Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Obey Giant

Even in New Hampshire, Andre has a posse. I snapped this shot of the side of an abandoned light industrial building. The intertubes snake their way around the world and into the New England zeitgeist*. If this were a wider angle photo you might be surprised by the lack of snow.

*Sorry. I just wanted to be one of those guys who can casually toss a really pretentious word like "zeitgeist" into his blog once in awhile.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Melvin goes shopping

Melvin found an open shop on level 4, even though it's Christmas! They didn't have much, 2 lamps that when rubbed turned out to not be magic, and an extra food ration. The shop was a nice place to read a scroll (enchant weapon) and try on the dwarven cloak which turned out to be +1.

Now he's on dungeon level 6, as a level 6 Bachelor with armor class -1 and a +3 long sword. With only apples and carrots for sustanence, Melvin remains optimistic though a bit peckish.

Further updates as events warrant.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Melvin of the Apes


Well, you know how it is. Things get sorta hectic and there's work stuff and suddenly the tree crew is hauling huge oaks out of your backyard on this awesome tracked vehicle with an hydraulic claw, and the cat kinda freaks out and darts past the dishwasher repairman and hides under the car and by the time you've grabbed her and hauled her back inside it turns out to be just a switch next to the garbage disposal so you've still got time to decorate cookies and make it to the basketball game. Which is cool because you've done most of your shopping and wrapped stuff so you can leave it in the closet when you go to Southern Pines, where it will stay (in the closet I mean) until sometime in 2007 (see Casino Royale by the way) and you can make it back down and give it to your Dad so it can rain all the way back home like it did 3 or 4 times in a row until last time, when the weather was just a little bit nicer than it was for the flight to Boston which was actually very smooth, maybe because we approached Logan from the west instead of over Boston Harbor and it wasn't as turbulent so we actually made it to NH ahead of the presents which showed up the next day for the most part thanks to UPS who's logistics rock on toast.

I totally reamed out my laptop and put on a fresh windows install and an extra 256MB of memory, so it feels like a much faster machine now. If your windows install is more than 18 months old, I highly recommend it.

I'm playing Slash-EM (Super Lots of Added Stuff Hack - Enhanced Magic) this holiday season. Let me introduce you to Melvin. He's a Lawful Male Human Knight. He has a horse, but he's around a corner right now so we can't see him. Melvin is trying to recover the Amulet of Yendor (somewhere below level 25 of the dungeon). He's not the brightest guy in the world, but what he lacks in brains he makes up for in shortness.

Gotta go wrap presents soon. Melvin says "Hey."

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pumpkin Pi

There are no holidays that cannot be enhanced by math puns.

Friday, October 13, 2006

A Lot of Good Reasons

The Wife's out of town, time for steak, egg and cheese biscuits! Uh... maybe just one.

It's Friday the 13th, and that means good luck for Tom. I found a new Jimmy Buffett album in the bookstore this morning. My head has been buried in the sand of work and obligation for so long that I didn't even know one was coming out. I just popped in to get A Prairie Home Companion and there it was on the new releases shelf. As a bonus, there was a new Neil Gaiman collection as well. Barbeque for lunch and all is right with the world.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Nothin' But the Devil

Font smoothing is the root of all evil. I spent the bulk of yesterday tracking down a bug that had to do with black and white bitmaps of text not being black and white anymore due to "font smoothing". Font Smoothing. Like that's going to solve the world's problems.

Great Scott!

Where does it end?


This entry brought to you by Mr. Grumpy-Drawers.

The Paul Thorn rock out marathon is no longer counted in hours. It is now a state of being.

National Novel Writing Month starts in three weeks. I'm gonna finish this time, or at least eclipse my paltry 6500 word effort of last year. I'm thinking I'm busier this year, so I'll get more done.

Speaking of which...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Where was I ?

