Saturday, March 31, 2001

I awoke in a strange place this morning...

My head was stinging from the strangeness. My lips were dry and cracked. I was very thirsty.

I forgot how dry it is out here...

After managing to get myself a cup of coffee, some semblance of breakfast, and enough nerve to lock and set the alarm of a house that I had first seen the previous night, I set off. Directions on a post-it note, and a printout from mapquest.

It was going to be a long day.

I don't usually drive for very long stretches at any one least, not on purpose. This was different. Direction chosen, resolve set, water and lip balm stocked up upon. I chose a CD to start with.

Once the initial rush-hour traffic was passed, and the highway congestion thinned, I set about for a more determined and deliberate pace. Once I felt comfortable, I glanced down at the speedometer, as if in passing. It read 85, yet I felt as if I was standing still. My mind was already racing...I need to calm down.

The first hundred miles blinked by. The second were almost as fast. The third I started to notice I was on a trek...not just some jaunt into the nothingness without a purpose. The music played, and I settled into the task at hand...continue to move. Feel the satisfaction of dust and asphalt left behind me.

I crossed the state border with the obligatory nod...seems you can't enter California without someone nodding at you.

The desert opened into a valley. Green and lush and hot. Hotter than the desert was.

Traffic thickened too. Worse and worse until the concrete tiers stacked five over one another were a clear sign of where I was. Pressing through the traffic and the smog, I continued on.

Soon the traffic lightened again. Mountains ahead. The third set I have counted. These were the last ones to pass. I saw ocean, and the air was cool and damp. The feeling of moving across the road has long been replaced with the sensation that I am on top of the world, and my will alone rotates it under me as I please.

Or perhaps I was getting dehydrated. Heh.

After four hundred and eighty-eight miles, I saw the exit I was to take. A turn, and another, and look for the spot.

Park the car and cross the street. Knock on the door before I think about it.

We said hello.

I have just met my best friend. It was many months and thousands of miles in the making. It was remarkable, if only because it felt like nothing at all. Or perhaps I still can't believe I am sitting here, now.

Oh, and Amber says "hi".
:::::posted by
erratic :: 03-something AM EST linky

Friday, March 30, 2001

There's nothing like air travel to renew disdain for my fellow man.
(Addendum: there's nothing like a good night's sleep to realize you can't spell)


I was informed by my gracious hosts that there is a level of speeding ticket that is actually a criminal offense. I think it was a good thing that I learned about that fact in this way. The alternative lesson conjures up images of road-side drama involving hand cuffs and my inability to shut up when I should.


I think tomorrow is going to be quite a day...
:::::posted by
erratic :: 01-something AM EST linky

Thursday, March 29, 2001

It's funny...for time to be allegedly "unplugged", I recall packing an awful lot of wires and things. I suppose some level of technology is required for me to be at peace.

It's gray here today...which is a good thing, provided my flight leaves on time. I'm gonna miss a lot of rain.

I hope figuratively as well.

In the mean time, I can already imagine myself in the car, sunglasses on, windows rolled down, zooming through the dust with the radio blasting...

I dream of rain
I lift my gaze to empty skies above
I close my eyes, this rare perfume
Is the sweet intoxication of her love

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in pain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand

Sweet desert rose
Each of her veils, a secret promise
This desert flower
No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this

Sting - Desert Rose - mp3 (6mb)

See you in the desert.
:::::posted by erratic :: 10-something AM EST linky

Wednesday, March 28, 2001

Just when you think things couldn't get any worse, they didn't.

It was a nice change.

My company took me to dinner last night. I have worked there for five years, this month.

That may not seem very long, but it is several generations in the computer field. If you factor in the fact that I was the first full-time employee of this company, after the owners at least, the time is pretty significant.

I was all geared up to have a lousy time, too. The difficulties of my own mental processes were primed to easily overcome the celebratory atmosphere of the five of us in the restaurant.

Things would get better when I got a phone call just as we were seated. I wouldn't find out until later what it was really about, but it did provide enough of a distraction from everything to allow me to relax and be in the moment while my mind chewed it up.

The coats were checked, the wine was poured, and I was seated at the head of the table. The two owners, the business manager, and our office manager were seated around me.

Five years. I've never worked anywhere longer than three, and never for something that would qualify as a "career". The company is about twenty people now, still poised to grow, and I look back with amazement and wonder at the road that got me to this table.

"You get to choose the restaurant," the office manager said. Actually, den-mother is more like it. "Anywhere you want, take your pick."

My request for the McDonalds in Maui was flatly rejected (I would have even settled for drive-thru), so I chose the most expensive french restaurant in town. There wasn't as much flak for that as I had anticipated.

They presented me with a poem..."Ode to The Brain" (my nickname). It detailed some of the fits and starts of my professional life. It was funny, and reminded me of many things, some of which I can only laugh about now...

I laughed and blushed and generally felt appreciated, even with all of them poking fun.

I lived in a basement apartment in a crappy town when they found me. T-shirt and jeans and a baseball cap was all I would ever be seen in. Attitude and ego, ambition, but no confidence, I worked for a tiny little mail order store, holding it together, and paying the bills...barely. My home was $480 a month and worth maybe half that--it was a hole. It was my hole, though, and I knew that somehow, some way, I would get out of it, no matter what.

A few weeks later I was in a pinstriped suit in downtown Manhattan working for an investment bank. My tax bill that year was higher than my salary from the previous one. I was no longer the big fish in the small pond. I had no idea what I was doing, but learned quickly the nuances of kissing ass and getting paid quadruple for doing less than half the work. A merger and some fancy footwork left me in charge of 26,000 computers around the world. Some posturing and a very public battle with a powerful Director left me viciously forced out, for a bullshit reason that I still am razzed about to this very day.

This was all reduced to two sentences in the poem. Cleverly, though. I laughed.

I didn't laugh at the time. The significance of what happened didn't take hold for a long while. One day I was flying to London like it was going to the beach for the weekend, the next I was smoking a cigarette behind a strip mall watching a train go by. My office stuck me on a "something to do" account to keep me from dwelling too much. It didn't work.

