30 January 2008

Hypothetically speaking...

OK, suppose, just hypothetically, someone who, Idunno... Someone who lookes a lot like me, for example... suppose this someone did something, like, for example, accidentally overwrote... Idunno... Let's say, this person overwrote Cisco's website. Just hypothetically speaking, of course.

What would you say to this person? I mean like, what do you think she... hypothetically, let's supposed this person is a "she"... what should she do? I guess I.... er, she... could make a big batch of cookies and send them to John Chambers. (He's actually pretty nice.)

Any other thoughts about what this hypothetical person should do?

I mean, it could have happened to anyone, right? And it's not like they aren't using Micro$oft solutions internally, which is really what caused this whole mess to begin with.

Or would have, if this weren't hypothetical.

Yeah. Hypothetical.

29 January 2008

Yearly Policy Revision

OK, it's like this... For the past several years, each year (except the year before last, during which I faked my own death for tax purposes) I made a New Year's Resolution. This year, though, things are different. Before the beginning of the year, I joined the ranks of the cursed... the hated... the scourge of the planet... the ulcer on the butt cheek of humanity... You guessed it! Management.

So, on January 1, following the schedule I had already laid out in my Outlook calendar, I outlined a new Annual Vision Statement.

This year's vision statement: Make Them Pay.

I like to keep my vision statements simple. Anyone can make a resolution to lose weight or spend more time with family. One year, I made a resolution to do both. So I went on the Atkins diet. First, I lost 30 pounds in like a month. Then, due to my suddenly lowered immune system, I caught a nasty case of strep and had to get my tonsils removed, and spent a week at my grandmother's house recovering. I couldn't eat for two weeks, so I lost another ten pounds.

See... If an engineer makes a resolution (or vision statement), she'll find a way to keep it, even if it has multiple parts.

26 January 2008

As the world turns...

So I was thinking today about... You know how you'll be watching television or a movie or something, and the main characters will get into a spaceship, and fly to another planet, and find a native of that planet, and call the native an "alien"? Even on the best shows. I mean, the "aliens" are the ones who just arived in a spaceship, right? So, that got me thinking...

I thought back to my childhood, and remembered a Tang® commercial. In this commercial, two children are exploring a barren planet and are accosted by walking, talking flowers. One of them exclaims, "Those plants are alive!"

Now, I know that there are just sooooo many things one could find wrong with this whole commercial, but what sticks out to me is the "alive" part. It was frequent back then. Every sector of the entertainment industry referred to plants that were ambulatory as "alive". Even as a child, this bothered me. I knew that all plants were alive. Well, except for the dead ones. And the fake ones. And palm trees.

I figure that the problem is that back then the people who wrote screenplays, books and other readables had received a poor education when they were younger, especially in science. What really made this clear is the things my mother told me when I was younger. For example, she informed me, quite seriously, that if the sun was shining while it rained, that meant that the devil was beating his wife. I once pointed out to her that she didn't look like she was being beaten... I don't remember much after that.

What really tipped me off was the time my brother asked her about the position of the sun changing on a long road trip. She told us all about how the sun traveled around the earth and how at night the sun was under the earth.

Imagine my surprise when I asked a teacher about that, and found out that there seemed to be some disagreement on this issue. Apparently, my mother went to some school like Flat Earther Elementary. I can just imagine their theme song...

Oh, how we love you, F.E.E.,
Our fav'rite elementary,
You teach us how this big, flat Earth,
Is the center of the Univerth!

That would also explain why she has such a nasty lisp.

22 January 2008

From the mind of a custodian...

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the TAC
Not a PC was running, not even a MAC.

The rooms were all darkened, with locks on the doors,
No noises 'cept me, I was vacuuming floors.

The nerds were all home, asleep in their beds,
While Dungeons and Dragons they played in their heads.

And I in my uniform's comfortable shoes
was working so late, I was starting to snooze.

When out on the floor, there arose such a crash,
I thought it was Gladys, who empties the trash.

I looked out across the big empty room,
My eyes were adjusted to darkness and gloom.

The light from a printer that sat near the wall
Was shining on someone, a sickly green pall

The shape was revealed of an engineer girl,
Her flashlight was shining, her hair all a-twirl.

She carried a clipboard, some keys and pen,
Her movements were quick, her patience was thin.

I watched as she moved from one cube to another,
Smiling at computers, like she was their mother.

I quietly watched as she wrote down their names,
along with their hardware, their software and games.

Approaching her shyly, to soften our meeting,
I entered the lighting and uttered a greeting.

She jumped back and screamed and she gave such a start,
Then she took a few minutes and started her heart.

She gave me her name, and I gave her my own,
I asked what was she doing, up here all alone.

"It's a big inventory of everything here.
I'm trying to finish before the new year."

