Long Meetings

I used to dislike meetings. Even though they are a necessary evil in most work environments, if they are not propely structured or have an agenda they can take forever and not accomplish much. I say I used to dislike them because now my distaste for them has grown closer to full on hatred.

If you have never been on a conference call that lasted more than 8 hours you do not understand my pain. Yeap, if something goes wrong and you have people all over God’s green earth that need to work together to find a cause and resolve it, you end up with a bunch of people stuck on a phone call that seems to last for days. Thank God for the mute button.

The good thing about it is that if you are not the one that has to talk much and give reports on progress; when you are in a company of thousands and your usershare is only in the hundreds you ar small potatoes, you get to sit back and listen to other people sweat. I could smell the fear of not knowing exactly what was going on with some of the voices an late the excitment when everyone seemed to turn into monkeys flinging poo at each other.

I laugh a lot during this little exercises on human communication. From the guy that goes on a 2 minute talk only to realize he had a bad connection and everyone is trying to make him call back from the people that confuse mute with hold. Putting hundreds of people on mute is one thing, but putting them on hold so they have to continue the call almost shouting because classical elevato music is playing in the background is down right hilarious.

I have heard kids, dogs, birds and even club music in the background while people try to support a multinational company and still have a life. Not that I am totally innoncent and did not have to be quick to mute button when my cat Maia thinks I am talking to her and she decides to talk back. Time differences are also a source of amusment specially when you are handing off an issue. Someone is just started their day while the other cannot wait t get some sleep. I thought I knew everything there was to know about meetings, but I have been learning quite a bit more lately. It sucks to be this busy sometimes, but if you are, might as well laugh while hearing a guy probably sell mangoes in some street in bangalore.

Facebook Spying

Yeap, it has happened. It took a social network for my online life to spill over into my “real” life. This time it was no big deal, funny actually. Bea updated her facebook status half bragging to all of our compatriots living in the U.S. because we were about to enjoy some empanadas, oh delicious Colombian empandas to celebrate my birthday and the SuperBowl ™. Sure enough one of our cousins (later when I inquired about about who the “sapo”* was, the finger pointing began so right now there are a couple of “sapos”) had revealed that we were having empanadas… and did not invite the rest of the extended family.

* In Colombia, not sure if other Spanish speaking countries, a snitch is called a “sapo” = Frog because they are said to have a long tongue.

I love my family, but we have LOTS of it. I think at last count (we recently had an addition to the family.) we are happily sitting at over 30. Empanadas are delicious but take forever to make… there is a long preparation process before they are even deep fried. So my poor Mom who was already having shoulder pain (which I did not know about), my sister and Bea worked all afternoon just to feed our immediate family… still a sizable 10 people party. You figure 4 empanadas per still 40 freaking empanadas.

My Mom is the ultimate people-pleaser and she loves to keep the family in peace. I beg to differ, lol and rock the boat once in a while… at times even becoming the black sheep for periods of time. She wanted to keep the whole thing quiet because we, all 30some of us, celebrate ever birthday together. Even though I have not been in Chicago for our my birthday in quite some time. We were not trying to alienate anyone or cause drama… but we got caught, thanks to facebook. So when one of my aunts called my Mom to inquire about the festivities, my Mom tried to dance around the issue to simply be called out thanks to… A FACEBOOK STATUS PAGE! LOL

I watch it now, and hold back my sexual innuendos on facebook too… because you never know who is reading and might not be accustomed to our college level language back and forth banter. Heck if anyone heard Travis and I going back and forth they would think he is the biggest twink in world, and I his daddy bear.

So… be careful about “friending” not just your boss, but always keep in mind that Mom might also get to read your facebook.

I am NOT hacking your website!

My readers know that I am not a stats whore. My site is popular because I have written about Tommy’s death (when I took an ASL class) and because I was an early fan of the movie the Boondock Saints. That and other popular posts about internet security and passwords have given me the “blessing” of a good google rank… so I should be happy right?

Over the past year I have been posting mostly thoughs and rants, I hardly ever review movies and books like I used to. My only recent attempt at more readers was an interview experiment. I don’t run any memes, I don’t play on technorati or bloggeries anymore. The readers I do have I appreciate greatly. I use Askimet as a spam stopper in wordpress and since I have started using it I have forgotten how much comment spam I do get.

Since I started blogging in 2004 I have received only one piece of hate mail that was rather amusing, and then last week I got another… the subject line read “Ashamed”

I don’t know who you are, nor do I care to know. I think you are despicable and you should be ashamed of yourself. Hacking into to people’s legitimate website and adding all your junk code with links to your blog is loathsome.
If you are even a remotely decent human being you may end up replying to my email. At minimum you should NEVER, EVER hack into people’s websites again. You should say several prayers in attempt to attain forgiveness for the ridiculously selfish nature of your actions. You should post some type of public apology on your blog as well.
In case you haven’t noticed, this is hate mail to you. You should be ashamed.

