June 2006


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Archive for June, 2006

Shit, I suppose I had better post something…

Posted in Life on June 26th, 2006

Can’t lose my whopping readership now, can I?

Hmm…let’s see….
It’s frelling hot out lately. You knew that.

Tolerant went out and got herself a new cell phone the other day – one of those new Moto SLVR phones (SiLVeR? SLiVeR? SLaVeR? Whatever). It’s really pretty cool – good camera, waaaay better voice quality over her last phone, and it just looks neat. The killer application as far as Tolerant is concerned, however, is the MP3 capability. The girl is quite hooked on the idea of having an hour or two’s worth of music in her pocket, rather than the little fanny-pack thing she used to carry her CD player in. Can’t say as I blame her, I love my Zen player too.

Work has been interesting lately – I’ve gotten to the point that I want more than just monitoring capability for the clients I deal with, I want remote control so I can spend less time on the road. Turns out that our monitoring software provider has some cool additional tools – that don’t work with the version of software we have. Of course. I’ve spent sevral hours over the last few days researching some alternatives, and I think I have a couple of contenders for a replacement. Both systems offer some really cool features, and one of them is a lot cheaper than it has any right to be.

And here’s where I run out of things to talk about again. Blame it on a sun-baked brain that can’t focus.

Always glad to help!

Posted in Life on June 22nd, 2006

I just love those talks you have with a teenager that start off all right, then trail off into a depressing slump for the teen in question. My work here is done! I’m beginning to think this is a lousy week.

Nothing huge is going wrong, it’s just little things here and there. I was watching “My Name Is Earl” earlier tonight, and started wondering if my own karma needs some attention. Well, I did give about 20 minutes of free advice to a non-profit today. I know, it’s not much to go on, but the guy is a priest…

For once the company gets it right

Posted in Life on June 16th, 2006

The last time there was a major HR-shakeup at a company I worked for, said company put a freeze on all wage increases (including cost-of-living) and hired a new Director of HR at some ridiculous 6-figure salary, paid to move him out to ‘Vegas, and then fired him a year later. Pissed off everyone in the company and caused a huge drop in morale. Had they taken all that money and just spread it around from the bottom up, it would have done the workers a world of good.

This time, my boss realized wew were getting dicked over by our HR outsource, and fired them. During the negotiations with our new provider, he managed to get enough of a discount that the company can pay for all of the employee’s health care, instead of just 75% like he was before, for the same price. Yeah, I could use a raise, but considering how much time I spend blinking my eyes into focus lately, I could use cheap healthcare too. I don’t have all the details yet, but I’m hoping vision is in there or at least real cheap.

In other news…there isn’t much. I finally got that bonus check I was promised, but it sucked. Whee. I’ll get excited when he ups the percentages so that bonuses hit triple-digits.

Color me un-surprised

Posted in Life on June 14th, 2006

From KATU News:

Porn download at state office puts taxpayers at risk

SALEM, Ore. – Electronic files containing personal data of up to 2,200 Oregon taxpayers may have been compromised by an ex-employee’s unauthorized use of a computer, the Oregon Department of Revenue said Tuesday.

Fucking ass-hatted morons. You’d think that a government employee would know better, but apparently not. Some dipshit was surfing porn on a government workstation when his computer was infected by a trojan.

I’m not surprised that it hapened, either. I see this kind of idiocy everyday from both sides of the fence. That’s right – not only is the surfer an idiot, but so is the sysadmin who trusted a government schmuck enough to not filter the internet connection. It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort or resources to implement a bit of ‘net-nannying, and any IT guy worth his root access should have been able to see the potential need: people do stupid things when they think nobody is watching. Sometimes they don’t care if people are watching or not.

I once spent 8 hours rebuilding three workstations because some idiot couldn’t keep his paws off the configurations of the computers in his department. He was putting windows 98 themes on XP machines, he invited tons of spam into the network, and infected one computer with at least 15 different viruses. His boss told him “if I ever see you on a computer in this shop again, you are fired.”

Two weeks later, the numbskull was checking his email at work. WHAM! Instant pink slip. Too bad I wasn’t there to see it.

I hate PC!

Posted in Life on June 12th, 2006

* “If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.” – Benjamin Franklin
* Comedian Billy Connolly, in one of his performance videos (Live 1994), called Politically Correct “the language of cowardice.”

And how cowardly it is. It drives me nuts anytime I run across some ass-hatted governmental decision to alter a phrase for fear that someone, somewhere, may eventually be offended. Some tidbits pulled from the Oregonian’s Living: The Edge section today:

Amherst Regional High School in Amherst, N.H., banned the word “freshman” as “oppressive” and “non-inclusive.”

Apparently “sophomore” and “sophomoric” are still ‘go’.