She showed me her paperwork, nearly all done,
The desk she was checking, her very last one.

I said that was nice, she could finish and leave,
But she said that she couldn't, and started to grieve.

It seems that her task was only half done,
Spending the holidays, working alone.

I held her and squeezed while she sobbed on my shoulder,
She cried like a child, though she looked rather older.

"I have to create an online database,
And fill it with stats from all over this place.

Then I have to create some HTML art,
And make it an interactive seating chart."

She spoke of the children who needed her home,
But she couldn't go to them until she was done.

"Well, this cannot be" I said, making a choice,
"Have no fear", then I used my best intercom voice.

"Come Hector, Come Herman, Come Eunice and Hazel,
Come Jeffrey and Mary and Gladys and Basil"

The cleaning staff came out from various places,
With worry and helpfullness filling their faces.

I told them of what we all needed to do,
So that this young lady would finally be through.

First Hector, a master of website design,
Who lost every thing in the year ninety-nine,

Would work on the seating chart's new interface,
And fit it to Herman's SQL database.

And Eunice, who in Greece ran her own ISP,
Would work on the spreadsheet with inventory.

And Hazel, a student attending night school,
Would parse all the data and make it all spool.

While Jeffrey and Mary, who had once worked at Google,
But had both been laid off when the market went frugal,

Looked over the data and then checked it for errors,
While I consoled Ashley, and calmed all her terrors.

While all the excitement was happening here,
Basil and Gladys got the pizza and beer.

In no time at all, just an hour or two,
We looked up from our work, our high-tech cleaning crew,

And we showed it to Ashley, who looked at the server,
At what for just one person would have taken forever,

Then slowly a smile crept onto her face,
Which after this night looked almost out of place.

She looked at the pages and let out a laugh,
When she spotted Hector's little, funny pie graph.

The data was good, and the scripts free of bugs,
And Ashley began giving all of us hugs.

Then she turned off the lights and she fed all the fishes,
And she gave each of us three Christmas-time wishes.

As she skipped out the doors singing "la la la" songs,
She waved once again, wishing us her so-longs.

And away she sped, filled with Christmas' meaning,
So I smiled and turned back to my vacuum and cleaning.

12 January 2008

Enlightenment Dawns

So, I figured out that the Buddha was a Druid.

No, hear me out!

He sits in front of a tree. He starts talking to the tree. Some time later, he arises, and has become enlightened. With me so far?

Now, I ask you, who else but a Druid would sit down and start conversing with a tree? More to the point, who else would gain enlightenment from it?

I'm not sure whether he was the first Druid, or Druids were derived from Buddhists, or maybe he was a Druid before becoming enlightened. But have you ever wondered what his religion was? I mean, he couldn't have been a Buddhist.

So, I'm like halfway to being the next Buddha. (Some Buddhist traditions hold that there will eventually be more Buddhas, those who become enlightened through means other than the teachings of the original Buddha.) I'm already enlightened. I just need to finish my Druid training and then find a sociable tree. Be prepared to see fattened statues of me in restaurants.

When they make a movie about me, I want the part of me to be played by Alizée.

10 January 2008

The Matrix Has Me

Now, normally, I don't do two posts in one night, but tonight is special. Also, I have no life.

First, I wanna give a shout out to my buddy, Scott. Scott has a blog, too, and I'm trying to get him more readers. You should check the blog out... It's even funnier than mine. Scott also does a comic strip.

Anyway, tonight, my Christmas present from my roommates arrived. It was actually my fault that it got here so late. Funny story.

So, anyway, my Christmas preset arrived. It's manufactured by Slappa, a company known for having a really weird name. The product here is the Velocity Matrix Laptop Backpack. My old backpack is really old and really cheap and is just something I picked up in Hungary when my previous backpack disintegrated through abuse. Slappa makes other types of laptop bags, too, but apparently my innate rebelliousness against my inner corporate drone is so strong that if I carry a standard laptop bag for more than two days I break out in hives.

Also, regular laptop bags don't work well with bicycling.

Anyway, so I checked out the niftiness of the backpack... This is by far the most awesomest-looking backpack I've ever seen. And it feels good, too. And it reminds me of those black suits in the circa 1984 version of Dune. The backpack is labeled as tearproof, punctureproof, and rainproof. We'll know soon enough. I'm not easy on my backpacks. I used to think that they should be able to take any abuse that I have to be able to take. Now, I've figured out that I can use them to shield me from said abuse. So they have to take even more.

So... The first test is one I've regretted not doing whenever I've had a laptop bag of any kind... I placed my laptop... my sweet, gentle, precious laptop... into the designated laptop section. I saw something I've never seen before: it fit! Don't get me wrong, my laptop isn't particularly large, but it's the biggest laptop I've had, and my smallest-ever laptop wouldn't fit in the laptop section of my last laptop bag. But this one fit. I was so happy I nearly cried. I gave my cat a big hug.

