I Finally Missed One

I write an article a day, every day.

Or at least I had up until Saturday, last.

I was sitting at the laptop, looking at the machine, going through my normal grind and something happened.  I guess I got distracted by some shiny object.

At 9AM, I reviewed what I had written to go onto the blog.  That’s pretty typical for me.  I tend to write off the cuff and get things done at the moment.  Off the top of my head.  For the longest time I was “A Week Ahead”.  That slowed to “A Day Ahead”.  Then I started having writer’s block and ended up dipping into my Day Ahead and setting them off while writing something for tomorrow at a more convenient time.  My cushion was gone.

Weekends were easy, I keep a file on the desktop called “jokes.txt” where I grab jokes that amused me, change the language so that they could be broadcast on TV, then save them onto that file.  I’d post one on Saturday, one on Sunday.  Just copy and paste and then release, announce the post, then done.

But I slipped.  Who knows.  I’m a great multi-tasker, usually doing four or five things at once.  Well we all make a mistake from time to time, I guess that’s why pencils have erasers.

That was the first time since September 10, 2009 that I haven’t posted something and that next day was when I went to go to a daily post.  Coming up on 5 years.

I realized that I had done that when I woke up enough to look in the mirror Sunday morning.  Up at 5AM on the dot.  Stupid o’clock … or so.

Those jokes aren’t the favorite things to read by the people who have liked the blog on Facebook.  Yes, I’m there too.  The number of people who read them tend to be markedly lower than the weekday postings, immediately.  But they do get read by people out in the world.  Believe it or not, there are quite a few people who like to read dumb jokes about Moose and they end up reading my blog for a page or three.

It’s all linked and they show up on your favorite search engine, whichever that one is.   On some searches, I am actually the first link you will find.   I guess I really do understand Search Engine Optimization, or I have an idea of what I’m doing.  Generate enough content and people will actually read it.

When I got back from the morning rituals in the house, the dog walk, and my first mug of coffee, I thought I might just blow it all off for Sunday as well.  Hey I took the weekend off!

Nope.  It’s Sunday afternoon, I’m sitting here with a glass of iced tea, ducking laser beams from the sun reflecting off of two different properties, and listening to a generic dance channel, all the while writing to you folks.

I said it once a while back that I didn’t know how long I will keep this daily article writing up, but I will go back to pre-writing the blog for now.   It makes it easier to Skip A Day.  I did that when I went to Key West.  Got a full two weeks ahead and took dozens of pics, then posted them for weeks after.  I think that happened the same time that they pulled down Old City Hall here.

There is a funny thing about writing a blog.  “Different strokes for different folks” is a great way to describe writing and content.   Some people actually look forward to my stupid jokes.  Others love the dog stories.  My recipes get hit very heavily.  This week there was only one article that I wrote within last week that was in the top five – the one about scrapple.   All the rest were heavy tech about Linux, Job Search Online, and the Biscuit article – in no particular order.

I do watch what gets read here, it’s all about what’s on the top of my head when I sit down to write, but I do try to write on a different topic and discipline each day.  I also try not to be too dry.  In fact, I’m reading this and thinking it’s one of the more dry articles that I have written in a while.

Since it’s going to be a crazy-busy week for me, I will take some more time and try to get ahead a bit.  That includes posting next weekend’s jokes today.  Blogger will release them when I tell it to in the future.  It makes it easier for me if I actually remember to put something out there.

So if you actually do enjoy what I write, tell me and thanks, it helps to know and it helps to keep my brain cleared of the chaff.  Introspection is good for the soul.

If you don’t then why have you read this far down?

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Dog Vs Mustang

Last week I got a new toy.

Rarely, when I can win one, I get a box of “random crap” from a website.  You pay $8 and they toss in whatever they think they want to get rid of.  You wait about 3 weeks and the box arrives.  It’s a little like your birthday.  Sometimes you get socks, other times you get something that you need but never knew you wanted.

