Friday, October 31, 2008

y2k, where art thou?

Almost 10 years ago, I was a consultant for a health care consulting company. This particular company was prettymuch feeding off the paranoia. I mean, what hospital would want machines double-injecting patients with morphine at midnight? Or not at all? What bank would want ATMs to stop working--or better yet, chucking out yuppie coupons like a drunk 50cent at da club? No one. No one in deed.

So many people at the church we were going to thought the world was going to end. That's the thing about Christians. Not only are we single-issue voters, but we're also looking for the doomsday in everything. y2k was the best thing to happen to churchgoers in ages--spread a bunch of fear that the end of the world was upon us.

As a computer guy, I knew it wasn't the case from the technological perspective. I mean, it wasn't going to be "Rise of the Machines" any more than it was going to be the end of electricity, but a lot of my friends got roped into it. But then again, how could you be exactly sure?

I digress. I'm kinda sad that I didn't party like it was 1999. I hadn't yet discovered the joy of the margarita, or the simple pleasure of a quality scotch.

But now I have.

A lot of people think this election cycle is going to be the next end of the world. I'm not exactly sure. Maybe soon I'll have a post on it. Hopefully soon, because it's in like 4 days or something.

I think I'm voting for Obama. While John McCain does have the oldness, I'm not exactly thrilled with the tone of his campaign. W campaigned on the "Compassionate Conservatism" theme; McCain is more of a "kill 'em all and let God sort them out--and oh, yeah, I'm pro-life" kind of guy.

Again with Christians and the single-issue voting. Yes, I know that a candidate's stance on this issue supposedly will color his decisions on everything; but seriously, what side of the fence does being Pro-Life put you on when it comes to welfare reform? Medicare/medicaid? 401K and IRA contribution limits? Tax abatements for businesses? Gun control? Illegal aliens and undocumented immigrants? Seriously.

According to Consumer Reports, I'll benefit more under Obama's tax plan, but McCain's health care plan works out better for me. Thanks for making it clear as mud. I'm sort of a pocketbook voter, like a lot of people. I look in there and see how full it is compared to this time 4 and 8 years ago. We're doing OK personally, but I see a lot of folks going jobless and the unemployment rate in Michigan is reaching 10%. Wow.

Anyway, it's time to flip off the puter and go watch The Office. I'm feeling old, tired, and maybe like I need another beer.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Too Early

Got paged this morning. Someone ran out of disk space. They're manipulating a 30GB database file; how can you run out of space on a VM with 300GB of space? Infuriating to say the least. I'm called out of bed for THIS?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My New Hobby

So, this past weekend, my father-in-law, a friend, and I went to my mom's house to get her appliances out so I could sell them for her. And a note about friends--you really know who your true friends are when they volunteer to move your mom's stuff.

Anyway, back to craigslist. I posted a fridge, dishwasher, range, and microwave around 11:30 or so, and by 1am I had offers coming out my ears. I talked to a few folks who wanted all items, and tonight at 9:00pm, I was watching these appliances get loaded into a trailer.


I just wish I had more cool stuff to sell.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Seriously, Guys

According to the "World's Smallest Political Quiz," I'm a Libertarian. I like to think of myself as a center-leaning Republican. My personal views are more socially moderate-to-liberal, with a more conservative stance on economic and fiscal issues. Which, I guess, is why I end up as Libertarian according to WSPQ.

I think government should stay out of my personal life and not waste my money. Whatever that makes me, that's it.

I've voted in three elections so far, and I've always voted Republican, because I was pretty sure that that party mostly reflected my personal ideology. So for those of you doing the math, I voted for Dole, W, and W. I used to think that I really believed a lot of those things, but now I'm not exactly sure.

I mean, Republicans have always been "shrink the government, tax cut" kind of people, right? Totally opposite of those "tax and spend" liberals, right? Christian conservatives, aka, "the moral majority" align themselves with the Republican party because of the litmus test issue of abortion?

