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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Another lesson learned...

Not everyone (well, probably hardly anyone) runs with their monitor set to 1400 x 1050.

Upon looking at my changes on a computer that runs a 1024 x 768, I realized I made some sizing errors.

I'm wondering, is there a way to compensate for the differences in screen resolution?

Is there an industry standard that most things are built for?

I'm sure there are answers for these questions, but its Saturday, and I'm lazy!

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Friday, January 27, 2006

It's official, I'm a dork!

"How," you ask, "is Tim spending his Friday nights?"

Well ponder no longer. Tonight, while my "lay about"
girlfriend is, well, laying about at the Westin in San Antonio, I am spending my time familiarizing myself with Adobe Photoshop. You will notice my new banner above.

I haven't used Photoshop in quite awhile, and I was glad to see that the very little I knew, was completely forgotten. But quickly the importance of layers was remembered, though I shouldn't tell you how long I looked for the little MSPaint paint can to do a color fill [insert nerdy snorts of laughter here].

So if you see things changing every so often, its either because I'm trying new things out, or getting tired of my "early" work.

Feel free to offer any tips or hints you might have, and I always welcome criticism from those who know what they are talking about.

Up Next....
Incorrigible Tim's Mis-adventures with Moveable Type

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So I ended up calling the cops about my little break in, not because I expect them to do anything, but because this happened 3 blocks from the police station, and maybe at least one cop will look in my car's direction on the off chance she's driving by while someone is trying to break in again.

So she leaves me a voicemail and I call her back and her name is Officer Grievous. For those of you who are not as nerdy as me, General Grievous was the four-armed, four lightsaber wielding robot in the latest Star Wars movie.

...So I got that going for me!

(see Dear, one more reason to finish watching the Star Wars sextology!)

***Update to the Update, in reference to the comments***

You girls are dirty!

From urban dictionary:

Sextology-A group of six dramatic or literary works related in subject or theme.
Another word used to describe a six part series.

***Update to the Updated Update, in reference to the above picture***

For you real nerds out there, you will notice that the movie is sub-titled "Fall of the Jedi", when in fact in the theatrical release, it was "Revenge of the Sith".

The truly nerdy will of course recall that before the "Return of the Jedi" was released, it was hyped as "Revenge of the Jedi" to cut down on unlicsenced merchandise. Of course, if you have anything that shows "Revenge of the Jedi" it is worth a lot of money. So, I don't know how well that worked.

If you are saying to yourself, "Of course it wasn't Revenge of the Jedi, you silly Tim, a Jedi craves not revenge!" To you I say, good luck in finding a girlfriend!

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Greetings from the Great White North!

This weekend involved a quick jaunt up to Tahoe for a weekend of wine-tasting and amateur skiing.

We started off on Friday by stopping at what had to be the smallest wineries I have ever been to. The first "tasting room", Greene Family Winery, was in a large metal building full of casks and other wine making equipment. But they made it look nice with a bar and some crackers and dip.

The next winery was a little more upscale, they had a tasting room which was its own separate building, and surrounded by grapevines, so it looked a little more legitimate.

All along the way, we heard about some old man called Charlie. The stories ranged from he was a wacko, to just a crazy old coot, but they all fell short of the truth.

Uncle Charlie, as he should be referred to, lived out in the middle of nowhere and his "tasting room" was a foldout table in a barn. But he was very laid back, made great wine, and was very open about getting your own refills. "Once I pour the first glass, and finish talking about the wine, its up to you to get your own refills!"

That's Uncle Charlie with the two bottles...

...I'm apparently already drunk (on the right), good thing I was driving!

Danielle has not skied since she was 9, and she did quite well. Once the situation with the "Evil Boots" was resolved, she made very good progress coming down the slope. Luckily for me, the terrain park was right next to the bunny slope, so I could do some more adventurous skiing while still keeping an eye out for her. At one point I had her try to take a picture of me going over a jump. She missed the shot and yelled out "Oh, damn!" which made me turn and look, and then eat it quite hard. She was able to get a picture of me falling though!

We stayed at a friends cabin in Truckee and a good time was had by all. There were lots of drinks made and consumed, but I believe that Demetri's Pometini (a pomegranate martini) was the most beloved.

