I'm just a guy at a house

It's a long story. :)

I've been looking at lots of the photos over at Brandy Fletcher's blog in the last few minutes. These are some really great photographs. Outstanding. I like several in particular. There's a photo of a lady in a wedding dress, turned B&W, but with the flowers left yellow that I really like. I also like this one of a funny girl with a star over her eye, much further down on the page. That's just kewl. I wanted to link to the photos, but for some reason I couldn't and I didn't want to take copies. Oh well.

I've been playing Vector TD and enjoying it quite a lot. My high score on the first (easy) map: 3,794,972. Level 49!!! Dang, those yellows always kill me...


Well, we're almost done with HP and Deathly Hallows. It is really good. I'm still on the lookout for HP related stuff, and thus am putting up this letter seen in Jul 23, 2007 issue of Network World magazine. That is a very good trade publication that I get at work. Finally, my two loves Potter and Networking - together at last.

It's pretty amusing for the network guy that is also a Potter fan...it may just be confusing for others. Networking is a type of Wizardry, I think. That's why I'm in it!

Click here for a bigger version, or here for the original scan (big!).

This is ep 1 of my favorite, favorite, favorite anime series, Cardcaptor Sakura! OK world, let it be known far and wide that I love shōjo anime, particularly of the Magical Girl variety. And I'm not ashamed of it. :p

I just adore Sakura-chan!

I've watched all 70 episodes (subtitled of course, never dubbed) (and certainly never the Americanized tish version they called Cardcaptors) and both movies, plus I'm almost finished reading the manga version if I can just track down #5. I've gotten the wrong number 5 from the library twice now. Hehe.

Other anime that I like: Maburaho, Ranma 1/2, Elfen Lied, Fushigi Yuugi, Outlaw Star, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ceres Celestial Legend. When I was a kid and before I knew what anime was, I loved Space Battleship Yamato (aka Star Blazers) and Voltron.

I swung by Jack in the Box yesterday morning for my favorite thing to eat for breakfast - Breakfast Jacks! With the egg, and ham, and yummy cheese all on a soft bun, I could just eat them all day.

So, I get to the menu board and here's what I see:

(click any to zoom)

Amazing! Jack's menu board display uses Windows CE!

I was impressed. That's pretty cool.

I wasn't impressed by the fact that some dopey tech had put the same static IP address on the menu display and on some other device, though. How dumb can you be? Hehe.

Looks like fun to me...

"In March, a strange virus felled large swaths of the tech blogosphere. Well, it wasn't exactly a virus -- it was actually a Flash game, but one so giddily addictive that it would destroy, for days and weeks at a time, the productive capacities of anyone in its path...Desktop Tower Defense"

Play Vector TD now - read more - digg story

The end of analog broadcast TV, that is. Don't know what that means? Well, read up! It basically means that if you use one of those old timey TV antennas, you will be outta luck come February 19, 2009. That's only 574 days away!

My advice, don't rush out to buy a brand new TV now. In the like year and a half before then TVs will get better and go down in price. No worries. You don't really have to have a new TV anyway unless yours is 10 years old and doesn't have a digital tuner. How do you know if you're OK...well, I dunno. I guess you wait until Feb 19th and see what happens. :)

Everyone should read this!

It is just another example of the severe paranoia that seems to be gripping even the lowliest of our uniformed people. The author's reference to the excesses of the Soviet era sound right on to me. Transparency Now!

I got a spam this morning that made me giggle. This is so stupid. Do they really think anyone is going to open this trash?

Stupid Spammers!

I've been watching the neat videos at Potter Puppet Pals, a fun site.

They have cute animated icons like this one that I've been enjoying! I'm going to link to them!

I've also decided that I'm not even going to look for Potter things like the Marauders Map on the net. I read a spoiler that I didn't want to. :(

I was talking with someone (I can't remember who) the other day about the Potter movies and their directors. I was under the false impression that all 5 had different directors, so I went and looked it up.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - David Yates
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Mike Newell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Alfonso Cuaron
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Chris Columbus
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - Chris Columbus

