The Solicitor

Physically, he was unassuming. He wore a navy blue suit, with a starched white shirt and a fire-engine red tie. He was short enough that it would be easy to lose sight of him in a crowd. His skin looked like too-often bleached cotton, and his beak-like nose dominated his flat, pasty face. His lips looked like he was perpetually disapproving and his eyes glinted like polished onyx. The sheen on his forehead could just as easily have been from nervous sweat as from whatever pomade he had used to paste his thin, dull hair to his head.

As he shuffled into the room, one got the impression that he had spent many a day with his shoelaces tied together and his hands unable to get loose to untie them. He cleared his throat as he brought a briefcase up to rest on the table in front of him.

“Goodday. My name is Roland Jones and I am a solicitor.”

I had to strain to hear what he said because he spoke as if he had top-secret information and an unsecure room to share it in. He continued after a brief pause.

“I was hired by Brooks LLC to assist in the legal aspects of this transaction. I have been brought up to speed on all the history relating to each individual in this room and barring any last questions … , ” he looked pointedly around the room and continued, “… everyone here is able to sign on the dotted line today.”

There was silence as the room seemed to enter a kind of suspended animation; each of us eyeing the others waiting to see who would ask the one question we were all thinking.

Just as Noland Jones, solicitor, readied himself to speak again, a tentative female voice spoke up from the back of the room, “Where are we?”

Well, today is the last day …

That sounds ominous. I don’t mean it to be. I am not disappearing into the nether. I’m still here … will be here. Today, though, is a last in a couple different ways. It’s the second day of my last class at the University of Phoenix. In just under 5 weeks, I’ll be the proud holder of a Bachelors of Science in Intercultural Communication. Boom! And I know that some of you are wondering how on earth I ended up doing a non-tech degree instead of just continuing with my tech career. Here’s the thing though, and I knocked the socks off my BFF the other day with this: I ended up in tech by accident!!!

When we were finishing up my second year of 6th form (I can’t think of an equivalent in US parlance; think of it as basic entry-level University classes), my best friend at the time said to me “Bah! It’s easy to get into School of Law. Try getting into the Department of Computer Science! Now THAT one is hard!” I know – it sounds pretty stupid now when I say it, but for us it seemed easy to get into the Law Faculty at the University of the West Indies. In retrospect, and considering I failed to get in, the flaw in our reasoning is pretty obvious. Nevertheless, I took her on and submitted an application to the Department of Computer Studies at the then College of Arts, Science, and Technology (it’s now known as the University of Technology, Jamaica).

Turns out, that was a good move, because I had no backup plan for failing to get into Faculty of Law at UWI. And no amount of begging was able to get them to look past the abysmal failures that was my 6th form exam results. I was never a big studier – I was always the kind of person who either “got it” while doing it or writing it, or not at all. Even today – things mostly sail over my head unless I get a chance to write them down or do them. 6th form studies are just that … studying. There isn’t a lot of classroom work, and teachers expect you to do most of the work on your own. Having been spoon-fed all my school years, I was a complete and utter failure at the self-study deal. So … no University of the West Indies for me, but luckily the College of Arts, Science, and Technology accepted me without so much of a batted eye. And thus I entered the technology field. Luckily for me, not only was I pretty good at it, I actually enjoyed it too.

Anyway, to get back to the subject at hand – this is my last class. I haven’t checked in at all since yesterday except to beg for team favours. It’s pretty appalling how much I am slacking these last couple of classes. The University of Phoenix is … one of the most frustrating experiences I have ever had. I will have to talk about that in another post. Suffice it to say that … teamwork is not my strong suit when there are people who are dimwitted and lazy on the team. Call me callous if you want …

On top of that is it’s also the last day of the Mists of Pandaria expansion in World of Warcraft. Yes – I’ve been playing WoW again lately – a lot. Hubster and I had stopped for a while, and I had even managed to stay away from games almost altogether for a long time. Then the Hubster grabbed ahold of my heart strings and tugged. He said, “I miss WoW. I miss I miss us in WoW. It is where we met, after all.” And here we are, back in-game for yet another expansion. This time it’s the Warlord of Draenor. And if you aren’t in the WoW world, you probably don’t realise just how much of a HUGE deal this expansion is. I have heard a few people say that with WoD, we go back to when things were like vanilla WoW when people actually had things to do other than mash buttons mindlessly. That’s either a good or bad thing depending on where you’re standing. In my case, it means back to the basics of enjoying the game and to hell with the people who are racing to get to end-content on day 2.

I have some health issues that I am taking care of starting tomorrow too. So maybe I can see today as the last day on this side of the solution? /shrug Maybe. Suffice it to say, the next 2-5 weeks is going to be both hectic and surreal. 🙂 I can’t wait.