It was the beginning of the end for my aspirations as they had existed, although I didn't see that at the time. I focused on the details of what got me there, not the importance of the change that resulted. For the first time in my professional life, I gambled it all and lost, and lost myself with it. "Money at all cost" left me feeling shallow when the chase ended, and rather than ponder a deeper purpose, I treated a gunshot wound with aspirin.

My brand new BMW was 2 weeks old...but I was suddenly afraid of the payments. What about the rent? Food? Money was no longer something to use to keep score, but a pressing, worrying need...again. In all of my self assurances that I would never be in such a place once I got out of it, I wondered if I would be subsisting on macaroni and cheese, cursing the life I used to live.

I never become somebody, I created him instead...down to the smallest detail. Everyone I knew, envied me. That was important. I had the perfect life, and no one could ask for more. But the crack in the glass left me looking at my creation from the outside, and not recognizing the reflection. That was not me, and I did not envy him. I did not want his life anymore, but I was too afraid to let it go.

Time passed and the wounds healed...time heals all wounds that don't bleed you to death first. I could write a thousand pages of what happened from then to now, but for the moment I have said enough. The curious fact is that sipping my wine while turning beet red, this whole event was recounted in 14 words. The event that made me give up my quest for a hollow image... the ripples of which are still tearing down the world around me, as I continue to seek and destroy the unseemly remnants of that creation and assimilate the pieces of him that still belong.

That was two years ago, this month...reduced to two sentences, in a humorous glance. The most earth-shattering, personal revelation of my life.

In two years time, I wonder what events of today will be reduced to a mere two sentences? When the paragraph of now is written in future time's pages, what will become of what I do today?
:::::posted by
erratic :: 04-something PM EST linky

Tuesday, March 27, 2001

On a slightly lighter note...

Who do I contact if I want to break into cars?

Apparently, me.
:::::posted by erratic :: 04-something PM EST linky


Thank you to those who sent words of encouragement. It means a lot to me.

I have been living a very stressful existence lately. The past few months have been increasingly difficult for reasons that I don't talk about very much here. One thing on top of another continued to build and it crescendoed on Sunday night.

I do not write very well when I am in an emotional state, so there is generally some lag time between any one thing happening and my processing of it into some form of story that helps me. This case is no exception, so some time next week I might have something more.

I am going to take a personal break, though. I am flying to Phoenix for a week this Thursday to spend some time with friends, and to spend some road-trip navel gazing time, although navel gazing seems to take on shades of obsessing as well, so if there is anyone in the area with some spare time and the inclination to meet I'd love to hear from you.

I have told myself that this will be an "unplugged" vacation, but I do know me better than that. I will probably wind up writing more than normal, but if not, being away is the reason why.

There might also be slightly more "personal" entries, which is not in line with a lot of what goes on here, so if you can tolerate that there should be a more normal tone again when I return.

Then again, it's my damn web site so who really knows what I will do with it ;-)

For "only words" this web-thing has taken on a ton of significance to me. I still cannot decide how much of a good thing that is.

But, as always, I will try to keep it interesting.

I hope you continue to agree.
:::::posted by erratic :: 09-something AM EST linky

Monday, March 26, 2001

A light snow is falling.

I turn off the alarm 15 minutes before it is set to go off. This is due mostly to the fact that not having slept, it is rather pointless to wait for.

My mind is turning over and over the stresses of work, life, and the smallest little things exploding into the largest catastrophes without warning or purpose.

Heart pounding hour upon hour as waves of renewed anxiety wash over my diminishing attempts at sleep.

Fists chenched, skin crawling, anger and anguish at the unfairness of it all.

At least, especially for a Monday, I won't need coffee, and I will be at work on time.

Maybe I should try this more often.
:::::posted by
erratic :: 07-something AM EST linky

Sunday, March 25, 2001

Lots of events...concerts and sporting events and the like, are sponsored by companies these days. It's an unfortunate fact of life and business in our times: things are expensive and the money certain businesses are willing to fork over to be associated with something is too much for any promotor to pass up.

Some of these event/company matchups have gotten a little out of hand, though. There is little bearing on the event and the company footing the bill. Insurance companies bringing us a marathon? 3Com sponsoring a stadium? I think this needs to change.

There needs to be a closer alignment between the sponsoring corporation and the event/venue/charity that is hosted...

For starters, Microsoft should host a series of demolition derbys. If you think about it, a demolotion derby is nothing more than trying to use a vehicle in such a way that it crashes expectedly, but continues to run. Sometimes you succeed, sometimes not. This is a lot like most versions of Windows that I have used, and I think it makes sense to draw this parallel while it still works.

Oracle makes database software. Databases are those things that get a lot of attention and money thrown at them, but are boring as hell. There is a sport a lot like this: golf. I know that golf can be fun to play but let's face it, I'm not ever going to play in a tournament sponsored by Oracle and watching golf is about as exciting as working with an Oracle server. (They may already sponsor a golf tournament but I have been unable to confirm this...if so, they get high marks in my book.)

As for the marathons...all of those people running, running, running...driven by something deep inside them to continue on beyond comprehension...well I think the perfect sponsor for these events is Ex-Lax. 'Nuff said.

Lots of dotcoms sponsored all kinds of things in their heyday: from the superbowl to concerts to tennis. This was all misguided, though. The only thing that any of the dotcoms should have sponsored is a sky surfing contest: a group of people looking really cool as they plummet to earth at 240 miles per hour. *That* is what they are all about, and that is what they should align themselves with.

Michael Jackson concerts should be sponsored by Dow Chemical, since he is as much a construction of theirs as anything else.

Waterford Crystal makes items that are very pretty, very expensive, and rather pointless. They should host figure skating competitions. It's a perfect fit.

Finally, there is the thought of who should sponsor I am not looking for a sponsor, but what if I were? What entity would best reflect this site?

Glaxo Smith Kline Pharmaceutical. They make Paxil, Imitrex, and Welbutrin (anti-anxiety, anti-migraine and anti-depression medicines). I'd like to think that it's a good humor me.

:::::posted by erratic :: 06-something PM EST linky

Friday, March 23, 2001

Right now, in the United States of America, government agents are swarming. Federal officials with guns and important looking documents signed by federal judges are all abuzz with activity at a certain compound in the northeastern portion of our country.