Current Desk Inventory:

Two monitors (one 20" LCD with dual inputs, and an old 17" CRT), three mice, three keyboards, three thermal printers, one ink jet printer, one LCD signature pad, one signature pad without display, one laptop, two Windows XP Pro PCs, one Debian Linux PC, a wireless router, a scanner, a seven format memory card reader, and two USB memory keys.

So Tom, tell us why you only had one blog entry in September. Huh? Why?

* * *

You know what I like about libraries and bookstores? They're full of possibilities. Stories, ideas, new technology, answers to questions great and small, are all laid out before you. Of course, it takes some commitment to follow through and read the book or try the idea or build the gadget. That commitment comes at the price of the exclusion of other wonderful possibilites. But while you're there, reading titles and scanning tables of contents, the world, everything in it and beyond, is in reach.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Sure Sign

So I'm wondering around the house, trying to figure out what a "Path Error (-4)" could really mean, since it's not in the documentation and seems to have nothing to do with paths, when I step into the bedroom and see a unicorn head peeking out at me from under the covers. Light headed and dizzy, I slump to the floor, wondering which of her many offers was the one I Couldn't Refuse but did anyway.

Was it when she cheerfully volunteered to work the gas and break pedals with her hands while I steered the car? How about the time she said she'd be happy to cook strawberry cake with tofu icing and cheese for dinner? "Lawd ham mercy" I thought to myself, "I'm toast if I don't figure out what I did or didn't do."

"How's Tom?"

"Oh Tom... won't see him no more."

In a cold sweat I rack my brains, wondering which slight sent her over the edge. Kindergarteners can be so touchy sometimes. Maybe it was because I wouldn't let her watch movies all night and eat blueberries and cupcakes until the sun came up.

I gathered up my courage, walked into her room, kissed the big pink plastic gem on her Disney Princess ring, and asked her what I had done to cause her such unhappiness, and how could I make amends. With a casual wave of her hand she replies, "Oh, Mommy and I were just playing 'Unicorn Vetrinarian'".

As Vito himself used to say, "Women and children can be careless, but not men."

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

That's all I know right now

Let's take a moment to talk about Personal Health and Beauty Product Packaging.

If you're like most people, and most people are, you're not exactly at your cognative peak when you stagger into your morning shower. I'm lucky to remember that cold water knob is on the left, and the hot on the right. At least I think so. Actually, I usually stand outside the shower and freeze until I get the temperature right. Once bitten, twice shy and all that. As further evidence of a depreciated mental state, I somehow think that this would be a good time to drag a pair of razor blades over my face and neck. When the bleeding is mostly staunched I'm faced with selecting each of the the pictured products and applying same to their associated body parts. Kind of like a multiple choice quiz, but with hygenic consequences.

Which brings me back to the packaging of these items. I realize that all of the marketing computers are telling these companies the same things about the size, shape, and color of package that appeals most to the discerning super market shopper. But for the love of Pete, could you please agree on a level of variation that will make it less likely for people like me to find out just what exactly 2.54 ounces of "Gillette(R) Series(tm) after shave gel sensative skin" tastes like?

I need a new toothbrush and a haircut.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Resurrection Day

Ahhh. My office is Carolina Blue. My whiteboards are up. All is right with the world. My new pack of disposable razors even claims to have a "Soft Ultragrip". I'm on the top of the heap, baby.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Ain't Livin' in Sin No More

Ever hear the phrase "Ugly as Homemade Sin"? Thanks to the fine professional gentlemen who have consented to paint our house in exchange for certain financial considerations, we are well on our way to asthetic normalcy. Yee-hah!

The living room and dining room are done. The other rooms are full of boxes covered in plastic, awaiting the return of a more palatable palatte. My office is still Navy Blue since they're saving the wallpapered rooms for last. It will be wonderful when the painting is finished and we can finally unpack. Mmmmm, domestic tranquility. Isn't there something in the Constitution about that? We need an ammendment regarding the colors tenants are and are not allowed to use in rented houses...

