Archive for the 'Entertainment' Category

Bitstrips and a Super Feed

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

Bitstrips now has real RSS feeds. I've made a Feedburner feed for Flat Organization that points to the Bitstrips feed for the comic, if anyone is interested.

At the same time, I've added a feeds page to this blog with nearly all of my available RSS feeds, including a new super feed (made with Yahoo! Pipes) with everything in it to save people the trouble of subscribing to everything individually.


Mostly Movies to Miss

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

Part of this weekend was spent catching up on the movie queue. All movies but one were a disappointment.

Sweeny Todd

I'm not a big fan of musicals and I'm thinking I may not be much of a Tim Burton fan, at least not any more. I'm finding his quirky visual style tiresome lately. Maybe it's just overexposure. I realize this crapfest is based on a hit Broadway musical, but it blows in spite of (or maybe because of) this. I think the average stretch in the movie without a song is roughly 3 minutes. To make it worse, the songs aren't at all memorable. The story is predictable and the characters uninteresting. Yawn.


I never expect much from what I consider to be kid movies and I'm typically not disappointed. Underdog is peppered with jokes that fall flat to the adult crowd. I'm guessing kids find this shit funny, but I really have no idea. Jason Lee voices Underdog and I can't help but hear Earl Hickey. Patrick Warburton reprises his role as Putty, Kronk, or Agent Tee. Take your pick: it's the same voice every time.

Margo at the Wedding

A pointless romp about quirky characters I really couldn't give a shit about. Nicole Kidman and Jack Black in the same movie? Pinch me. At least you get a flash of Jennifer Jason Leigh's boobies. Save yourself the agony of watching the movie and just find them on the internet.

Across the Universe

Is there anything better than hearing second rate actors/singers deliver butchered renditions of your favorite Beatles' songs amidst a plot about the draft, musicians seeking fame, and a love story between two young American Idol rejects? Yay. The movie reminded me just how many Beatles songs I actually like when they're not being twisted into soulless shadows of themselves by failed karaoke singers.

Dan in Real Life

Dan in Real Life was the only good movie of the bunch. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Steve Carell continues to impress me by not being pigeon holed into roles similar to his insanely good character from The Office. There's something really honest feeling about his delivery and mannerisms in this movie. It was quite satisfying and I recommend it highly. He plays an advice columnist that is a widower and father of three daughters. The movie is centered around a yearly family reunion. I won't spoil your enjoyment with any more information than that.


Supply Closet

Friday, April 4th, 2008

Let's try out what is (hopefully) a better way of embedding Bitstrips' comics:


No One Suspects the Shredder

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

There I was, minding my own business and eating lunch at my desk. I was talking to the other programmer when we were interrupted by a loud "boom" and some low level screaming / eeking. The CFO was just shredding some stuff in our HR person's office. I'm not sure why, but the shredder is located in her office. Anyway, that boom was apparently the bin flying out of the shredder somewhat explosively. The eeking was the CFO's reaction to the flames shooting out of the top of the shredder (which burnt the hair off of one of his arms).

The office is now filled with the smell of burnt hair and plastic. The plug for the shredder also shot out of the wall during all of this. As nearly as we can piece together, the shredder may have been jammed and the CFO was reaching to turn it off when it exploded. Our best guess is maybe the motor fried and ignited just the right mixture of paper dust and oxygen. The CFO is fine, though somewhat rattled.

Here's some of the aftermath:

Exploding paper shredder



Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

Even though the embedded BitStrips stuff doesn't show up properly in the feed (click through you lazy bastard), here's my latest attempt at humor:


It's All Check Plus, Baby

Monday, March 31st, 2008

I'm sure I've recounted this story before, but I can't for the life of me remember where…


Making Up Abbreviations

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

During one of my many internet searches (I honestly don't know how I used to do my job before all this sweet internet content) I ran across a page talking about personalization. It abbreviated "personalization" as "p10n". I have seen "i18n" for "internationalization" and "l10n" for "localization", but I hadn't encountered this "p10n" before. Of course, the number in the last two examples actually means something. It's the number of letters you're omitting. That means "personalization" should be "p13n". Failing to realize that doesn't give you license to pick a number at random or to borrow the number from another, better known abbreviation. I feel low to moderate sadness that people don't know that. It's what separates us from the animals.

