Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I rear-ended a car this morning...the start of a REALLY bad day! The driver got out of the other car, and he was a DWARF!! He looked up at me and said 'I am NOT Happy! So I said, 'Well, which one ARE you then?' That's how the fight started.


My wife was standing nude, looking in the bedroom mirror. She was not happy with what she saw and said to me, "I feel horrible; I look old, fat and ugly. I really need you to pay me a compliment.' I replied, "Your eyesight's damn near perfect." And then the fight started........


After retiring, I went to the Social Security office to apply for Social Security. The woman behind the counter asked me for my driver's License to verify my age. I looked in my pockets and realized I had left my wallet at home. I told the woman that I was very sorry, but I would have to go home and come back later. The woman said, 'Unbutton your shirt'. So I opened my shirt revealing my curly silver hair. She said, 'That silver hair on your chest is proof enough for me' and she processed my Social Security application. When I got home, I excitedly told my wife about my experience at the Social Security office. She said, 'You should have dropped your pants. You might have gotten disability too.' And then the fight started...


My wife was hinting about what she wanted for our upcoming anniversary. She said, "I want something shiny that goes from 0 to 150 in about 3 seconds." I bought her a bathroom scale. And then the fight started......


Saturday morning I got up early, quietly dressed, made my lunch, and slipped quietly into the garage. I hooked up the boat up to the van and proceeded to back out into a torrential downpour. The wind was blowing 50mph, so I pulled back into the garage, turned on the radio, and discovered that the weather would be bad all day. I went back into the house, quietly undressed, and slipped back into bed. I cuddled up to my wife's back; now with a different anticipation, and whispered, "The weather out there is terrible." My loving wife of 5 years replied, "And, can you believe my stupid husband is out fishing in that?" And that's how the fight started...


My wife sat down next to me as I was flipping channels. She asked, "What's on TV?" I said, "Dust." And then the fight started...


When our lawn mower broke and wouldn't run, my wife kept hinting to me that I should get it fixed. But, somehow I always had something else to take care of first, the shed, the boat, making beer. Always something more important to me, finally she thought of a clever way to make her point. When I arrived home one day, I found her seated in the tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny pair of sewing scissors. I watched silently for a short time and then went into the house. I was gone only a minute, and when I came out again I handed her a toothbrush. I said, "When you finish cutting the grass, you might as well sweep the driveway." The doctors say I will walk again, but I will always have a limp.


My wife and I were sitting at a table at her high school reunion, and she kept staring at a drunken man swigging his drink as he sat alone at a nearby table. I asked her, "Do you know him?" "Yes", she sighed, "He's my old boyfriend. I understand he took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear he hasn't been sober since." "My God!" I said, "Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?" And then the fight started...


I took my wife to a restaurant. The waiter, for some reason, took my order first. "I'll have the rump steak, rare, please." He said,”Aren't you worried about the mad cow?" "Nah, she can order for herself." And that's when the fight started.....


My wife and I were watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire while we were in bed. I turned to her and said, 'Do you want to have Sex?' 'No,' she answered. I then said, 'Is that your final answer?' She didn't even look at me this time, simply saying, 'Yes..' So I said, "Then I'd like to phone a friend." And that's when the fight started...


One year, I decided to buy my mother-in-law a cemetery plot as a Christmas gift...
The next year, I didn't buy her a gift.
When she asked me why, I replied,
"Well, you still haven't used the gift I bought you last year!"
And that's how the fight started.....


A doctor felt guilty for having sex with a patient so he looked towards his conscience.
His devil side said its ok lots of doctors do it
His angel side said you sick b@$t@rd, you’re a VET!

Announcing! New Feature!

This question was asked, "When your company releases a new version of software, how do you announce its new features?" and this is how I answered it:

I believe there are two audiences that need to receive information about new features.

First, these 'cool' new features need to be defined as cool so that the user that doesn't use the software daily would be impressed. Mike pointed out Marketing should be involved and for these new users, I 100% agree. But I'd go a step further and say it is our job to at least consider, if not to implement, a means for those 'cool' new features to shake down to the everyday user. This should come through as release notes or end-user documentation or a cheat sheet or something.

