Thursday, June 23, 2005

Why RoadRunner, Why?

Time Warner RoadRunner is a shady ISP outfit. I recently moved and at my new place they refused to allow me to keep my old cable modem, which was very reliable, and provided me with a new one -- that works every couple of days.

I'm really not happy about this! The support has been horrible -- I've just about given up calling those people on the phone ... Now I just reset my model 4-10 times per day and check my e-mail and blog when it decides to issue me an IP address.

extremely frustrating!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Dreams I Have

I have been having some really, really strange dreams for the past three or four weeks. The themes are always dark, kind of frightening and incredible believable -- the kind where you wake up the next day and think 'how did I get here, I was just ... ?'

Last night, I had a dream that I was committed to an insane asylum by someone I didn't know for doing something I could not remember doing, but I knew I belonged in the asylum. The dream was so vivid, so intense, that when I woke up this morning and stared and the white ceiling I was thinking about how happy I was to be somewhere no one could hurt me.

Two nights before last I had a dream that I was put into prison for crimes I did not know I had committed. I dreamed that I was put into a maximum security prison and surrounded by rapists, murderers, skinheads and terrorists who were all really nice to me. In this dream, the frightening thing was not that I was in prision (I had that particular dream again about a week ago,) but that somehow I could get along better with hardcore criminals that I can get along with people in my regular life.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Employee Discounts Rule

Discovered an awsome new benefit of working at Standard Register -- employee discounts!

  • Nissan
  • Honda
  • GM
  • Microsoft
  • Sprint
  • Dell
  • HP

Sunday, June 12, 2005

First Weekly "What I Read" Blog

I have decided to start doing serial posts where I post, on a certain day or after a certain period of time, a record of recent events or activities. I feel like these entries will help add some positive information to my blog, which, by and large is the very negative rantings of a normally depressed person. So, without further ado, my first serial post:

Things I (re-)read this week

  1. ADO.NET in a Nutshell

  2. Code Complete, Second Edition

  3. The 48 Laws of Power

  4. ADO.NET Cookbook
Reviews

ADO.Net in a Nutshell

This is an excellent introduction and reference book for ADO.Net, Microsoft's .Net data access architecture. I was looking for a good ADO.Net desk reference book and this is it. While it doesn't provide full enough coverage or the different .Net framework (1.0, 1.1 and 2.0) updates and the impacts on ADO.Net, it still provides an invaluable, and portable, reference to the API.

Code Complete, Second Edition

This is the second edition of a classic work of software engineering by Steve McConnell. The first edition, which I read in 1996, was published in 1993 and was 900 pages long. The first edition of this book, often just referred to as "CC", has been called the "Bible of the Professional Programmer" by many.

The second edition, updated and republished 9 years later is now 960 pages long. The changes made to this book are simply amazing -- updated code samples in modern languages (C++, Visual Basic, C# and Java) provide concrete examples of McConnell's brilliant technical presentation. This second edition, referred to as "CC2" is not what most would consider a "new edition", in fact it is a major rewrite covering current technologies and problems that were not included in the first edition.

So, attention all recent graduates with computer-related degrees: this book is the best career investment you can make. You already spent all that money on your degree so why not buy CC2 and learn how to put all that syntax to good use. It will really cut down on your retraining if you manage to get a real job.

48 Laws of Power

This book is fun to read, while not exactly believable and certainly not a manual to "take over the world" as some reviewers on Amazon think. It consists of 48 chapters, each covering one of Greene's "Laws of Power". Generally each law (that has its own chapter) is explained using five sections:

  1. Judgment: is a brief explanation of the law.
  2. Transgression of the law: a historical example of how the law was broken and the consequences that followed.
  3. Observance of the law: a historical example of how the law was used properly.
  4. Keys to power: explaining why the law works.
  5. Reversal: what you can do to make the law work smoothly and situations where the law can backfire. (A very important section.)

Each law has a word picture that the author calls an "image" to help you remember the law. There is also a quotation from an "authority," a person the author considers to be a power expert (like Machiavelli or Napolean). Each chapter also has fables, short stories, letter extracts, quotations from philosophers, etc. to illustrate the importance of the law. Note that the image, authority, fables, etc. are in red print.

ADO.Net Cookbook

Presented in the excellent O'Reilly cookbook format this book delivers on it's promise. Including 153 solutions with sample code in SQL, T-SQL and C#, this book covers a range of answers to common, and not so common, ADO.Net issues. The book includes an excellent treatment of connection pooling and the new ADO.Net disconnected data architecture.

These time-saving recipes include vital topics like connecting to data, retrieving and managing data, transforming and analyzing data, modifying data, binding data to .NET user interfaces, optimizing .NET data access, enumerating and maintaining database objects, and maintaining database integrity.

