Archive for February, 2007

Twin Display action. For clean, close shave, every time!

I like my computer. It has issues occasionally, sure, but on the whole, it’s a darn good machine, one I’ve been very happy with.

I’ve never had a monitor as big as mine now, at 19″. And really, I never knew how cool it was until I got mine. I mean, I had a huge amount of space to work with here. A maximized window on this screen looks huge, and it’s caused me problems sometimes with formatting stuff in my blog here. I’ll seem to have plenty of space to post a big picture on this screen, but when I view it on a more standard size monitor, the picture will be much bigger and push down my profile information to WAAAY below all the posts (on Conflagration) or make it so you have to horizontally scroll over to view the whole pic and consequently the rest of the post (on Xanga). I don’t like that, it annoys me to have to be constantly doing that on any website, so on my own that I take some amount of pride in, I can’t have it. So I had to get used to checking it on smaller resolutions to make sure that didn’t happen, and make pics into thumbnails if it did.

Have you ever taken a look at your video card? Check the back of your PC and look at the exterior of it. If you’re not sure which part it is, basically check to see what your monitor cable is plugged in to. You might see that you have 2 slots on that card and wonder why. Well, that’s so you can plug in a second monitor. And if you do that, you can basically have an extra monitor space. I’ve seen people at work who have a laptop dock with a second monitor connected to it, so they can use both the laptop screen and the monitor. I’ve always wanted to try this out.

So…I did. And holy CRAP is it awesome. Click this bad boy

I got the same model monitor as my original monitor, on sale at Newegg.com. It came in on Friday, and I was muchly eager to hook this up and start having 2 desktops.

However it seems as though God decided to give me another healthy dose of “Strength through adversity”. Because after several long hours of trying to configure my desktop settings, my second monitor was doing nothing but sitting there receiving no signal from my card.

So finally I just decided to step away from it, metaphorically speaking. Needing to let go of some frustration, I fired up World of Warcraft. My primary monitor worked fine, after all. So I got on, and a guild mate by the name of Tharduk (real name Mike) asked me to group with him and 3 other people I didn’t know for a dungeon called the Shadow Labyrinth. I agreed. Now, bear in mind, I’ve completed Shadow Labyrinth several times before. I know what to expect, what the strategies are for each encounter. It’s a difficult dungeon, but it can be done with some work.

We did not fare well. We completely wiped out (meaning all of the group died) many many times, and when we got to the final boss, we could not finish him. I had to pay numerous amounts of in game gold to repair my armor. And somewhere in the midst of the frustration which I had only begin playing to escape in the first place, I realized I had forgotten to eat dinner. Sigh.

It was about midnight when we finally decided we could not kill this last boss, so I logged out and went in search of some dinner. Jack in the Box, I knew, was open that late, and I hadn’t had that in a while. So I go and get a Sourdough Jack and a couple of their tacos. Being VERY hungry as you can well imagine, I tried to eat the tacos while driving home. Normally this is not a difficult task, I’ve gotten rather adept at it, mostly during college. However, these tacos were bound and determined not to cooperate with me. The result? I have hot sauce from the tacos all over my shirt and my mouth, the latter of which is now burningly hot.

Brandon is not happy. And he is still not able to get that monitor working.

I log back into WoW to see if Andy is online, perhaps he has some idea as to how to fix this. He’s not, but one of my fellow Mages in the guild is, a guy with the character name Flocker. I know Flocker pretty well, he’s a smart guy, and I know that like me, he is something of a computer afficionado. So I ask him for advice. I describe my problem and what exactly’s happening, and he seems convinced the issue is with my video card drivers. I have my doubts about this, because I was certain I had updated them as part of my previous attempts, but I headed online and found the latest drivers, uninstalled the old ones, and installed away.

And lo and behold, it works now. I have double the desktop space I did before. I don’t know why my previous update didn’t do the trick, but here we are. Very sweet.

