Thursday, March 5, 2015

More Avengers

Along with the announcement of a marathon featuring the 11 Marvel movies, there's a new Avengers 2 trailer.

If this movie sucks - which is certainly possible - there will be a lot of pissed off people at the end of those 11 hours.

Writing Number Ten & Coming Alive

  • In a new interview, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich indicated states "We've got lots of songs, and we're honing them and tweaking them. It's pretty close." The article also states that they plan to debut some new tunes during their concerts in 2015. I'm okay with that idea as they can maybe sense how the crowd will react to what they've crafted so far.
  • Van Halen is preparing to release a new live CD called "Tokyo Dome Live In Concert" on March 31. It will have these songs:
    1. Unchained
    2. Runnin’ With The Devil
    3. She’s The Woman
    4. I’m The One
    5. Tattoo
    6. Everybody Wants Some!! 
    7. Somebody Get Me A Doctor
    8. China Town
    9. Hear About It Later
    10. (Oh) Pretty Woman
    11. Me & You (Drum Solo)
    12. You Really Got Me
    13. Dance The Night Away
    14. I’ll Wait
    15. Cradle Will Rock
    16. Hot For Teacher
    17. Women In Love
    18. Romeo Delight
    19. Mean Street
    20. Beautiful Girls
    21. Ice Cream Man
    22. Panama
    23. Eruption (Guitar Solo) 
    24. Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love
    25. Jump 

Would Any Person Really Say What This Fictional Man Said

I won't say that every story that gets posted on "The Onion" is funny to me. Sometimes, I think the writers are trying too hard and going for the obvious. Sometimes, though, I think they hit the mark with their wit, as they did in this story. Would any person really say what this fictional man said?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

1000 To Go

For this year's annual "Record Store Day" next month, Metallica is going to release their first demo "No Life Till Leather" on cassette.

Cassette? Really?

I'm wanting to convert the 1000ish cassettes I have to MP3 and they're going to release a cassette? Plus, why would I buy it on cassette when I can listen to it on youtube already?


The headline screams "West High's march for 4-peat reaches state quarterfinals" and does its part to erase any doubts I had about the boy's Iowa City West basketball team. Of course, it still irks me that there wasn't a pep band when Iowa City High came into the Iowa City West gym in February. Their victory was a crushing one (79-50) defeating Cedar Rapids Washington on their way to the state tournament in Des Moines.

It wasn't only the Iowa City male basketball team that did well last night. The U of I men traveled to Indiana and defeated the Hoosiers to collect their 20th win of the season.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I Thought She was Smart

It has now come to light that "Hillary Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record." That's the opening to this article. This is a whopper. Another article points out that she had registered a domain for her email prior to her Senate confirmation hearings. This came to light only when that domain was hacked.

I've described my viewing habits previously as when there's a commercial, I surf for something else. Thus, last night during commercials while primarily viewing Monday Night Raw, I landed on MSNBC where Lawrence O'Donnell was mystified as he couldn't even stretch his mind far enough left to justify this. I did hear one of his guests say that the only reason this was even discovered was because of the Benghazi investigation. You remember that "fake scandal" that ... yeah.

Time will tell what ends up happening with this.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Reason for the Opinion

When I get all excited about writing once and reusing many times, it is because of things like this:
Why 681 styles - is each unique? Why 207 list templates - is each unique? Why 588 Inline Shapes - is each unique?

I can't believe the answers to those simple questions are all "yes, they are unique." So, that means duplication. That means extra and redundant work. That means taking more time to do tasks inefficiently. That means waste.

That means I'm going to argue against copying / pasting text, graphics - ANYTHING - within a single document. If it has to be copied / pasted, it should be referenced.
I've often considered what I work on, when writing documentation, to be a type of programming. Would anyone that knows anything about programming believe that a programmer that copies and pastes their code in multiple places is working efficiently?

I would answer no.

Keystone Fallout


It's kind of getting ridiculous.

As Wrestlemania XXXI approaches, article after article essentially says the same thing: Sting needs to defeat HHH. And even in "global" articles about WM XXXI in general, the theme is the same: Sting needs to defeat HHH. And, finally, another article talks about the need for WWE Raw to discontinue the Authority angle, with HHH as the heel stable's mouthpiece, in order to allow the next generation of WWE performers a place in the spotlight that is not overshadowed by HHH.

The last article makes a lot of sense to me, despite its sloppy writing style, so much so that I consider it to be correct. With 4 more episodes of Monday Night Raw between now and WM XXXI, I think that the right decision is that Sting wins at WM XXXI. I will be very curious if Sting is given a mic (and how often) between now and WM XXXI as a way for him to present a compelling motivation for his past actions and why wrestling HHH is what he feels he must do. An ideal / dream team match on an episode of Monday Night Raw has to be Sting / Undertaker v. HHH / Bray Wyatt.

Embracing the Unknown

In celebration of today - I am breathing and able to intake nourishment - I'll pile on one more thing for me to do today - embrace the unknown. I am going to have an awesome day at work today.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Black Valentine

There's something interesting about this band's use of syncopation during "Masquerade" that is interesting to me. The song sounds like they are really advanced musicians. That is interesting to me because during the verses it almost sounds like they are holding back. The guitarist rips open his soul during the solo. The vocals are okay - nothing to challenge the great vocalists of the genre.

Drums Serbi Owned in 1997

WinHelp Revisited

I am going through a directory full of DOS batch files and deleting files that are no longer necessary.

I just came across one, with a modified date of 7/11/2004. Before pasting the contents of the file below, 2004 was perhaps the height of the time I have spent in my career with WinHelp. I became somewhat accustomed to the use of DOS batch files as a way to manipulate files and their location. When I found out that I could write a DOS batch file that would compile my 100 WinHelp files - instead of spending a lot of time - 100 projects x 5 minutes each = 500 minutes divided by 60 minutes in an hour would mean 8.33 hours required to compile my projects - a day at work. Thus, by writing a DOS batch file, I drastically cut down on the time that I needed to devote to that task.