Though I've enjoyed the movies immensely, I think #1 and #5 have been the best. I really liked Chris Columbus's style and respect to the original story in Sorcerer's Stone. That ran over into #2, which I also liked, but I didn't think it was as good as Stone. Prisoner was a departure from Columbus's style which I didn't like so much. I was not happy to see the kids put in jeans and T-shirts, and that kind of turned me off to this movie. I know that Emma was pushing for that, but let me just say phoo to that. I LOVED the ending credits made to look like the [Warning! Book 7 spoilers] Marauder's Map though. Goblet was, I think, the most disappointing of the films to date. Soooo much was taken out and changed for the film version, and the highest affront to me is changing the near-perfect tales that JKR has produced. Movie 4 sped through the book, leaving out tons of great backstory, changing details to meet the desires of the movie-makers, and just generally leaving me with a feeling that it was more for the money than the storytelling.
I just have to say thank god for David Yates. This guy must have worked with Chris Columbus or something, because to me the old magic of movie #1 was back with Order of the Phoenix. I'm am so, so, so happy to see that he's also on board for the 2008 release of Half-Blood Prince. I expect fully that it will be as good as Order's movie. (The Half-Blood Prince movie will release Nov 18th, 2008, according to FilmSpot, but the 21st according to IMDB. Suffice it to say that I'll be happily sitting in a midnight show sometime in Nov of next year.) (On IMDB, the "buzz" over the HBP movie has increased 900% since last week. Oooh!)

So, while I may complain a little about the execution of the movies, I do own all the DVDs and have enjoyed each several times. I'm so very happy that #1 was great (because hey, it's the first!) and that #5 was great (since that's my favorite of the books.)

We're finally back from getting Harry Potter book 7. Yay! I'm so excited.

When we entered #6 Bookstore Drive, oh, I mean Barnes & Noble, we were sorted by a nice lady with a hat and directed to a table to get our reserve ticket. We got there about 10:45, so we got a relatively late pickup ticket, but I figured they had PLENTY of copies and wasn't too worried. We checked in, and thanks to Jen, were on the list of pre-reserves.


We went on in and strolled around a bit before getting our photy-graph taken.

World's Worst Picture

Most assuredly one of the worlds worst photographs of all time, but I can laugh about it. Where's Brendan? Oh, cowering in the vicinity of Jen's ankles. Little rat!

Then we made our way to the Children's area where we knew there were some benches to sit on. We pretty much just sat there and did nothing until time. Bren and I made a circuit of the store once just to see who we could see, and I picked this up. There were a few really good costumes, but I didn't take any pics of them.

The Harry Potter 7 Handout

Here's a pic of Brendan clowning.

Brendan at Potter Night

And one of Andy.

Andy at Potter Night

We chatted with some nice folks while we were sitting. Andy went to one lady and got bounced on her knee for a while, so that was cool. Bren kind of hovered on the edge of a small group of kids, but didn't really interact.

We also had a nice chat with a lady and her 11-year-old-maybe daughter. The daughter Katelyn was a big fan, and we had a good time talking to her. Her brother Andrew was in line and I talked to him briefly later, only to introduce our Andy to him. He was happy and tweaked little Andy's cheek. :)

When it was time, we got in line, and I have to compliment Flourish and...oh I mean Barnes & Noble: they had line directors, and people always telling you where to go. The checkout was prompt and organized, then out we went to the car with book in hand!

Earlier in the evening we had made a tough choice: JKR was reading the first chapter online from London and we decided who better to hear it from than her. So, we'd heard the entire first chapter before we got the book and just started with chapter 2. Here she is at the reading. I've been looking for a copy of that video, but it is only on Scholastic's website as far as I can tell.

J.K. Rowling with Book 7

Thank you JKR. We love your work.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! Less than *six* hours left until we get our hot little hands on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Hurry up, hurry up!

Bren calls Smashmouth's All-Star "Shrek Song". He sings it all the time now. He makes up lots of the words, but he has the tune down!

It's very cute.

[Update]: We may be banned from further listening to this song. I just played it and Bren loves it so much that he thrashes and headbangs while it plays. I was sitting on the floor participating when he ran full speed toward me from 5 feet away. I turned my head away since he scared me so badly and he rammed his face into the side of my head. I heard a sickening crunch and would have sworn that his nose was broken. I screamed "Help, Jen" (yeah, I'm a baby) and we found that he had almost knocked out his upper right front tooth on my head. It was bleeding and loose, but it didn't come out, thankfully. Brendan was in shock it seemed for about 30 minutes. He wouldn't talk and was just sprawled on the floor alternately crying and quivering. It really tore me up, but Jen as always was the voice of reason and looked up "tooth injury" online. He's OK now, but I sure don't feel like playing that song very much anymore...

