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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Seven Minutes of Awesome Drums ... Explained in 6 and a Half

This Should Not Be A Controversial Thing to Write, But It Will Be

I agree with Erick Erickson's column This Should Not Be A Controversial Thing to Write, But I Know It Will Be

And that is why modern American politics is so stupid.

But the President is accused of making a remark that sounds cold and insensitive to the widow of a soldier.

He stands accused by a vocal critic and others who hated him to begin with.

And we do not have the exact quote. We have what they want us to have.

I would like to hear the full quote and context before rolling my eyes and saying something not nice about the President.

We live in an age where the false tweet gets 10,000 retweets and the correction gets 100. No one cares about facts, just resistance fan fiction. If it sounds true and makes the President look bad, it is, whether or not it happened.

I think I will wait.

It's getting ridiculouser by the day.
Editor's Note: After heated discussion and name-calling, "ridiculouser" remains in this post. But under protest.
Comment about the Editor's Note above: "Password" is not a secure password. Idiot.

So It Would Help...


That's Cute

In Around the Bay Area... in Iowa City?!?

I admit there are likely parts of Iowa City I am vastly & HUGELY unfamiliar with but WOW, I had no idea Iowa City, IA, had a "Bay Area" and it's not just a generic "bay area" - it's a proper noun "Bay Area" in the ad.

It must exist - I read it on the Internet!

That set aside, I am an Android user so the fact that this position wants iOS expertise immediately disqualifies me from an otherwise awesome part-time, remote, technical writing gig.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Another ES Cover

Rob Zombie guitarist John 5 tore the stage up at Chicago Open Air 2017. I have no doubt that he is talented beyond my capability to understand how talented he is. Thus, I knew that hearing his cover of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" would be great.

And it is.



Low-hanging fruit.

Think about it. Out of all the tunes he could have selected, the top of the "Best Known Metallica Tunes" list is the tune he selected.

It sounds fantastic - nothing wrong with the recording in the video below.


It feels safe.


And John 5 is not safe.

He is not calculated.

For God's sake, he wore a dress when I saw him at Chicago Open Air.


What's my point?

"What would he have done with a lesser-known Metallica tune?" is the question I ask myself. What if, instead of "Enter Sandman" as the Metallica tune to cover, he chose a tune like "For Whom the Bell Tolls" which is known for being a 'bass-heavy' tune and allowed his creativity to overtake the original? What if he chose "The Four Horsemen" instead? What if he chose "Disposable Heroes"? What if he chose "Harvester of Sorrow"?

What if he chose ANY tune on the "St. Anger" album?!?

He didn't. He chose "Enter Sandman" - a great tune that has been in my ears hundreds of times since I saw the premier of the video on MTV in the summer of 1991.

Long live the sandman!

Bettering Me

I came across Jennifer Robb's profile on LinkedIn. She is a local professional organizer and, on her Events page, this class was listed as being at the Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa, which is literally, 2 minutes from my building. I am interested in the class because when I think about the den transformation project, I realize I had a true mess. The 'before' pictures are something you'd see on one of the episodes of "Hoarders" I've seen on TV. Thus, even though I have a new desk and the den looks radically different, it wasn't very long ago when I was frustrated because I couldn't find what I wanted to find. Thus, I am signing up for her Kirkwood class. Here is the class description:

Digital De-Cluttering and Taming the Paper Monster

ID : 92667
Do you feel overwhelmed with paperwork and files the minute you walk through your office door or sit down at your computer? Now more than ever, we are continually inundated with notes, lists, appointments, mail, paperwork, emails and other electronic files and information. In this class, you'll learn Simple Organizing Strategies to purge the paperwork and e-files, to remove yourself from call, mailing, and email lists as well as how to coordinate and organize your paper and file systems so that you can finally take control of the paper and computer clutter. Don't agonize…organize.
Class Details
1 Sessions
Weekly - Mon
Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa
Jennifer Robb
CEUs : 0.24
Registration Closes On
Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 12:00 AM
Schedule Information
Date(s) Class Days Times Location Instructor(s)
10/23/2017 - 10/23/2017 Weekly - Mon 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Coralville, Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa
Room: 312 Jennifer Robb

Editor's Note: This is the link to sign up for the class:

Willing to See New Grads?

At first blush, I thought this job was awful to offer up to $16 / hour. Read the job description:

Specification Writer
Sunrise Systems Inc 7 reviews - Cedar Falls, IA 50613
$15.00 - $16.60 an hour - Contract

Job Title : Specification Analyst I

Duration : 1 year

Location : Waterloo, IA- 50613

Job Description :
  • Develops and maintains product specifications, engineering decisions, Common Specifications System, factory Bills of material and the drawing imaging system to ensure that complete and accurate specifications and drawings for less complex parts and assemblies are available to manufacturing and other information users.
  • Works from an Engineering Change Order (ECO), ensuring that the data is accurate and conforms to the common specification guidelines.

Duties :
  • Creates and modifies production level specifications in the factory data base using inputs from an Engineering Change Order (ECO) and sister factory decisions.
  • Organizes, enters and maintains data for specific programs. Communicates Engineering Change Decisions to production.
  • Prepares drawings for the decision process, creates simple models of components or simple modifications to existing components and drawings.
  • May create 3D assemblies for new Bills of Material with support from senior designers or engineers.
  • Provides consultation services on standards, processes and related technical issues in order to identify, prevent or solve problems.
  • Works from system generated error reports, ensuring the data is in sync with other systems that interface with the common specification system.

Specific Position Requirements
  • Prefer candidates with 4 year degree or equivalent work experience.
  • SAP experience is a plus. Willing to see recent grads.
  • 1st shift position, business casual dress code.
  • End date is based on fiscal year, planning to extend the assignment at that time.

