From Yorkshire To Virginia

Friday, June 30, 2006

Job Offer

Well today I received a job offer that sounds too good to pass up. Obviously my reputation knows no bounds, as I haven't even been looking. However, once you get an email from the EU Health commission about being in charge of donating all EU health funds in the US, what else can one say? For those of you that think that this is some kind of a scam, since they know no details about me, such as my name, qualifications, address, etc... well shame on you, Dr Tessy Cole specifically states in the email that they also work closely with the anti-fraud department of the EU, so they must be legit... right? :p

I guess the guy in Nigeria looking for help in moving his funds must be quaking in his boots with this new competition (although I think he may have died, as I keep getting emails from a woman in Nigeria, looking to move her late husband's funds). Kim, on the other hand, is so lucky, she apparently wins the British lottery at least twice a month, despite her not entering it, thank goodness there are people out there willing to email her to let her know, and all they need is her SSN, bank details, and a small cash advance to release our millions... hmm since Kim is getting all that money I'm not going to need that new job with the EU, I'd better let Dr. Tessy know so she can continue her search. ;)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

How to relax

Grill out on the patio with one or two martinis :)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Scorched Earth

Ever wondered what it would look like if a meteor the size of Greenland hit the Earth? Well, the Japanese have an answer for you. At least it looks like Big Ben survives the first shockwave...

Friday, June 23, 2006

Menagerie +1

So we found the source of the nightly serenading outside Gwyneth's window. Another member of the family... at least we won't be paying vet bills for this one...

Gwyneth's Chick'n Wrap

Almost every meal Gwyneth asks if she can have the same thing...

cook one chick'n patty (fake meat)
melt some cheese on a flour tortilla
cut the chik'n patty up placing the pieces on the tortilla
put some ketchup on the patty
sprinkle some balsamic vinegar on the patty
spread some sour cream on the patty
put a piece of avacado on tortilla (optional)
Wrap it up, and eat :)

(she doesn't get it for every meal)

Fun evening

So last night, Kim and I decided to watch the movie 16 blocks. Not a bad flick, quite enjoyable for a night's viewing (some parts of it do borrow from the old Clint Eastwood flick "The Gauntlet"). With about 20 minutes to go Kim said she needed the bathroom, so I paused it and waited for her to come back. When she sat down I started it up again, about 3 minutes later I turned to say something to her and she wasn't there. I walked into the downstairs bathroom, and she was curled up in the fetal position, moaning about a sharp pain in her left side, and the fact that she's having trouble breathing. I called our HMO, and was of course put on hold due to the usual 'unusual volume of calls', so with Kim saying the pain was getting worse, I called 911. The ambulance arrived and took her to the hospital.

Long story short, we all got home in the early hours (between 4 & 5) with Kim having passed the kidney stones that she'd been diagnosed with having. As it stands now, she is exhausted and has associated pain, but nothing like she had last night.

Cushings disease?

Growing up I had a Jack Russell terrier that was diagnosed with Cushings disease. He was given a short time to live and he went bald. Despite the diagnosis, he actually lived another 3-4 years, and my mother learnt that hairless dogs need sunblock :)

A friend of mine's wife was also diagnosed with Cushings disease. Her symptoms included her hair not growing for a few years. After she underwent brain surgery she's doing great, and now has to get her hair cut like everyone else.

So why am I writing about a pituitary gland disease that most people have never heard of? Well last night I picked up one of our cats from the vets, where they'd decided to once again raise her insulin level. If this doesn't help her, then they're concerned that she may have Cushings disease, which in cats apparently manifests itself by thinning the cat's skin, reducing the sheen on the fur, and stopping the body from correctly absorbing insulin... we'll have to wait and see if she needs an ultrasound to make this diagnosis. $$$

Thursday, June 22, 2006

What do SE employees use?

According to the Inquirer, while 100% of Google employees use Google as their default Search Engine, only 64% of Yahoo employees use Yahoo, and a curious 80% of Microsoft employees use Google... no wonder MSN is losing market share if they can't even get traction within their own company...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Probably not true, but funny!

Thanks to Dave H. for making me smile with this one...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The end of the season

Well, Saturday marked the end of the MASA (Manassas Area Soccer Association) season. The Tigers closed out with a game against The Polar Bears. Here's a pic of Gwyneth and her team each receiving their end of season trophies :) (team trip to Chuckie Cheese's on Thursday)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Ever wondered how Search Engines work?

