Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Actual Conversation # 29 - concerning He Who Must Not Be Named.

Helen: Hey Neal, did they make any changes to the BES that magically weren't conveyed to us?
Neal: nope
Helen: Okay.
Helen: It doesn't like us today. :-(
Helen: Who would you recommend I harass?
Neal: yeap it knows it getting chnages this weekend
Neal: good question
Helen: Who is DSS? I'm told I need to bother them. *laugh*
Neal: you know who
Helen: Voldemort?
Neal: yea
Helen: Crap. Is he on sametime?

I can't get over this sneaking suspicion that my coworker did not get the joke. But he played along beautifully anyway.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Actual Conversation # 28 -Wherein the sins of the past are revisited.

The current state of things at our house is one of timorous optimism, in that the old contract that my man is in is disintegrating. He's in the midst of a job search, and the resulting conversation, I feel, is a natural extension of this curiousity and looking forward to the future.

me: So there's nothing like cutting yourself loose.
Robert: Yeah...I'm just concerned I do, then I get told 'Sorry, No' on Monday, and I'm adrift for weeks.
me: Well...find out on Monday
And the second you do, call and quit. :)
Robert: Yup, that's my plan. Although...I will have to pass a criminal background check before the hiring is official. What if....what if they find out about....you know...that.
me: With the super glue and the cattle prod?
Robert: No, the other thing. With the carp and the LSD.
me: Ohhhhh...
...you should check if the statute of limitations ran out on that.
Robert: True...and it's not like the carp can testify against me...anymore.
me: it can't even swim straight.
I think you're in the clear.
Robert: Okay nods You're probably right.
me: Just breathe, baby. If you're meant to have this, it'll happen quickly.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Life is Good"

You know, a sticker saved my life today. A sticker on the back of a boxy delivery truck colored a pewter-gray that lumbered down the road in front of me.

I had been lost in my thoughts, turning over the events of the past 24 hours. Being yelled at by the HR person and treated to an unusually hostile dressing-down over information they themselves failed to pass to me. A concerted effort to find chat logs I had made in order to have incriminating evidence. And pressure put on my case manager to call and discipline me for having the balls to say I didn't like someone who is generally loath-ed, in a format that could be recorded.
I was still fuming that I'd been interrupted at dinner. I was wondering if I would get called in to a meeting today with higher-ups. I was wondering if it would blow up in to something bigger, as it had already stretched past the 3-4 hours I had given it yesterday. I was over it. So I thought. Current conditions pointed out otherwise.

I looked up at that moment, chewing on my fingernails and staring a hole through the truck in front of me while semi-lost in thought when my eyes landed on the sticker.

Life is Good.

And it suddenly occured to me that I was just stewing over nothing. Yesterday was done and it was all bullshit. Everybody KNEW it was. Life WAS good. I had a job and a car and a house and cats and a man who loved me. And thus enlightened, I laughed the crap of the day off and hit the highway. That sticker saved my life, keeping me from going down in to a spiraling nasty funk of thought that might leave me depressed and struggling to breathe for days. All averted by one happy sentiment. Ahh, serendipity.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Actual conversation # 27 -The Meaning of Life.

me: What is life? A futile firing of electrons and nerve impulses over and again? The amoeba in the tidal pool finding out the flagella aren't really that neat as they get swallowed whole? The eye of the storm with its deathly stillness
or perhaps just the breeze bouncing the heavy-headed grasses, laden with seed
Perhaps it is the butterfly that never made it out of the cocoon.
Or the flower that bloomed twice.
Everything. Or nothing.
Robert: That's deep. :-)
me: Oh wait. Wrong window.
j/k ;)
Robert: :-P
me: I was sitting here about to slide in to my "What is the POINT of all of this??" thing.
Then I thought...how utterly stupid to try and ferret a meaning out.
Especially when one is in a funk and can't see the whole picture anyway.
Robert: This is very true. It's like debating what's the point of the ocean while dogpaddling in it after your boat sank. :-)
me: laughing Yup. Pretty much
Robert: Whether there's a point to it or not, you're in it. :-)
me: Yes.
And I think we're missing a different point altogether.
WE assume there IS a reason.
And honestly...when has the world ever needed a reason to ~anything~?
It just does shit.
Robert: nods
me: It throws out crazy variations in the genes just for shits and grins.
Why? It doesn't ~always~ promot survival.
And what i keep coming back to is...nature just really digs fractals.
Robert: Design by randomness. There's a contraditction for you :-)
me: If you throw a quarter up in the air often enough, it begins to develop a pattern.
It's not a design. It's just how the tracks got worn in the dirt after a while.
So to assume there's a point is like saying "I think the 3:12 train will never take off, grow wings, and drag everyone to Jupiter for tea with the Queen mother."
The second people get it in their head that there's some certain thing that's going to happen
Or a point that is to be reached
They have already gone against the grain of the world.
Robert: But then again, look at the world as pieces. Look at weather. All weather is is air partcials of different types ineracting, warm, cold, humid, dry. If you could find a way to write a giant program that tracked every particle of air on the planet. Couldn't you tell the weather? And hey, who's to say it's not just a really complicated program now.
me: Ahh... I see. The Big Bang was actually just God going "Compile"
Robert: chuckles You never know. Is there no point, or is there a point we just can't comprehend? Can the ants understand why they can crawl outside outside fine, but die when they come inside? But there's a reason for it. It's a fun question some times.
me: Yeah.
This is why I hate killing those ants.
Because they're just following their behavior
There is no other way to say "Hey, stay out of here, alright?"
Cats understand no.
Ants only understand "squishy squishy zomg death frumabove"
And even then they'll come back.
Robert: Yup, so that begs the question, what's the limits of what we don't know?
me: The second we assume there's knowledge, we're fucked!
Robert: chuckles True
me: But go ahead. You had brilliance to share.
Robert: It's okay, I should get ready for this potential 'squish squish zomg death' 2:00 meeting ;-)
me: SSZD for short.
Robert: There ya go.
me: I love you.
Robert: I love you too.
Now go debate philosphy with whomever you originally intended. ;-)
me: BAH
You hush and go be brilliant amongst the lemmingens.
Robert: Deal !

