Monday, May 31, 2004

Pictures - yay!

I've remembered that my bellsouth account entitles me to 10MB of disk space, so I'll use that to host my images. Entering the HTML by hand is a pain though...why does Blogger's new image hosting service only work work through an instant message bot ? What the heck is that about ?

Our company, Document Storage Systems moved into its new offices today. A lot of people worked very hard to get it ready on time and it really looks terrific. I haven't worked in a proper office since 1999 - all the dotcoms and smaller companies I have worked for were on pretty tight budgets, and the current employer had been in rental digs for the last few years. But we all worked hard and it resulted in enough money for us to buy a whole 4 storey office building and re-fit it. You can still smell the paint :) Here's a shot of the view from my window. The big office building you can see is of the Florida Power and Light main office.

The view from Brian's new office window.

Deanne is in New York this week and the products she's now managing are doing very well, with some new sales to her name. I'm slowly moving the stuff from the old office into the new one, but it's so damned hot here right now that I'm not taking more than one box per trip because I don't want to go back to the car more than I have to :) Plus the elevator isn't airconditioned yet.

OK, once again I have to filter out the really interesting stuff and just post the daily trivia of my life...what makes people decide to post the really juicy bits of their life ? So far I haven't found a reason :)

Friday, May 21, 2004

another thousand years

Well, it's been a week or so since I posted, which I didn't plan. Lots of interesting stuff happened and I wanted to put up pictures with the post, but I haven't made time to process them yet, so it's just going to be text today.

Us at a dog park near Jacksonville

Walking along St George Street, St. Augustine

Posing at the mill wheel in St Augustine

We took Patch up to Jacksonville to visit the big dog parkup there - actually its the largest one in the whole country! 42 acres! Scott, Vicky and the two huskies came with us and we all had a great time ! We drove to St. Augustineon the Friday night, got to the motel around 10 pm and spent the next morning and afternoon in St Augustine itself. It's a cool place and looks far more European than anywhere else in America than I've seen, except perhaps for New Orleans. We got a lot of attention, of course; it's not everday you see a Great Dane and two walking carpets on the main streets of St Augustine's tourist district. Top phrases heard: big could ride that thing/put a saddle on that he friendly?....can I pet him...."awwwww!!" Patch was really good and didn't object at all to all the attention he got, but he slept like a rock that night.

The dog park itself was very well laid out. It was a hot day so we spent most of our time in the shallow lake at the back of the park where the dogs kept cool by running laps in the shallows. Retrievers kept up a constant shuttle between the shore and lake center, happily fetching the frisbees and floating balls thrown for them. We didn't see a single fight all day; Deanne thought it was because there was so much space that they didn't need to fight over anything. We also walked in their "forest trail" section, which was heavily wooded and gave you the feeling you were tracking through the woods - Patch enjoyed that too :)

Our company is moving to it's new building at the end of next week so everyone has been packing up their offices and it's all looking very bare. Deanne and I will be in Dallas from Sunday to Thursday night next week, representing the company (most of which will be there anyway !) at a hospital trade show.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

castaway on a desert island

I'm going to copy Wil Wheaton's idea of using the song lyrics that is playing when you write a new posting as your title. I've got XTC's "Mummer" album playing, and if you're not familiar with XTC but you like well-written songs, pick up "Nonsuch", their 1992 album.

Anyway, I wanted to write about the next crop of geek movies that are in the pipeline. The Lord of the Rings trilogy took the film world by storm and also pushed geek culture more into the mainstream. I still met a few people that claimed they "didn't get it" and couldn't understand anything that went on in the film, but such claims don't automatically get approval - you can't score points by putting geeky things down. Films based on comic books are scoring well at the box office, such as Hellboy and Spiderman, more people are using gadgets that would've been considered nerd toys such as PDAs, Gameboys, MP3 players...just look at the iPod and the bloody awful iPod mini ! I hate that mini thing...the geek in me says "$250 for only 4 gig of space ?!" but the mainstream are saying "Ooooh ! PINK !" and buying them in droves. Go figure.

But to my point - the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie began filming a few days ago !! I remember reading this book for the first time when I was 14 or 15 and laughing so hard that I couldn't was the part about the second worst poetry in the universe (the Azgoths of Kria if you must know). I loved how unabashedly the book took wild tangents showed a universe full of absurd and trivial details, such as Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged who was immortal and decided to use his gift to insult every sentient being in the alphabetical order. I mean, wow. Just fantastic stuff :) Adams came up with loads of good ideas and made fun of every single one of them. This sort of thing fit right in with my world view that was being shaped by Monty Python, the Goons, Red Dwarf and Blackadder (ok, he's not sci-fi, but as cynical as any character ever written.)

