Monday, September 29, 2008

F1 Sundays are Great...

After feeling sick all day Saturday, and pretty much just laying on the couch watching television, I was hoping to feel alot better on Sunday. I did. :)

Of course it helped by starting Sunday off with viewing the TiVo'd F1 race from Singapore. This was F1's first night race, and it was a great success all around. But I'll speak more on that aspect in a bit. The race was fun to watch even though my favorite driver, Kimi Raikkonen, crashed out within the last 10 laps. Kimi is the current world champ, and I hoped he would repeat this year. However, it seems that fate & other things are conspiring against him. Well, he's signed with Ferrari for the next 3 years I think, so there's always next year.

The success of Singapore will probably start a trend for all of the far-east races on the calendar (Japan, China, Australia, India?) in future seasons. From what I understand, F1 chief, Bernie Ecclestone, is pushing for turning the races in these locations to night races. He wants it in order to put the races on at a better viewing time in Europe where viewership is high. I can't say I blame him for that line of thinking overall. Europe's where the bulk of the money is for the sport, so he's going after it.

However, it does bug me that one man, Ecclestone, pretty much has say over what happens in F1. Oh, there is the FIA, the governing body of F1, but they pretty much do whatever Bernie says, and everyone knows it. I'm never a fan of one person dictatorally holding sway over anything. I think all sports commissions should be governed by a body of people who are not owners or sponsors, and they should have finite periods of service. Five years at most. Those five year terms should also be staggered, so that only one or two people are changed at a time. From that commissioning body a president or chairperson would be elected by the body. Also, that chairing election would be each year as well, and the current chair could not serve successive terms. They could serve multiple terms, but only every-other year.

I don't see that happening in F1, the NFL, Baseball, or any other organized sport. However, I think it would be the most fair way to run a sports organization. That way no one person could play favorites for years on end as has happened in other sports before.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

TGIF and I'm glad it's over....

In a normal world, under normal circumstances, I enjoy my job & I love to see Friday come. However, yesterday was not a normal day (for some reason).

It started with me waking up at 6am instead my normal (hey, normal for me) 4am. I'm normally in the office by 6am, so my just-roused-from-sleep mind said, "Too late to get ready for work, just work from home." So I started doing that. Then I started having connectivity problems, four disconnects within an hour. After the 4th one, I got an e-mail from my boss. He shook me back to sanity by informing me that it was still early, and I could make it into the office. He was right, of course.

So then, I quickly showered & caught the 8am bus, making it into work by 8:30am. After that, the day seemed to be pretty normal. I figured I'd just work until about 5pm to make nine hours (counting the time I'd already worked at home). No big deal. (karma's voice) "That's what you think, bitch." (end karma's voice)

4:00pm started out okay, but I knew that my co-worker, Glenn, who is on-call this week, was having a bit of trouble with some folks who were setting up for an inventory count. I didn't know it was about to spill over on me. I'd work with these people before, the last time as recently as two weeks ago. It's always a pain working with them, because they can't seem to manually run a process that has no problems when it's running automatically. Whenever, they have to add an update file, it never seems to run successfully. This was the case yesterday. Add to that the fact that Glenn needed to leave no later than 4:30 to go to his daughter's school function.

So I was asked to take over the final tasks for the inventory (due to my previous experience). It's really no problem to me, I'm happy to help out when I can. However, this, as before, turned into a nightmare. That's because those folks, once again, sent up too many adjustments in the data file, and I had to find & correct them. Once I'd corrected that part, there were still 25 records that needed to be reconciled. I continually tried to tell them that they sent up the wrong transfer numbers, but they insisted that the system incorrectly generated those numbers. They were wrong; I was right. And I finally proved it by reminding them that we had this same problem the last time, when I was also working on it. I reminded them that it was there fault then too, and that we can only process the data that we are sent. Such a nightmare!