Job Type: Contract
Salary: $15.00 to $16.60 /hour
Required education:
  • Bachelor's
Required experience:
  • Manufacturing/Production: 1 year

Then I realized, with horror, that at my first technical writing job, that I mentioned the other day, my hourly salary was 1/2 of that $16 - it was (roughly) $8.65 / hour. I arrived at that number by dividing 18000 (my salary) by 52 weeks to get $346.15 / week, divided by 40 hours a week = $8.65 / hour. This job, below, is $16 / hour x 40 hours in a week = $640, times 52 week to get to $33,280 / year. I can say that I had to change jobs, moving to a different company, before I was making close to that salary range.

The Power

When I am mocking something, I write things like this: "Oh yes! If I have "1 view" on LinkedIn, I have a powerful profile! I should just quit work and wait for the job offers from LinkedIn to overwhelm me!" I would likely be waiting more years than I have left in my career so since that isn't a smart choice, I'll continue working.

By the way, the word "power" has a special connotation to me. Whenever I hear the phrase "power" in conversation, my mind goes to the Everybody Loves Raymond episode called "The Power of No," which is one of my all-time favorite episodes in the series. It hits all the right notes as far as the dynamics between Ray and Debra. Because it's my all-time favorite, I embedded this video:

I'm not alone in thinking the episode was stellar. Per IMDB, "For this episode, Ray Romano was nominated for the 2005 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series." It was originally aired on May 5, 2005, per Wikipedia. To arrive at May 5, 2005, you'd have to set your time machine to go back 4552 days or 12 years, 5 months, 2 weeks, 2 days.

Is This Man Doing a Flip or Taking a Dump?

I know the answer to the question that is asked in the title of this blog. This is Anton Hoherz, a member of the University of Iowa swimming & diving team, and he is doing a flip. That said, I don't think I would be sharing that picture with any of my friends, if I were Anton. In fact, if I never look at it again, I'd be fine.

Editor's Note: This picture is set to "small" so as to not offend your eyes.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Senior Rocking Out (Warning: languge)

No Kidding!

It's really ironic.

I learned last week that John, my neighbor, began a new job at Businessolver. He said that Businessolver are in the same "space" as where he was working (Mercer). Recently, Businessolver opened an office in Iowa City 2 doors down from Mercer. He said that Businessolver had begun to "poach" his co-workers at Mercer but he hadn't really been interested in Businessolver until they offered him a salary that was 30% over what he was making at Mercer. I have no idea what John's salary was at Mercer or is now at Businessolver, so I'm just randomly choosing $50000 as the salary he was making at Mercer. Add 30% of $50000 and you get $15000. Add $15000 to $50000 and you get $65000. That's one great salary bump!
A brief side note: I suck at negotiating salaries.
  1. At my first technical writing job, I was offered $17500 by John Millard as a starting salary and I countered with $18000, which became my salary. Millard told me that I would have to work "extra hard" for that $500.
  2. Fast forward to when I was offered my Pearson job. I had a number in mind and when the HR person said what they wanted to offer me, it was $10000 HIGHER than the number I had in mind. I couldn't speak and accepted.
  3. When I was offered my current job, there was no room to negotiate on salary so, thinking quickly, I asked to have 3 monitors at my desk. I remembered I had wanted to have 3 monitors at my Pearson desk, but was told the laptop I had wouldn't support a third monitor. It had been mentioned that a new laptop would be ordered for me so I said, "Can the laptop that is ordered have the capability to have 3 monitors?" I still remember walking to my cubicle the first time and seeing 3 monitors, which I LOVE!
Back to the subject, John and I were talking on Sunday night and I said to him, as he was walking away, if you hear they need a technical writer to work part-time, off-site, remote, let me know. Now, today, I noticed this ad, which is not new - it has been on since Saturday, September 23, 2017, 24 days ago. Hey, that's the day my oldest niece, Emily, got married in Davenport! Again, back to the subject, the job is for a full-time position and wants a minimum of 1+ years' experience as a technical writer. I was hired at that aforementioned first technical writing job on Friday, February 10, 1995 - a whopping 22 years, 8 months, 1 week (8285 days) back in time.
A brief side note: I will be a technical writer for 10000 days on June 28, 2022, which is 4 years, 8 months, 1 week, 4 days (or 1715 days) from today, when I am 52 years, 6 months, 3 weeks, 3 days (19199 days) old. It will be 27 years, 4 months, 2 weeks, 4 days as a technical writer.
Here is the job I saw:

Technical Writer

Businessolver 23 reviews - Des Moines, IA

Businessolver delivers market-changing benefits administration technology supported by an intrinsic and unwavering responsiveness to client needs. Our clients trust Businessolver to take care of them and their employees with a configurable and secure SaaS platform and a culture of service, all aimed at total and measurable success and our clients’ complete delight.

We work with some of the most recognizable brands in the U.S. We look to our rock-star employees to help these clients maximize the investment in their benefits program, minimize their exposure to risk, engage their employees with our easy-to-use solution and full suite of communication tools, and empower their employees to use their benefits wisely.

At Businessolver you will have opportunities to Trust through transparency. Assume positive intent. Be real. Live a growth attitude. Embrace the reverse golden rule.

The Technical Writer role plays an integral part in communicating our high-tech services and educating our internal stakeholders and our clients on new enhancement to our product. Our ideal candidate is an excellent written communicator, enjoys learning and applying new knowledge, is adept with understanding technology, has a keen eye for detail, and enjoys working in a fast-paced environment. This is an amazing opportunity for someone looking to broaden his or her experience and work in a growing (and fun!) organization.

If you are ready to hit the ground running and help us deliver delight, this could be your dream job!