At home, I was creating multiple WinHelp projects for my personal use. I was preoccupied with the WinHelp file format; I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen in my life. I had a lot of content to organize and the following files were how I did that. Unfortunately, I do not think I have a backup of these personal projects anymore - they were on a hard drive that I can no longer access. I spent many hours creating the following files:
  1. Glossary.hlp, for storing information about various people in my life.
  2. Career.hlp, for storing information about my career.
  3. Jokes.hlp, for storing various funny jokes and cartoons.
  4. 200 Days.hlp. The 200 Days journal series has 4 volumes. 
    1. Volume I - the 200 days prior to our wedding day on 8/7/93
    2. Volume II - the 200 days prior to our first wedding day on 8/7/94 
    3. Volume III - the 200 days prior to our first wedding day on 8/7/95
    4. Volume IV - the 200 days prior to our 20th wedding day on 8/7/13 (for the record, WinHelp was a dead technology before I reached my 20 year anniversary of being married)
  5. Music.hlp, for storing music reviews, concert reviews, and anything related to music.
  6. Essays.hlp, for storing any essays I was writing at the time.
  7. Songs.hlp, for storing the 18 volumes of songs and lyrics I had created in spiral notebooks and then transcribed.
  8. Email.hlp, for storing emails (which were new at the time) in a consolidated place.
  9. Wrkjrnl.hlp, for storing information related to my career, but specific to my employer(s) that were either current or recent.
  10. prhmusic_master.hlp. This was what was referred to as a "master" project. Its purpose was to maintain links to the other .hlp files. This was the file that was opened in order to view the other 9 files - I know I had a shortcut to it so I could access it quickly.

So here are the contents of the DOS batch file that I used to compile my personal projects.

cd C:\Progra~1\RoboHe~1\Compil~1\WinHelp\
hcrtf c:\prhmusic\glossary\glossary.hpj
hcrtf c:\prhmusic\career\career2.hpj
hcrtf c:\prhmusic\jokes\jokes.hpj
hcrtf c:\prhmusic\200_Days(all)\200days.hpj
hcrtf C:\Prhmusic\music\music.hpj
hcrtf c:\prhmusic\essays\essays.hpj
hcrtf C:\Prhmusic\songs\songs.hpj
hcrtf c:\prhmusic\email\email.hpj
hcrtf c:\prhmusic\master\prhmusic_master.hpj
hcrtf c:\prhmusic\career\wrkjrnl.hpj
REM | After compiling, copy the .hlp and .cnt to c:\prhmusic so it can be accessed.
copy c:\prhmusic\200_Days(all)\200days.hlp c:\prhmusic
copy c:\prhmusic\200_Days(all)\200days.cnt c:\prhmusic
copy c:\prhmusic\career\career2.hlp c:\prhmusic
copy c:\prhmusic\career\career2.cnt c:\prhmusic
copy c:\prhmusic\email\email.hlp c:\prhmusic
copy c:\prhmusic\email\email.cnt c:\prhmusic
copy c:\prhmusic\essays\essays.hlp c:\prhmusic
copy c:\prhmusic\essays\essays.cnt c:\prhmusic
copy c:\prhmusic\glossary\glossary.hlp c:\prhmusic
copy c:\prhmusic\glossary\glossary.cnt c:\prhmusic
copy c:\prhmusic\jokes\jokes.hlp c:\prhmusic
copy c:\prhmusic\jokes\jokes.cnt c:\prhmusic
copy c:\prhmusic\master\prhmusic_master.hlp c:\prhmusic
copy c:\prhmusic\master\prhmusic_master.cnt c:\prhmusic
copy c:\prhmusic\music\music.hlp c:\prhmusic
copy c:\prhmusic\music\music.cnt c:\prhmusic
copy c:\prhmusic\songs\songs.hlp c:\prhmusic
copy c:\prhmusic\songs\songs.cnt c:\prhmusic
copy c:\prhmusic\email\email.hlp c:\prhmusic
copy c:\prhmusic\email\email.cnt c:\prhmusic
copy c:\prhmusic\career\wrkjrnl.hlp c:\prhmusic
copy c:\prhmusic\career\wrkjrnl.cnt c:\prhmusic

Bands with History

The twists and turns of being in a multi-platinum band must be mind-numbing.
  • Consider Styx and the account of the band's meltdown that happened 32 years ago. While the band exists today, its classic lineup was in turmoil with the success of their awesome release "Kilroy was Here." It's a fascinating article.
  • Consider Pantera, which doesn't exist anymore, and the news that the grave of their guitarist Dimebag Darrell was desecrated. It's awful enough to know that you will never see the person in the grave again. To then go and vandalize a final resting place must be a thousand kicks to the gut. It sends a clear message that your pain is insignificant.

Reversal of Fortune

It's kind of funny. I was at a gas station after the men's Iowa basketball team was defeated by Northwestern. As I was checking out, I said something about the defeat. Maybe just to make conversation, the cashier chuckled and said, "Who would've guessed that at this point in the season that the 3 best basketball teams in Iowa would be Drake, ISU, and UNI?"

This morning, that cashier may be on a search for two basketball teams in Iowa to replace ISU and UNI. I didn't check what Drake's win-loss record is, but I can say that, last night, ISU lost by a point to Kansas State and UNI lost by 14 at Wichita State.

