Archive for February, 2008

Movie meme recap

Eeks, only now did I realize that almost half of these are John Carpenter flicks.

1) I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.
John Carpenter’s They Live. Only the awesomest alien movie that ever was, starring (Rowdy) Roddy Piper, as the main character, in an actual acting role.

2) If we’ve got any surprises for each other, I don’t think either one of us is in much shape to do anything about it.
The Thing. This is the very last line; neither of the (only) two survivors knows for sure whether he or the other survivor is one of them.

3) It was nothing like that, penis breath!
E.T. magpiefirefly got this one.

4) The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over but it can’t. Not without your help. But you’re not helping.
Blade Runner – parsemand got it! And says there is a newly re-edited version that kicks even more ass than the original.

5) Santy Claus only brings presents to them that’s been good all year. All the other ones, all the naughty ones, he punishes! What about you, boy? You been good all year?
Admittedly this is a tough one, for everyone who doesn’t scavenge the obscure bad-horror-movie bins at their local backwater VHS rental place (remember those? (VHS tapes *or* places that rented them?)). Silent Night, DEADLY Night! If you guessed this movie is about a deranged Santa Claus that goes around killing people, you’d be right.

6) What the hell are you? …The world’s most pissed-off snow cone!
Jack Frost (probably from the same shelf/bin as previous). There are actually two movies by this name; one is about a mutant killer snowman, and one is a mushy family kids movie. The first time, we picked up the wrong one by mistake and spent a good 45 minutes or so going, “Isn’t he going to start killing people yet? Why isn’t he killing anyone?”

7) EXCUSE ME,Jack! You heard the man! My oxygen’s running out! Look, if you don’t help me, you’re going to end up with this microscopic pod floating around your insides with this teeny tiny human skeleton at the helm.
Inner Space. I remember seeing this movie when I was young and liking it a lot, but I don’t really remember most of it.

8) Everything. OK! I’ll talk! In third grade, I cheated on my history exam. In fourth grade, I stole my uncle Max’s toupee and I glued it on my face when I was Moses in my Hebrew School play. In fifth grade, I knocked my sister Edie down the stairs and I blamed it on the dog… When my mom sent me to the summer camp for fat kids and then they served lunch I got nuts and I pigged out and they kicked me out… But the worst thing I ever done – I mixed a pot of fake puke at home and then I went to this movie theater, hid the puke in my jacket, climbed up to the balcony and then, t-t-then, I made a noise like this: hua-hua-hua-huaaaaaaa – and then I dumped it over the side, all over the people in the audience. And then, this was horrible, all the people started getting sick and throwing up all over each other. I never felt so bad in my entire life.
The Goonies! I can’t believe nobody got this one! Everybody who grew up in the 80s should know this one :P

9) Zac Hobson, July 5th. One: there has been a malfunction in Project Flashlight with devastating results. Two: it seems I am the only person left on Earth.
The Quiet Earth. You know, secret government projects involving particle physics always turn out well.

10) My ‘them’. Every paranoid schizophrenic has one; a ‘them’, a ‘they’, an ‘it’. And you want to hear about my ‘them’, don’t you?
In the Mouth of Madness. Shawn on the cexxy side knew this one.

11) Three years ago our Johnny died. We thought there was no hope, but then we discovered the United Appeal for the Dead. They showed us that despite Johnny’s handicap, he could still be a useful member of our family and the community. Our United Appeal for the Dead caseworker showed us that the absence of life from Johnny’s body didn’t have to mean his absence from our daily lives.
The Kentucky Fried Movie. Great shit from the 70s.

12) Don’t mind her. She’s still upset because somebody dropped a house on her sister.
Beetlejuice, beetlejuice beetlejuice! magpiefirefly got this one too. I haven’t seen that in ages.

13) Ok you Primitive Screwheads, listen up! You see this? This… is my boomstick! The 12-gauge double-barreled Remington. S-Mart’s top of the line. You can find this in the sporting goods department. That’s right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Retails for about $109.95. It’s got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That’s right. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart. You got that?
Army of Darkness. jovianconsensus got it. As for the rest of you, I’m disappointed in y’all.

14) I would like… cheese… go… to… hell…
Explorers. The line is actually spoken by a rat who can control a speech synthesizer. Fortunately this is its only line…

15) Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room.
Dr. Strangelove. jovianconsensus got this one too.