Their presence is vehemently protested by the local residents of this area, calling them Nazis and fascists and decrying the injustice of fourth amendment violations in a land that values such protections from the state.

Over what political hot-button has this firestorm erupted? Another militia-style group armed to the teeth? A mysterious religious cult with questionable intentions? Suspected international terrorists, perhaps?

Nope. Sheep.

Contrary to popular belief, I try to be understanding about most things. Really. I do.

But this isn't exactly Waco or Ruby Ridge... we're talking about 200 sheep here.... SHEEP.

They are sick sheep, too. Or, at least, a couple of them had been sick last year. Given the nasty nature of the sickness, that's close enough for comfort.

The press devours conflict though...regardless of the inanity of it. So I watch, incredulously, as this woman cuddles a lamb in her arms for the cameras, kissing its nose, ever so sweetly, and sheds crocodile tears over the destruction of her precious baby.

Wait a second.

This is a creature she is raising as livestock. Twice a year for the next 5 or 6 years she is going to shave it naked for wool, then toss it back outside in the cold. To top it all off, the reward for this heroism on the part of the beast is to wind up as dinner for several people.

We're not exactly talking about the family pet. I'm relatively sure they don't name most members of the flock.

OK, so all around, it sucks to be a sheep. That's not the point...

The seizure is occurring to protect other sheep from an outbreak of mad cow (why it affects sheep I have no idea but I'm not asking) disease, and the farmers are getting paid for the animals being taken.

Not to mention that the "injustice" has been in court for months, but the farmers lost their fight. Not quite the Gestapo tactics that the soundbites would have us believe, since "injustice" typically involves two things: absence of due process, and inequitable (or nonexistent) compensation for a loss.

Somehow I have a hard time generating sympathy for someone who had their day in court and is being paid for their trouble...even if it was the family pet.

Dilution of this country's own law will not come from the extremes, but from the ordinary, everyday application of how things are supposed to work being overloaded with bogus emotion from a group of people who like to see themselves on the news.

Well, that, and from the terrorists and doomsday cults and militias that are safe to operate while Uncle Sam tries to buy some lousy sick sheep.

So when the protesters get their panties in a bunch and cry "don't we have rights!?!" will someone please spell out clearly that a) yes, they do and b) those would be *your day in court* and *a check for your troubles* Guess what? You got them! You have rights, there they are. Isn't that cool???

Perhaps, someone might remind them that the system does occasionally work, even if you don't like the outcome.

Maybe you could buy them some tofu, too...just to piss them off.
:::::posted by erratic :: 11-something PM EST linky

Thursday, March 22, 2001

Point of order: I don't kick my cat. Ever. Well, sometimes she tries to trip me now and then but that is never on purpose and I feel more repentant than I probably should for something that wasn't my fault.

But "kick the cat" is an expression. That's all.

:::::posted by
erratic :: 09-something PM EST linky


Random thought of the moment:

Is the FedEx office in the Los Angeles International Airport called FedEx-Lax?
:::::posted by
erratic :: 04-something PM EST linky


Alan Greenspan, Chairman
United States Federal Reserve
Washington, DC

March 22, 2001

Dear Mr. Greenspan,

Thank you for taking the time to read my correspondence. It is my sincerest hope that some unnecessary suffering currently affecting the economy of the United States can be avoided in the future.

You should find enclosed in the parcel to which this letter was attached the following items:

One AAA approved road map of New Jersey
One imperial gallon of kerosene
One box of 500 safety matches
One can of gray temporary hair color
One can of Pounce brand cat treats
One mens size 8 work boot (I hope the size is close)
One 500 mcg pellet of refined uranium 236

This assortment of items may seem confusing, however once I explain them to you I believe you will see the wisdom in my suggestion.

Recently the FED reduced short term interest rates by 500 basis points in expectation of an ever slowing economic expansion. This spooked the stock market even further and we are about to cap off a Dow Jones loss of roughly 2000 points for the past 4 months. I am afraid this was a needless action on your part.

Should you feel the urge to again run a little soft on the throttle of the economy, an equally effective and far less destabilizing alternative can be acheived with these items.

For starters, follow the map to my house (circled in red). Pour the kerosene over my front porch and light it with the matches. Be careful to only scorch the house, as my equity in the past year has suffered immensely, but should the house burn down at this point I would actually make a profit and that is not an accurate representation of what is happening.

Next, enter the house through the scorched front door. Locate me, most likely in the den or basement, and spray my hair with some of the gray coloring.

Next, put on the work boot. With the cat treats, lure the cat towards you, and kick her (not too hard).

Slip the uranium pellet under my chair. The radiation exposure should only reduce my life span by a few years and cause moderate nausea, so distance from my body is crucual.

Mr. Greenspan, performing these tasks and then cutting interest rates to the point that they should have been will allow the rest of the economy to function well, and would still accomplish the things that you have personally inflicted upon me. I feel that removing the suffering of the innocent bystanders in the market will make for a better nation.

I hope you will use this in the future.

John McCabe

:::::posted by
erratic :: 04-something PM EST linky


"Ummm.... Hello, Allstate Insurance? I need to file a claim under my auto policy... No, it wasn't an accident per se...."
:::::posted by erratic :: 12-something AM EST linky

Wednesday, March 21, 2001

So, as the saying goes, March came in like a lion, and is going out like a.....pissed off lion.

It's so ugly out I am skipping cigarette breaks. I don't need nicotine *that* bad.

If anyone sees the fiery finger of god flying around with the four horsemen, let me know? I'll have to tie up a few loose ends and get one hell of a lawyer (pun completely intended).
:::::posted by erratic :: 02-something PM EST linky



CONSERVE ELECTRICITY -- This is very important. Everyone needs to conserve electricity. Lots of it. Then, take what you have conserved, put it in a tupperware container, and mail it to California.

:::::posted by erratic :: 12-something AM EST linky

Tuesday, March 20, 2001

:::::posted by
erratic :: 03-something PM EST linky


"The Vatican said the issue was restricted to a certain geographical area..." Earth, maybe?
:::::posted by erratic :: 10-something AM EST linky

Monday, March 19, 2001

I am a computer professional.