So yes, I only read four books this week, but I have been ill and sleeping has been taking top billing. Once I get better, I'll pick up the pace again.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

US Border Security

Motivated by fears regarding a friend's recent illegal (and somewhat insane) decision to violate federal and international law and cross inter-national borders illegally I have been scouring the web for information regarding the security of our nation's borders.

I am both frightened and deeply saddened by what I have found.

For example, a man "carrying a sword, a hatchet, brass knuckles and a chain saw stained with what appeared to be blood to cross the US-Canadian border" and then, two days later "was arrested in Massachusetts in connection with the beheading of his elderly neighbor and the stabbing death of his wife in the New Brunswick town of Minot".

For the full, and somewhat disturbing story I quoted above, see This Reuters story.

I did find some encouraging information regarding President Bush's 2006 budget, with Congress's approval the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) will receive a nearly 4.8% budget increase -- one of the highest in government. I could not agree more with this funding increase -- in fact I would argue that after foolish reductions of border security by Clinton a $5.6 billion dollar increase is probably not even enough. At least, however, someone is finally taking CBP and its tasks seriously. It is too bad that buildings had to be blown up and all those people had to die before this country started taking its security seriously.

For more information about CB budget increases, read this Washington Post story.

In addition to extra funding for the CB, Bush continues to work towards tighter immigration-security and immigration reform bills. This country is in desperate need of a reformed policy on foreign nationals.

It has been nearly four years since the 9/11 attacks inside our country by foreign nationals. Yet, tens of thousands of foreign nationals every few weeks continue to be allowed to enter this country illegally through our loosely guarded borders. All of these illegal entrants threaten American citizens in one way or another -- either as unfair labor competition, tax burdens, instruments of organized crime including drug running and slavery, or as terrorists.

Non citizens should consider themselves very lucky that I am not in charge. If I were I would simply make it impossible for them to enter the country -- period. No questions asked, no exemptions given -- no entry, period. I sound like an extremist, I am sure, but that's just how I feel.

And nothing in the world makes me more angry than the our elected officials (John Kerry, for example) voting against bills like "
(S.AMDT.3739) to S. 1664" that place caps on "legal immigration," or for another example, resistance to ballot initiatives like 'Protect Arizona Now.' I will not even comment on how ridiculous it is for a New England senator to oppose voter-sponsored ballot iniatives in Arizona.

To provide a contrast for what actually occurs today, I have done some research on existing immigration laws. The primary federal statute that controls this, the Immigration and Nationality Act, allows approximately 800,000 people to settle here each year as permanent residents including about 480,000 who are admitted to reunite with their spouses, children, parents and/or siblings; about 140,000 who are admitted to fill jobs for which the U.S. Department of Labor has determined no American workers are available; about 110,000 refugees who have proven their claims of political or religious persecution in their homelands; and about 55,000 who are admitted under a "diversity" lottery, begun in 1990, that mainly benefits young European and African immigrants.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Strangeness Of Cory

The name "Cory" means "ravine" in Gaelic. Also, the Old Norse Kori which might mean "spring" or "low rocky hill" ... Depending on who you ask.


I only have a picture of a low rocky hill -- this one from northern Ireland, taken on my last trip.

On Another Note (Actually, My Main Point) ...

I find it strange that when I'm at my most depressed, people for some reason think I'm really happy about something. What am I talking about, you ask?

For example, the local bar I frequent (for obvious reasons) is staffed entirely by 20-something women. Normally, they do not really talk to me (aside from whomever's section I sit in.) However, today, I'm in a horrible mood (see previous posts) and I just want something to eat and a pint of Guinness. So today, everyone wants to talk to me -- "you seem happy!" and "So did you meet someone or something?" (that might actually count as flirting!)

Actually, annoyed me to no end. What is it -- when I'm actually feeling social and talkative I repel people but when I'm depressed I appear happy? I seriously do not understand.

Am I really so abnormal that the vibes I give off just confuse and frighten other humans?

Twisted World

How did things get so twisted up? I have to ask myself where exactly we went wrong ... It has become pretty apparent that at some point we lost our way ... Lost sight of the things that are really important.

When did we forsake ourselves, our God and our chance at happiness? Was it long ago, or only a few years? Perhaps we are blinding ourselves to the truth, even now, by thinking that it was a way we lost -- that such a chance ever existed in the first place.

That may be the great illusion, the great lie, we have perpetrated. That lie, the hubris of telling ourselves we have a destiny, that may be the root cause of our problems. This "problem" may not be new ... It could be simply explained away -- its been here all along we simply blinded ourselves to the truth until now.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Everything I Touch

Everything I touch becomes infected with the disease that is my own failure. My pride and arrogance have led me astray -- lead me to believe myself above that which I am.

