Saturday, December 15, 2007

Silly games

I guess it's just a habit from being a kid. I love silly games.
Cheap-ass games (tm) like "Give me the brain" are fun to just sit with friends and play.
So when something like comes across my friends list, I usually have to give it a look.
In this case, I think this could be fun. Get all your friends to click on the link to your town, and build it up to world domination.

These sorts of games unfortunately tend to go the way of fashion, and not last long enough to really get serious play and game strategy, but we will see.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Book review - The Atrocity Archives

I have to say I really enjoyed the read. The book is easy to get into and the lead character fun to follow. That being said, I must warn you that if you are not fluent in English (British English) the writing will likely go right past you. Mr. Stross writes strongly but in very colloquial English.

As we follow our hero Bob through his dreary and drab existence as a civil servant in the great British hierarchy of civil services things are not always quite as they appear. Bob works for a branch of the government so secret that it is a crime to know they exist. What do these secret civil servants do? They guard the rest of the world from the other worlds out there.

Citing as inspiration H.P. Lovecraft and Len Deighton, the book is a delightful trip through the mazes of politics and intrigue in the civil services of England with side trips into higher mathematics, physics and the occult thrown in.

I can't really review some of the best parts of the book with 0ut providing serious spoilers to the plot, but leave it to say that the great evils are not always the ones that are currently out to get you.

I give this one a "Must Read" rating.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Blessed Silence

Ah, blessed silence, what a joy.
With the move to the new building here at work, we had all of our test gear moved into the lab. This means that cube land no longer has the roar of fans and hum of electronics. The down side of that is being able to hear your coworkers conversations two rows away.

Over the weekend I found a very inexpensive set of over-the-ear headphones. You know, the ones that look retro because smalled is better. These are not noise canceling or anything expensive but that do work just like a set of safety headsets in reducing the background noise to a tolerable level.

The noises that I am trying to reduce are:
the clatter of keyboards
people talking on the phone to customers
people having hallway conversations right at the end of the row
street noise from the traffic outside

I will give the cheap Koss headphones a double plus good rating for making the day much more pleasant.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Change for the sake of change

Or really just dealing with boredom.

It looks like I might be making a job change this winter. Having been here for 8 years makes me kind an anomaly in the high-tech community of Seattle. I don't like to change jobs. I don't like the culture of high-tech companies that mandates a job change to get a reasonable raise. I would like to think that we are all rational human beings and can be reasoned with about things like cost of living increases and raises commensurate with promotion and title. Experience, however, has shown that this is not the case.

The genesis of my last job change was New Years Eve 1999. Any one in the IT fields knows that this was the most boring non-event in history. For those that missed the hype, or have conveniently forgotten, this was the Y2K disaster evening. Absolutely nothing happened, and I chatted with friends on LambdaMoo for the evening and watched as folks to the east signed off one at a time. With this considerable time to think, I considered what I was doing in my current position and what I wanted out of it. My conclusion was that I had effectively worked myself out of a job and should plan to move on to something else. My director was rather surprised at my letter of resignation, but handled it well. From that point I gave myself six weeks to find something else.

Using my theory that it is almost always who you know, I tracked down a recruiter from a previous job and found that he worked at a fairly new company here in Seattle and was having fun. That sounded interesting enough to get my resume, and two interviews later I was here at my current position. That was April 1st, 2000.

This time, there has not been a night of introspection followed by a leap of faith. In this case there is a company that wants some one with my talents and they have tracked me down and asked for an interview. And so after weighing the costs of leaving the current comfy haven, I have said yes and will interview in Bellevue next week.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Happy Guy Fawkes Day!

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up King and Parliament.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Daywatch available in stores

Having really enjoyed Nightwatch, and unfortunately missing Daywatch at SIFF I am quite happy to note that Daywatch is now available at Best Buy for $18.
I like their new release discount policy.

If you have not seen either, I must recommend starting with Nightwatch. These movies are probably some of the best out there for action and story.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Between work and home the time to write has been a little limited so I have been a slacker. No serious writing for me this week I am afraid.

Working on a couple of actual articles, so hopefully next week there will be some content worth tuning in for.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Saturday, what a day

Lovely weather out there, if a bit too cold. Any time it is this close to freezing I think fond thoughts of warmer climes.

