I hate about TV programming:
Premiering a show on one night, to much fanfare and applause, and then immediately have the first non-pilot episode on a different day at a different time.Moving a show's day and time from season to season. I think more people are like me-- wanting things to remain the same and easy to remember-- than those who are willing to follow a show to whatever day/time networks move it to. And, frankly, the fact that when they move a show its ratings go down and the act of moving it is generally a sign of imminent cancellation backs me up. The fact that networks don't give shows a half- or full season to catch on with an audience. Some shows have to grow on you, like fungus, over time. These days, Seinfeld would never make it-- people forget that it didn't do well its first season. It wasn't until its third season that it really started to get the big ratings.
A show with a 4-6 rating has a solid base and is more highly rated than most shows o…

Work

I don't often blog about work-- just not something I do. However, there have been more rumors than usual from more trusted sources than usual that our parent company is thinking about selling our branch of the business.

Suddenly, toward the end of the day, we got a request for an all-hands meeting tomorrow from 3:30-4:30 pm. The all-hands meeting is hosting a senior level VP for the parent company, well above the two director-level people who most frequently cause all-hands meetings to be called.

The last division to be sold was sold part and parcel (all of the people were "sold" with the business and with a pretty good retention request from our company to the new one). My guess is that it would do that for our division as well. However, my feeling is that they will not sell us at this time unless a really great deal is given because we are working on a new feature for our main product that could, if successful, close to double our income from clients. Also, they have all…

Bourne and More

Bourne Ultimatum

My favorite action-adventure thriller movies are the first two Bourne movies. My only complaint is a small one-- the use of "shaky cam" in the Supremacy to "heighten" the action sequences. I felt that the acting, action, and story lines in both movies were superb.

So, as you can imagine, Ultimatum had a lot to live up to. And it delivered in full. I felt it was an excellent conclusion to this incredible series. The intensity of it is high, the action sequences are taut, and the acting is, once again, well done and controlled.

The movie picks up right where Supremacy finished, but you don't have to have seen the previous movies to get right into it. It helps, and you get more out of it if you know the first two, but it is not an absolute requirement. There are a number of action sequences that are all believable and exciting, including a parkour-esque foot chase, a slamming car chase (a theme in all three movies), and a couple of good gun fights an…

Pork

I hate cooking pork. I can never tell when it is done or if it is going to be juicy and good or tough and rubbery. A couple days ago I took three pork steaks out of the freezer, dethawed them, Shaked n' Baked them all according to the directions. I have eaten two of the three, and both were entirely white, juicy, and maybe just a tad overdone along the edges.

Today I went to reheat the last one, with the remaining green beans, for lunch. I wasn't sure if the meat was hot throughout, so I cut it in half to heat one more time. When I did, I noticed the entire middle of the pork steak was still pink! I'm talking, raw, uncooked, pink.

How is it possible to take three steaks, all virtually the same size, all dethawed for the same amount of time and in the same microwave, all cooked in the same stove at the same time, and two come out just about right and the third is still raw?

Anyway, I'm nuking the hell out of it to make sure it is white throughout before eating. Even sti…

Caffeine

I've made a concerted effort to mostly eliminate caffeine from my diet. I drink the Caffeine Free Pepsi, the clear sodas with no caffeine, milk and Sunny D, Kool-aid, and even water these days. Even when out at restaurants, I have been making an effort to get lemonade or fruit punch instead of Coke or Pepsi.

Wednesday I slipped. I got a big 32 ounce Pepsi and drank it down. Then, later in the afternoon, I was still thirsty and went to the machine with every intention of getting something non-caffeinated. But, my fingers found themselves punching in D-3 for a Pepsi and I sucked it down pretty fast.

I normally don't react too much to caffeine, but after so long having so little of it in my system these massive influx hit me hard. I was wired for a good 3-4 hours and then crashed and burned. But, most likely due to the drug still in my system, I crashed in a way that made me tired but unable to sleep. I went to bed exhausted but couldn't get my brain to shut down or my eyes t…

Solicitation

I got a phone call. Pleasant woman calling on behalf of injured veterans.

"Is this a solicitation?" I ask.

"No, sir. I am not asking you for money over the phone," she answers.

"Okay," I say.

"Sir, I'd like to send you a donation card on behalf of injured vets..."

"No thank you," I reply, and hang up.

Now, don't get me wrong; I'm very interested in helping injured vets. I'm from a military family, I believe in the men and women who serve in our armed forces, and this is a hot topic right now as we have so many being injured in this "war" on terror and occupations of a foreign country.

I hung up on her because she lied to me.

This actually makes the third time recently where the person has lied in the same way. What they don't seem to understand is that "solicitation" means "to make petition to." In modern terminology, this has come to mean "to make petition for money," specifically. T…

HERO

I don't know what exactly this is, but I like it. I like the sentiment, the things people have said, and what the narrator says.

Take a look.

HERO