April 2006


I am The Cyberwolfe and these are my ramblings. All original content is protected under a Creative Commons license - always ask first.
Creative Commons License

Archive for April, 2006

Rude surprise?

Posted in Life on April 30th, 2006

If you have come to this page using Internet Exploder, you have just seen what may be a taste of things to come: a big yellow banner across the top of the page urging you to try Firefox.

Why did I do this? Because I’m tired of surfing to sites and seeing things screwed up because the asshat who wrote the code optimized it for that sorry, hole-ridden piece of trash out of Redmond. Now, I can get a little back.

As a bonus, I actually get money if anyone actually does download and install Firefox with the Google Toolbar downloaded through my site. (You’ll also notice the Google ads off to your left.) Why the ads too? because there is a slim chance I might actually get something back from the small amount of space they take up, so why the heck not?

Of course, I have tuned the ads so that nothing from Redmond will ever show up over there :)


Posted in Life on April 27th, 2006

There’s only one thing worse than being given an un-paid day off because there’s crap for business and your boss is a fucktard who A.) won’t carry enough credit to float the biz during a slow time and B.) hires two new guys during the slowest time of the year:

Snapping wide awake at 8:30 thinking you’re late.

So, what does a disgruntled techie do on a day like this? He spends it looking for a new job, that’s what. Things have picked up a little lately, and I found several worth sending a resume off to. That all came later, though – you don’t want to jump into that sort of thing right off, do you? No, you want to start the day more gradually. Read Slashdot, get the daily comics out of the way, check the email accounts…
Read the rest of this entry »

Earth Day fun

Posted in Life on April 23rd, 2006

The EMC made a point of telling me there would be a kiddie activity area at an Earth Day celebration going on down at Sellwood Park Saturday, so I took the Pookster down there to see it. It was a beautiful day aside from a chilly breeze, and it was good for the both of us to get outside.

Sellwood Park is a good place to get away to on any sunny day, as they have a lot of open grassy areas and a good playground that’s shaded enough I don’t have to worry that the World’s Whitest Girl will burn her hide off. It’s not the most entertaining place on Earth Day, however.

Sure, the Pookster had a good time and they had a really interesting marching band leading a parade (think Hawthorne freaky kids with tri-tops and brass), but for me there were far too many dirt-lovers present. Now, I’m all for recycling and cleaning up after yourself, but for me, that includes taking a shower at least 4 days out of 5. You would think a group of people dedicated to cleaning up their environment would start at home, you know?

I also can’t understand how the idea of ‘casual clothing’ has somehow mutated into an excuse for a slovenly appearance – generally shapeless and baggy clothing that is so wrinkled it looks like it has been slept in for a number of days has somehow become the norm for the non-business set in a number of areas I am forced to be lately. (The parents at my daughter’s school seem to adhere to this recent trend. I always feel out-of-place because none of my clothes are wrinkled and they all match.)

One of the most disturbing things I saw was the number of younger people (under an estimated 25) sporting a noticeable gut. Not just the guys, but the girls too were wearing what I have heard called a “muffin top” where the belly kind of overflows the pants. Okay, I have a gut, but I’m 34 and don’t get enough exercise. These are people who ride bicycles and dance at drum circles for hours on end, and they’re sporting beer bellies? What the hell are they eating? It makes me wonder if being a vegetarian to them means they can eat nothing but french fries cooked in vegetable oil.

And they wonder why no one outside of Portland really takes them seriously.

Saturday musings

Posted in Life on April 23rd, 2006

I was looking around for something to write about, and ran across a meme over at Frizzen Sparks – “6 Weird Things About Me”. Huh. Not a bad idea…so what have I got?

1.) I was once offered a job as a sniper, back when Boznia-Herzogovina was the hot LZ. The job didn’t pay enough for the risks involved.

2.) I have a strange knack for walking up to the most broken-down computer in any room at random, and having it break in a new and unusual way when I touch it. Handy, considering my profession.

3.) I have a really high tolerance for pain and can absorb quite a bit of physical damage without being overly inconvenienced. Growing up in the woods with an older brother teaches you a few things.

