Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Went to prison yesterday

On Friday a few of us from work took a tour of two local prisons: a men's prison, and a women's prison.

Pretty interesting. I learned that I'd be **so** bored in prison (not that I was planning to attend). I have the background that I'd have the capacity to help teach the various educational courses. But, I wouldn't be allowed to, for two very good reasons.

One is that they try to keep a very clear distinction between staff and prisoners: so, at most I'd be allowed to be some sort of low-level teaching assistant, not an actual instructor.

And second, putting a prisoner in a position of authority means that that prisoner (me) would have additional access to restricted things. And other prisoners would try to exploit that access. So, it's safer for everyone concerned to just not grant that access.

So, I could learn how to weld. Maybe take up painting, in the art room. There's some sort of music program -- although I didn't get the details (although I think it's just acoustic instruments, rather than electric guitars).

Again, not that I'm planning on attending...


Labels: ,

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Music at work update

My "music at work" endeavor has fallen by the wayside. Played the harmonica or the tin whistle at a local park on some weekends -- but I still felt self-conscious practicing (as opposed to performing something I was decent at) in public. There's a small conference room, and a medium conference room, but neither are soundproofed enough to not bother people.

Instead, I've been going for walks on my lunch break (o.k. -- it's exercise, at least), and then reading at the breakroom table for the final five minutes.

Thursday, though, while walking, it occurred to me that I could bring in my small Casio-style keyboard. I'd want to buy a AC power pack for $10-$15. I could just play it at a low volume, and keep it in my desk drawer when not in use.


Labels: , ,

Friday, July 29, 2011

Too focused on the wrong thing

I'm going to Seattle to visit friends and family in a few months. It's always busy, and fairly highly-scheduled, trying to fit everyone in.

So, last night I dreamed I was staying at my parents for a few days. I was in the guest room checking e-mail, while a series of friends and relatives stopped by.

I eventually emerged from the guest room, to discover that everyone had given up and left. Dangit!

The message: Don't spend too much time on e-mail or other "administrative" tasks while in Seattle?


Labels: , , ,

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Movie hopping

Here's the link to a nine-minute film short. Its purpose is to demonstrate the abilities of some video editing software. But mostly, it's just an amusing and well-made film short, where a guy genre-hops through several different types of movies.


Labels: ,

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Not me

This is an insightful blog entry.

Not me: I don't think I have any one single passion that I could do for a living. Recording music might come close -- but clearly I'm not squeezing it in at the moment, and that lack says something important.


Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Not in Kansas any more

Helped my daughter with her list of spelling words, for this Friday. Read her words from the list, and she spelled them, verbally.

The theme was "words with an 'ar' sound".

Some of the words were:
  • are
  • far
  • part
  • park
  • dart

O.k., fair enough. But they also included as having "ar" sounds:
  • fast
  • after
  • ask
  • last
So apparently, Aussies completely accept "ask" being pronounced "arsk", and "after" as "arfter". Or in other words, they talk like Popeye.

Similarly, when I read "last" off the list, my daughter didn't know what word that was. I explained it was the opposite of being first. She wanted me to pronounce it "lost". I countered that "lost" is when you don't know where you are -- like being lost in the woods.

It's like that Bible verse says: the first shall be lost, and the lost shall be first.


Labels: ,

Monday, July 25, 2011

Infinite loan

I thought this was a clever idea, if you can afford if financially. It's originally from Ben Franklin -- but I found it in this blog entry.

Here it is, in Ben Franklin's own words, regarding having loaned a friend some money:

"I do not pretend to give such a Sum; I only lend it to you. When you [...] meet with another honest Man in similar Distress, you must pay me by lending this Sum to him; enjoining him to discharge the Debt by a like operation, when he shall be able, and shall meet with another opportunity. I hope it may thus go thro' many hands, before it meets with a Knave [i.e. crummy person] that will stop its Progress. This is a trick of mine for doing a deal of good with a little money."

I like the concept. :)


Labels: , ,

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fairy oversight

Yesterday my six year old daughter and I were having a geometry discussion (long story), and I brought out my old Dungeons and Dragons dice. (Haven't used them in years -- but they were in the games cupboard, and thus easy to find.) She asked what they were for, and I tried to explain Dungeons and Dragons to her.

She said that she wouldn't be interested in playing any of the characters that I'd named for her (elves, dwarves, wizards, warriors...): but is a person allowed to be a fairy?

That was a new idea. I replied that people normally wouldn't -- but that you could apply the specs from the Monster Manual (an encyclopedia of creatures and monsters) or the Fiend Folio (the sequel encyclopedia), and use that information during gameplay.

Curiously, when I went to look it up in those books (again, haven't played in years -- but luckily I knew exactly where those books are on the bookshelf), I was surprised to find that there wasn't a dedicated entry for "fairies". Instead, they're treated as a sub-type of "elf": just one paragraph, and with no pictures, any mention that they have wings, or indicators of their specific size or flying speed.

Still: when she gets a bit older, if she's still interested in playing a fairy, it seems do-able.



