Well I'm sure it comes as no surprise to anyone, but 50% of me is a huge nerd! How about you?. Actually, maybe it does come as a bit of a surprise, considering it's only 50% of me :) I'm going to discuss these questions below... so click through if you want to take the test before I discuss them.

1. The shards of...

My Answer: No idea
Answer: Narsil
Response: Uh, shards?

2. Who is NOT a member of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen?

My A: Sherlock Holmes
A: Sherlock Holmes
R: I based this totally on the tv commercials I saw for this movie. Kind of cool that Captain Nemo is in there. Who's Alan Quatermain?

3. CMOS stands for:

My A: Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor
A: Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor
R: I don't know when I learned this, but I did :)

4. Green-skinned love slaves come from the planet:

My A: Betelgeuse
A: Orion
R: I thought this came from the wonderful game "Leather Goddess of Phobos" by Infocom, but, reflecting on it now, it probably came from a part in HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy that I don't remember.

5. I've just started up a game of CounterStrike 1.5. I'm on CT, the map is de_dust2. In the buy menu I hit 1-3. The weapon I’m buying is a(n):

My A: Pump shotgun
A: Deagle
R: Wouldn't you think that the first column would have basic weapons like a shotgun? Eh, never played CS. And do they really change by level?

6. You want to overclock your Athlon XP 3200+ up to 2.5 ghz. Given that a the default 3200 runs at 2.2 Ghz by default (11.0 clock multiplier, 200mhz FSB), which multiplier / FSB combination would most likely work the best?

My A: 15.0, 186 mhz
A: 12.0, 209 mhz
R: Funny about this, I actually had this very conversation earlier in the day, as I'm currently in the process of building my new home machine. Funny, I still got it wrong. Very wrong.

7. The Zeroth Law of Robotics states that:

My A: A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction allow a human being to come to harm.
A: No robot may harm humanity or, through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.
R: So close! I think this comes from Issac Asimov's I, Robot, but I've never read it. I probably absorbed this through reading slashdot, or some such.

8. 40,000 years from now these are all Temples of the Imperial Officio Assassinorum, except for...

My A: No idea what I put
A: Beil-Tan
R: What?

9. "I am so hip I have difficulty seeing over my pelvis!"

My A: Zaphod Beeblebrox
A: Zaphod Beeblebrox
R: Another Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference, as are all the character choices listed there.

10. I am Rygel the 16th, ________ of Hyneria.

My A: No idea what I put
A: Dominar
R: Who?

11. Twinkle is to Drizzt as:

My A: Sting is to Sam
A: Needle is to Arya
R: No idea what this is from. I guessed the Lord of the Rings relationship - weapon is to carrier, but now that I think about it, wasn't it Bilbo or Frodo who carried it?

12. ...Live long and prosper.

My A: Strength and honor...
A: Peace and long life...
R: From the vulcans... I guess this is like a challenge response kind of thing, but I can't remember ever hearing this.

13. Which does not belong?

My A: Salmon
A: Salmon
R: All the rest are used in Monty Python sketches, though I'm sure that there must be another thought for this one.

14. As you are traveling through space, your sensors detect a strange, black monolith floating nearby. Without looking, you know that it has the proportions:

My A: 1 by 4 by 9
A: 1 by 4 by 9
R: 2001, a space odyssey by Arthur Clarke and later, of course, the movie.

15. "One Ring to find them"

My A: No idea what I put
A: Ash nazg gimbatul
R: Did you know that JRR Tolkien was a linguist before he was an author? The interesting part is that he probably created these whole languages from scratch. Very impressive! Lord of the Rings Trilogy... btw.

16. Who has never been considered a prophet?

My A: Medivh
A: Mithrandir
R: Muad'dib is from Dune and was a prophet in that... the only one I know for sure. No idea what Mithrandir is from but sounds vaguely like Lord of the Rings.

