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Fairly Symmetrical [Site] [XML]
Description: The life and times of a .Net geek in Austin, TX, USA. Topics range from media, philosophy, and politics to science, technology, programming, and on to truly random stuff.
Last Update: 21:19:19 03/05/2006

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First Fetched: 00:16:33 01/31/2004
Last Updated: 21:19:19 03/05/2006


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What's behind door number 1?
Today while cleaning the office it occurred to me that our closet door is like some sort of game of chance for our dogs. On the one hand, it holds the leashes, which means that opening that door could lead to going for a walk around the neighborhood—always exciting. On the other, it also holds both the luggage and the vacuum cleaner. The luggage is itself a kind of lottery—it could mean we’re all taking a road trip, or it could mean Jenny or I (or both) are going away for a few days. The vacuum, of course, is purest distilled evil, though Charlie tries very hard to act nonchalant. ;) And they never know which it will be until I close the door, and by then it’s too late. Poor guys. :)
19:56:31 September 27, 2004, Monday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
Two for two
Today I passed the second of my exams for MCSD certification: XML Web Services and Server Components. Considering that this was the material I use least in my day-to-day job, it actually was much easier than I expected it to be. Not that I’m complaining. :)
15:24:47 September 20, 2004, Monday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
I am so getting Jenny this for Christmas...
Perfect for when I’m out of town… a pillow that mimics your SO’s arm so you can snuggle…. :-D
14:51:41 September 6, 2004, Monday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
I want to hold you high and steal your pain away
It’s 2 in the morning and I’m sitting here worrying about Jen, wishing I could be with her right now, wrap her in my arms and do even the tiniest thing to make her life better right now. I love you baby, and I hope you’re okay.
00:45:25 September 5, 2004, Sunday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
Tap tap... is this thing on?
Work is a sharp series of ups and downs lately. On the down side, I hate Mondays, especially Mondays that are nothing but a series of meetings (don’t get me wrong, for meetings they weren’t too bad…), and double especially meetings where the office manager ordered lunch—but no vegetarian sandwiches. Nice. Also on the downside, there’s some kind of a memory leak in our major application, and every time we come up with a theory I manage to put together a test that shoots it down. Of course, the test suite is looking more complete every day… :-P And then of course there’s the project where the primary piece of control equipment is on the fritz, and we’ve now systematically eliminated every single component of the system from the problem, to no apparent effect. Tomorrow I start eliminating combinations of components. Yay. On the plus side, we have a contract to do the house of one of the ten richest people in the world. On the down side, it’s in Phoenix. On the plus side, we’re on ...
21:38:38 August 30, 2004, Monday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
"Bach"ing it up
Jen flew off to Pittsburgh today to drive up to Boston with her sister and spend the weekend with her Nana, so it’s just me [Ed: and the dogs, and the cat…] all weekend. I grilled up some Veat today (somehow managing to be grilling during the exact time period it rained… it started as I put the chicken on and ended 5 minutes after I took it off) with a new barbecue sauce I’m trying (Stubb’s Spicy, if you’re wondering). BBQ’d chicken is so incredibly yummy. It’s fantastic hot off the grill, but I inevitably end up munching on the leftovers later that night… cold BBQ’d chicken is a leftover delight from my childhood. :) Texas is having certain predictable results on my food, actually. No, I’m not eating steaks or anything like that, but since we moved here, I’ve completely lost my taste for Tostitos Salsa, once my favorite — it just tastes too sweet to me now. Right now I’m digging Leal’s salsa, which you probably can’t get anywhere else but is really, really tasty. :) Same with the ...
23:06:15 August 18, 2004, Wednesday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
Someone didn't take any writing classes...
…Because I’m pretty sure they generally tell you that action stories need to have a climax. So as Jen mentioned, we watched Hellboy last night. It was really kind of a strange movie, plot-wise. I mean, you have an over-the-top couple of heroes, Nazis trying to open a portal to Hell, Ian McKellen-look-alike as the wise, sage-like old man—it seems like you have all the components there for a silly, fun, summer movie—sort of Men in Black meets Indiana Jones or something. And the movie did have a couple of moments, I suppose (it probably would have been better on the big screen). But sadly, whoever wrote the script sort of left out the climax. The climactic battle with the Great Big Hell Beast From Hell (which also owes something to the Alien movies, and quite a bit to MIB 1 and 2—I mean, come on, the monster bursts out of someone’s chest, is huge and tentacley, and swallows the hero… you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out where that came from) takes all of thirty ...
22:33:05 August 12, 2004, Thursday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
That's the best Scary Uncle I've seen in some time...
