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The Basement (Parts 175 & 176 of 184)

Friday, December 21, 2007
We hung the mirror in the bathroom, and installed the ceiling light fixtures at the bottom of the stairs.

The Basement (Part 174 of 184)

Thursday, December 20, 2007
Mr. B put up the ceiling fan in the office. Just 10 more parts left...

The Basement (Part 173 of 184)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007
The sofa was delivered (173), and is really comfy...

The Basement (Parts 167-172 of 184)

Monday, December 17, 2007
Where to begin?

They installed the wrong color carpet. Sigh.

BUT, the granite counter is in (167) and looks great, and the mini-fridge (168) and knobs (169) are installed, so the bar is done! Also, the entertainment center is all set up (170), curtains are hung (171), and the plumbing is done - we have running water (172)!

The Basement (Parts 151-166 of 184)

Friday, December 14, 2007
Whew: installed 2 GFCI outlets, 4 more switches, 2 doorknobs, tested all the outlets, put covers on the outlets, hung a curtain rod, touched up the paint, put in the entertainment center components, cleaned the floor. Also: TV delivered, carpet installed.

So close, yet so much more to do...

The Basement (Parts 137-150 of 184)

Thursday, December 13, 2007
2 more outlets, 3 doorknobs, grout for the bathroom floor, vinyl tile in the laundry closet, hooked up the washer and dryer, installed 4 speakers, and got rid of a lot of trash.

I think that's it. All the little stuff isn't very exciting, I know.

But we're getting there...

The Basement (Parts 115-136 of 184)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007
There is tile in the bathroom (115), the trim and doors are painted (116), all of the cable, phone, and internet outlets are done (117), the rest of the outlets are installed (118-128) except for the GFCIs, and we installed 6 sets of recessed light trim (129-134). Also, we bought a sofa (135) and put up blinds in the new office (136).

The Basement (Parts 68-114 of 184)

Monday, December 10, 2007
Part 68: Doors!
Part 69: Trim!
Part 70: Bar cabinets! We chose the same cabinets that we have upstairs, but a slightly darker color, and they look great.



















Part 71: Shelves in the entertainment center!

Also: the laundry light (which comes on automatically when you open the door), 6 switches, 8 electrical outlets, 3 phone jacks, 4 TV jacks, 16 ethernet jacks, 2 speakers, 2 bathroom sconces, and one massive removal of trash.

The Basement (Parts 54-67 of 184, and pictures)

Friday, December 07, 2007
Part 54: Paint touch-up. It's done, and it's fantastic.

Parts 55-61: Mr. B installed all 7 speaker panels last night.
Also last night, I stripped the ends off all the wires in the electrical outlet boxes (62), cut all the wire into 3.5" pieces to pigtail the outlets (63), and stripped the ends off all the pigtailing wires (64).

Part 65: All of the trim and doors were delivered about an hour ago. Very exciting.

Parts 66 & 67: All of the cabinets for the bar were delivered this afternoon! Also, I've pigtailed all of the outlets.

And, by popular demand, pictures of the paint (it's hard to get the color right in photos - the office is greener than it looked in any of them - but here you go):

The Basement (Parts 45-53 of 184)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Sometimes things happen so fast I don't even have time to blog them...

Part 45: Most of the stuff is back under the stairs. Kinda. You can sorta walk through our kitchen now...

Part 46: Priming! Our painter showed back up in town and came out to prime the walls this weekend. It took an hour for the entire thing, using a sprayer...

Parts 47 & 48: Mr. B bought the MDF for the shelves, and our trim guy came and installed the bottom shelves in the entertainment center and on the corner knee walls. I'll post pics at some point to show what the heck I mean by that.

Part 49: Drywall touch-up.

Part 50: The switch for the light under the stairs is installed. We'll probably never use it, since the light has a motion sensor, but it's there. :-)

Part 51: The great returning. We took about $400 worth of stuff back to Lowe's. Cha-ching!

Part 52: All of the trim and doors have been ordered and will delivered on Friday.

Part 53: Paint! We have paint! On the walls! It's painted!!! Our painter and his guys came out today and painted the entire basement. They're coming back tomorrow to touch up, but it's basically done!

The Basement (Parts 39-44 of 184)

Friday, November 30, 2007
Tonight I picked out and bought tile for the bathroom (Part 39). I also bought vinyl tile for under the stairs and under the washer and dryer (40). Then when I got home, I cleaned the area under the stairs (41), laid out the vinyl tile (42), cut the tiles that needed cutting (43), and then stuck down all of the vinyl tile under the stairs (44).


(And you people said I wouldn't have enough Parts...)

So, we have our first floor! Tomorrow I'll be able to move all of the stuff out of our kitchen and dining room and back into storage under the stairs.

The Basement (drywall pics)

A few assorted pics of the finished drywall:

(This blog will go back to being a regular blog, and not a basement blog, in a few weeks - I swear.)

























The Basement (Parts 37 & 38 of 184)

Thursday, November 29, 2007
Part 37: We picked colors! All from Behr: Waterscape for the living room, Pinedale Shores for the office, and Ocean View for the office.

Part 38: We took a trip to Home Depot tonight and bought all of the primer and paint. Now, if we can just find someone to put it all on the walls...

The Best Pizza Place Ever

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
or, Why I Love Vocelli Pizza

Our friendly electrician turned us on to Vocelli pizza, and we've been ordering from them exclusively ever since - their pizza is really good, AND they have anchovies (which makes Mr. B happy).

Tonight, I placed an order at 6:30, and was told it would be here in 30 minutes. I've had a very bad headache today, so I was dozing and didn't notice the time. At 7:30, the phone rang and I realized I was starving - it was the pizza people, calling to apologize for being so late, letting me know the the delivery guy was 3 minutes away, and that they were sending free cannolis for dessert.

But wait, it gets better. The delivery guy showed up, apologized profusely, gave me my pizza and free cannolis - AND a coupon for a free pizza. He explained that a flyer just went out today and they were swamped, and that they were very sorry and hoped we'd still order from them again.

How awesome is that? I didn't even call to complain, and they took care of me. I'll never order from anyone else ever again. Vocelli rocks.

The Basement (Part 36 of 184)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007
We installed a light under the stairs! It's very cool; it has a motion sensor.

C...O...O...L...


C...O...O...L...
Originally uploaded by avpjack
Reminds me of a song by The Time. This is one of my favorites from Vegas.

The Basement (Parts 33-35 of 184)

Sunday, November 25, 2007
We have walls! The basement has been drywalled (Part 33) , mudded (34), and finished (35). Woohoo!

Shameless Plug

Saturday, November 24, 2007
A shameless plug: you can now find the Scott Zetlan Images store online.

The Basement (Part 32 of 184)

Saturday, November 17, 2007
More cleaning. Everything is now out of the basement, even the stuff from under the stairs. It's clean, empty and ready for drywall!

The Basement (Part 31 of 184)

Friday, November 16, 2007
WE PASSED THE INSPECTION! WOOHOO!

The Basement (Parts 26b and 28-30 of 184)

Part 26b: We finished fireblocking (we think)...put up more wood blocks, and stuffed rock wool in the odd spaces. We did NOT use Great Stuff (TM) because the can says that it's highly flammable. Doesn't seem appropriate for fireblocking, but what do I know? The inspector is coming this morning, so we'll see what happens! We have the Great Stuff (TM) if she wants us to put it up.

Part 28: All of the wires are pushed back in the boxes, taped, and ready for drywall. The recessed lights are hardwired to the circuit breaker (no light switch) so that we can turn them on or off, but don't have a switch in the way for the drywall guy (our friendly electrician is friends with our drywall guy, and he's thoughtful).

Part 29: We ran pipes between the sections of the entertainment center, under/behind the wall, for any cords/wires that aren't built-in. Right now, we just think it'll hold an HDMI cable, but the pipes will make it easy to run additional cords in the future if needed!

