Monday, December 29, 2008

coppola magnum

Coppola Blue Label Merlot, 2005

Turkey Osso Bucco, in a chardonnay mirepoix, with a roasted garlic gremolata

Roasted Butternut Squash Polenta, with Parmigano and Fontina

Italian Brioche with Artichoke Pesto

Pumpkin Tiramisu, made with Starbucks Christmas Blend and Grand Marnier

The menu from the dinner party I threw this weekend.
The theme came from the magnum of Coppola that didn’t fit in the wine racks, and an overwhelming urge to use my new oversized cast iron pot.

I am very amused that both the wine label and the cast iron pot were in a matching shade of blue.

I roasted the butternut squash with olive oil and salt/pepper and it came out delicious. I saved a few crescent shapes for garnishing before I made up the polenta. I trimmed out the turkey legs for presentation and made the gremolata with my new favorite recipe:

Italian parsley - minced
Lemon zest
Lemon juice
Pine nuts
Roasted garlic (roast the night before)

Dinner was yum…. No leftovers (party for 8)… and everyone cleaned their plates. I’ll have to redesign the recipe for leftovers. I can only imagine it’s one of those “even better the next day “dishes.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Flex Terms

Flex Term certificates are just one of those things I have takes for granted over the years prior to working for my current employer. I had set up a tiered based certificate system at my last Credit Union years ago, and since I still bank there it’s not like I have gone without the service.

It still surprises me however how many Credit Unions do not offer flex terms to their members (including my current employer – which I am hoping will resolve themselves to flex terms in a meeting this morning)

A member walks in looking to put away some money for an upcoming event. A wedding, a birthday, holiday or anything with a solid date. Say they’re having a baby and don’t need the money until 9 months from now. If you only offer a 6 month and a 12 month CD are you really offering them what they need? Or are you encouraging them to settle?

It’s not hard to offer Flex Term Certificates. You don’t even have to develop new share types. Just take your existing share types and modify your processes to prompt for the term and calc the maturity date. (In creating a demo for the presentation, I actually completed the coding for this option in our ACS workflow in under 18 minutes!)

So modify your defaults, revise your workflows, change your TISAs and rate sheets, and give your members the options not available to them today. They’ll love you for it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Security Question

Jim Stickley sends you a link in an email. He “says” it’s safe.

Do you:

a) Click on the link – if it’s from Jim so it HAS to be safe

b) Ignore the email and continue monitoring the Woot-Off in the hopes at snagging a bag o’crap

c) Think about how you’ll look on the today show when Jim does his segment on “how gullible email readers will click any link you send them”.

*** secretly hoping that Woot puts the Shun knife block back up for sale at 90% off again!!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

tilted twister

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is a Lego mindstorms kit and the blueprints to this robot.

The blueprints are found here: so that saves you some time. – I just need the legos and a Hitechnic Color Sensor for the scanner arm modification.

I have been good all year. Please reference the snippet from the feature article below, copied from the October company newsletter, for details on just how good I have been.

(*note… the article was written by one of my fans who I think was looking for brownie points… but is still very much appreciated and has totally inflated my Ego)

The article:

Adele recently spoke at the Symitar Educational Conference (SEC) in San Diego, CA, attended by over 800 people from credit unions across the country. The key note speaker was legendary journalist and CBS News Anchor Dan Rather. Adele was a featured guest speaker at the conference, and the only employee of a credit union presenting this year.

Adele's presentation was titled "Rewarding Your Members in Episys", a topic in which she's a recognized expert. The highlight of Adele's session was her solution for automating SACU's rewards checking program, which is now in use by over 23 credit unions. Her presentation also covered promo dividend rate solutions, custom ACS screens, referral solutions, and auto-approvals in ACS.

In this year's "Creative Solutions" session at the SEC, five of Adele's custom Symitar solutions were presented and awarded. She now holds over 30 "Creative Solution" and "Unique Uses" awards given by Symitar at every SEC since 2001. In 2007 alone, Adele won an unprecedented seventeen "Unique Uses" at that year's SEC.

However, Adele does not write her code solutions to win awards; she openly shares these solutions at no-cost to fellow credit unions as Chairman of the Symitar South Central Users Group (SSCUG). SSCUG is the second largest Symitar user group, comprised of IT professionals from over 80 credit unions in 7 states (New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri).

……. *more about me

All Symitar users benefit from her outstanding technical proficiency and is a prime example of the credit union industry's motto, "People Helping People". Adele’s devotion to this mantra was recognized by the credit union community in 2008, as she was the recipient of two coveted SMUG awards. These light-hearted awards are voted on by fellow credit union programmers and professionals, and presented at every SEC by Trace Security. This year, Adele won the trophies for "Most likely to share free code" and "Most participation in users groups".

In addition to speaking, Adele also hosted a dodge ball tournament for the SEC and ran the Symitar Users Groups booth at the vendor expo. At the closing night of the SEC, Symitar hosted a party at the House of Blues. Adele, a vintage guitar collector and avid video game player, took the stage as part of the opening act for the band. She, and other members of the Symitar community, gave a live performance of the video game "Rock Band".