As for the Iowa men's basketball team, I feel like the team has been on a crazy and wild roller coaster ride. After that mind-numbing 32 point meltdown defeat against Wisconsin, the aforementioned crushing overtime loss to a Northwestern team that hadn't won a single game in 2015, and a 67-63 loss at Purdue, I was looking for answers. The answer has now come in the form of winning four consecutive Big Ten games. Yes, that means they scored more points last night, winning at cellar dweller PSU in an overtime victory. And so, the morning after, the positives pour down on this team. After all, stringing together four consecutive Big Ten victories is something an Iowa team hasn't done since the 2005-06 season.

I will buy into the good vibes. I think we're on the way to the NCAA tournament, not as a 'play-in' team, but as a full-fledged team. I will go on record and say that Adam Woodbury needs to have a better game than last night (2 points, 4 fouls) for this team to to deep into the tournament. I also will also go on record and say that IF
  1. Iowa wins their final two Big Ten games
  2. Iowa wins at least the first round of the Big Ten Tournament
I will pick them in my NCAA brackets.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sobering Thoughts

It was not all that long ago that I decided I didn't want to drink booze. I'm not the only one that has made this choice. Rock guitarist icon Jimmy Page was recently quoted as saying, "I had to stop drinking a few years ago - otherwise I wouldn't have been here now. That was an intelligent decision. ... I still might make a fool of myself!"

I won't say that I quit drinking because I was making a fool of myself. I quit drinking because I was an asshole.

I didn't like being an asshole.

I found myself here, in the den, writing a dissertation in my personal journal about the choice I made earlier this morning. I wrote several pages on my journey to a realization. It's a simple bottom line.

When I drank booze, I didn't like the father, husband, and son I became. 

I know I was an asshole to all around me when I drank. As I have worked on being the best version of who I am on this earth, I work on finding a way to forgive myself. While I have learned that no matter what I want to change, I don't own a time machine. Some things cannot be undone, no matter how hard the deed is unwished.

Unwished? Really. I have wished for a lot of things over my 45+ years on this earth. Some wishes have come true. I met and then convinced the love of my life to marry me. She agreed to build a family with me. I remember wishing for healthy and happy kids. That has come true as well. Attending concerts with each of my children - Megan and I seeing Bayside in concert twice and Alex and I seeing Skillet in concert thrice - are merely bonuses.

As I said, this is the abstract.

Today is an anniversary of being sober. While it's not the typical number that is routinely celebrated, I am pleased I chose to quit drinking booze 4 years, 1 month, 3 weeks, 6 days ago. Today is a good day to celebrate.

I am sober. Yay me.

Backups and the Need for Them

I want to be clear - I'm still happy at my employer. More about that in a few moments.

I'm quite certain I didn't know that the airplanes in our skies are controlled by 40 year old technology. This article begins with the story of an air traffic worker who wanted to create a disruption so he set a fire and cut cables, with the forethought that a backup system would then take over. The worker had been an employee for 8 years and didn't know that there wasn't a backup.

It's ironic that I read this article today because I learned yesterday that while I had assumed there was a backup for our documentation on our server, there was not. When the server crashed, there wasn't a backup. That sent my day into a wild roller coaster ride. My manager came to me and asked that I compare a list of graphics that my co-workers put together - one for each user guides we post on that server - with a list of graphics that were pulled from the server.

At that point in my day, I think I began working on what I consider to be a strong aspect of myself. I analyzed the two lists, weeded out the duplicates using Excel, got each list into a separate Word doc and used Word's compare functionality to tell me the differences. It was awesome and as close to working on a conversion as I've come in quite a while.

Just for reference, my love for working on conversions is well-documented on this blog. In the past, there's been conversions from OfficeVision to Word, from WinHelp to HTML, from Word to HTML, from CDs to MP3, and from cassettes to MP3. With each of these conversions, I conquer the tools that are available and that, perhaps more than actually writing content, is what I consider to be a character strength. That said, I realize I am a technical writer at my employer; it's never been only tools over the last 20 years and, frankly, I don't expect it ever will be. I'm just stating I love the times / eras in my career when my focus has been on converting the presentation of content from one format to another.

Back to the story, I worked from 7 - 3:30, which is when I went to pick up Alex from school. It's funny to me that I had insisted to Karen that I could pick him up. I had reasoned that I would be heading that direction anyways because I also was going to be going to the Coral Ridge Mall to pick up something after 3:45. It made perfect sense. And yet, as I blasted my way down I-80 to I-380 to head south to Iowa City West, I thought about how on a normal day, without the crisis at work, my insistence would have been no big deal at all. When I told my manager that I had to go pick up Alex, I was doing so at the same time that my co-worker in Texas was going to go pick up her son from school. I was waiting on a list of files from her anyways so it seemed like good timing. I could see something in my manager's eyes, though.

I got Alex picked up and the things at the Coral Ridge Mall picked up without issue. I was home by 4:30ish. We had planned to go to the Saint Thomas More fish fry and in the discussion with Karen about what time we were going to leave, the ultimate decision was to return to work. I was back at my desk ~5 and left the office ~10 PM. I worked 13.5 hours yesterday, but I think it was more than the Mountain Dews and Pepsis I consumed throughout the day that propelled me through the hours I worked.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

More Gigs equals More Delays

It seems as though Metallica really do enjoy playing live. They've just been booked to play at the Rock in Rio festival in Brazil in September.

More power to them. I would much rather see them play out, even if it isn't near me, because they owe me nothing. They are a band. How long it has taken to write the follow-up to "Death Magnetic" is irrelevant - whose schedule are they on?


