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 jalapeƱo 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