Their set was followed by the headlining act, actor Jim Belushi and his band, the Sacred Hearts. After the party, Symitar thanked Adele for her continued dedication to the Symitar community with a backstage pass to meet Jim Belushi and the band.

Adele's tremendous talent and dedication reflects greatly upon SACU and the credit union community. Her career path exemplifies this publication's name, "Journey of Excellence". Join us in congratulating Adele on all of her current and future successes!

Thanks and I look forward to the surprise underneath my tree this year.



Wednesday, November 5, 2008

CNN has the droids you are looking for

If you were watching election coverage last night, you might have caught the “hologram” appearance of reporter Jessica Yellin.

While not actually a true hologram, it was amusing to watch. The anchors were not really speaking to three-dimensional projected images, but rather empty space. The images were simply added in to the images being sent to your home TV, in much the same way computer-generated special effects are added to movies.

By definition that makes it a tomogram and not a hologram.

A tomogram is an image that is captured from all sides, reconstructed by computers, then displayed on screen.

A hologram is an image projected into space, most commonly using coherent light (like a laser).

But I guess Wolf Blitzer figured “tomogram” wasn’t as cool as opening up the floor for the star wars references.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween Candy Code

If you find hobo code amusing try this:

Teach your kids to how to label the houses (sidewalks) as they trick or treat next year.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

MySpace/Facebook and Credit Unions

My $.02

As a CU employee - creating a MySpace/Facebook page for the CU is a great idea. Over 70% of 15 to 34 year olds are using MySpace/Facebook. Why not go for the target market where they spend the majority of their time. MySpace is the most trafficked website in the US. Keep it current, not sales-pitchy, and relevant to the age demographic and it could do wonders for your deposit and loan growth. Have someone on your staff who's using the sites (and young enough) to develop it for you. You'd be amazed at what the non IT staff folks can do with a page layout and graphics these days.

As a MySpace/Facebook user - there is no way I would friend my financial institution on a social networking site. Seriously... that's like asking for ID theft. Let's see, myspace gives your age, location and now I know where you bank. It doesn't take much to look through a few photos and friend comments, read your blog, use a little zaba search and any decent hacker will have your ssn and all sorts of information to crack your account in well under 24 hours. I might take a look if I saw a great rate displayed on the screen, but even then, the ad-viruses that are rampant on that website are so well known for wreaking havoc that if you're smart you won't click on it no matter how safe it looks.

So in the end... it's still good for CU's to get the free marketing. Plus the average MySpace/Facebook user isn't going to be as smart as those of us who work in a financial institution and see the effects of ID theft on a daily basis so your CU might get a few thousand friends if you're lucky... Actually your CU profile will probably be invited out for drinks and a few other encounters as well. And offered a few ringtones, and get invited to play mafia, etc...

Durian Party 2008!


The durian (pronounced /ˈdʊəriən/)[1] is the fruit of trees from the genus Durio belonging to the Malvaceae, a large family which includes hibiscus, okra, cotton, mallows, and linden trees. Widely known and revered in Southeast Asia as the "King of Fruits", the fruit is distinctive for its large size, unique odour, and formidable thorn-covered husk. The fruit can grow up to 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 15 centimetres (6 in) in diameter, and typically weighs one to four kilograms (2 to 7 lb). Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown, and its flesh pale-yellow to red, depending on the species.

The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour, strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Regarded by some as fragrant, others as overpowering and offensive, the smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust. The odour has led to the fruit's banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in Southeast Asia.

"The five cells are silky-white within, and are filled with a mass of firm, cream-coloured pulp, containing about three seeds each. This pulp is the edible part, and its consistence and flavour are indescribable. A rich custard highly flavoured with almonds gives the best general idea of it, but there are occasional wafts of flavour that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, sherry-wine, and other incongruous dishes. Then there is a rich glutinous smoothness in the pulp which nothing else possesses, but which adds to its delicacy. It is neither acid nor sweet nor juicy; yet it wants neither of these qualities, for it is in itself perfect. It produces no nausea or other bad effect, and the more you eat of it the less you feel inclined to stop. In fact, to eat Durians is a new sensation worth a voyage to the East to experience. ... as producing a food of the most exquisite flavour it is unsurpassed"

All That being said… as a foodie and lover of all things Anthony Bourdain this episode: lead to my insane fascination with obtaining and consuming the fruit.

The fruit itself is banned in public transit and hotels in Asia, due to the smell. So as you might guess, obtaining one in the US is not an easy task. That's where having fellow curious foodie friends comes in handy! Mike and Tiffany appeared at my doorstep one cloudy Sunday afternoon with the prized stink fruit in hand.

To our surprise, the initial odor checking of the fruit rendered a sweet passion fruit smell. We thought for a while we might have been tricked with the tales of stinky produce, but then after poking at it for a while, we pulled back the spiny sharp exterior to reveal a custardy stench like no other. To me the smell was one of a sulphur bomb. Yet I had to see what all the fuss was about. So I dug in, grabbed a tablespoon sized chunk of the goo. At first the sensation was that of chewing sulphur laced aluminum foil, but once you start chewing it emits a sweet lychee-like essence with an interesting finish and aftertaste of papaya. One you get past the smell, the taste really is unique and pleasant.

