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Tue, 07 Mar 2006

A Gripe or Three

OM The OM links to the entry where I pondered whether I should write this entry or no.

The first gripe:  Gossip.  There is nothing other than lying that I hate more than gossip.  Now, I'm not talking about nattering nor chatting.  No, I'm talking about the gossip that almost invariably begins, Did you hear?  No, I likely didn't and I really don't care nor do I really want to know.  If it's juicy news and doesn't involve me directly, then please do me the kindness of keeping it to yourself.  To be succinct, unless the subject of the gossip is myself or my family then I don't care.

The second gripe:  Being constantly asked if I'm enjoying having a 4/10 schedule and then not being believed when I give my opinion.  If you aren't going to believe me, then why are you asking in the first place?  My children go to bed at 20:00, I arrive home right around 18:00 Monday through Thursday.  As I leave the house at 04:30 on those days I see my children for eight hours on those four days.  On Fridays I see my oldest children at 15:30 and they go to bed between 20:30 and 21:00 —the youngest I see all day Friday; so, on Fridays I see the oldest children for at most five and a half hours.  That makes a total of thirteen and a half hours each week Monday through Friday.  When I was on a 5/8 schedule, I was home by 16:00 and the kids' schedule was the same as it is now.  That means that by moving to a 4/10 schedule I lost two hours Monday through Thursday and gained a half hour on Friday for a net loss of seven and a half hours each week.

I had time each evening to practice Yoga, to help with homework, to sit and do nothing with my children.  Now, I barely have time for three sun salutations at lunch, I have time to eat dinner with my family, make sure the kids' rooms are clean, listen to them play on the computer because they worked hard to finish their homework and now want time to do what they want to do and finally put them to bed.

You have an extra day off though, is always the response.  Let's see, before I was gone for ten hours on Fridays—commute time and work—meaning that I gained ten hours away from work on Friday. Now, considering that I lost eight hours on the previous four days, that means I have a net total of two more hours a week off work on a 4/10 schedule.  So what does all this mean?  It means that forty hour work weeks are horrid, awful, terrible, miserable things no matter how you slice them.

The third gripe:  Work place politics and the assumption by so many that I am steeped in them.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I was burned—metaphorically speaking—badly by a cooking incident at work a few years ago and since then I do my best to have absolutely nothing to do with social life at work.  My goal, my agenda as it were, is to come to work each day, speak to no one and go home.  Actually, for an IT department this is a very good goal to have as it means no one had an IT related problem that they couldn't fix themselves.  Like dentists, we try to work ourselves out of a job and like dentists, we'll never succeed.  I had written much more about this but have since decided that there are some glimpses into my soul that are best kept blank.

Boy that felt good!

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:45

Wed, 08 Mar 2006

Gripes Make Great Whine

The fourth gripe:  Arrogant people.  These are the folks who think that everything is always about them or who feel that they are above common courtesy or that they are too good to rub shoulders with lesser folks.  We all know the first type and are they're common enough that just about everyone is related to one.  Here's an easy litmus test to see if you are this first type:  Do you think I am writing, right now, about you?  If so, then you fit into the first category, guaranteed.  Get help now!  How can I write that with such confidence?  Because this post is actually about a few specific individuals who fit the second category and a city that fits the third.  I had absolutely no specific person in mind while writing that last bit.

On to the second group and the original impetus for this entry.  I've been going to a local swimming pool each morning and swimming laps for a half hour since some time in February.  Because I get there at 05:00 I can usually find one of the limited full sized lockers empty in the locker room.  Two days ago, I found that the locker I usually use had a lock on it, no problem as I just used the other empty one in that group.  As I walked passed my usual locker, however, I noticed that it was completely empty.  It then dawned on me that it was Monday, I was the first patron through the doors that morning and the place is closed Sundays.  That meant that that locker had been locked empty since sometime Friday afternoon—I used the locker in question Friday morning—or Saturday.  I made sure I was the first through the door again this morning.  I counted four, empty, full sized lockers of the eighteen in the room.  Of the fourteen that had been locked over-night, only four actually had anything in them!  What makes these fourteen men so much more important than any of the other members that they have the right to keep these lockers secured for their own use 24 hours a day?

The final group is best highlighted by Draper, Utah.  This is the center of holier-than-thou on earth.  I won't go into all the chest beating that this little city does as it all boils down to, We're really good people in Draper!  Yet this city full of amazingly good people doesn't want a DI—Deseret Industries—to be located on prime real estate as one city council member put it.

In initial public hearings, a City Council member said Draper residents don't need a DI.

Apparently the people who shop at thrift stores and the good work that such stores do for the community are, none of them, good enough to even be in Draper according to the comment quoted above let alone be in the main commercial zone.  Oh, how many of you have shopped at thrift stores in the past?  How many of you shop at thrift stores currently?  If you're like me and my family, you raised your hands both times.

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:05

What's New?

That's a very good question!  I've lost around ten pounds and am working, one pound at a time, to lose another ten.  That would put me right around 165 pounds—74.84 kg—and that would put me smack dab in the middle of normal weight for my height.  I've never worried about weight before, at least not weighing too much, and this has been a bit of a struggle as I've always had to work hard to maintain weight.  As I mentioned yesterday, I've been swimming every morning and I've also been walking during my breaks at work.  Finally, I've been working on taming my appetite, that's definitely been the hardest part but even that hasn't been too awfully terrible.