I thought the wife would be the one who was most aggrieved by our home's interior tragedy. Oddly, I'm the on who's most disturbed by it. But do I complain? Hell yes!

I'm holed up this weekend hosting a marathon programming party. I'm also the only guest. Still, it's nice to be able to cross off big chunks of my task list. PDF file generators fear me.

More next time I take a break. For now I'm back at it...

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Well, we're back. They painted the interior of the house, except where it needed it...

I think these tragic pictures speak for themselves.

We're settling in. The water heater blew up this morning, right after the toilet broke. They tell me the events were not related. I'm not so sure.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Things Left Undone

Paul Thorn Rock-Out Marathon hour 1295, and packing is nearly finished. Just the last minute sweeps of the rooms, pack up the computer, and stow the bed linens in the morning.

You'll have to use your imagination kiddies, the camera, card reader, and usb cables are all packed. Besides, one empty house looks pretty much like another. Right now an empty house looks pretty good.

Avast me hearties! Tomorrow we sail fer home!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

800 Pound Jesus

More like: "9,700 pounds? Jesus!"

Packing continues.

(Paul Thorn rock out marathon hour 997)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Every little bit hurts

Paul Thorn rock-out marathon hour 954.

There are few immutable rules in life. One of them is: If it stings Tom, it dies.

There was (note the clever foreshadowing provided by the past tense) a wasp nest in the car port last week. I didn't think much of it; live and let live. Until I was trying to get some boxes out of the back seat of the car, and a wasp flies down and bounces off my UNC hat...

"That was kinda wierd. (Gears slowly grinding into motion) They must not like me being so close to their nest in a bright orange Auburn TShirt. (Gears emmiting horrible screeching noise as they gain momentum) I'd better get these boxes out of the car (Gears spinning freely, finally up to speed) before, OWW!! That *%^&ing little son of a *%&#$ing &%^$ *#&^%#$er stung me!" And it hurt too. Not as bad as some stories would have you believe, but it's by no means pleasant.

It's also interesting to note that while it failed to penetrate my UNC hat, it had no trouble piercing my flesh through an Auburn shirt.

Heels: 1

Tigers/WarEagles/WhateverThey'reCallingThemselvesThisWeek: 0

So I popped out to the grocery store that night and invested in a can of pressurized and highly potent neurotoxins, developed by member of my species for the express purpose of eleminating members of his species. Heh. I got your food chain right here pal. Long story short: Who would you put your money on, the species that builds their houses out of paper, or the one that builds their houses out of concrete and steel?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Double Wide Paradise

Paul Thorn rock-out marathon hour 877.

I have lots of things to write about when I'm too busy to write about them. Thus, no entries for five weeks.

The beach was awesome, as usual. Communed with four of the five nephews. Hung out with siblings. Told bad jokes with my Dad. Took a stack of books that I didn't get to open. Got some kites in the air. Consumed much tasty comestabilia*. Ate NC Barbeque three times. Had taffy and orange sherbert on a porch swing with the spousal unit. Generally decompressed at a time when decompression was called for.

*You may know this as food. Hmm, maybe "comestabilia" should be food that you take home as a souvenir, like a doggie bag?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Everybody Looks Good at the Starting Line

Paul Thorn rock out marathon, hour 126 and counting...

I didn't notice until after I took this picture how similar Paul Thorn and Marshall Crenshaw are. By similar I mean they both wear hats. They're both modern analogs of Rock Icons (Elvis and Buddy Holly, respectively). And so far they've both failed to pierce the ear-wax and crushed-Pringle's crust of popular culture. So be it.

Rock lives.

Reason #31 to move back to Carrboro: Paul Thorn has played the Cat's Cradle each of the last two years, including last April, before I saw the light.

One of the cool things about programming is that I can listen to music while I do it. It keeps the distractable (touchy-feely, artsy, Dr. McCoy) side of my brain busy so the other (analytical, logical, Mr. Spock) side can get things done.