I had an amusing set of phone conversations this evening.

"Ring, Ring"
Me: Hello.
Caller: Is this Pizza Time?
M: No.
C: Ok.

1 Minute, "Ring, Ring"
M: Hello.
C: Is this Pizza Time?
M: No.
C: Do you have the number?
M: No.
C: Who is this?
M: I'm just a guy at a house. (Tee Hee Hee...it's been months since I've gotten to use my tagline!)
C: Huh?
M: I'm just a guy at a house.
C: Who is this? What's your name?
M: I'm not gonna tell you my name; What's your name?
C: Carla, what's yours?
M: Joe.
C: Ok.

3 Minutes, "Ring, Ring"
M: Hello again Carla.
C: Is Joe there?
M: Yeah, that's me.
C: Joe Momma?

Me and Jen laughed our butts off and were sure she was going to call back again, but she didn't. :( I was all ready too with "Pizza Time, would you like to order our Carla special" or in a deep voice "Pizza Time, can I help you......hahahahahahah JUST KIDDING!"

Oh well. That was my fun for the night. [grin]

I'm happy. Over the past few days, I've solved problems for several people and they have said "I love you, Darrell!"

And they weren't Jen...Oooh! :)

I've spent about 45 minutes total this week working for the scientific betterment of humanity. No, I haven't been signing up to donate my body to science, I've been working on classifying galaxies at Galaxy Zoo. It's fun to do something useful. While Seti at Home is great, this is a little more hands-on.

I really enjoyed Order of the Phoenix. I can't remember the last time I went to a midnight show, but it was so worth it. We got there early, about 11:45 and were sent to the "third theater on your left" which was marked as the 12:15 show. I don't know why because our tickets were 11:59, but oh well. We got in and the theater wasn't packed, but it was filling. I think they had it on 3 or 4 screens.

It was fun listening to people. We sat in the front row, as always, and turned around to watch people and listen to banter. Some of em were calling trivia questions back and forth. Now, I consider myself to be quite the HP fan, and most of these things were so obscure that I didn't even know them. (Snape's street where his house is? Professor Sprout's first name?). After a while of this going on, some guy stands up (in jest) and yells "You guys are all nerds! There, I said it." And we all laughed. More waiting and watching people and chatter. Then at one point someone behind us said something about Hedwig, and Jen lifted up our beautiful stuffed version which she had brought along just for fun (I only wore my HP 4 Big Dogs Shirt (Harry Pawter and the Goblet of Fur)) . That same yeller from before said pretty loudly, "Hey your nerdiness has been trumped by the girl that brought the owl!!!" Jen and I had a good laugh at that one!

So finally the previews played, lots of good ones, and then the movie. I was really happy with the way it turned out. There weren't drastic changes from the book, which makes me happy. There were lots of things omitted - mostly small things, though. All in all, I think this was the best one since the first one. They did a great job on it. I say two thumbs up!

We got back to the car at 2:49 am and sped home to sleeping boys. Thanks to Mimi and Papa for letting us have a date night!!! :)

Ohmigod! Order of the Phoenix was great. I love, love, loved it. Awesome!!! I can't wait to see it again. Have to sleep now...

Some of the comments on the Dilbert Blog are really funny. Others are just right-on. Like this, which describes my consulting fairly well...in response to "describe your job in one sentence."

"I fix the computers of people that shouldn't be allowed to own computers."

Scott Adams can be damn funny when he's really on an up day...

Bah!!!! Nothing! OK, maybe I'm a little more anxious than I'm letting on. Hehe. Waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting...........

Well, since I am off Mondays in the summer, I had a consulting job lined up this morning. I was going to move a small office to a new space, but unfortunately the new space is not ready, so the move is off for today. That's OK, though. I'll get er done.

I've been goofing off for a while to (hopefully) give the bank lady time to answer emails. I'm going to check my email now and hopefully I'll have some kind of an encouraging response. The wait is driving Jen nuts, and I'm beginning to get antsy too.

On the upside, we've got 11:59 pm tickets for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix tomorrow night. I'm really stoked! This is my favorite book. I hope they do it justice.

Ok, now to email. Be right back.

Come on!!! Hurry up!

I had no idea we were even voting on the New 7 Wonders of the World. Man, I woulda voted!!!

