Friday, March 31, 2006

Friday Etc.

This is something new I'm trying. Usually I have a specific topic when I post, but that means I don't get to post a lot of little random stuff. So on Fridays I'm going to start posting all the little things that go on during the week.

Today has been hectic because I'm trying to make sure I have everything ready for my trip. I don't know why I'm so worried, I don't leave until Sunday and I am meeting my co-worker at the office to go to the airport, so if I forget something today, I can get it then.

My grandmother forgot to tape 24 for me Monday night, so if anyone has it on tape, I'll pay for shipping and the tape. If anyone has it on Tivo and can transfer it to their computer and send it to me, I'll be really thankful and buy you a beer.

I played my grandfather's Fender Telecaster last night. Oh my, what a nice guitar. I'm not worthy of playing a guitar like that. Learning has been going very slow for me. Honestly I haven't had a lot of time to practice the last couple of weeks.

Ran across this the other day and have downloaded the first 6 lessons onto my iPod. I've always wanted to learn German, so I'm listening to them during my (shortened) commute. I guess if I'm going to learn German while I'm driving, I better learn to cuss in German soon. The most important phrase I've learned is "Ich möchte ein Bier, bitte." (Not sure if the umlaut will show up)

Developers are always saying they are "done" with a project when there are still hundreds of defects. Talking to a co-worker this week, I said "The code is complete, it's just in the wrong order."

CodeWolf, I saw your comment and I'm thinking about the article you sent. I'm working on a post for it, I'm just a little slow. Quick thoughts: I think in addition to strengthening our borders for security, we should streamline the immigration process so those who want to come here can do it legally and without jumping through hoops. But if you live here, you are an American. It's great to have pride in your homeland, but don't move here and then fly your former country's flag over your new country's flag. If you like it so much, go back.

I have a favor to ask of everyone. A friend of mine's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and she had surgery a few weeks ago. The doctors wanted her to have radiation therapy also and as of right now, she has decided to not have it. She is concerned about the effects and possibility of the radiation causing other cancers. The favor is to keep her in your prayers or thoughts and pray she makes the right decision.

My youngest son Z has his first baseball game of the season tonight, hopefully the rain will either move on through or wait until after the game. One of the Titans is supposed to throw out the opening pitch. I don't know which one. I'm picking up A and Z early today since I will have to take them home Saturday night instead of Sunday night. I've been trying to think of something fun to do this afternoon. Now that it is supposed to rain, I guess that means a movie or bowling.

I think that is all I have. Be looking next week for my posts from Orlando.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Commuting Bliss

All the new lanes are open on 65 North now. I just did my normal 35-40 minute commute in 22 minutes. What will I do with my 10 minutes extra a day?

Random Thoughts

What a beautiful day! I walked out this morning and there was just a little chill in the air, but the sun was shining and it was the perfect temperature. I love this time of year.

I also love all the expansion they have done on I-65. It is now 5 lanes both North and South and it has cut down on congestion immensely. Now that this 6 or 7 year project is done, I'm sure they will pick some other stretch of interstate that I drive on regularly to tear up.

I leave Sunday morning to go to Orlando for the developer conference. I am going to attempt to blog about the conference each day (it runs from Monday - Wednesday). I hope my non-technical readers don't get bored and unsubscribe, I don't have enough readers to lose any.

Movie recommendation: "Intacto", directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. It's a Spanish movie about people who are lucky (I mean, really lucky) and gamble in high stakes games with other "lucky" people. It's hard to describe. It's a very good movie and the cinematography was amazing. One scene where they are racing through a forest of large trees was just beautiful.

Listening: Psycho Monkey by Joe Satriani

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Another iTunes Meme

I'm going to have to come up w/ my own iTunes thing and see if I can get it to spread.

From Jane's Blog...
Go to your iTunes and fill out the first band that's in each letter, and don't be all like "mmm, I don't want people knowing I listen to them so I'll pick the coolest one".

A - Adam Sandler
B - B.B. King
C - Cake
D - The Damned
E - Eagles
F - Falco (yea, I'm embarrased by that one)
G - The Gap Band
H - Hall & Oates
I - Incubus
J - J. Geils Band
K - Kansas
L - L.T.D.
M - The Magic Numbers
N - Natalie Cole
O - The Offspring
P - Page & Plant
Q - Queen & David Bowie (you know the song Vanilla Ice didn't steal from)
R - R.E.M.
S - Safety Scissors (Sometimes the iTunes free download is free because the song sucks! WTF is this? And why haven't I deleted it?)
T - Talking Heads
U - U2
V - Van Halen
W - The Wallflowers
X - X (that's a tough one)
Y - Yarbrough & Peoples
Z - Zack Hexum

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Soup update

It's done, and it's pretty damn good. I'm not just saying that because I made it. Who needs tomatoes?


