June 2006 Archives

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June 30, 2006
Mr. Know-it-all

In a technical workplace, it can sometimes be problematic to the only person who knows a particular technology particularly well — once you help one person fix their problem, they tell everyone, and soon everyone wants a piece of your time — but there are occasions when it can be good to be the go-to guy, in my case for ISDN and PPP.*

The class I was in over the past couple of weeks covered a wide array of networking technologies, and for most of the topics, one or two of the people in the class were already genuine experts, while the rest of us were only passingly familiar with the technology (I am pretty weak on switching, for instance.) For other subjects, most of us were well-experienced, but we paid attention to the presentations because there might always be something we might not have known. For ISDN & PPP, though, it happened that I was the only genuine expert in the class.†

On the day we covered ISDN & PPP, as the instructors (two of them) meandered through the presentation, I noticed some of my colleagues looking towards me, as if they were expecting me to nitpick the presentation. I did, after all, write the book on the subject.‡ At one point, one of the guys across the room IMed me (we all had our laptops), asking "is that right?" I looked over at him, caught his eye, and slowly nodded.

As the class progressed, I realized that more people were looking to me to confirm what was being presented. After the instructors made a statement, my colleagues would look at me quizzically... I would subtly nod.

Then one of the instructors noticed that every time she said something, people were looking towards me. Thereafter, every time a point was made in the presentation, she would look at me, with a metaphorical question mark on her face. I would nod, just a bit....

At the end, my fellow students all looked as though they were watching a ping-pong match.

Only later did it occur to me that I might possibly have been the first ISDN/PPP expert that instructor had ever encountered. At least she didn't try to drag me up in front of the class to finish the presentation.

* What ISDN and PPP do isn't important enough to explain if you don't already know what they are, but if you are using dialup, there's a 99.44% chance that your computer is using one of them to connect to the internet.

Or indeed, throughout the entire department. Which is a shame, really, because I work for a big telecommunications company.

OK, only two chapters (1, 2) of the book. But I did write them.

Posted by Russ at 10:06 PM
Walking Wounded

Saw the doctor yesterday and got the results of the x-rays today. Yep, that sucker is broken. "Not the toe itself, but the bone right behind it," they said. I wish they'd used the technical jargon with me; I may not be a doctor, but I'm not stupid.

It's good to know I've not been imagining things. Even so, there isn't much that can be done about it.

Posted by Russ at 05:07 PM
June 28, 2006
Light Posting

It's been pretty busy around here with the family visiting. So much on which to comment, so little time....

They're leaving this week, which takes away my excuse for not posting. And it's not like I'm going to be out training for a marathon....

Posted by Russ at 10:19 AM
Something Evil is Afoot

I've had knee problems for the past several months. I blame my "jumping out of helicopter" years.

My sciatica, a result of the old Army back injury, has been unrelenting of late, as well.

Plus there was a gout attack last week — smoked meat can bring it on, and, well, my barbecue will not be denied. The pain was the price I paid for forgetting to get my Allopurinol prescription refilled.

And now... I broke a #^$%@*! toe last night.

I consider it a miracle of near-biblical proportions that I can walk at all, these days.

Posted by Russ at 10:14 AM | Comments (4)
June 24, 2006

At home after the usual Friday night at the office, I've turned the TV to VH1 Classic, just for a change of pace. Lots of good classic stuff. Then came a band and a song to which I am not particularly favorably disposed — Blue Oyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) The Reaper."

As the opening notes sounded, the first thing I thought was "more cowbell!"

And then it occurred to me: I'll never have to hear that song the "old" way again.

Television: is there anything it can't do?

Posted by Russ at 02:39 AM
June 23, 2006
Jabba the Cat

"Bring me Solo and the Wookiee. And a case of kitty treats. I like the Whisker Lickin's Shrimp & Tuna."

Too much is never enough for Mycah the Hutt.

[Click for larger... as if she isn't large enough.]