I made sticky rice to accompany, and it was a fun time!

Lessons learned –

Eat Durian outside with plenty of ventilation

Invite friends, there is lots of fruit to be shared.

Durian is best served cold. It has a natural heat to it and as it heats up the smell gets stronger and stronger.

Do not place extra durian in the fridge.

If you do place extra durian in the fridge, open up 2-3 boxes of baking soda to absorb smell.

To remove durian smell from your hands, run the seeds in your palms

Don't drop the durian on your head, it could have deadly consequences.


It was wonderful seeing my BFF in Utah. I just wish I could have stayed longer, or that it didn’t require airlines to see each other. Maybe one of these days we’ll get around to residing within driving distance of one another.

Short summary – CATS was a lot of fun… all-day-spa-day was super excellent… baby Greta is such a cutie and such a good baby!!!... I miss having cats… ART!!! - George Bush made out of army men!!!... crafty witch places are super fun… pumpkin gnocchi and mojitos – yum… I miss my BFF already!!!

And I am all too aware that I don’t have enough time to blog or do anything else lately in a timely manner!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

lava lamp +chocolate syrup = bad google search

Lesson learned today:

Do not look up craft instructions at work.

lava lamp + chocolate syrup +google search = nasty results

All I wanted to know is what they used the chocolate syrup for in the lava lamp project. I was guessing to counter balance an oil substance, but couldn’t figure out why they weren’t using a corn syrup or similar substance instead. All I got were a bunch of links to pron.


I also find it humorous that they (work web filter) blocked (the originator of the craft project instructions) for “explicit content”. That’s the first time I have seen Mormon and explicit content on the same page.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Emperor Palpatine for US Energy Secretary

Article on Death Star Firepower:

The article works out how much energy had to be in the beam that blew up Alderaan. Long story short, something in the range of 10^32 joules is necessary to blow apart a planet. A joule is one watt-second, so considering that the beam struck Alderaan for about one second in Episode IV, that means the Death Star superlaser had a an output of 10^32 watts.

The National Ignition Facility–which is using the world’s largest laser array to try and create a microsoecond of fusion–informs us that the entire United States has an electrical generating capacity of about 5 x 10^11 watts. Back-of-the-napkin math: It would take 10^21 United States-worth of generators–as in a billion trillion Americas–to generate the same amount of energy that the Death Star superlaser released in one second.

If anyone can find a way to solve the energy crisis it's Darth Sidious.

Recession - It's a Tarp

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Can, Yan Can, Can You?

Monday evening, right before bedtime, Mimi casually calls to tell me that Martin Yan was going to be teaching an extra class at the Cooking School Tuesday night and did I want to go? Was that a rhetorical question?! Of course I wanted to go.

I've been watching Yan Can Cook since I can't remember when, and the chance to meet the puckish culinary celebrity in person seemed almost too good to be true. I had to wait until the next morning to see if there was still an opening in the class. He had been stranded in San Antonio after Hurricane Ike took out the Houston classroom.

Yippee! There was still a seat available, so all I had to do was finish up work early and drive over to take part in his class! ACS Phase 2 was set to go live the next morning so I figured I could cut out after my meetings and actually get a benefit of working all those long hours!!!

We grabbed up seats and made sure we had a good view of Yan's every move. Yan made a dish called Crystal Wrap Chicken, which was impeccable. The colors and textures were amazing. It’s one of those dishes that make you reconsider ever eating at PF Chang’s cheap imitation of Chinese food ever again! Throughout the demonstration, Yan wowed us all with the deft dexterity of his signature cleaver, which he used to make some very impressive garnishes. He halved and quartered an English cucumber and made 70 small slices, enough to trim a dinner plate. He made roses out of tomatoes, fleur de lis out of veggies, and all with a single cleaver (which he cleverly was also selling, and I most definitely purchased) – too bad the knife doesn’t come with instant handling skills.. I guess I will just have to work on my chopping, slicing and dicing skills now with my new Martin Yan Custom Cleaver!

The highlight of the night, was watching Martin Yan completely debone a chicken in 14 seconds. It was awe inspiring.

He served a spicy garlic shrimp, with a sauce that was just to die for. A Mongolian style firecracker beef with the most amazing red chilies. (The chilies make me sneeze, but I devoured them all anyways). The crystal wrap chicken with Miso was fabulous, and the Yan fried rice was hands down the best fried rice I have ever had. The ingredients of duck, shrimp, ginger, mint and a few other secrets, are now my all time favorite. I plan to recreate this dish in my kitchen soon… Stay tuned for dinner party invites!

