Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Things that make you go "Hmm"...

Rumor has it that NT has been making some pretty strange phone calls these days, and has been hanging around some fairly interesting shoppes lately, if you know what I mean...

Then comes the item pictured above, found on his desk in the lab...

Inquiring minds want to know, just exactly what is going on here...

French Roast Emergency, Day 7

We are now getting desperate. Supply lines are getting longer and thinner. There is no French Roast in the freezer, and there is no French Roast in the coffee maker. Only a remnant remains in the French Roast bin, ready for (yes) emergency use.

How long can this go on?

Tuesday Cat Blogging (Apocalypse Version)

Bloomberg is reporting:

A cat from the Baltic Sea island of Ruegen, where Germany's first cases of bird flu were detected, has tested positive for the H5N1 avian influenza strain, the Federal Research Institute for Animal Health said.

Tests still need to be done to determine whether it is the high-pathogen version of the H5N1 virus that is dangerous to people, the organization, also known as the Friedrich Loeffler Institute, said today in a faxed statement. The institute is based on Riems, another north German island.

Bill Murray must be smiling to himself now.

Dirt (The Dirge)

Ashes to Ashes,
Dust to Dust - Mellow when dead,
Mardi Gras Right Now

Tardi Gras

As if there weren't aready enough pathos about him, today's tardiness with regard to his 10 o'clock meeting with RS is downright appalling.

It's one thing to forget what sort of mints are available in a conference room, but to actually keep RS waiting? (And I'll bet it's particularly galling after relying on her for wintergreen confirmation)...

You're treading on thin ice, mister.

I hope you show up with some dust on your forehead tomorrow RD, because you're going to need all the reminding that "to dust we shall return" you can get, if you keep letting RS down.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging, Part Deux

This cat is not the same cat as the other one. Perhaps his 'tude is the better one.

Friday Cat Blogging

It seems that perhaps there needs to be a little attitude adjustment around here, and this:

is just the cat to give it to us. Please take her as an example.

That is all.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Pathetic Loser

What kind of a pathetic loser doesn't know the difference between wintergreen and peppermint?

What crazy loon, when he doesn't know the difference between wintergreen and peppermint, ignores his beautiful wife when she tells him that the mints in question are wintergreen?

What kind of abject failure calls his workplace to ask what sort of mints are in the conference room, when he knows how incredibly brutal his people can be when given just a little opening to roast him with?

NC Office Opening Soon

JTC has received her copy of the artwork, so it can reasonably be said that our new office in North Carolina will soon be open.

Good luck with the new arrangements, J, we're sure that Philly'll miss you...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Protector of Motherland Day

Several of our calendars around here have tomorrow marked in RED. Since that represents a holiday, I poked around a bit on the web, and found that tomorrow is men's day in Russia.

Next is February 23, Day, known until recently as Soviet Army Day, popularly viewed as holiday for all men and closely followed by its female counter-part, Women's Day, March 8, when women receive flowers, presents and are toasted by men.

Perhaps there should be a celebration of all things male tomorrow - maybe we can all go fishin' in the creek, then go quail hunting just like the veep. That'd sure be fun!

Alternatiely, blinis and vodka I'm sure would do. It'd certainly be less dangerous. We could even wait until Friday. Forget I mentioned it...

Vacated Mahogany Row

It's been noted that the entirety of our Mahogany row is vacant. Positively unpeopled. What's the saying, when the cat's away, the mice will play?

Unfortunately, as noted by HD, we are not mice, we are dogs.

So, we brave this coffee emergency without leadership. Perhaps PG will notice that our reserves are down and step into the breach. Perhaps WL will notice it upon his return tomorrow.

Perhaps we'll have to drink the other coffee...

French Roast

Oh, and not to be alarmist or anything, but our supplies of French Roast are improbably low.

Wednesday Panda Blogging

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Two-Word Review: Romaine's Northboro

Romaine's of Northborough
299 West Main Street
Northboro, MA 01532

(Located in "Times Square", just off Route 20 west of Northborough Center).

2-Word Review: Unfathomably good!

Smashed had the Tuna (off the rack), with some 2004 Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel.

The tuna came with sauteed green beans and an olive gratin. The whole grain bread was first, complete with roasted garlic and olive oil.