Part 30: The bathroom fan is installed, and it works!

The Basement (Parts 26a and 27 of 184)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Part 26a: We started putting up fire blocking. A few more boards, some Great Stuff (TM), and ... um ... whatever the heck is going to go on top of the long wall for fireblocking rockwool ... and we'll be ready to actually pass inspection!

Part 27: We have lights! We hooked up all of the recessed lights (and the one outlet that's on that circuit) and put in the light bulbs...and they came on! Of course, the outlet didn't work, but that's because I installed it myself. Fortunately our friendly electrician was able to fix it. So...we have recessed lights! 14 of them, to be precise.

Feeling smart?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Click here. Fun, if you're a nerd, and it's for a good cause.

The Basement (Part 25 of 184)

We have all of our speakers! They weren't "parts," but we also got a new receiver and HD DVD player a few weeks ago. So with the TV, I think that's everything as far as electronics go...

The speakers
The ceiling (rear) speakers (I think)

The Basement (Part 24 of 184)

Monday, November 12, 2007
Part 24: Failing inspection.

Yep, we failed inspection. The inspector even marked the inspection report up in red ink. Sigh. The framer failed to put in fireblocking at the joints between walls and ceilings, so we have to get that done before she can pass us. I'm going back and forth between being REALLY irritated and being over it.

But hey, it'll be easy to get to 184 parts if we fail a few inspections!

The Basement (Parts 19-23 of 184)

Sunday, November 11, 2007
Part 19: The electric rough-in is done! All of the wires are in the boxes and stripped. We're ready for the inspector, who is coming Monday morning.

Parts 20, 21, 22, and 23: All of the phone lines, cable lines, speaker wires, and ethernet lines are run. Wires are in the boxes, taped and stapled where needed. Here's hoping that when they drywall is up, we'll be able to figure out which wire is which...

A Public Service Announcement

Friday, November 09, 2007
The Maharaja has arrived.

The Basement (Part 18 of 184)

The HVAC stuff is done!

The Basement (Parts 16 & 17 of 184)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Part 15.5: Further wiring progress. The electric work is coming along nicely - should be done this weekend! - and Oh Bee Juan has a lot of the non-electric wiring done (cable, ethernet, phone, etc).


Part 16: The carpet has been chosen and ordered! We got our final price quote and picked a color - it's the same carpet we have upstairs, but in the color "Pebble." The tentative installation date is December 10th. If everything goes according to plan (ha), we'll be done that week!


Part 17: The cabinets for the bar have been chosen and ordered! Again, the same stuff as upstairs but in a different color. Same style and cabinet as our kitchen, but in "sable." Check 'em out here.

Fatpants

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Fatpants
Originally uploaded by JesterJ
For some reason, I love this photo...

The Basement (Parts 13, 14, & 15 of 184)

Saturday, November 03, 2007
Part 13: A new TV!
After much research, we picked a TV and bought it at Crutchfield. It'll be delivered sometime next month, when we actually have somewhere to put it.

Part 14: Significant Electrical Progress
There has been Significant Progress on the basement electric work, thanks to our friendly electrician (and in some cases his friendly crew). All of the outlets and recessed lights are run - so all that's left are the fixtures in the closets (laundry and under the stairs) and the bathroom lights, and the circuit breakers. I think. To be honest, I don't really know what's left, since I have no idea how this stuff works.

Part 15: General aesthetic (not anesthetic) decisions
My dear sister very generously took the day on Friday to come help me make some decorating decisions. We chose a carpet, narrowed down the cabinet choices to two (for the bar, just waiting on a price quote for one of them), and picked a granite countertop (we think, although we are still having the Granite Slab vs. Granite Tile debate). We also maybe picked a wall color for the big room - Mr. B and I are going to sit on it for a few days and see how we feel.

So...things are coming along!

The Basement (Part 12 of 184)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007
More electric stuff!

Not very exciting, we just placed most of the outlet and switch boxes last night. But it's a Part, because we did it All By Ourselves.

The Basement (Part 11 of 184)

Monday, October 29, 2007
The electric work has begun! Tonight, with the help of our friendly electrician (meaning he's a friend who is now also our electrician), we measured and hung 10 out of the 14 recessed lights in the basement. And so it begins!

Chicken and Beer


Chicken and Beer.
Originally uploaded by avpjack
This has got to be in the top 5 things I've seen on the lawn.

The Basement (Parts 9 and 10 of 184)

Sunday, October 28, 2007
Part 9: The rough-in plumbing is done! Okay, it was done on Thursday, and I haven't gotten around to blogging it. I'd post pictures, but the pictures of pipes aren't all that interesting.

Then there's Part 10, the purchasing of massive amounts of electrical supplies. We took a 3+ hour trip to Lowes, where we spent about $1300 on outlets, boxes, switches, wire of all kinds, recessed lights, bulbs, fans, tools, tubing, wall plates, and...um...other stuff. Fun!

Free Popcorn!

Saturday, October 27, 2007
For six bucks, you can get two bags of popcorn at www.myfreepopcorn.com.

Comcast customer Mona Shaw Reached Her Breaking Point, Then for Her Hammer

Friday, October 26, 2007
Now THIS is great. Next time you've had it with lousy customer service, just pick up a hammer ...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/17/AR2007101702359.html

The Basement (Part 7 of 184)

I finally have pictures of framing...so here they are! I'm very excited about the framing, because I'm lousy at picturing how things are going to look, so the parts that help me visualize it all are great...


This is the view when you come down the stairs - there are corner shelves on each side when you get down, so that you're kind of guided to the left and down the hall:

















A close-up of the future built-in corner shelves


















The entertainment center!












The water heater and furnace will be in one closet, and the laundry will be in another closet.










The bar room, the back door, and the door to the office












The office












The tiny bathroom (shh, don't look at the plumbing yet, that's Part 9)

The Basement (Part 8)

Thursday, October 25, 2007
Part 7 is the framing, but I don't have the pictures yet, so we're going to skip ahead to...

Part8: Permits!

Okay, so Part 8 isn't very exciting. But we have all of our permits (building, electrical, plumbing), so we're one step closer to having a finished, useable, legal basement...

Editors Still Doesn't Understand Grammar

Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Wildfires Char Southern California
Multiple wildfires driven by powerful Santa Ana winds has forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes from San Diego to just north of Los Angeles.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/23/AR2007102300347.html

Little Red Corvette: The pleasure and pain of technology

Monday, October 22, 2007
Imagine someone carjacks you and takes your Escalade on a joyride - only to end up smashing your gas guzzler into a wall during a high-speed chase with law enforcement.

In 2009, OnStar will have the capability of slowing your car down gradually from the comfort of a call center chair. Pretty awesome. Well...unless they accidentally slow the wrong car and you miss an important job interview or if George Bush just wants to know where you're eating for lunch.

http://fyi.gmblogs.com/2007/10/driven_to_safety.html

Still cool though...

The Basement (Part 6 of 184)

The basement is clean and empty - woohoo! That makes Part 6 the last getting-ready part. Every part from now on will be a something-actually-got-done part.

Because I am, in a word, obsessive, there will be pictures of the empty basement at some point, followed by pictures of the framed basement. The framing started this morning - there's a bunch of men with power tools and lumber in our basement right now. Once it's done, that will be Part 7!

Lots of boring pictures:


Future bar room

















Future living room

















Future entertainment center


















Future office

















Future bathroom

Editors at washingtonpost.com doesn't understand subject-verb agreement

Thursday, October 18, 2007
I just love when things are wrong on the main page...read under the Evangelicals headline.

socially responsible or evil jerk?

OK people, help me out. You get one of those completely false "Beware of this new carjacking scheme" e-mails from someone totally nice who thinks it's important to pass it along to 50 or so friends. You google it and discover, of course, that's it's been debunked on snopes since 2004. Do you:

1. delete it and ignore it
2. writer the original sender back and link to the debunking, and rely on them to alert everyone else to their mistake
3. reply all with the debunking link

How badly should I feel for number 3?