Breakfasted at O/8 in Bellevue. They have a highly recommended breakfast buffet, but I must admit some disappointment. Slim selection and a fairly run-of-the-mill menu for such a location. The price was not bad for being Bellevue, but aside from that the only real benefit was it was some place different.

Shopped a bit at The Container Store. Think Storables on steroids. Actually found a few things that have been on the list.

Finished up errands and ended up at the Bellevue Trader Joe's. They had the Pork Chili Verde that was advertised in this months rag. The University District one did not. Have to cook up the pork this week and see what I think.

Must also track down more of their marinaded lemon pepper chicken. That was fantastic, and serves three.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Innovation, really, it's the future

From a recent interview in US News:
"Long-term growth depends on a country's ability to invest in the future -- and in a way that shows little signs of near-term payback."
No, really, the every week report of earnings and how the company is doing does nothing to foster long-term growth. All you are doing is micromanaging the current earnings to death while sacrificing the future of the company to whom ever comes up with a better way of doing it next year.

Five year plans are a great thing, but no publicly traded company in the US can have one. The share holders don't want a stable investment, they want to see the price of the stock increase today. Speaking as a long-term buy-and-hold sort of person, I really despise that attitude and wish that American companies would get a clue and start trying to plan longer into the future.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What are you thankful for this Thursday?

Me, I'm tankful for my beloved wife, who encourages me in the paths I have chosen.

I'm also grateful for the Internet, that allows me to do school work while at work.

That's about it this Thursday, but I am thankful.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rainy Wednesday

of course, I open my mouth and the rain comes back to remind us all why the Northwest is a rain forest.

Working on some continuing education projects and got directed to the University of Phoenix
They were very prompt in calling me back about my inquiry as to degree programs. I think I would almost say too quick to call me back, as if they are hungry for new students.
In any case, I got the tuition information and I think the next step could be seeing if my employer will pick up the tab.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

thinking about thinking

I feel a bit like Pooh for that title, but really that is what I mean.

Having just finished my first read through of "How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci" by Gelb, I find myself thinking about thinking. It really reminds me of a poem I once read.

The Centipede was happy quite, until a Frog in fun,
said, "Which leg comes after which?",
which raised her mind to such a pitch,
she lay distracted in the ditch,
considering how to run.

But seriously, I found the book the be quite full of interesting facts about Leonardo as well as an excellent book on exercises on thinking and using your mind. I found this book through recommendations on Amazon and found a local copy that same weekend.

In the book, Gelb provides a brief history of Leonardo himself, and some historical perspective on the great man. It is fairly obvious from the tone of this section that the author is a devout follower of Leonardo as the greatest genius that ever lived.
After the history class, Gelb divides the book up into chapters and exercises based on Leonardo's specific principles of Creativity, the Senses, Exploration, Demonstration, Arts and Sciences, the Body, and Connections. These all have their own unique elements and exercises but are all still interconnected in some way.

The exercises are quite a range from the simple and easy to the complex and challenging, each set leading to some amount of self examination.

I highly recommend this book to any one who is curious about how they think, and wants to improve their mind.

I love the colors of the fall

I love the fall, when the hillsides are colored with reds and yellows of the trees.
The orange of pumpkins sitting out.
All against the dark green of the fir and pine on the hills.

Today is even nicer, with a bright sun and blue sky. Normally this would be grey clouds and rain, so I am enjoying this respite from rain.

The Pacific Northwest is beautiful the year round, but the fall is when the colors really come out.

Monday, October 22, 2007

What to do on this upcoming holiday

Well, on Wednesday the 31st, might I recomend:

And if you want to get dressed up and come out to play the Saturday before:

Silly waste of time, and yet...

I went ahead and started a clan on KoL. (
The name is "A modest clan" after a modest proposal. The whole goal is to have a method of generating extra adventures. If you play and want to join a clan that just exists to have fun, please feel free to apply.

Not much in other news today. Mondays are usually quiet and rather slow.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

sleepy weekend

Just a sleepy weekend around the house.
Nothing worth reporting, but if I plan on posting more than once a month I am going to have to write on something.

House cleaning and having way too many magazines. I mean, sure, I read them but should I save them, recycle them, cut out the three interesting articles and recycle the rest? What do you all do?

Any way, enjoy the rest of Sunday and I will see you bright and early next week.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A little something to get started

This is but a place holder while I work out the physics and mechanics of switching most of what I do to Google tools.
Documents and spreadsheets are easy, but moving a blog over to a new site is going to take more effort.