Of course, you could say I'm being anal about this, but you'd be wrong. I'm being anal-retentive.


Bitstrips Madness

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

I recently re-discovered BitStrips thanks to a post today on BoingBoing. Now artistically challenged people can create their own comic strip. Sadly, most of them aren't funny (including my own), but it's the thought that counts.

I do wish they had better options for embedding comics into other pages. Currently they only support a weak ass frame by frame flash widget rather than a simple image of the entire strip. If you're interested in just how un-funny I can be in comic strip form rather than blog form, you can find my crap here.

Here's an example of their shitty widget:

Widget removed for your protection.

Update: I filed a bug report (not on the widget issue yet) and found through an automated email that BitStrips uses FogBugz. I have no real point here, I just like spotting tech products I'm somewhat familiar with.

Update: Better embedding options and feeds made it into BitStrips a while back so I'm updating this post to include the better option. Sorry about it popping up in your feed reader again:


Runnin Gas Root

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008 came to my attention today while listening to the FLOSS Weekly podcast. It sounds like it scrapes web sites and grabs their "about" page to create an entry for the site. You can then edit their page, since it's a Wiki, and add or correct information.

Naturally I looked up my site and found that it's listed as I tried to correct the camel case only to find that I couldn't find a way to do it. So, maybe I'll just find a way to change the subject matter of this blog to be something more in keeping with this new Runnin' Gas Root name. I'm open to suggestions for what I should be writing about. Anyway, if you get a chance, check your site on


The Battle for Hearts and Minds

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

For the last month or two I've been having a war with whoever is stocking our beverage cooler. We have a cooler with a limited capacity and a locker with a backup supply of room temperature cans.

The first problem is that someone is ordering a whole shitload of Coke products–Coke, Black Cherry Vanilla Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Caffeine Free Diet Coke–and taking up way too much shelf space. This increases the chance that my beverage of choice will run out and I'll be stuck gazing longingly at a room temperature Diet Dr. Pepper and thinking about what might have been. To combat this, I sneak into the break room and re-arrange all of the sodas in my free time. Typically this consists of trying to make the shelf presence of each beverage more proportional to its popularity. This means eliminating as many Coke slots as possible.

Today I wander into the break room only to discover that they're attacking me on all new fronts–layout, usability, and increased error rates. Check this shit out:

Bad layout / design example

That's right. Not only is the Diet Dr. Pepper down to two slots (I had managed to expand it to three), they've also put it on the Diet Coke shelf AND put that abomination known as Cherry Vanilla Diet Dr. Pepper right next to it. They've put two similarly colored, diametrically opposed diet drinks right next to each other. They've sandwiched an innocent beverage between two fizzy misanthropes. They're obviously trying to get me to pick up a can of that Cherry Vanilla pisswater by accident and lose my love of Diet Dr. Pepper. Barring that, they're thinking I'll grab a Diet Coke by accident and somehow fall victim to the brainwashing chemicals contained in every can.

I now have to fall back and formulate some manner of counter-offensive. This day is lost. Well played…

Update: If It's Worth Doing…

Behold, a [more] properly stocked soda refrigerator:

Soda fridge

I relocated all of the juices on the bottom shelf, being careful to separate the orange and apple juices in order to decrease the chance of accidental color related selection. The same goes for the Diet Coke, Diet Dr. Pepper, and Cherry Vanilla Diet Dr. Pepper. Ditto for Mountain Dew and Canada Dry (both green cans). I also took the liberty of claiming a full four (4) shelves for Diet Dr. Pepper. I figure any soda that spends that long in medical school deserves an additional slot or two in the soda fridge.

Sure, there are still problems. The Diet Sprite still has a full five rows (spanning two shelves–4 and 1), even though no one seems to drink it. I'm hoping someone will start drinking them in order to clear out the heinous stocking abomination that occurred at some point in the recent past. Then I can claim that shelf for the Minute Maid Light Lemonade if they ever start ordering it again. The ball is now in their court.