Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dude Seriously.

There are tons of terms that seem to come and go. In the 60s you had "Man" and "Groovy". In the 70s we were given "Dude", "Foxy", and "You know". Ahhh the 80s, it was then we were given the Valley girl, with terms like "Bitchn", "gag me with a spoon", and "Totally". Now some of these terms and lasted, and some have not. Recently we had the term "Bling". Which was popularized to the point where it became uncool to use it. MTV even had a small commercial where they officially retired it. I guess that's how most of these slang terms go. Why though? Why do some terms seem to endure and some fad away. "Dude", "Man", and "You Know" sticks around to this day. I'm wondering if it's because of who was expected to be using these terms. I remember in 6th grade my teacher hated the term "You know". He stated you could always tell when someone was being interviewed, if they were well educated or not, as they'd use this term frequently. He'd say, "No, I don't know, that's why your telling me". That may have contributed to some of these terms sticking around. They wouldn't be used that often in amongst the middle to upper class and therefore stay "cool". That and they were what I'd call soft slang. They weren't too overboard with breaking from normal speech, and now have been adopted into our everyday language. One in particular I can't wait to go away that is now becoming popular is "on Steroids". I'm soooo very tired of this term. You hear it all the time to describe things that have tons of features added or are overgrown, "it's like your TV on steroids". It's just getting used too much for me and now annoys me when it's used.

"Dude" though is different, and I'll tell you why. It's soo versatile. Which may be due to it's age. When writing this post, I was originally going for something completely different. When looking for good slang terms from different decades, I've found some things out about it. It seems to originate back in the late 1800's. Yes that's right, I put it in 70s, and that was because it became popular and used more mainstream about that time, but that's for later. It seems, and this comes from Wikipedia, "Originally "dude" meant a city person in the country, with strong connotations of ignorance of rural ways. It is believed the word has its origins in the Irish word "Dúd" (pronounced Dood, like mood), which means someone who looks or acts foolish or out of place." A term we refer to now a days as "City Slickers". It was actually a pretty derogatory term until the late 60s early 70s when surfers started using the term for more familiar purposes. Throughout the 80s the term became even more versatile. It crossed gender lines (although more in a joking manner as "dudette" and such) and began morphing, and now, depending on tone, it can be used in any part of a sentence and can replace very many words.

Personally, I love the term due to its versatility. Even more now that I know some of the history behind it. Then again who knows. In 50 years no one may be using it anymore and there'll be someone writing on how weird we were to use such a crazy slang term.

Monday, June 4, 2007

What a pain in the Foot!!!

So yesterday morning, I woke up to my Achilles Tendon being sore. What a strange and weird thing. I can put weight on it fine, it only hurts when I walk (i.e. when I move my foot up or down). I've had the issue twice before, and can't seem to pin down exactly what's causing it. The good thing is it only lasts 3 or 4 days then goes away altogether. At least until next time. It's not like the whole back of my calf hurts. It's just the very bottom where the tendon attaches to the heal. Besides hurting when I walk, it also hurts to touch it, more of a soreness then real pain.

Doing a little searching on the net revealed that it's either Achilles Tendonitis or Peritendonitis. It's the strangest thing because everything I've read so far states it's from excess activity (that's not me), the other is from poorly padded or very flat shoe soles. The funny thing is, I've had the same shoes for a while. Now that I'm writing this down though, I'm thinking it may be my sandals. I never had the issue before I bout them, and only ocationally get it after a weekend. The only issue I have with this is that I actually walked around less with them this weekend then any other this year. Heck I walked a ton in them while on my Vegas Vacation a couple months ago without issue. This sucks too, because I really like them, as they're very comfortable. I guess I'll have to shell out some cash and get some new ones and see if I get this issue again.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

It's Electrifying.....

This morning on my way into work I heard a commercial for professionally installed Solar panels. They stated, " is actually possible watch the power company's meter run backwards". Little background, I've been interested in solar power stuff for a while now. It's continuous energy, all you have to do is collect it. Now living in AZ, the sun shines what seems like 360 days a year. You'd think this would be a easy fit down here. Well, solar is just not there yet. Back to the commercial. So I went to their website. The cheapest system they have they claim produces something like 295 Kilowat hours per month. Sounds like a lot. Well checked my Electric bill and the smallest amount of electricity demand I used in one month was 1100 Kilowat hours. Yeah I could cut some corners here and there, and bring that down, but that's besides the point. The numbers speak for themselves...