The Gig:

  • Work closely with subject matter experts to collect source material, develop documentation plan and create product technical documentation as part of a formal new product launch process
  • Work closely with subject matter experts to develop, adapt and follow project schedule and deadline for the creation of the product documentation
  • Determine the needs of end users of technical documentation
  • Study product samples and talk with product designers and developers
  • Work with technical staff to make products easier to use and thus need fewer instructions
  • Organize and write supporting documents for products
  • Use photographs, drawings, diagrams, animation, and charts that increase users’ understanding
  • Select appropriate medium for message or audience, such as manuals or online videos
  • Standardize content across platforms and media
  • Gather usability feedback from internal stakeholders and customers
  • Revise documents as new issues arise
  • Maintain and enhance existing product documentation

What you need to make the cut:

  • Technical degree or equivalent experience in engineering technology, technical communications or similar discipline is required
  • Minimum 1+ years' experience working in a technical writing position is required
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills are required
  • Excellent computer skills required
  • Strong attention to detail is required
  • Ability to work in a team environment to accomplish project schedule and deadline is required
  • Experience in the benefits administration industry is a plus
  • Experience with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or similar programs would be a huge plus
  • Must have strong organizational skills and attention to detail

The Businessolver Way…

Our team has spent more than a dozen years crafting a culture that challenges each other to be our best – and have fun doing it. If you desire to use your skills and experience in an environment where you can make a difference, we want to hear from you! Businessolver employees experience a vibrant work culture with extensive workplace perks including:
  • Competitive pay, great benefits, and vacation time. We are an equal opportunity employer with competitive benefits including medical, dental, life insurance, disability, 401(k) with company match, among others.
  • Concierge Service. Going somewhere? Take advantage of travel assistance and discounted memberships.
  • Wellness. Stay healthy and earn discounts while doing it! Don’t forget to visit our gym when visiting the corporate office.
  • Charity and community involvement. Participate in a variety of ways to support those around us.
  • Learning & Development. Continue to learn about the industry through our online and instructor-led classes.
  • Recognition. Want some swag? Earn tons of it by helping out your co-workers through our employee recognition program.
  • Culture. Want a culture most dream of? Most companies talk about it, we live it. Come find out for yourself!

Interested? Great, we look forward to reading your application - make sure it includes:

  1. A cover letter that highlights why you think you’d be great for the gig, focusing on how your past work experience has prepared you for this kind of position – or why you think you can rock the job even though you don’t have past work experience that’s perfectly aligned.
  2. Your resume.

You will receive an auto-reply confirming that we've received your application, and you will hear from us again after we've reviewed your application and decided whether or not to move you forward in our recruiting process.

If you do decide to apply, please know that every complete application will be carefully reviewed. Seriously! We know it is a time commitment to prepare an application. We will respect that effort by thoughtfully reviewing every single complete application and we are truly grateful for your interest.

Thanks for your interest in Businessolver!

Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for a look at our vibrant culture.
24 days ago

Ideal if I was not who I am

Monday, October 16, 2017

Speechless! I CANNOT WAIT!!

Secured? Really?

Notice anything odd about the URL in the screenshot below? It says the PDF is stored in a directory called "secured" when, in fact, it is not. When I googled "vba-macro-examples.pdf" (never mind why I used such a specific search string!), it was the first result!

Don't trust me - see for yourself:

Dipping into Word Help on a Monday

Display each Word document in its own window

Printing a Bookmark List

I love the fact that I can use MS Word for my disaster recovery RoboHelp project at work - that is not sarcasm! I think technical writing can certainly be done using MS Word. I think in order to do so, macros, styles, and templates are essential. If I didn't know enough to be dangerous, I'd really be frustrated.

I didn't mention that last Wednesday, I had a major breakthrough in how I'm using MS Word at work. I have 16 critical systems and a MS Word doc for each. There is a set of standard headings but if I were to decide I need to change "Apples" to "Natural Apples," I would need to access all 16 Word documents and make the change. That is not close to single sourcing content - not by a long shot! Instead, that is using 'copy and paste' to do cumbersome work.

I knew I could include text, as a link, from a separate MS Word doc, but it occurred to me to store these standard headings in a separate MS Word doc and link to those headings. That way, when I needed to change "Apples" to "Natural Apples," I could update the MS Word doc and all the documents that linked to that heading text would be updated! Easy-peasy!

Except, no, not exactly. This is a summary of what I was trying to do:

I’m working with many Word documents. I want to standardize the footer. I created a separate document, called “footer.docx”, which, for right now, has a single line with the text “Page X of Y” (I plan to have other information in the footer.docx file, but only if I solve my problem). I went to my “System_A.docx” file and inserted a reference to “footer.docx” so I see

{ INCLUDETEXT “S:\\Disaster Recovery Planning\\footer.docx” }

My problem is that instead of displaying the single line with the “Page X of Y” in the footer, I see two lines: the first has “Page X of Y” and the second is an empty paragraph mark. How do I eliminate the empty paragraph mark?

It took 22 minutes later when I joyfully found my answer:

Found my answer! - needed to insert a bookmark and include the link to the specific bookmark, not the entire document:

You should be aware that including the entirety of a source document brings along the last paragraph mark in the document, which controls quite a lot of formatting and can affect your target document. If you are only including part of a document consider whether you want to include the paragraph mark at the end of your selection, as including it will result in a paragraph break in the target document.

What the hell did I do prior to the Internet?!?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Nugget from the Past

I came across this nugget from my past and had to say, "WHEW!! I no longer work at a company with a technical writer who believes three bold periods followed by a non-bold period is good technical writing.

