2012 Flower Pr0n - Oriental Poppy Edition

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Boogie Blogging Friday - Old Bones Edition

Friday, June 29, 2012


Since entering his dotage, Boogie the Giant Schnauzer has decided that laying in the back yard and letting the sun soak his old bones is simply the BOMB. He doesn't usually stay out for too long, but thoroughly enjoys his new summer hobby.

Eating my words (and boy are they tasty)

Thursday, June 28, 2012
After spending the last week shaking my head and ranting about how people don't know how to act (and wondering how the race survives while so many appear to be just fine with the idea of eating their young), along comes an event that makes me eat my words.

The Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Who would have thought that Justice Roberts would be the one to step into the breach? Not me. Not ever.

I'm happy to be wrong, and delighted that (as my friend Phiala notes) the United States is being drawn kicking and screaming back toward being a first world county.

Who Raised These People?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012
As noted in the douchenozzle post below, I've been noticing a trend in the people I've been exposed to lately that prompts me to ask, over and over, "Who raised these people?"

My word is my bond


When I give my word about something, that means that I have made a commitment to follow through on whatever it is that I've promised. Asking me again and again to change my mind after my word has been given says something not only about you, but about your opinion regarding my integrity. Something I do not appreciate, by the way.

You're not a special snowflake


No, you're really not. The rules do, in fact, apply to you, and you don't deserve special treatment because you might be inconvenienced by doing things the way everyone else in your community does them. You want to make a change? Fine - do the work necessary, and make the change apply to everyone, not just your own special self.

Mind your own beeswax, you presumptive motherfucker


If we're not friends, if I don't work for you, if you're not my professional mentor, if I don't respect you, then you should not presume to counsel me on my career arc. Because, you see, I'm not here for your personal convenience, and I don't give a good goddamn what you think.

Wake me when you run out of excuses

Gender diversity and feminism matter to me. This is not a secret. So if you have a history - a personal, documented history - of hiring only men in your organization, relying on the old trope that "women just don't apply for these jobs" as your excuse probably isn't going to prevent me from thinking you're a misogynistic asshat. The reason why is left as an exercise for the class.

Just because I'm a misanthrope doesn't mean you're not a ginormous knob 


It's true.I'm something of a misanthrope. I have little time and shorter patience for your shenanigans, and I'm not above speaking publicly about what a dumbass you are. And that might be considered poor manners in some circles. But it doesn't negate the fact that you are, in fact, a ginormous knob.

NOW GET OFF MY LAWN.

Don't Be a Douchenozzle

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

 

Why, yes, Mazda CX-9, Colorado license plate number 025-WVD, parked in the Hickory House parking lot in Parker, Colorado on Tuesday, June 26th at approximately 6:00 p.m. - you are, in fact, a DOUCHENOZZLE.

Seriously - it's not a Ferrari, for fuck's sake. What makes you think you need to take up 4 PARKING SPACES?

Here lately I've felt like I'm asking myself daily: Who the fuck raised these people? No, seriously - who? It wasn't the wolves - they at least have some social graces.

Miscellaneous Monday

Monday, June 25, 2012
So the Boogie Dog's energy is slowly coming back. He's still not as strong as he was before his anesthesia, and he's not walking as far in the morning, but he wants to go, and he has spurts of energy at various points during the day. As my friend Sarah notes, "Dogs really only know now, so the best thing we can do is make sure that now is happy and full of love." I can do that.
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It feels like my entire state is on fire. The smoke and ash is now thick across the Front Range, and you can no longer see the mountains through the haze. The firefighters, however, continue to fight the blaze, risking life, limb and career to keep others safe. You'd think the infrastructure would then offer them, oh, I don't know, health insurance. But you'd be wrong. That's some shameful shit right there.
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I'm almost ready to make an announcement surrounding the SOOPER SEKRET PROJEKT - probably later this week. I just KNOW you all are on pins and needles. Or not.
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I try to be an informed citizen. I listen to political podcasts. I read the news. I try to keep abreast of the shenanigans those crazy Congress critters are up to. But I'm tempted, OH SO VERY TEMPTED, to unsubscribe from all that shit until the Presidential election is over. Lying sacks of shit, every one.
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Don't forget to log your reading on the Hot Chicks and Smart Men Read page for a chance to win an Amazon gift card and to force me to donate the big bucks to our local library. READING IS FUNDAMENTAL.