Anyway, by the time I got them set up to go, I left the office at 8:30pm! I had a nice 12 hour day on Friday. It was kind of a bummer to be on the bus going home after work with folks who were going out for the evening. Now, I'm not the party animal I once was, but I still like to go out when I can on the weekends. So there I was on the bus at 8:30 to 9:00, with my laptop, just getting off work. Such a geek I am. :)

Needless to say, I was so glad to get home. I had a beer to unwind, watched some TiVo, and called it an evening around 11. Not exciting, but it all ended well. I'm glad I don't have many days like that. I'm normally lucky that way. But like the old saying goes, "What doesn't kill me, scars me emotionally forever." :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Ripped-Off Post Idea...

Technically this is not ripped-off since I'm not crediting Miss Zoot with the idea. She had her comments turned off, so this is my way to comment (somewhat).

  • Like Zoot, I also don't like the AMC original series "Mad Men." Mainly, I don't find the "world of advertising in the early '60s" interesting. So they wrote "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz." Big deal. To me it just shows that Hollywood is fast running out of GOOD ideas for shows & movies. Next will be a series about the guys that paint the lines down the middle of the street. For Christ sakes, NBC is re-hashing old TV series. Last season is was "Bionic Woman." This season it's "Knight Rider," which was even worse that "Bionic Woman" during its' initial run.
  • I do like the Avett Brothers. I was turned on to them by a mutual friend of Zoot's & mine, Junkie. However, I'm not insane over them as Junkie is, but I do think they are really good. I've seen them twice now, and I love their shows. Very entertaining. Great song lyrics too.
  • I've not seen "House Bunny" & probably never will. It's just not a movie I care to see.
  • I agree with Zoot about Perez Hilton. I don't find him funny at all. I've seen him in interviews on talk shows, and he's just a pompous, self-important, jack-ass. To me, he's on a line with Rush Limbaugh & that ilk. They only exist to tear people down; they do nothing constructive at all. No benefit to anyone (imho).
  • No experience with diaper genies myself. The last time I changed a diaper was back in '71/'72 for my youngest brother. No kids of my own; no step-kids.

So here are a couple items of my own, in which I'm out of step with others.

  • I think Julia Roberts is one of the WORST actresses around. To me, she just poses her way through movies with no discernible talent. Yes, she's beautiful, but the only film in which I could tolerate her was "Erin Brokovich." "Pretty Woman," "Steel Magnolias," "Ocean's 11" (the remake), "Michael Colins," and "The Mexican" are just a few of the films I think would've been so much better if someone else had been cast in her place.
  • I think "Survivor" is a very over-rated TV show. I've only watched a few episodes of the first season; never got the fascination.
  • In the same vein, I rarely watch so-called "reality" shows. It's because I think they are there just to reward the most loutish & boorish of bad behaviors. The only exceptions I've found are "The Amazing Race" & "Top Chef." These at least seem to reward based on merit rather than scheming & back-stabbing.
  • This one may get me lynched, but it needs to be said. John Wayne made (with few variations) the same western film over & over throughout the '60s & early '70s, and they all sucked. Two exceptions of his work that I enjoy watching are "The Shootist" from 1976 & "McQ" (I don't remember when it was released). I also don't think he was a great American hero. In interviews I've read of him, he comes off as pretty racist on many things.

If you feel the need to comment, please be kind. I'm not out to offend. These are just opinions. :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Coming Soon, to a Stadium Near Me...

Of course at this time of year in the US, it's football time. And I don't mean football the way the rest of the world does (what our people call Soccer). This is that off-shoot of British Rugby that's played at the high-school, collegiate, & professional level in this country. That bone-crunching, pain-inducing, blood-spurting, gladiatorial, quest for territory acquisition sport that truly defines what America is all about. Well, that's not totally true; we aren't that blood-thirsty & imperialistic (most of the time, anyway). :)

In the south, football seems to have an almost religious following. I remember playing outside on a Sunday afternoon when I was a kid, and there being very little traffic. I also remember seeing very few (if any) men outside at all. Both of my parents would watch college games all-day Saturday and pro games all-day Sunday. Some Sundays my Uncles (Dad's brothers) would come over to watch too.