I’ve always gotten a lot more than the $8 so that is why I try for them.  Money is tight but I’ve always been able to give away more than the $8 that I paid for simply by getting rid of the extra stuff I didn’t want.

Last time I got a car.  Not a big one, one of those silly battery powered toys that eat up batteries.  This one takes 7 AA batteries.  Luckily I have that many rechargeable batteries in the house.  It took me a while to find enough batteries that would take the charge and power this beast of a yellow car, but once they were charged, I had to try it out.

So lets see.  Aging Mc Nab Dog being curious what Dad is doing.  Dad is a big kid.  Floor is clear of wires and other obstacles but the furniture is still in the room.   Car is about as long as your forearm.

Dog is still curious.

Power on car.
Power on controller.

Dog sniffs car.

Pull back gently on controller.
Nothing happens.

Pull back a little more.

Hilarity ensues.

First it turns out that this toy has no middle speed.   When the so-called engineer made this thing, they didn’t realize that two speeds, on and off, weren’t exactly useful.

Oh sure, it has on and off and backwards and forwards, but that means it basically had all the control of the real thing … on ice.

Secondly that dog.   She’s older, at 11, and slowing down, but she had a Good Day.

Pull back the lever on the control gingerly and all the sudden the contact inside the controller fired off.

The car ripped tire, then started to move loudly.

So did the dog.

Luckily for the car, it was too large for her to grip as it shot out from under her.   Turning the steering wheel made for another realization.  It turned all the way to the side or not at all.

Turning that steering wheel meant the car, now going at a fast running pace, whipped around crazily, knocked over the recycling bin, pulled under the dog.   The dog taking this as a personal affront decided to try to herd the yellow beast and barked at it while giving it the McNab Dog Stare.

Yellow electric cars having no care for a dog’s sense of order continued to spin around in tight circles under the dogs feet until she jumped straight up into the air to around her height all the while barking and knocking the junk from the display shelves in the room divider.

That noise meant that yours truly turned around to see what fell, nothing broke, and then back to the dog in an eye blink.   The steering wheel at the mean time had been released and the car broke from its tight circles to wedge itself under the coffee table.   Mind you, the coffee table is elevated so it had to do some sort of Dukes of Hazard trick to jump into the air two inches off the ground.

The dog was still angry at the evil yellow beast, and tried to catch the car.

By this time, I had slipped my finger off of the car’s speed “control” and the car stopped resting on top of the laptop that had been closed there.

I could see that this would not be an ideal place to play with an electric car that the dog did not like.

There is a term called “Fitness of Purpose”.  It’s an old concept that says when you buy something, it should do what is advertised.   The car did, the human was a bit confused as to what that exactly was meant to be so it was time to have a change of plans.

Outdoors.

That same car that careened madly over the “slightly” cluttered floor was much better suited for being brought outside.  Outside was the driveway and the street in front of the house.  One difference.  Even on it’s best day, a street is nowhere near as smooth as a floor with wall to wall Florida Tiles.  The car drove over pebbles as if they were boulders, cracks were as potholes, dimples filled with a drop of water became lakes.

Sure, once it got to the street, it could be controlled better but the dog still didn’t like it.  She was chasing after it again and finally decided to sit down next to me and give it the stink-eye.  It didn’t move all that quickly across the street since the 1/12th scale pebbles were slowing it down and it drove more like my Jeep does over a washboarded dirt road.

It decided that it had had enough of driving around when it’s “generous” 10 meter range was reached.  It stopped dead in the middle of the street, and a truck was approaching.

My inner 12 year old child decided at this time, it was best to take this yellow thing back into the house before the big red “whistle truck” turned it into a crunched pile of yellow plastic.   That would please the dog but disappoint the moose that owned the thing.

All in all, well worth the $8 price of admission.

Are Suits at Work on The Way Out

In a word, yes. 