Boogie Blogging Friday - Sympathy Edition

Friday, June 22, 2012
Boogie's been a bit more elderly than normal lately, due to his recent anesthesia and an upper respiratory infection. For the first time ever, he had a day this week when he didn't feel up for walkies.

And then yesterday my friend Sarah and her partner lost their beloved dog Grendel. Grendel and Boogie were about the same size (100 lbs), and Grendel was a year older than our Boogs.

My heart aches for Sarah and Nick, and my stomach is clenching in anticipation of the pain of losing Boogs. Walkies have been a mainstay of Boogie's life, his whole life, and I fear that this first refusal will mark the beginning of the end of our time with him. And that makes me profoundly sad as I empathize with my friend.

Fair winds and following seas, sweet Grendel.

Hot Chicks and Smart Men Read!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012
It's that time of year, y'all - time for the Second Annual Hot Chicks and Smart Men Dig Reading Summer Reading Program in Honor of Debby Faught, brought to you by Hot Chicks Dig Smart Men!

Returning participants probably noticed the change in the name of the program. If you'll recall, one of last year's winners was my beloved Aunt Debby, who read The Confession by John Grishom. And you might also recall that earlier this year, Debby passed away suddenly, leaving a hole in our family and our hearts. So from now on, this program will be named in her honor. She loved books, and I love her.


AND I love reading. I read on my Kindle, on my tablet, on the Internet. I listen to Audiobooks whenever it's not practical to read words in a row. I'd read while I was sleeping if I could stay conscious. So once again, I'm sponsoring this reading program to benefit the 
Douglas County Library through the Douglas County Library Foundation,* in my beloved Auntie's name. Last year libraries across the land accrued $660.00 due to our efforts, and this year I'm hoping for even better results. 


Here's da rules:

  1. The contest will run from June 20th (the summer solstice! Yay!) to September 4th (the first working day after Labor Day. Boo.). I'll open the comments tomorrow on the contest page, and close them on September 5th.
  2. When you read a new book, post a comment on the "Hot Chicks and Smart Men Dig Reading" page with the title and author of the book. There's also a handy link at the top of the home page. One comment, one book. PLEASE do not post general comments on the reading page. If you do, I'm going to delete them, because it hoses up my book count and I'm too lazy to create a database for the purposes of this contest. Sorry folks - that's how I roll.
  3. Audiobooks count. eBooks count. ANY book counts, including books read to youngsters, although I'd ask that you use good judgement. If you read Green Eggs and Ham to your nephew for the THOUSANDTH TIME, you probably shouldn't enter it to win.
  4. For each book that is read and registered in the comments by me and my readers, I will donate $1 to the Douglas County Library Foundation, up to $250.00
  5. When the contest ends, I will use a random number generator to find THE WINNERS. THE WINNERS will each get $25.00 gift certificates to Amazon, so that you might buy more books. Each unique comment (one comment, one book) will be an entry for the gift certificate, so the more you read, the better chance you have to win.
  6. If the number of comments exceeds 250 (the ceiling on the donation), the subsequent comments will still be considered for the gift certificate. 
READ! READ! READ!


And don't be stingy with your reading, folks. There are lots of summer reading programs** out there:

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*Disclaimer: The Douglas County Library and the Douglas County Library Foundation have no idea who I am and I'm not affiliated with either organization. Ask any employee over there if they've heard of me and my website, and I'm quite sure the answer would be "Who?" and "We don't allow those kinds of websites here," respectively.

Charles Carreon: Doubling Down on the Douchenozzle

Monday, June 18, 2012
One of my favorite webcomics these days is The Oatmeal, a slightly raunchy dissertation on geekery, douchebags and living in the modern world. I also love, love, love their Horrible Cards, which I totally buy for all my friends and family.

So I've been following the whole FunnyJunk vs The Oatmeal Internet debacle with some amusement. There's a great synopsis (including some legal opinion) over at Popehat, which you can find here, here, here and here.