UGH!

You ever have one of those days when you want to just reach over and strangle the prosecutor becuase she is unprepared and has completely wasted your time and a pretty important court date?

Confession

Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I just watched "The Cutting Edge" and loved every minute of it. The disease has taken over.

Gene Weingarten vs. Ann Coulter

Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Okay, this is old, but pretty good.
As I stood in court today slightly inebriated becuase the big bottle of white merlot had not yet evaporated from my blood, I started to day dream about how much I loved the month of October. My love for this the tenth month of the year and gateway to Fall-ish weather (remember I live in Florida) isn't for either of forgoing reasons nor is it for Holloween (since I have never worn a costume or trick-or-treated in my life). I have come to discover that my love for October is rooted in its celebration. We spend thirty one-derful days celebrating breasts, boobies, knockers, dirty pillows, fun bags, jugs, squeezers or whatever you call them in your time of joy or glory. It is at this point that an impish grin slowly crept its way across my face and I noticed that I was staring into the rafters. I was suddenly disturbed by the sound of a gavel, a very loud, "Mr. Berry!," and the question, "Where were you just now?" Still with the impish grin that had morphed into full blown smile mode, I responded, "My happy place, Your Honor. One day, I should take you there." Then we proceeded with the rest of the court day no doubt a little happier.

I just thought I should share that story and remind everyone to buy, eat, wear, touch or combo them all something pink. Do your part to help the cause. SUPPORT BOOBS!

Perfecting Ann Coulter

Monday, October 15, 2007
An update on Ann Coulter, from Maxim Online.

Blue

Yo listen up: here's a story
About a little guy
That lives in a blue world
And all day and all night and everything he sees is
Just blue like him inside and outside
Blue his house with a blue little window
And a blue Corvette and everything is blue for him
And himself and everybody around
'Cause he aint got nobody to listen

The Basement (Part 5 of 184)

Saturday, October 13, 2007
We're going to call this a part: We have all of our people! The plumber came by today, gave us a (very good) estimate, and that almost completes our lineup - we have a framer and trim guy, a plumber guy, an electric guy, a drywall guy, and a painter guy! All that's left is someone to do the carpet and tiles near the end.

The framing will happen next weekend, the plumber can come out the week after that, and hopefully we can do the electric in the weekend/week after that. Barring any unforeseen events (which yes, always happen with stuff like this), we could be ready for drywall by November!

You know, for not actually having a single thing done yet, I'm pretty darn excited.

Anne Coulter vs. Bozo the Clown

Friday, October 12, 2007
I think it's time for some celebrity boxing. In this corner, fresh from her Nationwide Perfect the Jews World Tour, it's Ann Coulter, champion of wing-nut incendiaries. And in this corner, returning to the small screen (again), your locally-franchised Bozo the Clown!

Maybe not. It would be hard to tell them apart. Plus, there would be three of them in the ring: Bozo the Clown, on the left, Ann Coulter, on the right, and Ann Coulter's massively oversized, larger-than-life, Bozo-the-Clown-looking character. Does anyone take her seriously anymore? Can it be possible that anyone in America can still spout the kind of inane anti-semitic babble that she does, and actually mean it, and still be sane? Given the kinds of things she says (generally timed to coincide with book releases), I expect her to be a raving, lower-lip biting, snot-dripping, toenail-chewing lunatic of the kind only found in publicly-funded mental institutions or on San Francisco street corners. And yet there she sits, on national television, smartly dressed and ready to go, like some high-class Republican pimple. She can't possibly be for real.

What's amazing: some people I know, let's call them Republicans, take her seriously. And agree with her. This is why, as a general rule, I don't trust Republicans. Come to think of it, as a general rule, I don't trust Democrats either; after all, those on the left take Ann Coulter at least seriously enough to take her personally. She's not a personal insult folks; she's not even a person.

Ann Coulter is Bozo the Clown with better hair, make-up, and costuming.

Why, yes, yes I am ...

Thursday, October 11, 2007
1. more stubborn than sheet vinyl

2. more persistent than wallpaper


And, for a look at awesome inspiration for your walls, that gives all new meaning to the words "wall sticker", check out these sites:

http://www.applepiedesign.be

http://www.velocityartanddesign.com/home.php (Click Wallpaper)

Doomsday Approaches at AOLMMBC

Since no one asked, allow me to share with you my take on the current climate at AOLMultiMegaBiggaCorp.

For background, read these articles (the headlines alone will give you an idea of what's going on — er, not that the subject of these articles is in any way the same as MultiMegaBiggaCorp, Inc.):
At AOL's Dulles HQ, Preparations for Mass Layoffs
AOL (TWX): Pick the Departing Senior Exec Game!
AOL Fires All Its Contractors?

Steady drumbeat rumors of layoffs began months ago and now appear to have all but beaten down the last of anyone's productive spirit. All but the most critical work has ground to a halt. Across the hall, people are wearing black and dying their hair iridescent shades of pink and green. Okay, the people across the hall have been doing that for years.

Ever since my last office move, I've kept two empty boxes in my office, just in case. This is fairly ridiculous, since the senior management I report to, while not actually making any promises, has given every indication that my position is secure (at least, more secure than most): my VP has thanked me for the job I've done on some projects (pretty rare), and has commented on how she's looking forward to the work I'm going to do in the future (even rarer). So, I have no cause for alarm, and yet I'm alarmed.

All around me, people are reacting to the rumors as if there were banshees wailing in the hallways. The supposed date of the next big "employee action" is coming soon, and the proximity of the date weighs on morale. It's as if we've all been given a death sentence, which is strange, since not everyone can be laid off all at once. But maybe one reason that everyone feels marked for death is that it's really unclear what would be worse: to be laid off in this round, and have some sort of severance package to fall back on while looking for new work, or to keep a job working for a company that, by some accounts, might not have enough money to provide severance packages the next time around.

But just to put all of this in perspective: the median annual household income in the US, as of 2006, was $48,201. I don't think (but I don't know for sure) that any of my coworkers make less than $80,000. Salaries here are, if anything, a little low as compared to the market; the market is still grossly overcompensating individuals for non-transferable "skills" that largely have to do with pushing bits of data around between computer systems. We should be laughing our asses off every other week when our paychecks clear, but instead we're bitching and moaning about how unfair and uncertain life is.

It's times like these when we should all remember the words of Benjamin Franklin: "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

Or layoffs at AOLMMBC.

COWBOYS WIN!

Monday, October 08, 2007
The city of Miami sucks. However, COWBOYS WIN!! Good try Buffalo Bills Head Coach with your strategery. EAT IT! COWBOYS WIN!!!

The Basement (Part 4 of 184)

Sunday, October 07, 2007
We have a shed!

This morning I sealed the concrete, then this afternoon we assembled the shed (the Big Max Jr from Home Depot). The directions say it takes 30 minutes - that's a lie (well, it might be true if you've already assembled this particular shed before and don't have to learn how). It took about an hour and a half, which is not so bad.

Seems pretty sturdy, and it is the perfect size. For our tiny backyard, it's great.

Before:

















The freshly laid foundation (aerial shot!):

























After!:

vexing nutritional dilemma

Thursday, October 04, 2007
vexing nutritional dilemma - n.

1. Should I have the Double or the Baconator?
2. Krispy Kreme or Dunkin
3. Chocolate or Double Chocolate Fudge
4. Appletini or Cosmo
5. Guinness or ... (not really a dilemma here)
6. A Google Nope until it was recorded on the TM (this blog).
7. Does a Bacardi and diet coke actually contain 0 carbs or should I just have a Fresca?