Everything about this meal was fantastic! The tuna came seared, early medium rare, with a little red pepper sauce, feta, and a hint of chili seasonings. The beans were sauteed perfection - oil and perhaps a hint of garlic. The gratin was also fabulous, who knew that olive would go well with a classic gratin! Bogle Vinyards has outdone themselves - inexpensive, this wine is definitely a sleeper - surprisingly complex - perhaps 2004 will reprise 2001 as a great Zin year.

The meal finished well with a muy delicioso fallen chocolate cake, and coffee.

Smashed has eaten here on other occasions, and has never been disappointed.

Other entries on the menu which sounded good were the Coffee-Shellaced Duck, and the Venison Medalions with Risotto.

Food this good doesn't come along often, unless it's at Romaine's.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Name That Server Contest

Since there's been a bit of a lull lately, both here at HSI and in general, Smashed thinks that it's time for a contest.

The software lab is going to get a new server on or about Tuesday next. Since it'll need a name, we're holding a contest. The winner will get 1GB of free storage on the server for whatever they'd (legally) like to store there - at least until we need the space back. We're nothing if not generous here at HSI. The winner will also get the undying adulation of the software group.

So, how 'bout it! Name that Server!

All entries become the property of HSI. Final choice of server name may not come from entries received (that is, there may be no winner). All taxes the responsibilty of the winner, if any. All rights reserved.

UPDATE: Since there were no official entries received by the deadline, it has been determined that the new server will be named Xena. Maybe Lucy Lawless will stop by for the christening.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Just Another Birthday Party

Yesterday we celebrated RS's birthday. (The big Three - Seven!) Since she was travelling over the weekend, somewhere in the great blizzard of ought-six, some weren't altogether certain of her making it back to the office on time. As it turns out, she made it back to her post before Smashed wandered in.

As you can see, it was just another run-of-the-mill birthday celebration here, we had a couple of cakes (chocolate-raspberry and white-strawberry - delicious with milk), and the Absinthe was just fantastic!

The next birthday is coming up quickly - let's all get some rest so we can party properly for the next lucky birthday boy or girl.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Something Wonderful

Pictured above is the latest addition to the software engineering art gallery.

Those of us who were of moviegoing age back in '68 remember the film, "2001: A Space Odyssey", and it affected some of us mightily. Others had no idea what it was about. Sometimes both reactions occurred in the same person.

No matter - the future was bright, problems were going to be surmounted, and something wonderful was about to happen.

(Follow this link to view the image from the movie that inspired the current work).

The aspect ratio mismatch notwithstanding, the similarities are evident.

There are a few differences, however. One will note that in the original, the sky is muted, reddish, portentious. The current work has a much more peaceful, hopeful blue sky, evincing the essential optimism in evidence here. This same dichotomy applies to the cloud cover in the two works. The original's clouds are dark, unsure, occlusive. The clouds in the current work are bright, wispy, happy clouds. There is much less uncertainty here. It's going to be a good day.

The other major difference is to be found in the celestial bodies. In Kubrick's work, the Sun and Moon are cold, pale, and not very satisfying. In the current work, the Sun and Moon are much fuller, more colorful, more abbondanza! - consistent with the other elements of the composition.

Well, that's about it, really. If you're near our offices, please feel free to drop by and soak in the culture. It's sure to be a life-changing experience.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Friday is back!

Well, after a hiatus of about a month, Friday night happy hour is back!

The agonist of the whole thing (I'm not going to say who it is, but her initials are NR) is now back from her travels to San Diego and Malibu, and again we are whole.

HD was kind enough to supply some salsa and some tortilla chips, both traditional and not, along with the use of his booty from the Yankee Swap (pictured above).

The big news of the day was twofold:

  1. RD reestablished (fashionably, Smashed might add) Friday as "Loud Shirt Day"
  2. Smashed added his first contribution of original art to the walls of the software engineering art gallery. It was a resounding success, with RD pronouncing it "The best thing [Smashed] ever did, including any code he may have written".

    High praise, high praise indeed.

Tomorrow will bring an HSI post on the artwork itself. For now, a link to the first piece of art that Smashed dragged in to the gallery will have to do. Suffice it to say that this is not the original artwork that's gone missing... No, Smashed had nothing to do with that.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

B is for Bitchin

Smashed is saddened to hear that our mascot, the head-smashed-in buffalo head poster will be moving from its star location across from RS at Reception. But, all things must change, Smashed understands. In its place will go a truly bitchin framed set of newspaper articles about "the company" that Jeanne has assembled - and Smashed is not referring to that company No, we've gotten a fair amount of press over our short lifetime, and that really can only continue.