Mycah's weight problem looks a good deal worse than it actually is, especially when she adopts this sort of pose. She's down from her initial weight (when I got her — 19+ pounds), hovering between 15.5 and 16.0 pounds. She could stand to lose another 5 pounds or so.

The Friday Ark is, as always, at The Modulator.

The Carnival of the Cats this week is at Pets Garden Blog.

Posted by Russ at 01:27 PM | Comments (8)

Hang them. Hang them all.

Posted by Russ at 01:07 AM
June 21, 2006

The barbecue was good, though I think I overcooked the brisket. Bad, bad me.

The visiting family members are off doing things for a few days — my brother is golfing at Pinehurst, the rest of the family is off to Asheville.

Me, I'm just tired.

Posted by Russ at 12:21 PM
June 19, 2006

So... how 'bout them 'Canes?

Posted by Russ at 11:26 PM
June 18, 2006
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Barbecue season is finally arriving at my house. Other people have already been indulging themselves already, but I've been rather busy thus far in 2006.

Last night when I got home from work, the pork butts went into their brine, the brisket was rubbed, and the duck checked to make sure it had fully thawed. That should be enough meat to choke a velociraptor... but I'm not sure it'll be enough for my brother and his family, who arrive tomorrow afternoon/evening.

A few hours after I get home tonight, I'll light the coals, load the pork and brisket into the smoker, and go to bed for a few hours. Later on Monday, the duck will be poached for a while to render out as much of the fat as can be eliminated, then finished in the smoker.

You can find anything on the web, and my A-1 prize find this year so far is The Virtual Weber Bullet, essentially a fan club for folks like me who love their Weber smokers (just, not that way.) I plan to make good use of the tips and tricks I've found there — I've already replaced my water pan with something a bit bigger, and tonight I'll be using methods found there for extending the unattended burn time of the charcoal.

Reports to follow.

Posted by Russ at 11:43 AM | Comments (3)
June 15, 2006
Asked, Answered - IX

The queen of the extended family menagerie might just have to chime in:

Let's ask the cats about the Dead Cat Bounce.

Bounce is not amused.

Posted by Russ at 01:38 PM
June 12, 2006
The Letter

Today, I got the letter.

Dear Veteran:

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has recently learned that an employee took home electronic data from the VA, which he was not authorized to do and was in violation of established policies.

. . . .

As a result, information identifiable with you was potentially exposed to others.

Swell. Just &@#%^! superb.

Posted by Russ at 06:36 PM | Comments (2)
June 10, 2006
All Work and No Play Makes Russ a Dull Boy

I showed up for the first day of my work week as usual last week on Wednesday* (that would be May 31st) to discover that I had been selected to attend a technical training course that began on Monday the 5th, and which runs Mon-Fri for two weeks. We're halfway done with the training.

But someone still has to keep the network running on the weekends. The hamsters running in their little wheels won't flog themselves, you know.

So here I sit on Saturday afternoon, my 11th consecutive workday. I won't have a day off until the 19th which, coincidentally, is the day my brother arrives with his family for a visit.

It's not really a huge deal, not having a day off. What kills me is working the weekends until midnight or later, then having to be in the office at 8am Monday. I don't ordinarily even think about going to bed until 4am or later.

Someone's going to owe me, big time.

* bearing in mind that I work Wed-Sun rather than Mon-Fri.

Posted by Russ at 05:42 PM
June 09, 2006
Memory Lane

I'm fairly certain that there is nothing as adorable as kittens.

They're all grown up now, but I still think the pictures of my sister's Bubba and Lou at that age are about the cutest things I've ever seen.

Saccharine overdose....

You want the Friday Ark? Right here....

The Carnival of the Cats will be hosted this week by the Most Beauteous Gigolokitty. [Sunday update: it's here!]

Posted by Russ at 09:19 AM
June 08, 2006
Asked, Answered - VIII

Mycah can make anything an excuse for a nap:

Let's ask the cats about Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi getting killed in an airstrike.

Posted by Russ at 07:28 PM | Comments (2)
al-Qaeda/Iraq - What's Next

With the head having been cut off of al Qaeda in Iraq, how long will that chicken continue to run around before it dies? Or will it instead sprout a new head?

