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Thu, 08 Aug 2002

Doing a bit of testing on the site templates and archives.  The site will be changing often today but probably little of it will be real content.

This entry authored by Tyran at 08:12

Fri, 09 Aug 2002

Well, today's the big day or at least it's a big day.  I have a final this afternoon for one of my classes.  Wish me luck!

This entry authored by Tyran at 07:46

Arg, the practice exam that I took is a load of compost!  Four of the questions were blatantly wrong, one of them listed the answer as being either C or D.  C is flat out wrong but that doesn't really matter because the other right answer is None of the above!  How can None of the above be correct (which it is) if any other answer is possible?  The other three were just as painful, for example buttons are supposedly able to have scroll bars on them.  What?

Even with the obvious errors in the practice test, I still plan to take the final tonight but I've already warned my advisor that should I find the same problems with the final that I found with the practice test I will contest the results.  Kennedy-Western already struggles with credibility issues (many claim that it's a diploma mill, so that explains that 75 page research paper I just can't wait to start writing!); so, it surely doesn't need class exams to be worthless not to mention the fact that it's hard to pass when the right answers aren't.

On another note, it's budget time again here at CSI (Consolidated Substances Inc).  Will the MIS department get a third wheel?  Will our request to move to four tens be approved?  Who knows, but let us hope that all things good and wonderful do not come to pass but rather that they come to stay!

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:34

Sat, 10 Aug 2002

Well I passed the test but I'm not happy about the whole thing.  Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to have passed.  I am not happy that six of the questions were impossible to answer correctly because the correct answers were wrong.  They were so wrong, so blatantly wrong that I can't even stand it.  We'll see if the university agrees with me.

Stay tuned for more exciting, thrills and spills.

This entry authored by Tyran at 16:40

Sun, 11 Aug 2002

Memory, where art thou?

I haven't much time today so this will be quick and I really want to get this down before I forget it.  My memory has more holes in it than a block of Swiss cheese.  Three and four times a day I find myself say, I have no idea what I wanted to say.  This is so frustrating.  There was a quip on the Weekenders this morning that I wanted to post here as a prime example of adult humor but I can't remember what it was even though I can remember most of the dialog from the rest of the show!  Why is it that the only things I seem to be able to forget are the very things that I want to remember?

This entry authored by Tyran at 09:02

Mon, 12 Aug 2002

Have you tried Blog?

Do you blog?  Yes?  No?  Maybe so?  Let me tell you how and why I started.  Shanna, my wife, was tired of a certain blog site continually being down or slow.  The reason she was tired of this was because her blog, What Do I Know?, was housed on this site and viewing it or even maintaining it was unbearable at times.  In good husband fashion, I decided that she had a problem and that I needed to fix it.  At other times this might have been bad but this time I scored big points.  First I setup a domain for her through Freedom 2 Surf and then I set off to find something that would allow her to easily publish her blog entries to the site.  I have tried and tried to recreate the search on Google that I used to find Blog but haven't succeeded yet.  It boiled down to blogger replacement I believe.  What is Blog? you ask.  Simply put, Blog is a text editor hooked up to a database.  The database stores all your posts locally and allows you to publish those entries to one site or multiple sites using templates.  Blog templates are extremely easy to create but, like any web page, layout is a whole other ball game.  Well, before I could just throw this new application at Shanna and tell her that it was to replace her site at blogger I had to try it out myself.  That first night the Whinery was born and I became hooked on blogging.

And now for something completely different.  Over at Rhapsody in Blog I read a post about an entertaining little mind game to determine the shape of your mind.  There is a secret to it but I wouldn't want to spoil the fun.  If you can't figure out how it works (and it does work every single time), email me and I'll point you in the right direction.

And finally, I've heard from both my student advisor and the head of testing for KW and it appears I have a pretty good case on having my grade increased.  I'll be sending off the documents showing my side of the story tomorrow and they promise a final response within four weeks.  Now we wait and see.

This entry authored by Tyran at 20:03

Tue, 13 Aug 2002

Occasionally we have scheduled power outages so our electricians or generator operators can do maintenance.  Lately this has become a regular feature of my work week.  The result is that I end up coming in to work hours early so I can nurse the servers and their UPS boxes.  Today I discovered that we had most (90% or so) of our hardware running off of one UPS.  That fellow is pretty beefy but still he only stays online for 20 minutes while the smaller UPS lasts 40-60 minutes (never bothered checking) because there was basically nothing plugged into the thing.  While I hope that we don't have another outage in the near future, I am curious to see what the difference will be now that I've switched the load around a bit.