Back in the days when I actually played CDs, instead of ripping them to the computer and playing the file, I would measure time by how many I'd gone through while programming. I'd put a stack of a half-dozen or so at the left of my keyboard, pop the first one in the drive and start to work. When the stack was gone, it was time to eat. When I got back, I'd set up the stack again and when I'd played them all it was time to go home (or if we were in a crunch it was time to eat again, and after the third time through it was definately time to go home, because I was forgetting to deallocate my pointers.

I have very strong associations between certain times of my life and the albums I was listening to at the time. Waiting on the porch for the mail in Bluefield, listening to Havana Daydreaming, my first Jimmy Buffet album. Whenever I hear Barometer Soup I'm taken back to writing genetic algorithms for carpet layout software. Fingers Taylor's New Fingerprints always recalls my brief stint at the Village Companies. I could go on for another 30 or so records, but you get the idea...

Paul Thorn's Mission Temple Fireworks Stand is forever entwined in my mind with writing my first project for Roger, plumbing the mysteries of the gawd-awful DLL I have to use to communicate with the so-cool-it-makes-ice-cream check scanner, and counting off the days until we move back home.

Music and smells are powerful evokers of old times. Take a whiff of some newly opened Play Dough sometime, you'll know what I mean.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Downtown Babylon

Yes Virginia, music still lives. MTV didn't kill it. They just beat the crap out of it and hid it behind the bushes for 20 years. Then people like Paul Thorn picked it up, dusted it off, took it home and fed it lots of Wheaties.

You've gotta like a guy from Tupelo Mississippi (look it up kiddies) who lasted six rounds with Roberto Duran, talks like Forrest Gump, sings like a cross between Tom Waits and Kim Wilson, and dedicated a song to all the Moms who keep empty Cool Whip bowls in the cabinet for sending left over greens back home with their sons.

I'm not saying you'll like his music. People have different tastes. I'll just say this is the first time I've paid overnight shipping charges at for something that was for me.

Paul Thorn's website

His home page has a link to a two part mp3 of a solo acoustic performance. Some songs deal with concepts and vocabulary that are Definately Not Kid-Friendly. Some are likely not Spouse-Friendly either, but I'll leave that to your descretion.

"Are you with me?" is a polished, studio album, not bad, but "Mission Temple Fire Works Stand" is less processed, and better for it. Actually, the solo mp3 with just PT and his guitar and a microphone is probably the best of the three, because there's less to get in the way of the music.

If anyone needs me, I'll be rocking out.

Monday, May 29, 2006

I'm Comin' 'Lizabeth!

It started out fine. Backwards, but fine. My pride and joy was taking it's first steps across the living room rug. No Poppa was ever more proud. Until the back legs started rotating further to the side with each step, until they were swiveled ninety degrees from their starting orientation and the geometry couldn't take it anymore. Then it plopped over looking for all the world like a dying cockroach, legs frantically flailing about. Panic ensued. Somebody shot out the lights. Tactical operatives from the HomeOwner's Association crashed through the windows.

God awful mess; you should see my shoes...

Liiiife! I've created liiiiiiiife!!!

Well, if you define "life" as something that can walk. Kind of. At least backwards. Until it falls over and tries to shred itself. Who said eviloution was easy?

Periodic reminder: If you click most of the pictures, you can see a larger version.

Friday, May 26, 2006

What Brown has done for me

We're hoping for lots of tomatoes, lots of banana peppers, both hot and mild, and lots of watermelon. We already have lots of carrots, basil, and the oregano has gone, in teh vernacular, "hawg wild". Bartholomeu the Toad still reigns in the flower bed, often stationing himself under the marigolds.

