Monthly Archives: August 2006

I’m not dead, I swear.

One might think that since I’ve been offline at home for a few days, I must be dead. Well, I’m not. I started a new Gentoo install on my main workstation monday night, and I’m taking my own sweet time with it. The previous install on it was around 3 years old, and because of that, it had accumulated lots of extraneous junk and just needed to be purged. I should have it somewhat usable tonight, so you’ll probably see me back online tonight, if you really care…

One of the reasons I’ve been taking my time is because I picked up a couple new games for my Nintendo DS – StarFox Command and Tetris DS. I consider the latter a staple for any portable Nintendo system. I had Tetris back on my Game Boy, and there’s no way I could count how many hours I played Tetris. The former seems pretty cool. It has a turn-based strategy component, and a fly-around-and-shoot-stuff action component as well. The only thing I don’t really like about it is that the whole control system is based on using the touchscreen with a stylus. My hands are too big to use that setup comfortably, so I would much prefer using the directional pad.

Random stuff

I guess I haven’t been in much of a posting state of mind over the past few weeks juding by the lack of new words being shown around here. It happens. Some cool things have happened recently though, so I guess I could talk about them.

First, I got an office at work. There’s no significant promotion or anything like that associated with it, but it is pretty damned cool. I got the office because it puts me in a position to share my experience with some of the newer guys while they work on servers, which was an area that was lacking beforehand. So that’s good. It’s also good that my office is pretty big, and it has a huge desk. I need to make it cooler still, but it’s coming along.

Another cool thing is that my sister’s boyfriend Jay sold me a nice quality TV. It’s only a 24″, but it has a beautiful picture, modern inputs, and it doesn’t take 10 minutes to warm up like my previous TV. It’s pretty nice to just be able to crash on the couch and watch something, even though I don’t watch TV that much.

Third on the cool list is some cool musical acquistions. I picked up the new Lamb of God album, “Sacrament,” on tuesday, and it kicks all kinds of ass. Lamb of God rocked hard before, but they’ve upped their game. I wouldn’t say that they’d appeal to any metal fan because they have a somewhat prog-ish sound wth lots of rhythm changes, but I like it, and that’s all that counts. Another sweet CD I picked up came at the recommendation of a guy from work – “In The Eyes of Fire” by Unearth. I hadn’t heard any of their stuff before he lent me the CD, but I’ll be hearing a lot more. They are a total powerhouse. Their guitarists play with a fury, alternating effortlessly between groove-laden riffs and frenetic melodies and solos. I’ve only had their CD for a day or so, but it’s definitely one I’ll be listening to for a long while.

Hero of the day

Anyone that’s read my site for any length of time has probably seen a rant or two about the murder of “Dimebag” Darrel Abbott, which occured a bit less than two years ago. If you’re not aware of what happened, there’s a summary here. The thought of it both incenses me and makes me sad to this day.

I bring it up again because I just read a post on one of my daily reads, Metal Underground, that makes me want to stand up and cheer. Apparently the E! television network contacted a publicist somehow representing Vinnie Paul (not sure in what capacity, whether for Pantera, Damageplan, or what) about licensing footage of Dime for an upcoming special about Hollywood’s top 25 most chilling murders. The publicist was quite notably appalled, and let E! have it in an email reply. I’m going to quote it in its entirety, because it’s freakin awesome. The original place I read it was here.