Personally, I never cared much for the game overall. I tried to get into it, but it never got under my skin the way the auto-racing later would (and did then to some extent). I even tried playing football twice as a kid. The first time was when we lived in Huntsville; the 2nd time was after we moved to Vina, AL. However, I was a very small kid, and not the fastest of runners, so I never found a place. Also, none of the coaches I had ever taught the fundamentals, so I was totally at sea the entire time I participated.

As I grew older, I also grew to understand the game better. But I could still take it or leave it. I'm the same way today. However, there is one difference; I now live in a city that has its' own NFL franchise (Seattle Seahawks). I now watch all Seahawks games that are televised. I've also attended at least one game each season I've been here ('06, & '07), and I'll keep that going this Sunday. I've got tickets to the game, and I'm taking my old friend Reality Catcher (RC).

Hopefully, the team can get their first win of the season against the evil, satanic St. Louis Rams (didn't they used to be LA Rams?). :) The 'Hawks haven't had a great start this year. They've been plagued with injuries, and they just can't seem to pull everything together. It's very frustrating to watch at times. After falling to the Bills (Buffalo, NY) & the 49er's (San Francisco, CA), it's their worst start since 2002. Not a good way to start the coach's last season with the team.

However, even if we l-... er, uh, don't win; I'll still have fun. I'll get out of the house for the day, hang with my best friend, consume highly overpriced food & beverages, & scream myself hoarse (more than likely). Of course there's also the possibility of being on TV. Our seats are in the end zone, near the tunnel where the Seahawks enter the field, so there's a good chance of being able to wave, "Hi Mom." :) But I have a feeling that we'll win. We have each time I've attended a game, so we have that going for us. :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I ♥ Teriyaki Day...

At work we have a Wednesday ritual that was started long before I was hired. Wednesday is teriyaki day. For lunch on Wednesdays, a group of us walks about 3 blocks from the office to eat at a local teriyaki place.

The meal is very simple, just a bowl of rice with teriyaki chicken on top (or spicy chicken, my fave). It's surprising to me just how much I look forward to this. Even when I forget it's Wednesday, someone will stop by my desk & ask, "Teriyaki?" It's always a moral boost, and I've not gone only when a meeting or task has prevented it. Even then I usually ask for someone to bring one back for me, and hand over the money.

Now you also should know that I'd never heard of a "Teriyaki" place until I moved to Seattle. Apparently they haven't caught on in the south. When I moved here, I was amazed at how many places I'd pass with the name "Teriyaki" on them. I'd venture to say that there are more teriyaki places here than Starbucks, and that's a pretty bold statement. However, I'd never say that there are more teriyaki places than coffee places; that's just a lie. :)

Even if you arent' a fan of asian (read, chinese, japanese, thai, or vietnamese) food, I think you'd enjoy this. The chicken is grilled and marinated with teriyaki sauce (not soy sauce, there is a difference), sliced into strips (about 1/4" wide), and place on top of the rice. For the spicy chicken, a spicy sauce is used instead of teriyaki. And believe me, this is NOT restaurant spicy. I like spicy food & this is just about at my threshold. But it is good. It's spicy enough that my nose runs for about 10 minutes after I've finished.

So now I'm filled with rice & spicy chicken. Now I just have to find a place to take a nap. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Freedom From the Ball & Chain...

Today is a good day. Yes, I know it's just Tuesday and the weekend is far away. No, it's not my birthday, or anniversery, or anything like that. Today is the day I hand the pager from work off to someone else. The light of freedom will then shine on me. Okay, that's way too overdramatic, but I am happy to be giving up this small device that sometimes turns into an anchor.

For those of you who may not understand, I'll give a few more details. I'm a computer programmer; and one of the duties of my job is to be "on-call" or as it's called here "on-pager." That means for one week (9am Tue to 9am Tue) I'm the person who answers all extraneous requests for fixing things that have gone wrong. Things like program crashes, people need data for reporting purposes, data being incorrect, orders not filled (on the system) properly, etc.