Here’s a couple of pictures of me from last weekend in Waco. The first is of me and Josh, the second me and Richard Walter. I would have one of me and Chris Stone, but he doesn’t want his picture taken when he doesn’t have his goatee, which he can’t wear on account of his job. Which sucks. The whole pre-conceived notion that people have that facial hair doesn’t look professional is probably one of the more stupid things I think exist today. I suppose it would make sense for the food service industry, but anywhere else, if I had an prospective employer tell me that I would have to shave if I were to be hired, I’d be a lot less willing to work for them. Thankfully it’s not something I have to deal with at Bell. Sorry, kinda ranted there for a bit. Here’s the pics!

Church tomorrow! And I suppose I should be at the raid tomorrow as well, I skipped today’s to have lunch with Nan, Uncle Mike, Tammy, and Ryan. I hadn’t seen them in quite a while, and besides, Red Lobster is good stuff.

Workin’ at Plant 5 is going well, though rumors are constantly swirling around that we’re all gonna move back to Hurst, which would make the entire move and shuffling of people completely unnecessary in the first place. Someone didn’t plan very well when they decided to do this. At this point, though I’m still caught up in that awkward learning point of not really being sure how to handle a majority of my new duties that come with buying a new commodity, I frankly like working at 5 a lot. We have our own little area, away from the polictics and other crap of the upper management, we all get along good and have some fun while working, and being able to go out and get food from nearby restaraunts is a big plus. I likes me sammiches that I bring, but it’s nice to have variety too, and Bell cafeterias aren’t exactly in the tasty department. My own personal feelings aside, I don’t think it makes any sort of sense to move us back, for a lot of reasons. Guess Monday will bring some answers. I hope!

Okay, time to read some. Night.

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Code Monkey like Chili Cheese Fritos, actually

The song is called “Code Monkey” by Jonathan Coulton. For the past year, Jonathan Coulton has released a song every week through his fabulous Thing A Week podcast. He makes his songs available via the Creative Commons license, which enables projects such as this video. Go to http://www.jonathancoulton.com for more

The video is made from composite images and animations in World of Warcraft by Mike “Spiff” Booth, program manager at Adobe. And it’s fantastic

Look up user “Spiffworld” on Youtube for more Spiff videos of Jonathan Coulton songs made using WoW.

David has himself a nice job in Houston, which is proving to be stressful on him, so lets pray for the guy, eh?

Work is going okay for me, been at training the past 2.5 days and thus completely away from my desk. So I played catch up all afternoon, which was painful in its own way.

Went to Waco this past weekend. I’m going to be a groomsman in Chris Stone’s wedding. And probably something in Josh’s wedding, though what exactly he doesn’t have set in stone (heh). Which is very cool. Had an absolute blast. The Nintendo Wii is hugely fun. Even my Mom wants to play it. Which is very weird, as she never plays video games. The Street Fighter comics are beautiful pieces of work and I want the Ultimate Collection. Go watch that video again!

First day at the new facility

Before I get into the topic at hand, let me just say this: Why did I not have a clue that the book Star Wars: Allegiance was even being written, much less was out in hardback??? It’s a TIMOTHY ZAHN Star Wars novel. That alone should have me counting down til the release date! And I didn’t even see it coming! But I found it, or rather Mom did, and I’ve read it, and it’s VERY very good. It takes place chronologically right after the events of the first Star Wars movie, and deals with Luke, Han, and Leia dealing with making the Rebellion stronger, a group of stormtroopers who desert after not having any faith in the Empire after they blew up Alderaan, and what Zahn’s most popular character, Mara Jade, was doing during this whole time period. It’s mostly Mara, which is fine with me, because she’s a great character and the future wife of Luke Skywalker. Anyway, it’s great. Go read it if you want.

So, yeah, here it is. Day 1 at the new Plant located in Grand Prairie, TX, right off Hwy 360, not all that far from Six Flags over Texas.