Gardening is like sales, if you have to lay it on, lay it on thick.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

20 more reasons to head for the Hill

11) Desserts at NC Museum of Art cafe - Raleigh
12) NC Zoo - Asheboro
13) Woody Durham on the Radio instead of the internet
14) The Chapel Hill Public Library
15) Cerebral Hobbies game store
16) The Crab Cakes at Capt. John's
17) Living 3 Blocks from the Kindergarden, Elementary and Middle School
18) Visart Video
19) The Caio Bella at Amante Gourmet Pizza
20) Tracy, our Reliable Babysitter
21) I get to go to my Dentist again
22) The Ali Cat Toy Store has Tinker Toys
23) Spring
24) Fall
25) The Backyard Deck
26) Egg Rolls and Kung Pao Chicken at Hunam before Carolina games
27) Good Book Stores
28) Good Used Book Stores
29) The skylight in our kitchen
30) UNC Basketball (Roy's Boys will rawk!)

I made a culinary discovery of Epic Proportions the other day. Jerk Pork Burritos. I prepared Jerk Pork per The Barbeque! Bible by Steven Raichlin and of course we froze the leftovers. Later that week, an inspired coup saved me a trip to Bruno's. We had tortillas. We had rice. We had cheese. We had beans. Well fine, we could have regular burritos, or we could just go HOG WILD and eat JERK PORK BURRITOS!!! They were really, really good. Didn't even need salsa. heh.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

What can Brown do for you?

I have a new favorite gas: Nitrogen. It's the most plentiful element in the atmosphere (it blows oxygen away, 75.523% to 23.133%), they put it in potato chip bags to maintain freshness, and when bound up with other chemicals in solid form (as by cows eating grass and doing other things cows do), it makes the garden grow. Nice and green and leafy. When the blooms come in we'll be switching our emphasis to Phosphorous and Potassium, but for now hit me with the big "N".

Friday, April 28, 2006

Ten Good Reasons for Tom to Live in Chapel Hill

The rumors are true. We're moving back to Chapel Hill probably late this summer.


Here's a partial list of why:

1) It's closer to my Dad
2) Fitch Lumber Company for Hardware
3) Intrex Computers for parts
4) My daughter's old enough to enjoy the Morehead Planetarium
5) UNC Season Football Tickets
6) Occasional UNC Basketball Tickets
7) Pound cake from the Carrboro Farmer's Market
8) Other goodies from the Weaver Street Market
9) Allen & Son Barbeque
10) Summer Movies on the Lawn in front of the Lumina

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Mmmm Mmmmm Good!

There are very few human problems that can not be solved by the skillful and timely application of two hundred and forty pounds of manure. (You might want to cut and paste that somewhere for future reference. It comes in handy at the oddest times.)

The garden soil tested great for phosphorous and potassium, but was very low in nitrogen. I suppose the weeds/shrubs/trees I dug out took it all away. I find it strange that although the atmosphere is more than 75% nitrogen, I've still got to go buy some to put in my dirt. Yet another example of the Perversity of Nature. I spent over an hour mowing the lawn again (ie beating back that which nature wants to grow), and another hour or two digging and fertilizing the garden (ie forcing the growth of that which nature doesn't want to grow). I guess it's Human Nature to seek a challenge, and Nature's Nature to whack us on the head for it.

Further updates as warranted.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Road Trip

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this one comprises a near perfect essay of how I perceive South Carolina.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

My Cat Eats Science

So the Vet said that we should feed our cat "Science Diet" cat food. That's fine. I've got no problem with that. She eats it well enough, it doesn't smell bad, it's not too expensive. As cat foods go, it seems like a good one.

Then I start to wonder, "what kind of science am I giving her?" I'm all for science in general, but some sciences are better than others, at least in my opinion. The science she's eating is very crunchy, which leads me to believe she's getting at least some hard science, but she often wanders off by herself just after dinner, so maybe there isn't enough social science in the mix.

Now I'm starting to worry about the various implications of the hard sciences to which I'm exposing my pet. Too much Topology? Not enough combinatorics? It's hard to say, but she is very productive in the biochemistry department. Is she getting her proper allocation of the cognitive sciences? If she is I sure can't tell it. Her high energy physics might be a tad overdone, if anything.