Demotivational posters

So, while waiting for my boards to come back on Secret Project A and Non-Secret Project B, and for the guy at Company C to get back to me on diagnosing a crash between their Windows DLL and my software that is supposed to interact with it, I was…less than motivated, so I made some motivational posters. (No, not by hand; being the motivated sort that I am I found this autowidget online that handles all the formatting and borders and stuff.) The first two images are my own photographs, and the last two are stolen from the on-line.


PATIENCE: They say it’s a virtue. But being virtuous is not necessarily satisfying.

TEAMWORK: This job would have taken a lifetime. Now it will take two.

CONTRACTING: There is never time to do it right, but there is always time to do it over.

QUALITY: Caveat Emptor is not a business model.

Spinlock This: Less productive than reading slashdot all day! Film at 11.

1) Dude. Seriously. The display we’ll be designing into our gadget won’t be ready for 6 more months? You said it was ready a week ago, and that was two months ago. Our customer is crawling up my ass for the prototype we promised them in December. So you gave me this other one and said “prototype with this, it’s exactly the same.” After three days’ strangling a datasheet out of your chip vendor, I got a partial datasheet with NO protocol info. Now three more days and re-pinging your guy I weasel the protocol info from your end, and the protocol on this one bears no freaking resemblance to the one we’ll actually be using. So why am I to be spending the time to integrate this one when 90% of that code will have to be scrapped and rewritten anyway?

2) Dude. Seriously. Tell me mortgage guy, what the hell is mortgagemail.com, and why are you sending me documents through some meaningless middleman instead of just emailing, faxing or dead treeing them to me directly? … Ok, I signed up on this dealy, but it just says “There are no messages to display for the selected month and year.” Also, it didn’t ask for any verification info, address, SSN or anything when I signed up to receive my Super Secure Documents that are apparently too sensitive to email. Did I miss a memo here? …Ohhhh, you didn’t say anything about having to sign up with this specific email address, which you shouldn’t have anyway; I created a new email address for this signup, as I do with every other place I sign up on the green earth. … Dude, seriously. I gave you the correct address to send the stuff to that middleman site with THREE TIMES already. Dude. Seriously. I just gave you the insurance company’s full details and phone number in the email you replied to to ask what the insurance company’s name and phone number is. Open your g*dd*mmuth******in eyes. …Dude. Seriously. I do not sign up for random commercial Web sites using my (only-remaining-spam-free) personal email address. I don’t care if you think this mail-a-dealy thing is the bees’ knees, and I don’t care if you want to save a buck in postage by giving me Yet Another Password to Remember and Yet Another Site to Login and Poll Frequently for New Messages, no frickety way. And if that does not work, I still have a “mail box”, which is still perfectly functional and in fact attached to the very house we are trying to refinance here. In fact, I pass by it on a regular basis, which is more than I can say for “mortgagemail.com”.

3) Ma’am. Seriously. What do you mean you can’t fax proof of homeowners’ insurance to the mortgage guy? I am the policy holder, and I am explicitly authorizing you to do so. They have to call directly..What do you mean I can’t authorize it? I AM THE FRICKING POLICY HOLDER.

4) Dude. Seriously. No less than three admin people and a Director of Mechanical Engineering are in a meeting with a battery and <specialized electronic gadget> company, the goal of said meeting being to discuss combining our technologies into a seamless product, gazing glasseyedly at schematic diagrams on the projector, and you did not think to invite a single electronics engineer to this meeting? (Oh yes, this IS one of the companies that found out about us by meeting me at ESC. I found this out when the DME came running into my office after the meeting with a stack of electronics samples and evaluation kits, asking when I will have a chance to look at them.)

5) Dude. Seriously. Can I get a quote to get these circuit boards made? This is the third time I’ve asked. Yes, I understand I can’t get electrical testing on a multi-project panel, and yes, I know you received the file, but how much will it cost to make them? Dude. Seriously. I know Chinese New Year was last week, but you can’t *still* be hungover, seriously?

6) Dude. Seriously. What do you mean our Molex crimper doesn’t crimp Molex crimp terminals? No, hand-soldering bare wires to 0.5mm crimp terminals in volume quantities is non-trivial. Wait, you already shipped out the gadget that needed the crimp terminals last Friday, without any? Why are you asking me about crimp terminals today?

And I wonder why I spend an entire day and get *butt* done.

[meme] Movies

Stolen from Stormsdotter

1. Pick 15 of your favorite movies.
2. Go to IMDb and find a quote from each movie.
3. Post them here for everyone to guess.
4. Fill in the film title once it’s guessed.
5. NO GOOGLING/using IMDb search functions.