17. Which cheat code is not paired with its game?

My A: No idea what I put
A: Power Overwhelming - Diablo 2
R: I very very rarely use cheat codes, so I'm never up to speed on it... that and I've only played half of those games.

18. List these Sith Lords in chronological order of their birth: Darth Sidious, Exar Kun, Darth Malak, and Kyp Durron.

My A: No idea what I put
A: Kun, Malak, Sidious, Durron
R: I got at least part of the order from Star Wars, Knights of the old Realm the video game for XBOX, but the rest I just took a stab at. I think I got it wrong.

19. Which does not belong?

My A: No idea what I put
A: Weasel
R: Where?

20. Klaatu Verata...

My A: Nictim
A: Nicto
R: Man these language ones are really hard. A couple more coming up here...

21. Who is NOT a Ghostbuster?

My A: Dr. Hawley Griffin
A: Dr. Hawley Griffin
R: Wouldn't technically the joke answer also be correct? I remember this from a misspent youth of watching this movie way too much.

22. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why do you do it? Why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you're fighting for something? For more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know? Is it freedom? Or truth? Perhaps peace? Yes? No? Could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson. Vagaries of perception. The temporary abstracts of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose. And all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself; although only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love. You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson. You must know it by now. You can't win. It's pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?

My A: Because I choose to.
A: Because I choose to.
R: I assume this is from the third episode of the Matrix which I still haven't seen. Interesting thing, the Matrix was written by a couple of graduates of the Landmark Education program, and this is one of their basic tenets. That's why I guessed it.

23. What color kryptonite can permanently rob Superman of his super powers?

My A: Gold
A: Gold
R: I think I got this from the Superfriends when I was a kid. By the way, if you haven't been to Seanbaby, leave this page immediately and go there.

24. Who was not one of the Istari?

My A: No idea what I put
A: Cirdan
R: How?

25. Which character is not paired with their ship?

My A: Captain Piett, Executor
A: Talon Karrde, Lady Luck
R: Total guess, but some of them I knew. This was a real mix of Star Trek, Spaceballs, and what I would assume is Pirates of the Caribbean.

26. In a game of 2nd edition AD&D, my fighter has a THAC0 of 14. To hit an orc with an AC of 6, I must roll at least a(n):

My A: 8
A: 8
R: See above re: misspent youth. Actually, when I was going through the SAT preparation course in H.S. I remember learning about how to read answers to a question which you do not know. That almost made me move off 8. If I remember Bard's Tale correctly, you start with an AC (armor class) of 10 and count down from there. THAC0 means to hit armor class (of) 0, and then for each AC above zero, you subtract one. It just seemed obvious that someone would subtract the two and guess at 8.

27. "Success"

My A: No idea what I put
A: Qa'pla
R: I think this is Klingon, which I don't know.

28. "Well met"

My A: No idea what I put
A: Mae govannen
R: See above re: Klingon

29. In 2029, John Connor leads a valiant resistance against computer nemesis:

My A: Skynet
A: Skynet
R: This is from the Terminator series

30. The answer to life, the universe, and everything...in binary:

My A: 101010
A: 101010
R: Tough one, in that FIRST you have to know that this is from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and then you have to remember the answer (42), and THEN you have to convert 42 to binary. Tough!

31. Spiderman's Mary Jane shares the same last name as:

My A: No idea what I put
A: Sherlock Holmes' partner
R: INTERESTING. I didn't remember this, but I was never a big Spiderman fan.

32. In standard, 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons, your 5th level ranger with a dexterity of 19 dons a suit of studded leather armor (AC 3, max dexterity bonus +5). Assuming he bears no other protection or enchantments, what is his total Armor Class?

My A: 4
A: 17
R: I think I did the following math... dexerity 19 probably gives you +2 armor class, +3 from the armor, and then maybe +1 for being 5th level. Obviously, I was very very wrong.