4.) I rarely get sick, something that has seriously offended at least one of my old girlfriends, considering that I smoke, don’t get enough exercise and generally should take better care of myself. (She always had the sniffles, even though she led a very healthy lifestyle and I never even so much as sneezed in her presence.)

5.) Even though I have no real reason to be paranoid about being watched, I often will make a point of picking out the security cameras when entering a building, and then plotting ways in my head to get around them.

6.) I once got so into Fantasy books and role-playing games that I created an alternate symbology for the English alphabet and could read / write it fluently all through high school.

Okay, in the grand scheme of things, nothing really too weird in there after all. Shrug.

Review: Urban Shaman By C. E. Murphy

Posted in Reviews on April 18th, 2006

A couple weeks ago, I stopped by the library to pick up Tolerant and I was wandering through the shelves when she grabs a book at random and hands it to me. Right there on the cover is the usual plug, this time from Jim Butcher, author of the bestselling series The Dresden Files:

“A swift pace, a good mystery, a likeable protagonist, magic, danger – URBAN SHAMAN has them in spades.”

Okay, I’d never heard of Jim Butcher, but he writes a good plug. Two things kept the book in my hands: One, Tolerant had randomly grabbed a book with “shaman” in the title, and I have always given a little credence to the old idea of randomly flipping through pages in a book for answers to life’s harder questions. Kind of like an instant Tarot reading – go ahead, try it sometime. The second is that I was also in a *shrug* “Why not?” kind of mood.

The World’s Best Girl Friend proves her worth yet again, as she handed me a gem. Butcher was right, this is a really good book.

Our protagonist was born Siobhan Walkingstick, daughter of an Irish mother and Cherokee father, but she calls herself Joanne Walker. Really, who wants to go through high school with a first name no one can pronounce and a last name like Walkingstick? As a single, twenty-something Seattle Police motor-pool mechanic, life is fairly ordinary. All that changes, of course, when she spots a woman running for her life from what looks to be a pack of dogs staright into the path of a knife-weilding Bad Guy parked in a church lot.

From a landing plane.

From there, she gets tangled up in a series of murders, the Wild Hunt, and coming to grips with the idea that the world isn’t the same as it was last week. With the help of a 73-year-old intrepid cabby of unusual talents and Seattle’s only cross-dressing detective, she may just survive the week – if she can catch some sleep.

Okay, there are a couple things that really make you stretch your belief, but Murphy does it in a way that you don’t really notice it. Like any good mystery novel, it’s written from the protagonist’s POV, and Walker spends most of her time wondering “what the hell?” just as much as you do.

The most annoying cliche about the whole thing is that Walkingstick’s Totem appears to be Coyote. This has been a bit overdone in the genre, but I suppose it makes sense – who better to walk you through the process of having your world-view turned inside-out than the Trickster?

The second-most annoying part is that Murphy has Walker visualizing her early steps into shamanic power as working on a car – it makes sense to ground the young shaman into something she can understand and visualize, yes, but I get the feeling that Murphy doesn’t really understand cars very much. For instance, this gifted young mechanic drives a muscle car – a classic Mustang. Correct, I can see that. But it’s an automatic? No.

Yes, I’m picking at nits here. Deal with it.

Nevertheless, a darned good read indeed, and I’m looking forward to digging up anything else Murphy has written.

Oh, fuck, it’s a Monday

Posted in Life on April 10th, 2006

So here I am, all proud of myself for managing to not only drag my sorry ass out of bed, I even managed to get Pookie to school on time and even had a couple minutes to swing by the 7-11 and grab a morning gnosh on the way in.

I get to work about 5 minutes to 9, and the door is locked still – no surprise, Ed (the guy who nominally manages the westside shop) is rarely there before 8:58. Then our Accountant Lady (I like her, so she’ll remain nameless here lol) rolls up to open, saying she can’t reach Ed. No real shock again, since he took half of last week off for personal biz that seemed to be getting him nowhere except sunk in a vast see of lost paperwork.

5 minutes later, Bossman calls to say that Ed not only quit, he got the hell outta dodge and is halfway to Florida.

Now, I can’t say as I’m surprised that he quit, but I was a little taken aback by him leaving town so quickly. The last time I left town, I gave my boss a month’s notice. Then again, I liked my job and wasn’t working for a man I would call a tweaker if I didn’t know he was clean.

