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Thursday, January 18, 2018


This is why I don't like writing exact times within my technical writing output. It's 11:02 AM and the text says the site will be unavailable until 11 AM. Someone missed something somewhere...

Be as specific as necessary and not a morsel beyond.

Editor's Note: It's after 11 AM on Thursday, January 18, 2018, and logging in to the site was successful. Yet, there's a message that says the website is not available.

3 Minutes. That's All I could Tolerate. Kudos if You can Do 29:56!

Where Did I Lose You?

It's in the Language We Choose

From, a backup software I was reading about:


By checking Verify Backup after Creation option, you can check the integrity of the backup immediately after the backup completes.

I would have wrote the following instead:

Verify Backup Integrity

Select the Verify Backup after Creation check box if you want to check the integrity of the backup immediately after the backup completes.

Here's my logic. First, the heading becomes the name of a task that starts with a verb. Second, I specify the name of the check box in the UI. Third, I don't use the same verb - check - to describe both the physical action of selecting a check box as well as what the program does when you select that check box. Fourth, I make it clear that this is an option to the user and not a required field by using the "if you want to" construction.

At work, i don't write text like this as I'm writing disaster recovery documentation, not software documentation. For all the reasons I loved writing software documentation, I love writing disaster recovery documentation more because I don't have to think about the many ways to write the text. I am merely assembling documentation that other teams write into a cohesive RoboHelp output.

Clicking Her Heels - Nowhere Like Hell

I sought out the band "Escape the Fate" because they are opening for Papa Roach in Clive, IA, on April 26 (98 days from today). This was the first video I watched and I have to say, I ADORE the opening lyrics:

Clicking her heels / Says there's no place like Hell

It's a clever rework of the classic line from "The Wizard of Oz" when Dorothy says there's no place like home.

I haven't decided whether I want to see the band in concert.

Language Lesson for a Thursday

Are you using the word "ironic" correctly? This page about irony shows how the word often is used to describe something as ironic incorrectly. Within the page, I saw the following:

Of course, that prompted me to find this video:

And then I wanted to read all of the lyrics so I listened to the tune while watching this:

All that said, go read this page about irony.

Editor's Note: Added the "Alanis Morissette" label because of this post.

Whisper in My Ear

I don't read the comic book version of "The Walking Dead" so I can't say, first-hand, whether Trev's theory in this video makes sense. I can say that from what I've heard, introducing the Whisperers to the TV show version of "The Walking Dead" sounds intriguing.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Over It Know We As Processing Word Is?

I read the title of this post (reversed) here: Is Word Processing As We Know It Over? This Startup Says Yes - Hot New Enterprise Collaboration Platform Zillable Introduces Templates for Online Document Collaboration, which introduced me to the product "Zillable" and eventually, led me to this video:

I'd have to see more to determine if it would be useful to me either at work or as a technical writer.

Ain't that the Loose Stool

New Found Glory, Bayside, The Movielife Announce Sick Tour

I don't see any Iowa dates, unfortunately. All I see are two dates in Chicago on a Monday & Tuesday, and one date in St. Louis on a Wednesday - none are feasible.

5/17 - Orlando, FL - House of Blues
5/18 - Atlanta, GA - The Masquerade (Heaven)
5/19 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle
5/20 - Norfolk, VA - The NorVa
5/22 - Silver Spring, MD - The Fillmore
5/23 - Philadelphia, PA - The Electric Factory
5/25 - Pittsburgh, PA - Stage AE
5/26 - Toronto, ON - The Phoenix Concert Theatre
5/27 - Asbury Park, NJ - Stone Pony Summer Stage
5/29 - New York, NY - Playstation Theater
5/30 - Boston, MA - House of Blues
6/1  - Pontiac, MI - The Crofoot
6/2  - Cincinnati, OH - Bogart's
6/4  - Chicago, IL - House of Blues
6/5  - Chicago, IL - House of Blues
6/6  - St. Louis, MO - The Pageant
6/8  - Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre
6/9  - Salt Lake City, UT - The Complex
6/11 - Seattle, WA - Showbox SoDo
6/12 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom
6/14 - San Francisco, CA - The Regency Ballroom
6/15 - Las Vegas, NV - Brooklyn Bowl
6/16 - Los Angeles, CA - The Wiltern
6/17 - Anaheim, CA - House of Blues
6/19 - Tempe, AZ - The Marquee
6/21 - Austin, TX - Emo's Austin
6/22 - Dallas, TX - House of Blues

Damn! I wanted to hear "The Ghost" live!


Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski Dies at Age 21

No Answer = Impossible

I had the same goal as this forum thread - How to add mp3 tags to an explorer's window - from August 2014. See how the Composer column is displayed but is not available in the lower part? I want the "Genre" field to be the same value as the "Composer" field. The "Composer" field is how I store the spindle on which the CD is stored. I can use Windows Media Player to append the "Genre" value to the file name, but not the value in the "Composer" field. By having files named with this naming convention -   01_SongTitle_ArtistName_AlbumName_Genre.mp3 - I would be able to know exactly where the file should be stored. It would be very beneficial as the cleanup of my audio files continues.

The Grunge Gold Rush Followed the Hair Metal Gold Rush Part II

This post is a continuation of Part I.
The point is, that when the author of this article about the "Grunge Gold Rush" wrote "Mike Gitter, a punk-rock specialist who was starting out as an A&R man for major label Atlantic Records, home of hair-metal veterans White Lion, Ratt and Mr. Big", he is too dismissive of an entire movement. White Lion, Ratt, and Mr. Big came out in different parts of the 'hair-metal' movement. Ratt came first, then White Lion, then Mr. Big. In fact, with Mr. Big, I can't call that band "hair-metal" with a straight face. Read the WikiPedia article here.

Maybe I should have sat down and formulated an outline to my arguments in this post because I've rambled quite a bit, all because I read this article: The Grunge Gold Rush Is there a lesson here? January 12, 20186:38 AM ET Steve Knopper

Editor's Note: An article relevant to this post lists the Top 10 Metal Albums of 1988.

10. Metallica, '...And Justice For All'
9. Napalm Death, 'From Enslavement to Obliteration'
8. Testament, 'The New Oder'
7. King Diamond, 'Them'
6. Danzig, 'Danzig'
5. Death, 'Leprosy'
4. Helloween, 'Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part II'
3. Iron Maiden, 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son'
2. Slayer, 'South of Heaven'
1. Queensryche, 'Operation: Mindcrime'

In general, #10, #2, and #1 belong on the list, but unable to make a credible judgement about the other 7. Unlike other Internet music writers, this blog's editor has self-control! Read the entire article here. Also worth noting is the fact that the following labels were created for this post:
  • Napalm Death
  • King Diamond
  • Danzig
  • Death
which means these 6 bands have been mentioned elsewhere on this blog:

1. Metallica
2. Testament
3. Helloween
4. Iron Maiden
5. Slayer
6. Queensryche

60% is a passing score!

The Grunge Gold Rush Followed the Hair Metal Gold Rush Part I

I had to smirk when I read this article about how once Nirvana exploded with tons of sales, the record labels went scouring for similar bands. At the time, many people seemed to treat that action like it had never been done before, but it had. I lived through the record companies doing it the previous time - I call it "the Los Angeles hair metal explosion" that followed the success of Quiet Riot's "Cum On Feel the Noize" in 1983ish. Soon after that, Dokken, Ratt, Poison, LA Guns, BulletBoys, and other CA bands emerged. Not to be outdone, Bon Jovi, Cinderella, and Britny Fox emerged from the East coast.

Nowadays, there is an authentic disdain for many of those bands. What irks me is when people grumble about how those bands were not talented. I never agree with those statements. Granted, Poison's "Talk Dirty to Me" is not Chopin, but neither is AC/DC's "Back in Black" or Van Halen's "Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love." The point is that those aforementioned bands that grew to popularity in the 80s metal movement were musicians. White Lion's Vito Bratta constructed awesome guitar riffs; Ratt's Warren DeMartini did as well.

Usually what happens is that fans who make generalized statements about an entire genre of music didn't grow up listening to it. That's why I think I have more patience with those bands than with the 90s Alternative / Grunge movement. In 1991, I was a senior in college and by spring 1992, Nirvana was a 'thing' that was followed by Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam. I can wholeheartedly deny ever spending as many hours with Soundgarden's "Louder than Love" as I spent with Ratt's "Out of the Cellar" and that's really okay. Alternative / Grunge bands were just too trippy for me - too out there. I wanted Pearl Jam to make tunes like "Even Flow" and "Alive" instead of "Jeremy" (which I still consider to be an awful tune) because that was what I was used to hearing from bands. Smashing Pumpkins didn't do anything for me until they released the tune with the "Today is the greatest day" lyrics; I'd deny I ever purchased "Siamese Dream" but it came with the CDs I purchased in Indy from the fireman - can't say his name.

