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Mon, 02 Sep 2002

It's been a busy couple of days.  If you remember from a couple of days ago, I cleared up my office at home.  The result was a great boost to my own personal morale and I threatened to make it an addiction of sorts.  I've never liked to do yard work because it was always used as a punishment at home.  The resultant combination of Shanna not feeling well (she has been the one to keep our yard in shape all these years), a fourth year of extreme drought in Utah and my aversion to yard work has basically killed off our lawn, flower beds and tree starts.  I've been mowing the lawns and started clearing out the flower beds.  The result is the same as with my office, a huge boost in my self-confidence and morale.  I just feel absolutely alive!  Don't get me wrong, I haven't worked any miracles in doing what I've done.  I have, however, now done more yard work since Friday than I have all year.  What's better is that I actually enjoyed it!

Of course, while I've been feeling absolutely marvelous everyone else has managed to come down with sore throats and fevers.  Well, we're off to a family bar-b-que.  Have a great holiday (Labor Day, US).

This entry authored by Tyran at 15:03

Tue, 03 Sep 2002

Happy Birthday McKenna!

As Fahim has already let the cat out of the bag, I've started to do some documentation work for Blog.  This program is so great that I just felt that I needed to contribute something tangible back to Fahim and the other Blog users.  One big bonus is working with Fahim, I've admired the work he's done with Blog from the outset so working more closely with him is a pleasure.  The current plan is to release help files for Blog 6.1 as a standalone download and then look at integrating the help system into Blog giving users full contextual help.  There are a number of hurdles for us to cross before now and then – the 12 hour time difference between Utah and Sri Lanka being the most pervasive – but I have little doubt that we'll be able to pull this off.

Well, today is the first day of four tens here at work.  I can tell that this is going to take a great deal of adjusting before I am actually comfortable with it.  I just hope that it works out well and that I don't go stir crazy the first couple of weeks!

It's McKenna's (my daughter) birthday today.  She's five years old and starts pre-school tomorrow.  Why preschool? you may ask.  She misses the deadline for Kindergarten by three days and so instead of having her be the youngest in her class, we opted to not fight the deadline and have her be the oldest in her class.  Well, happy birthday McKenna!

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:21

Wed, 04 Sep 2002

Fahim wrote the following in a comment to yesterday's post:

as I've told you, you are the last person who should feel that you need to give something back to Blog

He was referring to the fact that I feel like I need to contribute something to the Blog user community and so I am working on the documentation for Blog.  While I can see his point, I also know the truth behind the reason why I really feel like I have to do something to repay Fahim and contribute to the Blog user community.  The truth, the naked ugly truth, is that I am a bit selfish.  I hate bugs, software bugs, with a passion.  They are annoying, they cause me daily grief and they should not be tolerated.  When I find a product that I really like, any bugs that it might have quickly begin to frustrate me.  The result is that I report the bugs so they can be fixed.  If they get fixed, I stick with the product because the developers obviously care about the product.  If they don't fix the problem, then I start looking for another product to use.  It's basically meet my needs or I'll do what I can to replace you.

With that type of attitude, I don't really see my bug reports as being as altruistic as they appear.  I mean, it is a very arrogant and selfish attitude but I do try to make very good bug reports so that if they are ignored it's only because the developer doesn't care.  Of course, if you know Fahim at all then you already know that he cares very much about his products and his users.  As I was saying though, with that type of attitude I just felt that I should do something to show my appreciation for this great product and its developer.  Even that has it's selfish side as it were.  I love to program and I love to document well written programs.  It's been some time since I tried my hand at independent development and even longer since I did any independent documenting work.  The docs for Blog will help get me back into that groove, I hope, and may even help me develop a source of secondary income.  Who knows?

What do you think?  Am I just a greedy soul looking for ways to advance my own agenda by being nice or am I just being completely honest?

This entry authored by Tyran at 08:59

Fri, 06 Sep 2002

Have I mentioned lately that I absolutely love Mozilla?  Tabbed browsing is the greatest.  Instead of having six or seven browser windows open, I just have the one browser window with six or seven tabbed windows open inside of it.  Very, very handy!  Actually, if you want to enjoy the benefits of Mozilla and tabbed browsing and still have IE convenient for the broken sites across the Web, try Scope.  Consider it a browser shell that uses either the IE or the Mozilla engine.  It combines the idea of tabbed browsing with the ability to determine which engine is running which tabbed window.  In other words, you can have one tab showing The Whinery Behind the Beaded Curtain using the Mozilla engine and another tab show the same site using the IE engine!  Then you could easily see what standards IE follows and what standards it breaks in horrid fashion.  Personally, I don't use Scope.  Why? you ask.  Because I prefer to be reminded through annoyance that IE is indeed broken.  Sick and twisted, I know but it keeps my passion for standards alive and screaming.