I'm thinking of a simple example. Say Suzy Clerk has to enter comments on 100 records a day. In version 1.0, Suzy has to select a record and click the Change button. A new screen displays. On this new screen, she clicks Enter Comments. A pop-up window displays. She enters her comments. Three clicks to get to where she does her job.

Now, in version 2.0, she can right-click a record and select Enter Comments. The same pop-up window displays in one click. You just saved Suzy two clicks per record so, net, 200 clicks a day. That's efficiency in the software that Suzy needs to know.

Now, our job is to communicate that we can save her those 200 clicks the first day she uses Version 2.0. If this was only in a Marketing flyer, would Suzy read the marketing info? Maybe. Maybe not. That's what you need to figure out. What if she's a lower level user who doesn't make decisions regarding whether to even upgrade - maybe she just comes in every day and does the task of entering comments every day. She doesn't even know what version of OS she runs - she doesn't care. Maybe Suzy's boss's boss makes the decision whether to upgrade to version 2.0 and that person doesn't have a clue that Suzy Clerk clicks so many clicks a day. What else could Suzy do if she could finish her work in 4 hours instead of 8 (no idea how long it takes to enter 100 comments - this is just for the sake of argument.)

So, I guess, your question has no direct answer and will depend upon how you communicate with the "Suzy Clerk" user so that she doesn't hear about this new functionality at the end of a 5 day work week when she's already clicked 1000 times more than she would otherwise need to, had she known about this new feature. That's when we, as technical communicators, ask, 'what is the best way to let her know?' Does it go in the UI as some sort of message? It may mean working as a collaborative group with QA, Marketing, Development, or someone else.

God is my Buddy

I have been going to Bible Study on Monday nights. We are reading the Book of James and, in a sense, I think I'm getting a lot out of it. The speaker, Jeff Gavins, is easy to relate to when I am watching the DVD. He breaks things down in a manner I find easy to internalize. Our last meeting is next week. It's prompting me to think about other books of the Bible I'd like to read and have a deeper understanding about since it provides the blueprint for life.

Ring of Fire

I don't remember exactly when, but sometime over the last few months, my wedding ring broke in the sense that the ring became an imperfect circle. I took it to the jeweler a week ago and today, I am going to pick it up. I haven't worn my wedding ring for several months so this will be a change for me.

I took my ring to the jeweler where we bought the rings. This jeweler has a program where you bring in your ring every so often and they mark on a sheet of paper that they checked it. Then, if you have issues, they know that they have been checked.

Last night, I began the task of looking for that paperwork. For several years, it was the first file in Karen's file cabinet in the den. Now, of course, when I need it, it was not there. I brought up the first few file folders to the living room and as we watched last week's Survivor, I went through the paperwork that we had accumulated. Got rid of receipts from 2007, 2008, and 2009, but did not find the ring information. The more I think about it, the more I think I moved it to another filing system, which is a black case with a handle. I kind of remember moving our important stuff to that filing system so it could be quickly taken out of the house if there was a fire.

The takeaway form this post is that I am getting my ring back tonight and that I'm unable to find important paperwork. Again.

Alex's Basketball Team

I have neglected to write even a bit about Alex's basketball season.

They won their game last night in OT. Their record is now 3-4-1 (they had a tie). Their final game is tomorrow (Thursday) so they have a chance to stay at .500 for the season. The win last night was exciting. There were some wild shots that went in, all adding to the excitement. I videotaped the game and couldn't resist trying to coach from the stands.

And that's an interesting point. I realized that I missed coaching. It's been two years since I was coaching Alex. I was never a head coach, which I guess is fine. I don't regret being an assistant coach because that was the role I needed to be in to help the kids achieve success.

13 days to go...

