Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Cat Burglar Diet

Today, in an effort to stave off the encroaching holiday pounds, I started my new diet.

Actually, I had nothing to do with starting this diet. Or I guess I am responsible for it, but not directly.

Here's how it started:
I broke down last night and bought a frozen pizza at the grocery store, so I cooked it for lunch today. I put a couple of pieces on my plate and left the rest cooling on a cutting board on top of my stove while I ate in the living room.

When I went back to get another piece, I found one less than I thought I'd left, but... it has been known to happen that I get up to get food and then forget I'd done so. I got another piece, went back to the living room, and ate my slice while trying to figure out what the clunking sound in the hallway was. (Strange sounds in my house are always worth investigating because usually it means that either something is leaking, or the cats have gotten into something new.)

What I found was a piece of pizza in the hallway minus the cheese on the top. The clunking was coming from the crust hitting the hardwood floor as the Kittenhead chewed on it. Poor Ginger the fluffy dog was anxiously waiting in the background for her chance to get near it. (If anyone ever had any questions as to Ginger's status in the house, this should answer it.)

The food theft happened again this evening when I caught Crow the cat running back the hall with an artichoke ravioli.

So, yeah, at some point I need to figure out how to keep Crow off the stove. I'm thinking a Scat-mat is going to be her Christmas present this year.

But isn't it nice that my cats are teaming up to help me out?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Bags and Candles Night Again!

It was luminary night again in Ye Olde Woodland Downtowne Historicke Centre, and our street had the best turnout we've ever had.

(Night photography -- not really any easier than daytime photography. I give up.)

My neighbors ordered pizza, and my other neighbors brought over cookies, and I brought nothing, and we all stood on the front lawn eating and talking and feeling the temperature drop.

Later I walked around the 'hood with two of my neighbors. They know everybody, or at least they are two degrees of separation away from everybody we met. The reason for this is that they have children. If nobody had children we could all be like me and never interact with anybody, which is an excellent lifestyle (at least until the race dies out because nobody has children).

Anyhow, I started working from home last week, and let me tell you, commuting only one day a week is an 80% improvement over commuting five days a week. (Or maybe a 400% improvement, depending on what you put in the denominator. Clearly I haven't defined something.)

Right, well, I'm off to dream about the devil himself (cough, Microsoft, cough). Have a good week!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

So ornamental...

My friend Alan just posted this picture on Facebook:

[It reads: "Binary, red-black, fir, or B, this weight should balance any tree, And with this trinket comes for free, some really awful poetry!"]

(For the non-programming people: binary trees, red-black trees, and B-trees are all data structures that one can use to hold data. It's one of those things you learn in school and then get out into the real world and realize that all you need to know is that somebody smarter than you has spent a bunch of time writing a better algorithm than you will ever be able to come up with on your own, so you should really just use the standard library since it will be faster and have fewer bugs.)

As you can see, it's an amazing Christmas tree ornament shaped like a little weight, with some amazing poetry attached.

It's been over a decade since I made this and gave it to him, and I can honestly say that it remains the only computer-programmer-themed Christmas ornament I have ever seen. (I'm not saying that there aren't more out there, but I haven't seen them...)

See, I was all Christmas-y and stuff once in my life. So there.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

November is History

So here are the final NaNoWriMo 2013 totals:

Now I just have to edit the damn thing. I haven't read it over yet, but I know there are things that got dropped in the madness. There was at least one theme that was supposed to run throughout the novel that got forgotten around chapter 3. And I was walking the dog the other day when I realized that I'd forgotten about certain key elements in the last few chapters. In general, it's probably a pretty big mess as far as consistency goes, but I think I can fix all that pretty easily.

And now for the family reactions (during Thanksgiving):
  • My mom says she'll buy it if I put it on Amazon and it doesn't cost more than 99 cents.
  • Multiple family members asked me if there was sex in the novel. (Answer: no) Then they asked why anyone would want to read it. Really, guys, do you want to read a sex scene written by your sister? Wouldn't that be just the slightest bit awkward? (Answer: yes)
  • K-poo read my novel synopsis aloud, and then she and Jeff proceeded to make fun of one of the elements in it for the rest of the day. Then they claimed that it must be good if it inspires a parody. They're both off my Christmas card list.
 Anyhow, Thanksgiving was good. I ate too much. (Surprise!) Eric has a "minimalist" approach to his house, which means that he doesn't have any furniture in the dining room, and he has absolutely nothing hanging on his walls. He also lacks a gravy boat, gravy ladle, serving dishes, a second baking sheet, wood cutting board for rolling out dough, and bar stools. I only bring this up in case anyone needs ideas on what to get him for Christmas. Or, failing that, what to bring along for him to borrow if he gets conned into hosting next Thanksgiving as well.

Even though he has very little worth stealing (at least in the kitchen), his theft-deterrent system is excellent. In order to get in through his unlocked front door, you must repeatedly throw your whole weight against the door. (He, of course, only ever enters his house through the garage...) To say that it sticks would be an understatement.

And, just like last year, his next door neighbors put a bunch (6+) of really tacky blow-up Christmas lawn ornaments in front of their house, thus ensuring that no matter what Eric does the rest of the year, he'll never be that guy in his neighborhood.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


So I can't get the existing software to load in stupid Microsoft Visual Studio at work, but I can write at least 1,667 words per day which makes me a NaNoWriMo winner. I hit the magic 50,000 mark on Friday. I prefer to use this metric to bolster my self-esteem.

I still have two (or maybe three depending on how I break it up) chapters to go. I might even be able to finish them by the end of the month, which would be pretty awesome. Then at some point I need to go back through and edit it all, which will be decidedly less awesome. Oh well.

In other news, I continue to maintain that Microsoft is the devil.

One of fellow cubicle bullpen-ers was swapped out overnight last week. Nobody around him knew until after the fact, even the people he worked with. For all I know he just moved to a different office, but he may have been converted to soylent green instead. I can't prove it either way because I never did figure out what his name was. Now there's a different guy in that spot and his name only has four letters and I know what they are, so I'm down to only one person I don't know what to call and he's usually not there anyhow. He's a really nice guy, though.

I finally commandeered a second monitor at work, so now I can see as much on Windows as I can using one monitor on a real operating system where the icons and frames around the applications don't take up half of the screen. Again, Microsoft is the devil. The state of Washington is headed to the top of my list of places that can fall into the ocean during the next natural disaster, second only to Waltham, MA where I went to a conference two or three years in a row. (Louisiana would be on that list, but I think it already fell into the ocean a few natural disasters back, and the people there just haven't noticed yet.)

I would really like my job if I could actually get to the doing-my-job part at work and not the dealing-with-Microsoft part. Someday soon I hope to move on to the good part.

Right, well, I need to go put my main character in jeopardy again now. Enjoy your week and Happy Thanksgiving!