Sure, I wanted them to tour the US and play in Moline, IL, or even Cedar Rapids, IA, or Des Moines, IA, but they're not. I don't believe whining about it will change their plans. As of this moment, when I'm initially posting this, these are the comments on the article above:

  • As usual, playing anywhere but the USA. They know where the true fans (and the $$$$$) are.
  • Metallica will play the US when their new album comes out.
  • They're playing at Rock In Rio in Las Vegas May 9th.
  • As usual, someone complaining about something that isn't true.
  • Number of Metallica shows on the USA in 2015 - 1
  • Number of Metallica shows anywhere in the world in 2015 - 11 and counting.
  • The amount of coin these guys rack in every show is unbelievable. Million dollars per show at minimum. Hence why a new album is not that important
  • Yep. So far they're a nostalgia act so there's no need for new material. These guys sell ou any place in the world where there is electricity xD
  • Says the band: "One Rock In Rio in a year is just not enough" What the band also says: "Taking 7 years to write new music/album is simply not enough"
  • vote for metallica super bowl 50. only need 300 more signatures.
  • What's the point? To play a song or two? They did the same for that Live Earth thing, no big deal.
  • Rock In Las Vegas? Umm...
  • So how's that new album coming along?
  • "We've got a boatload of riffs" -- and no time to record 'em!
  • "By now, we have at least 4000 riffs! And we're gonna take more time to string them all together and produce something that sounds wacky and all over the place. We're currently planning a show on the ISS, then the Moon! We're all about doing things no one's ever done before!"
    -End Lars babble
  • Bottom line: Metallica is not interested in writing new material. All they are interested now is selling out shows to play a watered-down version of enter sandman and master of puppets
  • how do they have time for that?? oh wait, that's their job.
  • The bigger question is, how do they have time to play gigs but not have any time at all to record new music?
  • SunglassicA
  •  Anywhere but the Studio Tour

Music from the North Pole

This is from the Fairbanks, Alaska, Craigslist page. It doesn't sound like these CDs are hot. Hee hee. That was a joke.

Also, because the following is quoted text, have removed all references to the personal pronoun "I" because it is not "I" that has these CDs for sale - it's the person in Fairbanks, Alaska. I actually received comments from when I have posted details of Craigslist ads in the past - in the vein of "do you still have these CDs for sale?" While it's awesome to have comments on these blog posts, it also indicates my message isn't clear enough.

Multiple cd's for sale (North Pole)

... selling from a large collection of cd's ... started almost 30 years ago. ... asking for $1-$7 dollars for each. The beauty of buying these is ONE) you can pay LESS than the same album on iTunes, TWO) you can resell these at the same or HIGHER price after you download them, and THREE) you always have a back-up should you ever lose the digital files. Message me if you are looking for something in particular. ... am paying off debt before mov[ing] out of here this summer...not just looking
to free myself of space (am holding on to the IMPORTANT ones in storage with my photos, artifacts, and other gear). ... have many different genre of music from Classical, Jazz, New Age, Rock (classic, punk, metal), Flamenco, easy listening (what is that anymore?), Celtic, Native American, Soundtracks, Rap/Hip Hop, Folk, Spanish Classical, etc. ... can bundle some of these as well for a reasonable deal.

Two for Three

All three men's basketball teams for the state universities - ISU, U of I, & UNI - were in action. Two of the three teams won.
  1. College basketball: No. 19 Baylor upsets No. 12 Iowa State 79-70
    Article in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald
  2. College basketball: White scores 29 points in Iowa's 68-60 win over Illinois
    Article in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald
  3. College basketball: No. 10 Northern Iowa beats Evansville 68-57
    Article in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald

Memphis in May 2015 Lineup

Get ready! The latest festival I'm not going to this year has announced their 2015 lineup!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Let the Hype Begin

As with all things in life, the upcoming Wrestlemania match between HHH and Sting have a long list of pros and cons. From my perspective, I only know about Sting because I watched Sting at the point in the nWo storyline when he began to appear in the rafters. I didn't watch the matches that are deemed 'classics' between Sting and Ric Flair or Sting and Vader. WCW wasn't on my radar. That's why I agree with the thesis of this article that implies HHH needs to gain an advantage, to have Sting on the ropes at least once, prior to their actual match. Makes sense to me.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


While I am not a president Obama fan, I don't blame him for vetoing the Keystone pipeline. After all, he did say that he would so, despite the republican party outrage about the veto, I think that if he would have signed the bill, there would be criticism of not following through with his words. He's really in a damned if I do or don't predicament.

I just saw this graphic on Facebook. I don't agree with the message, but I get why it came out so quickly after the veto.

Monday, February 23, 2015

No Scandals, No Mess

After reading about how there have been no scandals during the Obama administrations, one of my favorite movies, "My Cousin Vinny", came to mind. This 3 second snippet makes me laugh every time:

and it also made me think about James Jonah Jameson in "Spider-Man":

Type "Obama scandal" (with the quotes) into google and you get roughly 94,200 results. Apparently, there's even a user's guide for the scandals over the last 6 years: President Obamas scandals user handbook

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Apparently, three days ago, Bayside released this video! I know that "Cult" hasn't been out very long, but I realized I was starving for new Bayside tunes when I discovered this song had been released.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Top 10 The Big Bang Theory Running Gags

Something Different

At this moment in time, I am unsure whether I will see Godsmack in Moline, IL, on Tuesday, May 16, 2015. If I had to put percentages on it, I'd go with 40% likely / 60% unlikely. If I were to go, it wouldn't be the first tune I've seen them. I have seen them live:
  1. in Moline in 2004 as an opening act for Metallica
  2. in Moline in 2006 as a headliner with Breaking Benjamin and Hour Cast
  3. in Memphis at Memphis in May 2007 as a headliner on Saturday night
Of course, Alex really wants to go. The opening bands - Papa Roach & In This Moment - are bands I've seen live as well. For Papa Roach:
  1. in Memphis at Memphis in May 2004
  2. in Cedar Rapids in 2013 with Shine Down, Skillet, In This Moment, and We As Human
For newcomer In This Moment, it would be the second time seeing them.