It's such a mixed bag these days, and the product label is no help at all. I'd like to be sure she's getting enough evolution, but not so much that we have to redefine the nature of our relationship. Life is complicated enough already.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Wow. I haven't cracked a book in nearly a month. This is only my second blog entry for March. Robots and Eggs has even fallen from grace with the Egg Waxing Savage Monkeys who used to hang out here. Ok, I did do laundry once and mow the grass, now green thanks to days in the 70's and some rain. Where have I been and what have I been doing?

Generally I've been absorbed in writing software again. Something I have not done much of since last June, when my last big project wrapped up. I wanted write some more code before the seven month hiatus turned into a year and my brain got stale. So I'm writing a small utility for a Semi-Addictive Turn Based Online Game - Strategy that I've been playing, called UltraCorps instead of SATBOGS. SATBOGS? This is why I write code instead of wearing dark socks and doing marketing. The UltraCorps link is on the right.

Programming for me is like falling down a deep well full of Krispey Kremes, and eating my way to back to the top, only without the bloated feeling, listlessness, hyperactivity, and short term coma that come after. It's nice to have large blocks of uninterrupted time to get fully immersed in what you're doing (think about the doughnut analogy again), enjoy the process (warm with sprinkles) and really have accomplished something when you're done (yummm).

It's important to pick a project where you're not fully in charge of the requirements. If you define the problem yourself, there's the temptation to avoid things that are tedious, very complicated, or are otherwise unappealing. (Unlike doughnuts.) That takes away from the challenge, and you don't learn much by doing things you already understand. It's also nice to be in control of all phases of the project from start to finish.

First you pick a project, define generally what you want it to do, and set some vague goals for the other phases. Then you figure out how you're going to solve the main problems and model your solution. Next you write some code, refine your model, and if you're lucky expand your initial goals to include lots of cool things that didn't occur to you when the project was new. Then you refine the code, clean up the once-in-a-blue-moon bugs, and add all the stuff that seperates the good software from the marginally useful. Things like GUI usability testing, tool tips, elegant error handling, and open file formats can all help the software be more of a tool than an obstacle.

It's reassuring to know that I've still got it, and that I still like it. We're moving back to Chapel Hill in the fall, and I'll be fully participating in our economy once more.

I like my tools. My desk, my old swivel chair from the Mind Tools days, my 19" ViewSonic LCD, my big white board (another Mind Tools artifact) are all things I rely on without having to think about. Office supplies keep getting better. I especially like the low-oder, funky colored white board markers they sell now. It's popular to bash MS Windows, but my homemade PC with the skull-and-crossbones covered vent in the top has been up for (checks systeminfo) 18 days, 17 hours, 3 minutes, 8 seconds. I think that's the last time the power went out, and the UPS beeping was driving me nuts. The wired and wireless network works. I can use my handmedown laptop into the back yard for the 45 mins or so it takes to drain the battery. I can even plug it into the home theater amp reciever downstairs and blast Jimmy Buffett , A Prairie Home Companion , or just shuffle all of my ripped CDs (accessed through simple file sharing, no streaming required) and see what comes out.

Life is good.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Never Have So Many Given So Much...

... so that so few can have so little.

Dude, the grass is dead. It will come back when it's been warm for awhile and it rains a little bit. But for right now, it's dead. It will be green again. But it's not green now. Now it is dead.

Green = alive, Brown = dead.

What you have is brown grass, the dead kind.

Mowing it will not make it grow faster. Mowing is what cuts the top ends off of live grass and makes it dead grass. Your grass is already dead grass. All the way down to the ground. Dead.

Dead Grass + Lawn Mower = Dead Grass Clippings (NOT, I repeat, NOT, living grass).

I know you miss mowing your lawn. Everyone needs a passion in their life, but this is not the time for yours. This is the time for the grass to be brown (brown = dead, remember?) and for people to do other things. Things besides mowing dead grass.