33. In Sluggy Freelance, what is the magic word to turn Zoe into a Camel?

My A: Shupid
A: Shupid
R: I like this comic quite a bit, as indicated by my links on the side.

34. Which pair of characters was not part of the crew of the Weatherlight, from Magic the Gathering:

My A: No idea what I put
A: Urza and Mishra
R: I've never played this... I didn't even know it had a story behind it!

35. In the original Phoenix for the TI-89, how much would it cost to buy two shield recharges, and weapon #2?

My A: No idea what I put
A: $350
R: I guarantee someone got this. I was not him. Besides, I never had a TI-89... I was an Intellivision and C64/128 man myself.

36. Who is not a character of the Warcraft universe?

My A: Lothar
A: Duriel
R: All I remember is that skit on SNL with Lothar of the hill people... I never would have thought that would have made it into a video game. I'm always so bad at remembering names from video games... on the other hand, I've never played Warcraft 3

37. In Wolfenstein 3D, you play as:

My A: Blake Stone
A: B.J. Blazkowicz
R: This is pretty funny... I actually took an educated guess at this, but I was still off... the choices were:

Blake Stone - never heard of him
B.J. Blazkowicz - never heard of him
John Anderton - Minority Report
Frank Poole - never heard of him
Carth Onasi - never heard of him
Korben Dallas - Fifth Element
The Cheat, who is not dead - Home star runner

That was pretty good.... nearly 50% elimination!

38. The Vault Dweller comes from Vault:

My A: No idea what i put
A: 13
R: I don't even know what this is.

39. This ship was built at the Utopia Planetia shipyards.

My A: Heart of Gold
A: USS Enterprise NCC-1701 D
R: The funny part here is the name sounded so ridiculous, I had to guess Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

40. The most important resource of the planet Arrakis:

My A: Spice melange
A: Spice melange
R: Dune ... again. This guy loves dune.

41. If 42 is the Answer, then the Question is...

My A: "What do you get when you multiply six by nine?"
A: "What do you get when you multiply six by nine?"
R: Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy... man I loved this "trilogy".

42. In what base number system does the muliplication in the above answer (well, question) actually equal 42?

My A: base 12
A: base 13
R: Uh, I suck at math?

Ok lots of writing here... I think I'll comment later on the correlation between intelligence and having too much time on your hands. Not that I have either, that is.



I did what I consider to be one of the nerdiest things last night. I still love it though, so I’m going to share. So frequently, I’ll be at home and remember that I need something, but forget to write it down or whatever. So last night, after dinner, I was in the same mall as a Fred Meyer. Fred Meyer’s, by the way, are the equivalent to a perfect combination of your local grocery store and Costco. They’re cheap, they’re fricken enormous, but they also have goods of regular sizes (see previous post about things to avoid while buying at Costco). I knew there were at least a couple things I wanted, so in I went. I proceeded, as I usually do in the grocery store, to wander up and down every aisle. A brief list of what I bought included:

• Shredder (with support for credit cards and up to 6 pages at a time!)
• Cheap slippers for my cold apartment
• Serving dish
• Ground beef
• Bottles of wine so I can seem classier than I actually am
• Tail lights for my car
• Couple of paint chip palettes

And so on. As you can see, a pretty fruitful outing! I certainly could have been more efficient than walking up and down every aisle, but it’s the only way I can feel complete.

I used to think I was the enemy of all marketers, but I have to say I’m probably the customer the most long for. First, I have no short term debt, and my only long term debt is my mortgage. Second, I do alright for myself money wise. Third, I watch and remember way too many TV ads (even with UltimateTV!). Fourth, I’m very quick to believe what people who sound like authorities say. Maybe this is changing as I get older, but I remember thinking that if someone demonstrated on TV that their detergent gets out grass stains, and _I_ have grass stains, then dammit, I’m going to buy their product! Makes sense, no? No. Or does it? It doesn’t. Nonetheless, I definitely tend to be much more brand focused than I ever thought I would be, especially after looking behind the curtain, if you will, and seeing exactly how artificial the entire concept of adding value through brand actually is. Ooo look! Something shiny!