At first I thought Palin was a good political strategy move for McCain. Fresh? Check. Young? Check. Kinda hot? Check. Washington outsider? Hold on.

So I stumbled across this article, "Palin demands $15m to search her own emails," on a tech blog, The article describes the political runaround that Palin is giving people who want to search her supposedly public emails. Alaska, like many states, stipulates that emails be public records. So, while Palin isn't saying that journalists and the like *can't* get her email, her accountants have said that it will cost approximately $960 per state employee to turn all email over. The real kicker? Nothing will be available until November 17--two weeks after the election.

Maverick, indeed.

Spooky Days

So ... Our kids are in a "spooky" phase. All of the programs they watch are starting to have some Halloween themes, and they want everything "spooky." Right now, Hudson is stomping around the house like Frankenstein, growling at Glory.

Last night, when Karen and I were at dinner, I decided that I needed to go find a big ol' roll of cobwebs and drape it throughout the house for the kids. Anyone know where I can get some?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Beer Tasting Thursday is here again

It's that time of the week. The time when, after the kids are asleep (usually around 9:00pm, no matter how early I start), I mosey on over to Allen's to try this week's beer. We take turns buying different brews, pour them into pilsner glasses, and toast another week almost being done.

A few hours after my day had bottomed out, I received this text:

> Got 5 different beers 2 try 2 night

Makes me smile, indeed.

On top of that, we're having a new couple over for dinner. I hear he's had another case of the Mondays. BTT might just need to start sooner.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Ultimate Margarita

Few things are better than a good margarita. Even fewer things are better than a great margarita. The foundation for any good margarita is in the flavor of a tequila. People constantly argue blanco versus añejo versus reposado). For my particular taste, I've found that I like blanco (silver) or reposado (rested) the best. Your mileage may vary.

However, much care needs to be taken as well to select the appropriate orange liquer. Using French orange liquers (such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau) is seen by some purists as diminishing the "authenticity" of the margarita (and even more forums will debate the true origin of the drink itself). I like the complexity of the Grand Marnier intermingled with the sweetness of the Cointreau. I think any margarita can benefit from a careful mixing of the orange liquers.

Traditional margarita recipes vary, but are usually a 3:2:1 or 3:1:1 of tequila, lime, and orange flavors. For most people, this results in a very strong margarita, which is why so many people get them frozen (yet another line of debate opens as to the "authenticity" of serving this drink frozen).

This recipe doesn't keep the traditional ratios intact. Instead, I use 4:3:2:1 for tequila, orange liquer, lime juice, and lemon liquer, and cut it with 3 parts of water and 2 parts sugar. If Mexican limes are used, you can lighten up on the sugar, since Mexican limes are sweeter than other limes.

Without further ado...

Aaron's Ultimate Margarita
16 oz ice cubes
8 oz silver tequila (100 Años Silver is what I use)
2 oz Grand Marnier orange liqueur
4 oz Cointreau orange liqueur
8 oz simple syrup (I make mine as 1:1 water/sugar)
2 oz water
2 oz Caravella Limoncello
4 oz fresh sqeezed lime juice (preferably from Mexican limes)
Pinch of salt

Combine in a pitcher. Garnish drinks with a lime wedge. This makes about half a pitcher, which is great for company.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Port 25 is for Sissies!

Interesting problem today. Bunch of users couldn't send mail to what seemed to be random domains. A little basic investigating showed that they were all hosted on a particular Network Solutions mail server. Seems as though NetSol had a series DoS attacks against them back in August and had blocked entire IP ranges. I could get to the NetSol server from some locations, but not others.

My first call to Network Solutions was fruitless. I spent a great deal of time explaining to the poor tech on the other end that I was not a NetSol customer but someone trying to email a NetSol customer. After great lengths, I was told to configure my Outlook client to use ports 110 and 2525 for communicating. Umm. No.

The second call was much better. I landed at a tech who understood what it meant when I said I could't telnet to this particular mailserver from my netblock. Ticket opened, but I'm sure it will be promptly dropped in the bit bucket.