Sunday, September 21, 2008

O Rly?

I suppose this is a good demonstration of how my mind works.

In front of me on my office table are two china markers. You know, the kind with the black waxy middles and you pull a string to tear the paper so it unwinds and exposes more of the core? I pick one up, and stare at it for a moment, remember what I had read about them being able to draw on almost ~any~ surface.

For those of you who were every curious about whether or not a china marker would work on human skin:

Yes. Also, I know after doing this that I need to go back to the basics and start practicing drawing human anatomy again, because that is NOT accurate.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

No Tats or Brits, please!

So I can firmly say that Ben started it.
He gets in to work, and the first thing he does is IM me. The conversation below ensues. There was more too it, of course, including such things as what you had to say you hadn't done lately in order to be worthy of giving blood. (Looks like I am still out of the running with my tattoos. Meh.)
At one point he mentions that it asked if he'd been in the UK. We made jokes about the rage virus. None of us can fathom a real answer to it. We get on with our day.
The thought of why the UK should be singled out for hatred by the Red Cross stuck with me, however. I pondered on it quite a bit. I hadn't heard anything in the news lately that would be obvious.
Briefly it tickled my fancy to contact the UK helpdesk and ask them exactly what they were all infected with over there. But then other things happened and I returned to the task of sorting through the company's issues.
Then all of a sudden from nowhere one of the people from the UK helpdesk called up and asked me to go over a few issues for him. It seemed a sign from heaven that I should, in fact, ask them ignorant questions to satisfy my personal curiousity.
So I did.
"Hey Will, according to a friend of mine who donated blood this morning, if he'd been to the UK recently he couldn't donate. I thought you guys had the rage virus under control."
(28 Days Later reference.)
I don't think Will has seen 28 Days Later, because he didn't really respond to that.
It was eventually determined, after I was informed by them that they think everyone in the US is "completely nutter" that the American Red Cross is afraid of Mad Cow Disease, and that is why.
Thus enriched, I shared that with my UK coworkers who were just as curious as I, and grumbled about being held for that old issue STILL.
Rarely does learning join with sarcasm and fun in such a nice little package.

Actual Conversation #26 - the fine art of re-establishing one's manhood.

Ben: off to a great start
Helen: Yes it is!!
Helen: I cut and pasted a lolpicture in to a ticket by accident.
Helen: AWESOME day.
Ben: passed out giving blood
Helen: On purpose?
Ben: ...
Helen: Or was there an actual problem like you only have 2 pints of blood?
Ben: they didn't get any out of me, they stuck me saying "itll be a pinch and a pressure" but it turned out to be more of a "pinch and titty twister constantly" and i ended up waking up shortly after
Ben: turns out i tensed up and the needle got pushed through too =/
Helen: Ahh. They blew your vein. Ew.
Helen: That's why I don't give blood anymore. It hurts like hell.
Helen: And they ALWAYS...always... blow out my veins
Ben: i was annoyed with myself =/
Helen: Drink some Mt. Dew and go insinuate someone's a homosexual and come back. You'll be fine.
Helen: However, I am curious...you were already laying down when this happened, yes?
Ben: yeah
Helen: Okay. So you didn't fall or anything scary.
Ben: naw, i just was stronger in 1 arm than the nurses body weight lol

(It's so great that I gave him shit, then thought afterwards to check if he was okay.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No way in Silent Hell!

