29 October 2009

Clink Here

I normally don't like to talk about work, but this humors me and I have to share. I pre-apologize to all the non-technical people who may be reading this.

In my lifetime, I've worked at a bunch of software companies. While the software itself might be different at these different companies, and the bosses are different, and the atmosphere is different, one thing remains a constant at all software companies - unhelpful developers. Developers who have no time for support requests. Developers who roll their eyes at any mention that there might be an issue with something they've created. It's annoying and it's frustrating.

With that said, I will wholeheartedly admit that at my current company there is one developer who is not like this. I'll call him Fred for the sake of anonymity. Fred is great. Fred is helpful. If you report a problem, he attacks it like a ninja. If he can't reproduce the problem he offers (OFFERS!) to do a Webex with the customer to see the problem. He gets patches out quickly and he always has loads of suggestions if we come to him for a basic problem we can't figure out. I have loads of respect for Fred so when I relate the following story, it's not because I think Fred is a dunce. I think Fred just happened to be having a very off day.

Oh, and Fred is Asian. This wouldn't matter except that he is unable to say the word "click".

So Fred and I had a Webex with a customer today to go over an issue that Fred has so far been unable to reproduce. The issue is that the customer would like to click on link #1 to open a document as a TIF and click on link #2 to open the same document as a PDF file. This is important, and again, I apologize non-technical people.

We get the Webex going and the customer brings up the web page with the two links. These are the following instructions, given by Fred to the customer:

FRED: OK, clink the first one. What does it do?
CUSTOMER: (clicks) It opens the document as a TIF.
FRED: OK, clink the second one, what does it do?
CUSTOMER: (clicks) It opens the document in Word. It should open as a PDF.
FRED: OK, clink the first one. What does it do?
ME: Fred, it opens it as a TIF. The first one always opens as a TIF. The 2nd one always as a Word document.
FRED: OK, clink the second one, what does it do?
ME: It opens as a Word document.
FRED: Can he clink it?
CUSTOMER: (clicks) Word document
FRED: What about the 2nd one?
CUSTOMER: We just did that one.
FRED: Can you clink it?
CUSTOMER: (clicks) Word document.
FRED: Oh, I see. Can you clink the first one?
ME: Fred, no....see? First link, TIF. Second link, Word.
FRED: Oh, that's right. Can he clink the second one?
ME: Would you like to take control of the mouse?
FRED: No. Can he clink it?
ME: Which one? The one that opens as a TIF or the one that opens as a Word document?
FRED: The first one. Have him clink it.
CUSTOMER: (clicks) It's the TIF.
FRED: Oh, I see. Can he clink...
ME: (interrupting) I think I understand. Thank you customer. I will explain to Fred and get back to you.

Clink you very much.

15 October 2009

ShakeOut Day or Why I would be dead if this wasn't a drill

From the 12 page pamphlet left on my office chair this morning, I learned that it was The Great California ShakeOut Day. Actually, I didn't really learn that, since anything HR leaves on my chair I quickly place in my filing rack without bothering to read it. OK, I glance on Things HR Leaves On My Chair to make sure that it doesn't say anything like, "Surprise! Free day off with pay tomorrow!" or "Bagels in the kitchen!" Everything else gets Filed Without Reading.

I have to say, if you ever do stop by my cube one day, feel free to peruse such fascinating reads as:

  • How to use the fire extinguisher in 9 easy steps!

  • "What's That Smell?" - A Guide to Gas

  • Swine Flu and You: A comprehensive guide on how to wash your hands

  • The terrorists won't win if you back up your hard drive!

  • CPR - How to give life to your co-workers without having to kiss them

So yes, the ShakeOut. Earthquake Safety. After I was settled in this morning, one of my co-workers who is known to Take Things Seriously Only When He Has To, started playing the earthquake drill sound effects. Basically, a lot of rumbling and glass shattering and car alarms going off, that sort of thing. He played it at least 3 times at a loud volume, giggling to himself about it sounding like a herd of donkeys coming through. One of his buddies who Never Takes Things Seriously Even When He's Suppose To joined in the fun by manually shaking the cube walls, which I might mention are all attached and therefore I might have spilled soda on myself. I really wish I could say that these sort of Work Disturbances are rare, but they are not. There is a reason I leave headphones at my desk.

At 10:30 this morning, Mr. Only Take Things Seriously Only When He Has To once again played the earthquake drill sound effects. There was general shuffling in my work vicinity, but I figured it was just people shifting uncomfortably in their chairs having to listen to the fucking sound effects for the 4th time this morning. But no. 3 minutes later Mr. Never Takes Things Seriously Even When He's Suppose gets on the loud speaker to announce that we are in fact having an earthquake drill and he's sorry to say that everyone who is left in the building is technically dead. The 8 of us who were left at our desks decide to go outside with the others as we Don't Want to Get Singled Out By Our Bosses. It was time for a cigarette anyhow, since I'm dead already, it doesn't really matter now does it?