Sometimes that sounds like an oxymoron to me--that anything as seemingly undeveloped as the field of computers (yes I know they've been around a while now, but compared to doctor, lawyer, banker and baker it's a very new occupation) could be something that not only counts as a career, but is rewarded well.

What most computer "professionals" don't like to admit to themselves, let alone others, is that more often than not we are all winging it.

That's fine certainly is exciting from time to time. I think it takes a certain personality type to absorb the abstract complexities of a machine that, from outward appearances, seems to do little more than act as a space heater which occasionally buzzes.

The fact that I am a computer geek is no real surprise to me. I often wonder what I would have been a geek in had I lived in any other era. Probably radio, or mechanical engines, or alchemy--depending on when we are talking about. The bottom line is that I found my niche in this life because of one simple fact and one personality flaw: the fact that people suck, and the notion that as far as I was concerned they could all go fuck themselves.

Perhaps those aren't such startling revelations, however when I was 8 years old the fact that people suck was rather disconcerting. More importantly, they seemed to suck towards me more than a lot of others. The "fuck off" part sort of evolved over several iterations of that realization.

As luck would have it, I discovered this new invention called the personal computer around then (we're talking 1979 here) and it was mystifying to me. Through some blind luck and a little effort on my part I was programming in basic by age 9, and I owned one of these beasts by age 11.

What started as a simple exercise in playing games quickly became a quest to figure out how the thing really worked. The Commodore 64 was a deceptively simple creation, although at the time 38k of program space seemed like more than anyone would use in a lifetime. A study of 6502 assembly revealed the simple processes that happened under the hood fast enough to appear more complex than they actually were. After the inner secrets were eviscerated for my pleasure, I moved on to something totally new: a modem.

This changed things a bit...because while I had been busy replacing all manners of socialization that an adolescent is supposed to be figuring out with an electronic machine, suddenly people were about to enter the mix again. The difference here was that I already had my best friend...the computer...and the two of us were venturing out to meet others like us.

The fits and starts of that process were not very remarkable, but needless to say nothing turned me off of computers or connectivity since I am writing this here, today.

The real issue is the computer itself. It made sense. You could look up how it worked, try certain things out, and see what happened. If it went the way you expected, great...if not you could figure out why. This beat the hell out of trying to understand people...they are irrational and cruel...especially if you aren't the same as them--or what they expect you to be.

I was forced to become more of a social animal later on...mostly as a business process, but at least that had a purpose...something could be understood by successfully navigating the unspoken rituals of how people interact with one another...even if it was only to get money from them. People still don't make a lot of sense to me, although I pay more attention now. I can "read" people pretty well, but why or how that is is something that I don't have much of a bead on. Maybe I should be thankful that I can do it at all.

The problem is complexity...a person is an assembly of disparate processes that all have their own agendas, many of which are ignoring what the others are up to. Complicating matters even more, groups of people act differently than a collection of individuals. It's almost impossible to get a sense of precisely what is going on with any one thought of one person in a have to look at what is generally happening and guess at the underlying processes at work.

So, as complexity increases, and interactions of those complexities multiply, the underlying causes of what is happening become lost in the noise.

This is what is happening to the computer field now.

My beloved machines...the ones that never insulted me or called me names...that I understood on a level that is still instinctive...they are growing up on me. The interactions of some of the newer operating systems and latest hardware have forced me to utter a phrase that tastes as bitter as poison: "I don't know." Sometimes they talk to one another in ways that they weren't instructed to--gossiping. Sometimes they freeze or stop or slow down and there is no good reason for it--temper tantrum. Certain models of machine won't interact with other models--racism? Overall certain "behaviors" are introduced into a network that follow the ebb and flow of a seemingly biological process but no underlying technical explanation is adequate.

Do I suddenly think they are alive? Hardly. Everything *could* be analyzed to a level of detail that would explain everything perfectly. The hardware and software interactions are, in theory at least, understood well enough that a moment in time could be frozen to dissect precisely what was happening.

Of course, the same could be said for a person.

But as time flows and the complexity increases, the result is the same...the complexity allows for lifelike things to occur. More and more the resultant appearance of "glitches" are nothing more than the natural process of complexity allowing for latitude in how a process acts and reacts.

Perhaps I am less of a computer professional and more of an electronic psychologist.

What the hell will I do when computers start to suck and I tell them to go fuck themselves?

Why do I feel inclined to do that now?

:::::posted by
erratic :: 01-something PM EST linky

Saturday, March 17, 2001

I heard on the news yesterday morning that "everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day!" and it started me thinking. What a strange concept...

I am one half Irish, although I'm not Irish-American or anything silly like that... I agree with bwg: I'm an American with Irish heritage. Anyway...

At least I *have* been to Ireland...twice. It's a really pretty country, and it is as green as you'd think it should be. I've been to where it's not really all that long of a way to Tipperary. I've driven where the streets have no name (or pavement). I have kissed the Blarney Stone (point here: skip it...I think licking a NYC subway handrail would be less disgusting...there is a faerie forest behind the castle that is not well known but far more interesting.)

The point is, I have been to the country of my heritage (well, one of them, I don't really want to see any of the Baltics right now) and proudly flaunted my last name as if it meant I was one of them. I wasn't, though. I'm still not.

So when the news informed the world of their temporary heritage endowment for today I thought it a bit odd. What other holiday do we hear that?

*Everyone* is Jewish on Hanukkah!
*Everyone* is French on Bastille Day!
*Everyone* is American on July 4th!
*Everyone* doesn't work.

I barely feel comfortable calling myself "Irish", so when I see Tony from Bay Ridge in a muscle shirt drinking green beer on the corner of 5th Ave during the parade, I wonder if he really thinks he's Irish or not.

I have no problem with the anyone celebrating's mostly an American holiday anyway, but for people to declare themselves Irish for a day and then get drunk to commemorate the death of Saint Patrick, Catholic converter of Ireland who managed to "drive out all the snakes", does miss a bit of the original point.

A lot of our holidays miss the original point nowadays, and typically are boiled down to "but the spirit is still the same" so those participants can feel good about whatever it is they are doing. Scaring monotheistic religion into pagans is something probably best left out of any "spirit" definitions of today, especially if it is to explain why everyone gets drunk. Otherwise, 'tis a slippery slope from there to the notion that maybe the whole converting thing only seemed like a good idea at the time.