But I would have to say that my favorite part of the weekend was building the snowman that I originally didn't want to make. Thanks to my girlfriend for dragging me out into the snow and not hitting me with too many snowballs. I named him Phil and you can see him both above and to left.

I'm also happy to say that my boycott of all things snow that began here, is happily over.

Of course, life is an ebb and flow, and after such a great weekend, there had to be something bad. This morning, upon walking out to my car, I found that one of those small triangle windows on the rear passenger side door is broken. I'm not sure if the alarm scared them off (I never even heard it) or if they just couldn't reach the lock once the window was broken, but nothing was stolen that I could see (even though there was an air pump and a bag of ski equipment nearby) so it looks like I'm just out of the cost of replacing the window.

"So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ending." -JRR Tolkien

Phil says "bye-bye" now

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Friday, January 20, 2006


I was brushing the lint and cat hair off my sweater yesterday in front of my cat.

I swear he gave me a look that said,

"Sure, brush yourself instead of me, you selfish bastard! Why don't you go ahead and rub in the fact that you have thumbs!"

Which I do atleast weekly. (mock my cat for not have thumbs that is)

Boris... in all his wonder!

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Happy Friday the 13th!

And what a Friday the 13th it is! Despite all the rumors and history, I just can't hate a friday that comes before a Three-day weekend!

So Happy MLK Jr. day, I hope you all make the most of it. (perhaps by sleeping in and having a dream)

And for those of you who don't have Monday off... well, I hate my job enough to not feel bad about it!

Before I go, there is something I wanted to bring to your attention. As I often find myself with a bit of spare time and in front of a computer, I frequently visit this
site and enjoy it very much. Jay does a great job of updating games, typically daily, and he usually has very good taste. It gives me something to do while the girlfriend is getting ready.

A couple of my favorites are
Chasm and Grow. There are actually four versions of Grow, (Grow, Grow Cube, Grow RPG and a new Christmas Grow) with Grow Cube being my favorite, but you should check them all out.

Happy Holiday! (did you see what I did there, I took Martin Luther King right out of that holiday!)

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The box revolution will not be televised!

I'm watching television last night (big surprise) and there was a commercial on for some phone company. There were a bunch of people wearing boxes over their bodies, having difficulties doing everyday tasks. Their slogan was "feeling boxed in" by your current provider of something.

This got me thinking of the current oppression that boxes are facing in today's society. Ever since "think outside the box" became popular, boxes everywhere have been undervalued for their major role in society.

The history of the box is a long a tragic story. Originally invented by the Egyptians, the design was quickly scrapped except for it use in building other geometric shapes such as the pyramid, and obelisk.

It wasn't until around 500 AD that the box came back into favor. A monk named Johan Boxenhauer brought the current design back into popular use with he invention, the six-sided holder of things. As the name was very complicated, the device was not used with fervor until after his death, when it was renamed in his honor.

There have been many variations of the box over the years, the moving box, snuff box, knife box, and the simpler "work box", but it has always enjoyed fame until the last 15 years or so.

you put your snuff in there...

Though the recent phrase "think outside the box" has fueled the every increasing box hatred, leading to what some experts are dubbing "boxism", the origins of box hatred can be found throughout time. It only takes a simple Google search of "box" to pull up the first, and most maligned box, Pandora's. While some view her story as a lesson on the damages of curiosity, it is obviously the first attempt by the media to get people to hate the box. Who wouldn't hate a device that loosed all evil unto the world, while keeping hope locked away from us all.

I call for us all to remember the glory of the box. It comes in many forms and sizes, and is always ready and willing to contain our stuff. In fact, I bet any one of you readers have to look no farther than your own person to find atleast three things that have at one time been in a box.

Moving from your current crap hole you call home to your future residence "in the hills" would not be possible without a box.

Most of those items you would be packing in the aforementioned boxes, came to you in box form.

And all of those boxes came to you from overseas in large metallic boxes that are placed on ships.

The glories of the box over other shapes are many, easy stack-ability being only one.

Its shape alone is so popular that all of our homes and office structures mimic its design. How popular is the geodesic dome home design, I ask you?

...more like DON'T-decahedron...

