NyQuil Is My Friend

NyQuil is a friend of mine,
He helps me drift to sleep
He doesn't sing a lullaby,
Or waste time counting sheep

No, NyQuil isn't subtle.
He isn't shy or meek.
He levels me with medicine,
That make my eyelids weak

I do not like the taste of it
It's flavor kin to vile
But if the sludge will help me sleep
Then I'll slurp it with a smile.

While sitting in the kitchen
Upon my counter stool
I swig a shot of nastiness
And soon begin to drool

I stagger towards the bedroom
And reach out for the door
I crash down on the ground
And soon begin to snore

I awake three hours late for work
But happy as I've ever been
For I can use my nose today
and tonight, you can bet that I'll be swigging at my friend again.

-Peter Brown 2010


Soo... Where to begin. Oh! I know. I'm furious!! Yeah, that's a good place to start.

I only get my hair cut every two to three months. I just don't like the hassle of going and getting the cut, dealing with all the itchy clothes and making small talk. Monday night I stopped by the local Great Clips to get a hair cut. It had been over three months and I was beginning to look silly. I've been going here for about five years now. There has been the occasional bad cut, but mostly it's been fine. I sit down, tell them what I want and I usually come out feeling better about myself. I then spend the next week or so wondering what took me so long to go.

This time, not so much. As my facebook update put it...

"Was just snatched bald by the woman at great clips. Plus I had to pay her for the insult. I'm so mad I'm shaking!"

It's a long a rather boring story so I'll skip the finer details. The long and the short of it is, I came in long and left exceeding short. I'm vain, and for me my hair is the one thing I feel good about. I don't dress in style or exactly have a trim figure. So for me my hair was my 'thing'. Now that I've been shaved like a boot camp enlistee, I'm a little off my game.

Which brings me to the point of the post. Hats. For the next few weeks I'll be wearing a lot of them. I thought I'd share some of my rather eclectic gathering of head wear.

The 30's style English Cap. I love this hat. I've worn it out in public many times. Usually to the wifes chagrin. She's a good sport but tends to shy from attention. This hat brings attention...

Speaking of attention! I bought this beauty at the Mall of America while I was on a speech team meet. Us California dwellers were in high fashion that day. I doubt I've worn it since.

It's hard not to feel cool in a Fedora. Seriously. I used to dress up as a gangster every Halloween just for the excuse of wearing this hat.

Ah yes! My fathers Greek sailors cap. Add this to the "never allowed to wear with Patricia" list. She never says it, but you can see the fear in her eyes when I put this on.

Plus it is a wee bit big for me. My old man had a huge head!

Whenever I put this on I feel like I should dawn some slickers and go fishing on a huge boat. Luckily I never follow through on that absurd tendency.

Another of my fathers caps. It has his first inital and last name in it, so I presume it's Navy issue. He was stationed in the Philippines in the mid 60's. Had some strange stories of bitter beer and poorly translated American songs...

I suppose this is a pretty normal hat to wear. Your average baseball cap. I bought it at the first Giants game I attended in AT&T Park.

Trouble is it looks brand new, because I never wear it! And with the Giants going to series I'd feel like a fair weather fan. So I just too embarrassed to go out in it.

So this is my hat of choice. A tech hat from a long dead optics manufacturing company in Boston. Quantum Bridge. Of course that's not what it looks like at first glance.

"Hey, do you work at Quiznos?!"
"No.. This company made campus based switching architecture in the early 00's-"
"-I like their grilled sandwiches!"
"Yeah. Me too."

So that's me for the next few weeks. If you see me, don't ask. I'm not going to show you my hair! :)

The Car Recall

"Did you hear about the recall?"

"Excuse me?"

"The car recall! Did you hear about it?"

"I have no clue what you're saying."

"Seems they are recalling 1.5 million cars."

"That's going to take forever! Who's doing it."

"The car company employees I suppose....who else would do it?"

"Are they asking thier friends to help?"

"What? Look I have this funny feeling that you and I aren't on the same page. Cars. Recall. Understand?"

"The first one was a red one. With a black bumper..."


"The second was puce and chrome with a gray interior. No FM radio. Listened to a lot of Frank Sinatra and talk shows."

"uh... Jim."

"The third was Burnt Sienna, a scrumptious color, and if I recall it smelled strongly of pork rinds. It is now the property of my second ex-wife."

"Jim, what the hell are you doing?"

"Recalling my cars. Luckily I've not had anywhere near 1.5 million of them."

"You know, Jim, I really hate talking to you sometimes."

"You brought it up Phil, not me. Besides, I'm the only one working here. You haven't even tried to recall a single car. We're pretty behind here! Oh I know. What about that one you had when you and Doreen were dating. The little Ford pickup."

"A great little truck. There was this one night I recall vividly! Doreen and I drove out the lake and crashed a big ol bonfire party. Talked, ate and got free drinks and dessert It was awesome. I think we were there for an hour or more before that group confessed they had no clue who we were or why we were eating their hamburgers."