Last night I was folding laundry, so I flipped on the TV in the bedroom. There’s only analog cable and no Tivo in there, so it’s a very different experience from watching TV in the living room. Anyway, USA was playing Jurassic Park (the firstonly one), which I haven’t seen in years. My family actually went to see it on the big screen—I remember we saw it at the Oxmoor theater—since we’re all big science dorks. :) Anyway, since USA takes 15-minute commercial breaks, I was also flipping over to SpikeTV, which was showing several episodes of Most Extreme Elimination Challenge in a row. I don’t know anything about the show except that it’s hilarious… my favorite part is the names the commentators give to the various predicaments the contestants get themselves into, as if they were actual regular happenings. Last night on the log rolls they mentioned both the Willing Participant and the Scary Uncle (whence the quote that titles this post), both of which had me howling. As far as ...
10:00:35 July 30, 2004, Friday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
Back from Yuppie Week--er, North Carolina
Tennis, golf, sailing… ah, what a week. :) Though we did play poker, go bodysurfing, drink a lot, and wander around small beach towns in North Carolina too. I was in Phoenix most of the week before—Friday I went from Phoenix to Raleigh with a very brief stop in the Austin airport. The vacation was nice, I’d been doing 15 hour days in Phoenix, and 10+ hour days for about the last 6 weeks, so I was WAY ready for a bit of vacation. The beach was lovely – Zach and I spent a couple of hours one day bodysurfing, which was very cool. We also took a sailboat cruise on the Neuse River, which is briny where we were (half seawater, half fresh water), so it had a bunch of ocean life in it. We saw a half dozen small jellyfish, three stingrays (two of which appeared to be mating), an osprey, and a whole bunch of jumping mullet (kind of fish, apparently). There wasn’t much wind (kinda disappointing, I miss sailing) but it was still fun. I guess they get a lot of bull sharks in there (someone was ...
14:46:39 July 27, 2004, Tuesday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
I have no idea what to title this entry.
Work is craaaaaazy at the moment. At least I seem to be keeping pace with my task list; that means I’ll be fine right up until about Wednesday of next week, when all hell will break loose. Though I suppose it’s possible that things will go more or less according to plan. I keep getting compliments from my bosses, which is nice. It’d be nicer if there were some other developers I could spread the load to, but it’s a bit late for that now. Random thoughts. Spider-Man’s problem is that he has no way of telling whether there’s a serious problem, or just some cop in a hurry on his way to a domestic disturbance. He and MJ could be in the middle of some intimate time, and he hears sirens, and he has no way to tell whether it’s worth getting involved in or not. How much would it suck to swing half way across the city only to discover that the perp was in cuffs by the time you got there? Batman has partially solved the problem, I mean, he’s got the Batsignal. Of course, that really only ...
21:47:52 July 7, 2004, Wednesday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
Two more weeks...
Two more weeks until Jen and I get to disappear into North Carolina for nine days with her fam. I can’t say how much I’m looking forward to that, in so very many ways. :) Work is very stressful… we’re winding up one project that had to be usable for a party the owners are having tomorrow, and we have a major major major project getting installed starting next week — which I am flying off to vacation half way through, so my stuff has to all be done by then. August should be decent, though; work will have slowed down, Jen and I should have some time to hang out, take the dogs for lots of walks, etc. We’re going to see Spider-Man 2 tonight… looking forward to that, since I hear it’s much better than the first. We were planning on just waiting till we could get it on Netflix, but it does sound good. Plus we haven’t been out on a date since Harry Potter (the night before Jen left for Louisville), so it’s definitely time again. :) I am so looking forward to hanging out with Tony and ...
14:58:55 July 2, 2004, Friday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
Stuff I can't talk about
So tonight I spent about 2 hours doing a focus group for a product under development. I can’t say what product it was, or even who’s developing it, because they made me sign an NDA. Still, it was fun, we got to see something new and non-public, got to give actual feedback that I know will at least be heard, and I got paid $75 for chatting about music and the Internet for two hours. (Yes, I can say that much—the product has to do with music and the internet. :-P) I found the focus group by checking Craig’s List for the local area, under “et cetera jobs”. It seemed like an easy and reasonably fun way to make a little extra pocket change. A couple of incidentals about the group: There were eight of us, and I was the only one who didn’t have an iPod. Of course, as far as I could tell there was only one (maybe two) other person(s) who even downloaded music before buying said iPod; when I mentioned having downloaded the first version of Napster people seemed oddly impressed. Sometimes I ...