Today marks what would've been my 7 year anniversary, had things in life not gone the way they did.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Good to Bad

Honestly, time will really be the judge of where Zayn's heel turn fits into the overall story of his career in the WWE. The subject of heel turns has been discussed before on this blog, but I still wanted to link to this article. Sami Zayn only turned heel on Sunday, October 8, 2017, and here it is, Friday, October 13, 2017. I think 5 days is too early to declare that "Sami Zayn's heel turn is one of the most shocking in WWE history and, yet, that's the name of the article: Sami Zayn at-Hell in a Cell and the Most Shocking Heel Turns in WWE History.

Justice to be Served with Blackness to Follow

METALLICA Is Preparing Deluxe Versions Of '…And Justice For All' And 'Black' Albums

Gassy Drummer

Toxicity (Drums Only)

Bad Pizza

Fans Won't Stop Throwing Pizzas On The "Breaking Bad" House, So The Owners Are Installing A Huge Fence

No Pop Ded or Breeding

In 40 days, Pop Evil & Ded are playing a concert at Spicolli's in Waterloo, which is where I recently went with Kevin H. and Alex to see Overkill / Crowbar / Havok on a Thursday night. The problem with this Pop Evil & Ded concert is it is on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, 11/22/17. Normally, it would work out great for Alex to see a show in Waterloo, since he is a student @ UNI, but in this specific scenario, it's not going to work out great. You see, Thanksgiving break begins on Saturday, November 18, 2017, so when this concert rolls around, Alex will be at home in North Liberty. His idea is to still drive up to Waterloo with Austin, his buddy, on that Wednesday and see the show and then return home.

What would be smart for him to do would be to check into if he can spend the night in his dorm room (or possibly Megan's apartment) after the concert so he doesn't have to drive back from Waterloo late at night.

In other news, the Breeders are reuniting. This article states that there was such a falling out among the band members that the vocalist and drummer didn't speak for 15 years. It's beyond 'highly unlikely' that the Breeders will play a concert in Iowa, which is no skin off my back because I only know this tune by them:

With my luck, they WILL play a concert in Iowa and I'll have to dismiss the notion of going.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Answer: How is your office is going to change

This - How your office is going to change - is more discussion than an article explaining how "your office is going to change" but I thought it was interesting enough to include. From the overview of the conversation:

The office space has changed over the last few decades, with cubicles slowly phased out in favor of open work spaces that allowed for more collaboration. Things are now changing again. It turns out that people didn't want to be crammed into open work spaces at all times, listening to each other's conversation and being an easy target for chatty coworkers. Now offices are moving to what The New York Times has described as a "palette of places," where workers can sit, stand or even lay down in different environments, whether a living room-style space or a quiet nook. While this type of office space has already become popular at newer tech firms, older companies like Microsoft, IBM and General Electric are adopting these spaces.

As for me, this is what my desk looks like, which I like for my job as a Senior Technical Writer as it serves me well. I like the 3 monitors.

This Would be a Great Cover

KO is a Great GREAT Heel

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dumb DUmb DUMb DUMB Tour Schedule!

The tour dates for Black Label Society / Corrosion of Conformity / Eyehategod / Red Fang make no sense! After going east to Sauget, IL (D) , they then backtrack to Omaha, NE (E) before going back east to Chicago, IL (F). Someone needs a geography lesson....
Here is a text version of the tour dates:
  1. 12/27 Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
  2. 12/29 Sioux City, IA @ Anthem at Hard Rock Hotel &Casino
  3. 12/30 Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater
  4. 12/31 Sauget, IL @ Pop’s Nightclub
  5. 1/02 Omaha, NE @ Sokol Auditorium
  6. 1/03 Chicago, IL @ House of Blues


Episode 100 is a Mess?!?

The Walking Dead (Spoiler-Free) Review: Season 8 Premiere Is A Total Mess

REVIEW: 'The Walking Dead' season 8 premiere brings the show back to its glory days on an action-packed, intense episode Kirsten Acuna Oct. 9, 2017, 3:54 PM

Windy Tunes

If I were in the Chicago area, this would qualify as an Ideal Band. I like the tunes & I like the idea of starting out playing covers before transitioning to originals. This band has chops!

This is the full ad from the Craigslist > Chicago > Musicians page:

Bass, Lead Guitar and Singer looking for:

Drummer, and Keyboard player (any ethnicity, any gender) to play Rock Pop (Spanish) We will rehearse in Chicago (Logan Square area)
We require for the person to have own transportation, gear ready, to be reliable, and willing to simply chill and have fun.

We will be playing covers for the most and eventually work on originals. Please email me if interested. If you have a video on youtube, sound cloud link or anything where we could hear a little bit of what you do please send it.
Here is a list of a few songs that we will be working on:


Classic Music to Balance Out the Sax

Inspired by this article about legendary drummer Billy Cobham - Behind the Curtain with Legendary Drummer Billy Cobham, I revisited his work. I honestly can say this was the first time I've EVER listened to Mahavishnu Orchestra.

My first-ever exposure to Billy Cobham was this album. I purchased it in the summer of 1987 before my senior year of high school at a bookstore in Kirksville, MO, when I went to a drumline camp for a week at what was (then) Northeast Missouri State. I saw the cassette for around $5 (which back then, was very cheap). I had remembered reading an interview with Cobham in Modern Drummer magazine shortly before that and then, right there, was a cheap cassette featuring his drumming. The thing about this release is that the first track "Jailbait" was the only tune I could specifically name prior to hearing the album all these years later. I was a rock-influenced drummer at the time and hearing that tune made me a fan of Cobham's playing.

After listening to the following videos, I wonder what my drumming would be like today had I invested as much time in Billy Cobham's drumming as I did in my main influences, which are (in alphabetical order by last name):
  1. Tommy Aldridge
  2. Peter Criss
  3. Liberty DeVito
  4. Lars Ulrich
  5. Alex Van Halen

Goony Poppy Sax

Just discovered The Goon Sax. They are on the same label as Totally Mild. I like their catchy rhythms.