Ahh... the wonders of the internet! Did a Google search on "fairy dungeons and dragons character class" and "... player character". Got a few hits, including this one, which gives instructions for pixies as a character class. Aha!

Went back to the Monster Manual, which does indeed have an entry on Pixies. And pixies apparently can speak "Sprite" -- yep! An entry on Sprites, as well. Both pixies and sprites (according to the illustration and text) are 2"-3" tall, and have wings. Yep -- that's what I think of for "fairies". So, that's the information I'd need.

Also: I learned thre things during my Googling. One is that the "red box, blue box" series is referred to as "BECMI D&D" (for "the five volumes in the edition; Basic, Expert, Companion, Master and Immortal"). This is distinct from the other version that I'm used to, which is "Advanced D&D".

The second thing I learned is that what I just wrote is kinda wrong: the version **I** knew as the "red box, blue box" series is actually called "BX D&D". I think it predates the "BECMI" version -- although now I'm tired of Googling... ;) The "Basic" set is here (see also the box photo, at left), and "Expert" is here. Ah, memories... :)

And third, possibly because it was aimed at beginners(?), it's a lot more stripped-down -- and thus, faster -- than the current version (which apparently is v. 3.5 -- yow). Version 3.5 (and the online article mentions a then-forthcoming v. 4) is **much** more rules-based than "Classic" or "AD&D". Fine if you're a lawyer or an accountant, I suppose -- but to me, that seems cumbersome.


Labels: , ,

Saturday, July 23, 2011

That dream again

About a week ago, I dreamed a variation on my "back in university" dream. It was my first semester at a new university, and I was trying to cobble together a list of classes that I wanted to take, so that I could earn a Master's degree. The problem was, I kept forgetting to attend class.

Last night, I had yet another variation. Again, I was trying to get a Master's degree, and it was my first semester of the program. But this time, I was having a hard time finding any courses that seemed interesting. I ended up with a Literature class, some math class, and (I think) some Engineering class. But what the heck kind of Masters degree could I earn with such an oddball mix?

Then I realized that -- hey! I already have a Ph.D.! I don't **need** to get a Master's degree. In fact, I have a JOB! So, I dropped all my courses, early enough that I got a full refund.

The interesting part was that it wasn't until half a day later that I realized -- duh -- that I also have a **Masters** degree: I got it as part of the Ph.D. program. (That is, you get your M.A. -- then you keep going and (hopefully) get your Ph.D.) But neither in my dream, nor after I woke up, did I remember that I do have a Masters.



Labels: , ,

Friday, July 22, 2011

Family ties

Today, while next door borrowing a DVD from my brother-in-law, I somehow ended up talking with his wife about my necktie collection. She mentioned that when her father died she inherited some neckties, and that her husband doesn't really wear ties: would I like them?


So, I gained eight additional neckties (pictured).

I had eight ties in the queue that I have yet to wear: since I don't wear a tie on ''casual Fridays'', that's two weeks before I've worn all my ties once. With these additional seven, that's fifteen ties. So, nearly four week (esp. since I occasionally leave the house without a tie).

Once I've worn each tie once, then I can start wearing whichever ones I feel like.


Labels: , ,

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day off

Over the last few weeks I've racked up some extra hours at work, in order to meet a deadline. So yesterday (Weds), I finally got to take a flex day.

It was a good day. Hung out with my two sons. I did stuff in the backyard, and in my workshop, while they played in the backyard, in the dirt.

I cut pieces of wood into smaller pieces, made the wood smoother, then drilled holes in the wood and connected them with screws. Then I rubbed finishing oil on the wood and left it to dry for a few days.

The wood, described above, is for two small projects. One is a simple handsaw holder. The other is a piece of wood for mounting a motion-sensor shed light: I want to mount it on the wall, but don't want to drill into the metal frame of the shed. So I made a wooden bracket to clamp onto the metal frame, and will bolt the shed light to the bracket.

A pleasant, relaxing, and productive day. :)


Labels: ,

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Heavy rotation

For the last two to three weeks, the Chromeo album Business as Usual has been in heavy rotation in my CD-R drive at work. Great tunes, clever lyrics. A bit, "Yo! I'm smooth and cool" -- but I **think** in a wry kinda way.

Check out "Bonafide Lovin' " (streaming audio) on their MySpace page.


Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Best 45 bucks I ever spent

I enjoy guitar effects pedals -- but they run off 9-Volt batteries, and that's a pain in the patootie.

It's hard to get into the battery compartment of most guitar pedals. Rechargeable 9V batteries don't last very long. Non-rechargeable batteries are non-cheap, and it's un-environmental to crank though them.

After mucking around with rechargeable 9V batteries (and running out of power at inopportune moments), I finally decided to pick up some "wall wart" power supplies (as shown). Decided to get three of them, as Jaycar has a price break when you get three or more ($15-ish, versus $17-ish).

Took 'em home, plugged 'em in, tried it out: Ahhhhhh....!!!



Labels: ,

Monday, July 18, 2011


I'm a bit of a scavenger, and hate to throw useful things away.

There were some spare CD-ROM stack cases at work, and I asked for them to be saved for me: cut off the spindle, turn the whole thing upside-down, and -- hey! A storage container with a lid (put a piece of tape over the spindle hole, to keep dust out).