When the class ended, Mimi presented Yan with a moon cake. He was delighted and we all shared a bite. Mooncakes are a Chinese pastry traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival. This one has a thick filling made from lotus seed paste, surrounded by a relatively thin crust and a yolks from a salted duck egg to symbolize the full moon. The imprint on the top had the Chinese characters for "longevity" and an imprint of a woman on the moon. Mooncakes are expensive and considered a delicacy, and production is labor-intensive and few people make them at home. Despite the difficulties in making mooncakes, they are very delicious and should be fully enjoyed. It was a real treat!

We headed out to the main hall, where Martin Yan would be signing copies of his cookbooks. He was more than happy to autograph my copy of Martin Yan: China, on which he wrote: "To the gorgeous and very sexy beautiful woman who can cook!". I was flattered and thrilled. He also wrote in Chinese a proverb about living to enjoy life. He was genuinely a nice guy, a little flirtatious, but overall very warm and friendly! He had made so many wonderful dishes, I thought for sure I was done eating, but we decided to head over to StoneWorks in the Quarry for the 14Karat Cake and coffee. What a fun night!

I couldn’t help thinking of the movie Rice Rhapsody. In the film, Martin Yan plays Kim Chui, the owner of a Singapore restaurant, eclipsed by its more successful competitor down the street, a place owned by Jen, who makes the best Hainanese Chicken Rice in town, and who happens to be the object of Yan's affections. She has two openly gay sons, and fears that if her third boy veers in that direction, her hopes of ever having a grandchild will be dashed. A conspiracy ensues to propel her number three son into the arms of a pretty French exchange student, while competition between Jen and Kim Chui comes to a boil in a city-wide cooking contest for the best traditional Singaporean dish. If the character in the movie had made the fried rice I had last night, there would have been no competition!

All I can say is, with so much positive energy and generous goodwill it’s no wonder Martin Yan is such a global success. Must be the mint leaves and jalapeño in the fried rice...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Girls Gone Geek

Asked and Answered…

1) Why do geek girls find geek guys attractive? Does it go beyond the ill-fitting clothes, the recent stench of stale pizza and spilled mountain dew, and the CRT radiation-burned eyeballs? It’s all in the brains... and weird obsessive behavior is often a plus. You know, like the need to play the same level in a video game over and over until they've killed every creature. I think for me that means he might be distracted enough to pay attention to ME until I'm happy. Please note that the guys will have a hard time deciding between video games and a girl at times. A strategic outfit will help sway his opinion... but you playing a video game in that outfit will be even better ;)

2) What can a geek guy do to get a geek girl to notice him? Speak to her like she's an equal:) Be funny. Ask her opinion on geeky stuff (computer games, video game platforms, computer stuff as a whole). Then VALUE her opinion. We know our stuff!

3) Does a geek girl judge a geek guy on the technology that he surrounds himself with? Yes. I don't necessarily expect him to have the best and newest... But I do notice if he isn't knowledgeable on the latest stuff.

4) True/False: Geek girls are more affectionate than non-geek girls. Why? I can only speak of myself... and for me at least I think I am. Why? *shrugs* I don't know. I know that I work around guys all day long and sit in front of the computer all day long. And I really miss that "human touch" element. Women tend to touch each other when talking and such, working around guys I don't get that:) I am just touchy feely – it’s a girl thing.

5) What is the one conversation topic that a geek girl can't resist? A topic I can't resist?!? Honestly it doesn't matter what the subject is. Just ask questions and listen to what I say. Be genuine about showing your interest in the stuff that interests me.

6) Have you ever used your girl geekiness to sway the outcome of an event that a geek boy controlled? Say, for example, your ability to acquire an Xbox 360 on the day of release? Hell yes. Cleavage, eye batting, sweet talking=getting what I would like. Any girl that says she doesn't use her b00bs to get stuff is lying:) Works for guitar collecting too!

7) Do geek boys make better longterm relationship partners that non-geeks? Why? Yes they do... but not because geek girls or guys are better. But it’s because most geeky guys aren't really social, so their chances of meeting someone "new" or "better" aren't great. They don't go to bars to meet girls usually. Plus a geek girls have more in common with geek boys then non geek girls. :)

8) True/False: Geek girls are impressed by geek boys that continuously show them how much smarter they are. If you're always trying to show off how smart you are, I'm likely going to prove that you AREN'T "so much smarter" and that is kinda fun. Just don’t be an ass about it.

9) Amongst the members of the tribe 'geek', sexism does not exist. All geeks are created equal, therefore all are paid equal. Is this true in your experience? No. This is not true. Sexism does exist. I think that geeky guys tend to think that other geeky guys are better than geeky girls. Geeky girls have to prove themselves more than the geeky guys.

10) What is the worst pick up line that a geek boy has used on you? All of them… I have yet to hear a good pick up line.

I have so much love to give you'll have to pipe it through more.

Did you make a Google Bomb? Whatever I search for, it's you I find.

Do you work for a TelCom? Because I bet you'd be good at pulling cable.

I was hoping you wouldn't block my pop-up.

Would you like to play Scrabble with me? I am tired of playing with myself.

You compute me.

Girl, I wish I was your differential, because then I'd be touching all your curves.

But enough about me, let's talk about mu.

Be my queen and mate me with your knight moves.

