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Month: March 2007

Three adjectives and an animal…

Saw TMNT “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” tonight and its actually a really good movie.

Being an old-school “Eastman and Laird” TMNT fan I thought the movie was very much in the style of the old TMNT comics of yore.

Interestingly, the movie actually had a story and some really good cinematography for a fully rendered film.

So, go see it if you haven't yet… Though if you can find a theater that puts shock collars on the inevitable small screaming children – go there.

Oh, and finally Master Splinter gets some butt-kicking screen time – and the audience reaction was similar to Yoda finally getting an action scene in “Episode II”. (grin)

The middle of March…

Well, here it is, the middle of March already and Colorado is rapidly closing in on 'mud season'… See here in Colorado when it rains in Spring the state turns into a muddy mess as its mostly dirt and rock where people haven't covered it with an attempt at a yard.

I've started getting things ready for warmer weather… Yesterday I put $415 into the car at my local Chrysler dealer; tune-up (plugs, wires, and other engine fiddling), brake pads and rotor turning, and an oil change. April 15th I'll be getting new rims and tires and putting the current rims and winter tires in the garage.

I also picked up a $200 'cat tree' for Marshal… The thing is about 5 feet tall and 3 feet square with tubes, platform boxes, scratching posts, and completely covered in beige carpet and hemp rope. It's sort of a feline Habitrail, and he loves it. I also picked up a few more cat toys now that I have a better idea of what he likes. The newest are two 'mice'; the one he is currently destroying is made of rabbit fur and opens to hold fresh catnip. The other is nothing more than a 3 inch ball of wool with a strip of leather through the middle which is knotted on one end to make a nose and tail, but its something he can really sink his teeth into and he carries it around by its tail all the time… The best part of the 'wooly bully' mouse is that when he gets it good and ragged, I just put it in an old sock and toss it in the washer. It comes out looking new. 🙂

Marshal has also fully adjusted to the condo now and his sneeze is about gone. It's now time to migrate his litter box and food bowls to the room designated for his use rather than a corner of the living room. Everything was placed out here so I could monitor him and as he really wanted to be with people early on it made it easier for him to have everything out here.

Work-wise it took them almost three years and over 50 projects, but they finally found something I couldn't do… The project I've been on for the last three weeks is a three-parter, and when they came to me with the inquiry I told them then that we couldn't do it; we simply didn't have the hardware to generate the type of loads they wanted *and* I didn't have the expertise in what they wanted tested.

(feline attention pause)

So the proposal went out anyways after a half-dozen teleconferences and about 40 hours of writing and re-writing the proposal to make the client happy. See, the sales manager was preparing for his quarterly trip to Mexico, needed the commission to cover it, and wasn't taking 'no' for an answer.

After all the hoop-jumping though, we won the contract we couldn't do for a client who was guaranteed to be a pain in my ass.

See, once you've done this sort of thing long enough – and I've been doing this for over ten years now – you can spot a 'problem' client at about 300 yards, and these guys had 'problem' written all over them…

Immediately the main contact on the client side set up daily hour-long afternoon teleconferences for 'status reports', wanted to see templates for the reports so he could 'comment on them' before testing was even underway, then wanted to see the Phase A report prior to the report being finalized so he could 'ensure the format was correct'… This is the sort of client that isn't here for the test data, but is really looking for how many feet of paper I can generate and has to ensure that my use of the semicolon is correct rather than making sure their application works correctly.

So I started on Phase A, a 'proof of concept' phase that I added into the proposals about two years ago just for such occasion. And I *was* able to create the data types the client wanted on the very small scale of the P.O.C., but once that was over we ran smack into the wall that I pointed out three weeks ago; namely that the user levels the client wants for Phase B testing will require about $16,000 worth of hardware we don't have.

So now everyone is running around at work trying to figure out if we want to buy the $16,000 worth of hardware and invest a week of man-hours in building, configuring, and re-staging (another $10k approximately) for a contract that only nets us a few grand less than the hardware costs…

But the sales manager had an excellent week in Mexico…

Now, to add to all this the sales manager landed a few more contracts, and they all conveniently overlap for the next few weeks so I wind up working two or three projects at the same time…

Yes, I bleed commission checks.

