duanekeys. Get yours at flagrantdisregard.com/flickr

Monday, May 30, 2005

Programmer joke:
A man is lost in a balloon. He figures he'll let out some air and drop down, then ask someone on the ground where he is.

He spots a man in a field.

"Hey, do you know where I am?" The balloonist shouts.

"Sure, you're 50 feet above the ground in a balloon". Says the man on the ground.

"You're a programmer, aren't you?"

"Yes I am, now did you know?" says the man on the ground.

"Because you gave me a perfectly correct answer that's totally useless" says the balloonist.

"You're in business, aren't you?" says the man on the ground.

"Why yes, yes I am. How did you know that?" says the balloonist.

"Because you're no closer to a solution to your problem than you were before, but somehow you made it all MY fault".

I fancy myself a student of design. Not in the sense that I notice good kearning or use of "fi ligature" (though I usually do notice fi ligature), but in the form follows function kind of design (obivously since I'm using a blogger.com template, I'm not a graphic designer). I found this page on the evolution of video game controllers. It's an interesting study on how game controllers have evolved.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The biggest paintball event in the world, the Oklahoma D-Day paintball game [neoshodailynews.com], sounds like a heck of a lot of fun! Here's a link to the official site of the Oklahoma D-Day paintball game.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I found out the time to watch movies is on a Tuesday morning. I met up with a buddy of mine and watched Star Wars Episode III at the Springfield 8 during a bit of an extended lunch hour. There was one other person in the theater besides us! I've been avoiding theaters for some time now, mostly because I bought a big screen, but also because I hate the crowds. Now I know when to go. And I'll continue to go to the Springfield 8 over the Campbell 16, as the seats are much more comfortable.

I did some fishing this weekend with Timmo, we started at Springfield Lake and ended up at the Joe Crighton Access area to the James river off of Battlefield Road (East of Blackman road). While looking for information on other areas to fish I found a neat interactive map of Missouri Conservation sites. Tim and I didn't come away with any fish but I did happen to find my GPS unit stashed away in my tackle box. I thought I had left it in Colorado Springs on my last trip there. Now I'm going to get back into some geocaching, and it looks like the Springfield area has quite an active group of folks into the "sport." For those not familiar (via the geocaching.com faq):

What is Geocaching?

Geocaching is an entertaining adventure game for gps users. Participating in a cache hunt is a good way to take advantage of the wonderful features and capability of a gps unit. The basic idea is to have individuals and organizations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. All the visitor is asked to do is if they get something they should try to leave something for the cache.

It's a great excuse to be outside and enjoy the weather.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Apparently a commonly accepted practice among college students in Springfield departing for summer break is to leave their pets behind. This despicable practice has left many animals to fend for themselves. Jennifer and I are trying to find a new home for a very lovable German Shepard. I'll have pictures soon. Anyone who is interested please contact me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

My adventure story on rescuing Bear was mentioned on the Springfieldian, a blog focusing on local, Springfield area stuff. Check it out for links to other local bloggers and goings-on in the Ozarks.

This past weekend I started the long awaited patio project. Every muscle I have required to push a shovel into the ground, lift a shovel of dirt on to a pile, or wield an ax on buried roots is very, very sore.

I thought I met my match by Sunday afternoon, but I was able to call in some reinforcements, in the form of my much younger and energetic 2nd cousins. Blakely and Aaron came over and helped me move the 60 cubic feet of dirt I dug up and unload a cubic yard of gravel, and a cubic yard of sand.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

In addition to being the neighborhood plant expert, my wife is the defacto neighborhood animal expert. We've been called to neighbor's houses to help diagnose animals and deal with strays more than once. Last night she was called to duty again, this time I was actually of some help.

The next door neighbor girl, Jenna, rang our door bell around 9:00 PM last night and said there was a big dog in the yard with a thing on it's lip and maybe Jennifer should look at it. The big dog was "Bear" (according to his collar), and he is a very friendly, but very old Golden Retriever. The thing on his lip was a growth of some sort, Jenna was afraid it was a disease. We took Bear into our garage and wrote down the information on the tag, a name, an address and a phone number.

