Monday, July 30, 2007

You're Fired :-C

A good guy named Joe pointed this out to me...

(-: Just Between You and Me ;-)

THERE are many ways to console someone when a multimillion-dollar business deal falls through. Firing off a “tough break” e-mail message punctuated by a frown-face emoticon is not one of them.

Scott Fahlman, a professor at Carnegie Mellon, is believed to have broken new ground with his use of an emoticon on an electronic bulletin board in 1982.

More than once, Alexis Feldman, the director of the Feldman Realty Group, a commercial real estate company in Manhattan, has been moving forward on a major deal when, she said, “at the 23rd hour, I get an e-mail from the broker saying, ‘Sorry, my client is not interested in the space, too bad we couldn’t make the big bucks’ — then there’s a frown face!”

“I mean, it’s ludicrous,” said Ms. Feldman, 25. “I’m not going to feel better about losing hundreds of thousands of dollars because someone puts a frown face to regretfully inform me.”


Kristina Grish, author of “The Joy of Text: Mating, Dating and Techno-relating” (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2006), said that she grew so accustomed to making the :-P symbol (a tongue hanging out) in instant messages at work that it once accidentally popped up, in three dimensions, on a date.

“When the waiter told us the specials,” she recalled in an e-mail message, “I made that face — not on purpose of course — because they sounded really drab and uninteresting. And the guy I was out with looked at me like I was insane and said, ‘Did you just make an IM face?’ ”

This story was LOL. I was all like :)) and thinking I was l33t h4xx0r5.

I'd like to see ASCII art used in normal conversation.

Hey, was that a

  (.   \
    \  |
     \ |___(\--/)
   __/    (  . . )
  "'._.    '-.O.'
       '-.  \ "|\

I just saw?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Real News comes to the Internets

From Pandabonium, we found a new news site:

Now that CNN, MSNBC, Fox and others have devolved into infotainment catering to the interests of corporate socialists (we get to broadcast, but you don't) and government spokesheads, it is nice that someone is using the Internet to get more points of view out there and more decent (read true) information. Hopefully they succeed in their mission to let us know what we didn't know about our world before (even if it is too scary, nasty, or sexy for eyes who wish to remain ignorant of consequences) so we can make better decisions.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

Busy, busy, busy is what a Bokononist whispers "whenever [he] thinks about how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is."

The Books of Bokonon
From Cat's Cradle
By Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

I want to make blog entries often. I really do. But sometimes other things keep jumping in the way and saying, "Pay attention to me!" This is the grist of life I think.

This last week involved a Friday the 13th that really was one. I ended up dropping Ladybug off at the Oregon Country Fair (near Eugene, OR) early so I could pick up the MiniSnab a day early at camp for a common situation that any competent adult could have handled easily and effectively, but that was not who I was dealing with so off I went. (Without going into details, the MiniSnab did nothing wrong and was not injured in any way)

The unplanned trek would amount to about 630 miles total. This is only 70 miles shy of my longest daily solo road trek of 700 miles from Portland, OR to Elko, NV (going the scenic way). About 250 miles into my trip at about noon, I hit a traffic jam just shy of Tacoma that lasted about 45 minutes. During that time, I noticed my rear left brake was not only out, but metal scraping on metal. After 45 minutes of listening to that, I knew the whole thing was toast and I would even need to replace the drum, so I decided to press on and go easy on the brakes.

Even so, the brake fluid got hot enough to make the pedal squishy when I got off the Interstate to head towards camp. I picked up the MiniSnab which gave the brakes time to cool off and off we went. I decided not to brave SeaTac traffic a second time because of the brakes, so we headed eastward for the open range of Eastern Washington and then curled back towards the gorge to head home. The course we took had only one hairy hill to descend and most of it was on interstates, so braking could be minimized. I also found that those extra gear settings that most of us never use on automatics were nearly as effective at slowing a vehicle as brakes. Every 100 miles or so, I would stop and check the brake fluid to make sure it was still full (I bought a pint to top it off but never needed it).