Today is my first day off due to the four ten schedule and no one here is really sure what to make of it.  Instead of the day starting off with cartoons, it was Yoga.  Speaking of Yoga, it's time to do some major overhauling of Every Day Yoga but I'll cover that on that site.  George just came running in and yelled, Papa!  I found you!  I mean, I'm not sure what to make of it!  I am very excited about the possibilities though.  Last night was Back to School Night and I signed up to read to Jonathan's class during their Friday reading time.  I can spend time actually writing a Blog instead of just dashing one off when I can find ten minutes at lunch – that deserves a complete explanation.  Admittedly the hours are long each day but the return is absolutely marvelous!

Work is fairly hectic right now and as such I have a hard time even finding time to take lunch.  Argus and I are scrambling to finish repairs to all of our control systems.  The original project was started nearly two years ago or possibly even longer, I forget when the thing started for sure.  Anyway, Argus and I were saddle with all the repair work on this new system.  Yes, you read that correctly.  We have a custom designed, new system that is basically held together with spaghetti code; dry spaghetti, no sauce, no meatballs, no Parmesan, just dry nasty noodles.  Why that is is a very long story that even I don't want to tell.  Anyway, to make a hideously long story shorter (not short, just shorter), Operations isn't happy with the speed of the repair work.  I can't blame them as it has been terribly slow but for a very good reason, if a somewhat sneaky one.

Argus has always expressed to me that he really didn't want to be the one responsible for programming the control systems.  I can understand that for even though I have the programming expertise the task is daunting to me because I don't know anything about the control aspect of the project.  Argus, on the other hand, knows quite a bit about the control aspect but had no experience with the programming side of things.  Everyone, except the GM and the MIS department, kept expecting me to take over the new projects but I've made sure that they landed squarely in front of Argus and he's done exceptionally well.  The problem has been that he hasn't received a lot of praise from outside the department for that work.  Here's the sneaky part:  I intentionally shelved the repair project during this time.  I originally gave a completion date of 4 Jan 2003 but that included allowances for huge delays, so I knew that shelving the project would not push us beyond the completion target.  Why would I intentionally sabotage my own department by shelving something so critical?  I would do such a thing because of the fruits that action bore this week — I didn't plan the timing but having four tens start this week only made things that much better and is nothing less than heavenly intervention.

During Tuesday's plant staff meeting, Operations expressed their dismay at the pace, not the quality, of the repair project.  They admitted that MIS has been busy, of course that was because I shifted focus to a different arena, but that they still needed the repair work done and my supervisor and myself were charged with finding a way to make it happen with the GM leaning heavily toward hiring in a consultant.  Wednesday I drew up a rigid schedule that limited technical support for anything but emergencies to a two hours per day maximum (lead balloon there) and requiring that all tech support requests be sent via email or voice mail.  The schedule went over well but the tech support proposal died and I ended up with my supervisor and the GM in the comptroller's office.  The result of that meeting was tentative approval to hire a support technician by the end of the month – SCORE!  I spent the rest of the day working on revised repair schedules and interview exams.  By the end of the day I had a new schedule with some padding and reported a new target completion of mid-December.  It's not often that I get to post-pone a project more than a month and then report that I've moved the target completion forward nearly three weeks.  The real break through came yesterday:  I assigned Argus the gas management work.  The plant produces about 60% of it's own power by running engine generators off of natural gas combined with the methane gas produced by the digestion process (we're a sewer treatment plant if you weren't aware).  Gas management is a critical support function and the controls were not responding or reading properly.  Argus had until the 12th to complete the task to keep us on schedule but he completed it in one day, effectively moving us ahead five work days.  Even better, when he called the Control Room to have the repairs verified the Control Room Operator was absolutely ecstatic about it.  Seeing the thrill on Argus' face after he got off the phone was worth the risk involved in delaying the project.  Now instead of seemingly dreading his lot in our department, Argus is anxious to do more because of the thrill it is to fix something.

That's something that has always amazed me.  In general, if a project is done perfectly, early and under budget it rarely receives much attention.  If, however, a minor problem is discovered in that same project six months down the road and the problem takes only five minutes to resolve, it's a miracle and I'm a hero.  Is it any wonder that I prefer fixing a herd of easy problems over tackling a major project?  People get bored by progress reports no matter how stunning but they will do almost anything for a quick fix.