Continued in Part II

Be Hired by Russia for a Technical Writing Internship - NOT!

In this era of Russia being considered evil, I can't fathom even applying for this job, whether it is remote technical writing work or not. LinkedIn failed me yet again!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Favorite Friends Scene

Wanking the Guitar

I Get It

No, this dude's purchased equipment should not be destroyed, once the illegal files have been destroyed. I'm sympathetic to this dude's appeal.
Read more here: convicted sex offender says electronics should be preserved

Fare Thee Well Delores

Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan dead at 46

A Double Positive Cannot Express a Negative

I think this is Funny

Just Get Out of My Way!

You want to talk about Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from January 15's episode of Monday Night Raw? Really? Well here's some video from the show you should watch:

The other MAJOR WWE news is that next Monday, January 22, 2018, marks the 25th anniversary of Monday Night Raw as a TV series. There are going to be a lot of wrestlers and personalities that are going to come back, including Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Brooklyn Brawler, and several others. This article - Top Legends to Pair with Braun Strowman at WWE Raw 25 - proposes options for Braun Strowman.

Not Fantastic News for Cedar Rapids

I feel terrible for all of the 882 Cedar Rapids employees that are directly impacted by the news below. I interviewed with Transamerica during the job search of 2016. I really have zero idea as to whether or not I would have been impacted by this news, had I been hired by them. When I read this news, I said a prayer to God, thanking him for making me not be their choice for that role! Here is the full story:

Tata to take over policy administration for Transamerica
Transamerica's North Campus in Cedar Rapids, which will be the location of Tata Consultancy Services' new operating hub. 
Transamerica plans to transfer administration of its insurance and annuity business lines to Tata Consultancy Services in a move that will affect about 882 Cedar Rapids employees.

The move will enable Transamerica to enhance its digital capabilities and modernize its service platform to customers, the company said. It will shift as many as 2,200 Transamerica employees to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) nationally, and bring a new TCS North American insurance hub for business operations to Cedar Rapids.

Worth about $2 billion in revenue, the third-party administration agreement was an outgrowth of the One Transamerica initiative to streamline operations and increase cost efficiency at the company. It will initially generate about $70 million in annual savings, according to company officials. The cost savings are expected to grow over time to $100 million.

TCS will offer employment to Transamerica employees in Cedar Rapids; Baltimore, Maryland; Little Rock, Arkansas; Plano, Texas; and St. Petersburg, Florida. Most will continue to work in existing Transamerica facilities.

In Cedar Rapids, TCS will create a new operating hub in the Transamerica North Campus off Edgewood Road, Transamerica spokesman Kyle Frette said. It is an older facility that the company had planned to vacate as part of plans to consolidate its Cedar Rapids operations at its Transamerica Financial Park on C Street SW.

About 882 of the 3,080 employees of Aegon Asset Management (AAM) and Transamerica in Cedar Rapids will be offered positions by TCS, Mr. Frette said. The transition is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2018, and will reduce the local employment of AAM and Transamerica to 2,198.

Employees to be offered TCS employment will be in functional areas of "customer service, claims and all the different areas that support the policy, from the sale to the claim," Mr. Frette said.

TCS, headquartered in Mumbai, India, is part of Tata Group. Mr. Frette said the company was selected for the partnership after a "rigorous and very careful" search, and that TCS' extensive experience in insurance was a major consideration.

"Every decision was made with our customers at the forefront of our considerations," Mr. Frette said.

In a press release, TCS' Suresh Muthuswami said, "This agreement marks TCS' entry into a highly specialized U.S. insurance third-party administration marketplace and will establish TCS BaNCS as a formidable digital platform for the U.S. insurance industry, following its stellar global track record over the past decade."

I hope each of the 882 employees come through this with a job.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Three Years to the Day

Today is the 3 year anniversary of the PearsonAccess Next & TestNav 8 documentation going online. This was a big deal at the time because we had previously authored in MS Word and distributed PDFs to the customer. Now, we were going to author in Confluence and there would be no distribution - customers would simply access the content through the Confluence site.