Police in Britain are being told to limit their use of wanted posters because the posters might violate the privacy of those wanted by police.

Uhm, I’m sorry, but piss off on this one. The only right to privacy a wanted person should have is when they’re in the shitter. Cuz really, nobody needs to see that.

In Australia, the federal attorney general’s office ruled that eyesight and medical tests required of flight crews and air traffic controllers could no longer be given because they violate the country’s anti-discrimination laws.

There are certain jobs in this world where I want a little discrimination. Requiring the guy guiding a jet to the runway to have vision correctable to something resembling 20/20 is a good thing. Sure, I can build a Braille interface for a radar screen, but the guy driving the fuel truck needs to see what he’s doing.

But it never ends. What did I find in my mailbox today? An offer from a cigarette company for a free little tin doohicky that looks like a modified Zippo lighter. It has a flip-top lid; inside is a space to mash out your smokes and next to that is an opening to stuff the butt in. Close the lid, no trash on the street. Cool, I thought, until I saw the name: a Portable Litter Device.

Fuck you, it’s a buttcan.

Hail the conquering hero…

Posted in Life on June 10th, 2006

New Electronic Control Module: $78
New Oxygen Sensor: $24
New Manifold Air Pressure Sensor: $34
New Plugs & Wires: $ 30

FINALLY being able to say I fixed the frelling Beastie? Priceless.

The plugs (Bosch Platinums with the crazy 4-electrode heads) are probably the easiest thing on the Beastie to change, as they are the only thing on the top-front of the motor. Plug wires, on the other hand, are a stone bitch.

My car has an electronic ignition system, which means the ignition coils (yes, that’s a plural) get an impulse directly off the crankshaft, which means they are located on the bottom-rear of the engine – right there with all the steel fuel lines, transmission linkage, trans dipstick, exhaust…you get the idea. Tons o’ shit that can’t be just pushed out of the way.

This also means to do the job, I have to lift the front end of the car about 17″ off the ground so I can get under the car to thread the wires the last few inches to the coils after I have fed the line down from the top. Days like today, I really miss that old Plymouth – sure it was a gas-sucking hog, but I never had to crawl under the damn thing to change a plug wire.

There was one “oh shit” moment when I first started her up – the #1 plug wire had popped off the coil – but thankfully I have the world’s smartest fingers and was able to weasel my way in from the top to snap it back on. After that, the Beastie purred like a kitten all the way up the freeway and back.

On the way home from the initial test drive, I started hearing a brass band playing. “Really, guys, I appreciate the sentiment, but I’m not that good of a mechanic…oh, wait. Portland in early June, traffic re-routed down a one-way street…this can only mean one thing: the Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade.”

Thus explaining the brass band. :)

Traffic is a little sticky on Grand, MLK and any adjoining streets this morning folks – take a different route.

Pardon me while I get a little windy

Posted in Life on June 4th, 2006

Grau asked, and the answer started getting long-winded, so I made a post.

When in need of a warm place to party the proper way to go about it is to dig a firepit the size of an open grave for a very fat man, insert half a cord of wood, and light ‘er up :)

All joking aside, it sounds like a good time. How much leeway do you guys have for campfires and the like. I’ve heard that a lot of SCA events are idiot proofed to the point of being ridiculous.

I replied to Grau via email and forgot one point, then elaborated on others:

Most SCA events are held at public parks / campgrounds, so we have to deal with Fire Marshals and State / Local ordinances, which usually boils down to above-ground fires only. (Parks Depts really bitch when they see you digging that grave-sized pit…) The SCA itself only has common-sense fire regs, as in if you have a fire, you should also have at hand two means with which to extinguish it. Considering our camp shower has a battery-powered pump, we have a small fire hose plus all our camp cookware to use as shovels :)

There have been a couple of late-summer events where the FM stated “no open flame” due to extreme fire danger, which can really get irritating for lighting issues. (We used to surround our main pavilion with tiki torches.) If it’s that hot we’re thankful for the cooler nights and don’t light a fire anyway.

Really. You think you get hot and sweaty running around in a Great Kilt? Try it from inside a pot-bellied stove made of plate armor!

We do have a decent foldable fire pit in my camp, but we also have as much other gear as we can stuff into our rigs already, so getting any wood to the event is sometimes an issue. Then there’s the whole Great Wet PNW factor that often causes problems. (We went to the tavern at 40-year because we couldn’t keep the wood dry enough at camp to burn reliably.)

In the past, we have found that the most reliable way to keep warm at night is t get a big party going under our main pavilion – 10 or 15 jovial adults produce enough body heat to make it comfy, and if you get enough booze flowing, you may just end up with a Gypsy Pig-Pile. It’s difficult to think about little things like the weather when you’re being nibbled on by half-naked Gypsies!