I was in a bit of an interesting discussion the other day about my conversation topics. It seems all I talk about is work and computer stuff. This may be true. However, it led me to think... what do any of us talk about? I mean, you see be blather on here about meaningless nonsense, but does this qualify about actually talking about something else? Part of the problem is that I'm very focused on finishing out this job I'm working on right now and, so, to some degree this is my whole life. I go to work, I work all day, I come home and eat dinner and watch a little TV, and then go to bed. On the weekends, I relax by going out with friends for drinks, or seeing a movie or something similar. I don't feel like I'm leading some kind of sheltered or not fully realized life... it just is the way it is. But if I was going to talk about this with other people, it seems like it'd be pretty boring. Do I bore you? Wait, don't answer that.



Don’t you hate it when you have a bunch of stuff written in an HTML form, and then the browser fails for whatever reason and you lose it all? Not that this has happened to me…

Saturday was the caucuses for Washington State, and a few thoughts spring to mind.

First, I did not vote. I’ll get to why that is in a minute, but what I’m always amazed by is how disempowered I feel in the national elections. Generally, for senate, house and presidential elections, I’ve lived in places that are overwhelmingly in one direction, be they for or against me. So much so, that I never feel like I have any reason to get out there and vote. This seems to be exacerbated by the recent electoral redistricting, in an incredibly interesting article in The New Yorker. But on the other hand, I read a piece some time ago about the EMpowerment offered by the Electoral College generally. Something along the lines of by living in a smaller state, your votes actually count for more through the Electoral College. Well, I guess that’s a good thing, but it’s a pity I’ve never lived in a small state. I always am so amazed and touched by the pictures of people lining up to vote in elections for the first time, but it never seems to come home for me. This is not to say you can’t make a difference on the local level, but the national levels are another ball game (although, on the local level, I never seem to be able to learn enough about a given issue by the election to make a satisfactory decision; and I’d rather make no decision than an ill informed one.)

Second, I basically don’t care much about the government, except for a couple of key issues. Primarily, I never fail to be amazed at how shortsighted politicians seem to be on big issues. The two big ones are usually the environment and help for the poor, but, most recently, the deficit seems to be taking the lead here. For the environment, basically I think that there’s a sense of it’s worked for this long, it’ll keep working. While that may be true, I doubt that we really want to take a risk with the human population. I mean, there’s almost no chance we could do something that would wipe out all humans, but would we feel comfortable if we wiped out a billion due to mass starvation? We probably would as long as they were not in my backyard. See previous postings re: Dave being a cynic. On help for the poor, it’s basically the exact same thing, except instead of putting money into schools and programs designed to get people other avenues of work, we put money into prisons. I bet $1 spent up front would save us $10 on the back end. The deficit is a whole other issue… I think that it’s roughly around 25% of the tax income to the U.S. government goes to servicing the debt. If we were really concerned about finding a way to get more money for the war, for jobs, for tax breaks etc, shouldn’t we try and mine this down a bit? Again, this is a complete economic novice speaking here, but just reducing deficit should help, shouldn’t it?

Third, and finally, I think I’ve been at odds with this president’s decisions almost as much as any elected official since David Duke. I don’t think he’s a bad guy; he’s just doing what he sees are the best things for the country. Really! People are generally not that evil, especially when working in positions in which they get so much feedback. I’m absolutely sure he thought that what he was doing at any time was probably best for the country. While you may or may not agree, this view tends to give you a much better feeling for what people are doing at any given time.