I'll be up front and say I am weird about tomatoes. I'll eat fresh tomatoes on a burger/chicken sandwich, but could live without them. I like spaghetti sauce, chili, salsa and other things made with tomato sauce as long as there are NO chunks. There is nothing worse than a cooked tomato (well, yes there is, but for the purposes of this post, work with me). I hate ketchup as mentioned in a previous post.

For dinner tonight, I'm making a cajun 15 bean soup. It's been in preparations for almost a whole day if you count soaking the beans overnight. I was just doing the final preparations, which is adding the sausage, onions and tomatoes. My grandmother told me to get the diced tomatoes and smoosh them up so there wouldn't be any chunks. I opened the can of tomatoes and took a look and decided "fuck it, the soup doesn't need tomatoes." I couldn't even smoosh the damn tomatoes because I didn't want to touch them. I have no problems touching dead animal flesh, but a simple vegetable (or is it a fruit?) freaks me out.

Oh well, let's see how this soup tastes without the tomatoes. It will be ready in about 20 minutes, so I'll find out. The recipe says it serves 14-16 people and I'm the only one here. I could invite all my readers and still have leftovers.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Great Goatee Growing of 2006

Thus ends the goatee experiment. I trimmed it way down last night and shaved it off completely this morning. It was irritating me. It's weird, I only had it for a few weeks, but this morning I barely recognized myself in the mirror.

You can no longer call me "spinach-chin".

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Customer Service

Bad Customer Service
I have a Zyxel wireless network card. Yes, it was the cheapest one they had at CompUSA, and you get what you pay for, but their customer service just plain sucks. I moved the network card to a different computer recently and when Windows prompted for the driver, I realized I had lost the CD that came with the card. So I hit their website to find the driver. Went to Support, Downloads, entered my model number and was presented with a list of files I could download. Sure enough, there was the driver. Click the link and receive an error that the file or directory doesn't exist. So I click on Contact us and send a message asking where I can find the driver. I got an automated response that my question would be forwarded to the correct person. That was 5 days ago and I've received no response at all.

I checked this morning and the link is still dead. I noticed that the link was just a plain ftp link, so I hit the top level directory of the ftp site and tried to see if maybe there was just a typo in the link. Nope, the directory for my model number doesn't exist. My model number is G-302, and there was a G-302_v2 directory, so I downloaded that driver. I haven't tested it yet, but even if it works, this is not how customer service is supposed to work.

Good Customer Service

I rented a U-Haul truck when I moved earlier this month. When I picked up the truck, I wrote down the mileage that was on the odometer and did the same when I returned it. When the charge went through my bank account, it was about $32 higher than it should have been. I pulled out the original agreement to get the phone number and noticed the starting mileage on there did not match what I had written down. It was about 50 miles lower than what I had written down. At $0.59 a mile, there was the extra $32. I called the local U-Haul number and told the guy what had happened. He didn't question me, he didn't make me explain numerous times, he didn't argue and say that I had signed the agreement with the mileage (they make you sign it before you get the truck, so how are you supposed to know how many miles are on it?). He simply apologized and said "I'm putting a $35 credit on your card, it may take 2 or 3 days before it goes through." U-Haul just got a repeat customer.

Monday, March 20, 2006

On a lighter note

Now that you sat through my mental regurgitation, you get to hear my completely stupid idea. I'm trying to learn to play guitar right now and pretty much suck. The other day, I learned "Anarchy in the U.K." by the Sex Pistols, all the Sex Pistols' stuff is pretty simple. Anyway, I only have an acoustic guitar, so it sounds pretty funny playing a punk anthem on an acoustic. I thought, wouldn't it be cool to have an acoustic Sex Pistols cover band? No, you say? My thoughts exactly.

Listening: Boys of Summer by The Ataris

Welcome to my Nightmare

I can't afford therapy, so my faithful readers will be forced to read my pathetic attempts at self-analysis. Exhibitionist therapy at its worst. I've been doing a lot of thinking lately and have figured out that I am one screwed up individual. I would say my biggest issue is communication of my thoughts and feelings. I can try to lay that off on the whole "I'm a guy, we're supposed to do that" thing, but seriously, I cannot, and I mean absolutely cannot, communicate my feelings using spoken words.