And then I noticed that a roll of toilet paper would fit nicely into one of those.

Useful if you have an outhouse and you want to keep bugs and mice out of the spare roll? Or you want to keep a spare roll in the back in the truck?




Sunday, July 17, 2011

A productive weekend

Saturday and Sunday were productive -- but in different ways.

Did the usual errands and groceries on Saturday. Forget what I did in the afternoon (besides a load or two of laundry) -- but spent a few hours in the evening watching two discs worth of Season 1 of The Big Bang Theory (borrowed from my brother-in-law). I had some other stuff I meant to do that evening -- but figured lying in bed with my sweetie and laughing together was also important.

Today, went to church, then came home and did a bunch of miscellaneous. Did a perimeter check of the entire house, for termite trails up the sides of the bricks. Supposed to do this quarterly, but I haven't. Also unpacked three boxes of "miscellaneous" from the front porch -- still have about eight boxes to go -- boxes untouched from when we moved in.

Also finished sawing a small log in half, to minimize splittage as is dries. Eventually, I use that wood as lumber for some woodworking project or another.

Also sawed off another limb off a dead tree that I need to take down. The wood in an interesting color, so I'm saving the wood for future projects (see above).

I also converted a one-person crosscut saw into a **very** long rip saw. The teeth still need a bit of tidying, though. I'll post more about this when I finish (perhaps next week?).

And then: just before the kids' bedtime, **finally** (been trying for three days) got to play guitar with some effects pedals. The kids tweaked the knobs, while I played misc. on the guitar.

Oh: and cranked through about four loads of laundry today.

So: a very productive weekend. No additional trench digging, or shifting of gravel. Probably next weekend.

Also tonight, will take a look at a friend's small business data, to look for patterns.


Labels: , , ,

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Uber scarecrow

Sorry -- the "U" in "Uber" needs those little double-dots over them.

Anyhow: a Y'allTube video of a pretty neat-o Germish scarecrow.




Friday, July 15, 2011

Going under

For the last week or two, when I'm about to get really focused on something, I tell my coworkers I'm about to "go underwater".

Basically, I put on my headphones, put a CD in the CD-ROM drive, and -- well, go underwater. Into my own little zone, basically.


Labels: , ,

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Maybe I should garden

Had an interesting dream last night: Dreamed I had an office job for some misc. company. Came in to work one morning, to find that someone had removed all of the documents I had on my desk.

I told my supervisor that either I was being given a whole new project, and someone had taken over my old one -- or else I was being fired. My supervisor told me that it was being fired. Ah.

Decided, in my dream, that I needed a new career. Decided I'd be a landscape maintenance person: mowing the lawn, edging the lawn, raking beauty bark, pruning trees. Sounded like a pretty decent job. Wouldn't get paid as much -- but probably not a lot of deadlines, either: just day in, day out.

Woke up, and realized that, yeah, that **would** be a pretty o.k. job. I wouldn't have thought so at 25 -- but now that I'm in my 40s, having a job that's just doing yardwork all day sounds pretty good.


Labels: , ,

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Superman joke

Just thought of this:

If Superman hated musical instruments, who would be his arch-enemy?

Answer: Lex Luthier.


Labels: , ,

Monday, July 11, 2011

Architect vision

I often say that I have an engineer's mindset. I might also have an architect's perspective, as well.

Often, when I'm in an elevator, sitting in a restroom cubicle, or in other small-ish places, I daydream about how it could be made into a micro studio apartment. I suspect that most people don't do that.


Labels: ,

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Air Supply

Was reading through the liner notes for my Air Supply: Greatest Hits CD, and discovered that they're Australian. Did not know that.



Saturday, July 09, 2011

Lady is back

The Lady has been gone (with The Girl) all weekend, at a conference. It's just been me and our two boys (3 y.o.).

Gad-zooks! Didn't get **nuthin'** done! Of course, I was putting in some long hours at work, trying to catch up on a project. To bed by 8:30pm-9pm, up at 5am, shower, sort some laundry get the boys off to daycare; in about 8am; leave work about 4:30pm so that I could get to the daycare centre before it closes; dinner for the boys, supervise them, put a load of laundry on, and then to bed around 8:30pm.

So, basically an hour of "productivity" in the morning, before the boys get up. Urgh. I don't see how single parents **do** it.

Also: the first day (Monday) that I got home, and The Lady wasn't there -- the house felt "hollow". I'm used to being the last one home, the house all full of light and noise. Gave me an extra appreciation for the lives of newly-divorced people.



Monday, July 04, 2011

Winter here in Brisbane

Today is a typical sort of winter's day, here in Brisbane: in the morning, it's cold enough to see your breath. But by lunchtime, it's short-sleeves weather.


Labels: , ,

Friday, July 01, 2011

All sorts of useful knives

I just discovered this from this woodworking blog entry:

A knife-selling website. Loads o' different types of knives: oyster knives, pocket knives, utility knives.

Supposedly of good quality, and good prices. And I think made in the U.S.A.

Haven't tried it myself, though.


Labels: ,