That said, I’ve probably been as opposed to this president’s policies in on a number of things as any president I can remember (not that I can remember that many). But in the grand scheme of things, it’s not the end of the world; I can keep on living and, though things aren’t ideal, we get another election right now to boot him out. The interesting thing for me is that we couldn’t have identified ANY of these behaviors during the last election cycle. He said what he was going to say, and he got elected. Generally, I just think that there is virtually no correlation between what someone says during an election cycle and what they do in office. This is not news. But what I find to be pretty interesting is that even though I disagree a whole bunch about the policies, it really just hasn’t affected me THAT much. That’s not to say the men and women who have died in Iraq should have died, but who’s to say there wouldn’t be some peace keeping mission, or some other thing that would have taken American lives. Ultimately, it just feels like whomever we elect gets a 4 year chance to prove themselves, and then we either decide to reelect them, or give them the boot. Elections are basically chances to change power, and not necessarily install the guy/gal you want (since you have no idea how that guy/gal will behave until they actually get in office).



Wow. I'm a big fan of this. Pentrix - Videos

I remember in high school seeing people do all sorts of these things all the time, and they actually did it so fast I couldn't watch them enough to get it right. I doubt that in my old age I'll be able to have the hand coordination to pick it up now, but who knows.


Wow... could an entire campaign be sunk by a single scream? I guess so... Dean Goes Nuts.

I remember when I heard this the first time... I was actually pretty impressed that he was able to name off all the states like that, though I didn't check to see if they were in order of primary. And, to be honest, I actually admired the passion a bit. But I guess I'm the only one.



What is this? Three posts, in three days? What's next... dogs and cats living together?

First, I saw this on a banner ad today.

Are you really in love? Click our free love meter to find out!

DON'T CLICK ON IT.... it'll only encourage them! But, let me let you in on a little hint. If you have to ask a Web site, the answer is no... or it better be.

Second, and more philosophically, I'm so astounded at how much I thought I knew in the past, and how little I actually knew, now that I look back. I helped start up a company when I was 25... it was the height of the Internet boom and it was what all the cool kids were doing. We had a great first release, got funded, and got a fair bit of hype relatively quickly. When the second version came around, I thought I could move easily into the CTO position and help manage the developers we brought on. Naturally, the second version crashed and burned miserably and, while I wasn't the sole person at the cause of it, my fingerprints were all over it. The interesting part is that at the time it was not like I was blaming everyone else. I thought I knew what I had done wrong, but I was way off.

If I asked you to cut me a piece of metal, or as one of my favorite focus group leaders likes to say, how long a piece of string is, you'd come back with a thousand questions. How big? What kind of metal? What color? and so on. The reason you'd come back with this is because you would have no idea how to tell when you were done without significantly more information. Today, I was going through a bunch of test suites that we have at work, and I realized that this was exactly where I failed in my prior software project. It wasn't that I didn't work enough, or didn't watch the project closely enough, it was that I couldn't tell when the project would be done, and I certainly did not any method to measure progress. We did not even have formal workitems that had to be completed, let alone something as granular as a bug tracker (to actually see what is going wrong). It really is such a simple concept, but so frequently in life we seem to miss it. "I'd like to make more money" you might say... but when are you done? When you get a raise? Two? Ten? And what if you never saw your paycheck? How would you know you ever actually DID get a raise?

I suppose the net of it is experience is a phenomenal teacher, and so on with other cliched phrases. But in this case (as in most cases I suppose), the cliche is accurate. The 2.5 years I've spent at my current job, as well as the 2 years I had at my previous job, really did educate me enormously. And now that I've spent just 6 months as a release manager, and a good amount of time just creating the tools to watch exactly where we are and what where we need to get to, the differences between then and now seem even more extreme. Just FYI, the company _is_ still in business, and doing fairly well (from what I understand). Check them out!

I'm sort of using this space to reflect on how quickly we all learn by doing and how much even a short time of distance can mean to reflection. But I also want to temper any arrogance that I (or anyone else for that matter) might have at all. I'm 29 now, and when I'm 35 I hope to re-read this and say, wow I was a moron then.