So… after initially laughing a little at the accusations I thought about it further and since the person asked me to reply I did. I was polite and tried to explain to her that I don’t hack websites, and that a spammer is probably using a badly secure site to test their code. I am not proud of the fact that links (most of them non existent since the domain is the only accurate part of the code they injected) to my website are being maliciously placed on people’s legitimate web code.

I have since received a couple of other e-mails about the matter, so it has happened to other sites. One even smart enough to ask me if I had payed someone for SEO optimization. Which I have not… I don’t make money writing in this website and have no plans on monetizing it so there is no need for that.

In conclusion. If you find some code injected into your website that happens to point to mine…

1) I did not hack your website. I have no intention and if you happen to check your logs, send me any of the offending IPs so I can add them to my block list.

2) Check with your ISP about the security of your network. If someone can modify your webpages, they have access to a lot more.

3) Be careful when paying people to “optimize” your website. Do not give them passwords or access to your files. Package your site and send it to them, revise the code before posting it back to your server.

4) NOTHING is free. If you see some “template” out there for free, don’t trust it. The code might have malicious parts in it. Unless you know what all the files are, do not upload them to your webserver.

5) Pay a reputable web developer to design your website. I would personally not hand the keys to my car to a person that has taken a toaster apart and expect them to know how to take an engine apart and put it back together. There is a HUGE difference between a web designer, a web developer and a WEBMASTER!

A web designer will make your site pretty.
A web developer will make your site do nifty things.
A web master will make sure your site is MANAGED correctly and not vandalized BY HACKERS!

So secure your websites people, or a hacker out there might link back to a blog that does not even know they exist!

Ham Not Welcome

I want to begin this post like every single good post begins with, a disclaimer. I don’t have to worry about where my next meal is coming from, or if I can afford groceries. I am very thankful and aware of how lucky I am for that. I am also in no way being ungrateful for the holiday gift that I received that is compiled in this post. This post is for entertainment purposes only and even though it is true, details have been left out to protect the innocent.

When we lived in Kansas City, besides our cats, it was just Bea and I. None of our animals eat table scraps, so Bea and I were the sole consumers of food in the house. For the holidays, someone higher up in the company where I used to work was nice enough to send us a Honey Baked Ham as a holiday gift. It was a nice token of appreciation.

The problem is that it’s just Bea and I, and we had a close to 20lb ham. I remember Bea saying, isn’t that a little big? I said, well, we’ll make sandwiches.

Day One
Excitement
We knew there was a package coming because we were asked if someone would be home to sign for a it. We said yes and it arrived. I did not get to say hello to our new family member until I got home and it started taking up half of the fridge on that lovely day. The honey made it smell wonderful, the glaze was crispy and delicious. Bea had never seen a spiral one before and I said no fear this is cool, took a couple of big pieces of Ham for dinner. I think we even got fancy and made side dishes. It was a glorious moment.

Day Two
Ham Sandwiches are AWESOME
I even had ham for breakfast, it was so good. I came home for lunch and had a nice ham sandwich and planned on even having it for dinner. The thought of possible gout did not even cross my mind.

Day Three
Denial
Even though we had been eating ham for two days, we were not making a dent on that monster. It was laughing at our consumption levels. Our attitude was, hey it won’t go bad for a while.

Day Four
Break
We decided to just not eat ham for a couple of days. We figured that we were just working on the big side of the thing, that as the with got smaller we would do better progress.

Day Five
What’s for Dinner
Mustard. Yes, that’s right. If you put enough mustard on ham it will not taste like ham. I am also coming to the realization that bees are evil and their honey is just some weird serum that tastes nasty.

Day Six
Creative
We can chop the ham and make it into other food. We can make all types of potato salads and other good tasty dishes. We won’t taste the ham! It won’t be bad. Oh yes it will, I can still taste that darn honey.

Day Seven
Help
We are going to have a party! If enough people come, we should be able to get rid of it all. Bea found the perfect recipe to make these little tasty sandwiches that tasted delicious to everyone, but we could barely stomach because of their ham content.

Day Eight
Fear
Even after hosting a party for over 10 people we still had almost half of the darn ham. Would it be bad if we just dump pounds worth of meat? None of our friends want to take any home. We don’t have family here to have another sandwich party.

Day Ten
Defeat
The ham mocks us. It laughs at us every time we open the fridge. I think even the milk tastes like honey ham for being stuck in there with the monstrosity. We wish it could be donated. We cannot possibly just dump it, can we?

Bea did not want to witness it, I did not want to do it, but we had to let it go. There was still a considerable amount of ham left, but the honey ham smell was almost repulsive to us now. I took the final piece and dumped it. It was gone, to never return again. So if you ever want to give us something eatable for X-mas, cookies, pop corn are cool. NEVER HAM!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLD FART!!!

This has been a tough freaking week, having people be a mixture of happy for me and at the same time pissed off that I took a job back in Chicago. One of the people that I will miss the most is XO. I could spend a whole post on him and eventually I will, but today I just direct you to what the community put together for his birthday and KUDOS to Emawkc for getting everyone together to roast the old fart… is that the first step towards carbon dating?

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