When someone hurts me or makes me mad, I just push it down inside. I've spent my entire life restraining my words because I didn't want to hurt other people's feelings. Well, most of those people never gave a fuck about my feelings, so why should I have been worrying about theirs? I recently sat through some therapy sessions for marriage counselling and I couldn't tell the therapist what I was thinking or what was bothering me. I finally tried at the last session but I wasn't able to express the emotion or power behind the feelings. I just spoke words. I could've been telling him how to get to the nearest McDonald's.

Someone recently told me I was hollow inside. That's a pretty damn good description. I love my two kids (A & Z) more than anything and I love my grandparents, who are pretty much the only family I have left. I seem incapable of maintaining a relationship with someone I'm not genetically linked to. I have very good friends, but as proved by my actions a couple of years ago, I can just stop contact at a moment's notice.

I'm sitting here going back and forth on whether to post this or just delete it. The old Jeff would say delete it. The new Jeff just said fuck it and hit Publish Post (after proof-reading of course, I'm not that screwed up).

Listening: Jungle Love by Morris Day & the Time, but if I had to tell you that, you suck.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Minimum Wage Redux

Back in 2004, I posted a letter I wrote to a journalist about minimum wage a while back. I never did receive a response from her, not that I expected one. Some of that material, or at least the general ideas may be recycled in this post.

Yesterday, I read an article in The City Paper about a bill being debated in the House that proposes a $1 hike in the state minimum wage. Articles like this always piss me off, because it makes me realize that our elected representatives are ignorant. Politicians don't give a damn what is right or logical, all they care about is doing the thing that gets them the most votes in the next election.

This article was no different from hundreds of other newspaper articles about minimum wage increases. The article split the politicians into their two camps and the Democrats are for the increase, of course. And the Republicans are against it, of course. Both of them for the wrong reasons, of course.

I will quote the article and add my thoughts…

Democrats think raising the minimum wage will help lower-income, under-skilled Tennesseans.

It will help lower-income, under-skilled Tennesseans temporarily. It will help them until the prices rise because of the increased cost brought about by the minimum wage increase.

Republicans think raising the minimum wage will actually hurt lower-income, under-skilled Tennesseans in the long run.

Actually, it hurts everyone in the long run, because it results in higher prices.

“This is just trying to help the little guy out a little bit,” Rep. Mike Turner (D-Old Hickory), the sponsor of the minimum wage increase, told the House Government Operations Committee.

I love quotes like this. How do you argue with the guy and not seem like a heartless bastard? He actually says nothing factual or logical, he's just trying to help the little guy out. What, are you against the little guy? This type of phrase ranks right up there with "It's for the children." Okay, back to the subject at hand; as I stated before, it won't help the little guy because prices will rise. Then the little guy is right back in the same boat as he's in now.

Republicans on the panel disagreed with Turner’s arguments that lower-skilled employees will benefit, saying raising the minimum wage actually hurts the “little guy.”

I have to admit, I got a little excited when I read this. I thought someone actually got it, but then I read the next paragraph and realized they are actually clueless.

Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet) said increasing the minimum wage would motivate more people to want to work because of the increased salary. As a result, competition for minimum wage jobs would increase and lower-skilled workers currently earning $5.15 an hour could be pushed out of jobs.

“It will attract people into the market who were previously happy and content to not have those jobs,” Lynn said. “These [lower-skilled people] simply won’t be hired.”

Ha! There are several idiotic statements here. 1) Motivating more people to want to work is a bad thing? Huh?

2) I don't believe that $1 an hour will actually result in a sudden rush of people trying to get jobs. These people that she seems to think are currently sitting on the couch watching Jerry Springer scoffing at $5.15 an hour while the rest of us toil away aren't going to say "Hey, now I can make $6.15 an hour at McDonald's. Screw this couch potato stuff, I'm going to work!"

3) Let me get this straight, there are apparently two groups out there, one is lower-skilled, but they currently have jobs and the other is slightly higher-skilled, but they don't currently have jobs. When the minimum wage goes up $1, these higher-skilled slackers are going to jump back in the workforce and steal jobs from the lower-skilled responsible workers. Right. If I'm hiring someone and I look at their application and see that Person A just dropped out of the workforce a year ago and hasn't done anything and Person B has been shoveling shit for the last 3 years for $5/hour, guess who I'm going to hire? I'm going for the guy who's going to work his butt off.

“This is a modest increase to help the [poorest] amongst us, like the good Lord said,” Turner testified to the Republicans.

Raising the minimum wage is just a temporary fix! Why can't these people understand that? It is a false economy.