The Basement (Part 3 of 184)

Well, we've made one more step towards finishing the basement: we laid the foundation for the shed. And holy cow does my back hurt. Allied Concrete delivered concrete blocks for us (very happy with them), and I think they must've each weighed 200 pounds. Well, near the end they felt that way...

We dug out the dirt behind the house to make a relatively level surface, poured sand, leveled, tamped, laid concrete blocks, picked the blocks back up and releveled the sand, laid blocks again, picked up all the blocks in the middle because they were too high, removed some dirt, put the middle blocks back down, picked them back up because now they were too low, added some sand back in, releveled, and finally put the middle blocks in for good. Big fun.

Up next: We'll assemble the shed (part 4). I'll post pictures when it's done, including some pictures of the foundation, because I am darn proud of that thing. It's nothing pretty to look at, but I'm gonna show you anyway.

(We've also gotten estimates for wood and framing and stuff, but nothing has actually happened with that yet.)

I Have A Question...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007
...about this article.

The article itself is not the important part. It's the following statement:

"Shifting data and advice on how women's consumption of fish and seafood affects brain development of fetuses and infants, the most vulnerable groups, have produced one of the more vexing nutritional dilemmas of recent years. "

Leaving aside the concept of a "vexing nutritional dilemma," my question is this: Fetuses and infants are the "most vulnerable" groups? Are there other groups whose brain development is affected by women's consumption of fish and seafood...?

MIAMI!

Before I leave for a Drug Court Conference in Miami (AKA state paid drunkfest), I had a thought. Only the one and it required rest after its passage. For those of you familiar with T-pain, you are aware of his recent musical success (If you have not heard of him, no worries, you aren't missing that much). His big song was "I'm In Love With A Stripper," which was followed by the smash hit, "I Like The Bartender." I would be remiss to ask, am I the only one who sees that his next song will be something to the tune of, "Man, I Want To Bang The Bouncer!"?

Conference in Miami, Volleyball Tournament when I return and then trials Monday morning. Weeee!

Got Vista? Got Problems?

Friday, September 28, 2007
Solve your Vista problems here.

An inconvenient shutdown

Seriously? Was it really unexpected?

What's really key is the Problem Event Name. How can this be? The problem didn't cause the BSOD. The BSOD was the problem. No shit.

It's so hard being a Microsoft sympathizer when you get things like this coming at you. This and User Account Control.

"What the hell is that", you ask?

"Hey, you're trying to install something! Install now?"
"The thing that you just clicked is trying to run, do you want it to run?"
"Hey yo! Stop what you're doing, cause I'm about to ruin, the image and the style that you're working on..."

My favorite is when I try to download something using IE. I realize that it's supposed to be for my own good, but can't they figure out a way to secure the browser just enough to make sure I've actually clicked my mouse? It can't be that hard.

I want to strangle Vista and Iexplore.exe everyday.

Washingtonpost.com Editors Don't Work Past 11PM

Thursday, September 27, 2007
Fun with extra prepositions!


haiku on my recent activity

orbital sander
power tool so versatile
wallpaper, be gone!

Please. Don't!

Today , I tried a "Bud Light & Clamato."

Washingtonpost.com Editors Stutter

Two things: First, that photo is pretty funny. Second, apparently that Clinton article is worth a second look.


Headline of the Day

Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Bush: 'Childrens Do Learn'

The System - a Tribute

Friday, September 21, 2007
Yesterday, we decommissioned a stats collection system that had been operating in one form or another for roughly 20 years. I commemorated the event with a little poetry:
The System
by Z

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a faint and green-and-white print-out of mem’ry stores,
While I sat there, doughnut-snacking, suddenly I heard tick-tacking,
As on key-caps gently hacking, hacking at the system's core,
"Tis some programmer," I muttered, "hacking at the system's core --
Only this, and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember late-night disconnecting members,
And each separate signed-off screenname made me wonder even more,
Eagerly, I scanned the day's log -- vainly tried to clear the brain fog,
From the many failures to log on and off the system's core,
Obfuscated, evermore.

And the tappa-tappa sounding of each keystroke felt a pounding
To me -- drumming on my head as with a knocker on a door,
So that now, to stop the thrumming in my brain, I sat there humming,
"Tis some programmer who's bumming lines from out the system's core,
Maybe Janet Hunter's bumming lines from out the system's core,
This it is, and nothing more."

Presently my head grew clearer, and I drew the print-out nearer,
"Korn," said I, "or Huntsman, would you mind not typing more?
For the fact is I was reading, and to you now I am pleading
Stop your typing! Oh, these bleeding stats make my eyes sore!"
Then I tossed the papers wildly, and they fell upon the floor,
Piles and piles of stats galore.

Then there fell an awkward silence from my momentary violence,
And my coworkers retreated, leaving me alone once more,
And I wished that I could count each error line, take that amount,
And use the total log lines as the basis for a score,
I would normalize these stats and so reduce this endless chore
To a simply tallied score.

Then each abby-disconnected session would be, thus detected,
Not rejected as some anecdotal evidential bore,
But the stats could now be trended! And my nightmare would be ended,
No more reading till the numbers bled from each and every pore,
We would let our new computers do the job, that's what they're for:
That's a goal worth shooting for.

PL/1 code then was ported, and my headache thus aborted.
Teams of compu-science people wrote in C, and Perl, and more,
Hell with malloc, and realloc, I am such a smarty-alec
I will rewrite Perl to use some better algorithmic lore,
Yes, I'll rewrite Perl to use a better algorithmic lore,
And upgrade it nevermore.

Bring on multisite and sttr -- while our bosses pace and mutter
'Cause our stock is in the gutter and our login failures soar,
We'll debate the daily cut-off -- is it when the system's shut off?
Is it better that we end the day at midnight, or at four?
Let's hope global mem'ry mapping will avoid a program core,
stats_exec runs evermore.

We must have been such haughty asses to create spaghetti masses
And morasses of procedures that an expert would abhor,
Late night sessions, caffeine chugging, TIH-Stats needs debugging!
Else the short priv 2 report will never make it out the door,
And the management will never know the abby logfail score,
And our jobs will be no more.

I have heard it said quite often that the last nail in the coffin
Was the constant watching for a crash and starting it once more,
But the truth is more elusive. Just: the system was abusive
To the programmers who tried to keep it running more and more
With the only time for upgrades 'tween the hours of three and four
We maintained it nevermore.

Now this code base we are quitting, and I'm guilty of omitting
All the years of toil and labor into which our hearts we poured.
But this tale has nearly ended, with the code at last ab-ended
In a final blaze of glory let the rusty boxes roar,
Let us raise our glasses, make a toast, and drink! 'Cause heretofore,
Stats is running nevermore.

Oops

In my ranting, I forgot to publish my latest courtroom creation. It follows.

Jail, jail, jail
You ain't got no bail
They put you on probation
But you just had to fail

Incarceration
Life deviation
Do as you're told
Or society vacation

The Big House, The Castle, The Slammer or The Penn
The Gray Bar Hotel and The Okaloosa Hilton
The color of your jumpsuit
Depending on your scene
Orange, blue, red, yellow
Crazy? Then it's green

I'm forced to write a closing to my cacaphonic verse
Although my pen's intention was to make your stomach burst
If I failed to meet success before the bitter end
Love Court happens once a month so something better then.

I never said it was a good creation.

Just Venting

Thursday, September 20, 2007
I am having quite the day. The judge threw a lady in jail yesterday because she failed to pay off the restitution when she got into an accident back in 2001. She was only charged with Driving on a Suspended License and Attaching an Improper Tag. The victims of the accident somehow managed to get the Judge to order restitution, which is illegal for two reasons.

1. You can order restitution on a suspended license charge unless a causal nexus exists between the charge and restitution.

2. A court cannot fail to order restitution at sentencing and then remedy the situation by ordering restition when more than sixty days has passed since sentencing.

3. If the court does order restitution (illegally as it did here), restitution payments may not be ordered past the period of supervision (also done illegally here).