Two quick closing notes:  I have proof positive that it will take a while to adjust to being home on Fridays for, as I showered, Shanna turned on the washer downstairs.  Everyone spell SCALDING HOT WATER with me.  Secondly, I am thoroughly confused due to the comments on yesterday's post.  After I figure out what to think about myself I'll post a bit more on being selfish.

This entry authored by Tyran at 09:12

Sun, 08 Sep 2002

It's been a slow couple of days.  We've had rain since Friday and I just love it.  There is one problem with rain, it really slows me down.  I love to just listen to it, I love to feel rain drops hitting my face and making runnels down my cheeks and chin.  Unfortunately, Utah rain is always very cold rain so I prefer to remember back to my summer in Florida where the rain was warm.  Either way, I love to hear the steady drip, the loud silence that a steady down pour makes as it drums in the leaves and on the ground.  Living in a desert, rain is a rarity but during this drought it's been even rarer than usual.  The result, other than throwing some band aids on the bathroom faucet leaks (they need to be completely replaced which means I have something else to add to the saving list) and run interference for McKenna's part, I have done nothing since Friday afternoon but enjoy the rain.  I thank God for the rain!

I guess that's not entirely true, about doing nothing else, as I've done a lot of thinking.

The Naked, Ugly Truth . . . .
This entry authored by Tyran at 21:13

Tue, 10 Sep 2002

The stress is killing me.  I couldn't bring up my ideas to Shanna last night because she was in the throes of pregnant hormones and I'm not foolish enough to think I would have come out alive had I even tried.  I've also started to put on weight.  It's that blasted family curse:  The closer one is to middle age, the more there is around the middle and the less there is on the top.  For nearly 27 years weight management for me always meant managing to keep my weight up to 145 lbs.  Now it would appear that that tide has turned.

Argh, this whole day has me twitching so badly and so distracted that I just can't accomplish anything.  On a closing note, this site will go black tomorrow at 06:46 UTC-6:00 for 24 hours in memory of those who lost their lives in New York City, at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.

This entry authored by Tyran at 16:35

Wed, 18 Sep 2002

It's been an eventfully week or so.  September 11th really took a toll on me, much more so than I had expected.  I couldn't sleep at all the night of the 10th, every flag I saw at half-staff tore at my soul, I flinched every time I checked my email for fear that I would read of another tragedy.  I am so thankful that nothing happened and a sense of peace is again returning to my life.

On another note, Shanna and I discussed the money situation and she was quite happy to have a plan to deal with it.  If we are disciplined enough to stick to our budget, we should see great benefits almost immediately.

On a closing note of this extremely short entry, I've found another amazing reason to love Mozilla.  As I've mentioned before, Mozilla can open multiple tabbed windows within the main window.  It can also bookmark all of the opened tabs as a group.  Almost every morning I take a trip to my favorite watering holes and now instead of having to open each link individually, I can just hit my morning bookmark and all my favorite sites pop open each in its own tabbed window.  Absolutely marvelous, absolutely marvelous.

This entry authored by Tyran at 20:45

Fri, 20 Sep 2002

There's a lot to do today so this will be a bit terse but first a bit of entertainment — sort of.  On the 18th, Greg wrote about BlackMask where he found a number of free e-books – thanks for the link Greg.  I grabbed a handful (124 or so I think) and continued through my day.  I've been using Microsoft's Reader to reread George Orwell's 1984.  If you haven't read it, you should.  If you think that 1984 is all about Big Brother spying on people every minute of their lives, you're sadly mistaken and need to read the book.  My guess is that most people who make mention of 1984 have not read it.  Be forewarned that it describes a future that is not merely bleak but full of an overpowering and hideous despair.  A place and time where


would be considered truthful statements (those were the Party slogans).  A time when the destruction of words would be considered a glorious thing.  A time that has no past that is not a work of fiction and yet amid this oppressive and dismall pall one man finds an acute desire to live in the simple phrase, I love you.  One final word of caution, this is no happy tale but one to fill you with dread and with great relief to walk freely in the sunshine.

Well, it's taken me longer to write this than I anticipated so I'll have to hold off on the terse bit until this evening.  Besides, after taking myself down the road that Winston walked in 1984.