Here's a job posting by MSN that really pulls back the curtain

Hand crafted results
When all else fails, and the ranking algorithms do not pass the confidence threshold, we fall back to delivering handcrafted results. Working on a team of approximately 132 other handcrafters in 26 worldwide markets, you will receive a user query, use all the available search engines to quickly scour the web for results, pick the top 10 results for this query, and send it on to the user. Successful handcrafters can typically find top 10 results for a real-time user’s query in less than 3.8 seconds. This is an opportunity to truly connect with customers, because the queries that get routed to you are precisely the ones that the engine cannot answer well. We will have adequate staffing to allow generous coffee and bathroom breaks.
If you are an expert at using at least 3 different search engines, well versed with American English/colloquial usage, and can type at > 149 words/minute as measured by the Simia-Lico method – come join us and delight users real-time!
This is of course a joke by MSN, lumped in with real jobs. It'd be interesting to see how many resume's they get for it though :)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Pants or no pants, that is the question

This gentleman is the mascot of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, his name is Goleo, and he's allegedly in trouble... The press in Germany have allegedly (there's that word again) taken exception to the fact that their Jim Henson Workshop created mascot doesn't wear pants...

Now in 1966, the lion in England
did wear pants. The problem back then... his unfortunate choice of name...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Camera Error # E41

About 2 years ago I purchased a Kodak DX4530 camera. I loved it, great cameera, easy to use software, fantastic pictures. I recommended it to most people (at least 2 other people at work bought the same model). When my parents were over in August they decided that they wanted to get a new digital camera, so we went looking for this model, and discovered that it was off the market. They ended up buying the model that replaced it. Well, now I've found out why it was removed from the market. Apparently if the battery runs out while the lens is extended the camera is for all intents and purposes useless. Inserting a new battery just makes it display the legend "Camera Error #41"... from doing some research I can have Kodak repair it for $135 or I can buy the new version for $179...

Friday, June 09, 2006

Move over George Orwell

It has been announced that Google researchers have reported that it's feasible to listen in on the internal microphone of your computer and determine what tv show (if any) you're listening to, and based on that offer contextual advertising.

"Experiments with a laptop placed in the lap of a person ten feet from a television and engaged in loud conversation with some one next to them were successful in providing matching online content"

So if you're watching "The Amazing Race" it may serve up ads for travel sites... If this is real, not only is it freaking amazing, it's also damn scary... what's next? You're having a fight with your spouse so google starts serving ads for divorce lawyers?

Although I know that telemarketers do do this, if they hear a child crying or a dog barking, they input that information into their system for future reference (next time they're working for a canine fencing system?), so this really is just one step beyond that...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

From Food to Freedom

So I got home tonight to an empty house, as Kim had taken Gwyneth to soccer practice... ok it wasn't empty, there were the regular animals... and something chirping. Curious as to where the sound was coming from I followed it to the downstairs bathroom, and came face to face with an Eastern bluebird.

When those 2 got home I found out that they'd seen the parents dive bombing people to keep them away from their nest. Investigating a little bit they saw a baby bird on the ground. In seconds our evil outdoor cat had the baby in her jaws. Kim leapt forward and pulled the bird out of her mouth. The bird had an injured wing but appeared fine otherwise, and really bonded with Gwyneth, nuzzling her and at one point sitting in her hair (that was when the camera battery ran out). We then spent some time taking 'birdie' to a bird sanctuary, where she's getting full care, and will be released back into the wild when she can fly. Gwyneth will be visiting her until then...

Synch your browser

Do you use Firefox? Do you work with multiple machines? Do you bookmark on one machine, then while working on another wish that you had that bookmark available? Well, Google has the answer to your problem. They've just released "Google Browser Synch" that synchronizes your firefox bookmarks and setting across all of your machines.

I haven't tried it yet, but I think I might give it a go since I run firefox and use 3 machines (work, home & laptop).

Monday, June 05, 2006

I miss the metro

It's been almost 7 years since I stopped commuting to work on the metro (changed assignments, then jobs), but I'm finding that I really do miss the time on the metro. Yes, it was usually crowded, usually noisy, etc, but at least it gave me a good 1/2 hour of reading each way every day (I've moved on from those 1/2 hour card games on the train back from Hyde 6th Form College. Bryn) ;). These days I have trouble finding the time to keep up on my reading, or even finding the time to do some recreational reading... ah well c'est la vie.


So Kim & her sister decided to take a night out to go catch a flick, and load up on caffeine, leaving yours truly to watch Gwyneth and her cousin Jesse, or as I call them "Stinky and the Pain" (cue theme music from Pinky and the Brain). Despite my mother in law worrying that they'd both end up at the bottom of the pond (thanks for the confidence Diane), I managed perfectly, with both kids falling asleep with hardly any bother, so I could quietly watch Sean the Brit win "The Apprentice".

Friday, June 02, 2006

Gotcha Google Analytics

Woohoo, finally I received my code to get into Google Analytics. What does this mean you may ask? Well it means that for this site I can now view visitor data and get depressed over how few people actually read this site (that includes you mum) ;) Why is it such a big deal? Well, Google analytics is free (perfect price eh Uncle Peter?) and is invitation only due to the massive demand. I applied about 6 months ago and just today received the invitation email, hence the elation.