In case the Popehat entries are TLDR for you, here's the short version:
  • FunnyJunk has apparently been publishing the comics of Matthew Inman, the proprietor of The Oatmeal, on their site for years without attribution.
  • Mr. Inman did not care for this, and called them out on their theft of his material.
  • FunnyJunk then retained a self-described Internet Law expert named Charles Carreon to send Mr. Inman what's called a "demand letter" whereby the attorney demands restitution for whatever wrongs they perceive have been done to them. In this case, restitution consisted of $20K, payable to FunnyJunk.
  • The Oatmeal responded in a truly spectacular fashion, expressing disparaging opinions about Mr. Carreon's legal opinion, knowledge regarding the internet, and the sexual proclivities of Mr. Carreon's mother. And because it's The Oatmeal, Mr. Inman then turned the entire thing into a charity drive for the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society.
  • Mr. Carreon then basically issued a "I can't believe HOW MEAN THEY ARE TO ME" type response.
  • The charity campaign (to which I contributed in FunnyJunk's name) has currently raised over $180,000.00.
  • On Friday, Mr. Carreon decided to file suit in Federal Court against Matthew Inman, Indiegogo (the site hosting the charity drive), and...wait for it...The National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society.
Yeah. Basically, this flaming douchenozzle is suing two upstanding charities for having the temerity to be the beneficiaries of The Oatmeal's charity drive because...wait for it...the entire thing is embarrassing. 

Now there are bunch of people offering to work the case pro bono, and a ton more offering to help foot the bill for Mr. Carreon's lawsuit. As someone who occasionally writes snarky opinion pieces, and has been threatened with legal action as a result*, this kind of thing just pisses me off, and I want Mr. Carreon's lawsuit and douchebaggery to die in a fire. So I'll be contributing to the legal fund, as well. 

Seriously, for someone who purports to be an "expert" in Internet Law, he doesn't seem to have a very firm grasp on what happens here. I wonder if he's ever even heard of the Streisand Effect? Because his name is now becoming synonymous with "Internet Douchebag," and no amount of legal action is going to make that go away.

So the question becomes, is he an emotional infant, or just stupid?

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*Why, yes, I am still waiting for "The Internet Authorities" to come and take down my website. Man, those people move slow.

2012 Flower Pr0n - Wildflowers

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Anatomy of a Certification Exam

Thursday, June 14, 2012
People who work in Information Technology typically have one thing in common: Professional Certification. These are usually proctored exams that are supposed to demonstrate your Mad Skilz with a specific vendor's product line such as Microsoft, Cisco, or Oracle. Oftentimes what they actually demonstrate is an ability to memorize esoteric facts, but that's another blog entry.

These are my thoughts when I'm preparing for a certification exam, littered with insecurity and the horrifying stories I tell myself. I have a distressing tendency to conflate my worth as a human being with my ability to perform, especially in a standardized test environment. Stupid brain.

Reading the Book, Part 1

Hey, I remember some of this. Maybe it won't be so bad.

Wait, what? What the hell does that mean?

What kind of ghetto outfit uses hubs for connectivity these days?

I should schedule the exam in two weeks. Surely I'll be ready by then.

Reading the Book, Part 2

Sigh. I'd really like to read something other than technical material.

Who the hell uses RIP-1 anymore? Seriously.

I AM A SUBNETTING GENIUS.

No, I'm not.

I bet I wouldn't have to take a proctored exam if I sold beer from a golf cart.

Taking the Quizes

Wow. A 48%. Clearly I'm not retaining the material very well.

100%! Take that! Wait...you've worked in technology for almost 30 years. You probably shouldn't be so impressed with yourself for understanding the OSI model.

36%. Clearly I have a bright future awaiting me in the food service industry.

Hey! It looks like I have a somewhat thorough understanding of IPv4 methodology!

69%. I think my Hot Daughter said they're hiring over at the Jack in the Box. At least I'll show up for work on time and not miss shifts because I'm in jail.

Taking the Practice Exams

Hm. I'm not increasing my score that much after I do remediation on the areas where I'm weak.