You've stolen the ASCII to my heart.

You must've been made by Intel to be that hot!

Tell me of this thing you humans call *dramatic pause* love.

They don't call me Bones because I'm a doctor.

Your name is Leslie? Look, I can spell your name on my calculator!

You must be Windows 95 because you gots me so unstable.

My 'up-time' is better than BSD.

I can tell by your emoticons that you're looking for some company.

Is that an iPod mini in your pocket or are you just happy to see me.

Want to see my Red Hat?

If you won't let me buy you a drink, at least let me fix your laptop.

Star Wars - rodent style

I couldn’t resist.

McCain can't use email?

How important is it these days that the president of the united states to know how to use a computer/email?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Office Procedures Concerning Storm and Office Closings

As we watch the progress of the storm, the following are the
firm's guidelines based upon the hurricane's intensity:

Hurricane Category #1
No excuse for being late. Leave earlier to give extra time to
avoid fallen trees and limbs.

Hurricane Category #2
Due to the horizontal rain, you may wear jeans.

Hurricane Category #3
Whereas most of the area will be flooded we suggest you
avoid wearing open toe sandals when coming to work. Canoes will be
provided to get to the building safely without getting wet.

Hurricane Category #4
More than likely there will be no electricity. Given that, we
will have manual typewriters available to all staff members. Please take
extra caution and wear water-proof make-up if Category 4 or above.

Hurricane Category #5
Velcro will be provided to keep you attached to your chairs when
the windows blow out. For those that survive, we will have chocolate
cake at 3:00 pm in the kitchen.

Thanks Cindy for emailing this!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Client Conference Summary

So here's my not so brief summary of last week...

Left for San Diego on Monday morning. Flight was okay, nothing special. Arrived in San Diego around 11am, grabbed a cab and learned cell phones while driving are now illegal in San Diego. Watching the cabbie try to conceal it was amusing.

Arrived and checked in and realized I was super hungry. Lucky for me my people knew people and those people knew where to find good sushi. Not quite Zenbu mind you, but a great place in Hillcrest with a little front people watching area. Followed that up with drinks at a local dive bar and shopping/pedicure at Horton, then back to the hotel to go over my presentation. By the time I made it back to my room it was 5pm or so and there were flowers and a huge bottle of grey goose waiting for me. I called the front desk and was informed that they were two separate gifts, both from anonymous people. So whomever sent the wonderful treats - a BIG Thank You!!! I just wish the gift givers would start identifying themselves so I can thank them in person!

So Monday night, a group of us met up in the hotel lobby bar, the undocumented meeting place for SEC. A group headed out for dinner with CUTEK at Flemmings - Yum! Great dinner, super wine (Spellbound), and an over all fun group of people. Back to the hotel bar for more catch up with friends and then to bed for probably the earliest night of the week.

Tuesday morning - set up the Users' Group Booth. Learned knot tying from JBF. Taught myself that ironing a vinyl sign is a bad idea - but using a pillowcase makes it all better. Ran errands, did misc conference stuff. When I finally got around to registering I was reading Dan Rather's biography and suddenly looked at the attached page and had one of those surreal life moments. Thanks to the wonders of the alphabet, I was the first featured bio after Dan. - and yes I signed autographs all week.

Dodgeball was a blast Tuesday - great turnout! the rest of the pics are located at SSCUG.COM under SEC/Dodgeball. We even had a post dodgeball volleyball game this year. Fun Fun Fun. I even avoided taking a hit to the face this year! Woot!

Tuesday night was the poolside reception - I made it halfway around the pool and then it was time to run off again - so many people to see, so little time! The annual Trace party was fun. I can't wait to see the video! I spent most of the night on the dance floor (surprise, surprise) and Hung and Lapuz were amusing. The real surprise of the night was the SMUG awards. I took home the most likely to share free code (ok...not so much a surprise), and also the most participation in user groups(big surprise) - I thought JBF or Greg had that one for sure.

Wednesday started the conference - I tried to twitter along with the sessions. Twitter account - SYMIGODDESS so I'll leave those details there :) Dan Rather was great. I loved his anecdote of "go to hell, go to hell, go to hell" and I think he got choked up at the end. It was a little strange. He was speaking about what America needs to do to keep up with the rest of the world. It was amazing to see such an icon in person. What a great key note.

Wednesday night was the Wescom jam session. So for those that don't know - they were scheduled to go on earlier and it got changed at the last minute. This meant I wouldn't be able to sing and play guitar as originally planned. I heard they were great. I am so sad I missed the whole thing... Who has the video? :(

My dinner plans however, worked out just fine. Dinner at Peohe's was fabulous as always. I simply adore the Frangelico mahi mahi. It's to die for. And again - great company, wine, etc... it doesn't get much better. Once again my foodie roots win out over most everything else. After dinner we got a group together for karaoke and headed out to the Lamplighter. Yay! we closed the place down.

Thursday morning I presented my session - I think it went over well. I had a lot of great feedback after wards. I can't wait to get the playback. I had slight butterflies going in, but as soon as I made it to the stage they dissappeared and I had fun with it. I hope the attendees did as well.