135 Days From Now - 2/23/2018

From a publicist's email:

Chapter is thrilled to be releasing Her, the second album by Melbourne lush pop quartet Totally Mild, on February 23, 2018. Today sees the band sharing the breathtaking video for lead single "Today Tonight" (directed by Tobias Willis). It debuted via the UK's Clash, who wrote, "led by Elizabeth Mitchell, the Australian quartet match off kilter guitars to some striking melodies, and fascinating lyricism."

The band's Elizabeth Mitchell said of the single "Today Tonight"; "Written during a long period of unemployment, 'Today Tonight' is quite literally me passing the days waiting for my girlfriend to come home from work. Sinking into the kind of depression that comes from doing nothing when you have the time to do whatever you want, the guilt of unproductivity. The house becomes a trap, you're not interesting enough to leave it anyway. The video by Tobias Willis plays on the theme of faded glamour and isolation, drawing inspiration from films like Sunset Boulevard and A Woman Under the Influence."
Video director, Tobias Willis, explains further; "After hearing the track and the initial concepts from the band I was thrilled when I was approached to make the video. I really enjoy any opportunity to incorporate that classic Hollywood cinema aesthetic into my work, films from that era are some of my favourites."

And here's the video!

Please consider supporting The Daily Iowan with a gift [to fund an editor?!?]

Indeed's ntelligent Search

This is an example of where the search terms are found "Contract Technical Writer Remote" but they are used to describe a technical writer opportunity that is not remote or contract. I do wonder this: what is the distinction being made when the job ad states that "No telecommuting, remote work . . . will be considered" in the description? In my head, they are the same.

Nope, not moving to FL anytime soon.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Gearing Up for SS 2017

The next WWE PPV is Survivor Series and here are some Early Match Card Predictions After Hell in a Cell - by Ryan Dilbert October 9, 2017. This video happened at the Hell in a Cell PPV on 10/8/2017:

Answering the Whys of Today

Why the Rock was a hilarious entity in the WWE:

Why Ludwig Vistalite drums are awesome:

Why Columbus Day (yesterday) should not be celebrated:

How Tom Petty's death unites us
Why President Obama was a fantastic and superb president

Down the Lane

I read this article - Sympathy Card to a Front-End Developer By Carla Pileggi October 9, 2017 - twice.

The first time, I thought about the low-hanging fruit. Immediately, the story was relevant to my days at Quintrex, the company I worked at from 10/1/1998 to 10/15/2010. The article tells a story about a grieving developer as his beloved system's user interface was being redesigned by the author. At Quintrex, there was a point during those 12 years when our systems had been developed in multiple programming languages and by multiple teams. There was not a single "Quintrex" look and feel. There were rules for using the systems and those rules were dictated by the programming language / team, not by Quintrex, the company. At some point, the decision was made that all of our systems would be converted to (yet another) programming language. It was kind of a running joke. There was always an effort to rewrite the systems in a single programming language and the list of the "chosen" or "standard" programming language was changed several times over the years.

At one point, there was a meeting I attended. The reason I remember this specific meeting is because it was very tense. None of the teams wanted to concede anything about their workflow because, and I get this, their workflow made sense to them and the thought of re-learning the way they did their job was scary. The meeting was riddled with a lot of subtle (and sometimes not subtle) statements, such as these:

Your system in your programming language looks bad.
My system in my programming language looks awesome.
As a company, we should adopt the way my team do things.
The way my team does things should be the new standard.
All you other teams should have changed your standards to match mine years ago
No, of course I don't have my team's standards in a document that you can read - we know how to do our job!

Of course, no, no one actually said those exact words, but there would have been a higher degree of honesty in the room if someone had actually just said those words.

Recalling that meeting in my brain was intriguing so I reread the article. This time, though, I extracted the Developer reaction text from the article into this blog post. Originally, my idea was to use them as a springboard for writing this post. I thought this post would be summarizing the meeting above only. But then something made me think about something else. But before I get to that, here are the stages from the article:

Stage I: Denial

Upon seeing the new sketches, the developer’s first reaction was to deny the reality of the situation.
Developer: “I’m sorry, I don’t think you can even do that in HTML. Errr, no, no…. Technically, this just can’t be done. Sorry.”

Stage II: Anger

Developer: “This is wrong—all wrong. You don’t understand this product. I do. Our users won’t like this. Stop sketching and listen to me! Have you worked on this type of application before? These designs are ridiculous! Why aren’t you listening to me?”

Stage III: Bargaining

Developer: “Um, your colors…. Your colors are good. Let’s just take your colors and put them on the existing user interface. Then, can’t we just leave everything else alone?”

Stage IV: Depression

Developer: “You know, I never really cared about what the user interface looked like anyway.”

Stage V: Acceptance

Developer: “Do all of the new product designs have to be implemented in this release?”