Now, this woman who is the sole supporter of her disabled hisband in is jail. She has lost the fourth job she has had in the last six years becuase the court keeps throwing her in jail for failing to pay restitution. Interestingly enough, we abolished debtors prison as to not end up throwing poor prople in jail because they chose to eat instead of pay restitution.

Well, how is the lady supposed to get her money? Civil court. Today, you can sue for anything! Whether you get paid is a different story and is the legal system upon which we have decided to model our society. If you recall, I had to sue some roommates of my when I was still at UVA - I still have not been paid! Yeah, I won the suit, but blood from a stone you will never get!

Damn I need a drink. back to motion writing. Sorry about the venting.

The Basement (Parts 1 & 2 of 184)

Sunday, September 16, 2007
I've decided to post updates here about our progress finishing the basement. Why are you interested in this? Well, you're probably not - but if you read about it here, then when you come over and we try to bore you with a basement progress report, you can just say "Yeah, I know, I read about it on the blog."

Also, I'm excited about it, and blogging will help the Type-A, "J" side of my personality to cope with the extremely slow progress.

There IS some (extremely minor) progress though - we have a floorplan (below) - the second one shows how the current office furniture will fit downstairs, and how the future den furniture will go.

And we got a shed! We haven't put it together yet, but the plan is to do that sometime this week...most of the stuff in the basement right now will go in the shed. Once it's mostly empty, we can clean! Then we'll actually be ready to start.

So, a plan and a shed - Woohoo! That's steps 1 and 2, done. Only 182 more to go.


A List of Places...

Friday, September 14, 2007
...to avoid in Mr. & Mrs. B's house, as per previous posts:

  1. dining room

  2. any corner of the kitchen

  3. guest bathroom sink

  4. basement floors (without socks, shoes, and stilts)

The Back Story

Thursday, September 13, 2007
or, Why I Let My Husband Take Monet To The Vet

As my dear husband mentioned, I took Monet to the vet on Monday. See, several months ago Monet began pooping outside her litterbox (ok, her Litter Robot) in the basement - always in the same general area, on the concrete. Since she was only doing this every once in a while, I was fairly certain it was just a behavioral problem, not medical, and I tried a couple of deterrents to no avail.

The pooping-on-the-concrete got more frequent, so a few weeks ago I decided to move the cats' litter and food/water bowls out of the basement and into the guest bathroom upstairs. There were two reasons for this: first, I was sincerely hoping that Monet just really, really liked that concrete and would get over it if she couldn't go down to the basement; and second, I wasn't 100% sure that it was Monet. I mean, Ellie is generally the more well-behaved cat, and I was pretty sure it was Monet, but I wanted to keep a closer eye on them.

Two weeks went by with no inappropriate pooping. But then, just when I started to relax and think the problem was solved, it happened: poop in the dining room. I informed Monet forcefully that she was a bad cat, a very bad cat, and confined her to the guest bathroom until she used the litter again. A week went by...then it happened again: poop in the dining room, in the same spot. At my dear sister's suggestion - she just went through this with her cat, oddly enough - I moved the food bowl to the spot where Monet had pooped. Cats are pretty dumb, but they know not to poop in their food.

All was well for a few days, until I walked into the kitchen one day to find Monet standing oddly in the corner. She turned, looked at me...and pooped. I grabbed her and took her upstairs and left her in the guest bathroom to do her business. And she did...in the sink. And this poop (I really hope you're not eating) was gross. Really gross. Okay, I can't even bring myself to describe it. Just trust me on this one.

This was last Friday, and I made a vet appointment for Monday morning. The visit went reasonably well, right up until the rectal exam. Have you ever tried to hold a cat that didn't want to be held, and who was willing to risk life and limb - well, YOUR life and limb - to get away? They had to wrap her in a towel, and one of the techs and I held her down. Still, she got away, and managed to scratch the tech, so they re-wrapped her and put a mask on her. Yes, a mask - like the one they made Hannibal Lecter wear. And she made the most horrific noise I've ever heard... Later, telling Mr. B about this, he remarked that it probably sounded like the noise she made once when he accidentally stepped on her. My response: Maybe. Did you step on her and then shove something up her ass?

The vet said they'd check her stool and made a followup appointment for today. Monet was pretty good on the ride home, right up until we pulled in the driveway, at which point she pooped in her carrier. Her carrier, where she had no choice then but to sit in her poop. And you can imagine how much she wanted me to hold her down and clean her off once we got inside...

So, that's the back story (ha). I'm not sure who was more traumatized, Monet or me. But stay tuned for the next installment of the Monet saga, which is about the process I use to administer medicine to her - a process that now brings Ellie running (to watch) every time.

My Date with R. Kitty

On Monday, Mrs B. took the evil cat, Monet, to the vet. Monet has been letting herself go (around the house) recently (aren't we all) and she's got this eye thing...let's just say that we're terrible pet owners. That vet trip is another story. As a gesture of my love and affection for my wife and my desire to not step in cat poo, I offered to take the evil cat to her follow up appointment.

Despite great resistance, Maggie loaded the cat into the carrier. We put the cat in the car and I performed my usual carpooling ritual - except I wasn't headed to work, I was taking a strangely quiet Monet to the vet. About half-way there, Monet began scratching the carrier walls. Anyone who knows me would see this as a cause of great concern for me because I hate poo (yes, I know that everybody poops). However, I smelled no poo and that made me happy.

Upon arriving at the vet's office, we were placed in an exam room where I could let Monet frolic and scent things. When I opened the carrier door, Monet walked out cautiously. As she exited, her tail began to shake forcefully, throwing some sort of liquid onto my face...she hadn't pooped after all.

Surprisingly, I didn't freak out. I was concerned about what had just happened to me, but more concerned with they way she was tracking it all over exam room. I felt pretty terrible when the assistant had to mop the floor and clean out the carrier. When we left the exam room (we'll have to return next week), there were many cats waiting in the lobby with their humans.

R. Kitty began to meow so I knelt down to pet her through the cage. She wouldn't come near me. I looked at the woman next to me, an acquaintance (who probably didn't realize that we'd met before), and said, "I am not her person." I'm not. I'm also not the person that will be driving her to the vet next week (not by myself). At least she didn't poop on the way home.

How can I forget?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007
That morning, I woke up late for class. Smitty IM'd me about some planes hitting the WTC. I didn't believe it. Being the technophile that I am, I attempted to login to cnn.com to get the news. No go. abc.com. No go. nbc.com. Nope... Only after 5 minutes of trying to get into websites did I realize that I could just turn on the TV.

I tried to call Peter and Sam to see if they were ok, but couldn't get through. I went to class...they cancelled the rest of the day...still no calls getting though. Later, it was confirmed that everyone (but no one was ok) was ok. I think that was by email.

I can't forget that day because I think that was the day that I became afraid of flying, and afraid of dying. I, like everyone else, wish that day had never happened. I will never have trouble remembering it.

Support Our Troops: Bring Them Home Alive

Sunday, September 09, 2007
Following is an actual e-mail I received from an actual person I know who actually supports the troops, and actually supports the war. Images included here show how hard our armed forces work to carry out the mission that our President gives them, even though they are aware this mission sometimes requires they give up their lives to gain even a small victory. That these are dedicated men and women there is no doubt.

So why send them on a foolish mission? What is to be gained on this fool's errand? And why, if we are fighting this phantom war on terror abroad are we still afraid at home? After years of Our President King George sending the strongest of American blood to the sands of the Middle East, should we not have some progress to show for it? We are sinking into the ground over there, and have had to desert our liberties here to soothe President Bush's fears — yet we are still afraid.

The best way we can support the troops is to bring them out of unnecessary danger. Let's find a way to bring them home, alive and whole, and thank them for a job well done. Let's give them a chance to rest, to enjoy the freedoms they're dying to protect. Then we will have them to send to where they're really needed next.