Creative Solutions was a lot of fun this year as well. I was happy to see work from people other than myself. Last year got a little silly and I am happy to see all the great work people are creating - it gives me new ideas for my own "next big thing".

Thursday night we took a bike cab to the House of Blues and arrived to find a live rock band (video game) set up on stage. I have to say playing rock band on stage was one of the highlights of my trip. Silly as it seems - I have never had so much fun playing the game with live jeers and cheers. The crowd was great and I played until they shut it down for Belushi. I also got my other highlight of the conference from Ted and Kathy during rock band playing - a backstage pass to meet Jim Belushi!!! I was on cloud nine. Belushi was fabulous and played to the crowd all night long. Dancing on stage was a blast, but meeting him after the show was absolutely amazing. He was so down to earth and just an overall cool guy. He even teared up when talking about his movie with Tupac. Who would have thought?

We headed back out to karaoke again that night and once again closed down the bar. I even got in my 3am baja fish tacos. How I wish I could get those outside of San Diego and have them be half as wonderful!

Friday morning sessions were not as well attended. There were a few people probably hurting from the fun of the night before. I was up bright and early and finished up the morning with lunch at the Harbour House and a little souvenir shopping before heading back to the airport.

I get to the airport to find out I have been bumped up to first class. A perfect way to end the week. I had an absolute wonderful time in San Diego. It was great to see everyone again and live like a rock star.

short list of my favorite things from last week:
poolside mojitos
dodgeball ballet
albacore sashimi
smug awards
the hope of fat spiderman
dancing with Jim Belushi
hanging out with Belushi backstage
live stage rock band and scoring 100% on expert Maps and Wave of Mutilation vocals - and a 98% on guitar when singing and playing at the same time
almost bringing home a new guitar
repgen roulette
signing conference book autographs
endless karaoke with friends
pop out eye nemo pens - my favorite swag this year

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ocean City, MD and pet peeve #211

There is a difference between a variant spelling and a misspelling -- a dictionary will only record a spelling as variant if it appears in edited prose often enough that it's clear the editors are accepting it and not just overlooking it.
That being said the word "diricted" is not a variant of the word directed and should not be use in the sign shown here. Nor should it have been used on the other 47 signs in the go kart park I visited in Ocean City, MD. The not so bright managers of the Jolly Rodger SpeedWorld were also not amused at my concern over the misspelling.

Now don't get me wrong. I am by no means a grammar nazi, nor the holder of a Scripps Speeling Bee trophy. But the obvoius ones drive me nuts. Especially when standing in line facing one for 20 minutes waiting patiently to go 80 MPH around the track in a shell of a vehicle, loosely named the Gran Prix.

Note the required helmet. Seriously? At 80 MPH will it really make much difference in your survival rate? It might keep your decapitated head from receiving a good scalping at best.

But what else is there to do on a warm summer night on the beach thank go karts, boardwalk Ferris wheels and......

Thrasher's Salt and Vinegar Fries.
My all time favorite Ocean City treat!

Overall it was a great week... horseback riding, sailing and enjoying the surf and sand. I spent many childhood summers on the boardwalk and it's always amazing to me to come back and enjoy the same sights and sounds unchanged by time.
Same ferris wheel, same Slavic exchange students running the town's service industry with a thick accent and heavy smile. Granted the prices go up and up, but it's nice to know that I can still play skeeball for 10 cents at Playland on the same lanes I played on back when my father was alive. I have so many wonderful memories from that place.

I was happy to add a few more :)

Sunday, August 10, 2008


In case you were wondering what I do when I am not coding.

The menu I served for a dinner party last night. I spent all day in the kitchen to avoid homework :) Note my hand painted watercolor menus and the mysterious missing 6th course. It made for a very fun evening followed by Apples to Apples and Karaoke.

August 9, 2008

First Course
Seared Diver Scallop with Southern Style Cheese Grits, Grilled Onion, Pumpkin Seed Oil and Lemon Zest
2006 Piper Select Cuvée Brut Champagne, Sonoma, CA

Second Course
Mixed Green Salad with Fuji Apples, Candied Pecans, Goat Cheese and Balsamic Truffle Vinaigrette
2007 Twin Vines Vinho Verde, Portugal

Third Course
Oven Roasted Poblano Pepper stuffed with Organic Corn-fed Beef, Grilled Tomatoes, Fresh Picked Sweet Corn, topped with Cheddar and Manchego

2008 Santola Vinho Verde, Portugal

Fourth Course

Palate Cleanser

Pomegranate Gelato

Cucumber, Ginger, and Lemon Water

Fifth Course
Maple Leaf Farms Duck Confit, Thin Pasta Sheets stuffed with Pumpkin, drizzled with Brown Butter, Parmesan and Asagio
Luchador Shiraz, Australia

Seventh Course
Slow Roasted Beef Tenderloin Tips on grilled Brioche with a mild Chile Ragu

2003 Messina Hof Cabernet Franc, Texas

Double Barrel Aged – Private Reserve

Eighth Course
White and Black Crème Brulée topped with Fresh Mint Leaves dipped in Dark Chocolate Ganache.
2007 Clean Slate Riesling, Mosel, Germany

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

appropriate work email

Today I got an email at work with this little image attached in the signature. While I adore the cute little stick cartoon, it reminded me of my overall annoyance with the fluffy whole screen stationary emails where the background is so cluttered with flowers, babies and crap that you can barely read the text. Don’t get me wrong… the sig image was fine, it just reminded me of the whole page images that have become one of my pet peeves.