Sonia, my co-worker, is on vacation in India until 12/11 and will be back in the office on 12/12, which is 13 days from now. I like working with Sonia. She grounds me in reality as far as what needs to be done. I think she likes working with me because I have a distinct way of stating the opposite of what she says in a way that makes sense. I feel compelled, often, to talk about "who owns the issue?" I believe, and have read, the Garbage Truck Pledge, which asserts that we should own our problems, but not the problems of others. I really try to live that way.Thus, when an issue arises, I ask, "Who owns the issue?" If it is an issue we (Sonia & I) own, fantastic, let's resolve it. If it is an issue we do not own, then I cannot enforce the way 'it should be' upon them. For example, we tell people that an updated PDF is available and it is up to them to upload it to the website. What happens if they don't upload it? Customers may not see the latest version of the documentation. It's my role to tell the "people" that the updated version of the document is ready for them to upload, but it is NOT my role to badger them and hound them until they do it. That's the type of example I am thinking about.

In other work-related news, I am working on an audit of all of our help files and whether the help text accurately describes the functionality. It's fun.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

MSNBC Host Crosses the Line

As a Matter of Fact, Yes!

I really like my job. I find it refreshing to come to an employer that allows me to grow as a person, as a writer, as a citizen of our great country, each day. Today, I was tracking down how a change to the system would change the documentation. When I asked questions, I got polite answers. No one has an attitude that is not in parallel with getting work done the right way. I have a co-worker who has the authority to reset user IDs in the system and whenever I ask him to reset a user ID, he is responsive, even though I know he is busy. Sonia, my co-worker, is on vacation in India until mid-December so any emails sent to her get routed to me. When I investigated an email that was sent to me (originally to Sonia), everyone is nice. A co-worker, out of the office until Friday, checked work email and got me in touch with who I can talk to in the meantime.

All that means is that I am in a really good place as far as work/employment goes in this stage of my life. As a matter of fact, yes, I have zero intention of leaving.

Of course, there is more to life than work. At home, things have been pretty good. Karen happens to be home sick with a chest cold. She had a cyst removed from her back and that has allowed me to step up in multiple ways. The laundry, the dishwasher, the laundry, making supper... NOT complaining. I feel like I am contributing more to the family.

Tonight (Tuesday), Alex plays basketball @ SEJH and Megan works 5-8. I took the van to work so Megan could drive the Canyon (truck) to work. Later, the Iowa men's basketball team play West Virginia. I am hoping they win. They are 2-9 in the Big Ten / ACC challenge.

Tomorrow, Karen sees the doc, Alex has basketball practice & religious ed.

Thursday, Alex has his final basketball game.

Friday, we are going to play cards with friends in Ely.

Saturday, Alex and I may go see the Iowa men's swim meet. Megan works 7-1 & 5-10. We'll probably go to 5:15 Mass. I'll probably play drums. It will also be 700 days (1 year, 11 months) of being sober!

Sunday, Megan will go to 11 AM Mass and I'll probably play drums.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Going Bald

There is a day in my future when I will begin to be bald. When that day comes, I want to donate my hair, before being 100% bald, to a charity like this brave cheerleader did.

I hope, by that time, I am retired and do not have a busy life.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cell Number on the Web

I'm not a huge Michael Moore fan at all. I don't claim to really have studied his films at all. I know him mainly as a liberal that likes to make Republicans go into conniption fits. After the election, he posted this on this website:

Why on earth did he include his cell number?!?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Aquiles Priester - Colorblind and Double-bass Grooves

Made My Night

I got a text from Alex the other day, asking if I care that he goes out for swimming. Of course not! I've only been waiting for his entire teenage existence for him to follow in my footsteps.

That said, it's a cautionary tale. He wants to swim a couple of laps to see if he even likes it. I am hoping he says he does.

Let the Recovery Begin

Karen had a procedure done on a cyst on her back. It hurts, I'm told. The recovery is expected to last from now until Christmas.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Upcoming Concert?

I'm not going to travel to Des Moines on my 43rd birthday to see Lamb of God.

Instead, I have my sights set upon another concert. This one is POD / Shine Down / Three Days Grace. It is not until Friday, 2/1/2013, in Moline, IL. I hope I end up going!

I'm choosing one favorite from each band.


Three Days Grace

Three Days Grace

Jaw Dropping Good

This is Aquiles Priester - Some Light To Find My Way:

Punctuate the Sentence

Two quick quips.