I don't care how good it is, how much fun it is to go through it, or what the long and esteemed history it's lineage has. I will not play Silent Hill. You can't ~make me~.

I've tried to battle this. I've done Quake. I've done Doom. I've done House of the Dead in the middle of an arcade with kids screaming and lights flashing. I have crept my way through the Flood in Halo (and wanted to strangle 343 Guilty Spark, ugh.)

But when I was playing Dead Rising, I gave up beating the shit out of zombies with wide screen televisions about 30 seconds in when they continued to advance on me and I suddenly had no idea how to throw the damned thing. I played 20 minutes of Silent Hill:Origins on the PSP, and had to put it away even when in the middle of a brightly lit room and sitting next to my significant other. The creepiness just seeped off the 3 inch screen. And it's been over a year since I got up the balls to sit down and play through Eternal Darkness on the GameCube, my present to myself last year.

As much as Bob would love to have a partner when launching in to these scary endeavors, I'm pretty sure I'm too much of a complete wuss to put up with them. I watched him play Resident Evil 4 and found myself leaping up whenever he got attacked. Eventually I couldn't watch and had to leave. I could only come back when he was battling a ginormous fish in a boat, as that was not really zombie-related.
As much as I love the concept of Survival Horror, I think the closest brush I may ever have with it is infected Covenant on the Pillar of Autumn. *sigh* And I know I just lost gamer-cred for saying that.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Actual Conversation # 25: Wherein pretzel etiquette is loosely discussed

me: I've got a random question for you.
Totally random.
Do you do the mustard on the pretzels thing?
Robert: Shoot
I like mustard on pretzels yes. I haven't done it in a while.
me: Mkay.
What about stuff like cheese?
Or does that get all nasty?
Robert: Hmmm, never done it. We're talking big soft pretzels? I'd try it, sure.
me: Okies.
I'm thinking maybe Wawa for lunch. They have pretzels. :)
I was hoping to get pretzel-nomming tips from the pro!
Robert: nods Indulge your wildest pretzel fantasies! Pretzels do not judge their consumer. They only live to be nourishment and the appeasement of stress. The bring happiness in all their myriad of forms.
me: ....that was awesome...
Robert: I've had an entire repetoire of pretzel related motivational speeches waiting for years for just this moment.

And yet, it's so true...

Stolen from Penny Arcade:
"Trying to associate Microsoft with "fun" is like trying to associate Satan with aromatherapy. "

The article I stole it from goes on to talk about how it's amazing they've managed any success with the Xbox in the gaming world because of their business-like, pie-chart weilding image.
When I first got back to PA, I resolved to get myself a computer and an xbox and slowly regain all those things that I'd lost in Seattle. It was out of anger and loss and a sense of desperation that I would be poor and never able to get back up to that level of leisure. So shortly after I had a cruddy computer system purchased second hand out of the back of a van (yes I'm serious) I took my 3rd or 4th paycheck and purchased my own xbox.
I didn't have a lot of games, but I ~do~ have fond memories of staying up late playing Halo, and BloodRayne in god mode with gratuitous dismemberment on. I remember getting my best bud Emily utterly hooked on it. She played it through until she won, at which point I let her accomplishment stand and put the game to bed. This from a girl who, up until that time, had not owned a gaming system. To say I was impressed was an understatement. She pwned the hell out of that thing and I still smile when I think about how many times she tenaciously went after that final boss.
There were many nights of staying up to play through Halo by myself on the easy level. There was fumbling around with the online Halo multi-player that tended to end with a boyfriend-at-the-time perched on the couch next to me watching everything I did and screaming about how everyone else was hacking or cheating or being a douchebag by going for the grenade launcher. (Oh, isn't vicarious living just wonderful???) But it got played, and it got played a lot.I excitedly awaited the arrival of Halo 2 for it, because of how much I'd loved Halo 2 and how it had gotten me back in to the FPS genre after a break of some 6-7 years. My previous experience had been imminent and satisfying shotgun rebuttal in Quake and nothing had brought me that level of joy until Halo presented itself to me.
I played Tetris endlessly on it as is my idiom. It allowed me to slip back in to the days of being crouched in the basement fighting through Jurassic Park on the Sega, and Super Mario Bros. 3 on our Nintendo.
Shortly after I bought it I acquired a video game called World of WarCraft and have sunk heavily back in to my identity as computer gamer. The Xbox languished a bit. The last time we REALLY spent any time together I still lived outside of Harrisburg and had wicked insomnia. At 4 am I pulled out a prized copy of Psychonauts I had been trying to find time and energy to play, and barreled through it for 3 hours until the alarm went off and it was time to go to work. I don't think I touched it once after that, and that was over 2 years ago. It's upstairs in the spare bedroom with the yoga equipment and every implement of painting known to mankind. I keep having these illusions that one day my time will open up and I'll be able to sit down and finish playing through psychonauts or mAlice or any other number of games I never got to start or finish.
Wendy, the newer 360, sits downstairs offering up such loveliness as Bioshock, Too Human, Mass Effect...all these great, epic, beautifully rendered games The other day I even downloaded Ecco the Dolphin from online.
I still have to keep the old box, though. There's songs I burned on to the hard drive for it, to listen to randomly. It has multiple saved games that I just can't transfer over to the 360. There's no true emulator and some of them won't even play.
So for now it crouches, black and ridged, next to my big TV and my CDs and the aforementioned yoga gear. The reason it was hard to reach me on the phone for 2 years while I was raiding in Molten Core is the direct result of having that machine.
I guess I owe it for helping me refind a long-abandoned part of my identity.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Actual Conversation #24: Wherein Multi-Ethnic writing utensils are discussed.