Actual text of e-mail I received (I've removed some of the blurrier images):

Please send this on after a short prayer. Prayer for our soldiers Don't break it!
Prayer:
"Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen."
Prayer Request: When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our troops around the world.
There is nothing attached. Just send this to people in your address book. Do not let it stop with you. Of all the gifts you could give a Marine, Soldier, Sailor, Airman, & others deployed in harm's way, prayer is the very best one.







Big PUNisher

Friday, September 07, 2007
http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/09/06/0431237&from=rss

Just scroll

Wrecked 'em

Last night, I stayed up all night to write the first graded paper I've written since my thesis. What the hell is wrong with me?

Am I the only person I know...

Thursday, September 06, 2007
...that still finds himself listening to the occasional Culture Club tune? I guess I can't really help what the iPod does anyway. I had to ask myself that question this morning as I gladly clicked to the next tune, away from Poison's "Nothing But a Good Time" to "Church of the Poison Mind." "Overkill" is still one of my favorite songs (partially due to Colin Haye's reappearance). Maybe it just reminds me of being a kid again.

It was at that point that I realized that I was driving by Burley Middle School...and that Mrs. B. definitely wasn't in the car (she's sick). I'd been on autopilot. That's when the Pet Shop Boys' "What Have I Done To Deserve This" came on. An 80s morning I'd say.

As I considered the best way to get to work after my gaffe, my iPod started playing "Hey Nineteen." George Carlin fans may remember one of his rants about Baby Bjorns and Steely Dan. I realize that I'm not, but I think both are kind of cool.

After experiencing the usual morning rage, I made it to Arlington Boulevard. MJ was saying something about a "Pretty Young Thing." Now there's some quality music. Of course, that song and its title seem to evoke completely different thoughts about Michael today. So sad, so sad...

This may be the best picture I've ever taken.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007
The focus on her face is a bit soft, but the pose is perfect. The best part about it is that I didn't ask her to pose. She just happened to be walking by that post. About a second later she was playing again. It was just the right moment. In any case, I love this shot and the new lens.

Common courtesies

Thursday, August 30, 2007
I often wonder if I'm a perpetrator of the things that I hate most about our society today.

For instance, if I'm sitting in a restaurant where others are eating, do I talk on my cell phone? Yes, sometimes I do. However, I don't have the feature that allows my phone to become a walkie-talkie. I wonder if the people that have those phones realize that the only excusable reason you should be on a walkie-talkie in a restaurant is if you're a public safety officer of some sort. If not, you should probably turn the phone off, call the person using the old-school cellular phone feature, or go outside. I still don't want to hear your walkie-talkie conversation. I'll avoid talking about people that talk on the phone check-out lines. You people are so rude that stores had to make signs to let you know that you're rude.

So...I'm what you might call a passive-aggressive driver. OK, I'm actually just an aggressive driver. I'm not one of those people that goes through and passes every single car I possibly can just to get to the next light (gotta love the traffic planning in Charlottesville). I just like to get where I'm going in a timely fashion and I wish that others were as comfortable and proficient at driving their vehicles to feel the same.

Lately I've noticed what must be a complete paradigm shift in traffic engineering. Red lights have come to mean "caution" and yellow lights mean "you should use caution soon...but not just yet...when you're ready to stop...it's red...but you've got some time...oh just run it." What's my point? Only a certain percentage of us have gotten wind of this shift. Some of us still don't believe it to be true. In fact, I'm fairly certain that if I were to try this out for myself, I'd find a blue light special waiting for me at the other side of the intersection. Even worse, someone that is annoyed as I am by this type of activity could just pull off and T-bone me - and it would be my fault.


Even if I don't like when lights turn red, and they always turn red when I get to them, they do serve a purpose (much like a language). Imagine if pilots just stopped listening to air traffic controllers.

Copy Editors at Washington Post Take The Week Off

Friday, August 24, 2007
Whta Should I Consider for College Loan?
By ELLEN SIMON



Huh?

This is a product of boredom in court.....

Thursday, August 23, 2007
There once was a man in court
Who thought that his crime was a sport
He ran out a bar
He shot up a car
While chugging a bottle of port

He then met the man from Nantucket
Didn't like him, so told him go fuck it
He punched in his face
He ransacked his place
And stuck his head inside a bucket.......of pee!

He started to run up the road
He slipped when he stepped on a toad
He fell on his head
He thought he was dead
The ground just knocked him out cold

The cops, you know, they got him
The threw him in jail in Gotham
He cried and he cried
'Cause Butch never tired
And now he's a red sore bottom

This story does have motivation
'Cause crime will ruin a nation
If you ever get got
Just blow lots of snot
And who knows? You might get probation

I now put my pen to rest
The Chicago Bulls are the best
The won't win the season
For one simple reason
Winning. They do detest.

Thank you! I miss blogging.

So, you say you want a revolution ...

Monday, August 20, 2007

This is a convoluted chain, but bear with me: An organization calling itself "Family Security Matters" published an article by Phillip Atkinson which advocated the idea of a "President-for-life" George W. Bush and descried Democracy as a failure. This article was later removed from the FSM site, but is accessible via Google cache (search: "president for life bush site:familysecuritymatters.org"). A provocative argument in the article is that, according to the author, the US should have used nuclear bombing to either beat the Iraqi populace into submission or erase them from the planet, whichever came first. It's hard to believe that any article this far over the top is serious, and yet there's no evidence of satire at all.

Phillip Atkinson is a British high-school drop-out now living in Australia. He has self-published a so-called "theory of civilization" called "A Study of Our Decline." From what I can tell, it is only available on the Internet (http://www.ourcivilisation.com/inspire.htm).

OK, so far, just some nut job on the Internet. Nothing new there.

BUT, who is FSM?
According to this blog post, FSM is a front-organization for the "Center for Security Policy," whose board of advisors is now called the "National Security Advisory Council." Sound familiar? You might recall that an early member of that group was ... Vice President Dick Cheney.

So, to sum up: an organization with ties to the White House is advocating the overthrow of the Constitution and mass genocide in the Middle-East.

Copy Editors at Washington Post Take Saturday Off

Saturday, August 18, 2007
Getting the Subprime Gitters
First-time homeowner with an interest-only mortgage now wonders if it was a mistake.
Michael S. Rosenwald


Are You Afraid of Black People? Try Offering Them Oral Sex

Tuesday, August 07, 2007
As if things could get any worse for Florida State Representative Bob Allen, who was arrested for offering an undercover police officer a blowjob and $20 (is that the going rate?), I must bring you this news:

State Rep. Bob Allen told police he was just playing along when a undercover officer suggested in a public restroom that the legislator give him oral sex and $20 because he was intimidated, according to a taped statement and other documents released Thursday.

So, next time you're feeling racist and surrounded, consider offering illicit oral sex and money in exchange for your own personal safety. Hey, it works for Florida politicians.

Remind you of anyone?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.

- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials
http://www.snopes.com/quotes/goering.htm

So ... top THAT!

Sunday, July 22, 2007
Of course, I realize my fabulous SO is a gifted blogger and storyteller, but really? No posts in almost a month? It's starting to affect his ego, people ...

So I just finished reading BLINK. This fascinating book is about our completely inaccessible unconcious minds, and how in the first 2 seconds of an encounter that unconcious sizes up a situation, sifts through mountains of data, and reaches sometimes ESP-like conclusions. (I encourage all of you with free time -ha!- to read it.) It mentions Implicit Association Tests, done by Harvard, which enable you to get past your "concious" beliefs about race, religion, ethnicity, etc. and down to what your unconcious REALLY believes. Try it out at: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/.