Now the amount of electricity coming from the panels would be generated during peak usage times, so my house would be eating up all that juice while it's being generated. I could get bigger systems but again lets stay with these numbers for now. Let's say the electric company would give me full value for this electricity generated. I look at my bill and I pay (because of the plan I'm one) $0.04765/kWh, that means with this system I'd make $14/mo. using this system. Let's say I drop the plan I'm on and start using the most expensive on peak kWh plan. The plan that has the highest cost/kWh is $0.18200/kWh that's the summer rates so this is the most I'd ever be able to make using a solar system. That equates to $53.69/mo. Now we're talking. That can do some damage to my bill. Then we look at the cost of installing the system. To install it costs a little over $12,ooo. This system has a "10 year SMA inverter warranty and 25 year solar panel warranty". OK lets say that everything lasts for 25 years, and by some miracle the electric company gives me that high rate/kWh year round. Also that this system will consistently produce the stated 295kWh/mo. for the entire 25 years. That means every month this system pays me $53.69/mo. How long would it take for me to make back that $12,000? Now the site does state that the state government would give me a rebate of $3,000 and that the Fed would give me a 30% rebate. So if I get all that it would bring the cost of install down to $5,400 for the install. At $53.69/mo that makes $644.25/yr. That all means that it would take a little over 8 years for the system to pay for itself, and for me to actually start making money while using it. In reality though, I wouldn't be getting that high rate year round. It actually drops to $0.10918/kWh during the winter, so that's only $32.21/mo during the winter (Summer=May-October, Winter=November-April). After all the calculations, that means $515.40/year or it would take a little less then 10.5 years for the system to pay off. By then I'm sure there will be much more efficient panels, this also assumes that I'll be living in this house for that long. It also assumes best case scenario for everything. It just doesn't add up yet. One of these days, this will all work.

By the way, a system that would meet my lowest month electrical use would cost $46,400 before rebates. It would take 52 panels with each panel measuring 5x 2.5 ft that's 130 square feet. I think that may be a hard sell to my HOA. I really wish that solar was a little more efficient and not so costly to implement. It seems like such a great way to get electricity. I think that the cost still has to drop in half for it to really start taking off. These are much better numbers then it was when I first started looking into it. About 5 years ago, it think I calculated that it would take between 15 - 20 years for it to start paying off. So maybe in 5 more it will finally get there. I've heard some good rumblings about newer panel types that have much higher efficiencies, being made cheaper productions methods using a die. So maybe just maybe...

Friday, May 4, 2007

Clearing the air

On May 1st the Arizona smoking ban went into effect. Smoking is now banned in all indoor public places. Most of the bars were making a big stink (kind of ironic) stating that they are going to loose a lot of business because of this and may end up going out of business.

On Wednesday the home town Pro. Basketball team the Phoenix Suns were playing game 5 of a possible 7 game series in the first round of the playoffs. They were up 3-1 in the series and if they win they would move to the next round. This game was shown on TNT. With most people having cable the game would be viewable by most people. I having a TiVo and Wednesday being a particularly busy night for TV shows. I would either miss some of the shows I watch or miss the game. A third option however would be to go to one of the local sports bars and watch the game, allowing the shows to be recorded for viewing later.

The first place we went to (Buffalo Wild Wings), was packed, with standing room only available. Many people chose to do just that, stand. BWW had always been non-smoking as local city ordinance had already passed a no smoking ban.

We decided to try another bar that we liked a lot but stopped going to as the smoke was just too much, Uncle Bears. I must be getting old, as it was so bad most nights that I had to shower when I got home because I just couldn't sleep from the smell still hanging on me. This place was also packed, although not as much as BWW. BWW was always a more popular place, as most chain places are. So this wasn't a surprise that there were less people here, that's why we liked it and why we thought we had a chance for a seat tonight. They've updated things big time at Uncle Bears (by the way it's named after the owners dog, which is also their logo, a yellow lab with a handkerchief around it's neck) They've always had a lot of TVs but now instead of the old big screen big box sets, they now have a bunch of plasma and LCD screens. It was so much nicer in there now.