Of course, I could just be a little bitter about sitting home with a nasty headache (naturally occurring, thank you) unable to partake in any festivities. I think maybe I'll go crack open a Guinness, declare the other half of me Irish for a day, and see what happens.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Slainte!
:::::posted by erratic :: 10-something PM EST linky

Friday, March 16, 2001

Sometimes having a cool domain name is enough to generate fodder for itself. Yesterday was such a day....

The following is an email exchange I had with someone I will never meet.


From: Paul V.
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2001 4:36 PM
Subject: horaire

11 a 7 enleve jeudi , donc lundi mardi mercredi et vendredi


From: erratic
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2001 4:46 PM
To: 'Paul V.'
Subject: RE: horaire


I'm not fluent en français, however from what I can gather, this is not for me.



From: Paul V.
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2001 4:57 PM
To: loony
Subject: (no subject)

Here is your scheduel:

Mon 11-7
tues 11-7
Wed 11-7
thurs off
frid 11-7


From: erratic
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2001 5:04 PM
To: 'Paul V.'
Subject: RE: (no subject)

That's great. One little problem.

I don't work for you.

You have the wrong guy.

That's what I'm trying to say.



From: Paul V.
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2001 5:31 PM
To: erratic
Subject: Re: (no subject)

Loony's e-mail is right?


Arrrrrrrgh.... I did explain it all again...and I haven't heard back from my new friend (and employer, apparently), but I hope to soon. I have a a reply waiting for him:

Je démissionne! Vous bouffon ignorant, comment ne pouvez-vous pas vous rendre compte que je n'ai aucun indice qui vous êtes?

Mon crayon est grand et jaune.

If that still doesn't get the point across, I may have no choice but to work my schedule. I hope it's for something I can do.

Hmmm... I'd better go find a yellow pencil.
:::::posted by erratic :: 10-something PM EST linky

Thursday, March 15, 2001

Well, lets hear it for dramatization.

The personal crises back in their cage, for now. I am on the road to repairing the extra orifice granted me yesterday. I need to cut back on the extra smoking a bit it's time for more coffee.

The problem with my job isn't my's my career. I am a techno-geek, with all of the techno-geek trappings that, but my career now has me walking the path of a project manager. All of the headaches, none of the fun.

Documentation is all I do now. Status meetings. Migration strategies. Project schedules. The real fun is left to others. Sometimes I forget that and it bites me.

Documenting all this crap could be a lot more fun, though. I want to make the drab phrases such as

"The overhead required to engineer any future changes into the unattended install is easily recouped from the supportability of the existing systems consistency across the enterprise."

a little more interesting. Make them fun to read, for chrissake. Make them fun to write, too. Give it a beat. Think about it:

The systems will be upgraded as per the specification
which will allow for management and easy administration
To deviate from this decree would violate the standard
I stress again, to these requests we have never pandered

the software will be engineered to run a single image
the pilot testing then begins (it's sort of like a scrimmage)
the application testing should proceed without delay
be mindful of the services that use the system tray

when the testing is complete we orchestrate deployment
create a user ad campaign to stimulate enjoyment
be mindful of the pitfalls that occur with data migration
the loss of user data will create unneeded frustration

the operating system will install as unattended
and extra applications can be easily appended
we've bugeted for all the extra sofware license fees
and written information into custom registry keys

the final act of handoff is extensive documentation
of troubleshooting, engineering, testing and integration
if requested we will gladly do some added user training
to ease the resource allocations that already are draining

Wouldn't that be so much better? It says everything I am writing now. Corporate america needs to lighten up.

:::::posted by
erratic :: 10-something AM EST linky

Wednesday, March 14, 2001

There *IS* a God!!! ...I just can't figure out why (s)he's so pissed off at me lately.

For some reason, the highest highs and the lowest lows have this nasty habit of hitting me at pretty much the same time. It's uncanny...I almost dread great news because I know the hammer of fate is lurking above my head. If I ever won the lottery, I can assure you I'd be hit by a bus.

What gets me, though, is that when a peak and trough come along at the same time, they *should* cancel each other out, like sound waves: noise plus antinoise equals quiet. It should be like nothing happened at all: "big high + big low = ho hum". But no, of course not, the suckage of the downer wins...shitty things are noncompetitive antagonists. They just win, no matter what. Arrrgh.

On an unrelated, happier note: I had a second asshole installed today, free of charge and courtesy of work, which should come in handy if I lose the original one.

I would go for a walk right now, but I wouldn't come back.
:::::posted by
erratic :: 03-something PM EST linky

Tuesday, March 13, 2001

- I have 100 amps of electricity piped into my house
- I have 300 watts of 5-speaker Dolby surround
- I have 700 lines of resolution across 32 inches of screen
- I have 7 remote controls including the one to my car
- I have 4000 megahertz of computing power at my disposal
- I have 800 gigs of storage
- I have a 10 megabit connection to the Internet
- I have 100 mbit fast ethernet running through my entire house
- I have a 190 horsepower 5 speed that can do 0-60 in 6 seconds
- I have 14 speakers 2 subwoofers 600 watts of sound
- I have a cell phone, 2 PDA's, and 4 bottles of vitamins
- I have 1000 milligrams of pain stopping power
- I have an IQ of 160
- I have hundreds of books on every imaginable subject
- I have thousands of frequent flyer miles with 3 different airlines
- I have 3 bank accounts, a stock portfolio, and a 401K
- I have a platinum Discover card and a corporate Amex
- I have an accountant and an attorney
- I am over 21
- I am registered to vote
- I have a valid drivers license with no points
- I have insurance of every kind
- I have an MCSE
- I have experience, reputation, and a great resume
- I have associates, allies, friends, and loved ones
- I am old enough to know better and young enough to keep trying

I am empowered, enabled, electrified, digitized, and online.

Why do I feel so helpless?
:::::posted by
erratic :: 12-something AM EST linky

Monday, March 12, 2001

Well, here it is, the 24th issue of the Week In Review.

There are 15 images and captions per week, give or take (the first week was less, two other weeks were more.) That's 360 images and captions so far.