20:36:09 June 25, 2004, Friday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
Meme: Books that ought to be read
1. Name a book you love no matter what anybody says. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Say what you will about the thinly veiled Christianity, but my dad read these books to me when I was sick once, as a kid, and they hold a special place in my heart. 2. Name a book you loathe no matter what anybody says. Can’t think of any I loathe right offhand, but J.R.R. Tolkien’s Silmarillion is mind-numbingly boring no matter who says it’s not. The man had a mind for detail, he was creative as all get out, but damn he should have hired a ghostwriter to make stories out of his material. :) Thank god for Peter Jackson, that’s all I’m saying. 3. Name a book you think is undeservedly obscure. We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families. The true story of the Rwandan genocide, one of the decidedly less shining moments in recent history. Reading news stories about current events in the Sudan—and other places—makes this book all the more painful (and relevant). This ...
11:22:58 June 24, 2004, Thursday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
So it turns out the fact that the server has 4 times the memory and about 6 times the processing power is irrelevant to the problem. Ah well. 500 clients isn’t too shabby, I guess. The problem with the Internet is that just anybody can come along and read whatever you put out there. No, that’s not actually it. The problem with the Internet is that too many people know where my website is. (Yeah, like what, six people or something?) ;) I’m kidding, but there is a real point there. Sometimes you want to post about, oh, just random stuff, or rant about something, or what have you. I guess that’s why people put up anonymous LiveJournals, eh? (Ah, the completely private LiveJournal entry: the offsite, password-protected journal your little brother/mom and dad can’t read. It’s every teenager’s dream. :) Anyway, nothing concrete, just rambling about the strange sort-of-public persona we all seem to be acquiring these days. I gave Charlie a bath today; I really think there’s nothing more ...
19:35:31 June 22, 2004, Tuesday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
Goin through the motions
5 more days, plus a bit, until Jenny is back in town and life is back to normal. Been working so hard that I don’t have the energy to do much by the time I get home (my current mantra is “just survive until July 17th”), but the imp of the perverse has seated himself firmly on my shoulders — I can’t sleep. I’m just all kinds of out of sorts right now. I guess having work scheduled out until October 11 for a hard July 12th deadline will do that to you, though. I am at least proud of the work I’m doing. I was running our major application on my laptop today (just a Pentium M with 512 MB of RAM), and it handles at least 500 simultanous clients, each sending commands at random intervals between 0 and 1000 ms. Considering it’s all code I wrote myself (in about 3 weeks), I don’t know if that’s more a tribute to my mad skillz or the ease of developing in C# — the truth probably being, as it so often is, somewhere in the middle. (I’m so humble it hurts to be me sometimes… ;) ) The only ...
00:03:04 June 22, 2004, Tuesday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
How long will we have electricity after the zombie takeover?
11:10:00 June 16, 2004, Wednesday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
Allllll byyy myseeeeeeeelf...
She says she loves me, but then she celebrated our anniversary by going out to dinner with her parents, and without me. I tell you... ;) Anyway, I stayed in, watched Miracle, and made one of my favorite recipes from my childhood: English Muffin Pizzas Ingredients: Plain English Muffins (2-3 halves per person) Pizza Sauce Mozzarella Cheese Parmesan Cheese Any other pizza toppings you like Preheat oven to 350°. Split the English Muffins and toast them in a toaster until crispy. Spread pizza sauce, toppings, and cheeses on muffins and place in middle rack of oven for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Turn on broiler for 2-5 minutes (watch it carefully) until cheese is a nice golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for as long as you can stand it, then gobble them up (half the fun is burning the roof of your mouth ;).
18:44:45 June 9, 2004, Wednesday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
Self-Labeling Kitty Cat
So today Riley walks by me and I notice something a little strange… Looking a little closer… That’s right, the cat has affixed a tag to his butt claiming us as his owners. He’s a little strange. :)
19:21:12 June 5, 2004, Saturday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
Memorial Day Weekend: Fun and Games
Being the wild and crazy kids we are, Jen and I started off our mad, mad Memorial Day by taking in a movie—Shrek 2—at the local cinema. (Side note: the local cinema has very nice chairs, but is not steeply canted enough for my taste. I give it a B+, with a nudge for its relative cleanliness, but docked because they refused to sell Jen a student ticket.) Anyway, the movie itself. It is as all the reviews have said: Ha ha, funny movie, tries too hard, story isn’t as good as the first one, and Puss in Boots steals all of his scenes. (To be fair, it is quite hilarious in parts, and well worth the inflated ticket prices.) Also, there’s a scene where the fairy godmother breaks out Bonnie Tyler’s I Need A Hero. And stay through the first round of credits. Saturday, we got glasses. See Jen’s page for photos, if you dare. Sunday. I don’t really remember what we did Sunday. Oh. We acquired two new lamps for the living room. And watched approximately 400 contiguous episodes of Law and Order: ...
