Wednesday, February 22, 2006

So, my boss is in India...

My boss is on a two-week vacation to India (about four days of which will be spent in airplanes or airports, lucky him.) Before he left, he let me know that the project I've been working on was delayed indefinitely. Being the conscientious employee that I am, I asked him for something else to do. But he left without ever answering my request, so I'm left to my own devices.

In a strange fit of boredom, my devices led me to do something productive, and make some much-needed enhancements to my indefinitely-delayed project. Unfortunately, in the middle of these changes, I found out that 'indefinitely' now means 'until yesterday'. Which meant that yesterday was a mad scramble to finish (and test, sort-of) these changes before the code freeze. Yet another example of how initiative is punished by Corporate America's lack of planning. Had I simply played on-line poker while pretending to work, I could have saved myself a lot of stress. Lesson learned!

Don't ask me how, but the US Hockey Team 'earned' a berth in the medal round by going 1-3-1 in the round robin. They'll be eliminated from the tournament today by the undefeated Finns, who have given up a whole two goals in five games. Meanwhile, our curlers have a semi-final match against Canada tonight! I'm nearly frothing at the mouth with excitement.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Caffeine, thou are my mistress

A day just isn't complete without 32 ounces of Mountain Dew (preferably frozen into slushee goodness.) But the sugar in that drink could make enough ethanol to fuel my car for a week. So occasionally I do try to skip a day, in the interest of preserving my girlish figure. And yesterday I nearly pulled it off...finally succumbing to my caffeine addicition and chugged down a can of Coke at 10pm.

Really interesting show on the History Channel last night about the tsunami of 2004. Yeah it's old news by now, but it was still fascinating. The force of the earthquake that caused the tsunami was so great that it effected the earth's rotation. The day of the tsunami was extended by almost three microseconds because the earth's rotation slowed when the plates shifted. The same amount of force could be achieved by approximately 10,000 strategically placed nuclear bombs.

Played hockey last night also, in the league I'm not suspended. We won 4-2, putting our record at 5-1-1. I'm real happy with our team success, but I wish I could say I was contributing more. Zero goals and zero assists this season. And my defense has been only mediocre, with too many mistakes sprinkled in otherwise decent play. Last night our goalie really came up big, covering up two major errors on my part. But at least my kids came to watch! My son's first question after the game: Daddy, why do you keep missing the goal so much?

The US Olympic hockey team lost twice this weekend 2-1, in spite of playing well. You wouldn't think a team like Slovakia would be littered with NHL stars, but they are. You can't say the US team is more talented than either team they lost to. Looks like they may miss the medal round, unlike the US men's curling team!

I'm off to Do the Dew.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Sucked in

This is really embarrassing...but I watched curling again last night. I keep telling myself that the interest is merely clinical: that I'm trying to figure out the rules to this, But I'm afraid that there's some deep, hidden interest bubbling to the surface.

As best I can tell, each team throws (slides) 10 rocks, alternating turns (each set of alternating throws is called an 'end'). The scoring is pretty much like bocce, in that you get one point for each rock you have closer to the target than any other rock of the opponent's. Whoever goes last has the 'hammer'.

The game seems to be a dreadfully boring series of 'guards' and 'clears', where one team lobs a stone in front of the target area to prevent the other team from hitting the target. The second team then slides a stone into that stone, clearing it out of the way. This cycle repeats itself until someone screws up, either coming up too short or too long on a guard, or someone misses a clear attempt. And it all comes down to the hammer throw in the tenth end, when you're actually done with guarding and clearing and now you attempt to score.

The US women lost to the Japanese in extra ends last night, in easily the worst display of curling I've ever witnessed (I've seen it twice now.) When the US men lost, it appeared to be an error in strategy. But these poor chicks couldn't hit whatever the hell they seemed to be aiming at. If any of you ladies harbor dreams of becoming an Olympic athlete, I'd strongly suggest you look into this sport.

Actually, the best part of curling is the hats the fans wear. No doubt the civilized world snickered at the first crude Americans to don cheeseheads, but bizarre foam hats now appear to be an international phenomenon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Easy target

Well the Winter Olympics are here again. That means it's time for an endless parade of curling jokes. And rather than simply piling on in an obvious way, I'll relate a conversation about curling that has my joke embedded within! Subtle and insidious.

Instead of my favorite stock-picking show last night, CNBC was airing the US-Finland curling match. Like a train wreck in super-slow motion, I had to watch a few minutes of it while dressing the kids for bed.

3-year-old son: Daddy, what are they doing?
Me: Playing a game called curling.
Son: What's curling?
Me: I don't have the foggiest idea, son. Apparently they slide rocks along the ice into other rocks.
Son: Why are they doing that?
Me: It's a game, invented by Canadians. After a long day of drinking beer and chasing moose through the snow, this is what they came up with.

At this point my lovely wife (Happy Valentine's Day, honey!) intervened and chastised me for bashing our neighbors to the north, especially in a historically inaccurate manner.

In case you're wondering, the US lost to the Finns 4-3, despite having the hammer rock in the fifth end. After bouncing their rock off another rock, which was an incredibly poor decision according to the announcers, both teams stood over the rocks and agreed that Finland won the match.

Speaking of easy targets, it turns out that Dick Cheney didn't have a license to hunt quail. Good thing he shot a lawyer instead, which actually counts as community service in Texas.

Bought a little Marvell Technologies today. If this doesn't work out, I'm going to consider playing poker with my retirement money. My returns can't get much worse!

Monday, February 13, 2006

In the box

Figured I'd start my blog off by telling you how incredibly tough I am. Because I'm only blogging to win your Internet admiration, whoever you are.

I play roller hockey in two amateur leagues. I don't have much skill...being 34, naturally slow, and learning late in life to skate. But it keeps me in shape more than falling asleep on the couch, plus I get to hit people without being thrown in jail!

One of the leagues I play in is supposed to be a casual, laid-back league. We've got three girls on our team, and there's a few other girls sprinkled around the other teams. Some jackass decided to get physical with one of our girls, actually knocking her down in front of the net. Surely there was a mature, level-headed way to react to this situation, but instead I jumped off the bench and clotheslined the guy. I crawled on top of him and was attempting to drive his face into the floor when the refs pulled me off. Four-game suspension.

That should bring my career total to eight suspensions. What's strange is that I keep getting suspended but it's always the other guy's fault.

Thanks to Jim Cramer, I'm either taking advantage of a great buying opportunity in the stock market, or I'm trying to catch a falling knife. As prices drop on oil-service giant Haliburton and Australian miner BHP Billiton, I pick up a few shares here and there. I'm betting these stocks are at $100 and $47 respectively within the year...but if I was any good at this game, I wouldn't need a job writing code for web sites.

Oh, and God bless Dick Cheney. Good thing those crazy liberals weren't successful taking his gun away, or he wouldn't have been able to fill his buddy's face full of .28 gauge birdshot! Way to keep the American Dream alive for all of us, Dick. Hey JC, want to go quail hunting?