Don't worry, Daddy will get you some applesauce and soon as he unearths Mommy from under the refrigerator.

Just for shits and grins, here is a map of the recent earthquakes in Southern California: http://quake.usgs.gov/recenteqs/Maps/118-34.html

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I smell bagels. It might be gas though, hard to tell without reading the pamphlet.

14 October 2009

I can see your cod piece from here!

By a stroke of per luck, I was able to see Eddie Izzard perform last night at a very small venue, only 4 rows back from the stage.  

By all accounts, the night wasn't going well from the start.  I had popped into the Harp to give Kevin my camera for the show.  He had bought two tickets earlier with the intent on bringing a date.  His date couldn't make it and to make matters worse, he got pulled over and given a ticket for driving while talking on cell phone.  The call, of course, was the one I had placed to him asking him if he wanted me to drop off the camera.   He had decided that fate was against him at this point and was thinking about not going at all.  With several pushes from the Harp peanut gallery, he changed his mind and also asked if I wanted to go with...with the precursor that I drive.   Hell yeah, I'll drive.

Kevin had brought this show up to me earlier that day.  It was a benefit show held at the EchoPlex for $25.  It wasn't even advertised except for on the benefit's web page.   I had asked Andy if he was interested, but he was working late so I didn't bother to pursue it further, especially since we're seeing him in January.

So Kevin and I take off around 6:00 PM with the knowledge that the show starts at 7.   The EchoPlex is only technically 40 miles away, but it's Los Angeles, it's rush hour, and it's raining.   Los Angelians may know how to scorn a fashion mishap three blocks away but they do not know how to drive in the rain.  As 6 PM turns into 7 PM and we are still sitting in the parking lot known as the I-5, we wonder if we'll make it at all.   We call 5 people locally trying to find our traffic fate on sigalert.com but can't reach anyone.  Actually, the one person that we did reach was also on the I-5 north of us and stated that he hadn't moved more than 3 miles in the last hour.   Oh dear.

We finally reach the venue at 10 minutes to 8 PM.  My bladder is seconds away from bursting.  There's no parking so I fork out $8 for the valet.  The storm decided to close up to downpour just as we step out of the car and we get drenched.  I run to the bathroom where there is no toilet paper and afterward buy myself a $8.00 beer that comes in a Dixie cup.  

I'm a bit frustrated so I tell Kevin to wait by the side of the stage while I go out and have a cigarette.  There's a Brazilian woman outside who commends me for not being afraid of the rain and I start to feel better.  Better yet, the show doesn't even start until the minute I get back inside.   Best yet, one of the bouncers tapped us and told us to go sit in the 4th row (middle) because the seats are reserved but the people didn't show up and they didn't want empty sections.   Score!

Eddie Izzard was of course, brilliant.  He was not in drag though it was suggested that he might have been wearing a cod piece.  Either that or he had a large furry weasel down his pants.  Hard to tell.  All I know is even though I had to sit in traffic for 2 hours, got completely soaked, was starving from missing dinner, and spent money that I couldn't afford to spend, I'm grateful I got to see him at such a small venue. 

08 October 2009

Vote for the Badger, you know you want to.

I know you've been sitting there thinking to yourself, "Gee, what can I do to help beautify the rusted automobiles of Wisconsin?"

I'm here to help.  Everyone, please vote for the badger.  I mean, you can vote another way, but the badger is just so awesome.  It would be a shame not to.


I love how the badger on the plate is just sitting there on his hind legs with a deep stream of consciousness residing behind his beady black eyes, "I hope they don't notice I'm sitting on a knife."

06 October 2009

To be on a quest is nothing more or less than to become an asker of questions.

To continue on from last week, here is the next set of questions posted by my devoted followers (all 4 of you, but you are the best four followers a blogger could ever ask for!).

Beth continues on to ask:

If you could have a super power, what would it be?

The very boring answer to this would be flying.  I like the idea that if I felt like going to a pub in Hungary on a Friday night, I could fly myself and be there in 20 minutes.  This is under the assumption that I could fly really fast like Superman and not slow like Batman who I don't even think can fly now that I think about it (stupid Batman!).   I suppose the trouble under that scenerio would be that I might be slightly drunk when I left the bar in Budapest and tried to fly home.  I'm sure I'd have trouble avoiding other flying objects at that point.   Not to mention, that while I was still at the pub and drinking my lager, I'm sure I'd start wanting to show off a little.