In any case, if I disappear off the grid again for a while, it’s not quite “business as usual” … I am just super preoccupied with school and WoW and (channeling Arnold Schwarzenegger) I will be back. Heh. 🙂

The Great Movie Trope adventure

My friend Annetta Ribken kindly (or maybe not so kindly) linked an article from io9.com for me today. I’m not sure whether Netta will remain a friend or not after this because I haven’t been able to leave tvtropes.org since. Thankfully, I managed to avoid clicking the link until I had finished at least one of my “must do” tasks for today (the other sits languishing in my to-do list, awaiting some semblance of self-discipline to show itself).

I had to write about this adventure down tvtropes.org-land because it validates some of the asinine mistakes that I have noticed in several films over the years. When I first clicked through from the io9.com link, I was taken directly to the “Artistic License” page (well, naturally since that is what the io9.com article was making reference to). It’s interesting to note that the first real “fact” that I picked up from this activity was that military uniforms aren’t wrong in films deliberately to escape punitive measures from the authorities. No; military uniforms are wrong in films because the writers or costumers just couldn’t be bothered to get it right (or maybe they truly, honestly, do not know it’s wrong). I know that is an imdb.com link, but to be honest, tvtropes.org only makes a superficial reference to the text in that link.

I clicked through a few of the other Artistic License pages just for fun and, among other things, found that the Mormons actually are not happy at all that one of the things they are most known for is polygamy. Which sort of makes good common sense – why would any religious group want to be known by something which is illegal in most (if not all) of the western world. Still, I find it odd that this is what they are known most for; when they first made landfall in Jamaica, there was a rumour going around that the church stipulated that no black people were going to be allowed in heaven and that only 122,000 people had places reserved for them in heaven. There was tons of backlash because it’s kind of silly to bring a denomination to a country where more than half the adherents are likely to be at a distinct disadvantage. Since I grew up with some common sense, I knew that particular rumour had to be skewed and that the truth was likely something entirely different. I mean really … it’s not possible that they would make a mistake like that – right?

But I digress …

One of the more interesting links took me into the Martial Arts page, and eventually on into the Jean Claude Van Damme page where it seems as if most of this heroic stunts are fairly realistic – well, except for that “spinning splits jumpkick”, of course… maybe. Still, it kind of made me giggly to note that his middle name is “Camille”…. ::snicker:: (Which is all sort of relevant since just this last weekend I was introduced to his epic split collaboration with Volvo Trucks #CannotWatchEnough)

Anyway, I started looking for that annoyingly stupid trope of the computer programmer; the one in particular that always gets me to gnash my teeth is Hugh Jackman in Swordfish. I mean, even if you might be inclined to believe being able to hack a high-security, 128-bit encrypted website in 60 seconds under rather questionable circumstances, you couldn’t possibly believe that any programmer with a brain programmes with a stream of “no, no, no, please, yes!” and “oh baby!” and “we are crusin’” and “yeah. ha ha ha ha” … because … no. No one writes code like that. Trust me. Programmers have been known to yell “Whoohoo!” when a particularly stubborn piece of code finally works, but that Hugh Jackman nonsense is all Hollywood, baby, as tvtropes.org says about Stanley Jobson in Swordfish, “Mostly amazing in his first demonstration: he is ordered to hack into the Department of Defense in 60 seconds while at gun point, and receiving oral sex. Amazingly, his typing in between buttons and in between rows means something to the computer he uses.” Yeah … no; not a chance.

There’s a lot of neat stuff to be learned on this site and as I mentioned in my Facebook post, it really can end up being a trip down the Rabbit Hole if you aren’t careful. Even if not, it most certainly is one huge time sink. So … yeah – make sure you’ve got a few hours to spend before you click through these links. I refuse to be responsible for anyone else missing deadlines tonight (or the rest of this week, for that matter).

 

The weekend plan that wasn’t

Well, Seattle was a bit of a bust this weekend. Aside from nearly being driven off the interstate a few times by stupid people (they are all around me, I swear!), the rain made driving this side of hellacious and the weekend ended with me fighting yet another cold. The one bright spot was socializing with my friend and her neighbours on Saturday afternoon.

Apparently, the guy who lives across the street from her makes beer as a hobby (they also drink a lot of it – no surprise there). He introduced me to one of the bitterest beers I have ever encountered. Well, that’s not really saying much because I don’t drink a lot of beer. All I know is Red Stripe and every beer out there must live up to that standard or I ain’t drinking it. Mostly, American beers make me want to just drink water instead – far more tasty. This beer was flavour-a-mighty. Even with the bitterness that makes you think you’d just sprayed your mouth with something nasty. The bitterness kind of grew on me and I realised that after the initial bitterness, the flavour kind of just settled in.