As I mentioned, the article is presented in the context of a Developer grieving over the changes to a product he brought to life. As I reread the article, I applied my 20+ years of working perspective, I can apply the Developer's grief to my own work as a technical writer when there is a transition. Over the course of my career as a technical writer, I have gone through many transitions. I will name only one at each employer, but, especially at Quintrex, I went through many transitions:
  1. NDP: converting from using OfficeVision to write training documentation to using MS Word
  2. JSI: transitioning from being a 'stand-alone' silo-type operation to consolidating each person's information / knowledge into a central repository.
  3. QDS: transitioning from documentation being a 'stand-alone' silo-type operation where each Quality Assurance tester wrote or updated documentation to developing a workflow where I was to review the changes to the system and figure out what documentation needed to be changed.
  4. Unnamed Hellhole in southern Iowa: honestly, bringing me into the department and having me question the tools we used (InDesign) was a big transition. Also, since I was to focus on creating online Help, that was a very different mindset.
  5. Pearson: converting from using MS Word and distributing user guides as PDFs to using Confluence
  6. Where I am now: transitioning from being a 'stand-alone' silo-type operation to consolidating each person's information / knowledge into a central repository so that I can publish consolidated disaster recovery documentation
Each of the above transitions had pain points that deeply impacted me as a person as well as me as a technical writer. I credit Carla Pileggi with giving me a new way to look at my past.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Yeah... It's Fake

Newly released 11284 day-old Recording

It's like Lent for Super Hero Movie Fans

In 39 days - 1 month, 1 week, 1 day - the Justice League movie will be released (11/17/2017). I'm excited for it.

I'm also excited because of this news: A new Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer will be shown on October 9 during Monday Night Football (per this site: even though I will not be watching Monday Night Football. "The Last Jedi" comes to theaters on December 15, 2017, which is 67 days (2 months, 6 days) away from today. Here it is:

Insert video here on 10/10/2017

Editor's Note: Star Wars IX has a release date of December 20, 2019, a whopping 2 years, 2 months, 1 week, 4 days (or 802) days away. Also, this post will be updated with The Last Jedi trailer tomorrow, 10/10/2017.

Megatallica Revisited

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Twenty Years in a Vault

I have been associated with for 20 years today!

Marching To Mars - Sammy Hagar was my first review, published 20 years ago today.

Here is the list of reviews I've had published:

My association with predates the existence of this blog by 3398 days (9 years, 3 months, 2 weeks, 5 days).

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Master of Master

Lee Stan Of Upcoming At Hints Marvel

Marvel Hints At Upcoming Death Of Stan Lee

4 months, 4 days Until....

I saw Avenged Sevenfold open for Metallica in June 2017 and I saw Breaking Benjamin open for Godsmack in 2006, but I've never seen Bullet for my Valentine in concert, though I have a MP3 of one of their live concerts - I'm actually listening to it now and I enjoy it. $55 for a GA ticket is not terrible, though I would be more inclined to get a reserved ticket in the lower bowl of the US Cellular Center. As for the "experiences" and "package" listed below, uh, there's no way I would do that.

Avenged Sevenfold with special guests Breaking Benjamin & Bullet For My Valentine

Friday, February 9, 2018 | 6:25 pm

Presale on THURSDAY, OCTOBER 5 @ 10 am - 10 pm with code ANGELS . *** 6 TICKET MAXIMUM PURCHASE ***

Public on sale Friday, October 6 @ 10 am.

Reserved Tickets: $75, $55, $39, $25.
GA Floor Tickets: $55.

Hail to the King Experience: $352

  • One (1) general admission floor ticket to see Avenged Sevenfold live
  • Additional access to the 'Hail to the King' viewing area - a VIP-only elevated platform next to the soundboard for the Avenged Sevenfold performance
  • One (1) official show setlist signed by Avenged Sevenfold
  • Invitation to The Paradigm Lounge - an exclusive pre-show experience curated by A7X including:
    • Admittance to 'The Stage' - an immersive experience offering the opportunity to play Avenged Sevenfold's instruments and take pictures with their memorabilia
    • Complimentary snacks
    • Private cash bar with one (1) drink ticket*
  • One (1) copy of 'Unholy Confessions', an exclusive A7X tour book featuring a retrospective of the band's career including a collection of never-before-seen photos, with a foreword from Avenged Sevenfold
  • Crowd free merchandise shopping opportunity before doors to the public
  • One (1) commemorative laminate
  • Dedicated venue entrance
  • On-site experience host

A7X Experience: $192

  • One (1) general admission floor ticket -OR- One (1) premium reserved ticket in the lower bowl to see Avenged Sevenfold live
  • Invitation to The Paradigm Lounge - an exclusive pre-show lounge experience curated by A7X including:
    • Admittance to 'The Stage' - an immersive experience offering the opportunity to play Avenged Sevenfold's instruments and take pictures with their memorabilia
    • Complimentary snacks
    • Private cash bar*
  • One (1) copy of 'Unholy Confessions', an exclusive A7X tour book featuring a retrospective of the band's career including a collection of never-before-seen photos, with a foreword from Avenged Sevenfold
  • Crowd free merchandise shopping opportunity before doors to the public
  • One (1) commemorative laminate
  • Dedicated venue entrance
  • On-site experience host

“Higher” Seamless Package: $142

  • One (1) general admission pit ticket -OR- One (1) premium reserved ticket in the lower bowl to see Avenged Sevenfold live
  • One (1) copy of 'Unholy Confessions', an exclusive A7X tour book featuring a retrospective of the band's career including a collection of never-before-seen photos, with a foreword from Avenged Sevenfold
  • Dedicated venue entrance
  • On-site experience host

I am not sure when, if ever, I will 'move' on trying to attend this show. If I hadn't just seen Avenged Sevenfold in June 2017, I would be more inclined to want to go. If I go, it would be exactly 8 months since the last time I had witnessed them live.

Who are You

Then DO Something

I am really tired. My resistance to thinking Congress should do something about DACA, that President Trump is being unfairly treated by the media, and that our country is being divided equally by BOTH the Liberals and the Conservatives in our country is unpopular. If I were more active on Facebook and refuted the claims I've seen from my Facebook friends about each of those items, I would have a full-time job.