According to CNN:

The new seven wonders of the world were named Saturday following an online vote that generated server-crushing traffic in its final hours.

The final tally produced this list of the world's top human-built wonders:
• The Great Wall of China
• Petra in Jordan
• Brazil's statue of Christ the Redeemer
• Peru's Machu Picchu
• Mexico's Chichen Itza pyramid
• The Colosseum in Rome
• India's Taj Mahal


Before the vote ended Friday, organizers said more than 90 million votes had been cast for 21 sites. Voting at the Web site, www.new7wonders.com, ended at 6 p.m. ET Friday. Traffic was so heavy Friday that the site was crashing at times.

What is awesome to me is that we are making strides toward global opinion polling. I think that is so cool. While this kind of online vote obviously leaves out tons of people from the polling, I'd like to think that it takes a fair sample at least of those people who are familiar with world events. I think one day, it will be a normal occurrence to be able to go online every day and take part in things like this. Thank you, organizers dudes.

I just found something in our cleaning that I wanted to write down.

In 1992, I took 2nd place in UIL accounting at District, and 5th place at regional.

That's what I got my letter jacket for. Those were really fun trips!

We've been working our butts of in anticipation of me getting the bank job!

We're cleaning house and going thru things that are stored so that we can have a garage sale. Mom and Jen have been cleaning and painting a little and emptying out closets. I have actually pared down my never-used CD collection by about 1/3. The others are ones that I really like and proooomise that I'll listen to. I may even, no, I will even let go of some of my books. I have some I haven't read or just don't want to keep any more. That's the theme of this move it seems: downsize.

Oh, and by the way, we've not heard anything back from the bank. Jen and mom: going nuts. Me: getting a little anxious. I just want to eat pizza.

Mom and I worked on the front lawn today and I hurt my back a little. So I showered and then came back to the big room. The last thing I remember was lying on the floor with Andy rolling around near me and then *crash*! I woke up with a note next to me that they went to HEB (grocery store) and that was it. It was a good therapeutic nap. I dreamed about a new open-front coke machine like they used to have back in the day (everything old is new again, ya know). A guy was with me trying to figure out how to scam the machine so I told him my dear old dad's trick - and I fully believe in dad having done this - take the top off the bottle and suck the soda out with a straw! Hahahahahahaha.

I love the net!!!!!

It lets me watch things like the Live Earth Japan concert live.

I love you, Internet. XX OO

I love interesting numbers - like 07-07-07. What a neat day. :-)

I just contacted my cell phone provider and got this email back:

Thank you for using Corporate Account Support via Sprint online.

We have received your request. A Corporate Support Specialist will reply to your request within 48 hours.

Thank you for contacting Sprint where our customers come first.

Corporate Accounts Support

Weh-he-he-lll now! And just how do they guarantee that the customer will come first, I wanna know? :p

I have heard from a couple of people that Texas now bans cell phone use while driving. I haven't been able to substantiate this, but here's a good list of info that I found. It looks up-to-date judging by the review date at the bottom.

Cell Phone Laws

A holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said,Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.'The Lord led the holy man to two doors. He opened one of the door and the holy man looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew which smelled delicious and made the holy man's mouth water.

The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful, but because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths.

The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering.The Lord said, 'You have seen Hell.'

They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one. There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man's mouth water. The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and happy, laughing and talking.

The holy man said, 'I don't understand.'

It is simple' said the Lord, 'it requires but one skill. You see, they have learned to use the long-handled spoon to feed each other, and in so doing they all experience nourishment and happiness, while the greedy think only of themselves and in so doing become impoverished.'

I heard this when I was a kid (my 8th grade graduation speaker told it) and it has been with me ever since. It pretty much governs my life, now that I think of it. I make others happy and solve their problems, thereby making myself happy. It's a good story to remember. :) I'm thankful that one of my nun buddies sent it to me in my email today.

Last Monday July 2nd, I traveled to Denton Texas to interview to the position of IT Systems Administrator at a bank. I was very excited and still am. I was very honest and up-front with them about salary requirements, and that didn't seem to bother them, so there's a double plus.