"Scouts honor."

"Well! What happened?!"

"Oh, right. Well, pretend to get real upset and left in a huff. Even took a burger for the road!"

"Wait...was that the same night that you 'broke down' at Higgins Hallow?"

"Ah...Yeah. Good times. That was the last night that car was drivable."

"What a wreck that was."

"Better my car then me I suppose."

"Yea, I've never seen that much buckshot. He musta emptied 4 boxes of shells in that car."

"More like 10."

"Never date a girl who's daddy has shotgun collection."

"Those are words to live by. Hey, since we're recalling. What about that baby blue Dodge you bought for 4 C notes?"

"Scott? A very social care. People were always hooking and waving at me."

"More like screaming and giving you the finger."

"That's because I merged on the freeway at 24MPH and hit a top speed of 39 and a half. come to think of it. I hated that gutless pile of crap. Sold it for $100. Poor sap got taken."

"Look here comes Pete"

"Phil, Bob! Did you guys hear about the recall?"

"We were just talking about that..."

Software Coders Needed

I hate coding. Seriously I'm the last person you want staring at code all day. I'm dyslexic and my brain is completely disorganized. I have never been capable of thinking in a straight line. I work in circles rarely completing a full thought, and leaving sentences hanging in most of my conversations. I have never successfully followed all the directions in any manual or instruction booklet, nor do I wish to. Personally I believe that is what makes me a good troubleshooter. I work more on instinct and jump quickly from thought to thought. My boss rarely asks anyone to work with me on projects in an effort to maintain the sanity of my co-workers.

These qualities might lead me to fix a hardware or network error in record time, but they are near useless for any one looking for good linear process. As I have been painfully reminded today, code requires straight line logic. I got none.

Even with this shortcoming I am on occasion relegated to the task of mashing code. Mostly because there is no one else around to do it. Code mashing is the only appropriate term for what I do. Actually pulverizing isn't bad either. Email I sent to my boss two weeks ago after a similar assigment.

subject : I now code in VBS

4.5 hours for 2 lines of code.
Do I get a pay raise or do I get fired?


Given that benchmark, and the fact that I'm still gainfully employed, I figure I have a decent chance of improving on todays task. I set out to accomplish a simple task. Or rather what I presumed to be a simple task. Find out how many client computers on my network where missing anti-virus software. We have a nice shiny and expensive Altiris Management Server. You would expect there to be big button like:

"Tell me if everyone has anti-virus software installed on their PC so some dingle butt in accounting doesn't bring the network down while searching for chili recipes on the Internet"

Look as I might there was nothing like that. Only the ominous, "insert your raw SQL query here" field. Raw SQL? Sounds like a dermatologist nightmare.

Well it only took 3 hours, 12 Google searches and 7 or so typo's for me to finally get the query working. I sent out another email.

subject :Software Filter in Altiris


Anyone needing a software filer added to Altiris should ask me within the 15 minutes. After that time the process will be removed from my brain as an act of self preservation.


It's been 2 hours. It's gone now and I can think straight, er not so straight, again.

Edgar the Friendly Computer

Some things are just scary. Public speaking, bungee jumping and spending a weekend alone with a four year old. Other things are just vile. Things like poopy diapers and pickled herring. Personally I can't tell the difference between the two.

For some the list of things they are scared of is rather short. On that list would be, flinging ones self off a roof top with only a pull-cord to save your skin. For me it would include holding a bull frog. The fact is though, everyone is scared of something. The obvious fears aside, there are also people out there with a fear of our friend. The beloved computer.

For whatever reason technology scares some people. A man will go to the store, buy the most expensive computer he can afford and then not use it for fear of breaking it. When I used to do tech support, I would tell people, "There's nothing you can do to hurt this machine save throwing it out the window. Everything is fixable." Obviously I lied to them. In part because my customers were complete dingle heads and could break a cotton ball but mostly I lied in order to relax them.

When you are relaxed, you tend to trust your instincts more and are less likely to make mistakes. When you're relaxed you can recall what you've done and remember the step required to finish something. So how do you make people relax around technology?

I think it's all in the name. A computer named HAL evokes fear, anxiety and mistrust. Who wants to trust your taxes or bank accounts to a computer named after a maleficent electronic entity?

"Tell me what my bank balance is HAL?"
"I can't do that Peter."

But change the name to Edgar and it's not so scary. It sounds downright friendly. Who would be afraid of a computer named Edgar?

"Check the home security system Edgar"
"I've unlocked all the doors and sent ransom notes to the local constabulary."
"Edgar, you old card!"

See no fear at all. Sure you'll be a bit peeved when you're picking slugs out of your abdomen. But later after the clotting kicks in and the pain pills have begun their work, you'll smile, knowing Edgar was just 'having a good time' at your expense.

You'll even have a better time taking it apart piece by piece and mangling the boards in the blender.

"Next time I'm getting a computer named Raymond."


Did I mention I hate dieting? I wonder if there is a geographical equivalent for bacon?