Monday, September 30, 2013

Packing Up And MOving - again!

My Trifle One-Sided blog is moving again! Or actually, has moved. You can find me over at the cool new Glipho site - the nearest thing to the good old days of Vox that I have yet found. Full of social tidbits and good folks - c'mon over and give it a try!

My site is, once again, called Trifle One-Sided. Please swing by and say hi!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Home Work


I wanted to write a bit about working from home. The new head of Yahoo decreed that all people who work from home have to stop and get into the office instead. She threw out some mumbo jumbo about how effective and creative "water cooler" talk is, and how much gets done with "impromptu meetings".

In my opinion, only an upper management type would ever say that. For any sort of work that requires concentration, working from home (usually) gives you a chance to focus, and stay focused.

I am not saying that everyone can do it. Much like any other skill, working from home is a skill that some people can do well, and some people cannot do at all. You need to be able to focus on the task at hand, and get things done without needing someone to look over your shoulder all the time.

You also need managers that can manage like that. There were the inevitable horror stories that came out about people who just disappeared off the grid and "worked" from home and got nothing done. Like that is somehow endemic of working from home and not more a case of really awful management. Given all the tools available in today's world, it seems hard to believe you can have as much interaction as you want, even from home.

It seems particularly bad that this comes from a web / cloud company, who can't even figure out how to manage remote workers. To me, that is more a sign that the company doesn't understand its own market, and not that there is something inherently wrong with working from home.

Not that it is always great to work from home. Even now, after working from home for 20 years or more, people still don't understand how that works. For my job, anyway, working from home does not equal working whatever hours I want. At least my current job. My first job where I worked from home was different, in that it was more task based. Here's the project, get'er done.

This programming job is more of an 8-5 one. My boss likes us to be available and working "normal" business hours. Not that you can't wander off, but that is true even working from an office. As I work on a video conferencing system, we truly "eat our own dog food". We are always checking in with each other, getting status updates, having meetings.

In fact, I worked the last holiday Monday and was surprised at just how "quiet" it was! I was the only one working and it was nice to know I couldn't even get interrupted by a video meeting. So I guess I am well trained.

But some folks still don't get it. My family is still too freely thinks that because I am home, I am available to do things, like make snacks, clean the kitchen, run errands. I still wish they would get it in their minds to pretend that I am, in fact, away at an office and that I just can't drop things to work home errands. I am pretty good at avoiding those kinds of temptations.

The hardest time of year to work from home, in my opinion, is during an brilliant early spring day, where the temperatures get into the 60s for the first time and you just want to get away from the keyboard. The temptation then is at its maximum to just blow things off.

Other times that are real hard are during snowstorms and when you are sick. In both cases, I wouldn't go into the office and I would have a "day off". But working from home, that isn't going to happen. Not a big problem during a snowstorm, but like today, where I am feeling quite under the weather. How under the weather would you have to feel to not be able to work at the keyboard, at least for a little while? So I drag myself out of bed to work for a bit, and then drag myself back into it. Better if I could just "call in sick"!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Nemo : Before & After

My Winter Storm Nemo (aka Blizzard of 2013) before and after pics.



You can see the rest of my storm pics on my Google+ photo album page:

Winter Storm Nemo

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Drabble: Pride

A drabble is a very short story of exactly 100 words. Feel free to join in and write your own drabbles on Fridays and tag them with “friday drabble” and on Twitter with the hashtag #fridaydrabble.

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He sat in the stands, watching her play. Every bad call would enrage him, while every basket she made would swell his heart with pride. It seemed like it was only yesterday that she could not reach the rim with a shot, even using the junior basketball backboard. And here she was now, bringing the ball up the court with a grace and confidence only barely hinted at back then. Her joy was evident, her intensity amazing, her focus almost scary. It made the long drives, and even longer waits in scattered gyms all worthwhile. His daughter, a basketball star.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Drabble: Ice Time

A drabble is a very short story of exactly 100 words. Feel free to join in and write your own drabbles on Fridays and tag them with “friday drabble” and on Twitter with the hashtag #fridaydrabble.

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He skates hard, puck glued to his stick. He barrels towards the goal but Langely checks him hard, adding a completely unnecessary and painful slash across the wrists. But he fights through the check, passing the puck to himself off the boards. He gathers it up near the faceoff dot and makes straight for the goalie.