I'm most interested in the fact that they've cast Mos Def, best known as an American rap artist, as Ford Prefect. This was an unexpected casting choice and it has me very excited. H2G2 is a very English book and has become one of the Sacred Geek Texts - we used to say that you couldn't graduate in computer science unless you'd read it and could quote from it - and I had not met any black people in America who seemed geeky; it's something they seem to avoid culturally, or it is being actively kept from them (which I don't believe). So if Mos Def has read it, grokked it and delivered an audition to the fans who are making this movie which convinced them that *he* understood Ford better than any Englishman...well, this is going to be extraordinary. I hope :) And I hope his performance brings more black people into geekdom, because it's really a universal thing and a very positive and supportive community to be a part of. A quick search turned up a scholarly examination of the issue; a sort of Minority Nerd Report.

Also in the pipeline - the Babylon 5 movie seems to be in the deal-making stage, and the Red Dwarf movie is still not cancelled, so hopefully they'll get off the ground soon !

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Busy Couple of Days

We've had a busy couple of days, and I've been put in touch with a group of friends from my high school years in Saudi Arabia, which has been a lot of fun so far ! Last night we went to the Palm Beach Convention Center for the graduation ceremony of Kim Carchia, a friend from work. She's had a rough year - her father passed away after developing cancer - and we wanted to be there at her ceremony to try and lift her spirits. There were six of us from work and we made quite a noise when she went on stage for her degree. It was a big ceremony - over thirteen hundred graduates, so it was standing room only in the big hall at the convention center. Afterwards we had dinner at Brewzzis in City Place and we gave Kim a round of applause whenever the Secret Word was spoken..."graduation". I think this happened about twenty times or so :)

Today we went to Tsunami restaurant, an "Asian Fusion" place for the birthday of another friend from work, David. It was a great place, very stylish and modern food, which matched the decor. The highlight was, for some reason, finding that the bathrooms had red glass sinks which were operated by foot pedals. We talked briefly with the owner and she ended up taking our group birthday picture in the men's bathroom ! We just got home and are looking forward to a day at home tomorrow, relaxing and recharging our batteries for the next week of work :) We'll both be in Dallas for a work event starting May 23rd, so that's something to look forward to as well.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

A Fine Evening

We had a really nice evening yesterday. Despite the fact that it's now May, the weather is still really nice and we're not suffering the scorching hot days and sticky humid nights that we had last year. So after work Deanne and I went to the dogpark with Patch, where he played for about half an hour. Then we stopped for an ice cream (yes, Patch got one too) and drove to the beach to eat it and listen to the waves. We went to a part of the beach we hadn't seen before, a semi-deserted stretch between Juno Beach and our development in Jupiter. There were two guys finishing up their parasailing for the evening, so we watch them deflate their sails and pack their gear. The wind was cool and the ice cream was cold.

There was a couple there with two dogs, one of whom didn't want to leave. He spent 15 minutes chasing this dog all over the beach, so after talking to his wife for a while, and suggesting they leave a long leash on the dog so she could be caught more easily, we went down to the beach to help him. It didn't take long, because the other dog took an interest in Patch and while she was sniffing him, she stayed still long enough to be caught. They thanked us for our help and we went home :)

I've just realized that I can, in fact, add images to these posts as long as the images are stored on another website. I can do that, so later on I'll try to add pictures along with some of these messages.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Title Goes Here

A sudden pause...but I'm still here. The new computer ran into some teething problems and it's taken a while to find a compromise. See, I got all these new parts and kept my old case, not remembering that new computer parts operate at a far higher temperature than my old computer did. That's why new computer cases often contain two fans in addition to the one in the power supply. So I'm running the new beast with the case off and that seems to keep it happy, if a little noisy. I put an extra 512MB in there too, so it's running a very respectable 1Gb of RAM - very nice for the video editing that I hope to get to soon. There's about 10 years of home videos that need to be saved !

I finally got some painting done on the house - I started at the back, but we really need to get the front done ASAP in case the home owners association starts to complain. "The what ?" you may ask ? For those of you who don't live in South Florida, if you buy a house or apartment in a development, there's likely to be a Homeowner's Association. They tell you what colour you can paint the house, make sure you do the upkeep on your property, and collect dues to pay for area landscaping and the like. Our association are a nice, relaxed bunch, but I've heard of "Condo Commandos" in other developments who are just *obsessed* with finding fault in other people's properties. I think the solution is to vote for people who have jobs to serve on the associations' various committees - that way they won't have time to get ridiculous about things.

We watched Seabiscuit last night. Not a bad movie, but a bit formulaic, and it didn't half remind me of .Phar Lap. The same plot devices...underdog of a horse, fighting spirit blah blah blah. The characters were all a bit cartoonish (rough-n-ready jockey who comes good, slightly weird trainer who Has A Way With Horses, Good Millionare who cares about the little man and whose life is tinged with tragedy, Fat Jowly Billionare who sneers at people). Perhaps I've watched too much Babylon 5 and Lord of the Rings, but I don't think two hours is enough for a movie any more !. In B5 we had around 130 hours (including commercials) of material, LoTR was 10 hours in the extended that is enough time for character development. I think I've been spoiled by shows/movies that don't try and cram too much into their running time, and so have to reduce characters to one-note themes.