For which he bit me. Bastard!

Anyway, then I began transferring my belongings from the old backpack to the new backpack, a tradition as old as luggage technology itself. It took a while, not just because I have a buttload of crap in my old backpack, but because the new one has pockets. Many pockets. Of course, given time, I'll find that there are too few pockets, but since the pockets on my old backpack have long since ripped open and dumped their contents into the large, inner section, with my laptop, I could start organizing from scratch. teehee

The new pack was able to hold, without too much trouble, all the essentials a woman needs to take with her - my laptop, laptop power supply, the latest Harry Potter, a programming reference book, a USB card reader, my iPod, two iPod power supplies, my cell phone, the pager my manager wants me to keep on my belt, a blurred wallet-sized photo of someone I must have known, spare batteries for the camera I don't use anymore, my hamster, assorted flash memory, my Leatherman (the big kind), the power cable for my bluetooth headset I can't find (in case I find it), a bottle of nail polish, an unspent Starbucks gift card, a small flashlight, my handheld, a wireless network card for my handheld, a package of hemorrhoidal suppositories, the piece of paper that tells the security guards at work to let me take my own, personal laptop out of the building, the power supply for my handheld, a spare pair of panties, and the notebook containing the list of my enemies who will pay when I ascend the throne. I think my purse will fit in there, also. If not, I might consider phasing out my purse, because this backpack is just so gosh-darned cool.

You want help with what?!?!?

What an interesting evening it has been. I was at work, trying to clear the dust from the latest management shakeup, and one of the former (teehee) managers who's looking for another job came up to me and asked, "Can you help me with some penetration testing?"

Now, you would all be proud of me, because I was keeping a straight face and not bursting into laughter. It was taking all I had, but I was just managing to hold it in. Then, Mark, of "no nat" fame, turned around and said to me, "Did you just hear what I heard?"

That did it.

I was lying on the floor, unable to breathe through my laughter, while Mark continued a silly string of puns. I knew what Habeeb was talking about... Penetration testing is when you test the security of a firewall by trying to penetrate it with different types of unwanted traffic. But I couldn't tell that to Mark, because I was on the floor trying to breathe.

Eventually, I was able to think enough unhappy thoughts that I could function again. I thought I would be alright, so I went over to Habeeb and was going to talk briefly about the dangers of studying any form of hacking in a corporate environment. If you do anything questionable on a company's network, you stand a good chance of both losing your job and spending some time in prison. Companies are funny about that sort of thing. So I asked him, "What are you planning to penetrate?"

That's when I lost it again. And it's all Mark's fault!

06 January 2008

Divine Comedy

I ran across this passage, and thought I would share:

Isaiah 56:3-5
Let not the eunuch say, 'Behold, I am a dry tree.' For thus says YAHWEH: 'To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which shall not be cut off.'

Get it? Eunuch? Cut off? I don't know much about that Isaiah guy, but it's pretty obvious he was really funny. It's no wonder Christianity is so popular. I wonder if the other really popular religions are filled with this kind of cleverness.

I'll let you know what I find out. Next stop: Buddhism. The look on that guy's face, you know he had lots of good jokes.

03 January 2008

Propheteering Pussycat

So, I think my cat thinks he's Gautama Buddha.

No, hear me out!

First, my cat is fat. Now, I know what you're thinking... "But, Ashley, isn't there an ongoing weight problem amongst domesticated felines in the US, due to television, video games and junk food? Especially in cities like Houston?"

The answer is a resounding "Idunno." But that's not the point. This guy eats two tablespoons a day of diet cat food and still can't lose weight. Now, I know that not all Buddha images are tubby, but, really, his brain is only like the size of a grape.

Anyway... OK, so he's fat. Also, he spends a lot of time in meditation. Not like regular, catlike meditation, which generally consists of naps, but actual meditation where he stares at a fixed spot for like hours. It's almost spooky.

He won't take food from my hand, which kinda makes sense, in a misundertanding Buddhism sorta way. He won't eat people food at all. In fact, he refuses dog food, when we run out of cat food, choosing, instead, to fast.

He's a Siamese, which means that his breed started in Thailand (before it was called Thailand). For those of you who haven't been to the really cool parts of Asia, Thailand is the second most Buddhist place in the world. And because he's Thai, I gave him a Thai name. His actual name is the Thai phrase for "good luck". I call him "Lucky". Or, occasonally, "You Little Bastard!!!" But mostly, "Lucky".

So, even though I don't think he's the Buddha (I know enlightenment when I see it, and when I look at him, I don't see it), he definitely thinks so. So, just to be safe, every night, I rub his tummy for good luck.

Sometimes he bites me for it. Bastard.