I've been running the Darkwood Inn for six or seven months now.  The Darkwood Inn is a server running OpenRPG and I've been playing in a campaign called Westaven since late September of last year.  I played a character named Davlin who died a rather tragic death and I am currently playing his long, lost older brother, Gereth.  Gereth and Davlin are both wizards of sorts.  Where Davlin was a kind and caring healer, Gereth is a cold hearted and rather sinister fellow.  He only recently discovered his relationship to Davlin but, unfortunately, they never met.  All that Gereth has of his younger brother is a journal that Davlin kept.  If you're feeling lost, Westaven is an RPG—Role Playing Game—that I play online with four or five other fellows scattered across the US.  Basically, it's make-believe or storytelling for the older crowd—older being anyone over seven or so.  To get a really good idea of what role playing is, you might want to read Uncle Figgy's guide on the subject.  Ah yes, before I forget, we use the GURPS rules system.  You can download GURPS Lite v4 and take a look.  If you don't have a program to unpack RAR files, take a look at 7-Zip.

I've also been working hard to keep Harold, Darth Bloop, Smokey and Snoopy happy.  Harold and Darth Bloop are both blackmoors, a type of deep bodied goldfish.  Smokey and Snoopy are both apple snails.  One has a dark shell and one has a golden shell, I'll let you guess who is who.  Bloop started to get cloudy eye last week and so I've been dosing the tank with medication for Ick (Ich) and he's been responding well to it.  Neither fish likes the medicine though, can't say I blame them.  Much as they'll hate it, I'll be dosing the tank for a full two weeks.  As we lost five fish to new tank syndrome last year, I'm still on pin and needles when it comes to these two.  If I can get some good pictures of them, I'll post them later.

Finally, I've been learning Esperanto using an online course.  My tutor is Ken Price, currently of Toronto.  It's been a long time since I had to wrap my head around a new language but I've really been enjoying it!  I've also been running through the course work at Lernu!, personally I find the interaction with a real person much more statisfying than the courses at Lernu.  Ĝis revido, bondeziroj!

This entry authored by Tyran at 19:00

Thu, 09 Mar 2006

Are They Serious?

We all know that inventions, whether it be Thomas Edison's light bulb or Dean Kamen's Segway, are patentable.  The world of patents entered a slippery slope when technological concepts—software—started being patented.  We started picking up speed in our slide into ludicrousness when mouse clicks—thank you Amazon for patenting one click shopping—were granted patents.  We have now reached full speed and it's likely there's no turning back now.  Allstate has decided to patent their programs.  Wait, that's nothing new!  Sorry, not those kind of programs.  Allstate is seeking patents for their discount programs, their car replacement programs and so forth.  These aren't inventions!  These are ideas, concepts and have no physical form and so are not eligible for patents

The protection traditionally afforded by acts of Congress under this clause has been limited to new and useful inventions, and while a patentable invention is a mental achievement, for an idea to be patentable it must have first taken physical form.

Case law clearly states that for an idea, a discovery, to be patentable it must first have taken physical form!  Ignoring prior art for now—how, exactly, does giving someone a discount take a physical form?  You can see the insanity for youself at the Allstate website by reviewing their programs for any state, just look at the fine print.  You can also hear it at the end of Allstate's new radio commercials.  You can likely read it during their new television commercials as well, if you can read the fine white on light text that's flashed for a few seconds on your screen.

For the final piece of insanity, I have the network security director of a local university to thank.  As long as they don't do anything illegal like file sharing, he said.  Since when is file sharing illegal?  Did you realize that just by reading this page you are participating in—gasp—file sharing?  I am sharing out 16 files just to make up this one page.  Good heavens, with all the files I'm sharing on this site alone I've probably wracked up years worth of prison time and so have you because file sharing is illegal!  Just shoot me now.

Yesterday I read a post about a tool I use to create dead simple VPNs that asked if doing so was even legal, it's file sharing after all.  That's about as intelligent as asking if LANs, WANs or even the Internet is legal because they can all be used for file sharing!  Exactly what do these nimrods think networks are designed to do?  But people share pirated files on them, that's just wrong and so we shouldn't have these things to prevent such evil things from happening.  Public roads are used by drug trafficers, kidnappers, people trafficing in sex slaves and worse.  Obviously, we need to do away with roads and transportation of any kind because they can be used for such evil things.

This entry authored by Tyran at 06:25

Sun, 12 Mar 2006

Tales of Pleasure and Pain

I've three tales to tell you tonight.  Tales of pleasure and pain, sounds sordid doesn't it?  It's not.  Thankfully, all three are short and even my propensity for being longwinded shouldn't make them too long to read.  The first tale is that of an ongoing headache.  The blasted thing is bordering on a migraine but it just hasn't gained quite enough strength to actually explode into a full blown brain buster.  None of that is really worthy of any special notice.  There are two rather unfortunate aspects of this headache that make it noteworthy.  Firstly, I know the precise moment that it started.  I was swimming laps Wednesday morning and stopped to check my heart rate at 05:15.  My heart rate was 228 per minute.  That is supposedly impossible but according to my figures, 57 beats in 15 seconds is 228 per minute.  Anyway, at that precise moment, I felt as if the right side of my head was going to burst.  Since then, I have been dealing with this dull headache that is extremely mild in the morning but gets progressively through the day.  This has been going on for five days now . . . enough already!