This entry authored by Tyran at 10:49

Sat, 21 Sep 2002

Well, while I'm here working on a neighbor's computer and waiting for a file to download (looks like a corrupted video driver), I figure that I might as well take advantage of the time and write up that entry I meant to write last night.  My sister-in-law has just finished up a cheerleading camp (she's a biology teacher and the cheerleading coach at a local high school).  The significance of this is that Shanna enrolled McKenna in the camp and they performed at the football game last night at half-time.  McKenna really enjoyed herself and really enjoys her dance classes each Saturday.  Both things concern me, much more than I like to admit.  Why should I be concerned you might ask yourself.  McKenna is gaining self-confidence through these experiences and she's really having fun.  That's sounds like a winning combination; so, where is the problem?

Have you ever seen the outfits that cheerleaders where?  For the guys out there, do you really have any question as to whom those outfits are designed to . . . erm . . . attract?  I mean, I don't think those short skirts and barely there tops were designed to rouse the spirits of any women fans.  In a follow up entry I'll cover this more, but men and women both have five essential needs which are all quite similar.  The most important difference is in the priority of those needs for each gender.  Sex figures fourth or fifth for women and first or second for men (usually first).  For the typical all-American (and likely other nationalities as well) male, cheerleaders rank right up with French maids and nurses (Hello Nurse!) as first rate sexual fantasies.  Is it any wonder that cheerleaders tend to be the object of most teenage boys' desire?  Think about it, at what other time is he allowed to publicly look up a girl's skirt?  It doesn't matter to him that she's wearing a body suit or whatever, to him it's a skirt and she keeps flipping it up for him.  Whether it's socially acceptable or not, the kid's hormones are telling his body one thing:  She's hot and we want her.

I'm sure that some of this information comes as quite a shock to a number of people, I know that Shanna was floored the first time that I explained this to her.  Now, just because sex is a predominant thing in the mind of most males who have reached or passed puberty does not make us animals.  While it is true that there are plenty of dumb animals among us, the majority maintain higher levels of control over the hormones that rage within us every day.  As the saying goes, If you don't look once, you are not a man.  If you look twice, then you are much less than a man.

Turning back to the real subject here:  Women, mothers, daughters, sisters, please realize that though you think that your new string bikini is the cutest thing in the world that the last thing the men and boys around you are noticing is the fabric on your bodies.  Oh, and they don't have a clue what color your eyes are either.  That's not a situation that I want McKenna to face unprepared.  I could go on and on about this but just keep this rule of thumb in mind:  Men are fish and your appearance is the lure.  The more skin you flash (bikinis, high slit skirts, bare shoulders, whatever) the more bites you'll get but you'll also drag in everything from the dregs on up.  I think the alternative is clear.

This entry authored by Tyran at 11:46

Mon, 23 Sep 2002

Just a quick entry tonight as I'm bleary eyed already and 5:00 AM comes early.  I wish I had another two hours in the day (basically my commute time) that I could really spend the time I would like with the Whinery and Every Day Yoga.  I often come across things I would love to blog about and through them into my Blog Meat folder but there they languish while the rest of life rolls relentlessly along.  I guess I could reclaim more time for my blogging if I were to refrain from reading as much as I am.  I've finished 1984 and am now reading The Arabian Nights Entertainments also known as 1001 Arabian Nights.  There are a huge number of archaic words hight and dight being the most common (named and adorned).  Quite a fun read really.  Look for a review of 1984 later this week and a review of The Arabian Nights Entertainments shortly after I finish it.

This entry authored by Tyran at 21:41

Wed, 25 Sep 2002

Do you remember this commercial?  Who wears shorts shorts?  If you dare wear short shorts, Nair for short shorts. . .  I sure do!  After all, who can forget those long sumptuous le . . . I mean, those beautifully designed pink and green bottles?  Hold that thought for a minute, we'll come back to it.

A number of years ago (ten or eleven) one of my younger brothers decided that he needed to make a statement.  He wanted it to be obvious that he was not cast from the same mold as his two older brothers.  He wanted it clear that he was not just another Ormond boy.  The result was long hair and clothes similar to what the local druggies were sporting at the time.  My mother asked me to find out exactly what was going on with Mike, the hair and the clothes.  She was sure that he wasn't doing drugs but she was worried.  Long story short, I cornered him on the issues and he told me that he wanted to be known as Mike Ormond and not Tyran or Wayne's younger brother or as Scott's boy.  I told him that was great and that doing it by looking like an addict was simply stupid because people's first impressions will be tainted by the addict look.  I knew he wasn't an addict and so did the rest of the family but what about someone he has just met for the first time?  Sure it's unfair to judge by a person's looks but that is simply a fact of life.  The best way to ensure an accurate impression is to make sure that your look portrays your personality and if you want to make a name for yourself, don't do it by looks but do it by excelling at something.  Shortly after that, the hair was trimmed, the clothes changed and Mike seemed to focus more on who he was rather than looking different from the rest of the family.