It’s funny, when you’re a kid, and you take a family trip to Six Flags or Hurricane Harbor, it seems so far away because you’re so looking forward to getting there, and the drive can’t be short enough. Now working so close to them, it’s somewhat shocking that it really doesn’t take all that long to get there.

Case in point: Anticipating a good deal of traffic both on I-20 and Hwy 360, I left the house at 6:30, giving myself a good hour and a half to get there. I arrive at the Plant, find the building I work at, and clock in at about 7:14. 46 minutes early. Sigh. And I just know if I try to give myself another 30 minutes to get ready or sleep, I’ll run into super-heavy traffic and be late. I’m seriously contemplating switching my shift from 8-4:30 to 7-3:30. That’ll mean I miss a lot of the traffic and minimize the time I spend on the road, which is always a good thing. Downside is I have to get up earlier, which thus means going to bed earlier. But I can adjust and get used to that.

So what did I do today? Um…I adjusted…really. I was buying hardware (think nuts and bolts, simplified), which is usually not something designed purely by Bell; a lot of it is industry-standard part numbers. Now I buy forgings, which are all Bell-designed parts. So we have to get suppliers approved to make certain parts. These things for a lot of reasons are MUCH more expensive than little pieces of hardware. There are a lot less part numbers I have to keep track of, but it’s more critical that they meet our manufacturing schedule, and since they’re so much more expensive, I have to get a lot more paperwork when I write up a purchase order. Gotta be accountable when you’re spending government money after all.

So there are 2 of us buying forgings, me and a guy named Michael Suarez. I got to meet Michael today; he seems like a pretty nice guy. I haven’t met my direct supervisor yet, because they haven’t moved him from the old plant to here. Frankly, when they refitted this temporary building we’re in, they didn’t give him a spot! So another supervisor, named Brian Shagena (who WAS going to be my boss before they suddenly decided to make me buy forgings) came by and showed me what working in the forgings group was like. What tools to use, what to do on a day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month basis, that sort of thing. However, a lot of the specifics that I need to get started, he left for after lunch, and then never came back. I sent him an email asking a couple of questions and never heard back. My guess is he got busy with something and forgot which isn’t uncommon. He’ll probably be here tomorrow morning telling me what happened and helping me get started.

In actuality, I found out that Brian had been working this desk anyway, because the guy who I essentially took all the work from had been out on medical leave, so Brian was handling it for him until he came back, and then senior management made all these changes. So I’ve more or less inherited all this work from him, and thanks to Brian, it’s in very good shape, so I can take my time to learn all the nuances and not get behind at all.

So I got my desk mostly arranged how I like it, though I need to add some personal touches, like my binary clock and that sort of thing. I took all that home because I didn’t want the movers to move all that and risk them damaging my personal stuff. But for the most part, it looks pretty good. It’s very weird working in a temporary building; I actually have to go outside and into another temporary building to punch the clock, buy a drink from the machine, or use the bathroom. The cafeteria is a pretty long walk through the plant to the other side of the grounds almost. Apparently it’s ok to leave the facility and go get some food from a fast food place or even a restaurant.

So do I like it? Well, too soon to tell really. I think it might be good, especially if when me and Dave get a place, we get one around here or someplace that would enable me to avoid the traffic (by going South on 360, rather than north, for example)

Hey, if you’re in Waco, and you’re reading this, you’re probably missing the Bmatt (which is to say the two of you who I’ve managed to wrangle into reading this). Well guess what. Miss no more. I’m comin’ to say heya. And also most likely cause mayhem. I like mayhem. More potent than mischief, not as evil as random destruction.

All righty, I’m out. Til next time. Or possibly rhyme. Probably not crime. With just a hint of lime. And it won’t cost ya a dime.

Sorry, couldn’t resist!

EDIT: When I said I was coming to say heya, I kind of just meant for the weekend. Yeah. Not coming back permanently. Not ruling it as never happening, but if it does, that isn’t gonna happen yet.