1) I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.

2) If we’ve got any surprises for each other, I don’t think either one of us is in much shape to do anything about it.

3) [E.T.] It was nothing like that, penis breath!

4) [Blade Runner] The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over but it can’t. Not without your help. But you’re not helping.

5) Santy Claus only brings presents to them that’s been good all year. All the other ones, all the naughty ones, he punishes! What about you, boy? You been good all year?

6) What the hell are you? …The world’s most pissed-off snow cone!

7) EXCUSE ME,Jack! You heard the man! My oxygen’s running out! Look, if you don’t help me, you’re going to end up with this microscopic pod floating around your insides with this teeny tiny human skeleton at the helm.

8) Everything. OK! I’ll talk! In third grade, I cheated on my history exam. In fourth grade, I stole my uncle Max’s toupee and I glued it on my face when I was Moses in my Hebrew School play. In fifth grade, I knocked my sister Edie down the stairs and I blamed it on the dog… When my mom sent me to the summer camp for fat kids and then they served lunch I got nuts and I pigged out and they kicked me out… But the worst thing I ever done – I mixed a pot of fake puke at home and then I went to this movie theater, hid the puke in my jacket, climbed up to the balcony and then, t-t-then, I made a noise like this: hua-hua-hua-huaaaaaaa – and then I dumped it over the side, all over the people in the audience. And then, this was horrible, all the people started getting sick and throwing up all over each other. I never felt so bad in my entire life.

9) Zac Hobson, July 5th. One: there has been a malfunction in Project Flashlight with devastating results. Two: it seems I am the only person left on Earth.

10) [In the Mouth of Madness]My ‘them’. Every paranoid schizophrenic has one; a ‘them’, a ‘they’, an ‘it’. And you want to hear about my ‘them’, don’t you?

11) Three years ago our Johnny died. We thought there was no hope, but then we discovered the United Appeal for the Dead. They showed us that despite Johnny’s handicap, he could still be a useful member of our family and the community. Our United Appeal for the Dead caseworker showed us that the absence of life from Johnny’s body didn’t have to mean his absence from our daily lives.

12) [Beetlejuice] Don’t mind her. She’s still upset because somebody dropped a house on her sister.

13) [Army of Darkness] Ok you Primitive Screwheads, listen up! You see this? This… is my boomstick! The 12-gauge double-barreled Remington. S-Mart’s top of the line. You can find this in the sporting goods department. That’s right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Retails for about $109.95. It’s got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That’s right. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart. You got that?

14) I would like… cheese… go… to… hell…

15) [Dr. Strangelove] Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room.

What does an OEM shipment of vibrators look like?

Inner pack of vibrators. Bzz!


There you go, an inner pack of 96 electric vibrators. For industrial, scientific and laboratory use of course. The box is just over 1ft by 1ft, but of reasonable heft. It could be worse, a full case is 575 units. It would really suck to be the UPS guy then.

PS. I was home at the time of delivery, so the front door was unlocked. When the UPS guy showed up, he just tried the door and came right inside, dropped the package in the front hallway and left. Maybe that’s normal; I’ve never actually been home to receive a package before.

Pics of previous entry

Me just a-standing in the stuff
200 Boston ‘avin a slash…oh, that knobbly bit in the wall that the water is streaming out of is a structural support beam.
Lake Medford’s boat ramp…no, wait, that’s our loading dock.
Sewer vortex in the parking lot
Sewer vortex in video form

Oil & water

First a plug to the folks at Lyons Fuel. This morning I get a knock on my bedroom door that the boiler quit working (no heat / cold showers); the gauge on the tank read almost empty (I don’t really trust the gauge), so I assumed the tank ran all the way empty and the oil pump sucked some air and quit. Some frobbing of the reset button wasn’t getting us anywhere. I called the oil company to refill the tank (which should be automatic); they said they’d send someone out that afternoon to bleed the line. I sent out an email and ducked out of work, expecting to appear at the house for 5min. to unlock the door, get the serviceman in and out, and scurry back to the office. Turns out it wasn’t air at all; when the level got low it sucked all the years of accumulated sludge from the bottom of the tank into the filter and pipe; it was pretty much completely clogged. Anyway, this guy put in a Herculean effort of changing the filters (no improvement), back-blowing the oil pipe with paintball-style CO2 cartridges and even replacing the nozzle inside the burner. Then he pulled the top off (“whoa, the top comes off?!” -me) and scraped/scrubbed down the manifold with a crowbar-like metal rod followed by a large bottle brush. In other words, a full-on inspection / maintenance service. Long story short, it now works beautifully! Apparently this (annual inspection/cleaning) is included with the oil service at no additional charge, which is sweet.