Hi Beau. I'm leaving John's comments in cause he's a nice guy and I know this was difficult for him to send on through. I'm also blind copying a whole list of folks who will most likely copy a whole other list of folks until maybe this spreads like a good email should and end up on 100,000 websites to show the world what a collective bunch of tasteless morons you all are.
Dime's birthday is this coming Sunday and your timing couldn't be worse. Not that there is a good time. In fact, in honor of his birthday, I think I'll send this around to a few of our favorite music websites who will most likely print the whole damn thing word for word, including your phone number and email. For good measure, I'm going to throw in the top 50 major daily music and some of the top TV writers in the country and why not, the weeklies as well.
I realize there is nothing anyone can do to stop E! from producing garbage like this below, as you've built your audience on the backs of other people's private lives, creating some type of warped reality out of your garbage, which is merely excuses for programming on the cheap and at the expense of others.
I would like to request that you please read this out out loud to all the creative geniuses in the programming department that came up with this idea.
We have received your request to license footage on Dimebag Darrell Abbott for your upcoming production of, "25 Most Chilling Hollywood Murders."
While we realize the average E! audience most likely has the IQ of an umbrella, they collectively are a smarter bunch than the lot of you. Your programming creativity falls somewhere to the bottom of the middle at best, and that's saying a lot.
I ask that you all please take a moment from your busy days and close your eyes. Live out the fantasy of playing your favorite instrument onstage. Your closest friends in the world surround you, either in the band or in your crew. From one side of the stage, a man approaches. Thinking he's a security guy or a drunk fan who's just a bit out a line, you continue to perform. Two seconds later, he lifts his arms, aims a rifle at your brother, your best friend, your buddy and blows his brains out, not three feet from where you are. In the nanosecond it takes you to comprehend the magnitude of what just happened, he does it again... and again... and again... and again... and again... and again before taking aim and murdering additional members of your extended family as well as fans that have come to see you play. Two of your crew are shot but survive, but of course, will never be the same again.
Now imagine it's a few years later and you turn on the TV set. Just in case you may be having at least a five minute respite from that scene that plays over and over in your head, just in case... you flip through the channels and there it is. Again. Only with some two bit actor who thinks this is his big Hollywood break.
And please, if you don't like that scenario, make believe it's your child who got his brains splattered all over a stage in Ohio. And then you turn on E! Oh, the magic of television!
In case none of this appears clear enough and you need a definitive answer to your request... no. The answer if no, and on behalf of everyone that was there that night and everyone that misses him every day, you can take that no and shove it up your collective asses.
And, for your second request, yes, you can quote me on that.
Sincerely,
Jane Hoffman

I have a new hero, at least in the short term, in Jane Hoffman. Well done.

Eeek.

I guess it’s been a while since I posted. It’s amazing how time files when you’re keeping busy. Sadly, most of the activity has been at work, but a few other neat things have happened as well. Last friday, my sister’s boyfriend Jay threw a housewarming party for his new house. Most people there I didn’t know, but he invited my cousins, Steve and Alex, so I had some people to talk to while I had a few beers and found my niche. Alex and I had a repeat performance of our fist night up north a few weeks ago… After everyone else left or crashed out, we sat outside on the patio just talking about random crap and drinking beer until around 5am. It was a good time.

The only other thing that’s really noteworthy is that I bought the DVD set for Firefly on sunday, and after watching all the episodes, I’m left entirely perplexed. First off, this is one of the most entertaining shows I’ve ever seen. It’s premise seems a little cheesy at first – a space western – but once you see it, it really makes sense. IIt’s just a story about people dealing with the same crap we deal with – trying to find work, staying out of trouble, etc. It doesn’t hurt at all that the dialog is very witty and believable, and that the characters are all very well thought out. Just a great show all around.

I’m perplexed because it was canned after 15 episodes. From what I’ve read, FOX completely shit on the show, even though it had a very loyal following. Apparently, FOX didn’t even play the pilot episode, preempted the show regularly, and even played episodes out of order. It just boggles my mind that something so well done could be dumped on so much. I think its safe to say that Phil also agrees with me as well.

Due to popular demand, they were able to make a movie based upon the show, Serenity, and it was very good as well. I like the TV show better though, because you can get into more detail with the story, and take the ideas a lot further. But no, FOX had to crap all over a good thing, and sent it to the dump while absolute drivel like “The Simple Life” is allowed to stay on the air for multiple seasons.

It just doesn’t make any sense.

Random acts of kindness

I’m not exactly sure why I’m posting this, but it seems like the right thing to do as I’m feeling rather contemplative at the moment, and can’t seem to turn my brain off so I can sleep. Maybe this will help ease my mind. Earlier on I was having a conversation regarding work stuff with Jake, a former coworker and all around great guy, and conversation evolved to the follwoing topic. It’s just one of those things that makes me think about the little choices we make, and how they affect others, whether we realize it or not. Maybe it’ll make you think too.