During the day it's not a big deal; it's just work as normal. However, after work is when that little grenade can go off & totally trash your evening, or worse, your sleep. The worst sound, after a baby crying a 2am, is a pager going off at 2am, and knowing it means that you now have to go to work. Luckily, I can work from home, so it means I only have to stumble, half-asleep, to my desk and log on. But I still have to correct a problem & not make it worse.

Since I've been here, we've been working very proactively on issues the come around a lot & cause "wake-ups" as we call them. Therefore, now we don't get many. When I first started here in March of 06, you could count on at least one wake-up during the week & one on the weekend (at the very least). This time, I had one at 4:30am on Saturday. The good part is that it turned out to be a non-issue. Of course the bad part it that I got woken up at 4:30am on a Saturday, but I'll survive.

Now after 9am, I'll be free of this little device. I won't have to deal with it again until for a couple weeks. Yay!! :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cleanin' House...

Well, I spent the bulk of today cleaning house. By that I mean, I pushed & actually put away about 90% of all the stuff that's been in boxes since I moved here two weeks ago.

The reason for this is that I'll be having a house-guest for a week starting on Monday. He's the ex-husband of my friend Junkie. Scavenger has been working for a mining company in Alaska since April. He works for about 3 weeks straight and gets about a week for a break; he stays at my place when he's in town so he can see his daughter Ariel.

So with that pending, I was motivated to actually straighten up the extra room in order to make it habitable. I think he'll survive his stay now.

It's been a while since Scavenger stopped by. In July I was taking vacation, so he spend his break in Alaska. Then in August, I was moving, so this will be his first look at the new place. Of course, I've explained to him that the building is undergoing a renovation, so there will be workmen and noise all during the day.

I think I'll work from home on Monday afternoon in order to inform the sight-boss that someone will be in the apartment during the day all next week. I don't want workmen to just be barging in on him. I may also put a sign of some sort on the door to make sure they knock instead of just coming in.

Now that the place is cleaned up, I have a ton of garbage to take out... it's always something. :)

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'm SumDumGuy, and I'm a burger-holic......

Food has never been an enemy of mine. In fact, I'd have to say food is way too good of a friend; food could back off a bit.... off my waistline mainly. :)

One of my all time favorite foods are hamburgers. Of course I've had all of the major chains (Micky D's, BK, Wendy's, Hardee's, Sonic, White Castle, Krystal, et al). However, I've found that the best burgers are made in local chain places, and stand-alone places that appear somewhat dumpy/greasy-spoonish. By local chains, I mean chains that only exist in a metro-area or a small part of a state. Usually they have less than 20 locations.

To that end, comes another of the things about Seattle that I truly love; Kidd Valley, Dick's, & Red Mill burgers. Those of you who live here probably already know about all or most of them.

My move to the Queen Anne/Interbay/Magnolia area has put me less than 2 blocks from one of two Red Mills in the entire Seattle area. I've been here only two weeks and I've already had 4 different sandwiches from Red Mill. All have been great too. I actually have to stop myself from eating there every evening when I get off the bus from work. Some days, it's about all I can do to make myself turn right & walk up the hill to have a bowl of soup instead of first turning left & going to the Mill. My hope is that I can keep it to a minimum & work off more of this gut. :)

I can't describe why I think each place is so good; it's just something you have to experience, I think.

It used to really bug my Dad that I'd eat a hamburger for every meal with no problem. The day I got a part-time job at Sonic Drive-In while in high school, he was sure that I'd soon be sick of 'burgers. How wrong he was. It was actually like letting a junkie loose in a field of poppies; I loved it, and I fed my crave every day I was at work.

I think if I had to pick my all-time Top 5 burger places/burgers they would be (in no order)....
  • Sonic
  • Krystal/White Castle (both the same style of burgers, Krystal is in the south, White Castle in the north)
  • Big Springs Cafe (used to be on Govenor's Drive in Huntsville, AL, but I don't think it's there anymore)
  • Red Mill (Seattle chain)
  • Jack's (a north Alabama chain)
My family can back up the fact that one of the things I make sure to do when I visit my Mom is eat at Krystal, Jack's, & Sonic since none of them exist here in Seattle. Hey, I have my priorities. :)

So what about you folks out there? What are your favorites? Holla back! :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9-11 +7...