While down there, I noticed the sump pump wsa working overtime and there was the sound of a steady tricke of water streaming into the sump pump hole from the great outdoors. I was told to expect this, particularly in this neck of Medford (due to various factors, including a collapsed storm pipe under the street and one or more storm drains simply paved over during street repairs, the water doesn’t have much of anywhere to go except peoples’ basements). Anyway, it rained like a bitch all day and snowed like a bitch all the night before, so I didn’t think too much of this.

Sometime after I got back to work, I went down to the production lab to snatch the hardware I left in the thermal chamber. When I got there water was creeping across the floor and the two production folks were scouring around for some buckets. It turns out our building’s parking lot on the south side is pretty much the lowest point in town. The parking lot by the loading docks was well over a foot or two deep with water (rain + snowmelt) flooding in from the nearby railroad tracks and created this huge vortex at the nearest sewer hole. (At least I think it’s a sewer hole, we’ll find out tomorrow if the parking lot just collapsed into a sinkhole or whatever.) So the production lab ended up flooded by about 4-6 inches; water was pouring in right from the walls, we found one sump pump and set it up, but it wasn’t enough to cope with what was flooding in. We’ve most likely lost a few expensive pieces of equipment to water damage, as well as a whole lot of documents stored in file cabinets. I have some shoes and pants sitting on a radiator right now since they’re now soaked. In the stairwell, there was a small hole in the wall where a nice stream of water was shooting out about 4ft., as if an invisible man was standing with his back against the wall taking the most forceful piss ever. I got some nice pictures of the “event”, which I will download tomorrow when my work machine stops acting lame :-)

Trap?

So my girlfriend, who is awesome btw, has indicated that she’s not into the whole Valentine’s day thing (as in it kind of disgusts her a bit), and I shouldn’t do anything out of the ordinary on this day. She doesn’t like pink, excess sap, bad poetry, heart-shaped boxes full of chocolate (except to the extent that they contain chocolate; she is a girl after all)… so, am I just an exceptionally lucky man*, or am I actually walking into a bear trap?

* Not to crap at all on the idea of expressing my affection. But the whole socially pressured, Hallmark holiday thing just really skeeves me. Sometimes our hands are forced a bit, into going along with things we don’t really agree with–be it dealing with peoples’ whackass beliefs, working on gadgets uncomfortably close to weapons systems, killing some innocent Brown People or whatever. I see the pressure to honor Valentine’s Day as one of these cases. (Not to mention, I kind of suck at that whole romance thing. The only two times I was non-single on this date I either fully capitulated to the whole expectation (poorly), or spent it at the Chicago Public Library (though I’m marginally excused for this; it was her idea!).

And as I’ve previously mentioned, I think peppering my sweetheart with killed cut flowers is about the worst possible message to send).

Take my money, please!

I mean it, guys, want money from me in exchange for services I’ve agreed to? All you have to do is ask.

So apparently, if you ever dare to log into GMAC Mortgage’s web site and pay a bill “on-line” (using teh interwebs), even just once, they stop billing you. Neat, huh? Subprime house in the hamptons, here I come! Hmm. Well actually, they keep billing as usual, they just stop sending the bills to you. See, since you’ve demonstrated that you by some means have access to the “on-line”, you are fully capable of logging into their web site everyday to check if they’ve posted a new bill today. Or if you’re really lucky, a link to the bill may have even floated its way to your spamtrap e-mail account*, where it distances itself from the numerous p3n1s p1llz and Honeyjen18 wants to be your Myspace friend! spams** by sporting an eye-grabbing subject line such as “Account Update“***. Because as you know, e-mail is a reliable communication medium.

Luckily, late Friday night I thought to myself, as so many do on a friday night, “hmm, it feels like I haven’t gotten any mortgage bills in a while”, and logged in there (with help from the smiling gods of “15-day grace period” and our internet working again today) just in time to avoid some unknown and no doubt unspeakable late fee nastiness. (Or a becigared, bemonacled Foreclosure Guy showing up randomly at my door with a briefcase and chloroform.)