Oh, and Turner better watch it, the DNC will be sending him a warning about the separation of church and state.

But Rep. David Davis (R-Johnson City) replied, quoting a Bible verse in support of his argument, and saying that the people Turner wants to help would actually be hurt “the most” with an increase.

I wish they had provided the verse. I'm curious, I've never come across mention of minimum wage in the Bible. He is correct about who would be hurt the most.

Turner said raising the minimum wage would not hurt businesses, adding that even if it did, government for years has been helping corporations through tax breaks and not doing enough to assist lower-income workers.

It won't hurt businesses, they will just pass the expense on to the consumer who, surprise, surprise, is the little guy who just got a $1 an hour raise.

And it's true that the gov't helps corporations through tax breaks. But the way to end state supported welfare is not to give more money to a different group! Cut the welfare out, period. I realize the state is not giving money directly to lower-income workers via the minimum wage, but it's still welfare. The gov't is just forcing businesses to pay an artificially higher wage. The government's job is to protect the rights of all its citizens. That does not include making sure they bring home a certain amount of money each week.

“The gap between the rich and the poor gets wider and wider each year,” Turner said. “All I’m trying to do is level the playing field.”

Keeping the playing field level actually precludes setting a minimum wage. That is rigging the game. By setting an artificial floor to the market, you raise production costs, which results in higher prices. The "rich" are able to absorb these higher prices, but it truly affects the poor.

Also, does he honestly believe that $1/hr ($40/week, $173/month, $2080/year) is going to make that gap any smaller?

House Republican Leader Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) told Turner that leveling that playing field regulates businesses.

I would be more supportive of Republicans when they say something like this if they didn't turn around and try to regulate my personal life.

Another bill being debated in the legislature would raise the minimum wage to $7.15 an hour.

How about $10.15 an hour? I propose we set the minimum wage at $50,000 per year. If raising it $1 an hour is going to help so much and have no harmful effects, why not?

Listening: Minimum Wage by They Might Be Giants (of course!)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Dancin' in the District is Dead

Just saw the article in the City Paper that Dancin' in the District has been cancelled for good. That really sucks. (I was going to provide a link, but their website is not responding at the moment, try and it should be at the top)

There is another article about minimum wage that I'm going to post on later today. I'm too busy to get sucked in to it right now.

Listening: No Attention by Soundgarden

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

March is flying by. I can't believe we're half way through the month. Deadlines are looming, and I'm starting to get uptight about my trip to Orlando at the beginning of April. I'm going to a developer conference down there and I'm excited about that. I don't get nervous about travelling itself, I just get nervous about preparing to go on a trip. I'm always worried I'm going to forget something. It's totally irrational, but I'll be a wreck the night before my trip.

Are any of my fellow coders going to the conference? Info is at DevConnections

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Indestructible Sandwich

My oldest son called me last night and told me that he had found a guitarist for his band. They have taken a vote and they are going to use my suggestion as their name. So be on the lookout in the next few years for Indestructible Sandwich. If my son's musical tastes are any indication, they will sound like the red-headed step child of Rush and Green Day

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Sorry for the confusion, H'ville means Hendersonville, TN to me. I didn't think of that other H'ville called Huntsville.

I moved to Hendersonville, TN so I'm still in the Nashville area.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Last Week and Looking Forward

Last week, I promised more information on what I was doing on Wednesday. If you look back at my blogging history, you realize this is not really a personal blog. I haven't really said much about my personal life on here. And don't worry, I don't plan on starting. Except for now.

Last week, I moved back to H'ville, which is where I'm originally from. My wife did not move with me. We lasted 1 year, 4 months. I'm now 0 for 2, and have benched myself.

Also, I am starting a web site centered around Agile Development. I've made some technical posts on here about continuous builds and development in general. I will be moving those types of posts to my new site. So this blog will be about current events, life in general and things that piss me off. My new site is It's not live yet, but you can leave your email address and I will notify you when it goes live.

We will resume our regularly scheduled programming next post.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


OK, so I'm a little late to the party. Todd Rundgren is one of those artists that I've heard on the radio and liked, but I've never really listened to him. Since today* is iTunes allowance day (why do I have to have 2 accounts to give myself an allowance? Apple, can you please tell me why?), I bought Something/Anything by Todd Rundgren. Wow! I've been missing this for all these years. Of course, I've heard "I Saw the Light" and "Hello It's Me" before, but hearing them in the context of the entire album makes them sound even better.

*Actually yesterday was allowance day but I was busy all day and didn't have time to do any music shopping. More on this later.