Don't Blame Me, I Just Work Here

Tuesday, July 03, 2007
As most of you surely know (or should know) by now, I work for a corporate behemoth that used to be a "technology" and "internet" company, and now is really a "media" company owned by MultiMegaBiggaCorp, Inc (MMBC). I'm one of the privileged several hundred fortunate enough to have been granted his own office near the cube farm, which saves me from having to "prairie dog" over the cube walls for a glimpse of the outside world (instead, I just can't glimpse the outside world). I suspect that I am grossly overpaid for what I do, which consists mostly of telling other people what to do and dodging phone calls so I can write blog entries.

Several months ago, our department was merged with another department. This was a merger of equals in which the other department lost both their leadership and half their staff. We lost our office space. All 30 or so of us were moved from Building Five to Building Four, Third Floor. "Restructuring" is a corporate word which means "$700 per employee paid to the moving company."

My old office was configured for someone two salary bands above mine, which meant that the extra desk in the office for the person who didn't inhabit it was removed and replaced with a small round table. MMBC must not realize that its executives don't spend most of their time huddling with teams in their expensive prison cells; they do business on the golf course. But the company corrected its "error" when moving me to Building Four, Third Floor. The new office had two desks, two sets of filing cabinets, two sets of overhead bins (really: we have overhead bins), and (I swear I'm not making this up) two sets of wastebaskets -- a black one for trash and a blue one for recycling.

I've seen the cleaning crew empty both bins into the same large trash can.

A recent trick of corporate architecture is to use modular furniture. Office cubicles, and even entire walls, can be "constructed" more or less overnight out of pre-manufactured panels and interlocking posts. It's sort of like Tinker Toys for MMBC executives. A few days before the office move, I was assigned a new office number (a borg-like designation, like Seven of Nine), and I decided to check out the new office, knowing it would be just like every other office in the MMBC cube farm.

It didn't exist. There was a double row of cubes (two rows of three cubes each) where the office was supposed to be. Facilities assured me they'd be tearing down the cubes and building offices.

Indeed, the following Monday my colleagues arrived in their new offices and began the process of discovering everything wrong with them. I showed up at an office in Mumbai, India, where I spent the next two weeks on business. When I finally returned to MMBC Building Four, Third Floor, I discovered:
  1. All of my stuff had reached the right office.
  2. The office door was locked.
  3. I did not have a key.

This was okay, because MMBC offices, although they lock securely, are made from modular panels and interlocking posts. It is trivial to remove an outer panel, pop open an inner panel, reach through, and open the securely locked door. Both panels can be replaced, leaving the illusion that you had the key all the time. No tools of any kind are required: just pull, push, and open. I love corporate security.

Once in the office, I discovered numerous problems. There were no overhead lights. That meant it was fairly dark, but not so dark that I couldn't immediately see the next problem: one wall did not reach all the way to the ceiling. I also saw the root cause of that problem; the wall was situated directly below a sprinkler head, meaning that in the event of a fire, both my office and the one next to it would be exactly half as wet as it should be. Despite the missing wall, it seemed unusually stuffy in the office; this was because there was no ventilation. Maybe it was a good thing the wall didn't reach the ceiling.

No light, no air, 3.9 out of 4 walls, and 50% of the required fire protection. Oh yeah: the bulletin board was a solid aluminum panel, completely impervious to both magnets and push pins. As sort of a consolation prize, however, two of my file cabinets were completely filled, top to bottom, with someone else's paperwork, mostly printed out e-mails directing a particular contractor to perform some task or other. There was no way to determine whose papers they had been, but MMBC Facilities indicated they had no need of them, and I could dispose of them according to MMBC Document Retention policies. They went in the shredder bin.

It took several weeks, but eventually the facilities crews worked out all of the remaining issues. To their credit, every person who showed up to fix something in the office shook his head in disgust and said, "I can't believe they did it like this in the first place." To celebrate the correction of the very last problem in my office, I received a present from management.

It was an eviction notice. Our department had been advised that we would be moving, in less than a week, to Building Four, Fifth Floor. We had been moved to our present locations less than three months prior.

In case you thought this anecdote had reached some sort of crazy climax, let me assure you that all this is really just background for the truly bizarre portion of this story. I swear, I am not making up what I found out next.

You see, we were being moved from the Third Floor to the Fifth Floor. Each floor has two sides, "A" and "B", and generally we abbreviate locations using building-floor-side codes such as 43A for Building Four, Third Floor, Side A. We were moving from 43A to 45A. As it happens, there were already people on 45A, and to make way for us they were being moved to 44A. There were already people on 44A, and we understood that those people were moving to 44B. There were already people on 44B, and they would have to move to make room for the new folks, so they were moved to 43A.

Yes: we were moved to make way for the people who were moved to make way for the people who were moving to make way for the people who were moving to make way for us. Did I mention the rumor mill suggested these moves cost MMBC $700 apiece?

Remembering all the problems that happened in the last move, I decided to check out my new office and make a punch list in advance. I found that, a day before the scheduled move, the new office was still occupied. A quick conversation with the current tenant revealed that a) the office was in great shape, and had an ample light, air, water, and structure, and b) my 45A coworker hadn't been notified he'd be moving. I suggested that he check with his management chain on the details. He assured me that it wouldn't be a big deal, since he really just had his laptop to be moved. Then I went back downstairs, packed up my things, and went home to hope for the best.

When I returned to the office the following Monday, all of my stuff was in the new office (good), as was a bunch of stuff that wasn't mine (bad), including the other guy's laptop docking station and his Hawaiian shirt. The filing cabinets were filled with papers and office supplies. Two overhead bins were locked, and no key was available. One filing cabinet had a key broken off in the lock.

I called facilities, and they agreed to send someone to remove the computer. The rest was this other guy's problem. The next day, I sent him e-mail asking him to retrieve his things; he said he'd be back in the office the next day, and would take care of it then. In the afternoon the following day (Wednesday), I returned from a meeting to find the Hawaiian shirt missing. The filing cabinets were still full. I wrote him some more e-mail.

Perhaps I should have been more specific. I wrote, "Did you get everything you needed?" and then left the office. I was out Thursday and Friday, and got his "Sure did" response the following Monday.

The filing cabinets were still full. If you are reading this and getting that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, good for you. If not, it means I really have to work on my foreshadowing skills.

I let the rest of the week go by without unpacking my boxes: where would it all go? But I resolved that the following week I would go through all the papers, and handle them according to MultiMegaBiggaCorp, Inc. Document Retention policies. Monday and Tuesday were busy, but Wednesday morning, I opened up the first filing cabinet and began to review the contents.

First, the office supplies: there were seven (7!!!) staplers (but no staples) and two tape dispensers (but no tape). Both went back to the common supply closet. Then there were manuals from 1996 for software that had been defunct since 2003. In fact, this accounted for almost everything in the drawer aside from a few photos of a house I didn't recognize, a CD, two 3.5" floppy disks, a half-eaten package of rice cakes, a coffee mug filled with change, and three different sets of hands-free "earbud" devices for cellular phones, along with other trinkets, chachkes, and assorted knick-knackery.

Much of it went in the trash. The papers all went in the shredder bin. I left the change, and a few other items, and resolved to splurge at the vending machines later in the day. All that remained were the mysterious contents of two overhead bins, which had been locked for more than two weeks. It was time to call facilities. When I did, they said they'd send someone right up to unlock them.

An hour later, a man arrived at my door. He looked confused. I asked him if he was here to unlock the overhead bins, and he stared at me for a moment.

Then he asked, "Where's all my stuff?"

That's when it hit me: my new office had not one, but two former occupants; one of which had only a laptop and a Hawaiian shirt, but the other had cabinets and bins full of papers, office supplies, and bric-a-brac. The guy I had met hadn't said anything about this, but clearly his office-mate had been on vacation (and in the U.S., 2-week vacations are not common). It would later occur to me to look up these people in the MMBC Enterprise Phone Book, where I would discover that they both worked for the same person, the manager who hadn't told his people they were moving (probably because he himself had not been told) and who then did not (or was not able to) look after all the stuff belonging to the guy who worked for him, and was on vacation during the move, and had returned after more than two weeks away and was now standing in front of me, blinking, and asking,

"Where's all my stuff?"