It's getting tough.

When I started the Week In Review, it was born out of a spark for a single post, which quickly became so broad that I knew there was enough material to run the same feature week after week after week.

The process started to become more routine...albeit a lot of work. Each night I would cruise through the AP photo database and download a few choice candidates. At the end of the week I had 40-50 pictures saved, from which I could cull the best of the best, and write the captions.

It started as a lot of fun. It became a mental exercise in lateral thinking. It then became a chore.

This is the long way of saying that the Week In Review is going on hiatus -- just for a few weeks. I apologize to all of you for that.

After some time off, my 'W.I.R.' batteries will be fully recharged and ready to rip into the task anew.

So, last one for a while, get it while it's's the Week In Review for 3-9-2001
:::::posted by erratic :: 09-something PM EST linky

Saturday, March 10, 2001

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced today an initiative to help alleviate confusion resulting from outdated road sign definitions. With road rage incidents on the rise, the agency believes that motor vehicle operators have differing views of what the standardized signage actually represents today. In an attempt to bring drivers of all ages, backgrounds, and locations together in a common frame of reference, updated road signs and their meanings were released:

Travel is permitted at either 35 or 100 miles per hour only.
Do not relinquish control of the leftmost lane no matter what.
Pull your vehicle far enough into crossing traffic to force it to stop for you.
Proceed without care. Someone ELSE will stop.
Activate your left turn indicator. Then activate your right turn indicator. Proceed to turn left.
(Interchangeable) The mayor's brother-in-law manufactures road signs and was having a slow month.
When light is red, passing lane for assholes in sports cars only.
Slow to 0.1 miles-per-hour (SUV's only).
Approximately 1000 feet ahead, appear baffled as to where the road disappeared to.
We put this sign up to keep everyone but *you* out...there is actually a road that connects to this one...go get'em Tiger!
Parking permitted provided you leave your engine running.
Parking permitted provided you leave your hazard lights flashing.
Parking permitted during inclement weather only.
We left this sign in place because everyone is now accustomed to the snarl it creates.
SLOW DOWN! Civilized conversation over coffee ahead.
Warning! Drivers using cell phones ahead.

The NTSB hopes that through these revisions, our nations highways will be safer for everyone.

Happy motoring!
:::::posted by
erratic :: 04-something PM EST linky

Friday, March 9, 2001

Conspiracy theory #21565

There is a covert group of individuals who are responsible for various "buttons" that the average person runs across in their day-to-day life.

The significance of these buttons isn't some terrible task that they activate...nay, it is far more insidious then that.

These buttons do nothing.

You can find the group's handiwork everywhere. They are responsible for the "change light to green" buttons at crosswalks. They install the "door close" buttons in elevators, the reset buttons on power strips, and the circuit test buttons on GFI outlets. This group supplies all of the TV remote controls to hotels, and they even have a team of programmers working at Microsoft...they create all of the "Cancel" buttons for Microsoft software installation utilities.

What is the point, you ask? Simple. Control. By keeping a certain percentage of seemingly nonfunctioning devices intermingled with those that actually do something, our daily routines are laced with uncertainty toward technology as a whole. Additionally, we question our own abilities with regards to effectively managing the smallest aspects of our lives (crossing the street, taking an elevator, changing a channel). It is important that only innocuous devices are affected by these evil geniuses, since major malfunctioning or nonfunctioning equipment would be a dead giveaway that something significant was amiss.

This way it is almost subliminal.

There is another team that has been in place slightly longer than the "nonfunctioning button team." That is the "occasionally functioning device" team.

You can tell that this team has been around much longer because the sheer volume of creations attributed to their craftsmanship dwarves those of the "nonfunctioning buttons." Everything from cell phones to cable modems to Windows ME are the result of an intentional assault on functionality...carefully engineered with just enough unreliability so as to keep the common man or woman off balance.

Interestingly enough, elevator "call buttons" were the brainchild of the "occasionally functioning team." It is believed that they collaborated with the "nonfunctioning button team" when they were installing elevator "door close buttons."

This whole idea may sound crazy, but look at the big picture. Technology becomes more and more sophisticated, costs less, and does more. Yet certain aspects of these advancements are less and less stable over time, while some of the simplest things don't work at all.

With the progress made over the past century or so, how could that be, unless it was on purpose?

:::::posted by
erratic :: 07-something AM EST linky

Thursday, March 8, 2001

A former housekeeper of John and Patsy Ramsey, parents of slain child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, sued the couple on Thursday for $50 million, charging their book and media statements about the unsolved 1996 murder named her as a suspect.

A Denver freelance journalist sued the Ramseys, charging they intentionally inflicted emotional distress on him by saying he had been on their "suspect list."

Jerry Falwell, an American religious leader, sued a magazine after it published a biting satire of Falwell that mocked his piety. Indeed, a state of Virginia jury awarded Falwell $200,000 after concluding that the magazine had inflicted "emotional distress" on the well-known clergyman.

a member of the defendant Church of Scientology filed a lawsuit in the Michigan Circuit Court for the County of Oakland against the Cult Awareness Network and others, including Sally Jesse Rafael and Multimedia, Inc., the company producing the Sally Jesse Rafael Show, alleging that defendants had invaded plaintiff's privacy and inflicted emotional distress upon her by portraying plaintiff and her "religion" in a false light.

Lawyer sues her own parent's lawyer for "emotional distress" when they tried to sue her husband over the children

I've been such a fool.

All this time I have been looking out for just the right opportunity to cash in on our litigious society. Let's fact it, in a country where you are 18 times more likely to contract the flesh-eating disease than you are to win the lottery, a different approach to fast fortune is needed.

It's been under my nose the whole time.

Here I've been looking for the right sidewalk to trip on, the proper car to fall in front of, the appropriate beverage to spill on my lap...then go happily tromping off to court to pick up my prize money settlement, and live out my remaining days sipping pina colada's on random beaches around the world. The only obstacle had been the amount of physical pain I could withstand versus the's a tricky ratio to get right.

But "emotional distress" that I have already.

  • I am suing my employer...the stress of my job inflicts emotional distress on me beyond what I am paid.