I've been testing Blog 6.1 beta and loving it.  While it's mainly a bug fix release, it's all rather new to me because I didn't get a chance to meddle with 6.0 much.  Nope, I managed to lag back with a beta release of 5.0.  That's one of the problems with beta testing, it's very easy to get lost in the shuffle and end up a revision or two behind what's current.  The other common problem is that weird things happen like having wonky archive pages for a few days for one reason or another.  Of course, there are great benefits to beta testing software as well.  It's a great way to get to know the developer, there's a certain feeling of satisfaction at knowing that the obscure bug you found was fixed because you found and before it caused someone a real problem.

Well, the power has come back and I need to start up the servers and get to some real work now.

This entry authored by Tyran at 07:04


Well, I'm sitting in the waiting room at WorkMed.  My partner in crime was bucked off of a chair while we were working in the Control Room.  It turns out that the operators had squirreled two of their chairs away after they both lost casters.  Unfortunately, no one marked the chairs and when Argus sat down on one, it gave him just enough time to get comfortable before throwing him to floor and jumping all over his poor limp body.  OK, so he wasn't limp, he was actually fighting with the blasted chair but it obviously had the upper hand.  When I looked back to see why Argus was dancing with his chair, I saw a look on his face that I had seen far too often back in my wrestling days.  It was the look of sheer terror one gets when something bad has happened to a hand or a finger.  Today's target on Let's Mangle a Body Part!:  Argus' poor left thumb.

Argus went off and filled out the requisite forms (he's left handed, of course) and I continued to update the iFix system in his place.  We wrapped up our work in the Control Room and headed back to the White House (it's actually the Admin Building but the folks on the plant side fondly - heh - call it the White House) and checked in with HR.  From there we headed over here to WorkMed where I've been working on a little help desk app in the waiting room while Argus is in the back having all the fun.

I have to say, the people who come in here are some of the oddest people I've ever seen (Argus excluded of course).  For example, the fellow sitting straight across from me has a navy blue T-shirt on that says disturbed in orange lettering.  Yup, I would definitely agree with that.  Now don't get me wrong, this isn't the social center of the world and I know that people don't try to get all gussied up to come down here but still it's quite amazing to see.

To make matters worse, I'm stuck listening to Judge Brown on Fox as he berates people for their obvious lack of judgment.  Of course, everyone here seems to be quite enjoying what they're seeing.  What kind of person actually enjoys seeing people is such distress?  I just don't understand.

Hurray!  Argus has returned and hopefully we can go back to the sane world of work soon.

PS...Argus is doing well, just a bad pull and bruising.

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:56

Wed, 14 Aug 2002

Like a pair of socks that have seen better days, I think it's time to bid the current layout of this site a fond farewell.  As such, posting will be frequent but somewhat terse.

This entry authored by Tyran at 13:05

If you've read anything here at the Whinery, then you probably know how much I hate web browsers because they aren't compliant with the W3C standards.  Now that I'm redesigning the layout of the site, it is again painfully obvious that Microsoft only plays lip service to standards.

This entry authored by Tyran at 15:18

Thu, 15 Aug 2002

Well, it's time to try out the new templates.

This entry authored by Tyran at 23:26

Well, it looks like everything is working as I expected.  Those of you using IE are probably thinking that I'm a bit nuts because the site doesn't look that great in IE.  It is readable in IE, except for the Daily Whine which might be partially covered by the posting area, but that is the price of trusting Microsoft to adhere to standards.  If you would like to view this page or any of the redesigned pages here just download Mozilla or wait for IE 6.5 or 7.

Speaking of Mozilla, I found out something marvelous about it yesterday.  As this page shows, it is possible to list several alternate style sheets for one web page.  With IE, that's a bunch of wasted time because IE can't handle alternate style sheets.  Mozilla, however, has a menu option Use Style under the view menu.  Selecting the Use Style option lists all the possible alternate style sheets and selecting one automatically updates the page based on the new style sheet.  That is one great feature if you ask me.

You might wonder why I'm still up at 23:55, I know I'm curious about that myself.  One of the reasons is that I just couldn't be so close to having the main templates completed and then not finish them.  Another reason is that for the last two nights I have been dealing with hives and bug bites.  Huge bites and huge hives, it's been hellacious to say the least.  I won't go into details as to locations or what I've been doing to try and ease the pain but it's been so bad that I am more than willing to take an oatmeal bath each morning.  Eating oatmeal is one thing, bathing in it is something completely different (Aveeno collodial oatmeal).  The problem I now have is that I'm so tired from tossing and turning all night because I itch, I itch, I itch. . . did I mention that I ITCH. . . that once the itching subsides I end up falling asleep in the tub.  Taking a hot oatmeal bath is soothing, waking up in a cold oatmeal bath is somewhat slimy but it is better than the itching.