Well, not much I can do about it except motor on, eh? So that’s what I do. Bossman is going through Ed’s remaining bid paperwork and starts asking me questions about our build standards. They were in a bit of a flux as we are going over to SATA, so this was something we needed to work out.

Unfortunately, this is also where my boss’s tendency to be a fucking ferret kicked in. See, for every answer or opinion I had, the new guy had the exact opposite, and Bossman ignored every single thing I said for the entire conversation.

On top of that, the way the new guy was contadicting me just got all over my fucking nerves. I will be the first to admit that I am an opinionated, arrogant asshole, but I at least try to soften it up with humor as much as I can. This new guy is one of those quiet, retiring types who can fit “you’re completely wrong on so many levels” into the word “No.”

Now, I’m sure the new guy has some redeeming qualities somewhwere, and he does know his stuff, but I was on the brink of doing violence to this guy just because of the smug fucking look he was wearing.

I have got to get out of this shop.

Oh, lookee! Content!

Posted in Life on April 8th, 2006

Here’s a couple of quick reviews to keep a tiny bit of traffic coming here…

Ice Age II: The Meltdown

Being the father of a 6-yr-old girl means that I will eventually see every major animated feature produced. This weekend was no different, and I took the Pookster out to see the new Ice Age.

In general, not a bad flick, but better on DVD than in the theater. Pookie enjoyed it, but she didn’t talk about it much afterward, which is a sure clue it will fade pretty quickly. The plot seemed a little contrived, kinda like the producers sat down and said “Ok, we gotta do something for a follow-up to keep the parents spending money. Whatta we got? I know! We’ll do a riff on the Noah’s Ark thing!”

Yup – that’s right. The plot is to move the “herd” from one end of a valley to the other, where a large “boat” is waiting to save them from the melting ice floes.

The movie has it’s good parts. Unfortunately, they don’t really connect all that well. If it had been at a theater with more comfortable seating, I probably would have fallen asleep.

Knife of Dreams – Wheel of Time book 11 by Robert Jordan

I mentioned a while back that I was not going to buy the book, only get it from the library. Well, Ratboy decided to pick up a copy instead, so I read the thing last week.

This is definitley one of the better books in the series. The pace is solid all the way through, and I had a hard time putting it down. I was a bit annoyed at how small a part Rand has in this book, but all the time we spent with Mat made up for it. *shrug*

The best news is that there should only be one more book – at least, that’s the word on all the fan sites. Jordan used this book to tie up a large list of loose ends and set the final events in motion. By the end of the book, Egwene is fomenting rebellion in the White Tower itself, Lan is riding to the Blight with an army that Nynaeve put together for him, Perrin and Faile are re-united after having put the Shaido on the run again, and Mat is back with the Band. Where is Rand? Jumping around all over the place, of course, but mostly in the thick of it. And going madder by the minute.

Every now and again, it’s nice to have an insane protagonist. Sure keeps the bad guys jumpy.

Another week of stupidity

Posted in Geekery, Work on April 8th, 2006

Things I have said to my customers this week…

…”Well, the fact that your computer is located 6 inches from a forced-air heat vent probably has something to do with why it is shutting down.”

…”Sir, if your neighbors locked you out of their wireless network, there’s nothing I can do for you.”

…”You’re telling me the Phone Company tech put this phone line into your network jack?”

Sign on door: “No Solicitors, Politocal Pundits or Religious Fanatics Allowed” “Well, sir, I feel pretty strongly about data backups – I might qualify as a fanatic…”

Another productive weekend

Posted in Life on April 2nd, 2006

This time, it was time to get some work done on the car. Replace transmission pan gasket and filter: check. Re-weld broken muffler bracket so it won’t rattle: check. Replace rear brake drums, shoes and wheel cylenders: check, check and check.

Damn, but there are a lot of parts in a drum brake. If not for TWBG’s bro-in-law, it would have taken me all bleeding day for those alone, instead of just a couple hours for the whole job.

So, obligatory plug for services rendered: Get Bent! Muffler and Auto Repair. He’s located across the street from NWCA on Hwy 224 East of the 205. The number is in the Portland Yellow Pages. Tell him his computer guy sent you.