It seems like almost all the things they want in a person, I have. I don't know much about Linux, but I can learn. I met first with the HR director, a nice lady and had all the standard interview questions. Strengths = reliability and getting the job done, weaknesses = being too busy to keep my office clean. That didn't seem to bother her too much. I enjoyed chatting with her. Then I was handed off to the guy that would be my boss. Nice guy too. We hit it off immediately. He's around my age, has the same kind of glasses that I do, and a little darker hair but his is a lot shorter than mine. Basically he's a taller thinner version of me. We had the same kind of personality too, I think. We talked for maybe an hour and a half, I guess. It was great fun. I've never enjoyed an interview so much. I've always been nervous before, but not this time. I think that's because I'm not desperate for a job. I was relaxed and enjoyed the time there. I was there for a total of two and a half hours, by the way. The whole time mom and Bren were in the car waiting for me; we didn't expect a 2.5 hr interview! :) Anyway, I had a great chat with the boss-to-be and then was handed off to his boss, the Chief Operations Officer. Oh, I forgot to mention that this bank with nine branches operates their entire IT on THREE IT staff and a summer intern. I was flabbergasted!!! That's so small. I'm used to 18 techs, all very specialized. Of course, their financial data management is outsourced to FISERV, which apparently a lot of smaller banks do. So at least I wouldn't be responsible for financial data. That's definitely good. That's serious shit, being in charge of people's financial info. I don't want that yet. So anyway, I had a good chat with the COO, he was nice and very complimentary of the b-t-b. He did mention that b-t-b had some maturing to do, which I'm not sure if that was told me me because I seemed more mature or what, but anyway, that's OK. After I finished talking to that guy, I was handed back to the HR lady. She basically thanked me and said that she had just sent me an email with a two hour test that they give to prospective hires. I said I'd work on it right away when I got home. Wow! I figure this test has to cost them money to administer, and they wouldn't waste money if they weren't serious about hiring me. So I'm excited. :) :) :)

Other things I remember now that I don't want to go to the trouble to write into the above:
1) B-t-b has a blackberry and alluded to the fact that I'd get one too. Cool. I think it was one of the AT&T models.
2) Health insurance only $45 per month for the employee, with an additional cost for the family.
3) Dental and, I think, vision included.
4) Vacation after a year. Maybe a week of it; cant' remember. 5 sick days, two personal days, and all the holidays that the FED observes. That's OK, but not as good as the Catholics. Praise god! Hehe.
5) Runs exchange (my love), BES Server (Exchange's best friend), roaming profiles (cool), group policy (know a little about), Terminal Services (dunno much about), SQUID web proxy (dunno much about), Windows 2000 and XP on the desktops (OK), some kind of tape backups (OK). They are moving from (get this) Win2K on the desktops to XP just now. No Vista there (except on my desk, I gare-on-tee that). They like stability, but I call that a tad behind. They should have gone to XP maybe two years ago or something, but I can deal. If I do say so myself, I'm a goddamn good XP troubleshooter. :)
6) Don't know if they use Ghost or what, but I need to learn that ASAP.
7) I'd be officed out of the Corinth branch, which would be OK. See? Mom, Dad, Brother and almost all my family live up near Gainesville and Lindsay.

8) It would be a nice change of pace.

They liked me and I liked them. I hope I get the job. We'd probably live with Mom & Dad for a while to pay off bills. [As a side note, I blame myself for our financial woes, but I also blame the credit cards companies for marketing so heavily to college students like I was when I got my first one.] I hate to do that, but the benefits far outweigh my dislike. Jen will have company, Bren could go to preschool at the very school I went to K-8 at, plus we'd save a ton of money. I'd have to drive about 45 minutes to work though, and I'd have shitty Internet. Doh! Lots of podcasts I guess on that drive. I suppose I could stand that, but I won't do it for more than 3 months. We will get an apartment or rent a house after that. I insist. I won't be one of those people that lives with mom and dad for a long time. Besides, there's no recycling there. I'll die every time I throw a plastic bottle away. :(

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

I used to make voice records on my phone to remind me of stuff. I had to stop because it filled up and I never could remember to clear them off. Finally I have started and one of the things that I was reminding myself of was that early in Brendan's pizza-eating years, we called Pepperoni "circle pizza". One day jen asked him if he wanted circle pizza, and he said, "No, I want TRI-angle pizza." Hehehe.

Me, briefly

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North Texas, Texas, United States

This is the story
of a man named Darrell
who was working
and bringing up a family.

This is the story
of his lovely family
with 3 kids and wife
all at home.

We're a happy family!
Yes, we're a happy family!


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