My two all-time favorite Godsmack songs are "Something Different" and "ReAlign" live. I'm fairly confident they will play "Something Different" because it is a new song from their most recent release, "1000 HP", and it has already been included in their most recent setlist, per However, the news is not as good for "ReAlign" which seems to have fallen out of the rotation, also per

Here's "Something Different" live:

Here's "ReAlign" live:

Polka Metal and Eric Clapton

"I want to know what it sounds like if metal songs are played like polkas" said no heavy metal fan ever.
This was the first one I watched.

I've heard a polka version of "For Whom the Bell Tolls" but not "Sandman" so this was interesting.

Tackling one of Van Halen's classics was an interesting choice. Would have liked to hear the accordion version

How could they take on Ozzy Osbourne? Very interestingly.

Megadeth? Wow.

Another take on an Iron Maiden classic.

Eric Clapton may be considered by some to be "God" (referring to the "Clapton is God" signs I've seen), but if that's true, this would make him smile. I hope. I know the other videos on this page are metal and that Eric Clapton is not.

Flip Out

Obviously, Metallica's James Hetfield played this song on CMT and it was special. I can't help but think about if Metallica started playing this song in a concert. It has some Metallica-ish traits - the band dropping out and Hetfield slaying the riff - that it could easily fit into the setlist.

In other news, one of the primary criticisms of "St. Anger" was that there weren't any Kirk Hammett guitar solos. Some talented person has gone and remixed songs from that album and added guitar solos. Listen to this:

I actually read that some comments on that St. Anger is "total shit" whereas "Load" & "ReLoad" are good "rock" albums, but not "metal." What reality do they live in?!?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Finally Friday

I had my performance review at work today and it went really well. My manager and I talked about a lot of different subjects; the conversation was free-flowing. I look forward to years upon years of working with her. I am happy.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

More Speculation About Sting

While this article on Bleacher Report summarized the way the HHH & Sting confrontation could go down, this article discusses the entire PPV, including predictions for Wrestlemania on 3/29, which are as follows:
  1. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar vs. Daniel Bryan
  2. Sting vs. Triple H for the right to be the Chief Operating Officer of WWE
  3. Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt
  4. United States Champion Rusev vs. John Cena in a No DQ Match
  5. Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus
  6. Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton in a match that somehow involves Daily Show host John Stewart
  7. Divas Champion Nikki Bella vs. Paige in a Lumber Jill Match
  8. Tag Team Champions The Usos vs. The Ascension
  9. Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal


Hire an editor! Within the same email newsletter from Fox News, I found these:

Neat Trick

While I consider it likely that I will forget this post, I am still posting this neat trick for MS Word. On this date and at this time, I use MS Word 2013 at work.

No Apology

Cancer is a bitch.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Four Things at 30 Hop

  1. Johnny Cash sings a cover of Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" that I heard over the stereo system. I really liked.
  2. Vanessa, my co-worker from Austin, Texas, is in town this week. She mentioned that she has seen Clutch in concert 14 times and that she sang in a band that covered their tune "Cypress Cove," which sounds like this.
    • Here's a live version:
  3. I thought about Bayside today so I looked this up:
    • Then I wondered if there were any other live videos and came across this:
  4. This song was played over the 30 Hop speaker system as well:

Difference in Opinion

Some of these entries are beyond questionable. Neither lighting a drum kit on fire nor running from one drum kit to another - sorry Lars - are what I would call an "amazing drum stunt." The Tommy Lee kits are cool.

Color Me Surprised

As a follow up to what I wrote last week, per this article, "Garrett Hartwig is the varsity football coach at Iowa City West, plain and simple." There you go. Multiple people repeating the same thing does NOT mean it happens.

Imagine the Cost of Shipping

"Drum collection" isn't the first phrase that comes to mind when I think about Hawaii, but here's an awesome one. I cannot fathom what it would cost to ship these drums from HI to the mainland! Let's say I had a lot of money burning a hole in my pocket. To purchase all 4 drum sets would cost $6700. Add shipping on top of that.

hawaii > oahu > for sale > musical instruments - by owner
4 Ludwig vistalite drum & clear...A John Bonham amber 4 piece 2002 in excellent condition... all the other kits are 4 piece.... please serious inquires only..... the blue and clear drum sets are from the seventies and will definitely hold their value...yellow kit is a 2001.... these drums are made out of acrylic you can see through them and they still look cool on stage..... if they were cool enough for Led Zeppelin's John Bonham they must good.
I've reduced the price for all these drum sets. All Prices below are negotiable:
*Clear Set $1,000.00
**Blue Set $1,200.00
***Yellow Set $1,700.00
****Amber Set/John Bonham $2,800.00

I just hope they find a good home.

Message Rejected

Here's a perfect quote: "If there's one man who can speak to the dangers that come with battling Sting, it's the Nature Boy, Ric Flair." My thoughts exactly. It's from this article about the segment during which Ric Flair came out during Raw. His message and intent was to simply tell HHH to not take Sting lightly. As you may recall, Sting and HHH are to have a face-to-face meeting at the Fastlane PPV on Sunday.

Here's an article that draws a comparison between the role of Sting when he fought the nWO in the WCW days and how he could be resuming that role when he fights HHH and the Authority in WWE.

The video below is from last night's episode.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sixty-Four Percent & Where's the W

When I backed out the van from the garage this morning, Karen and I saw what looked like oil on the garage floor. I got to work at an amazingly early and awesome 6:30 AM and then, closer to 7:30 AM, I took the van over to Brian at North Dodge Tire. While I waited a few moments before riding back to work, I saw, on the front page of the Iowa City Press Citizen, only 64% of current season ticket football fans plan to renew and get season tickets for the the 2015-16 season. The article continued to entice current ticket holders to renew their season ticket order or become a new season ticket customer by Friday, Mar. 13 because, if they do, the price doesn't go up. Like last year, the price of a season ticket for me would cost $395 for the 2015 season. To entice fans to renew, there is this new incentive: $70 to spend at the concessions stands and 30 percent savings on a single pre-season visit to Herky's Locker Room, which is the official team store of the Iowa Hawkeyes. Here's the 2015 season: Of course, I'm not going to pay $790 for two season tickets. That's crazy!