Jake: its time for bed methinks.
Mike: shit, did I tell you about Dugald MacTavish?
Jake: name sounds familiar, but i dont think so.
Mike: I'll try to make it quick
Mike: he had a shared account of some sort
Mike: he was an old dude, late 70s or 80s
Mike: just trying to make his website go
Mike: he was the leader of a Scottish clan
Mike: didn't know dick about shit when it came to the internet or computers
Mike: but he knew it was the thing to do
Mike: not too long after I started, he wanted to set up a forum
Mike: didn't know how to do it
Mike: didn't know where to start
Mike: he called up, and asked
Mike: I gave him the general howto
Mike: cpanel had an installer for phpbb
Mike: told him how to use it
Mike: he thanked me, hung up
Mike: called back a while later, couldn't figure it out
Mike: asked if I would do it for him
Mike: I must have been feeling generous, so I did it
Mike: spent an hour installing it, telling him how to work things
Mike: and after that, he wouldn't talk to anyone else
Mike: he would call and ask for me
Mike: if I wasn't in, he'd ask when I was in and call then
Mike: there were more than a few occasions where he would call in at 4am when I was on midnights
Mike: just to talk to me
Mike: he'd ask his hosting questions, then ask how I was doing
Mike: he genuinely cared
Mike: then, probably right about the time you started, I found out he died
Mike: fell asleep in his easy chair one night watching TV, didn't wake up
Mike: the lady that was helping him called and told me
Mike: I shed tears man
Mike: one small act of kindness meant so much to him
Jake: i dont blame you. i liked developing a repore with customers like that.
Jake: it feels good to know that you're helping someone and they genuinely appreciate you for that.
Mike: yah
Jake: thats what i find fulfilling about this kind of wokr
Mike: he offered to send me a case of authentic scottish whiskey once, or scotch, can't remember exactly
Jake: oh wow!
Mike: apparently he had it shipped to him by the truckload because of his status as a clan leader
Mike: I didn't take him up on it
Mike: wish I had
Mike: at least to raise a glass of it in his memory

Altered State

I got bored with the old layout and decided to change it up a bit. More changes are probably coming… depends on how motivated I am.

TGITFW

I’ll leave you to figure out that acronym.

It’s been a busy week and a half. I was up north from last thursday to sunday for the second half of my vacation, which was a lot of fun. It was kind of hectic, but that’s expected due to all of the people around. Alex and I weathered a fierce thunderstorm just as we were coming out of Lansing, which made the first 45 minutes of the trip slow going. The light show was amazing though. We got up to the cottage thursday night around 1AM, only to find that everyone else had fallen asleep. Not exactly what we were expecting. So we made the best of it, and unpacked the beer we brought and headed out onto the beach to have a few under the stars. The seeing wasn’t very clear due to the humidity, but it’s still an amazing sight to see so many stars. I never get sick of it. Living around the city makes the sight that much more spectacular. We also saw what we’re pretty certain was a display of the northern lights. We thought it was city-glow from Cheboygan at first, but it seemed too luminous and stretched way too far out over the lake. That belief was strengthened by our observation of ‘tendrils’ of light eminating from and receeding to the greater luminous ‘mass.’ It was pretty neat. We got pretty ripped just sitting out on the beach in lawn chairs and talking about this and that and eventually decided that we should just go all out and watch the sun come up over the lake. It took its sweet time, but it eventually came up around 6:30. A few cottage-dwellers had risen by then, and David came down to the beach to watch it with us. A sunrise over the lake is a beautiful sight to behold.

The rest of the weekend is more of a blur, but it involved a lot of lounging around due to the stifling heat and humidity. The lake felt great, but as soon as you would get out, the heat became unbearable. The biting flies were out in decent numbers as well due to a breeze out of the woods. The combination of these factors made for a lot of trips back and forth between the lake and the cottage, without much loitering in between – for me at least. There were a few games of horseshoes played, and for quite a while, I was pretty wretched. I found my stroke eventually, and started averaging points on every third throw or so.

When I got back to work on monday, it was like I hadn’t left. Lots of stuff to do, pressing issues everywhere. Wednesday sucked especially due to the events outlined in my previous post. I planned on taking thursday off due to the long day on wednesday, but something started going haywire with my monitoring stuff that was actually crashing servers, so I had to head into work to squash the bug. I think I found it, which is good. My day off ended being yesterday, for the most part. I did end up going in to work later on, but it was for a much cooler purpose – cleaning out the room that will soon become my office! Whee! I guess that means I’m cool now. Between last night and earlier today, another guy and myself cleaned the office, taped everything off, and put on a few fresh coats of paint to brighten things up. I’ll probably be able to move in sometime in the coming week, which is cool. It should give me a lot more peace and quiet and less interruption.

Balls.

There are few things that make me more irate than having to pick up a dropped ball, and then deal with its consequences. This happened to me tonight (yesterday?), and kept me on shift for a solid 18 hours. A ball was dropped on me just as I was getting ready to leave work. To the ball-dropper's credit, he was trying to pick up the dropped ball as well, but the situation was only made worse. This was after the ball had been kicked around on the hot dirty ground for a week. Yes, a week. Because of this, our customer was completely irate, and I don't blame them one bit.

So, to all you potential ball droppers out there – listen up. DON'T DROP BALLS. If you do happen to drop the ball, PICK IT UP.

That is all.

Edit: I feel as if I misrepresented one thing during my frustrated rant. The person whom I recieved the dropped ball from didn't really drop it. He merely handed it off to me, but it was a completely unexpected and untimely hand off.