This entry authored by Tyran at 23:40

Sun, 25 Aug 2002

Have you ever had one of those days?  You know the kind . . . you feel full of energy, life seems to deal you Aces at every turn and nothing can get you down.  I almost hate to tell you this but I haven't had one.  Nope, not one but three.  Even better, I think that I know why.  I've always known that I'm a perfectionist but you probably couldn't tell by looking at my office at home or at work and that's been the problem.  I've completely organized my office here at home and viola! I feel absolutely great.  As Shanna can easily attest, I am one of the laziest people on Earth when it comes to household chores.  Now, I'm not making any promises here but if I'm right and having a completely organized office makes me feel so good, cleaning may just become an addiction.  Just as a side note, when I came home Friday the whole house was immaculate except my office.  That's was all the impetus I needed to get my but in gear and clean-up my office.  Thanks Shan!

I just have to point something out.  Today as we discussed raising our children, a question was asked how we as parents can best discipline our children.  To get the discussion started the question, Should we always be critical of our children?  As with anything, extremism is just not a good thing.  Children who are only criticized will grow up believing that they can't do anything right.  On the other hand, children who are only praised will grow up believing that they can do no wrong.  Good parenting requires balance between the two.  One fellow piped up and seriously asked What's wrong with children believing that they can do no wrong?  Am I the only one that sees a problem with that?

On a final note, on 11 September all of will go black for 24 hours beginning at 06:46 UTC-6:00.

The Naked, Ugly Truth . . . .
This entry authored by Tyran at 19:15

Mon, 26 Aug 2002

I've discovered a very nice little device in Blog:  the <More> tag.  It automagically throws the rest of the entry to another page to be read or ignored at the reader's pleasure.  You'll note that I've elected to call the link to the extended entry The Naked, Ugly Truth and there is a very good reason for that.  Many blog writers retain full anonymity.  The advantage being that they can say exactly what is on their mind without fear of repercussion as the readers don't really know who they are.  Obviously I don't quite enjoy anonymity here at the Whinery.  Instead I've opted to use The Naked, Ugly Truth (The NUT - unintentional but very apt acronym) to give vent to what I'm really feeling.  Now just to give fair warning, I'm not pulling any punches on The NUT pages.  For example, whenever we confront another person there is the actual conversation that occurs and then there is the slew of things that we thought but never said.  If you are brave, or foolish, enough to venture into those dark places then be forewarned, you may come face to face with the faceless, nameless demons that sometimes lurk within the dark corners of my mind.  You may even find that somehow you have been woven into the subject matter of The NUT.  Of course, now that I've said that it'll probably become a favorite here at The Whinery.

The Naked, Ugly Truth . . . .
This entry authored by Tyran at 20:21

I just want to finish up tonight by saying that The NUT is very cathartic.  It's not a pretty thing to read and I actually wouldn't recommend it to anyone but that is a huge load off my mind.  Have a great evening, I'm heading into the family room to kiss the woman I love and head off to bed.  Good night all.

This entry authored by Tyran at 21:48

Tue, 27 Aug 2002

Yesterday I was reminded of yet another reason why I like Mozilla much more than IE:  Pop-up windows.  Mozilla is one of only two browsers that kill these nasty things as far as I know, the other being Fahim's Scope.  Select Edit|Preferences and open the Advanced group.  Find the Scripts & Windows settings and uncheck Open Unrequested Windows.  You're now surfing pop-up free!

This entry authored by Tyran at 06:45

As most of you frequent commentors know, I like to respond both by email and by posting the reply in the comments for that entry.  Unfortunately, the emails being generated by the comment script are now taking over 24 hours to be delivered.  In short, if I'm not responding to your comment it's most likely because I haven't seen it yet.

This entry authored by Tyran at 06:57

Everyone leads a bit of a dual life, the things we say and do versus the things we think and don't do.  I know that the hidden things we don't do or say sometimes cross over into the actions we do make.  Those nuances can be glaring if one knows the other person well enough and married couples sometimes know each other too well in this respect.