I think that email policies should include the blocking of HTML stationary, but that’s just me. Since HTML email is displayed using your browser, any security vulnerabilities of your browser are also true for the email you read. If you’re going to do it anyway, please make it readable. There is nothing worse that emailing back and forth with someone over an Anne Geddes baby picture where the text blends into the silly flowers in the image. Save it for your tacky web pages full of dancing hamsters with streaming wav files.

Friday, July 18, 2008

the last hope - cnet article

How cool... Kev just made it into cnet, cnn and a few other news channels

Who would have known that “death star threat modeling” would be so popular?

After my response calculation on drinking alignment…


for each drink<>gin


if Symgoddess:action="drinking" then



if drink=sake+beer then



If ninjaskillz>0 then creativesolution=creativesolution+1


if drink=mojito then


if drink=vodka then


if vodka=greygoose then

Symigoddess:action="drinking" else

If vodka=well then



end until drink=empty

if drink=empty and symigoddess:location="San Diego" then



if sushi=true then






I am really craving some CA sushi. zenbu is one of my favs. TX sushi is really lacking. We have Uchi in Austin which is more American high end sushi inspired gastronomy, and Godai which for San Antonio is pretty impressive… but neither compare to CA. I guess it’s the proximity to the fish. Living in TX is my first time living more than 20 minutes from an Ocean. I miss living off the Pacific, and the Atlantic too. I have a trip to the eastern shore in August right before SEC, so I will have to get in my fix of blue crabs and seafood when I am out there.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

creative solutions

Do you really want to see my name up there 15-20 times??? I don’t.

I want to see your ideas! Submit now!!!

Episys® Creative Solution Submissions

We will be featuring another installment of Creative Solutions at this year’s Educational Conference and Technology Expo, during which we will share our clients’ best practices with all conference attendees.

As always, we need your help to make this session a success. We need your Creative Solutions to showcase. If you have developed any programs or processes that are saving your credit union time and money, improving customer service, or otherwise contributing to your credit union's success, we want to hear about them. Your submission should briefly describe the situation, the solution you developed (note that it can be PowerOn or SymConnect-driven or something else entirely!), and the benefits of its implementation to your credit union. Screen shots or report output should be included, if appropriate.

In addition to providing your credit union with high visibility at the conference, each person who submits at least one entry will receive a $10 Amazon gift certificate, and we will enroll his or her credit union in a drawing to win one of three free registrations for this year’s conference. For each creative solution you submit (regardless of whether we include it in the session), your credit union will receive one entry in the free registration drawing. The more creative solutions you submit, the better your chances of winning a free conference registration. And the more submissions we receive, the more the Creative Solutions session will benefit all of our attendees.

Please send your submissions to Barbara Fraire ( by Friday, July 25, 2007.

okay.. so lots of people don't know.

From the emailed responses I see that lots of people don’t know about the free music.


The thread below is a google hack. Sorry I didn’t specify J

free music

How are there still people unaware of how to download mp3s for free?

-inurl:htm -inurl:html intitle:"index of" mp3 "bowie"

This command will find open directories with mp3 files with Bowie. Obviously you can change the band name or file type to better define your search. There are tons of mods to this string that work great for all types of file types. I have yet to come up empty on a search.

Free music. Why pay 99 cents to a corporation for a download? Seriously?

I support my musicians wallets in plenty of other ways.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

power point pressure

“PowerPoint also can liven up an otherwise boring topic. In addition to using vibrant text and background colors, presenters can choose from a wide variety of clip art and photos. And when using PowerPoint's animation and sound options, these graphics can shake, rattle and roll.”

IMHO Power point is causing my current migraine. They need a format all button to go back and make everything pretty for me. I have the content… I have the slide anecdotes and pics added in for humor. Now I just need a magic reformat button so I don’t have to stay late.

In other randomness. I was going to use my Les Paul for myBio pic… but I opted for Elvis instead.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Last HOPE

The conference series put on by 2600 The hacker quarterly has a new featured speaker…

I am hoping all this publicity doesn’t go to his head… Who would have guessed back in the days when he was running a BBS out of his bedroom that he’d be making the conference rounds??? I am so proud J


Gratitude is a lost art in the world today. No matter how much we are told to express what we are grateful for, the thought if often lost in our busy lives. If we all expressed a little gratitude now and then, wouldn’t the world be a happier place?