Don't lose heart, for Spring will come again. Life will be renewed, and the roar of Briggs and Stratton will once more rumble 'cross these verdant plains of East-Central Alabama. Once more shall you cheerily trace your grid, decapitating any shoot so bold as to reach more than 1/16th of an inch above its neighbors.

Then, my brother, I shall rejoice with you. I shall drink deeply of Ice Tea and Lemonade, and from my reclining lawn chair heap praise upon your noble effort to sieze the rudder of nature's destiny, and, God-like, bend it to your will. In the glow of success, when missed spots have been pointed out and shorn, weeds eradicated, small engine maintenance tips exchanged, at the apex of your triumph, I might let you mow my grass too.

But not until it's green.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Mis Huevos Estan Lustrosos

As if being the top google site for "Savage Monkeys" wasn't enough, MSN has jumped on the bandwagon and proclaimed my not so humble blog as tops for "Waxing Eggs". I expect Microsoft is just jockeying for market share, but they're gonna have to come up with the big bucks just like everyone else.

Click here to see for yourself:

Friday, February 17, 2006

Fruit d'Loom Man

Men don't shop; we buy. We take all the time we could have wasted trying on clothes and comparing things and agonizing over brand labels, and we watch televised sports instead. Today is my triannual cotton undergarment replacement day. Thirty pairs of socks, thirty pairs of bloomers: 15 minutes - max. Actually, since each bag had a bonus pair, I wound up with 35 pair of briefs, instead of 30. See? I didn't "shop", but I saved 16.7% without trying. Had the self-service register taken Susan B. Anthony dollars it would have been the best trip ever.

Yeah, but jeeze-louise Tom, thirty pair of underwear, isn't that a bit, well... No, it's not, and I'll tell you why. On the long list of necessary but mundane things I don't like to think about, underwear ranks pretty near the top, above pencil sharpeners, but below lawn care (don't get me started). So, in an effort to streamline such things and free my mind for deeper and more rewarding pursuits, I adopted Tom's Monthly Laundry System. [Don't abbreviate that or the National Board of Realtors will swoop down and "Cease and Desist" your ears off, just after they try to convince you that their SUVs somehow get better mileage than everyone else's, Big Gold is still in fashion, and that "Perception is Reality"*, especially if you have a corner lot.]

It's all about effeciency and economy of scale. If you have thirty pairs of underwear, you only have to do laundry once a month. If you never turn your socks inside out, you never have to turn them rightside out. If all your socks match, you never have to sort them. Just reach into the drawer and grab two, any two, and you're set. Dress socks in a different drawer and only for dressy occasions please. Plus, if you do you shopping right before laundry day, just toss out the dirty whites, and you save at least one load of laundry every three years. Over the course of my adult life that's a savings of over 20 loads. Less wasted water, less detergent in our water system, and less electricity used. I expect Mother Nature to ring my doorbell any minute and give me a big ol' sloppy kiss. And I thought new socks were good for my self-esteem.

Life's a jungle. If you're going to get through it, you have to have a plan.

*This belief is at the foundation of why Realtors act they way they do. To quote J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, "Pull the Wool Over Your Own Eyes!"

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Twin Peaks of Kilimanjaro

Well, not really. It's carpeted and climate controlled, and there's only one of them, but when you're a strictly indoor kitty (due to feline leukemia), it'll do. I wanted to give the cat something to climb on that wasn't already covered in books, so I had to construct something new. She can sleep in the afternoon sun, watch the birds and squirrels, or snooze in her basket way up in Micheal Jordan territory.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The World's #1 Resource for Savage Monkeys

As of this writing, Yours Truly's blog, this very one you are reading now, is Google's top website for "savage monkeys". Selected by highly sophisticated algorithms from more than 1.3 Million lesser sites, Robots and Eggs stands alone as the primary electronic resource for savage monkeys and those who google them.

If that's not making your mark on the world, I don't know what is.

Try it for yourself!