Saku squares up to him, glove poised. He knows Saku's glove is cat-like quick, so he fakes a forehand shot, gets Saku to commit, then slides a backhander home. The red light goes off and he is promptly buried by teammates. Victory is sweet.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Drabble: Gray Silence

A drabble is a very short story of exactly 100 words. Feel free to join in and write your own drabbles on Fridays and tag them with “friday drabble” and on Twitter with the hashtag #fridaydrabble.

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The cold gray dawn opened before him. His breath steamed as he crawled out of his chilly tent. Snow weighed down the branches of an uncountable number of pine trees, wrapping him in a deep, natural, silence. The snow crunched under his boots as he reverently strolled through the slowly brightening forest. He reveled in his aloneness.

The smallest of sounds whispered at his consciousness, as he strolled on, confident and deeply, profoundly, happy. His was a solitude well earned and satisfying.

Another soft patter broke his revelry. He glanced around and saw the encircling gray shadows. It ended quickly.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Solo Tequila

My regular Wednesday night session of a cocktail, beers and some co-op first person shooter fell through, but I decided to soldier on by myself with a cocktail, a beer and a single player RPG.

So tonight's cocktail was from a free eBook I got for my Nook, called "DIY Cocktails: A simple guide to creating your own signature drinks" by Marcia Simmons and  Jonas Halpren. In it, they write about certain "magic ratios" and tell you how to create your own cocktails using them.

The first drinks chapter is on "The Original Cocktail", with a ratio of 9:1. Its flagship example is The Old Fashioned. After discussing the basics of the cocktail (bourbon, sugar cube and bitters), they talk about variations and the combinations you might try yourself at home. In this case, I tried their variation using tequila, called El Moderno:

El Moderno
  • 1.5oz reposado tequila (I used my usual favorite, Cazadores)
  • 1tsp agave syrup
  • 3 dashes grapefruit bitters
Mix the syrup and bitters in an Old Fashioned glass. Pour in the tequila, add ice cubes, stir and enjoy.

They mentioned that if you don't have grapefruit bitters, orange bitters works great too. And, while I have quite a collection of bitters, grapefruit is not one of them, so I used the orange. And lo, it was delicious. And very pretty, especially when I added a nice big ball of ice from the ice ball maker I got from being a Maker's Mark "ambassador". Of course, I should have taken a picture!

In this case, the "magic ratio" is 9:1 - 9 parts strong (the liquor) to 1 part sweet (the agave syrup and bitters). 1tsp is just about 1/9 of 1.5 oz, so it worked out very well. I really enjoyed it. They also write  about a "citrus gin jingle", where the strong is gin and the sweet is lemon syrup and orange bitters. While they include a recipe for lemon syrup (basically a simple syrup with lemon zest), I actually got a bottom of Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup for Christmas last year, so I think I will try that next time.

The beer I poured myself was a "Must-Try" from my Pinterest 365 Bottles Of Beer, 2012 page. In this case, it is the Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale and yes, it is as delicious as they say. Really a good and flavorful ale.

And the game I played was Mass Effect. Yes, I know it came out over 5 years ago and yes, I know I have had the game as a "rental" from Gamefly since February (!), but I thought it was time to get back to it. I actually bought it from Gamefly. With a combination of discounts and GameFly Rewards, it only cost $7, so I figured why not. At least that way I could get a new game (it turned out to be Little Big Planet for the PS Vita, which my daughter loved on the PS3, although she hasn't shown much interest in playing it yet).


So anyway, I went back to playing Mass Effect on the Xbox. I had last played over 10 months ago - jeez, time sure can get away from you, can't it? I thought I was just going to start over (which is something I have done at least 3 times with that game, as I also have it on the PC). But I thought I would just try it a bit with the current game and I was able to get into it pretty easily. I haven't really started exploring the galaxy yet even - I'm just still puttering about on the Citadel space station, solving various step-and-fetch-it quests, whose tediousness was what made me put it back on the shelf to begin with.

But I soldiered on through them and have them all of them wrapped up. Now, it is time to move the plot forward again.

I like playing it. There are just enough RPG like elements to keep me interested, and plenty of action (when I'm not wandering about the station anyway). I hope with the plot moving forward I can start getting involved in the story again.