We have all noticed it for years.  First it was dress down or casual friday.  Then it was the general trending toward a casual work week.  After all, are we hiring a wardrobe or are we hiring a mind? 

For the most part, its a What Ever It Takes attitude.  In the case of a suit, they’re damn uncomfortable.  Many offices are simply too warm to wear a jacket, so for years, the first thing you would do is hang the suit jacket on the back of the door, or the chair or on the cube wall.   Then it rapidly became acceptable to go chinos and polo shirt at work unless you’re off to meet customers.

Even the customers would scratch your head if after the first couple visits on a “steady client call” you came in dressed in a suit.

I have a grey suit that I have had for years now.  Embarrassingly long time, but luckily I’ve been able to hang onto it since I’ve been told I look good in it.  I wore it to Pat’s Wedding so many years ago, and it may be more than 20 years old.  The thing is that the only place I have felt comfortable wearing a suit is to a Funeral, Wedding, or Interview.  For the most part, it hangs there in the bedroom closet with a silent “Send Me In Coach!” for when it’s needed.

With the general trend of offices going more casual, you can spot the prospective hire, the sales force, and the newbies.  I found it amusing when I walked into a shiny office block for an interview on Cypress Creek that I overheard a comment.  Being 6′ 4″ tall and physically imposing, I have The Look.  My friend and former programmer once called it a “Command Presence”.  This is a look that I am conscious of and I try to tone it down sometimes.  That one particular day was a cool day for Florida, the sun was out in force, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  I had on my backup mirrored sunglasses as I walked into the building with black portfolio in hand.

One rather pretty woman said to her companion in front of the building: “Hey, do you think we are being raided?”

Now what would you say to something like that?

I looked over, said “Yes.” and kept walking.

They packed up and left that particular spot from in front of the building like they were shot out of a cannon.

The interview went well, I started up a relationship with a recruiter and have maintained it for the last couple years.  I walked into that interview amused and was wondering if I wasn’t overprepared.  They didn’t think so and laughed with me when I told that story.

Fast forward to yesterday.  I had an interview with a small company in downtown Fort Lauderdale.  I sat in their waiting room for about 15 minutes thinking of that story and wondering whether I was prepared and qualified.  I was.  I concluded that I was the outsider ready to make a good impression (I did) and that the existing staff were dressed comfortably.  I should relax.

Another person came walking in and sat down beginning to fill out the application that I had just finished and was dressed just as I was.  Him in his blue suit, me in my trusty old grey one.  We looked like high end security, but it was appropriate.

I guess who ever lands that job will get new chinos and a polo shirt and start work.   At least I still fit in my chinos… or at least I will when I lose another five pounds…

Death of a Roomba and my Dog – Picture

Yes, I have a roomba. 
Yes, it is dying. 
Yes, I am disappointed.
Yes, it is way too soon.

Ok, Enough Dr Seuss type prose!   I have had a Roomba for about a year, maybe more like 14 or 15 months.   As you can see my house has floors, not carpets.  I also have a dog.   If you look closely, you see a spot near her yellow toy.  That was a piece of fluff that was missed by the roomba that morning.   It never was all that efficient at keeping the house clean, more like a sweeper.  It worked, but it would have to be run daily.  Now that the batteries are dying on the thing, I’m thinking it gives me an excuse to get a real vacuum and stop using the “Toy” to clean up after the dog and myself.  

The biggest problem that I see with the Roomba was that it never was easy enough to clean.  Not the house, you just press a button and it would stumble around seemingly randomly and get the place clean enough to pass as long as the place was mopped.   The dog hair though would get caught up in the wheels and the works of the thing and jam up the machine.  Now, if you could unbolt parts and brush off the bearings and so forth, you could recover from the dirt and let it work more efficiently.   When you have to get out a screwdriver and a knife and cut the fur off the spindles and worry the dirt off the wheels, you know you have a major design flaw.