When we are born, we are placed in a boxlike crib, and when we die, we are placed into a box before the ground. The box is the alpha and omega of our life, yet we continue to persecute it while living.

Cats everywhere enjoy their use daily, and dogs feel comforted at night by their comfy, closed in, cave-like feel.

Even the popular fast food chain Jack-in-the-box, which literally blew up Jack and his box in the early 90's, quickly learned the value of the box when sales continued to plummet. It wasn't until the return of Jack (and his box) that they made a new name for themselves.

So I encourage you in corporate America to get back to thinking "inside the box." Its four walls and sturdy bottom could be exactly the structure and stability this country is needing.

Instead of feeling that being "boxed in" is a bad thing, think about the warmth and security that box is providing you.

Some will still say "think outside" it, but I will remain a firm believer in the greatest invention since the wheel and sliced bread:

The Box!

Eastern Box Turtle: fan of the box

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Monday, January 09, 2006

"I saved Latin, what did you ever do?"

Well, I saved Grammies, for starters.

Last night I was over at my girlfriends apartment watching the Simpson's, getting ready for the build-up to the new Family Guy (which I missed half of, but that is neither here, nor there).

I decided to step outside for few minutes to get some fresh air. I was standing out there for a minute or two before I realized that the noises I was hearing were coming from nearby. The noises were as follows:

"Hello, there?"


repeated over and over. I looked over the railing down to the parking area to see, to my surprise, an older lady sprawled out on the ground as if she had fallen.

Realizing that there is no way I'll be able to explain to Danielle quickly enough what is happening, I simply close the door (to keep the kitties in) and rush down to help this lady.

I help her up, and she assures me she is fine, but she is not standing too steadily. The ramp there is pretty steep, so I offer to help her up to the street.

There was a little blood on her upper lip, as if she fell hard, so I insisted that she have a seat for awhile before she continues on.

Her answers to where she lived were rather vague, and if not for her snazzy dress, I would have assumed her homeless, but not wanting to admit it.

After a glass of water, Danielle and I offered to call someone for her, but she didn't know the number. She knew her husband's name though, and we called directory assistance for the number.

A younger sounding man, who didn't sound like her husband, answered. He spoke with her, and she handed the phone back to me, so I gave him directions to where we were. (apparently he was a nephew)

A short time later, their car pulled up, and a girl about my age (who am I kidding, she was about college age) jumps out of the car yelling, "Did you find our Grammies?"

They were very grateful, and they proceeded to help "Grammies" back to their car, and, I'm assuming, took her home and made her some cocoa.

I felt pretty good about myself for the next few hours, having saved Grammies and all, but then I got to thinking about it.

What did I do that was so great? Sure, I helped an old lady get home, but what other options did I really have?

I couldn't have pretended I didn't see her, and just go back to my Simpson's watching.

I guess I could have just walked her back up to the street, and let her go on her way, but I think she may have fallen if I had tried to let her go before sitting her down.

Maybe there are people out there who would've just tried to mug her and leave her, but I am definitely not one of those.

I didn't even really go out of my way, she was almost literally, right under my nose. I even had TiVo recording my show, so it's not like I made a great sacrifice there.

Do we really live in a society where helping out an old lady makes me feel like I deserve a medal? Or do I just have delusions of grandeur?

Granted, I still am glad that I helped another person out, but it is after all what any decent person would've done.

When it comes right down to it, I guess all that really matters is that "Grammies" is back home, safe and warm.

not this kind of Grammy

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

TALES OF THE FUTURE [futuristic echo]

This enstallment of one of the many wonders (or horrors) of the future is entitled:

Virtual Office!

I know, it sounds scary. So settle in, and enjoy one of the few short stories I write for you people!

Jeremy wanted nothing more in the world, than to telecommute to work. His job basically consisted of sitting in his cube, staring at his monitor, inputing data.

There were some days when he had some free time at work, but was unable to do anything with it other than surf the web, and so he really wanted to work from home.

His cube was drab and dreary, he wasn't even allowed a plant. His home was bright and full of plant life, so he really wanted to work from home.

After two years of asking his managers to be able to telecommute, they finally told him that in two weeks it would all be set up.