Why did I schedule the exam for only two weeks after I started studying?

Clearly, I'm not as smart as I think I am.

Fuck it. If I fail, I'll just have to schedule it again for next month after I've had time to do something other than cramming for two weeks straight. Or I can try and pursue an exciting career in lawn maintenance.

Exam Day

I'll just review the memorization tables in the futile hope that I'll be able to answer that one question which will push my score into the "passing" range.

Let the terror and self-loathing commence!

I wonder how much my salary would have to be if we downsized from the Big Yellow House to a Tiny Yellow House in a bad part of town?

Well, this isn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. But I'm still not optimistic.

I PASSED! I PASSED! I'm the Queen of the World!

No, I'm not. But at least I passed...

Colorado Adventures - Gasthaus Eichler, Winter Park

Monday, June 11, 2012
It's been a while since the Smart Man and I indulged in a Colorado Adventure, and we were glad to get back to it. We decided on Winter Park, Colorado, which is primarily a ski resort, but also has summer activities. If you like to bike or hike, this town is a perfect summer destination. The people were all friendly and everywhere we went the service was exemplary.

The Lodgings


Our room by the creek
We stayed at Gasthaus Eichler, a German style Guest House on Winter Park's main thoroughfare. Our room was clean and looked out over a local creek next to the hotel. The weather was mild enough that leaving the windows open was a good idea, but for city folk like us, the sound of a babbling brook (and the local railroad) resulted in our waking up often during the night.

Our hosts were Hans and Hannah - who obviously hail from the region where Gasthauses are common - and they were gracious, easygoing and attentive. The atmosphere of the place was relaxed and happy, with Hans and Hannah taking care of most matters personally. The cost was very reasonable, and we've put this establishment on our short list for return trips, because DUDE - THEY HAVE A BEER GARDEN.

The Food 

As is our custom, we chose to eat our meals in our hotel. Since Gasthous Eichler also has a German restaurant, that worked out great, especially for the Smart Man - he has an unnatural fondness for German dishes. His choices included Jagerschnitzel and Weinerschnitzel, while I limped along with Elk Medallions in a Red Current reduction and Lemon Caper Salmon. The German dishes were served with a variety of German sides such as sauerkraut, red cabbage and spaetzle, all home made. All our meals were delicious, and the cost was quite reasonable, as well.

The Activities

They blew the whistle a lot, too
On Saturday we decided to take a ride on the Georgetown Loop, a historic train pulled by both a steam locomotive and a diesel locomotive. It's a narrow-gauge railroad, originally installed to manage mining activities in the area. The views were pretty spectacular, and who doesn't like trains?

Sunday morning we decided to try something different, and got up early to visit Dog Sled Rides of Winter Park. It's too late in the season for the dogs to actually be pulling sleds, of course, but they have a summer alternative - the dogs pull modified golf carts, instead. You have to be there at 6:15 a.m. to ensure the weather's not too hot for the dogs to pull, which means it's chilly.

A well-earned water break
OMGWTFBBQ, this was so much fun. The dogs (like working dogs everywhere) were all anxious to be chosen for the "team," and the ones left in the kennel were obviously disappointed by this turn of events. And the ten dogs that pulled our cart were the best examples of "ready dogs" I've ever seen. They were READY. Ready to go, ready to work, ready to run. There was even a pup on our team named Blaze, not yet a year old. He was paired with a more mature animal named Gabby, who reminded me of many Drill Instructors I've known. Blaze would start to goof off, messing around in his harness, and Gabby would school him with a snarl and a nip, clearly telling the youngster to quit fucking around - this is serious business, young man. WE'RE WORKING DOGS, HERE. 

The dogs were all quite friendly, as well, as we got a chance to pet them after the ride as their musher unharnessed them and put them away. The moral of the story: A tired sled dog is a happy sled dog. Jeff, the proprietor, told us that they run sled rides all day every day during the winter months, with professional mushers on every sled.  Highly recommended!

The Long and the Short of it

We'll be returning to Winter Park as soon as we can work it back into our schedule, as we look forward to enjoying Hans and Hannah's hospitality, as well as another visit with the dogs.