Every time I drive down Main Street, I notice the one shop that seems out of place.  Everything else on Main Street is light blug, gray or brick but this shop is a very dark lavender—I would call it a mix of pink and purple but Shanna tells me it's a dark lavender.  This is Melanies International Gourmet.  In all the time that I've look at the place, I've never stopped in to see what they offer.  I thought it was a soup shop or something like that, how wrong I was!  Shanna and I, along with Jillian, stopped in there on Friday to pickup some gift baskets for Shanna's sister-in-law.  I felt as if stepping through the door had transported me to Europe.  The place would be right at home on any street in England or Germany.  Well, with the variety of offerings it would be more likely in England but still with a slightly different set of goods it would be as at home in Germany as any corner Bäkerei.  We were too early for the baskets and when we returned, we saw a father and son leaving the store with ice creams.  I watched them walk up the alley to the library and thought to myself that one day the boy would remember that walk fondly.  Shanna and I are now plotting summer walks to the library with a extra little jaunt to Melanies.

The last tale, another of pain, is long and drawn out in its history.  Years ago, almost 35 if I'm correct, Shanna's father was in a terrible accident and was burned over a large portion of his body.  The man has had more surgeries in the thirteen years I've been in the family than I can rightly remember—I know that it's at least five major surgeries in that time—and he'd already had a number of surgeries on his back and abdomen before I married Shanna.  The man is now in constant pain and that's with the cocktail of pain medication that he takes each day.  My heart breaks every time that I'm called to his bedside to help administer some comfort.  Today it was constipation—part of his stomach was removed during one of the surgeries and a new connection between his stomach and large instestine was created, digestion isn't ease even when everything works perfectly—by the time my brother-in-law and I left the room, he reported that he could feel the lump in his side soften and the pain lessen.  My heart just aches for him.  Seeing his pain makes my headache seem a light and trivial thing.

This entry authored by Tyran at 20:13

Tue, 14 Mar 2006

So Say Something!

As I wrote last week, I don't like arrogant people.  I wrote about a group of men who feel that they are more important than any of the other patrons at a local swimming pool.  Well, that same day I wrote to the director of the center and asked if there were a locker policy and whether it covered this situation.  I explained that the problem hasn't caused me a problem personally but that I've seen a good number of men hunt for empty lockers only to realize that all the good ones were taken.  What they didn't realize is that those lockers have been locked for at least a month—I actually suspect that two lockers haven't actually been opened in that time, either that or the guys that use them don't ever disturb the items left in them.  I also suggested that an ease way to remedy the problem was to post a sign saying that lockers must be cleaned out each night and that locks left on lockers after closing will be cut and the items in the lockers will be removed.  I recieved a response later that day saying that there was indeed a locker policy and that he had not been aware that there was a problem.  He then thanked me for bringing the problem to his attention and he also thanked me for the sign idea.  I figured I'd give it a month before I made mention of it again.

Sometime yesterday through the day or just before opening today two yellow signs appeared next to the locker doors.  It appears that lockers can be rented but not the full sized ones.  It also seems that starting next week, those fellows who hunt for a free locker in vain each morning may finally be able to find one as unrented lockers left locked over night will have their locks removed.

It's amazing the impact that a gentle question, Is there a policy? along with a simple explanation of a problem and a proposed solution can have.

This entry authored by Tyran at 06:30

Thu, 16 Mar 2006


Appearently we have a new custodial crew at CSI.  My reasoning for this is that when I came in yesterday I noticed that some of the personal items on my shelf had been moved and not put back where they were.  I wrote this off, at first, believing that they must have dusted . . . not so, the shelf was still dusty.  When I came in this morning, the same items had been moved again—I replaced them yesterday.  This time, however, they weren't even on the shelves, they were on my counter and they had been disassembled!  Further, the pictures of my children on my desk and my deskclock have all been moved around.  I am very curious to find out what my office looks like on Monday.

This entry authored by Tyran at 08:04

Wed, 22 Mar 2006


As the title indicates, this is more a whimper than a whine.  I have been bursting with things to write but, obviously, I haven't been writing.  The main reason for this is that the software I use is currently in beta status again and I'm running the latest public build.  Running beta software always means problems and the latest problem is that to switch between publishing archives and publishing main entries currently requires me to restart the software because I change the date order between the two.  I have, however, come up with a solution to the problem:  I won't archive every time I publish, I'll only archive on Fridays.  That means that the perma-links on the main page will not function reliably until the Friday after the post was first published.  As soon as Fahim issues another update, I expect that these issues will be resolved and I'll be able to publish normally again.

One quick side note, it looks like the cleaning crew got the message.

This entry authored by Tyran at 21:10

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