Friday, October 27, 2006


My little monkey turns three tomorrow. I'll be up late tonight blowing up balloons.

My older monkey turns six next month. I will not be getting her one of these for her birthday!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Decisions, decisions

Boy, do I ever wish I had a laptop.

Then I could sit in meetings all day, frowning and typing madly, ignoring everything going on around me.

That would sure beat having to make decisions...

Next week I'm going to dress up for Halloween.  I'm going to be a product manager.  If anyone comes looking for me to make a decision, I'll be hiding under my desk.

Must. Keep. Coding.

Damn this work thing.

Wildly energetic UI designers + wildly optimistic product managers + wildly clueless project managers = lots of coding and no time to piss around on a blog for Marc...

Anyway, time for a few quickies today:

1) Gay marriage is now legal in New Jersey.  That's a new twist on getting more tourists to visit.

2) Ford lost $5.8 billion in their third quarter.  That's almost $3 million an hourMore perspective here.

3) This is the first post from the Performancing plugin add-on for Firefox.  So far, I like it.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Customer service can be fun

I placed an order today for a CD from CDBaby. I received an automated response telling me that they had processed my order, and that I'd hear from them again when they shipped it.

Here's the email I received a couple of hours later:

Marc -

Thanks for your order with CD Baby!

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved 'Bon Voyage!' to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Thursday, October 19th.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as 'Customer of the Year'. We're all exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you once again,

Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby
the little CD store with the best new independent music
phone: 1-800-448-6369 email:

Who says you can't have a little fun while servicing the customer?


The litigous society

Schools are now banning games such as tag, and touch football. Presumably because someone could get hurt and then sue the school.

Back in my day, you saw at least five or six kids a year get carried a couple of blocks to the hospital on a stretcher, for dodge ball accidents, or because they got kicked in the nuts, or whatever. It built character, and nobody ever sued.

The only game that was ever banned was "How many fingers", but that was understandable. We still did it, but we felt bad about breaking the rules.


Is there an echo in here?

This sounds awfully familiar.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Let's do lunch!

Here at SuperMegaCorp, we have semi-regular self-congratulatory lunches. They're usually held a couple of weeks after we ship some software, and the product management folks pick up the tab.

Now, I may be wrong, but I thought it was our job to ship software. I mean, I think that's what I get paid for. Are we so bad at shipping software that we need to celebrate when it actually happens? Or are the product managers just so glad that we saved their asses again, that they feel they need to thank us?


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Kids say the darndest things

My daughter was playing with a friend the other day. The friend had some dental work done recently, and wears a retainer.

My daughter came home and told me, "Sometimes I can't understand her when she has that entertainer in her mouth."

Somehow, I resisted the urge to make a Paris Hilton joke.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A chemistry experiment

When the San Jose Sharks were looking for a way to boost team chemistry, they didn't turn to a whiskey-and-hooker-fueled weekend binge in Las Vegas, or paintball, or naked grunting and drum beating.

They went curling.

Of course, they stole the idea from Andy Murray and the Los Angeles Kings.


And now a word from the weeds

Pardon the technical interruption, but if you are the type of person who edits XML by hand, give the new XML Notepad a try.

We now return to our regularly scheduled curling and sick humour.


This week in the News of the Weird

This week in the News of the Weird...

Leon Howard Matter was arrested in Sandusky, Ohio, in August for sending a letter containing "anthrax" (though it turned out to be harmless powder) to the local FBI office. He told agents the reason he did it was because he was facing earlier child pornography charges and didn't want to go to prison for that because he'd get beaten up. Threatening the FBI, he reasoned, has a better cachet. [WKYC-TV (Cleveland)-AP, 8-9-06]

I guess it could be even worse - he could have told the inmates he was a Republican congressman.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Higher education

A University of Toronto professor has received approval from the school to smoke up in the basement of the university's Trinity College, where he is now enjoying up to 10 joints a day.

That has got to make for some entertaining lectures.

Student: "Sir, I have a question."

Professor: "Not now, dude, you're harshing my mellow."


Drinking tea soothes stress?

Yes, in theory.

I had a hankering for a nice relaxing cup of tea recently. So I went to our kitchen area here at work, and selected a soothing green tea. I read the back of the package. "Gently soothing" it says. "Calm yourself" it says. Great, that's exactly what I'm looking for.

I tear into the package. It won't open. I grip it harder, trying to remove the plastic wrap. Still nothing. I try using my teeth, my fingernails, cursing. Damn you soothing green tea package!

I storm over to the paper cutter and in one swift motion I bring the guillotine of death down upon the tea package, daring it to laugh at me now!

Soothing my ass...


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Conversation of the day

Jack: I have a document that I'd like you to read. Do you prefer paper or electronic?

Me: Electronic. No question.

Jack: Well, I prefer paper.

Me: Actually, it depends what I'm doing. Sometimes paper is much more effective than electronic.

Jack: Ewww... Forget I asked.