For example, take DACA. This article about DACA - Ending DACA would damage the provider workforce - touts how ending the program would have zero benefits and only harm children who were brought illegally to this country. No one likes the word "illegal" when discussing immigration. No one really uses that word in these articles or when discussing the subject. Instead, teaser headlines like "An end to protection for those brought to the U.S. as children wouldn't directly impact a large number of would-be health professionals, but it would worsen provider shortage issues, particularly in already underserved areas" emphasize how great these children are and how they contribute to society. There is rabid indignation when the suggestion is made to even consider deporting even one of these kids and, no, I'm not supportive of any kind of mass deportation.

Where I come down on this issue is that Trump has decided that Congress has to do their job. He gave them 6 months to come up with legislation. What is wrong with passing a law to make these policies permanent? What possible evil could come from that? I don't consider myself a blind Tucker Carlson disciple but I watched him make this point in one of the videos I watched. He said that people who come to our country illegally come because their homeland or where they are coming from often is in chaos. Perhaps there are drug lords who rule the town or a civil war - take your pick or add any other form of chaos - but the bottomline is that there is chaos. The appeal of America, then, is that there is America is a nation of laws. Sure, there are drug lords who rule towns in America and the gun control debate is one that threatens to divide us, but from a mile-high view, I have to believe there is an American culture of people who are good people. For example, after the Las Vegas shooting, people stood in line to donate blood. There was a picture on ABC News of two people who had gone up to a policeman and hugged him.

If I were a Democrat - fully admitting I lean Republican on a lot of issues - I would be drafting legislation to make DACA permanent. I would have a coalition of Republicans and fellow Democrats locked in a room to hammer out a deal that would put forward a bill that both sides could support. Sure, there are extremes on both sides - Ted Cruz doesn't want any sort of amnesty - and Nancy Pelosi wants everyone to be welcomed immediately. It seems like the aforementioned article sees that:

With President Donald Trump threatening* to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, dozens of medical groups are pressing Congress to approve legislation that would create a pathway to permanent, legal residency for undocumented individuals brought to the U.S. as children.

But that doesn't seem to be the focus I hear about on the news. Instead, Democrats and Republicans trade accusations of anti-[pick a race or culture or set of beliefs] racism. For Democrats, it's accusations of Republicans being anti-Muslim & anti-African-American; for Republicans, it's accusations of Democrats being anti-American by putting the rights of illegal immigrants above the rights of citizens. Both sides are always eager to projectile vomit out their narrative. Both sides are gearing up to make their narrative be the one to shape popular opinion so that on November 4, 2020, which is only 1126 days away, their party wins. Some are focused on November 6, 2018, which is 397 days.

Because I don't claim to have the answers, I have no idea what is going to happen.

* Editor's Note: President Donald Trump did not "threaten" to end DACA. He said Congress needs to do their job and pass a law.

TP Tribute

Tom Petty: The final interview Randy Lewis - Oct 4, 2017


Q: How many bass players does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Six. One to change it, five to fight off the lead guitarists who are hogging the light.


I created a MS-DOS batch file that creates a .zip file of each folder in a directory structure. It is the most awesome & coolest code I've ever assembled. I don't really consider myself a programmer or a coder - I'm a code assembler. I get an idea for what I want to do and use because I do not have the training / education to write original code. I rely on the work done by others to read sites like the following to create what I want:
That's why I embrace the day on which I can tell my son what I want to do and to hear him explain back to me how to do it. After I had what I wanted to do figured out, I sent him the following instructions. I will see him on Saturday, when we go to the UNI football game in Cedar Falls, but it will be unlikely that I have a lot of time to sit and help him set this up on his laptop / external hard drive.

  1. Download
  2. Install 7-zip – you can install it on your external hard drive, if you want (that’s what I did).
  3. On your laptop, right-click on the Desktop and from the menu that pops up, select New > Text Document.
  4. After Notepad opens, paste the following text in the Notepad window:
    for /d %%X in (*) do "b:\Program Files\7-Zip\7z.exe" a "" "%%X\" -mx=5 –tzip
    • You will need to replace the path in quotes with the path to where you installed. If you install to your external hard drive and it’s your “E” drive, you would have this text:
      • for /d %%X in (*) do "e:\Program Files\7-Zip\7z.exe" a "" "%%X\" -mx=5 –tzip
    • Save the file as zipall.bat.
  5. On the Desktop, select the file, right-click, and select Copy.
  6. Find a folder that has many sub-folders in it. I used my b:\music_shell folder which has 38 folders.
  7. Double-click the zipall.bat.
    • A DOS window will open that it looks like this:
    • Ignore the warning: WARNING: The system cannot find the file specified. ûtzip
  8. As it processes, you will start to see a .zip file for each folder:
  9. It will run for a long time. You will not want to be making changes to the files in the folder you are running this in because then you won’t really have a good backup of it.

And here's the funny thing - following the above steps does not create a backup - it creates .zip files and a 'snapshot' but those .zip files need to be moved to a different external hard drive or to the Cloud or someplace else in order to have an authentic backup.

Now that the DOS batch file is complete, I see this in my b:\music_shell folder:

I am also using a DOS batch file for my RoboHelp projects.

Did I Do It?

It was a mere 288 days ago when I confessed I had never watched the original "Blade Runner" movie (see Turning in my Science Fiction Card) so now, the day before the sequel is released, did I do it? And, just as a side note, Harrison Ford is 75 years, 2 months, 3 weeks, 1 day old today. As of today (12/21/2016), Ford is one of my favorite actors, though, I was amazed to learn that Blade Runner 2049 will be his 58th movie. I know I have not seen even 29 of his movies. Can someone be "one of your favorite actors" without seeing over half of the films he's been in? Of course, one of those 58 films, per Wikipedia, is an appearance in 1982's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial as a School Principal in a Deleted scene.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

DEFINATLY a New Artist with a Need for a Proofreader

This is from a press release I just received:



Lord, help me, that was painful to listen to...