  1. On HATT, Sue Heim posted this:

    One of today's headlines is:
    Son accused of killing mother in court
    No, the son did NOT kill the mother while they were in court. Sigh... He was finally accused of killing her, in their home, three years ago. You can read the full story here:

    To which Simon Holt replied:

    If you haven't seen this before, enjoy...

    Dear John:
    I want a man who knows what love is all about.
    You are generous, kind, thoughtful.
    People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior.
    You have ruined me for other men.
    I yearn for you.
    I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart.
    I can be forever happy.
    Will you let me be yours?

    And now...

    Dear John:
    I want a man who knows what love is.
    All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you.
    Admit to being useless and inferior.
    You have ruined me.
    For other men, I yearn.
    For you, I have no feelings whatsoever.
    When we're apart, I can be forever happy.
    Will you let me be?

  2. I put in requests to review the new Soundgarden, the 20th anniversary re-issue of Megadeth's "Countdown to Extinction", the second of Green Day's trio of albums (Dos), and a request for a couple of passes to the POD, Three Days Grace, and ShineDown concert on 2/1/13, along with POD's new release. Hopefully, good music coming my way!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Falling Behind

My goal for 11/1 was to be @ 50,000. Instead, as of 11/12/12, I am at:
47949 File(s)

I do not know how much time I will be able to devote to ripping CDs this week. The week is pretty packed.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Didn't Win

Well, all I can really say is Romney lost, recreational marijuana use was legalized in two states, and Johnson County is not going to build a new jail. The voters needed to approve it by a 60% super majority and it only garnered 56%. That's so disappointing all the way around. Time will go on and in only... wait for it...1462 days, the next president will be elected.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Nothing! And I Mean NOTHING!

Routinely, I look at as I've done for as long as I can remember. When I look at what is posted today, I am very thankful to be working where I am. Why? If I were seeking a new job in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area, I would be beyond frustrated. Look at what's listed today:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Conversion Status

I ran my DOS batch file, the code being:
cd e:\music
Dir *.mp3 *.wav /s >e:\music\mostrecentcount.txt
cd f:\music
Dir *.mp3 *.wav /s >f:\music\mostrecentcount.txt
And this is what I got: 47819 File(s) 263,362,518,913 bytes

My ideal thinking was that I would be at 48,000 on Nov 1 and 49,000 on Dec 1, which would then get me to 50,000 on January 1. As it's going to work out, I think those goals are overly ambitious. For example, I did not convert *anything* this week for the LP to MP3 conversion. There are only 10 left. But then, I'll move on to the stack of my records that I would want to convert.

And then, I'll move on to the stacks of CDs that are not done.

And then, I'll move on to the boxes of cassettes that are not done.

Realistically, I'll get back to the cassette conversion on or around 1/1/2013.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Setlist for Rehearsal on Saturday 11/3

Proposed order for rehearsal on Saturday that mixes:
  1. the ones we do well with
  2. the ones to work on
  3. the ones we’ve never tried
  4. the ones that we’ve messed around with at least once

Set 1:
  1. I Just Wanna Make (That Foghat song)
  2. Lonely Boy
  3. American Girl
  4. Stuck in the Middle
  5. Whisper
  6. Sweet Home Chicago
  7. Pride and Joy
  8. Before You Accuse Me
  9. Stepping Stone
  10. You've Got Another Thing Coming

-------------------------take a break-------------------------

Set 2:
  1. Iko Iko
  2. Bucket
  3. Black Hole Sun
  4. Pride (U2)
  5. I Wanna Hold Your Hand
  6. Big River
  7. Round and Round
  8. Oye Como Spoonful
  9. Aqualung
  10. Key to the Highway

-------------------------take a break-------------------------

Set 3:
  1. Rocking in the Free World
  2. Crazy Little Thing
  3. Hootchie Cootchie Man
  4. Honky Tonk Woman
  5. Papa Was A Rolling Stone
  6. Sunshine of Your Love
  7. Dead Flowers
  8. Have You Ever Seen Lorraine
  9. Come Together
  10. Crazy Train

Editor's Note: There were many ideas for a band name for this band, including "Hairy Eyeball" and "Scary Robots." We eventually settled on Lou's Classic Ride. 

Club Scene in JW

The video below is from a movie that was rated R by the MPAA. Viewer beware!