Of course you know, as does everyone else on the planet (in the US anyway), that today is the 7th anniversery of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Seven years, it's gone by really fast to me.

  • Seven years & the mastermind, Osama Bin Ladin, has still not been captured.
  • Seven years & we still have troops battling on the ground in Afghanistan because the Taliban was never properly taken down.
  • Seven years & we are more than 5 years into a war (actually invasion) with Iraq that our president claimed was in league with the 9-11 at the time, but was found later to be totally untrue.
  • Seven years & thousands of brave military people dead, wounded, maimed for life with no end in sight.
  • Seven years & even more thousands of innocent (read, civilian, non-combatants, women, children, elderly adults) Iraqis & Afghanis dead, wounded, maimed for life with no end in sight.
  • Seven years & our country's credibility on the world stage at the lowest in more than a century.
  • Seven years & our civil liberties still haven't recovered fully. We still can't peacefully march in protest of the president within his presence. They cart us off to "Free Speech Zones."
  • Seven years & the 3,000+ innocents in the US who were killed during that attack are still as dead no matter how many "baddies" will kill.
  • Seven years & we probably will be just as surprised when the next terror attack happens here, or in England, or Germany, or France, or Japan, etc.
  • Seven years & there is still no way to block all potiential attacks, because there never has been & never will be.

My grand parents had FDR's death and Pearl Harbor as events, which they would preface with, "I remember exactly where I was when I first hear of....". For my parents it was Kennedy's assasination & Neil Armstrong's walk on the Moon. For me it's now the Challenger explosion in '86, AND 9-11. I wonder what the similar event will be for the next generation? Time will only tell, but there will be one. There always is.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

It Just Keeps on Gettin' Better...

Well, the cable guy came today. He was supposed to be here between 10am & Noon, but he showed up about 10:30. So now I've got TV once again, and since I'm a total addict to TV, it's all good. The days without cable were filled with extra internet time, but it only goes so far. :)

Now I'm jonesin' for the F1 race tomorrow from Belgium (vroom, vroom).

After spending half of this beautiful day inside setting up my cable & TiVo, I think I'll go downtown & do some shopping. I think I might go by the Bose store & pick up a center speaker for the home entertainment center (if it's not too much).

I've also got to get in touch with my old landlord to see how he wants me to get my set of keys to him. He did text me yesterday to ask if I still had them, I replied that I did and asked how he wanted me to get them to him. However, he didn't respond to my reply. That's actually par for the course with him, but that's a long story for another time.

Now, where are my shoes???? :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to Work.....

Well, since it is the day after Labor Day (or is it Labour Day?), I, like many others, am back at work.

I spent the majority of Saturday, Sunday, & Monday unpacking, washing clothes, & setting up the new apartment. Am I a party animal, or what? :) I actually got a number of things accomplished. The kitchen is completely set up. Of course it is the smallest room in the place, but that's beside the point. I also got the dining nook set up, so I guess I can call that complete too.

My bedroom is about 90% complete. I still have clothes to put away, which I may do after work this evening to have it done. While everything is set up in the living room/office area, it's still cluttered to the max. This is especially true of the section immediately adjacent to the dining nook. It's piled with boxes (some empty, some not so empty). The living room itself has the floor covered with all sorts of cables (audio, video, ethernet, usb, etc). I think I can get those squared away too this evening.

The bathroom is about 80% done. I just need to put all the towels/washclothes in the cabinet, and put the medicine cabinet stuff in the medicine cabinet proper. However, I'm thinking about putting the towels in either the 2nd bedroom closet, or the living room coat closet. I think the 2nd bedroom closet will be the best place; it has these box-like shelves in it that would be perfect for the towels & such. I'll leave the coat closet for the coats, ironing board, broom, and swiffer (yes, I still have both).

For a while, the 2nd bedroom will also be the junk room. But eventually, it will be habitable as well. :)