For the next two weeks Jeremy could do nothing but daydream about how great it would be to work from home. He would be able to take his dog for a walk during lunch, do some laundry while speaking with clients, and many other things he enjoyed doing.

Friday he left work, realizing he would not have to set foot back in the building very often.

Over the weekend he received a large box in the mail, entitled "Virtual Office".

"This must be my new computer for working from home!" he said aloud to no one. He quickly opened the box, pulled out a very fancy looking laptop and some cables, and set about to getting his new workstation put together.

Monday morning, 8:00 a.m. sharp, he sat down in front of his computer, ready to begin his new life.

He turned on the computer, took a sip of his coffee, and waited. He waited for quite awhile and nothing showed up on the monitor. He hastily looked through all the instructions, and found a number to call.

"Hello, and thank you for choosing Globo-office, home of virtual office and the automatic cat box, now for dogs too, this is Jason, how can I help you?"

"Um, yeah, my name is Jeremy and I'm trying to get my virtual office to work, I have hooked everything up right, and am not seeing anything on the monitor."

"Jeremy, I can help you with that. Can I have you look in the box until you find what looks like a pair of sunglasses with a cord. I need you to plug that in to your system and place it over your head. That should correct the problem. Thanks for choosing Globo-office, have a great day. And you'd better hurry, you are late."

Jeremy searched through the box until he found something called iShades and he put them on, only to see darkness. He pressed the "on" button on his computer again, and this time found himself instantly in the lobby of his office at work.

This wasn't quite what he expected from telecommuting, but this was pretty cool. He virtually walked to the elevator, virtually pressed a button, and virtually waited for the elevator.

"Why am I waiting?" he said to no one. "This is a virtual world, I should be instantly in my office."

Out of nowhere, an old man in suit showed up and began speaking immediately, "Hello, I am not a real person. I am a program here to assist you with your virtual office use. The reason you are waiting for the elevator is that your employers wanted the virtual office experience to be more in line with your normal day. That way you don't experience to much change between the new set up. And you'd better hurry up, you are late." And the old man vanished again.

Jeremy finally made it to his desk, after narrowly avoiding some chit chat with other virtual co-workers, and sat down to begin his day.

He looked around, his cube was still the same dismal brown color, with no window and no plants.

"Why can't my virtual office at least be a large room, sitting on top of a Victoria's Falls?" he asked his virtual desk.

"Hello, I am not a real person. Because, how would co-workers get to your office. Plus, your virtual office could make others feel inferior, when they actually hold a superior position. This type of office inequality could cause strife and unwanted stress among co-workers, therefore it is not allowed." The old man stated while standing in the middle of Jeremy's monitor.

"Well, I've had it, I need some coffee!"

"Hello, I am not a real person. Unfortunately, you can only log out of your virtual office at approved lunch and break times. This is to ensure that working from home does not give you any more flexibility than working in the office would. Now get back to work," the old man said again, this time standing on Jeremy's lap.

Jeremy looked around at his virtual cube, and sighed a heavy sigh. He then straightened his virtual chair, in front of his virtual keyboard and monitor, and began his virtual day, which consisted of a lot more web surfing (virtual or otherwise) than it usually did.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Get your Worship on!

Today during lunch, I'm watching Avatar:The Last Airbender; as it is a great show, and so what if its for kids and on Nickelodeon, its still good; when I see a commercial for Worship Jams.

Apparently Jock Jams and Monster Jams were such great sellers, that they decided to tone it down a notch and sell to that every growing young Christian market.

Which is fine, kids needs songs about Jesus.

What has been bothering me lately has been the new trend of making Jesus cool.

I don't think its just the idea of middle-aged people yelling out words like "X-treme" and "radical" (who even says that anymore) to kids who are secretly laughing at them. I usually enjoy that.

And I think the message that kids can still have fun and be "cool" and follow the Lord, is definately an important one.

But the more and more I think about it, I just don't think that Jesus was cool. Well, maybe he was cool in his time (you know, before anything was invented except for water, fire and the wheel) but he definately wouldn't be cool today.

In fact, if you walked Jesus into any highschool in America, I guarantee you he would be arrested. Think about it, you're a school security guard and a guy walks up, with long hair, wearing a robe and sandals, and of middle eastern descent, with no valid ID, a really weird accent and tells you he's Jesus. Are you going to believe him?