I had always thought that beer is supposed to be a melding of flavours, but apparently, bitterness is a key feature of beer. This explains why people think Heineken is better than Red Stripe because Heineken has a far more bitter taste. Despite what the truth of the matter is, I still think Red Stripe is a beautiful blend of all the flavours – at least when you get the one that isn’t watered down for exportation. In any case, Heineken and Red Stripe are lager beers. That sets them apart from the beer family automatically, apparently. I don’t know much about the subject, and I don’t much care to – I just found these little bits of information fascinating.

The biggest thing about this beer, though, wasn’t so much the taste as how it crept up on me and smacked me upside the head. Traditionally, I nurse my drinks especially if I think I might be drinking for a while. I know my limits and I try to stick within them. This means, an evening that looks like it’s going to last a few hours requires me to spread 2 to 3 drinks over the duration. In the long run, it didn’t matter because just at the point when the bartender usually asks if I want a refill, the beer slammed into me with a vengeance. One minute I was fine, the next minute I was tipsy. That has never happened to me before, at least not without some guzzling on my part.

I took my hint and stopped drinking immediately. If just one glass of beer spread out over the course of an hour or two could do that, then there was no telling what else would happen had I continued. The impromptu party was beginning to wind down anyway. Which reminds me – these people gather for impromptu parties all the time, my friend tells me. It’s like the neighbours look out their windows and see one family out and they all come out to chat. Something Americans probably find fascinating, but something that we Jamaicans are perfectly well aware of – aren’t we my fellow yaadies?

Well, it’s Monday and I’ve got a ton of work to get through today – so I’m off. Have a productive Monday all.

Of body jewellery

I got a new nose ring over the weekend. The old one had a gem and it looks like I lost part or all of the gem some where. It was beginning to look pretty crappy and hubby has even said to me on a couple of occasions to “please get a new nose ring” because “it looks pretty bad”. Normally hubby does not weigh in on my jewellery or otherwise in such a definitive way. So this weekend, as I went to gas up the SX4, I passed a tattoo parlour that I kind of liked the look of. It seems that the only place to get the kind of nose ring I want is to go to a piercing place because the ones I can get in the mall is just silly and flimsy.

Anyway, I walked in and he had exactly what I needed – which is to say a stainless steel, plain ball nose ring that can be bent to a customised shape. The catch? It’s a slightly higher gauge than the one I had before. As a result, I’ve had a pretty sore nose since Saturday morning. At first I thought the space between the top and the inside was too small because the ball was disappearing into the hole … but last night I realised that the same thing was happening with my old ring and decided to try the new one again this morning. Chances are, swelling was what was causing the ball to disappear.

Lo and behold! No disappearing ball this morning and less painful swelling. Hence … I have a new nose ring. Yay. It kinda looks like this:

This is how I know I am a huge nerd!

This conversation transpired between myself and a very good friend just now.

It’s weird enough that I had to sanitize and share it because … well … see for yourself:

(WARNING: extremely geek-oriented material ahead; typos are original to the IM conversation)

He: Your head is like a maze  😀
       its not the easiest place to navigate
Me: indeed
He: i tried that in 04-05
Me: i am still trying to chart the maps
        it not easy
        lot of compressed information up there – cluttering up otherwise roomy spaces
He: u sure there is space?
Me: like i said, everythign compressed – i ran out of space years ago – started compressing shit
        now that’s done, it still cluttered
He: mv *shit /dev/null
Me: don’t know where my “null” is. not in dev. been trying that for years … all that happen is my /dev folder full up of shit now too
He: …
Like I said … weird.

Geek humour from my friends. :D

This is classic! Just classic!!!

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Roses are #FF0000
violets are #0000FF
chown -R you ~/base
#geekhumour #unixhumour
/via @traceyctt cc @fyrfliless than a minute ago via Echofon

The great iMac hard drive adventure of 2010!

So I am sitting here, working on my iMac on the 25th of June. I had only JUST migrated all my work stuff back from the Macbook to the iMac since it is a much better machine to work on when I can. I was just getting back into the groove of working with a desktop instead of on a laptop perched on my knees. I was trying to figure out the best way to keep info sync’d between them both and was working on a plan when “poof” the iMac display just froze.

No application was responding, I couldn’t get the activity monitor open to see what was hogging resources, I couldn’t force quit anything … in fact, I could do absolutely nothing. Which reminded me of the early lockups I used to have when I first got the iMac … you remember those days, don’t you?