Ben: i want to call this new shirt my "bitchin collar shirt"
Ben: its very crisp
Helen: *laugh*
Helen: Whatsit look like?
Ben: its just a gray short sleeve button up with a blue waukesha logo over the pocket
Ben: i love button ups
Helen: You have a pocket?
Ben: of course
Ben: what else would i put my pens in?!
Helen: Do you have protection, though??
Helen: You can't just go sticking your pen in there!!!
Ben: unfortunately i dont
Ben: my geek squad shirt got pregn... i mean ruined that way
Helen: Big ugly blotch that won't go away now?
Helen: Oh yeah?
Ben: black spot
Helen: You like the multi-color ink action huh?
Helen: ....okay, I think I'm done with this metaphor. lol
Ben: once you go black you never go back\

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Actual Conversation # 23, wherein cartooning about Object Oriented Programming is discussed.

We were discussing my penchant for making arts from coding concepts. It has been decided that some day they would make a great visual aid in teaching, so I'm going to try to keep up with it.

me: I'm worried if I don't keep up with what I'm learning I'll fall behind and never complete them!!!
I have to do integers, versus floats, versus doubles....
(No idea how to set that up)
Robert: Russian Dolls. Char < Integer < Float < Double
me: And one on proper punctuation. All your phrases end with a semicolon;
Yes, except those don't really explain what each does.
Robert: True
me: I was thinking more in terms of what they are.
Like Char is only letters
Robert: But it explains casting :-)
me: Casting?
Robert: Actually, Char is a number from 1-128, per the ascii code. It's just a small integer, really
Well if you say Int myInt = 'c' the integer myInt will be set to the ascii value of 'c'. 70 or shwtaver
me: was that a typo or jargon?
Robert: or whatever
me: Oh.
You should've said it was jargon. I would have bought it. And then used it in class to try and sound impressive.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sneaky Math, learnin' me how ta do it...

I grabbed a Calculus textbook off the bookshelf to try and look up anything it might have on algorithms, as I had it in my head that an algorithm was a purely mathematical exercise. I plowed through it, and in so doing accidentally taught myself about how to calculate logarithms.
In the meantime, it turns out the interwebs had my answer. Good ol' Wikipedia advised me an algorithm is a fancy word for a plan. Bob told me the same thing.

So...if you've got a wicked yummy cake algorithm, chances are you got it out of a cookbook filled with similar baking algorithms.

I'm going to find a way to use it awkwardly in conversation tomorrow because it seems fun. "I'm wondering if that particular tie fit in to your overall algorithm for morning preparation or if this was a side-trip to the 'clean pile'?"
Ya know, something like that. I'll be amused, anyway...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Further coding humor.

Ladies and gents.... functions in C++.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wax on? Naw, wax off...

Five years ago today my Dad and I came roaring in to Lemoyne, PA with a moving truck full of my crap and my little Honda in tow. It was 3 A.M. and I had 2 cats, 2 cockatiels and a snake. I had something like 18 boxes of books, 8 boxes of doodads, and a small handful of furniture. No bed, no dresser, no computer. I ended up moving in with my Mom since I didn't have enough to get my own place.
And here I am now with a computer I built myself, with new gear I built myself. The floor is littered iwth art supplies and test-projects, and both myself and Bob are up to our eyeballs in video games and movies to watch. I ended up donating 12 of my 18 boxes of books, and I'm currently working on replacing them all with craft books and manga, it would seem from the view of my current bookshelf.
I have everything I need, and looking back I have to laugh about how I was sure I would be too incompetent to pull all of this off. As usual, I underestimate myself and just how much I will not put up with crap when I want to change it.
I'm going out to dinner with Bob tonight to celebrate. 5 years seems auspicious to me. I can honestly say I feel I've made a complete turn-around from where I was.
Normally I would wax poetic at this point about a few other things, but I always do that. So instead I'm going to go read a book and enjoy the day, watch the Ghost Hunters season premier tonight, and enjoy a fantastic meal with my man. It's a good day.