I Admit my Bias

We are a fractured nation and I wanted to capture that with a rare (now that I have a page dedicated solely to politics) post about politics as a way to snapshot the divide in our country about gun control, about what we should do about shooters like the guy who had all those guns in his Las Vegas hotel room, and who somehow thought it would be a good idea to shoot at the concertgoers.

For liberals, the Huffington Post comes out swinging with with this article - An Open Letter To Bill O’Reilly About His Dystopian Take On The Las Vegas Shooting - which I find offensive. In refuting Bill O'Reilly's opinion, the author writes
...You say that “government restrictions will not stop psychopaths from harming people.” Agreed, so why then have laws prohibiting murder or rape? Or — and here’s a novel idea — why not let each state decide whether it wants ineffective anti-murder and anti-rape laws to remain on its books?
to which I feel like saying, "And what government restrictions do you suggest we adopt as the law of the land that, had they been on the books, would have stopped the Las Vegas shooter?" Seriously, don't just say we need more laws and that Congress needs to act when the Democrats held the White House for 8 years. Don't say that Democrats couldn't get anything done because that argument can be refuted with a single word: ObamaCare, which had no Republican support. Why didn't you get more gun control on the books and stop the shooter?

Meanwhile, on the right, Ben Shapiro easily pokes holes in Jimmy Kimmel's late night monologue:

I was going to try and apply critical thinking to what Shapiro says but I agree with him (whereas I don't agree with the Huff Post piece).

Releasing the Somber Mood

From The Onion website

Gojira ... Skips Iowa

Looking at this list of remaining Gojira 2017 tour dates, unless I find myself at Pop's (incorrectly listed as being in St. Louis, MO, as it is actually in IL) a week from today, there is no chance of me seeing Gojira in 2017. They played this past Sunday in Janesville, WI, which is fairly close, but other than that? Nope. I know I'm not going to be in Texas, Arizona, or California in October.

08/08 – Boise, Idaho @ Knitting Factory ^^
08/09 – Seattle, Wash. @ CenturyLink Field ‡
08/10 – Spokane, Wash. @ Knitting Factory ^
08/11 – Calgary, Calif. @ Macewan Hall Ballroom ^
08/12 – Saskatoon, Calif. @ O’Brians Event Centre ^
08/14 – Vancouver, British Columbia @ BC Place ‡
08/16 – Edmonton, Alberta @ Commonwealth Stadium ‡
08/19 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ Psycho Las Vegas 2017 #
09/15 – La Courneuve, France @ La Fête de l’Humanité #
09/28 – Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Brooklyn Steel +
09/30 – Louisville, Ky. @ Louder Than Life #
10/01 – Janesville, Wis. @ JJO Sonic Boom #
10/02 – Cleveland, Ohio @ House of Blues *
10/03 – Grand Rapids, Mich. @ 20 Monroe Live *
10/05 – Albany, N.Y. @ Upstate Music Hall *
10/06 – Hartford, Conn. @ Webster Theatre *
10/07 – Camden, N.J. @ Rock Allegiance #
10/10 – Columbus, Ohio @ Newport Music Hall *
10/11 – St. Louis, Mo. @ Pops *
10/13 – Dallas, Texas @ Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill *
10/14 – The Woodlands, Texas @ Houston Open Air #
10/15 – San Antonio, Texas @ Alamo City Music Hall *
10/16 – El Paso, Texas @ Tricky Falls *
10/17 – Phoenix, Ariz. @ Marquee Theatre *
10/19 – San Diego, Calif. @ The Observatory North Park *
10/21 – Sacramento, Calif. @ Aftershock #

I remember seeing them open for Lamb of God at the show when I interviewed Chris Adler.

The following video is really cool.

Print or Online for Learning

No one prints the documentation and yet, in this digital world, there are articles like this one - The enduring power of print for learning in a digital world - that question that premise. It is the debate that will last forever within the technical writing profession. I have confronted it at all but one of every technical writing job I've ever had.
  1. At NDP (my first job), it was not an issue as we distributed hard-copy documentation in binders.
  2. At Jordan Systems (my second job), I used Doc-to-Help to create both a WinHelp file as well as a Word document.
  3. At Quintrex, I used RoboHelp to have the content in both online Help as well as in a PDF.
  4. At the unnamed hellhole in southern Iowa, there was no online Help for the system I documented. Instead, as I've bitched about many times before on this blog, InDesign was the tool of choice. I questioned whether using a tool like RoboHelp (or any HAT) to generate an online version of the help system was an avenue worth pursuing. The idea was rejected.
  5. At Pearson, we transitioned from authoring in MS Word and distributing PDFs to authoring and posting our online Help on a Confluence site. 
  6. At the University, where I work now, I use RoboHelp to create both a browser-based version of my documentation as well as a PDF. 
From my perspective, because I am linking to files within the browser-based version, a PDF version is unnecessary as content from the following list of file types are linked to in the browser-based version and not actually within the RoboHelp project:
  1. *.csv
  2. *.jpg
  3. *.png
  4. *.ppt
  5. *.pptx
  6. *.pdf
  7. *.txt
  8. *.vsd
  9. *.vsdx
  10. *.vsdm
  11. *.xls
  12. *.xlsx
  13. *.zip
In order to get the content from those file types into my RoboHelp project, there would be a hamster wheel of converting from [original file type] to [MS Word] and then linking to the MS Word document. However, when there was a change made to the original file, the process would have to restart. It would never be caught up and it would be repetitive and mind-numbing work. Thus, no.

Selling the Farm

Former METALLICA Bassist JASON NEWSTED Selling Montana Ranch For $5 Million