"You there!  Yeah, you're all cool with your ability to slug a beer with your hands behind your back, but I can fly.  No really, I can.  Want to bet?"

Of course I would win the bet but since I don't have superhuman strength whatever Hungarian brut who lost their money would be able to break my arms and legs, no problem.

Indian food or Mexican food?

Tough choice since I really love both.  If I would have to choose though, I'd say Mexican.  It doesn't give me the shits like Indian food does.

Why do you like your favorite TV show?

It's impossible to answer this as I could not tell you what my favorite TV show is.  As a TV whore, it's like asking the Taliban what they hate most about Americans.  It's impossible to narrow it down.

What is something you wish you had never done?

I can't say there is anything I wish I hadn't done as everything I've done, even the awful things, makes me who I am today.  A better question is what I wish I had done, which is fairly easy since I think about it a lot....when I was in Japan I saw this eye pillow in the shape of a fuzzy sheep.  It was cute and it smelled like fresh flowers.  I didn't buy it thinking that I could probably find something like it in the States and that I really couldn't afford buying "silly" things.   That was over 7 years ago and I'm still searching for that fucking sheep eye pillow.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

I'd say television but that would be a cop-out.  Truthfully, it's click-lit novels.   I'm too embarrassed to elaborate.

Why am I your bestest friend in the whole world?

Because I've known you since I was five and you continue to be awesome and never fish for compliments.  ;-)

Later this week we'll dive into the absurd as I answer Andy's submitted questions...

02 October 2009

“I was gratified to be able to answer promptly. I said, "I don't know."”

A-ha! Thank you Andy and Bethhead for your questions! I feel as if I have a purpose again in writing. Actually, thank you Bethhead, your questions moved me. Andy, not so much.

From British man residing in California who may or may not be wearing the same t-shirt he had on yesterday: What are you talking about?

Thank you very much for your interest Mr. Teabagger. I have thought long and hard about exactly what it is that I am talking about and I have finally come to the conclusion that it must be about pastry. Thanks for writing in.

From a new mother residing in the frozen tundra of Wausau, WI we have a myriad of questions. I will post the first three for now.

Why is it that cats do not like to get wet and why do dogs smell like ass when they do?

Excellent question Beth! This is actually a two part question that would be best answered in song.

Since you cannot hear my most intriguing and philosophical song on the subject, I will just have to say, "They just do." Trust me, the song was much better.

When you move, what is something you will miss about the States?

I have never actually been to Australia before so I can't be an expert on what exactly I will miss, I can only assume from the things that I have read. Here is that list so far:

  • Rabbits - unless I manage to grow a garden.
  • Spiders that I can easily kill with a paper towel without hearing a squishing sound.
  • 1/2 and 1/2 - Why Australia? Why? It's not like I'm going to have my own cow and dairy to make my own.
  • Ranch dressing - This can't even be imported from the States as it's a dairy product. Perhaps getting my own cow and dairy isn't such a bad idea after all.
  • Being able to call flip-flops flip-flops and not 'thongs'. -I guarantee that I will be giggling the first time that comes out of my mouth.

Things I wish I could un-see: Kylie Minogue on a giant thong

(Dammit)Why can't my kid take a nap longer than 30-45 min?

Because he isn't old enough to drink himself to a nap, nor is he going to work, the bum. I think at 3 months you should get him an application at McDonald's. It's never too early to teach financial responsibility.

More next week...

01 October 2009


I completely take responsibility for the failure of my "write every day in September" claim.  I thought about things to write almost every day and every day my mind just went, "naaaaah."  Truthfully, it's been really hard to write lately.  There are so many things that my mind has been thinking about that it hasn't had time to dwell on the silly and frivolous things.  A bit of a shame really.  I miss my dancing lobsters and karate carrots.  I really do.

3 years ago I think I was going through the same thing.  It's the point where I was in Wisconsin for Beth's wedding and everyone was coming up to me asking what I've been up to and I didn't have anything to say.  It's the same sort of thing really.  I have so many big things happening in the upcoming year that my mind has been focused on them.  Of course, the upcoming things are just that..upcoming...so trying to sound interesting right now is a bit of a challenge.  I've been finding that when I'm not at work, or out at the pub, or somewhere equally enthralling, I'm either watching TV, reading a book, or doing some mundane task on Facebook just to turn my head off. 

Help me out here.  Give me some questions in the comments and I will answer them as best I can.  They don't have to be serious questions either (unless you prefer).  I'm hoping answering a direct question rather then spewing out some random shit from my overworked mind will get this blog (which has an awesome title, admit it) a kick.