Scarcity

Friday, June 8, 2012
You might have noticed that content has been a bit thin around here lately. There are several very good reasons for this, some of which I will actually share.

Dance, Internet Monkey! Dance!
1. I'm busy. Professional demands for my time have increased exponentially in the last several months, which leaves less time for everything else. Stupid mortgage.

2. I don't currently have much to say that I'm free to discuss publicly. I suppose that's true for anyone who blogs for any length of time - you occasionally need quiet periods where content becomes scarce and the place is dominated by photos of flowers and dogs. While I love my blog, this place is not how I make my living, so I don't feel compelled to force the issue. I'm pretty sure that doesn't make me a slacker - or maybe it does. Either way, I got nothing.

3. I am involved in a SOOPER-SEKRET PROJEKT. I can't discuss it here (BECAUSE IT'S SEKRET), but will do so when I can. It's taking up a significant portion of my free time, though, and will continue to do so, probably through June.

4. I'm out of Free Shit to give away. I haven't been making much jam lately (see items 1 and 3 above), and all the cool shit I had in queue is already gone. I'm not really interested in buying things specifically for Free Shit Friday, so we'll just have to wait until I start jamming again.

So there you have it. Hopefully July will be a little more scintillating around here.

2012 Flower Pr0n - Snuff Film Edition

Thursday, June 7, 2012
Last night a storm came through our county, with attendant thunder, lightening and hail. Naturally all the outside plant life is now decimated. There's plant detritus scattered all over the yard and everything looks sad and pathetic. Sigh. I was doing so well at caring for them this year, too.



It's Monday, so Here's What's on my Mind

Monday, June 4, 2012
Crap on a cracker, I'm a sick human being. After determining that I would add 20 minutes of running* twice a week to my workout schedule, what I actually did was add 20 minutes six days a week. So my quads have been in a constant state of stiffness for a week. I think I need professional help.
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Boogie the Giant Schnauzer is recovering nicely from his traumatic dental experience. Which is good, because cooking his kibble until it's soft stinks up the entire main floor of the house, and his beard is a disgusting mess afterwards. Bless his pointy little head.
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I've been slacking on my recreational reading the last several weeks because I've been reading such fascinating tomes as SIP: Understanding the Session Initiation Protocol, and Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices. While professional development is important for a knowledge worker, the timing is unfortunate because my Summer Reading Program is right around the corner. I'm going to be logging my professional and school reading for the program, but I'd much rather log China MiĆ©ville's The Scar, which I may not actually complete until the end of the year at the rate I'm going. I guess I'll have to live vicariously through participants in the reading program. So please read something more interesting than Professional Unified Communications Development with Microsoft Lync Server 2010. Thank you for your cooperation. 
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If you're a fan of modern guitar blues, may I recommend Joe Bonamassa's new album, Driving Towards the Daylight? I don't know if this will usurp Sloe Gin as my favorite, but still - awesome.

 
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*Disclaimer: What I do is not exactly "running" since my pace is barely faster than my walking speed. One of the reasons I've always hated running is that I'm so very, very bad at it.

Boogie Blogging Friday - Going to the Dentist Sucks Edition

Friday, June 1, 2012
What do you mean, no snacks? I know there's some in the pantry! WHY DO YOU HATE ME SO?
Poor Boogie had an awful, no-good, horrible, terrible day yesterday. Yes, he had to go to the DENTIST.

He's been in need of dental care for some time, but since dogs have to be anesthetized to get their teeth cleaned, we were hesitant to get it done. He'll be eleven in November, and with his low-functioning kidneys, we were sitting on the risk/reward fence. But it finally reached the point where his vet thought his kidney function was high enough and his gums were in bad enough shape to schedule the procedure. And as long as he was out for the count, his vet removed a cyst above his right eye that's been weepy lately. That's our Boogie - a lumpy wonder.

Everything went very well, although he had to have two molars extracted (one due to a broken tooth and another due to decay). Not that he thinks things went well - the extractions mean he's off crunchy snacks for a few days while the gums heal, and THAT IS SIMPLY UNACCEPTABLE.