Many lower life forms are capable of regrowing damaged organs... and there aren't too many life forms lower than the jihadists.

Posted by Russ at 08:10 AM
Zarqawi Killed

Michelle Malkin has all the links.

Posted by Russ at 06:31 AM
June 05, 2006
Nice To Be Here -- Carnival of the Cats #115

Mycah welcomes you all to the 115th edition of the Carnival of the Cats. Not that she was going to do any of the work. Let's just say she supervised.

There are loads of great submissions this week. And so, without further ado, let's proceed to the Carnival, shall we?

Nights In White Satin

Nights? No, knights. No? Well, would you believe a bow-tied superspy in red satin? The fate of the world is in his paws — the most beauteous Gigolokitty will save us all!

Plus, a shameless GK plug at Mind of Mog.

The Day Begins

Boots and Tess get ready to party — Musings has the details.

Added: The Egoist's Morris considers exactly which day he should be celebrating.

Higher and Higher

Idempotent has a kitty that really knows how to get high. (Pretty impressive, if you ask me.)

The WordOM

Pearl at OldController provides the navel. It's up to the rest of us to do the gazing.

I Am

... too irresistable. No, not me — Mind of Mog's Bazel, of course. Bonus: Blogging with Cats, and Tomorrow.

Never Blame the Rainbows For The Rain

Kitties of many colors, at Elms in the Yard.

"Life, Florida, Whatever." Whatever? How about a fine collection of critters?

New Horizons

Breaking news — Cat Graduates from Feline School of Massage Therapy! Film at 11.. no, the film is at Catnabbit!

Lovely To See You

There are two new catblogs by new-to-blogging Elaine, Cat Care Blog and Cat Health. Check them out.

And The Tide Rushes In

Hurry, don't be late! Late? Never, for Jelly Pizza!

For My Lady

Ping does even the very mundane for his lady, at Manx Mnews.

Talkin' Talkin'

At Sisu, Babe recharges before a diplomatic mission, and has an opinion on suppertime.

Vintage Wine

Oenophiles everywhere tremble before the wisdom of Cato.

Send Me No Wine

Thirsty kitty! No drinking problem there, that's for sure.

The Actor

Bella wonders about her motivation, at Tiny Bubbles.

Music and Cats... two of my favorite subjects. Lyra does an amazing Three Stooges impression.

Butterscotch is ready for his close-up, brought to you by Mensa Barbie.

Added: Laurence Simon's mighty hunter Nardo stars in Kitty Movie Monday 8. It sounds like a slasher movie to me — I'm sure the lizards think so, too.

The Voice

Beezer understands... especially when t-r-e-a-t-s are involved. I wonder if he can spell?

Eyes Of A Child

Texas Oasis shows us an adventurous youngster. Sort of reminds me of a certain cat of my sister's acquaintance.

My Little Lovely

Michael Turner presents the very lovely Tinker. Update: now with an added audio link. Cool.

Pixel and Pasha never cease to overwhelm with their adorableness.

TsuTsu may be the cutest little thing you'll see, thanks to Personal Financial Advice.

No, it's a tie! The babies at Composite Drawlings are just precious. And, what an adventure for the little guy!

Out And In

Mostly out in this post is Nosey, an indoor cat, exploring the porch.

The Story In Your Eyes

Betsy Cat exerts her will, while Pookie Cat takes a different tack to get her way, courtesy of El Capitan at Baboon Pirates.


At White Pebble, Lucy and Satchel are a bit under the weather. Hang in there, Patti. Mycah is a sugar-kitty, too, so I'm right there with you.

At Niobium, the Tale of the Tail. Or is the the Tail of the Tale? I can never keep that straight.

Dawning Is The Day

Happy "Gotcha Day," Rafe. And here's wishing you many happy returns.

Watching and Waiting

Just you try to get past LadyGunn's Sydney. I bet you can't.

Clover, Rhett, Nicky and Willow all pull their share of birdwatching duty.

