Category: Rant

Why not?

Tons of money and man-hours are spent researching, chasing and getting chewed on by tornados.  Meteorologists are given useless jobs to predict tornados when everyone knows they can’t really do anything.  The idea of people who chase and research tornadoes is kind of interesting and edgy but what does it really give us?

I say they are taking the wrong approach.  We all know that tornadoes do massive amounts of damage in terms of both life and property as well as lost revenues for businesses.  OK so we’ve established that there is expected to be some damage.  Great.  So next time a big tornado touches down why don’t we scramble a few fighter jets and have them shoot to air to surface missles at the base of that big bad F5?  If the concussive blast from that doesn’t disrupt it then maybe they could also fire an aire to air missle and remote detonate it inside the tornado at the same time.  Disrupt it at the ground and in the air.  Those blasts should have enough force behind them to make the tornado falter if not die out.  The changes in heat in the air should also help.

Why hasn’t anyone thought about this before?

I mean seriously, we talk about fighting these natural disasters but we never actually confront them.  We don’t fight them.  We just have tons of people scurry about and guess a lot while spending money that could be better spent on more important ventures.  And worst case, would testing this theory really cost any more than what we are doing now?

If we could spend $100,000 to launch a jet and three missles and save lives, property, livestock, businesses, crops, and a fortune in insurance claims (if the victims were covered) then wouldn’t it be worth it?  And be awesome at the same time?  What pilot wouldn’t be volunteering for that duty?  Talk about your homeland defense.

What do you think?

The importance of good grammar

In an age when even Ameren UE is using TXT speak in it’s new energy efficiency billboards, it’s hard sometimes to even remember what grammar is much less what good grammar would look like.  People spend a lot of time “typing” on their phones and unless you keep up with such things, that TXT you just received from your son or daughter may look like another language or a system error instead of a message.

But grammar – and good grammar – are still important.  That’s something that I hope the kids today will still understand when they grow up texting their term papers into their robotic professors.  Writing is something that can make or break you in certain situations.  I dread the day I see a resume come across my desk written in a hybrid of 1337 and TXT.

Here’s a perfect example I just saw on Facebook.  I notice more and more often that people are skipping capitalization and punctuation in their posts.  I see the number 4 replacing “for” and the number 2 replacing “to” all the time.  But sometimes, you really have to go back and make sure what you wrote is actually what you meant.

Here’s a post from a Facebook friend taken word for word:

My good friend dave brockett was killed lastnight in a motrcycle accident. Please pray 4 his family. Ill let everyone that knew him know when the funeral is gonna be.

This is tragic, of course.  I don’t know him personally but I feel sorry for those that did.  I would have capitalized his name… but maybe I’m just being picky.  Good grammar and writing – no, but it gets the idea across properly.

Now here’s one of the comments to this same post:

let me know when he was a good friend

Where to start?  Ignore the lack of a beginning capital letter and let us jump straight to the punctuation.  Go ahead and read that again and think about what that says.  Now I am assuming that this person was not trying to be an insensitive jerk by asking “When was he a good friend?”  That would just be rude no matter how you feel about someone.

What this commenter must have meant was exactly what he wrote but without punctuation.  Here’s what it should have said:

Let me know when. He was a good friend.

Big difference, right?  That one period between when and he make all the difference in the world.  All of the sudden you go from being a well meaning sympathetic friend to a hateful asshole when that one character is left out.  Keep that in mind next time you decide to write something in a hurry.

WordPress Themes

I hate this theme.  Mostly.  There are a few things about it I like but overall, meh.  But what can I do?  I hate the default themes as well.  Well how about the WordPress Themes Directory that you can click on from inside the WordPress console?  It has 954 themes as of this writing.  That should help right?  Uh… no.  Have you looked at that page?  They have taken usability to a whole new low.

954 themes and no easy way to get to them.  Unless you want one of the ten featured themes on the page or want to hunt through the miscellaneous popular themes on the side, there is no way to find the others.  OH SURE, there’s that big search bar at the top but um… what exactly am I searching for?  Here’s a hint: try typing “A theme I would like” into that search field and see what it comes back with.  Is that a silly example? Yes it is, but what should I search for?  I’m sure there are keywords or tags or something but maybe it could give me some hints.

I like WordPress.  I really do.  It’s a thousand times better than the cybrblog system I cobbled together many years ago on this same domain.  I really like how they keep expanding the features too.  But one complaint I have about the standard installation is those default themes.  WordPress has offered those same two Default and Classic themes forever.  Fine.  But could they at least update them to work with the new versions of WordPress and the new features?  No, the built-in themes don’t have to have the best features and prettiest presentations but couldn’t they at the very least show off what WordPress can do natively?

For example, a few revisions ago WordPress added in-line or nested comments.  Great!  However presenting those in that fashion is controlled by the theme you are using.  I still haven’t seen a theme that integrates that feature although to be honest I haven’t tried many themes.  Because they are unreasonably difficult to browse.  Oh wait, there’s no browse feature on the WordPress Themes Directory either!  Not much of a directory if you can’t browse it.  Seriously though, the default theme should accomodate every new feature built in to WordPress.  Throw us a bone here.

Four posts in four days

So I said on Monday that I would be getting back to writing and promised that I would be posting at least once a week.  Now it is Thursday and I’ve posted four times in four days.  Well, what can I say.  I guess I’m just an overachiever.