So, with a sigh, I turned the iMac off at the power button, waited a minute and fired it up again. While I waited, I booted my work stuff up on the Macbook to at least let my boss know I was not suddenly gone out of rudeness, but that I had a bonafide tech emergency on my hands. While I am typing to him, I hear the iMac making some funny sounds, and I turn to see this icon show up in the middle of the grey boot screen:

Flashing Question Mark courtesy of urbantornado.wordpress.com

Thanks for the image, UrbanTornado – hope you don’t mind that i borrowed it.

While my own monitor isn’t that large, the question sign in all it’s stark horror was just as memorable. Oh how I cried and gnashed my teeth. Then I thought of what my good friend DJ would have told me “load up your disk utilities from your install disk”.

That exercise told me what I already knew – hard drive, well and truly trashed. It gave me some hope by telling me that while the disk wasn’t repairable or recoverable, that a reinstall and restore would probably fix the problem

I was jubilant and proceeded to do as advised.

Ha! What a load of BS! The install stalled (heh) after about 2 minutes in to tell me that OS X could not be installed on the chosen volume because it was irreparable damaged. Ok, ok – so it didn’t quite put it that way, but that was the end result. My hard disk was well and truly DONE.

I panicked first … then while I sat looking at the iMac I had added to my shopping cart at store.apple.com and wondering how I was going to finance this purchase, the panic drained away and I remembered what else my friend DJ and I had been talking about quite recently – a hard drive replacement for the iMac. At the time, the idea was to get a bigger drive to facilitate not only my too-large photo collection, but to also be able to bootcamp with a sizeable enough partition to make Windows gaming a possibility.

So off to ifixit.com I went.

The idea was to find a 500GB or so drive. Well, fortunately or unfortunately, the smallest drive I could get for my iMac off ifixit.com was a 1TB.

Tears gone, panic departed, exuberance ensued … until I found out that it was going to take at BEST a week for this new drive to get to me.

To cut this already too-long story short, even when the drive arrived, I couldn’t put it in because I didn’t have the right tools. Apple uses some very odd screws to fasten their stuff in so I had to order those and wait another couple of days. Fortuitously, the tools arrived on Saturday and I was able to take apart my iMac, replace the hard drive, reinstall the OS and restore my stuff to just about the point at which I lost it on the 25th …

My iMac - gutted

It took me about an hour with the guide off ifixit.com – which was quite good considering it isn’t the correct guide for my model.

I even got it right the first time around. 🙂 Which is especially gratifying for me being that this is the first time I’ve been inside a machine with the intent to replace stuff in about … ooo – 4 years?

What’s even better is the fact that I am now bootcamp’d … with still too much space to fill on my OS X partition.

I am a happy camper again.

😀

What would make me happier still?

A new camera to take picts to fill that space up with.

😉

New toys? For me? I promise I won’t break them this time!

I had to find the exact quote and use it.

By far, XT-002 Deconstructor is possibly one of WoW’s most annoying boss fights ever (“NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!” in a high-pitched voiced, kiddie-tantrum fashion complete with pounding his fists into the floor) … but right here and right now, his first statement is so very apt.

I’ve got a couple new toys! I promise I won’t break them this time!

Well, one of them hasn’t arrived yet and I am going to have to wait until next week before I’ll see it. That would be the iPhone 4.  I tried pre-ordering for delivery, but it failed every time and I got impatient. Besides, I figure it’ll be nice to take a road trip down to Austin and pick it up … hopefully, I won’t get squashed in the store. Wish me luck?

In any case, I have abused my iPhone 3G pretty badly – moreso than any other phone I’ve had and I wonder what the deal is with that … how is it that the fanatically cautious fyrfli has been so careless? I tell myself I will be more careful this time and I probably will … the 3G has dropped far less in these last few months than it did in the first few months. That might have something to do with not putting it in my back pocket whilst I climb out of the Jeep anymore. 🙂

But today … WordPress 3.0 was unleashed. As of this writing, they number of downloads are still under 20,000 as per the download counter page.

I’ve had multiple requests to report whether there are any breaks and so I figured this was as good a time as any to post something and see whether anything has really broken. I guess we’ll see once I press the button.

So pretty … so shiny … *pets new WordPress install* …

On a serious note, the upgrade went flawlessly, I pushed the button in the admin panel and was done in minutes. Nothing was broken when I first reloaded the page, my theme has remained sound and all my plugins seem to still work well. So I am going to say that this has been a very successful upgrade.

I guess time will tell if those little tiny niggling things are still working too … you know, the ones that make you look back and say “I should have waited before I said I like it.” 😉

~~~

In other news, took a little trip out to the local lake here … got a couple picts … G said it doesn’t feel like my usual shots and she’s right … either I am rusty, or I just dislike Texas so much that it’s coming out in the pictures … or … maybe it’s time for me to try something else? You tell me …

Belton Lake Lookout tower

Sky Ducks