I was telling one of my current co-workers about some of the challenges we faced on that team:
  • There were some animated discussions where I was the 'majority' - aligned with others on the team.
  • There were some animated discussions where I was the 'minority' - not aligned with others on the team.
I'll conclude this post with a final thought about January & Pearson. Later this month, there will be another anniversary.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Too Sweet of a Setlist

I went with Matthew on Friday night to see Serbi's band - Cocked n Loaded - at J&A Tap in North Liberty. We arrived shortly before the first set. It was great to talk to one of my oldest friends - we met in the fall of 1985 on the Kennedy High School marching band practice field. There were 4 sophomores that year - one was too preppy, one seemed like he did drugs, and then the two of us. He was the only non-family member groomsman in our wedding in August 1993 & I was a groomsman in his wedding in September 1993.

Anyways, this is the setlist they played. "From Out of Nowhere" was a great choice for an opener. I can safely say I've never heard a band in a bar play that tune.
Set 1
1) From out of nowhere
2) You've got another thing coming
3) Rock You like a hurricane
4) Breed
5) Self-Esteem
6) Little Suzi
7) Fly me courageous
8) Summer of 69
9)I don't believe in love
10) Youth gone wild
11) Cold Gin
12) Too late for love
13) You give love a bad name
14) Man in the Box
Set 2
1) Thunderstruck
2) Hang tough
3) For whom the bell tolls
4) Wasted years
5) Wild side
6) Rock of ages
7) Somebody save me
8) Sweet child of mine
9) Tears are falling
10) You're in love
11) Why I'm here
12) Shine
Set 3
1) Kickstart my heart
2) T.N.T
3) Fight for your right to party
4) Long way to love
5) Cry tough
6)Smooth up in ya
7) Breaking the chains
8) Mother
9) Heavy metal
10) I remember you
11) Crazy train
12) Smells like teen spirit

Youth Gone Wild - Skid Row

I Don't Believe in Love - Queensryche

Friday, January 12, 2018

What To Do When Someone Critiques You

Had kind of an odd experience on Wednesday of this week.

There was an ad on the Craigslist > Cedar Rapids > Craigslist page for a "Rock Pop and Blues band seeking drummer" so I responded around 12:32 PM with text that I've used to respond to other ads on Craigslist but instead of having to search for the last email I sent with it, I now store it in a .txt file on my external hard drive. It explains who I am, what I'm looking for in a band, what equipment I have, who is in my family, details about my faith life, and some other things.

Around 2:12 PM, I received a response that said this:

Thanks for replying to my ad. I reviewed your videos and read the info that you shared about yourself. You sound like a wonderful person. And you certainly have the chops to play in a band. However I don't think that your style of drumming is what I'm looking for. I really do appreciate your email. And I wish you luck in finding your band. Take care my friend.
Now, I'm not saying I am a good fit for this person's band. I don't know what they sound like, what is on their setlist or anything. All I knew is that they wanted a different drummer to play "Rock Pop and Blues" in their band that averages 2 gigs a month. In my defense, I have videos covering each of the genres - rock pop and blues - on my "Videos of Me Playing Drums" page. I have experience in all three genres. Additionally, I have all the tunes I've played in Lou's Classic Ride & Uncle Rico the Band listed on that same page and those tunes include those genres - there can be no doubt I can play those genres.

So that led my brain to the letdown section where the person wrote I don't think your style of drumming is what I'm looking for and as I tried to define what that meant in relation to my playing, I was confused. I replied back at 2:22 PM with a simple sentence: Can you be more specific as to what you are looking for? because, as I said, I believe my drum videos demonstrate I can play the genres so what is it that I'm missing? Am I too flashy?

I just read the What To Do When Someone Says Your Drumming Sucks! Jared Falk - January 18th, 2017 article.


A First: Classical Music on this blog

What I Must Sound Like to Others When I Sing

This is Music?!?

There could be some adult language in these videos by KaMillion.

I don't have interest in ditching heavy metal to be a fan of KaMillion.

Who Would Win? Seriously, the Bat

44 Days

Indeed Fail Number 1000

Hope rose and crashed when I saw this in my Inbox:

But the actual ad says, explicitly, this is not a remote position:


This is why I don't like writing exact times within my technical writing output. It's 11:02 AM and the text says the site will be un...