More ELR madness

Heya folks, welcome back to another edition of…um…well…Conflagration I suppose, unless you’re just reading this from my xanga, which is really Conflagration but without all the cool links on the side, my cool little “About the author” page which I put together myself, a nifty pic of Yoda looking cool, and a random music lyric on the title page in lieu of the word “Conflagration”.

That was probably needlessly over-explanatory, but I’M usually needlessly over-explanatory, so it works!

I’m supposed to move to my new facility and begin my new responsibilities next week. I’m not really excited about it, given that it’s a smaller environment and a lot of the friends I’ve made here (if only workplace ones) won’t be there as well. I doubt the job will be any more or less difficult, but we’ll see for sure once I get down there.

Oh, and I want to mention that I was a thrice-call-in to the latest episode of the ExtraLife Radio podcast again this week. For the show’s introduction, they played a little promo for the show I did in my “Old Man Franks” voice where I repeatedly got the name of the show wrong (on purpose). During the middle of the show, they played a call of mine where I asked an ethics question in relation to the weather. And lastly, the end of the show is usually a compilation of calls that were somewhat amusing, but didn’t fit in the show anywhere. A THIRD call of mine was played then as well. So go listen to the show. If you have iTunes, search for ExtraLife Radio in the podcast section and get the latest show, episode 124. It’s completely free, and tremendously funny. If you DON’T have iTunes, go to www.myextralife.com and check out the blog, the latest episode is available from there for download as well.

Jeff Deonarine is a cool cool guy. He knows why. If he reads this, that is. Heh.

I was gonna do a rant about stupid men who do stupid things in the bathroom, but it’s probably not something to be discussed in polite conversation, or a public blog. So I’ll just call this one good and go back to listening to music and playin’ WoW. Night gang.

Peter, I can FLY!

So I hit level 70 on my mage on Sunday. When you get to level 70, one of the things you can buy is this new mount seen here in this pic (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

I can picture what you’re thinking now. “Awww…he’s kinda cute. Little blue guy with a mane….and a stinger…uh, okay…..hey are those WINGS?”

Why yes, yes they are. This particular mount is notable for his ability to FLY!!

Man, it’s really hard to explain just how cool this is. I mean, before the expansion pack came out, you could talk to a flight master in a city and then you’d get to ride one of these guys to wherever you wanted to go, but the computer controlled it. You basically had to sit back and watch until it was over. With this guy, you can actually CONTROL the flight. You can fly overhead and see all the terrain, and just admire all the details in the graphical design. The scenery in this game is really incredible, the developers put a lot of work into making you feel like you’re in whatever environment you’re supposed to be in at the moment.

The above screenshot is of an ancient city nestled in the hills of a big forest. While I was taking it, I kept singing the chorus to Kutless’s song “Somewhere in the Sky” which is actually a really really good song, by the way.

I’m trying to think of a name for this new mount of mine, which by the way is a creature called a “wyvern” or more commonly just a “windrider”. I dunno why I want to name him, it’s not something I can display in the game at all, I just like to.

Anyway, off to bed, cause it’s back to work in the morrow.

“I’m soaring now, somewhere in the sky. The rush of air, never wanting to come down. There’s nothin’ that I’ve ever felt like learning how to flyyyyyyyyyyy…learning how to fly…..”

This quote made me very happy following the big game.

This is a quote from Tony Dungy, head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, in his speech accepting the Lombardi Trophy following the Colts 29-17 defeat of the Bears in Super Bowl XLI. Lovie Smith is the head coach of the Chicago Bears.

“I’m proud to represent African-American coaches, to be the first African-American coach to win this. But more than anything, Lovie Smith and I aren’t just the first African-American coaches, but Christian coaches showing you can win doing it the Lord’s way. And we’re more proud of that.”

Amen, sir.

Super Bowl Sunday

GO COLTS!

That is all.