Hell, I doubt Jesus would even be able to get on an airplane with a short haircut and in a business suit. And let me tell you this, body cavity searches are not cool.

Jesus cannot skateboard, would not carry an iPod (who would need one with that heavenly choir following him aroung) and he would totally rat you out to your parents if you got home late.

Jesus is not cool!

So ok, we get it. Church can be fun.

What it cannot be is rockin', jammin' or totally x-treme.

No church I've ever been to has been fun, but I'm sure there are some of them out there. One of the things I hated most about church when I was growing up was that it was just not fun. Even when I went religiously (oh, see what I did there) it still wasn't fun. From Jr. High through high school I basically went because it was full of hot girls.

Churches need to rely more on the personal relationship between a person and God, and not try and make Jesus "that cool old guy on the street that always buys us beer". If kids want parties, excitment and activity, there are plenty of options for that out there. They need a place quiet from the hubub of the world, a place for inner contemplation, not more fodder for their already overfed ADD.

When I was younger, we didn't strive to make what we were doing "hip", we we're proud to be Christians in a secular world. The fact that we stood out from the crowd helped us feel we were making a stand, like Daniel and the lions. Making Jesus cool does not teach children why its important to love God, it just gives them something a little more honest to follow the crowd with. And if following the crowd is what we are trying to teach children, then consider that a lesson learned.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Back in the saddle...

Well, the year has turned another corner, and once again I find myself standing there not holding enough bus fare

Here I am, once again, at work. Still expected to... ...well, work. For some reason, I felt the New Year would hold something much more exciting for me. But now that's its here, I'm reminded its just like last last week, except I'm going to be scratching out an incorrect year on my checks for the next few months.

Some friends from college came out to visit for New Years, and among the many water-related activities that the Bay Area offered this weekend we chose the following:

We decided to spend Friday in Napa/Sonoma county, because we wanted to see what the "most rainfall the area has seen in hundreds of years" really looked like. And, to our surprise, it was a hell of a lot of rain. It had to have been one of my most miserable trips to Napa, and that's really hard to do at a place that revolves around drinking.

Then on Saturday, tired of all the rain, we decided to stay in and watch movies. It was sunny and clear all day Saturday.

Then Sunday, it was a Texans vs. 49er's game, which was also wet. And a trip down to Haight-Ashbury and dinner.

our seats were about here

Now last night was one of my favorites. After a damp day walking around Jack London square, (are you getting the theme here) we had dinner at Yoshi's sushi restaurant, in the same area.

Yoshi's was excellent. The layout of the restaurant was incredible. The seating area had to be my favorite. You walk up a small set of stairs to sit in a section that appears to have floor only seating, but under the table you have the option to put your feet into a hole, so you can sit up properly (american-ly anyway) while still looking like a sushi aficionado.

The service was excelled only by the food, which included a very nice selection of appetizers as well as entrees. The sashimi seemed especially fresh, lacking the overly fishy taste you will get with some sushi.

After dinner we opted to stay for a Jazz show in the lounge. It was David K. Matthews, (not THE David K. Matthews) and his band. The music was entertaining, though we enjoyed the antics of the sax player, who spent more time fiddling with his reed, and getting audience members to take pictures with his camera, than actually playing the sax, more than the rest of the music.

Granted, we aren't HUGE jazz fans, and I myself know little more about it than my "Best of" Miles Davis album, but it was fun. If you decide to go to Yoshi's for a show, I definitely recommend starting with dinner, reserving your table in the lounge before you eat, and buying a drink BEFORE you enter the show.

The only downfall to the evening was the horrible service in the lounge. There was a "One drink minimum" which is always more of a challenge than a threat, but we were barely able to make that.

We ordered our drinks as we sat down, around 8:00, and did not receive them until almost an hour later. At that point, the show was already winding down, as was our buzz. Even after asking the waitress what the delay was, we still had to wait 10 more minutes.

Overall, the evening was great success, and we got home early enough for me to make it into work on time today.

Here's hoping your New Years was swell, and 2006 will be one year higher than the last!

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