Would I recommend a Roomba?  Only very conditionally:

No furry pets – cats or dogs in the house mean this thing will die early.
Make sure you clean the filter at least weekly.  Soap and water works well, and I’m still on the original filter.
Inspect the machine frequently and make sure that all bearings and wheels move freely.
If the Roomba looks dirty, clean it.
Make sure that there are no wires or small objects on the floor that can get caught up in it.
Expect your dog to hate it.  Mine did until I trained her not to.
They are noisy, and they run for about a half hour at a shot.
No Carpets.  Anywhere.  Ever.
If you have a place that something can get under, it will and you’ll wonder where it went.

I wouldn’t get another, and luckily mine was very cheap.

Woot Off and Woot Review

Today is a Woot Off.   Woot is a website that is an obsession with some and used to be with me.   When the site started it was a deal a day.   When the deal sold off that was it until tomorrow.   Tomorrow was midnight Central time, or 1AM for us on the East Coast.
As the site got more popular they tried something really quite intriguing called a Bag Of Random Crap.   There was a picture of the item on the page, and in this case it was a generic brown paper bag with a big yellow question mark on it.  Back then when it showed nobody knew what it was and some tried for it since it was $1 for one, up to $3 for 3 and $5 for shipping.   Total of $8.   Not a lot of money for a gamble and these “bags” could be anything.  I’ve gotten a few and got some very nice things in it.   Keep in mind, there are thousands of people looking for this item alone since some have gotten a 62 inch flat screen TV  while others have gotten a Mr T Record.   I got the record and while its not “nice”, I have it hanging on the wall since I Pity The Foo who doesn’t like a Mr T Record.   Great conversation piece and the rest of the things that came in the Bag Of Crap were certainly worth it.  It has been copied elsewhere on other sites such as www.yugster.com.
The Woot Off will have a “thermometer” on the top right of the page showing the relative number left of this item, Yellow flashing lights and a rather amusing description.   When this hits zero, the item is sold out and they’ll bring another one up so hit F5 like everyone else and see what the next one is.
There are a few problems with www.Woot.com and their woot offs.   First is that the woot off is a victim of their own success.   I’ve gotten items from the woot off, and find a better deal is on their closeout site which I think is linked on there somehow or just click here.   The Woot Off is one of those things where they sell weird items and sometimes discount, sometimes not, but you have to ask do you really need a packet of 2 more LED flashlights, a USB powered rubber bladed fan, or a Plasma Ball even if it is 1.99 plus 5 shipping for example.

I just can’t see how anybody needs a “Shun Ken Onion 9 Piece Knife Block Set” for 519.99 plus 5 shipping!  In This Economy?   Are you crazy?  If you do, I’m sorry, but you need some “adversity” in your life!

Second is about the site in general.   Right about the time that I heard they changed hands and were bought out by a Big Grumpy Corporate Organization they changed their way of looking at things.  They’ve decided that since they are the Woot Gods, they have the option to have your sale not go through and when you ask them about it be rude.   Well they ARE from Texas.   That IS the state that gave us not one but two Bushes, and neither were any good at anything they did.   I swear there’s something in the water in Dallas because everyone was driving around like Stepford Wives acting stoned in their happy little world.  I mean a state that turned Ann Richards out of office for a Bush has to have a population with a relatively low average education level.
Texas aside, they decided the last Bag of Crap to dump a lot of people who actually got the product (it takes some luck and timing to beat everyone else out) and cancel the sale.  For the Bag of Random Crap before they shipped out 1500 identical Bags of Crap more or less to everyone that won, thereby killing the Random Crap name, of ugly pink bags, cheesy hand held games, and plastic army men as a joke and be sarcastic about it in later product postings and in their blog.
I’d say watch the site for the entertainment value.  I do and its in my tabs for the daily surf since the descriptions are amusing, but don’t depend on it for value, don’t be obsessed, and do live a normal life – away from www.woot.com if you need to. 

Now I’m going to go shower before the next item shows up!