In the Dark Everything Looks Clean

A man looks out of his window at the neighbor's driveway, across the street:

"Mable! Com'ere an' take look at this! That crazy neighbor of ours is out in his driveway, washin' his car!"

"Yeah, I cain't hardly see for all the fog, but I think that's his four year old spraying the hose all over creation."

"No, I think she's the one throwing the soapy sponges all over creation. It's her daddy that's got the hose, but he ain't spraying it, it's just rainin' harder now."

"Well, If he don't have the sense to come in out of the rain, I guess he's not smart enough to know you can't wash a car right if you can't see the dirt."

"Lord ham mercy, it makes me cold just to look at 'em out there. It's gotta be 45 dee-grees by now."

"Should we go see if they're all right? I mean, you know, why would anybody be out there in this weather, washing their car?"


Tom's house, 10 minutes earlier:

"Come on Daddy, it'll be fun! Or, I guess we could watch The Lion King again."

"Sigh... I'll get the hose."

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Game called on account of Giant Cat

The BattleBall finals were indefinately suspended today when a giant cat entered the field of play and fell asleep across the Iron Wolve's 20 yard line. Fans and players alike were more than disgruntled at the unscheduled break in hostilities. Unkthor (#24) , Heavy Tackle for the red-clad Black Harts, shown here in a futile attempt to pummel the offending feline [click picture to enlarge], was quoted as saying, "Unghh!". I think he speaks for all of us.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Real Fusion Cuisine

Microwaves? Feh. My oven has the most powerful heat source in the solar system. So powerful, in fact, that I can stand about 93,000,000 million miles away, and still cook lunch.

Granted, after four and a half hours the pasta was more like tapioca (195 degrees in the cooking jar), but the chicken came out nicely (189 degrees though, I expect the lower albedo of the tomato sauce accounts for the difference), even if the brown rice was slightly soggy. At least it's an uppper bound; which isn't bad for late January at 32.6 North Latitude. Next time I'll do a series of Pastas, removed at regular intervals until I find the al dente sweet spot. I expect the way to go is to start the sauce first, then add the plain pasta and water later, so they're both done at the same time.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Absolute Power corrupts absolutely?

We'll see. I finally made time to finish it.

The Heels won tonight.

I am a happy man.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

On becoming more powerful

A decent bench power supply runs well into 3 digits, but good ones are all over, hiding in old PCs. I've been trying for two weeks to find time to convert mine.
{I was going to post a link here, but the url is longer than a blogspot line, so it just barfs, which is no great loss because any website silly enough to use the *entire* title of an article as part of the URL deserves as few incoming links as they can get. Ruff.}
[Reminder-because-now-I'm-a-grownup-and-worry-about-other-people: PC Power Supplies are Plug-Into-The-Wall items, so don't open them up unless you *know* what you're doing, and then you still have to be careful. Discharge those caps. And for the love of Pete, don't plug it in while the case is open. Also, like anything that has "wiki" in it, you've got to take responsibility for the consequences of believing what it says.]

Wow. Does that last paragraph make me sound old or what? I guess survival is hereditary.

Due to this and that (mainly an obsession with UltraCorps - see "Playing" links, a new cat, and now a munchkin with a stay-at-home cold) I haven't gotten much further than popping the top and cutting lots of wires. And I need some new drillbits. But then, everyone who has used drillbits needs new ones, so I'm not complaining.

Sigh. I've still got to clean up so I can organize my robot spooge, and find those firk-ding-blasted drill bits.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

F is for Feline

We adopted a cat today, Gertrude, from the Humane Society. They listed her as an adult, but she's still got some kitten in her. She's fascinated with water, and almost jumped into a full bathtub earlier. She's settled in nicely for her first day, and seems to have decided that we're worthy subjects.

She's asleep on my lap as I write this. Maybe she'll allow me to stand when I'm finished. Then again, maybe I'll just sleep in my chair. There are few soporifics more potent than a sleeping lap cat.