  • I am suing my parents for all the times they yelled at me when I was growing up. I suffered emotional distress for which I was never appropriately compensated.

  • I am suing the lady in the green Jeep Cherokee who flipped me the bird on Route 4 in the summer of 1998. She inflicted a LOT of emotional distress on me that day.

  • When I was seven this kid named Jaime in summer camp picked on me constantly for weeks on end. Emotional distress. Lots of it. Sue sue sue.

  • I will sue the government for the emotional distress they inflict on me every tax season.

  • I will sue the bank for the emotional distress caused by the threat of losing the house if I don't pay the mortgage.

  • I'm getting a little distressed at this list. Hmmm...this is a Dell laptop, eh? Better put them in there too...
  • If you want to email me on this'd better be *really nice* about it.

    I get distressed pretty easily.

    :::::posted by erratic :: 04-something PM EST linky

    Wednesday, March 7, 2001

    I have pondered the nature of god and God and the-man-behind-the-curtain-to-whom-I-am-supposed-to-be-paying-no-attention several times before.

    For all of my musings about the nature of things there was something I completely overlooked...

    Star Wars

    Think about all of the religious texts today. They are on paper...hell, the commandments were written in stone. Such a stagnant medium for the modern age, no? I don't want to subscribe to a list of do's and don’ts using a bunch of stale thee's and thou's to weave my weary way to heaven...I need something a little more modern, and far more practical.

    The Force. I will use The Force. I will become a Jedi.

    Think about it.

    There is a good side and a bad side to it. That's a basic component to any good religion. Good. Bad. But in this case you get to pick and still be in it. Good or bad you're still a Jedi. Try and explain that one to those exclusively "good" religions...or exclusively "bad" ones. I like the inclusion aspect of things.

    It has telekinesis. This is a HUGE advantage. If you've ever sat on the couch wishing you could get the remote without having to get up, this is the religion for you. Think of all the things you could get done with telekinesis...I am already giddy with the mere suggestion.

    Mind control. OK, granted, some cults have this one already, but it's in Jedism, too. The nice thing is that it will only work on non-Jedi's in this case, so no chance of doing too much harm within the organization. Cool!

    Cool toys. You get a lightsaber. I can think of several instances that I could have really used a lightsaber...and that is this week alone. It's the perfect item for getting your point across, and for resolving disputes quickly. I want a lightsaber!

    Lastly, they have a movie...not some stale, dusty tome. Check that...they have FOUR movies...with more to come. We're not talking some cheesy documentary-parable thing with volunteer actors, either. This is first-run quality stuff with way cool special effects.

    So that's it, I'm a Jedi. Well, I will be if I can get 7,999 of my Jedi Brethren to make our pilgrimage to New Zealand. I hear its nice this time of year...I mean, come's summer there right now.

    This is getting better all the time.

    May the Force be with ya, mates!

    (link via Ghost in the Machine)
    :::::posted by erratic :: 11-something PM EST linky

    Tuesday, March 6, 2001

    I said I was working on something, and I did let it dribble out last night without any fanfare...

    But this is what it is:

    Hands Off My .org

    My extreme ire at the mere threat of losing, regardless of the reason, was channeled into this little webby project just to have someplace to bitch about it without littering my own site.

    Plus, with any luck, enough response might actually make ICANN at least put a little thought into their proposal.

    Pass the word around, if you would, regardless of your own TLD...if this happens to .org, what will happen to others in the future?

    Now for some thanks:

    To Amber, who actually *did* have a spare host provider lying around when I asked, and managed to get the domain retargeted in a ridiculously short amount of time. Also, for reviewing everything and for being my general muse, *smooch*.

    To Faith, for putting a graphic together when I was short of time and ability, for providing "legal review", and for prodding me when I was only considering the whole idea.

    To Jeff, who was the first person to provide some publicity, and for creating a button that is far beyond the quality that I am capable of.

    Thanks guys :-)
    :::::posted by erratic :: 05-something PM EST linky


    I had a hamster once. Actually, I've had two...but only one at a time.

    The first one was Rocco...a teddybear hamster. I acquired him after someone (jokingly, I later found out) suggested that my inability to own a dog (because I wasn't home much) or a cat (because I was allergic) could be somewhat alleviated by plunking the little guy in one of those translucent balls and allowing him to run around the floor.

    The joke was on them, though...I loved him.

    I started with a basic setup at first: the rodents themselves only cost about $3, and a Habitrail starter kit was about $20. Throw in some food and pine shavings and those silly accoutrements that are solely created for the owners conscience (what do you mean he won't use a sofa?).

    "Starter kit" was far more appropriate a name than I thought. It was like trying to feed a drug habit after a while. Just another apartment, another tube set...If I got a "Y" adapter then I could split the left side there and run the Habitrail Polo Ground and Minigolf Course off of that. Pet care meets engineering; this is great! After a while the Habitrail started looking more spacious than my apartment.

    I had only ever owned dogs growing up. Rodents were simply things that some people thought were icky, although I had never had such prejudices. There were a few fits and starts in the beginning. The Great Escape: part I and II, and surviving the move into the *real* apartment when I got a job which enabled me to afford such luxuries such as food and rent (they don't handle serious trauma such as moving very well).

    Over time we got to know each other. I learned that real carrots were his favorite food. And sunflower seeds. He didn't have much of an attention span, so tricks weren't much more than getting him to do something he would do anyway, but nevertheless we created a little running "game." I would sit down, put him on my knee, and he would run up to my shoulder. Collect, replace, repeat. Ad nauseam.

    For three years I was a pet owner--again. It felt good. I, who was barely capable of getting myself fed and clothed, could manage hamster care pretty well. He was low maintenance, and he was nocturnal: two things highly copasetic with my life at the time. Well, probably with my life now, too.

    Three years is a pretty good run, so I hear. When the lifespan of any critter is described as "2-5 years" you know that there is a questionable definition of good health from day one. He went to sleep, as he always did, first thing in the morning. He didn't perk up much that night, and the next morning he was gone.

    After a self imposed mourning interval of about 6 months, I got another one. Out of fairness, I changed some of the more "personalized" components of Rocco's cage. Plus, the new one wasn't a teddybear. This was a gray and white creature that turned out to be pretty schizophrenic most of the time. Nameless for weeks, he eventually became known as Norman.