Wherever You Are

After completing the labors of Hercules, Aloysius takes some time off to see the sights, at Catymology.

Slings And Arrows

Maddie and Ivy aren't quite bosom buddies. Yet.

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

K T Cat is hard at work at The Scratching Post. I wish I had such a great job.

Cats... couch potatoes? Say it isn't so! Well, I suppose it is so, as seen at Rosa's Yummy Yums.

Hakuna and Matata are excellent examples of felis recumbens. Plus, Matata has a good time, at Blog d'Elisson. IKEA is involved.

Miss Scarlett takes sitting to a new level of difficulty.

Rocket at KeeWee's Corner picks a perch and trains his humans.

Rondi's Orloff and Pushkin "debate" the merits of footstools.

Lazy Day

Even the Lord and Master of the Apartment A-203 likes to take a little time off.

Git a long little kitty! Mr. Gato demonstrates his summertime nap technique.


RTO hits the road, and Carlos hits the sack. Maggie Katzen has the proof.

Omnibus Driver misses her travelling companion. I would, too.

Veteran Cosmic Rocker

Elvis takes a bath. I imagine he does a better job than that guy from Graceland did.

Strange Times

When it comes to haberdashery, Chocolate Chip is a real helper.

At Val's Bien, we see that Bows knows how to turn a "Kodak moment" into a reminder of every elementary school class photo ever taken. What a show-off.

No More Lies

Bagheera asks a vital question. Think carefully before you answer, or you will have to face the wrath of Huckleberry.

I Know You're Out There Somewhere

Gryphon hides at Where The Dolphins Play. Such a master of camoflage. Sneaky kitty.

It's Up To You

And finally, at Watermark, Gracie recommends high quality reading material about our favorite subject. Hint: four legs, fur, and mouse-breath.

Someone is awful tired after all that. Not moody, not blue. Just tired... time for a nap....

Me, I'm just sorry to have kept you all waiting.

Thanks, all you catbloggers for participating, and thanks to all you who are visiting. Make cat blogs part of your daily or weekly routine!

And so, until The Day We Meet Again... take good care of yourselves and all your wonderful furballs.

Posted by Russ at 08:00 AM | Comments (8)
June 04, 2006
Target: Russ

So, it seems that spammers once again have made a nuisance of themselves, using whatever bots they use to hammer an mt-comments.cgi script I'd left laying around unsecured. My hosting company, the excellent LiquidWeb, did the smart thing and killed the account for a couple hours until the problem was resolved.

So now I'm back.

The Carnival of the Cats, which is usually a Sunday evening sort of thing, will be here Monday morning... because someone has to be the guy who works on Sunday evenings keeping the Internet running, and that guy happens to be me.

Posted by Russ at 02:09 PM
June 02, 2006
Queen of Her Domain

About 15 years ago, a kitten adopted my parents. She was full of energy, a real sparkplug, so it was only natural that her name would reflect that. She became "Bounce."

Bounce, with my Dad, 1991.

As such critters are wont to do, she grew up, and 15 years later remains a fixture at the family demesne.

Bounce, older and wiser. And lazier.

She is the queen of the extended Emerson family critter collection. Long may she reign.

I don't need to tell you to go see the Friday Ark, do I?

Monday, the Carnival of the Cats will be right here, hosted by me. I think I even have a workable theme. (It'll be a day later than usual because I'm at the office until late on Sundays.)

Posted by Russ at 04:49 PM | Comments (2)
June 01, 2006
Too Much is Never Enough

I may have to rethink my dislike of NPR, if they regularly come up with gems like this:

I believe in the art of generations of pit men working in relative obscurity to keep alive the craft of slow smoking as it's been practiced for as long as there's been fire. A barbecue cook must have an intimate understanding of his work: the physics of fire and convection, the hard science of meat and heat and smoke -- and then forget it all to achieve a sort of gut-level, Zen instinct for the process.
Oh, yeah.

There Is No Such Thing as Too Much Barbecue by Jason Sheehan, on "All Things Considered"

Posted by Russ at 01:22 PM