I think we'll be going back much more. Then I'll be able to gage how much the ban is effecting them. To be honest, I don't expect it to mean that much. With the old city by city ban I can see how they may be effected, as people would just go to the next city and smoke. With the whole state having the ban there's no where to go but outside. There's a couple other places too that we had the same issue with, and now may be revisiting. It's nice to have choice again. Oh, and the Suns won...hehe

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I'm Learning... I'm Learning

So for the past couple months I've been taking some Cisco classes at the local community college. I figured since I'm managing this network, I might as well know some stuff about it. That way I don't have to call in a contractor every time there is a network issue. Today I was doing some checking on some of the circuits. Making sure that I some of the updates I requested are actually showing on the lines. Now a year ago at this time, I would have no idea how to do this nor have any idea that some of this stuff needed to be done. The best part was I noticed an issue. Nothing really major, you see each branch has two routes to reach us here at the main office. One of those routes wasn't letting anything come through. From the people at the branch perspective they wouldn't see a difference. The issue is though they were using the backup route and not the main one. So now if there was an issue with that path they wouldn't be able to work. So after about 2 hours of checking and troubleshooting (again a year ago I wouldn't be able to see this issue, much less be able to troubleshoot it), I concluded it had to be an issue with our network provider who we lease these lines from. I called them and explained them what I saw and they checked stuff on there end and they saw the issue was a configuration problem on their end. They updated their end and blamo (yes that's a technical term) the primary path showed working on my end and I had a great big smile on my face. Not so much that the issue was resolved but that all the stuff from those classes was actually sinking in and that I could intelligently speak with the provider and get this issue resolved, all with the people at the branch not noticing a thing.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Return

So the one thing that I hate most about taking a vacation is having to come back. It's not so much the work thing, I really like my job, as it is getting back into the routine. Everything is just a little askew. I'm a fairly organized person, so this little bit bugs me a lot. Things just take a little longer, as you try to find the pace you were at before. It's also hard to buckle down again and get things done. You have the energy now to do it, but the want you need to get started isn't there yet.

While on the Vegas Vacation, the hotel was great and we had a fantastic time. I had the worst luck though. I started to think that the decks were stacked, as the dealers continuously got 21 after 21. Now I don't mean they had Black Jack, that would have been a little too cruel. I mean they were showing a 5 or a 4 and 3 cards later they'd have 21. I counted it on one table and out of 10 hands the dealer was able to pull out 21 7 times. At another table I got Black Jack myself 4 times, of which I had 3 push because the dealer had it too. The race was fun though. My roommate placed a bet on the winner at 7-1 odds. Well done on his part. He was mister lucky for the weekend, so at least I know where some of my luck went. It wasn't very crowded, which was really nice, as the sun was pretty hot. They said the temp was in the low 80s but the sun made it feel much hotter. If you've never been down in the desert the sun burns a little hotter down here. I've lived in the North and the sun feels warm up there, but down here it down right burns. I think it's because it much more direct sunlight, so the sun doesn't have to go through so much atmosphere to hit you. Well that's it for today.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

New Computer

I've decided it was time to wipe the old computer and move to a new one here at work. They both are actually pretty similar (i.e. the CPU, RAM, and drives are almost identical) but at times my current computer gets a little slow. I've installed and uninstalled so much software over the years on it, it's just best to move to a new one. Yesterday I started late in the afternoon. This morning I'm still going on it. The thing that sucks is it's taking forever to move my data from on to the other. 30Gb takes a while to move. So while I'm waiting for it to do this, I figured I'd write a post. It's been a pretty boring week otherwise, and I really wanted to write something here at least once a week.

I'm starting to get a little excited about my trip next week. I'm going to Vegas, and it's been a while since I've been there. This will be the first time I'm flying in. I've only drove there before. It's only a 4 hr drive and it's pretty scenic most of the way. I figured this time I'd try flying. It's pretty cheap to fly. It's only $50 each way, in all though I think I'll only save 1 hr of travel time. When you count in the time it takes to get through security at the airport, and since you can't take any liquids as carry ons now, I have to check my luggage so I'll have to wait for it in Vegas. The actual flight time in only 45 mins. After all that though, I'm expecting it to be 3 hrs of travel. The bonus is, you get to drink on the plane. Also while you're there, you don't feel obligated to take your car when you go place to place, it's all taxis and walking. It will be a good time of year to go to with the weather still being nice. I may go back to driving though once they finish the bypass of the Hover Dam. I don't know, we'll see how this trip goes. The main reason we're going is, my roommate is into F1 Racing, and its American counterpart Champ Car. Well they're having the first Champ Car race there in Vegas and we're going. It should be fun. Plus there's always the gambling.