Meanwhile, on the basketball court in Evanston, IL, the Northwestern Wildcats defeated the men's basketball team in overtime to snag their first team victory in 2015. Pathetic. I hope the team finds the ability to win their remaining games. One statistic that the newspaper pointed out was that Northwestern wasn't called for a foul in the last 15ish minutes of the game. Wow. That's pretty clean living!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

West Escaped with the Win

As a follow up to my post about the Iowa City West basketball team and their game against City High, I was close to being correct as
West escaped their game with a 3 point victory.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Friday, February 13, 2015

Toot Toot the Horn

Nancy posted to the Techwr-L about numbering in snippets not working as expected within RoboHelp 11.

I replied with the following:
I haven't used RoboHelp in several years so this isn't a response that will solve your question within RoboHelp. Rather this is a response to the idea of including numbering within a snippet.
In the recent past, I ran into a similar issue with Confluence and snippets.
I was seeing the same type of thing you describe, where every step is step 1. That's when I said to myself, "Stop including "the number" within the snippet!" That was when it dawned on me that if I considered "the number of the step" to be 'formatting' and to make my snippets only be content - not including "the number" within the snippet - I could use the content in any situation.
In Confluence, the Wiki markup would have looked like this:
# {include:_navigation_one}
# {include:_navigation_two}
Where the text in the _navigation_one snippet = Go to Path 1 > Path 2 & the text in the _navigation_two snippet = Click , I would see
1. Go to Path 1 > Path 2
2. Click [name_of_button].

Nancy wrote back:
Does your solution mean that I would need to make each individual step a separate snippet?

I wrote back:
If it makes sense for your content.
For me, it did make sense for the content I work with on a daily basis. Navigation paths seem to be everywhere. What I quickly learned was that I was going to have the same navigation path on multiple pages. I also wanted to build in the flexibility that if the menu option “Project Mgmt” is changed to “Project Management”, I would simply change one snippet. This type of approach doesn’t have to be limited to navigation steps. Other elements, such as screen shots, notes & warnings, can be stored as a snippet and referenced as well.
I didn’t always think about the content like this – I had to be burned to figure it out. At a different company, “someone” decided it would be a “great” idea to add a new “Management” top-level menu option to the UI and then to move former top-level menu options “Widget Management” & “Foo Management” under it. Each first step had to be changed in multiple procedures. Vividly, I remember how that simple UI change caused hours of work for me. That’s why, whenever it makes sense, I create snippets and refer to the snippet instead of (essentially) hard coding text that is going to need to be repeated on more than one page. It doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking – I’ve created bookmarks within a Word doc and referred to the same text instead of copying/pasting that paragraph in a different part of the document. I can’t change that episode in my career, but I don’t have to watch the rerun!
Here’s a real world example of where I would use a snippet. Look at this page: Search for “Important” and read the multiple variations of that text.
In the first paragraph: “It's important to know that if you don't remember your password Microsoft can’t retrieve your forgotten passwords.” There’s nothing about if the password is “lost”.
In the “Protect your Word document” section: “Important: Microsoft cannot retrieve lost or forgotten passwords, so keep a list of your passwords and corresponding file names in a safe place.”
In the “Protect your Excel worksheet” section: “Important Microsoft can’t retrieve lost or forgotten passwords, so keep a list of your passwords and corresponding file names in a safe place.” Notice there’s not a : after “Important” in this blurb.
In the “Protect your PowerPoint presentation” section: “Important Microsoft can’t retrieve lost or forgotten passwords, so keep a list of your passwords and corresponding file names in a safe place.” Notice there’s not a : after “Important” in this blurb.
The same concept explained 4 times on a single page. Not only that, but the concept is presented inconsistently. I would have created a single snippet for this concept and referred to it each time. If I decided there should be an icon instead of the word “Important”, I would have one change to make, not four. If a co-worker insisted upon changing “Microsoft can’t retrieve lost” to “Microsoft can’t retrieve your lost …”, the snippet is changed once; all 4 times are updated.
Again, all of this is applicable to the work I do on a daily basis and your mileage may vary.

Thursday, February 12, 2015



Maybe I should transfer to the California office of my employer, purchase the house next to Lars Ulrich, befriend him, and invite Metallica to play at a corporate party. Until that happens, here's a link to some footage of Metallica playing a surprise concert at Salesforce, which was arranged because guitarist Kirk Hammett lives next door to CEO Marc Benioff, as explained here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Not How I Feel

Twenty Years

I spent some time this AM reflecting on the ups and downs of my career earlier today? It's my 20 year anniversary of working as a technical writer. Twenty years ago today, I had an interview @ 8 AM at a company that does not exist by the name it had in 1995. By noon, I had signed my job offer letter. Starting salary? $18,000. Only 5 permanent employers over 20 years:
Job # 1 was 3 years
Job # 2 was 7 months, 2 weeks, 6 days - Left there after 3 years to go to a place that had $ issues and by 10/1/98,
Job # 3 was 12 years
Job # 4 was 6 months, 5 days
Job # 5 has been 3 years, 8 months, 1 week, 3 days

I hated Job #4. I don’t talk about it much even though I’ve bitched about that place elsewhere on this blog. My co-worker - the senior member who was a b*tch - made me write:

From File, select New....

Why? The menu option under the File menu was, yep, "New..." and the doc had to match the UI exactly. When I asked her whether to use one or two spaces after a period, she said to me, "Use one unless it looks funny; then use two."