An adult male's primary emotional need tends to be sexual fulfillment and as a teenage boy is just a younger version of an adult his needs are also shifting in that direction.  The result is that we tend to think a lot about sex every single day.  Men also tend to be more easily stimulated by visual cues.  I'm sure you've heard the phrase, Sex sells, just pick up any car magazine at your local grocery store.  What does a bikini clad beauty have to do with cars?

Now, what does all that have to do with Nair?  It's the short shorts.  It's the mini-skirts and the micro-mini skirts, the halter tops and the stretch pants.  It's almost any clothing that does more to reveal a body than to cover it.  I say almost because there are some caveats but that in a minute.  The more revealing a woman's clothing is the more is screams SEX to the men around her.  Women who go around publicly advertising their sexuality are almost immediately categorized as easy or working girls.  It doesn't matter that the mini-skirt you're wearing is a one of a kind Giodensi (imaginary designer), the guys in the office are wondering how much it covers when you sit down and can you safely cross and uncross your legs while sitting.  Therein lies the problem.  If I asked you either question there is no question but that it would constitute harassment.  Shouldn't harassment have crossed your mind before  you pulled that mini from the closet?

Review with me what I think when I first see that mini Giodensi:  Nice legs, I wonder what else that's hiding?  She must be the kind that just throws herself at a guy, wonder if she'd throw herself at me?  (Then all the social mores kick into high gear.)  Focus on her face and eyes you idiot, that's the last thing you need:  A fling with some floozy.  Get a grip!  That takes all of about one second but from that point forward, I have to consciously think about not thinking about that skirt or what it is and is not covering.  It may even be so distracting that I'll simply avoid contact with that person.  Taken altogether, that sounds like a hostile environment and a case for harassment.  Most men would be too embarrassed to admit that such a thing bothers them because men are supposed to want to ogle women.  Never mind that most guys are actually quite decent and would rather not have to fight within themselves to remain decent.

On Saturday I wrote this about women's appearances:

Men are fish and your appearance is the lure.  The more skin you flash (bikinis, high slit skirts, bare shoulders, whatever) the more bites you'll get but you'll also drag in everything from the dregs on up.

For men, the clothing a woman wears is a first indicator of how available she is on the scale of free and easy to nun.  What do I prefer personally?  Women dressed in the You guess category, the kind that leaves everything to the imagination.  She's dresses so that it's obvious she's a woman but leaves it at that.  Why?  Because like Mike, I can start worrying about who she is rather than what she looks like.

As I mentioned, there are some caveats.  Swimsuits pose an interesting situation, there's no question they reveal a whole lot but it's also very obvious that a woman wearing a conservative one piece is at the pool for a swim while a woman wearing a string bikini appears (whether actually is or not) to be on a fishing expedition as it were.  The same thing goes for just about any outfit required for a specific activity, cheerleaders, dancers, whatever.

On a final note, if my daughter should decide to be a cheerleader, gymnast, dancer, whatever, I'll make sure that she knows exactly what I've expressed here and if she still wants to do it, I'll support her all the way...of course, I'll also be sitting nearby truncheon in hand.

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:38

Fri, 27 Sep 2002

Today is the day!  In about an hour we'll head over to the doc's and take a peek at what Shanna's cookin' up for us.

This entry authored by Tyran at 08:03

Let me start out the way the doctor did.  He started out by moving the ultra-sound to the right side, showing us the top of a skull and saying, Here's one and, as he moved to the left to reveal another skull, here's one.  Neither of us reacted so he repeated the process.  Shanna and I looked at each other and I slowly turned to Dr. Nelson and said, Are you saying twins?  He laughed and said that he was just kidding, that if it were twins he would should us both skulls at the same time.  We all had a good laugh but he had us going for a minute as I'm sure some of you were.  :o-)

Well, it's official:  In about 19 weeks (first week in February) we'll be welcoming Jillian Fae into the Ormond family.  According to current measurements, she's a big baby.  We're looking at another big baby here folks.  Jonathan was nine pounds eight ounces, McKenna was seven pounds eight ounces, George was seven pounds six ounces (it's possible that I have McKenna and George mixed up) and Jillian looks to be up there with Jonathan.  Well, more on more things later.

This entry authored by Tyran at 13:04

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