Of course, that leaves us with the dilemma of what to do with our mascot - perhaps it'll be retained in the front office for all to see... If not, the software lab could certainly use a little more art - there's still a lot of white space in there. (Although rumor has it that its about to get a bit more colorful over the next day or two - updates as conditions warrant).

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Emergency Situation

This time, it's not the blackberry emergency (thankfully, that's being taken care of due to its importance to the US Government). No, this is far more important - Russia is experiencing a drought of vodka at precisely the worst time of the year).

MOSCOW, Russia (Reuters) -- Russians could suffer a shortage of their national tipple next week because a bureaucratic mix-up has brought every vodka distillery in the country to a halt, producers say.

Distillers have been waiting since January 1 for tax authorities to send them new excise stamps -- the anti-counterfeit stickers that by law must be attached to every bottle of vodka.

"We are selling vodka left over from last year but those stocks are getting smaller all the time," said Vera Bragina, a spokeswoman for Russia's Smirnov Trading House.

I wonder if they'd consider importing a little Gray Goose?

Friday, February 03, 2006

Jeanne knows rain

Jeanne knows what to do when the weather's going to be foul - she comes prepared!

I only hope she's got something else to change into before the festivities start.

Winter Social

Yes, today is the big day, social butterflies, spread your wings! Beautiful weather for it (rain, fog, cloud), too.

Good luck in the yankee swap. Smashed understands that there may be a few extra parcels entered into the festivities. RS has been informed, and she will no doubt be prepared.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Xena joins Pluto as a Planet

A team of German scientists have discovered what they're calling a new planet in the Kuiper belt. This chunk of ice orbits the Sun at a distance of 9 billion miles, three times further out than Pluto. (Xena's orbital radius is roughly 100 times that of the Earth).

A ball of ice and dust found last year in the outskirts of the solar system is 30 percent wider than Pluto, a team of German astronomers is reporting today.

The finding definitively makes the icy ball -- temporarily labeled 2003 UB313 and nicknamed Xena -- the largest known object to be discovered orbiting Earth's sun since Neptune was identified in 1846 and adds to the debate over what should be considered a planet.

Obviously, this team should get out more. To describe Xena as "30 percent wider" than Pluto can bring only trouble.

Another possibility is to arbitrarily call anything larger than Pluto a planet.

Bertoldi preferred to keep Pluto as a planet and to bestow planethood on Xena.

"I don't want to downgrade Pluto as not a planet," he said. "It would be impolite."

Bertoldi's got rather a distorted conception of politeness.

Happy @#$%@&@ Groundhog Day.

I dare you to call me cute.

Happy @#$%@&@ Groundhog Day. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's the propensity of you humans to anthropomorphize everything. Projection on a grand inter-species scale. Oh, sure, you can't help it, it's just the way you're built. So sue me.

I couldn't care less if we're going to have an early spring, I've got plenty of fur, and frankly, *prefer* the cold weather. Have you ever tried to get rid of extra heat through a fur coat? I'm sure some of you have. It's no fun, I can tell you. You at least have the luxury of taking the coat off.

You wonder why my cousin Punxsutawney Phil rarely predicts an early spring? Because he's in the glare of all those klieg lights those photographers have set up, and it makes him hot, and puts him in a worse mood than usual. And the crowds... Haven't you people got better things to do than pick on us?

My prediction? Six more weeks of this faux winter, followed by an excruciatingly hot summer. And rain. Lots and lots of rain. Maybe a hurricane or two.

Serves you right for having invented the paved road and sectioning off my habitat like that. Gah!

Update: Phil agrees with me.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Lab coat night

RN informs us that tonight is "Lab Coat Night." She writes:

Tonight we should all leave our dirty lab coats in the dirty lab coat box to be picked up for cleaning tomorrow morning.

I wonder if they'll be back in time for the social? I also wonder what sort of tie would go with a freshly cleaned lab coat?

Princeton ain't no Malibu

The following dispatch just arrived from our roving marketing team:

Team arrived in scenic Princeton NJ – hotel overlooks Route 1, maybe just 30 yards from my window.

Beats Malibu any day. Who needs a sunrise – we ain’t got no stinkin’ seagulls.


(and Jan finally arrived so all is good)



Clicking on the link reveals that the team is actually *on* Route 1. I've been assured that they're safe because they're wearing their orange vests.