20:27:44 May 31, 2004, Monday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
The Wonderful World of College Brochures
13:19:43 May 28, 2004, Friday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
The Institute for Abused Stuffed Animals
17:19:13 May 26, 2004, Wednesday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
Victory at last
I am—finally—declaring victory over Arborio rice. Tonight I cooked Vegetarian Jambalaya (substituting Arborio rice for the farro—incidentally, if you do want to use farro, note that it’s called “spelt” in North America—otherwise the nice people at Central Market will be terribly confused) which turned out very well. Maybe Fiona’s visit was the final thing I needed to master the arborio. :) Jenny says: “Very, very tasty. Two thumbs up.” Oh, by the way: this recipe makes a lot of jambalaya. Use a big pot and invite company. :)
20:06:32 May 22, 2004, Saturday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
How to Save Episode III
There’s an article up on MSDN titled Can ‘Star Wars: Episode III’ be saved? worth reading if you’re a fan of the trilogy (and by “the trilogy” I mean the three movies made in ‘77, ‘80, and ‘83). The basic recommendations? Fire Lucas, fire Christensen and resurrect Ed Wood from the grave. I couldn’t agree more. Well, at least with the first two :)
10:25:58 May 20, 2004, Thursday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
Video game news from E3
Some exciting news out of E3 (the big video game conference)… I haven’t been watching the XBox or PS2 information, but I noticed some very cool news re: the Gamecube. I must have this. It looks like the greatest Zelda game ever. (If you get an error, just keep trying, it’s hammered right now.) And Jen will be very happy to hear about this… (2-player coop? Cool!)
13:05:50 May 12, 2004, Wednesday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
Backyard photos
As promised, new photos of the house… The backyard swing, with all of its vines flowering. The garden in full blown growing mode. Amazingly, nothing has died yet. :) The new deck furniture, after having hacked out enough of the rosebush to allow them to peacefully coexist.
18:00:03 May 4, 2004, Tuesday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
Okay, quick update...
I probably will have little time or inclination to update the rest of this week (stop laughing), so all my adoring fans will have to make do with this. Yes, we spent most of last weekend and yesterday cleaning the house from top to bottom, and breaking it from bottom to top. This latter bit is really a very annoying trend. We just “finished” the front yard (well, sort of, it still needs about 327 plants and a new ledge to replace the rotted one—but at least it looks nice!) The new patio furniture makes me very happy, especially as the weather has been Austin Beautiful™ lately. I’ve been dying to take a good book and a beer out on the back porch after work, and just have not had the time. But Fiona is coming in tonight, and Les Thursday, and I’m sure there will be plenty of hanging around in the backyard drinking. :) And then of course there’s the BBQ this weekend. I do have pictures of the house, particularly of the very pretty wooden swing (currently swimming in white flowering ...
12:33:27 May 4, 2004, Tuesday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
The (Blues) plot thickens
ESPN.com - NHL - Was Danton’s agent the target in murder plot?Law enforcement sources have told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that sports agent Dave Frost was the target of an alleged murder-for-hire plot arranged by his client, Blues forward Mike Danton.It’s like some weird Law & Order episode…
16:43:03 April 20, 2004, Tuesday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
Silver linings
The only good thing about the Blues being the first team eliminated from the playoffs this year (sigh) is that at least it might mean I no longer have to listen to the completely inane announcer ESPN has covering that series. My god, the man is terrible!But then, so are were the Blues this year. :-P
21:28:06 April 15, 2004, Thursday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
Austin Dot Net User's Group (ADNUG) Meeting, 4/12/04
Today’s ADNUG meeting is on the use of Virtual PC (VPC) as a development tool, and the speaker is Michael Kennedy, a consultant with the Microsoft Technology Center here.
16:16:44 April 12, 2004, Monday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical
Why does my heart feel so bad?
Jenny and I went to a play last night, called The Shelter, written by a friend of ours. On the way there, as we were getting off the highway, there was a woman standing on the median with a sign (this is not an uncommon thing in Austin — in Seattle, they sit on the sidewalks and play music. In Austin, they stand in the median and hold signs) that said “My Doggy is in the pound. Two days left to get him back. Please help.”Anyone who knows me knows that this is hitting below the belt. I didn’t have any cash at the time, but I still feel awful about not helping her. Oh, I know, she might not even have a dog, whatever, but I keep thinking about how I’d feel if I were homeless and my dogs got taken away, and I feel terrible for this woman.After the play we went to a local Mexican food joint and had chips and salsa and very expensive (but tasty) margaritas with some of Jen’s schoolmates. (As an aside, it feels really weird to call them schoolmates. But I don’t know what else to call ...
20:52:53 April 10, 2004, Saturday (PDT) Source: Fairly Symmetrical