She also thought that it was better to manually type the TOC for a 150ish page user guide and print it out iteratively as changes were made. When I suggested implementing styles into the tool we used (her choice was InDesign, probably because she came from the Marketing dept years before I arrived.), she declared that it looked too complicated. InDesign was not even close to being used "properly" - it was essentially a Word doc in Normal style with manual formatting applied. There was nothing that was being done in those awful docs that couldn't have been done better (and faster) in Word.

I am happy where I work; I look forward to a long career here.

My Monday

This post describes what I did last night in chronological order.
  1. Because Megan and I went to the concert Sunday night - Bush, Theory of a Deadman, and a third band called Stars in Stereo (who weren't advertised to appear - I didn't watch the new episode of "The Walking Dead" until last night. WOW!! That show is gruesome! I sat down to watch it last night while Alex did homework downstairs. There's a recap in this article that summarizes it while this article is an interview with the Andrew Lincoln, the actor who plays "Rick" on the show. Finally, there's this article that came out last Wednesday about the episode I watched last night.
  2. Soon, it became close to 7 PM, when Monday Night Raw is on. As a follow up to my post last week about Sting, there was a segment during WWE Raw last night with my hero. While I am not going to pay for the WWE Network, as part of me thinks that at some point in the future, it will be part of basic cable, if I were looking for reasons to buy a subscription for $9.99, Sting showing up at the Fastlane PPV may not exactly be a compelling reason to do so. That's because, in this day and age of and online media, I *know* that there will be footage of Sting's appearance at Fastlane online by Monday morning. It's kind of like movies, in a sense. You can pay ~$10 to see a movie on opening night or you can wait a few weeks and pay ~$5 for a ticket (and ~$5 in gas so I guess it's a wash) to see the same movie at the Collins Road Theater (CRT) in Cedar Rapids. The advantage of waiting is that the CRT is a locally owned and operated theater; the other area movie theaters are not. Be all as it may, the segment was well done, as shown below. I also read this article about the WWE Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania, which will be either Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar or Daniel Bryan vs. Brock Lesnar. The article talks analyzes the rumors swirling around about making the match a triple threat match with Reigns, Lesnar, and Bryan. The article goes through the pros and cons of different scenarios.
  3. During Raw, I had a couple of thoughts about my CD collection. The first was that I have two old speakers that I bought from Chris, a foreign exchange student from Belgium, in 1990. I haven't used the speakers in the last decade. They used to be in the living room upstairs but when the stereo we had them hooked into "died" the speakers were moved to the den, where they have sat. They are heavy speakers, made of solid wood. The original front of them are blue but Mom stapled black fabric over them and that made them look a lot better. When I went into the den to get some CDs to put on an empty cake box that Jeremy at work had rounded up for me, I thought, "I wonder how many CDs I could fit inside of a speaker?" I took the stuff off of it and brought it out to the area in the basement where the TV is. I took out the insulation stuff as well as the electrical / circuit board stuff out. Then I experimented with stacks of CDs as well as spindles of CDs. It boils down to I can fit ~200 CD cases inside each speaker. That would help me a little, but not a lot. I can only fit 6 spindles of 100 CDs each, but I have 35 spindles total. The thought I had later, when it was nearly time to go to bed, was "I wonder how many cassettes I could fit inside of a speaker?" Right now, my cassettes are in a multitude of boxes that used to have candy in them from when they sold candy as a fundraiser at Regina. When I bought the cassette to MP3 hardware / software, I marked on the outside of each box a schedule of when I was going to convert the cassettes in each box. Had I followed that schedule, all of my cassettes would be converted to MP3 by now. Anyways, that's an idea I may look into tonight.
  4. Right before bed, I flipped through the channels and ended up on "Fireproof." I kid you not, this scene, at the very end of the movie, brought tears to my eyes. I'm not really a "mushy movie" kind of guy, but this ending gets to me no matter how many times I see it.
  5. Still haven't found my wedding ring.

Monday, February 9, 2015


What irks me is when the same concept is presented using different language. To me, this example from Microsoft illustrates what happens when a technical writer doesn't use snippets and content reuse to make their documentation easier to maintain and easier to read. In this example to the left, there are red boxes around content that is, essentially, the same content, but stated inconsistently.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


I am NOT putting James Hetfield on an altar, but I must say, I really appreciate his words in these videos that were "related" (according to to the videos I embedded in the previous post. I thought it was important enough to separate these four videos into a separate post.

I know I've gone on and on about not drinking anymore. Officially, it's been 1499 days (4 years, 1 month, 1 week) since I had a drop of booze.

On the same subject, I thought this was interesting:

Recalling Whoopi

Watching Vinny Appice in this video - - reminded me of Whoopi Goldberg when he described Metallica's Lars Ulrich here - - which always cracks me up.

I didn't notice this before, but when I watched this again, I noticed the typo for Megadeth. Look at the following screen capture:

But there's "Megadeath" with "Hangar 18" which is from a fantastic release called "Rust in Peace."

And, if you look at the other bands mentioned, they are all for 'names of albums', as shown below:

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Potential AWESOME News & Definite SHIT News

There was a Facebook message conversation throughout the day about rejoining the world of music as a drummer. I won't divulge more than that because, certainly, it is premature to say anything about it. I am hoping that what I discussed comes to fruition.

In the Definite SHIT News department, I can't find my wedding ring. I hope it turns up soon. I long for the days when I wore a watch. I would undo my watch band and slide my wedding ring over the watch band and then reclasp it. That practice guaranteed I didn't lose my wedding ring because my watch was larger than it and easier to see. Not so anymore.