Luckily, the Friday the 13th demon was busy elsewhere and we got home without further incident. It appears the brake problem might have been caused by a failing anti-lock brake system that turned abruptly pro-lock, If so, it might cost more than the car is worth to fix it, so I am going to try to rely on my bike for a while (insert sound of Pandabonium clapping here). Shortly after we reached home, Ladybug arrived with my friend Richard who was gracious enough to drive her back from the fair. We all decompressed from our various drives with a little wine and chips (although MiniSnab had Minute Maid Lemonade with ZERO percent juice [from Taco Del Mar]) and Richard slept on our luxurious couch. I will let Ladybug post if she wishes about Eugene and the fair. Busy Busy Busy.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Oh Yeah, Man. June. Totally.

Have you ever let a whole month slip by because of something as simple as wild dogs way too much overtime and junk going on? Me neither. Wait, I am lying. June was like that for me. Work went nuts with new projects and so forth and most of my vacation was canceled and my weekends and evenings were eaten up by various forms of programming, debugging, meatball surgery, travel, installations, and more. It was poopy.

In any case, I am sorry for not providing the stunning commentary and gripping action-packed blog entries that you have come to expect from the Snabulus blog. Luckily, things are coming back under control. The MiniSnab is off starting a vegetarian rebellion at some camp in Washington (even though she still likes Happy Meals and a good Ahi Tuna Steak). Ladybug is feeding some kids and staff at a daycare facility, and I am getting back to 40 hrs/week again at work.

I also underwent a "sleep study" because of general fatigue and found out that I have somewhere around 139 apnea related events per hour during sleep. This means that I am either not breathing or barely breathing for a period of 10 or more seconds PER EVENT. That was not surprising since they made me sleep on my back and I barely felt like I slept at all. During my 2 hour test, I was in REM sleep for less than a minute and my oxygen level fell as low as 72% of normal. They hooked me up to a machine called a CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) and things drastically improved.

So, now I have my own CPAP machine to use at home. Even after one day, my energy level is higher than it has been in years. I also didn't have to fight to stay awake at work. So, if you are a big time snorer and your significant other/roommate/beer buddy says you are not breathing for long periods of time when sleeping, I suggest you look into a sleep study.

Another byproduct of my work was traveling to San Jose, California to install our software (that I wrote 90% of) at a major .COM company. That is a beautiful area with a dry, but mild climate and lots of opportunities. The big buildings in San Jose are named after software companies instead of banks and the HQ for Adobe and Apple are only minutes away. And yet, I was able to drive for 20 minutes and find some VERY rural, as in nearly survivalist, enclaves up in the coastal mountains above Cupertino. Lots of redwoods, huge madrone trees, and NO TRESPASSING signs everywhere. A saw a couple people that looked like older hippies but the look in their eyes was more of a Ted Nugent vibe (Hippies with Guns). After I got back on the road I was supposed to have stayed on, I got back to the gated mansion driveways you would expect in California, especially approaching the high-class bedroom community of Saratoga. The nearby Monterey Bay area is nicer, but I enjoyed my off time in the San Jose area just the same.

Since most of you aren't interestied in geeky stuff the intricacies of creating and consuming PDA web services and probably haven't even heard of the .NET framework, I will sign off until my more sane schedule allows me to live more life worth blogging about.

Okay...It's Official

I took a pointless test, and this is the result. Actually, I'm a bit disappointed that my score was so low...

You Are 60% Weird

You're so weird, you think you're *totally* normal. Right?
But you wig out even the biggest of circus freaks!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Tag Baby Dai San Bu

Okay, here I go. Once again, I'll forgo the repeating of the rules. I will also try to avoid posting things I've already put down in other tags:

1. My right eyebrow has tended to itch a lot for at least the past ten years, and I still have no idea why.

2. In my mid to late teens I swore myself to all kinds of conservative ideals (Eagle Scout and confirmation in church to name a couple). In my late teens, right about the time I entered college, I took a hard swing to the left and was even advocating socialism for a while (while practicing both Christianity and Buddhism). In my mid twains I realized I really had little in common with either righties or lefties, drifted toward the center, and more or less stayed there.

3. As a grade schooler I once went too close to a curb while riding a bicycle barefoot and wound up tearing off one toenail. It grew back, but it still sports a sort of scar in the middle.

4. When I first came to Japan and was teaching at several public senior high schools in rotation, my nickname among the students was "Max Coffee", a popular brand of (obscenely sweet) canned coffee, because of its similarity to my surname. Apparently the kids at Ye Olde Academy are now calling me "kuma" ("bear") because I tend to clear my throat a lot.