A cat's life…

I honestly had no idea that a cat had so many life-and-death jobs to do around the house… It's really a wonder I made it this far without a cat around. 🙂

Marshal's day starts the same time mine does; about 5am. Immediately Marshal takes it upon himself to make sure I'm up to speed by weaving about my feet as I stagger to the bathroom to get ready for work… This feline-powered obsticle course ensures that I'm awake and coordinated enough to not kill myself in the shower.

Now Marshal has to get up on the counter in the bathroom and inspect everything from my toothpaste to my deodorant to make sure no one has replaced them with something dangerous. From here his job is to sit outside the shower and periodically meow – I am expected to meow back so that he knows all is well and if I don't he sets up with quite the caterwauling and will bang on the shower doors till I make some kind of acknowledgment.

From here his job is to thoroughly inspect the clothing I've laid out for the day while I dry off. I gather that the shedding all over the clothing serves as a warning to all the bad things in the world that I'm protected by a cat and messing with me means they'll be answering to him.

So we move on to the cat-maintenance portion of the morning where I gather up all the cat toys, put them in the unused cat bed, and take his food and water bowl into the kitchen for a cleaning. During this Marshal sits on the edge of the kitchen sink and makes sure I don't drown while cleaning his food bowl. Now I offer up the day's food choices and he selects one, the food and water bowl is placed back on his mat, and I commence the cleaning of the cat box… While I sift litter Marshal has to make sure nothing is hiding in the trash bag by near-mutilation of the plastic device.

With cat-maintenance over I get a chance to check my email, so I power up the laptop and remove Marshal from the keyboard. I get a glass of orange juice and my vitamins while the machine boots and return to remove Marshal from the keyboard. Now I place the glass of OJ on the desk and remove Marshal from the keyboard so I can sit down in my nice office chair and remove Marshal from the keyboard… Once seated Marshal takes up residence on my lap or shoulder and makes sure I don't do anything stupid on the Internet.

And this is how things stay for about 45 minutes till I leave for work. As I put my socks on Marshal ensures there's nothing in my shoes, then helps me by making sure I tie them correctly by untying them several times.

I'm not sure what Marshal does during the day, but it must be important and exhausting because I always find him curled up and asleep under the covers of my bed when I get home.

If I stopped to get something to eat on the way home, Marshal inspects it (and occasionally samples it) for safety – otherwise he sits on the counter next to the stove and makes sure the ingredients are fresh and that I don't burn the house down or something.

The rest of the night he alternates between tearing around the house to entertain me, sitting on the couch next to me and watching TV, or does this ninja-like trick of replacing the mouse with his fuzzy head while I'm playing whatever game I'm playing on the computer.

At precisely 9:45pm he sits in the hallway to the bedrooms and meows to let me know it's time for bed.

From here it's pretty much the inverse of the morning routine; he makes sure nothing in the bathroom is out of place, tries to trip me several times on the way to bed, then curls up next to my head and purrs me to sleep.

Once I'm passed out he usually returns to the living room for a few hours and watches TV with ZeZe, then at midnight when ZeZe heads for bed he returns to my bed, worms under the covers and becomes a fuzzy heater for the rest of the night.

And that appears to be a cat's life…

Games that scare me…

For the 3.5 of you who don't know I work in the games industry, well, I work in the games industry and as such I tend to follow a lot of game information, web sites, and more than a few comics based on the genere…

Today the guys over at Penny Arcade threw down some funny that hits home around here in a purely “I'm *not* on the menu” sort of way…

Marshal, part the third…

After showing off some photos of Marshal to the cat-ladies here at work (and getting a chorus of 'oooohs' and 'aaahs' – apparently he's quite photogenic) I have been told that he's what they call a “Snowshoe Siamese” which is an actual breed as of 1974 or something.

So, having my curiosity piqued I consulted the oracle of Google and found lots of photos of cats who look quite similar.

So, I guess he's something of a rarity… Not that I mind much – to me he's just a good, old fashioned cat. 🙂