I swallowed and said, "You're going to hate me. I threw it out."

Of course I had to inform my management that I had thrown out someone else's stuff, and then I had to inform MMBC Facilities of what had happened. I have not heard back from either of the former two occupants of my office, but two weeks later, I received an envelope from Facilities. Inside was a ticket good for a free meal at the MMBC Cafeteria, with a yellow sticky-note thanking me for my "patience during the recent move." There was a cute smiley-face drawn on the lower right-hand corner of the note. As a finishing touch, I discovered that the mail room had misspelled my first name. I usually spell it S-C-O-T-T. They spelled it G-E-O-R-G-E.

Upper management is now talking about a re-organization plan. I can't wait to see my new office!
Monday, June 18, 2007
Having a bad day? Me too. But this helps.
The winner for Worst Story Of The Day...

The Big Cheese

Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Apparently these middle schoolers either believe that they're invincible or exist in the ethereal plane of ignorance. I guess the two are not mutually exclusive. In any case, they seem real stupid. I often worry about the future of the planet. If the current government doesn't do us in immediately, we'll assuredly be done in by the propagation of stupidity.

The Link
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Are you serious?

I mean, I agree that women shouldn't smoke while pregnant, but ... seriously? Are we also going to make a law that says pregnant women can't take advil? Are we going to pass a law that says pregnant women aren't allowed to have soft cheeses or deli meat or clean a litterbox? Are we going to pass a law that says they have to take prenatal vitamins? How about a law banning pregnant women from having a soda, or taking a hot bath?

Sigh.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
How about this?

Sweet

Monday, May 21, 2007
Wow.

Here's one for you

Thursday, May 17, 2007
www.sexinchrist.com
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Ahhhh.........Myrtle.

Anyone want us to bring them home a turtle or two?
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Please play this game. It is awesome. If you play at work, play without sound. If you play at home, play with sound. I repeat, it is awesome.

Nonsensical Bumper Sticker

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

We were driving home last night when I saw the following bumper sticker:

BAN ILLEGAL ALIENS
NOT GUNS

Ignore the fact that the two topics have nothing to do with each other and ignore whatever beliefs you may have about the topics, but by my recollection, the term "illegal" means something is already "banned," no?
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Is there anything better on this planet than a warm chocolate chip cookie dipped in cold milk?

What a wonderful Sunday afternoon.

More Desegregation in The South

Monday, April 23, 2007
Students of Turner County High School [in Ashburn, GA] started what they hope will become a new tradition: Black and white students attended the prom together for the first time on Saturday.


My favorite quote has to be:
"There was not anybody that I can remember that was black," [Mindy Bryan] said. "The white people have theirs, and the black people have theirs. It's nothing racial at all."


So, it's a black-white thing, but it's not racial... at all. Gotta' love The South.

Hppay Anrrisveany JB!

Friday, April 20, 2007
Today, I have been a a sworn attorney for one year. I now have two reasons to celebrate 4/20.

Kaddish

More on the death of Liviu Librescu, the Holocaust survivor killed at Virginia Tech on Monday when he barricaded a classroom door with his body so students had a few more seconds to escape.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Debris

Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Sifting through the news today yielded this article about one of those who died at Virginia Tech yesterday. Liviu Librescu endured the Nazis, the ghetto, and Nicolae Ceausescu before he found himself living in Virginia and working at Virginia Tech. Librescu made himself into a human barricade to give fleeing students a few more seconds to jump out the window.

Monday was also Yom Hashoah, the Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust.

India update

Sunday, March 25, 2007
More pics from India on my blog.

Here's a sample:

Thbbp


Round trip airfaire to India: $3216.10
Entry fee to Sanjay Gandhi National Park: 20 Rupees
Being put in your place by a louse-ridden monkey: priceless

I'm not a virgin anymore

Thursday, March 22, 2007
Today I received my first Bar Complaint. I am now a man.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Grammatically confused? Ask Mr. Language Person.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
I've had a couple comments that this is actually noteworthy, so here you go:

Mumbai Laundry
Monday, March 19, 2007
I brought sexy back, but I had to throw it away because it smelled rotten.

So...yeah...I think Pink was much better than Justin Timberlake, but that may have been the Cirque du Soleil style show and the outfits. I think I enjoyed James Taylor more...I'm getting old. I must applaud Justin for doing a tequila shot on stage. I have to try that one.

Question? Why is it that when an artist says I love it here in <insert your town name> or I heard y'all like to get buck wild in <insert your town name>, people go nuts? Did they not know that they were in <insert your town name> before? Did they not like <insert your town name> before? Clearly <insert artist or group here> likes <insert your town name> because <insert artist or group here> is getting paid <insert percentage of exhorbitant ticket price/person or slang term for 'lots of cash'> to be in <insert your town name>.

Well, at least Timbaland was there.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
I am writing this post from the lounge in the Frankfurt airport, where I am partway between home (Dulles) and my final destination (Mumbai, or for those of you still stuck in 1990, Bombay). Dulles to Frankfurt to Mumbai: a triple-play for the ever flattening world.

I bought Indian Rupees. The exchange rate, after commissions, fees, and blood-letting, worked out to 30rs per $US. For those of you keeping score at home, that's a 33% price premium (the US dollar equals about 45 rs). Didn't some guy from Nazareth have something to say about the money-changers? But no, these must be different people.

I remarked at a party once that I preferred obvious bigots to the subtle, insidious kind. I stand by that statement, particularly after meeting a fellow from Canada in line to get my Lufthansa boarding pass. He was standing there with a cart of luggage and a neon sign that read, "I hate the swarthy." It would light up when he talked. He was truly entertaining, and went on at length about the Italians. There was a family of four in front of us bearing Italian passports. But his sign blinked on and off (mostly on), and I rather enjoyed watching him be a complete ass.

I am thankful for business class. He could not follow me past the door.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007


the cross goes on the table next to the dresser and the code on the ripped up note is 2-10-4420. I have no idea where to go next. don't take the drug - it will kill you.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
I just want to say

Happy Anniversary

to my dear husband. I love you, hon.
Monday, March 05, 2007
Why we have men:

Because otherwise the important questions will go unanswered.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Just an update...

Since the guy that rear-ended us (while drunk) and drove away 14 months ago was convicted of leaving the scene and paid a $50 fine, he has also been convicted of:

Being drunk in public - Guilty in Absentia, $25 fine
Speeding (79 in a 65) (so you know he was going faster than that) - Guilty in Absentia, $70 fine
Driving on a suspended license, 3rd offense - Guilty - he showed up for this one!, sentenced to 6 months, with 5 months and 20 days suspended sentence, 30 day suspension of license (like that's going to do any good!)
Expired State Tags - Guilty in Absentia, $30 fine
Expired Inspection - Guilty in Absentia, $30 fine

And this is just in Albemarle County, just in the last year. There's also a $96 fine for doing 64 in a 45 in Fluvanna County...it's amazing, they just can't seem to catch him doing more than 15 mph over the limit! He must be a very consistent speeder.

And his birthday is in 5 days! Happy Birthday, man!
Monday, February 19, 2007
Irony.

So I get to work this morning a tiny bit later than usual (10 minutes or so). The lot turns out to be full of cars as there's a meeting here today. As I drive up the far row, someone leaves. AWESOME!

As I sat listening to an interesting XMPR piece on the history of election fraud, I realized that I was missing my laptop. Obviously there was no parking available when I returned 20 minutes later.

Damn you Murphy.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
If anyone wants to come to Florida (Destin in particular) to celebate their Irish Heritage, just let me know when to pick you up from the airport. All you need to bring is a green dress, some running/walking shoes, and your drinking A-game. I promise you won't be disappointed.