On a related note, State Farm Insurance stops talking to you if you move about 2.5 blocks. So, they send to your new address (which they have) a note that says, “you moved, so we can’t talk to you anymore, call your agentFULL STOP NO CARRIER”, and to your old address (which, judging from the you-moved note, they understand that you have moved from), your bill, policy and renewal forms (which are apparently immune to mail forwarding service, although stampless paper postcards from the Awards Verification Center still are not). I found all this out after Googling for their phone number today, as it was not on the letter that told me to call it (nor, for that matter, any information concerning the identity of my mysterious Agent). I actually got this letter sometime the week before, but wanted to schedule this hold-music hell for a time when I would be chained to my desk like a good code monkey anyway, with only the occasional frequent pee break (Decaf? My world knows no such thing :P) to influence my odds of having to restart the whole phone tree from the beginning, and be able to set the phone on handsfree and get something half productive done while sitting on hold.

I have to ring them up again tomorrow and doublecheck whether this thing still automatically renews, like a gym membership, or if I’ve been driving around uninsured for the last couple weeks baiting every cop in town.

* I have exactly one remaining spam-free email account. For this reason, it is strictly reserved for friends and personal acquaintances. Ist nicht fuer gewerken bei das banks, mortgage servicers, webforums, order confirmations, shareware trials, shopping sites, travel agencies, etc. End discussion.

** where “Myspace friend” == “Webcam whore” and “Webcam whore” == “$18.99 a month Webcam whore”

*** actually, I don’t know what they use for a subject, because I’ve never received one. At least, not containing the text string “gmac” anywhere in the body, subject or sending address, according to a grep of my spamcexxyinbox.

Salesdouche game for a bored day

Today was one of those little icky days where, after the fun and mildly arty process of designing a set of boards, the next step was to spend all day in Excel sourcing parts and getting all their prices filled in (and ripping up parts of the design where the part had gone non-stock, etc.). As a fitting punctuation to this experience, I had a meeting with a Toshiba(?) sales rep today hyping a line of 16-bit microcontrollers. (How did I get involved in such a meeting? Note to self, stop agreeing to offers for free devkits :P)

Anyway, one of those better-known salesdouche academy tricks is to match the mark’s body language–it’s supposed to instill comfort and trust or some such, or more to the point, increase the odds someone will buy your stuff: if the mark leans in, the salesdouche leans in; if the mark crosses his legs a certain direction, the salesdouche should follow suit within a minute or two. What I like to do is exhibit increasingly bizarre body language and see how far I can get the salesdouche to track it.

For example, I like to start small, with an “interested” forward lean to get him hooked. Once he’s tracking, I may segue into the Thinker pose or an ever-pensive elbow rub. Once the spiel is well underway and the SD is douching it up at full lather, when he mentions something I don’t like, I recoil a bit and hit him up with the jazz hands to see if he jazzes back.

me: “Ooh. So you mainly work with __JAZZ HANDS__ high-volume customers?”
SD: “Oh _JAZZ HANDS_ nono! We’re totally receptive to smaller orders…” (score!)

I like to follow up with some twitchy elbow and a little feet-on-table action. By the end of the meeting, I might well be in full stripper-table-lay, knees on chair, belly and elbows on table, under the auspices of interestedly poring over a brochure they carelessly left of Their Side of the table. I’m small, so I can get away with this. So far, I haven’t succeeded in getting a salesdouche into full sprawl on our conference table, but that day will come.

Unique and beautiful snowflakes

According to The Great Google, I’m one of only three people on the planet who uses the term “backward-endian” to refer to computing platforms who store their bits and/or bytes in “little end first” order (aka. little-endian, where all the bits are stored least-significant-digit first and most-significant last, kind of like storing a million as 000,000,1. Ten million might be stored in an order such as 000,000,01 or 000,000,10 or 01,000,000, depending on exactly what level of backwardness is being referred to [bit-, byte-, or both]). Apparently “wrong-endian” is even a bit more common.

Also, apparently nobody besides Kr* uses the term “seed holes” in the context of pants. (I have 2 pairs of pants that came pre-nicked from the factory so they’d grow “hey, I play rough and/or do a lot of physical labor” fashion-holes after a few washings. I didn’t notice this fact until after a few washings.)

What are your own unique term-isms?

(To those who may accuse me of being a compulsive Googler and/or bored at work, let me assure you that I…er…I…am ending this post now.)

Woo Vista

I just had my first taste of Windows Vista, uninstalling the mountains of craplets pre-installed on a co-worker’s new HP laptop. Renaming a shortcut on the desktop required clicking “ok” to two authorization dialogs.

‘Nuff said.