    Norman didn't have as nice of a life as Rocco did. He didn't like being handled much, and didn't seem too happy with anything just about all of the time. While on a deep psychological level I could empathize, my self-declared expertise in hamster care was getting insulted.

    Then, through no doing of my own, Snuggles the Cat enters my life.

    You can probably see where this is going, but I can assure you that I was completely convinced at the time that somehow natural sworn enemies could exist in the same household with a little supervision. For months, the delicate truce of "GET THE HELL AWAY FROM THE CAGE DAMMIT" held firm.

    Then, that fateful night.

    The forensic re-creation points to a couple of mitigating circumstances here. The body appeared undamaged. The suspect did alert the authorities almost immediately after the crime was committed (meeeeeoooowwwwwllllll). After a flood of emotional response that some would consider wasted on a desert rat, and a hasty 2am burial, I began to rationalize.

    Snuggles is a cat. She appeared to be only playing with him. He appeared to die of a heart attack, or fright. If nothing else...that's gotta be pretty scary, having a cat mess with you. Cats are little can't blame them for that. That's how nature makes them.

    But this isn't what I wanted to talk about.

    Oh, eventually I forgave as much as I could, and did become quite close to Snuggles...allergy pills and all. I love her in spite of myself, and I am a sucker for animals. All was forgotten...


    A couple of months ago I wrote about the late late night when I thought I heard a mouse. The cat was certainly amused.

    Late late last night I heard a noise in the basement. I investigated, and Snuggles, as she is prone to do, followed me. I looked at my shelf and locked gazes with a very healthy looking field mouse. I froze. My pulse quickened.

    After an appropriate pause, the mouse figured it was best to make the first move. It jumped for the floor and darted toward the crawlspace.

    "OK Snuggles, there he is..go get the mouse."

    In the back of my mind I thought Norman's death would be avenged if, at least, it provided practice for the real thing. Here, now, was a rodent, one perfectly in-bounds for Snuggles the Killer to go after, and we already know she's a killer. Go get him, girl.

    In a panic, Snuggles turned and darted up the stairs.

    Ohhhhh no you don't...

    The irony of what I was about to do didn't fully sink in until later on. After trying for months, unsuccessfully, to keep cat and rodent apart, I was NOT going to sit by and see it suddenly work out somehow...when it wasn't supposed to. Now it's 2AM, again, and I am trying to force a cat to chase a mouse.

    It didn't work.

    I'm sorry, Norman. Shit just happens sometimes.

    What did I do to deserve this?
    :::::posted by erratic :: 12-something AM EST linky

    Monday, March 5, 2001's Monday. Monday is the day for the Vice President's weekly heart attack ummm...speech...err, radio address? Ohh, screw it.

    Pray for Mr. Cheney, OK? If the assassination attempt pattern holds true, someone is going to take a crack at Bush in the next 3 years. Should that be successful, then if our dear Vice President is too sick, or too dead, to take over the Presidency, we will have the same problem we were facing back in November: President Denny Hastert, with Strom Thurmond on deck.

    Just when I thought most appalling scenario of last year's election was safely behind us...
    :::::posted by erratic :: 09-something PM EST linky

    Sunday, March 4, 2001

    No, I'm not dead.

    Given that weather predictions of the storm that is now in progress here in the northeast call for anywhere from one to eleven feet of snow, I have spent most of the past day or two in vigorous preparation. Snow shovels, flashlights, batteries, salt, tequila...everything necessary to ride this thing out if it really gets bad.

    Plus I am working on a little something else, more on that later.

    In the mean time, that's right, it's time once again for the Week In Review for 3-2-2001.

    More humorous than the latest policy change at ICANN, don't miss a single issue of the action packed Week in Review.
    :::::posted by erratic :: 06-something PM EST linky

    Thursday, March 1, 2001

    *seethe* *seethe* *seethe* *seethe*


    I am not typically one to jump in on "causes" least...not until I learned earlier today that ICANN is going to try to take away my friggin' domain name.

    After my original plans to surreptitiously deliver a special gift basket to the assholes fell woefully short of weapons-grade plutonium, I thought that a friendly suggestion to leave their grubby, inept mitts off of my little corner of the digital world might be in order.

    While I am not a "registered" non-profit organization, I sure as hell am not in this for the money, either. In fact, the last time I checked, grossed a total of $0.00 in fiscal 2000, with zero income growth projected for 2001 and beyond.

    Why these bastards suddenly think that it might be "positive" to force me to register a non-profit corporation to achieve the simple goal of keeping what I already have is not only absurd, but borders on criminal.

    Most importantly, to what end? Is there some displaced NPO in the world which is salivating at the opportunity to take over

    If it's not too much trouble, maybe you could click on over and send them a nice "go eff yourselves" for me?

    My typical modus operandi is to cover some form of something that is bothering me and move on, but please forgive my departure from the norm if I come back to this one from time to time.

    Originally spotted at
    :::::posted by erratic :: 07-something PM EST linky



    A new version of an Outlook macro trojan/worm/virus has surfaced today with the words "I am a virus that will destroy your computer you dumb fuck" in the subject line.

    It is destructive if the attachment is opened. Because the subject line contains words that apprently are not read by the recipients, it is not possible to expect anyone to actually ignore this message.

    If you receive an email with an attachment, even from someone you know, you should contact them and confirm that they sent it before opening it.

    You probably won't though, since apparently all thought ceases for certain people when email arrives in their inbox.

    Several particularly virulent forms of this email virus were unleashed today which attack computer systems using Microsoft Email programs like Outlook and Outlook Express.

    Warning signs that you have received this virus

    If you receive an email with any of the following attachments, you should immediately be suspicious:


    All of these variants are spreading like wildfire.

    Should you receive a message that you believe to be suspicious, be sure to open it immediately and run any attachments before deleting it. While that is honestly what we don't want you to do, telling people not to run anything questionable doesn't seem to be working, so maybe a little reverse psychology will help.

    If you still have questions regarding malicious programs or messages, please click on the link below.

    *Click here to destroy your computer*
    :::::posted by erratic :: 02-something PM EST linky

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    so be nice, 'k?