Stop laughing.

A buddy of mine invited me to go with him and some other old friends of mine on a camping float trip next month.  I got permission from the boss and in a few short weeks I will be making myself miserable in the middle of nowhere.  On purpose.  Sometimes we humans just don’t seem very bright do we?

I mean seriously, a camping float trip?  I mean, sure, it sounds fun… but in reality?  The first day and night will be fine because we can have real food.  Meat and other niceties will last in a cooler for a day no problem.  However on the second night I am assuming that I will be eating a rehydrated meal consisting of meat flakes and unidentifiable vegetable concentrate.  And a Rice Krispy Treat.  Because we have boxes of those from Sam’s.

Normally on a float I would consume an obscene amount of alcohol (at least in my younger days… maybe not now) but on this trip I will not be waking up the next day in the comfort of my own home.  No, I will be waking up to a sore back from sleeping on a thousand pointy rocks.  We’re in Missouri, there is no soil.  Just rocks.  Look it up.  If I get hungover, I will spend the entire day miserable and stranded on a rock outcropping in the middle of nowhere with no fresh food or water and no Internet.  What does Internet have to do with hangovers?  Nothing, but it’s all part of the misery.

So, I don’t even think I’ll be taking any alcohol.  Maybe a few beers for the initial float to the camp site but nothing else.  I may be able to drink soda warm but warm domestic beer is just not worth it.

Oh and since we are camping half way through the float that means that everything has to fit in our canoe.  Cooler, tent, sleeping bag, clothes, towel, toilet paper, sun screen, insect repellent, food, snacks, drinks, teddy bear, axe, rope, fishing pole and gear and whatever else I can think of.  Canoes are not large especially when you are sharing one with another guy roughly the same size as myself.  And I’m not terribly small.  I’m just saying.

So what have I gotten myself into?  Am I nuts?  Yeah, probably.  Am I still going?  Yeah.  Why?  Well, I’ve never done a float like this before.  I’ve been on tons of float trips but never one where you had to bring everything with you and camp on the river.  If nothing else, I want the experience.  I’m hoping to reach level 8 by the time I finish the trip. (If you didn’t get that joke, you are probably better off…)

I’m meeting with a few of the guys tonight to go over what extra stuff they might have that me and my buddy can borrow instead of buying.  Going to need a couple of dry sacks at least.  I haven’t seen my tent since we moved in either.  We lost a lot of stuff that was in storage with Graebel that we was never returned.  That’s a whole ‘nother story.  Suffice it to say that I don’t think we have all the gear that we used to have.  And that sucks.

The world we live in and life in general

So much happens on a day to day basis to me and everyone else that there is no possible way to for everyone to keep everyone posted on the goings-ons and what-nots of their lives at all times.  It’s just not possible.  So we share small samplings of our lives on bliggity blogs and our face-spaces and we move on.  Years ago we didn’t even do that much.

Kira and Michelle have both been sick for a little over a week now.  So far, I have been very lucky to not yet get sick.  The wife went through antibiotics and had no result so more than likely she has viral bronchitis just like our poor baby girl.  Kira has to breath in medicine in vapor form from a mask hooked to a loud machine.  She was basically tolerant of the experience at first but I think her patience is getting thin for that routine.  Not sure how much longer she needs that treatment but hopefully not too long.  She seems to be a bit better.

Kira continues to amaze me with her progress and ability.  Michelle continues to amaze me in taking care of Kira every day and the house and everything else.  I know she thinks I don’t appreciate her and the hard work she does every day but I do.  I really do.  I am very proud of both of them.  I really don’t think that Kira would be so well adjusted and amazingly advanced if it weren’t for Michelle being with her every day and working with her and taking care of her.

We have been getting the run-around with Graebel… again.  You may remember we had issues with them back in October of last year.  Well, to one extent or another we have had continual issues since then as well.  Now for the past few months we have been dealing with trying to get our insured items covered and repaired.  Some things have worked out and many things haven’t but nothing has gone smoothly.  You can read up on the current problems over at the wife’s site.  I have given up dealing with them and turned them over to her to deal with.  I’m betting they are now wishing that they would have just worked things out with me.  If we ever decide to move to a new city again with my current employer I will do everything I can to NOT use Graebel for that or any other move.

I’ve been busy working on a few different projects at work.  I’m working on getting some new security software rolled out to all of our computers (actually our Altiris guy is doing all the work) and I’m in the final stages of getting ready for a big office integration in New York City.  I do not look forward to being away from the wife and our little girl while working on that project and I’m sure Michelle isn’t looking forward to it either.  But I don’t have to travel too often and I’m still employed so I do what I have to do.

We were planning on migrating from Microsoft Exchange 2003 to the new Exchange 2007 and I’ve been working on the testing and planning of that for a few months.  However, now that Microsoft is releasing the next version (2010) earlier than expected, and faster than any other major revision cycle in history for that product, we are now on hold.  The idea is that we will now skip Exchange 2007 and go directly to 2010.  OK cool.  We can do that.

I have been working on some new comics for A Little Scary in my “spare” time but I missed my re-launch date of June 1st already.  I’m hoping to get a couple done soon.  Here’s hoping.  I don’t want to start up again without at least a small buffer or I’ll just end up getting discouraged again when a deadline comes and goes with no update.

Bonus points if you can tell me where I got the title of this post.

WordPress Themes