For the sake of the story well say the name on the tag was Judith Dulan. We called the number on Bear's tag to find Judith but go no answer. I used google to find what I could about Judith Dulan and found several references to an address at a local business that assists with life crisises. We called the number for the business which had a paging service for emergencies. Jennifer decided to see if she could find out anything from someone who might work with Judith and left our number on the paging system. In the meantime I looked up the address on the tag on maps.google.com. The address was quite a drive away and across some major highways. I also did a property search via the Greene County Assesor's site to see who currently owned the property at the address. Curiously there was no record for that address.

Soon someone returned our call and Jennifer explained we were trying to track down this Judith. They told her she hadn't worked there for years. So that was a dead end.

I considered driving to the address on the tag but decided to first do some more searching. I looked under Judith Dulan on the assessor's site for properties she might own. I found one that was closer but also seemed unlikely that Bear could have made that trek.

Using google I did a reverse phone number search by typing in the phone number in the google search bar. I was returned an address also quite some drive away. I also used the reverse look up tools on the ultimates.com to find that another Judith was also tied to that number, a Judith Wheeler, (for the sake of the story, I've changed the names again). I did a property search for this address and found it was regesitered to a Bill Wheeler.

I did some more searching on Bill, and found his name on some local cycling clubs. No other information was given about him, but lots of the other members had phone numbers listed. Jennifer started calling those people to see if they knew if he had a dog and had lost it.

I decided at that point to try driving to each address to see if I could track them down that way. If no one was home, I would see if the neighbors could help. I wasn't sure which place to go to first. I thought I might as well start with the original address that was on Bear's tag. Or I could try the property that Judith owns according to the assessor's site, it was the closest of all of them. Instead I decided to try the address that the phone number reversed to.

It was quite a trek in a very affluent area of South East Springfield. It was raining hard and was very dark by this time (close to 10:00 PM). At some point Jennifer called and said she talked to two of the members of the club and no one knew who this guy was. They also said there was a big race out of town, and most of the club was gone to it.

I made my way through some tricky streets, it was difficult to follow the map and drive in the dark rainy night. I couldn't seem to find the entrance to the neighborhood I was looking for from the North, what seemed the easiest on the map. I instead had to circle around to some better marked streets on the opposite end.

I finally found the address I was looking for, got out in the rain and rang the door bell. The house was quite nice, as all the houses in that area were. It was dark inside but I hope for the best. I soon heard a "hello?" and I answered back "hello!?". I was met by a couple, who were obviously not expecting visitors, they were dressed in their bed clothes.

I asked if they were missing a dog, they said no, sorry and started to close the door. I asked if this was where Bill and Judith lived and they said yes. I looked at my google print outs trying to figure out how I got here again, and asked, "Judith Wheeler."

She gave me an impatient look and said yes, and I said "Judith Dulan?"

She looked surprised when I said that and said "is it Bear?" I was pretty happy at that point.

"Yes it's Bear" I told her. I asked if she knew who Bear belonged to.

"Bless your heart, come on in" she told me and invited me in. Bill wondered off at that point as Judith filled in some gaps. She told me Judith Dulan was her childrens' grandmother, and Bear is her dog.

I called Jennifer to tell her the good news, "I found Bear's... ummm..." childrens' grandmother's, something I thought, "relation."

I found out that the Judith I was talking to was formerly Judith Dulan, but so is her ex-mother-in-law (they have the same first name, and the Judith I was talking to married the other Judith's son). She was very helpful, and gave me her phone numbers. The number on the tag she kept from the divorce but she only uses it for internet and doesn't even have a phone hooked up to it. She called her ex and left a message as well as her ex-mother-in law's and gave me those numbers as well. She told me if no one came to get Bear that she would. I left with a thanks and the info I needed and headed home.

I woke up this morning about 7:00 and let Bear out of the garage to do his business then came in and called the other Judith. She was very happy to hear from us and quickly came over to get Bear.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Previous posts from today are some shots around the office... Friday's aren't that productive, eh?

Here's some links I've found and bookmarked for some sort of bookmarking value:

Free woodworking plans - found this site looking for plans to build an arbor

Home security using webcams - an article via engadget.com that I used for the basis of our anti-crazy-lady-with-a-stick system.