5. I was in a terrible car accident during my second year here in Japan. I was not the driver. We were both coming back from a friend's apartment where we'd stayed after a party the night before. We also had a guest, a friend of the driver who had only just arrived in Japan from Britain the day before. The driver either failed to see the stop sign or ignored it. We got T-boned at a speed high enough to make our (rental) car spin around more than once. Ironically, the car that hit us was the father of one of my students, who was driving his son to school. The accident happened only a few blocks from the school and was witnessed by an approaching busload of students. The driver of the car that hit us was catapulted through his windshield but, luckily, survived with only a broken arm. His son suffered a broken wrist and concussion, forcing him to pull out of an important sports event that day (He was our school's best runner). The driver of my car suffered a concussion. His friend in the back seat was knocked unconscious and had one ear sliced off by flying glass.

As for me, I came out of it with naught but a small cut on one knuckle, the scar of which I still bear to this day. Being fully alert, I was able to treat the driver of the other car for shock, tend to the two occupants of my car, and be an interpreter for them since neither spoke Japanese at the time. Coincidentally (or not), I was the only one who had been wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.

It's no joke: seatbelts save lives.

6. I love composing tunes, but I made one once that was apparently cursed. (It's a long and very weird story.)

7. I have long been and continue to be strongly attracted to dark-skinned women, particularly Asian and native American.

8. When I was in the 4th grade I got into a fight with my best friend at the time. I punched him hard in the eye. Just before he ran away crying he gave me a vicious blow to my left temple just next to the eye socket. It left me briefly disoriented and had my ears ringing for hours afterward. I also noticed that, after that, I had a sort of line across that temple. I was never sure whether it was a scar in the tissue or on the bone underneath (a hairline fracture maybe?). It's nowhere near as prominent as it used to be, but it's still there now.

I tag Pa've, Memo, and Momo the Wonder Dog.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Tag Baby, Part Deux

No sense in repeating the rules as they are already posted. Here are my 8 facts!

1. I am an Eagle Scout and I support the idea of gays and the non-religious being included in that great youth program. Wake up and smell the new millennium!

2. I would like to see a Ron Paul / Dennis Kucinich Presidential ticket. The only things they agree on are personal freedoms and cutting corporate welfare and that is good enough for me.

3. I hardly ever have time to play computer games anymore, but my favorite when I can is DewKid's Magic Realm game.

4. I don't need to go to a high school reunion because I am still friends with most of my friends from that time.

5. I think fireworks are stinky and annoying, but I put up with them for the kids.

6. I now like most vegetables I hated as a kid, but I still can't eat brussel sprouts.

7. I've been an NRA certified rifle instructor, but I've never owned a firearm.

8. I have a secret Myspace page that I almost completely ignore.

I tag Overdroid (because it has become fashionable), DewKid, and Seymour (in comments since he refuses to blog).

Tag Baby !

I’ve been tagged by Swinebread

Here are the rules:
- Each player starts with eight random facts about themselves.
- Those who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight facts and post these rules.
- At the end of the post, choose some people to get tagged and list their names.

1. I'm the only one I know who doesn't like watermelon....(it tastes like watered-down blech to me)

2. The worst job I've ever had was "swimmbad putzen"- think of vary large tiled sauna, now think of yourself cleaning it in a maid's costume (NOT the sexy kind) by hand with a bristle brush....yea.

3. One of my favorite dinners was with my sister and a friend in a fancy restaurant in Montmartre, watching the lights come on as the sun went down.

4. When you bike in the mountains, you will swallow alot of bugs unless you close your mouth.

5. Living in Washington D.C. without air conditioning is cruel and unusual punishment!

6. Real Mexican food is far superior to anything I've ever eaten in a restaurant!

7. I love some cooking shows (Barefoot Contessa, Nigella Feasts), and despise others (Rachel Ray, the Barbie-looking one w/the outrageous "tablescapes")

8. I know the difference between copper gas pipe and copper piping used for water - (Hint: one is measured [or described] using the inside circumference, one the OUTER).

And thus I tag… Beaniac, Snabby, and Moody!