Perhaps the reason that the joys of gratitude and thankfulness often appear in short supply in modern society is that we do indeed forget to take stock and recognize just how grateful we are toward others and even toward ourselves. We are hurried through the challenges of life at breakneck speed. Once we complete the obstacle course of our daily routines, we turn our focus toward the rigors of the next day. Our accomplishments of the day are forgotten. Most acts of kindness go unrewarded. The enjoyments of the day we rushed through fade into forgotten memories.

To truly be grateful takes some reflection. The moments when we feel less than blessed is the time we need to do this. As we are feeling unfairly burdened, unloved or unappreciated, we need to become more aware of the truths in life. We need to take inventory of our blessings. When we do this, we open ourselves to the infinite number of things for which we are grateful. We might remember the people we knew who shared their knowledge with us. We might remember those around us who complimented us when we were not feeling deserving of praise. We may remember the family, friends, co-workers and neighbors who acted as role models and guided us through life. Countless acts of kindness have taken us to where we are today.

Gratitude, once realized, is a gift that we should never keep in its wrapping. It needs to be opened and shared. We should ask ourselves if we have expressed the joy and gratitude toward others in our lives who are deserving of praise. Now is a perfect opportunity to ask yourself whom in this organization you are grateful for. Is Gratitude is contagious. It's an infectious, healing act. When we share our gratitude with others, it doubles within ourselves. And when we focus on recognizing and celebrating the positive in our life, we make it habitual. Make it your habit and share its positive effects with others.

All that being said, I have yet again been blessed with someone’s gratitude. I feel bad about complaining about a seemingly thankless job all week. Another credit union took the time to send me a handwritten thank you note for some coding assistance they needed with a dividend fix and added in a small token of appreciation in the form of a $20 dollar Starbucks gift card. That token of appreciation has not been lost on me. In fact it completely brightened my day and made me realize I have a lot to be thankful for and I need to do a better job of showing my own gratitude towards others. There is no joy in focusing on the fact that my hard work and loyalty to my organization go unrecognized and I have repeatedly been ignored in my efforts to shine. I have to admit. I am used to being the company rock star. In my short 2.5 years here that just hasn’t been the case. The negativity here is overwhelming and too many people are looking out for themselves and in the process casting a dark cloud over many many deserving people who just want to be recognized for their job well done. I am not alone. SO… rather than focus on what I am not getting from them I am now determined to make sure that I go above and beyond to recognize those coworkers myself. It may not mean as much, but at least they can get the small bit of hope that I have been given from outside that people really are thankful for what we do.

And to the gifter of my ray of sunshine in the form of a green tea frappucino with an extra shot of melon this morning - Thanks for the giftcard – it really did make my day.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I have never been published… (that I know of)

But I am now proud to announce my husband has… this greatly increases his chances of reaching PhD before I do.

Exploiting AutoRun: Threats, Vulnerabilities and Countermeasures of the AutoRun Functionality Associated with Portable Data Storage Devices


Last week went amazingly smooth. Many kudos to my team at work for helping me out with the last minute prep chaos and for being patient with me.

I am so pleased with the conference turnout. We had over 80 people in attendance (CU) and over 100 (if you include vendor attendance). Lots of new friends to add to the Symitar family and lots of great information shared. It was a great conference.

I had a nice recoup over the weekend and now it’s back to the daily grind. I will have to hunt down the conference photos to post for viewing enjoyment.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Pretty flowers make my day!

How awesome. A Big Thank You to the mystery sender of the beautiful orchids. The card reads “Thank You SymiGoddess for your help with reward checking. You saved us a ton of money and time.”

I am happy that I was able to help a fellow CU out, but I wish they would have left a name so I knew who to thank.

Getting flowers really made my day extra amazing.

Monday, April 28, 2008

working on SSCUG

I tend to take on multiple large projects at once.

For example. I have three large scale work projects in progress, school (2 finals this wek) and to top it all off I have SSCUG to wrap up in appx 2-3 weeks.

Today I was finalizing the booklet for the printers and I decided to do a lexicon of industry terminologies.

SSCUG – Symitar South Central Users Group – Hosts the Symitar community Sforum

– Symitar Midwest Users Group – Hosts the Symitar community listserv of the same name. To subscribe, visit

To view the SMUG archives, visit

SymEast – The Eastern Symitar Users Group -

NWUG – NorthWest Users Group -

SWUG – SouthWest Users Group -

SYMWiki – The Symitar Wiki -

RepGen – (aka, RG, PowerOn, specfiles, PORC (Power On RepGen Code), is the community standard name for the proprietary programming language that Symitar makes available to clients within the Episys core platform.

NTMC – (aka, MCW, Member Connect Web, NetTeller MemberConnect, Home Banking) Symitar’s home banking package.

SymiGoddess – Hosts the unofficial Client Conference/User Group apparel and merchandise. All proceeds from this website are donated to the Children’s Miracle Network.

I did a letter style opening and signed it Symigoddess too. I am hoping that comes off as lighthearted as I meant it and not pretentious. I am trying not to over think the process too much.
When I became chairman (chairwoman, chairperson) of the group I decided to make a concerted effort to bring my energy into the group and make things enjoyable and fun. We all need more fun in this world, Right?