I believed myself special -- somehow entitled to greatness. Reality, harsh cold and true cannot be denied -- I am not special, not unique. I am not anything. No, I am less than that -- I am nothing.

It is from nothing that we came and it is to nothing that I will return. This is our destiny like the destiny of our fathers before us.

Monday, June 06, 2005

A New Direction

I must seek a new path, a golden path.

Our minds recoil in the face of infinity. Humans of any age are like hay farmers bent over the stack saying: "There must be order in here somewhere. If I keep on, I'm sure to find it."

And all the time, the only order was the order we ourselves create.

I go forth now to discard that order -- to unlearn the meaningless things I claim to know.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

I am Really Ill

I am miserable. Not sure exactly why I get all available sickness all at one time, but that's what has happened. Maybe it was all the excitement this weekend or something but I'm deadly-ill today. I can't eat, or see or talk. My eyes are about swollen shut, my voice is gone and my stomach is so confused by the drugs I'm on -- for the previously mentioned symptoms -- that I can't eat.

I would post a photograph but then this blog would have to be retitled "Cory's House of Horrors" and the theme would have to change from "what's on my mind" to "what horrible creatures of darkness I photographed this week"

The worst part is that I can't be social or hang out with anyone (and I did have plans for Sunday) because I'm afraid that I will infect them. Really not cool, as the one thing that I need is some friends right now to take my mind off this shit.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Gretchen Graduates!

Gretchen Graduates!

My beloved sister has graduated from High School. I was present (although sick) and am so happy she is done with Athens High School. As pretty, smart and sweet as she is High School girls are evil, vile bitches who revel in cruelty and spiteful behavior.

Anyway, I took some photographs of her and my mother =)


My Sister and Mother


Just My Sister

I love my family!

Friday, June 03, 2005

On Being Alone and Other Things

I've been alone for a while now and I am having increasing difficulty dealing with it. The revelation I had today was that perhaps I should not try to deal with it, instead, try to accept that fact that I am alone and will be alone for most of my life.

The logical thing to do is to deal with it -- not fight it. This is a common issue with my personality -- I tend to rage against the obvious and immutable facts of my existence long after a normal person would have given up.

Take, for example, my situation at my last job. No normal person would have continued at that level of commitment in that environment -- the unbalance of the situation was so painfully obvious to everyone but me. My reaction was not to accept and adjust. Instead of dealing with the situation I simply redoubled my efforts and did tried not to face reality.

So, if I can recognize that in hindsight, perhaps I can recognize it in current situations. For example, the fact that I do not have a girlfriend nor, apparently, the ability to find one in my present situation. I should focus, not on trying to change that fact, but simply force myself to shed the feelings of disappointment over being alone. If I could deal, directly and honestly, with the fact that I have no significant relationships in my life I imagine I would be a happier person.

Winner of Worst Customer Service Award

A online printing service, "http://www.vistaprint.com/", is this year's winner for the illustrious Worst Customer Service Award.

Why were they selected for this awesome prize? It is not an easy one to win, and they went to great lengths to prove they neither care about the customer or the customer's satisfaction.

  1. Auto-response from the provided e-mail account is "We have received your email inquiry and would be happy to respond to your question. We apologize that at this time we are not able to respond to this email." Seriously! They simply send you back an e-mail that says "we would love to help, but we don't care about you." And that's all you will hear back from them!
  2. If you are silly enough to call them on the phone, they will put you on hold -- I waited for about 30 minutes to talk to a representative and was disconnected (I can only assume by their phone network.)
  3. No matter how much you e-mail them, call them or generally try to get them to help you -- they do not care.

So, in short:
  1. VistaPrint Sucks
  2. www.vistaprint.com sucks
  3. VistaPrint Makes Bad Business Cards
  4. VistaPrint Will Defraud You
If you are looking for business cards, I would suggest:
  1. http://www.business-cards.com/
  2. http://www.businesscardsprinting.biz/
  3. http://www.professorprint.com/

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Quotes For Today

A few quotes I keep meaning to put on the blog:

"Please god, give me some reason to hold on or some way to let go."

I am not sure where I came up with / overheard that one but I cannot determine it's original source (which may actually be me.)

"Even if the voices aren't real they have some pretty good ideas."

Another one that I cannot attribute, but like none the less.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Paid To Blog?

I was bouncing around the web today (probably on Slashdot) and I ran across this link:

Blogging Becomes A Corporate Job

At first I thought it was pretty ludicrous, but then I got to thinking ... it's not any more strange that a full time person that answers customer letters, writes a company newsletter or even answers a general help-line. It just seems strange at first, until you start to think about it, and then it makes sense. At least to me.