Friday, March 23, 2007


It's still early in the day, but I love Fridays. I don't know why I like them so much (other then the obvious). I mean I go out. Nothing really special though. I usually hit the local bar with my roommate and have a couple beers and Jack & Cokes, watch whatever sporting event is on and that's about it. Pretty routine. It helps that the bartender is very cool and hot, and knows me as a regular.

As I started writing the boring thought above, I have a nice little scene happening outside my window right now. Apparently two people got into a minor fender bender. I initially noticed the chick involved as she parked her truck and kept going from the front seat getting out and then going to the back seat, then back to the front, then back to the back. So this action intrigued me (not to mention she's kinda hot). Then I saw a guy park his car. He came over and talked to her and then she continued her moving back and forth. Maybe she knew the guy and they had planned to meet. They both went back to their vehicles, but stayed parked. I ignored it then looked back out about 30 mins later and saw a cop talking to them. "They must have hit each other", I thought. Then about 10 mins after that, I notice a guy and is boy getting out of there car, looks to me to be the dad of the chick that was in the accident. They are just hanging out off the to side as mom (the chick) is talking to the cop. Then another car arrives and the lady that gets out appears to be the mom of the guy that was in the accident. She hands him a camera and he starts to take pictures of both vehicles. It looks as if the chick hit the guy, as the front of her truck is dented and the driver's side headlight it busted. Because of the angle to the guys car I can't see any damage to his car. I assume though that it must be the back passenger side of his car but not the very back. The guy is done taking his pictures and comes over to the dad and kid and starts talking to them. Friendly discussion, the accident guy hands the dad what appears to be a business card and they shake hands. Mom is still talking to cop. Accident guy talks to his mom, and she drives off, then gets into his car and he drives off. Dad and boy hang out for a bit and mom finally comes over they hug and go look at the damage. Cop drives off on her motor cycle.

Nothing like a little drama to help pass the morning.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Phishing scams

So I gave the guy I'm training access to our spam filter here at work. Just a little background on the filter. We use a third party which we route all our mail through to scan it for spam and viruses. Suspicious emails are then put into quarantine. There is an option to allow users to release or delete the emails that are in their own quarantine folder. Knowing my users though, I know that most will release all emails, as they "may be important". So being the extra good admin I am, I set it up so that they don't get the email, I go through the quarantine folder my self. It's not like I have to open each person's folder, I have it set so all go into one folder. Even still it's not a lot, about 150 a day for everyone (the spam filter has many levels, and most I have it auto delete, these are just the ones that might be spam but it can't rule out). So I go through them, which is pretty easy to notice which are spam and which aren't. It takes maybe 10 mins. out of my day so I'm ok with it. We'll I need to train the new guy (there's only me and him for the company in the IT department). So today was his first day with handling the filter himself. I figure spam is a petty straight forward thing, you can tell just by looking at the from address and the subject line fairly quickly if it's spam or might be legit. You delete all the ones that you know are and then scrutinized further the ones they look like they might be good, or false positives as they're termed. We'll he saw a Phishing email (you know the ones, your "bank" is sending you an email stating your account is expired or your password is expired and you need to click on the link below to re-activate it) and thought this is legit and released it. Well it must have had a bunch of people in the "to" field because I get emails from about 5 people in about 5 mins asking "what's this email about". These are my good users. If something doesn't look right, they email me or call me on it before proceeding. I am confused by the email. Surely our spam filter should have caught this email. So I investigate, and low an behold it did catch it. I ask the new guy, "do you know what a phishing scam is?", nope. He's a new guy, so I explain. I then have to explain to my manager, that no we don't need to put a specific block on for this email, that our filter did catch it, it just was released by accident by us, and it won't happen again. Then I have to write a big email to send to everyone, "If you see this email, just ignore it and delete it". It's a good time again to send a little reminder to everyone too, that this is what a phishing scam looks like and that this is what it's intended for. Made for an interesting morning with one of our Terminal servers going down (kind of) again. But that's for another post.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

I've finally created something

So I've finally started a site that actually has a little something on it besides pictures of my truck. Hopefully I'll actually keep this stuff updated and post things here from time to time that may be interesting.