Need help making a decision? Posted by Hello

Separated at birth? Posted by Hello

Ben loves Dale. Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 12, 2005

I went with Meghann, a friend and co-worker, on store visits earlier in the week. We went to a store in Fair Grove, MO and saw a sign for the Fair Grove Farmer's Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I remembered reading that it was a good one to go to, that it had won some awards. Meghann said she had been there last year and got some good stuff.

Jennifer and I went on Wednesday, and it was slim pickin'. Must be too early in the season. By the time they have any produce our we should be harvesting out of our own garden. In the meantime here's another link to Missouri Farmer's Markets that Meghann had sent me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Since we moved in to our current home on Stewart street we have consistently spent quite a bit of time outside. It's no secret that my wife loves plants and landscaping, and I enjoy being with my wife (and I'm getting to like the yard work as well), so hanging out in the back yard with the dogs is a typical evening.

The back yard borders a church parking lot, and on any given evening lots of people ride bikes, jog, or walk the church parking lot. On any typical evening people will stroll by and the dogs may or may not bark (though they usually give bicyclist a good chase). Most of the neighbors have come to know Dobie and Haley as probably the most spoiled dogs on the block, the next door neighbor has them eating dog biscuits out of his hand a couple of times a day.

On any typical evening we also have one consistent passer-byer. The first few times I saw her I thought it was a rather funny site. She's a mature woman, probably in her 50's with dark hair. She typically wears a dark jogging suit of some sort. That in itself isn't all that funny, it's her mannerisms and her big stick that caught me as humorous the first few times she walked by.

First, the stick. Now I know people to carry a stick say when they're hiking in the woods, to help keep them stable or to move branches around, etc. This lady carries probably a 6' bo staff, for the lack of a better term. And she carries it like one would carry a bo staff, if one were trained to use it by their local Tae Kwon Do academy. So that was a pretty funny site to see.

Second, her mannerisms were entertaining. As she walks, periodically she'll stop, turn around, and scan the area, as if to look for the next thug to take a thumping from her bo staff.

What was entertaining became annoying, as she would stop closer and closer to our backyard. Of course the dogs would bark, but the barking seemed to make her stop longer and thereby increasing the time the dogs would bark. And of course while stopped, she would glare in our direction. Now this is a free country, and I don't think there's anything prohibiting one from glaring, so I didn't think much of it.

Periodically when I go for a bike ride in the neighborhood, I'll run across a house with aggressive dogs. I love dogs, have two big ones at home, but if I run into unknown dogs on a bike ride, I typically make a mental note to just ride around that area. Apparently some people don't think like me (not a surprise).

One evening I heard the dogs barking so I went to see what they were barking at. The stick lady (aka the "hissing lady" by some other neighbors). Was glaring at them. In a gesture of politeness, I called the dogs off the fence. She informed me that I "had better control my animals." I informed her that she should probably walk another way...

So after I told her she should walk another way, she told me that I "had better control those animals." Which she ended with a "shutup!" as the dogs continued barking.

That was Jennifer's queue to race out after her to talk. She tried to reason with her, telling her if she spoke to the dogs in a friendly manner and didn't present an aggressive stance the dogs would stop barking. The lady wouldn't have any part of the conversation...

Cut to a few days later when Jennifer, and the dogs are in the backyard when she walks by again. This time she waves a can of mace/pepper spray in addition to her bo staff. This time, I thought I should go talk to her. I met her on the street, with her on the other side. I asked her for a moment of her time as politely as I could. She wouldn't even stop walking. She instead informed me that I needed to stop harrassing her, and that she had contacted her attorney. I responded that we would do the same.

In the following days I have spoken with our PAR (Police Area Representative) Officer. He was very friendly and said the first thing he needed was to ID this person. He said the next time she walked by, wether she caused a problem or not, to call 911 and tell the dispatcher that our PAR officer requested an ID of the person. I did as he asked the other night, unfortunately the response time was a bit slow (which we expected for a non-emergency like this). The responding officer, also very friendly, said he would talk with the other guys that work the area, and to call again if we see her so they can get an ID and try and see if she'll just walk another way.

In the meantime I set up a webcam to watch the backyard and e-mail us when there is movement along the fenceline so I can check it from work. You never know what a crazy bo-staff carrying, mace weilding lady will do when you're not at home.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Test, one, two... Is this thing on?

It's been a while, much going on... Just thought I'd post to keep this account alive. More to come.