Friday, February 6, 2015


As I've mentioned in other posts on this blog, Sting, the professional wrestler, is my all-time favorite wrestler. I've liked him since he established himself as the babyface against the heels in the NWO in WCW. I have seen glimpses of his work prior to WCW and have always appreciated his talent. This article captures what is so appealing about him.

Sign Me Up


I would have answered this question correctly as well.

Thursday, February 5, 2015



It's the kind of problem that's good. The Iowa City West boy's basketball team defeated Xavier the other night and, despite the typo (as of 2/5/2015, "DiLeo is the team’s leading 3-point shooter, as he demonstrated by popping in three treys with in a 2:25 stretch of the third quarter Tuesday."), it summarizes the problem nicely: "The Trojans are vying for their fourth-straight Class 4A state-title, a feat no team has pulled off. They are 91-3 since the start of that run."

There's a feeling in the air and it's not excitement. It's the same type of feeling that was in the air when the kids were at Iowa City Regina and we'd go to a football game. Both the Regina football team and the West boy's basketball team step into competition with the expectation of their fans that they will win.

A quick side note regarding Iowa City football, in general. Per an Iowa City Press-Citizen article, the Iowa City West football program is seeking a new head coach. I wonder which other local high school coach in Iowa City would be interested in taking that job. Maybe someone who has led a fantastic program at a small Catholic school and feels the need to advance to a bigger playing field. Hmmm.

Back to the West high school boy's basketball season, I think that because there is no doubt in anyone's mind, there's the potential for an outcome that is not expected. While most people familiar with the area would possibly state that West will dominate and easily win, I think that at any point in time, the wheels can come off the train. I will go out on a limb and say, well, the West boy's team could lose. When crosstown rival Iowa City High comes to West for a doubleheader of the boys / girls on Friday, February 13th, there's no pep band scheduled to play. A crosstown rival comes into your gym and you don't have the pep band to help make your  gym that much more intimidating? Really? Would you not feel the need to make a home gym more intimidating if you thought there was a chance that you could lose? No pep band = no chance on losing seems to be the message.

Despite talent, despite hard work during practice, despite all the other factors that go into preparing for an athletic competition, the way that the actual game / competition will end is never a given. Case in point, the men's basketball team from Wichita State, who were riding a long win streak, came into Cedar Falls to play UNI and got stomped by 20ish points. Did anyone predict that? Of course not. Thus, my mind has already wondered if West is now a Wichita State and City is now a UNI.

Whenever kids and athletics comes up, I use the analogy of a funnel. When you're young, it used to be that you could play any sport you wanted in some recreational league. When I was young, kids played every sport - baseball, basketball, football, track -  because they didn't have to specialize. Everyone played. Then, in junior high, the funnel narrows and those kids that aren't the best athletes or those kids that aren't going to work hard at their sport don't go out. Then, in high school, the funnel narrows yet again. 

And while I mentioned Regina, I just have to mention one little tidbit. Years ago, when Alex attended school there, a group of boys thought they were the best basketball players in the world. They assembled a basketball team and actually pillaged the team I was helping to coach and took two of our best players. There were ill feelings - very non-Catholic - between those boys and the boys on the basketball team that Alex played on. Those boys on the other team walked around in elementary school like they were the chosen ones to play varsity basketball for Regina in high school. The other day, the boy's team played Cascade at Regina. Cascade walked into the Regina gym and defeated Regina. Regina has had an impressive year, but by being defeated, it showed they are "just" high school basketball players and that, as I mentioned above, the outcome of a game is never known until the game is played and the athletes compete. Perhaps another reason the 2/13/15 City v. West contest shouldn't be an assumed victory.

My point is that these boys who thought they were king of the world, who thought their feces didn't have an odor, that acted as if they were the chosen ones. Reality paints a different picture. According to the player statistics in the newspaper, none of them are playing. Regina played 6 kids in the game against Cascade and none of them were these kids that thought they were so special. My intention is not to gloat about how these kids aren't playing as much as they thought they should. Rather, my intention is to rededicate myself to the idea that just because you repeat something or just because every one you speak to tells you the same statements does NOT mean it is true. The way these kids walked around sickened me. Sometimes, it felt like a flashback to my own days as an elementary student when the "cool" kids walked around like they were totally awesome at basketball. When those kids got to junior high, not all of them were playing on the A team and by the time those kids got to high school, I can't think of a one of them that played on the varsity team. Sure, some did time on the junior varsity, but they weren't the kings of the world.

Unfortunately, I didn't feel this way only at Regina. The same bullshit happened at North Central, where Alex went to junior high. There were a bunch of kids who walked around like they were already chosen to play varsity for West. As the article about the West varsity boy's team mentions, there is only one senior on the team. Think about that. When that senior was a sophomore, was he the only one on the team? Of course not. The funnel tightened for the rest of his teammates until they decided to not continue playing for their high school basketball team. And looking ahead to next year, this all means that of the 15 current members of the West varsity team, 14 of them will return, including 4 of the 5 starters. What does that mean for the 15 kids on the sophomore team who are looking ahead to their junior and senior year? Some of those 15 kids were the ones walking around North Central as though their destiny was a given. Alex went out for the freshman basketball team at Iowa City West, but did not go out this year. Other kids that were on his freshman basketball team didn't go out either. The 30 kids that played basketball as freshmen has now become a single team of 15 kids. The current West sophomore boy's basketball team also includes two freshmen so that means, more or less, that two of the 30 kids that played last year are not playing as much as this year.

I don't know what the future holds for all of these kids. I can say that nothing - NOTHING - in this world is a given in athletics. EVER.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Info Graphic

Craig Cardimon shared this link on Techwr-L.

I agree with Dan Goldstein who commented:

The section "Technical Writers Will Become" could also be titled, "Technical Writers Already Are." So if the infographic says that we'll need the skills and experience that we already have.... well, yeah.