I have the feeling that there was some resentment nestled in the back of Shanna's mind last night that, although she knew what had happened, colored some of what was said and done last night.  The root of the problem is likely that I didn't come up for dinner.  I was in my office studying when McKenna came down and told me that dinner was ready.  Unfortunately she didn't actually come into my office and I just mumbled an I'll be right there, as usual.  The problem is that what McKenna had said didn't really register.  I know this because when I went upstairs about an hour or so later and saw my dinner on the table I confronted McKenna and she said in her most exasperated four year old voice, I told you dad, really.  A faint memory struggled to the surface and said, Yup, she told you, you twit.  To make this a short post, my unintentional snub likely left Shanna a bit upset and left me quite hungry for a bit.  Perhaps we need to be more tolerant of the nuances and actually just listen to the words that are actually spoken for as has been said, Being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.

UPDATE Any comments that were made in the last while (day or two) were never emailed to me and the emails have been lost as the server was on the fritz.  If I don't manage to respond to you, don't think it's because I'm now ignoring you.  It's because your socks smell funny! :o-)

This entry authored by Tyran at 07:07

More posts today than all of last week...sheesh!

I'm supposed to meet with the general manager today to discuss a change in the MIS department schedule to four ten hour shifts.  Unfortunately his son came down with a 103° fever Sunday night and they've had him up at University Hospital since then.  A small part of me wants to be upset that he's not here dealing with the situation at work but the concerned father in me just hopes that everything turns out well for the GM and his family.  Well, I just received an update that the GM won't be in at all today as he's taking his son home.  While the timing for my meeting with him would have been better today, I'm glad to learn that everything is going to be OK.

This entry authored by Tyran at 13:45

Wed, 28 Aug 2002

It's been a day of ups and downs.  Actually the downs came yesterday and the ups came today.

Last night I received a phone call from my loan officer telling me that there are still three unreleased liens against my home and that the bank can't even think of touching it until I get them cleared.  Oh, and by the way, have a nice evening!  AAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!! <-- Note multiple exclamation marks, sure sign of insanity.  That threw me right into the darkest corner of the Pit O' Despair.  Even without refinancing some of our debt, I plan to have us debt free (house included) in only twelve years.  The refinancing will move that up six months and free up about $200 a month.  Nothing to sneeze at sure, but not something to take a trip to Hell over and yet there I stood ringing the doorbell waiting for old hairy-legs himself to answer.  Sheesh.  Thankfully, Shanna came to the rescue and lifted my spirits.  <Insert shameless plug for marriage here.>  Seriously, I couldn't have made it through last night without her.

Today has been, thankfully, much better without doubt.  As I mentioned yesterday, I was supposed to meet with the GM yesterday to discuss moving MIS to four tens (you know, it doesn't matter how I write that – 4 10s or four tens or four 10s – it just looks awkward) but couldn't.  First thing this morning we met and the new scheduling starts on Monday.  Needless to say, I am thrilled.

I've updated the CSS file.  Mozilla 1.1 was released two days ago and while it improves a number of things, it has made the scroll jitters worse.  For those using Mozilla 1.0, you've probably seen the side bar area on the left of the screen jitter up and down as you've scrolled the main page.  This only happened once in a while but under Mozilla 1.1 the jitter is constant when scrolling the main page.  I changed the main content area to a fixed box with automatic overflows.  The result is that both the side bar and the main content area now have independent scroll bars and the jitters are gone.  For those using IE, the top bar is static and the two content areas scroll independently.

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:47

Thu, 29 Aug 2002

It turns out that the old liens against my home are actually required to be listed under federal regulations (we have a USDA-RHS loan) and so now all that's left is to convince the lender of this and we can continue on our road to financial sanity.  See, we're trying to consolidate some of our debt and restructure how we're paying it off so we can be debt free in twelve years.  I can make things fly without the refinance but it will make daily life a bit easier if I can do the consolidation.

Shanna has some great pictures of our trip into the Lower Falls at Calf Creek on her site.  I can't wait for the kids to grow up a bit more so we can make the hike into the Upper Falls.  I've only seen pictures of them and those are spectacular.  I can't wait to see them with my own eyes.

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:09

If you remember back on the 9th of August I took the final for my SFE 150 class and as I expressed then and on the 10th, there were blatant errors on the test.  I challenged six of the questions which I failed to answer correctly.  Well, I just received a response from the professor and he completely agrees with my challenge and I will receive an A- instead of a B.  Now if I could just figure out how to reclaim the answers that I missed because I was so darned worried about the poor quality of the test.  Then again, maybe I should just be content with having made the professor wake up a bit.

This entry authored by Tyran at 21:44

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