plonq: (More Better Truth)
I've lost about 15 pounds in the past three weeks. I don't expect to keep up that kind of torrid pace, but I am on the right track. [ profile] atara and I went through this a couple of years ago and were doing well until we fell off the bandwagon. This time there is a larger group taking part, so we can challenge and support each other through the long journey and many pounds.

There is no thematic link for these pictures, it's just a dump of shots that I processed recently.

plonq: (Gnar Gnar)
Hell hath froze over.

plonq: (Plonq @ Work)
One of the guys back at the head office sent out a link to the spreadsheet showing early-shift duty roster for the next couple of months. I was sifting through it, trying to spot my name on the crowded calendar and thinking, "this would be way easier if my name was highlighted." I selected the whole sheet and was about to do a conditional format when it occurred to me that it would be easier for everyone else if their name was highlighted as well.

It would have been very easy to do in VBA because I knew where to find the system environment variable that stored the name of the person who was signed in. I wanted it to be seamless for the others though. If they suddenly had to start clicking through requesters asking them to enable VBA, it would have triggered alarms with them. I figured that somewhere in amongst all of its hooks, Excel must have a way of telling you who was logged into the computer on which it was running.

After a few minutes of digging, I stumbled onto =INFO("directory"), which returned "C:\Documents and Settings\{redacted}\My Documents\". Perfect! I set up a little translation table matching up the home directories with the names, and then used a VLOOKUP() against what INFO() gave me to get the active name from the list. Finally I did a conditional format on the sheet based on the contents of that cell. I saved the spreadsheet back out to the network share and gave the matter no more thought, other than idly wondering how long it would take anyone to notice my little change.

A couple of hours later I got an IM from the guy who had created the spreadsheet...

By the time he contacted me, they had pretty much figured out that it was something that I had done. He had opened the spreadsheet to make a small change in the roster, and immediately noticed that his name was showing up as bright orange all through the spreadsheet. His initial thought was that he had acquired a stalker, so he called one of the other guys in the department and said, "Hey, when you were in the spreadsheet earlier today, you didn't notice if my name was all done up in orange, did you?" The other guy hadn't noticed anything amiss when he had been in there first thing this morning, so he called it up at his own desk for a look. The moment he did so, the two of them quickly realized that there were some shenanigans afoot.

I knew that they would eventually trace it back to me, but I was impressed by how quickly they did.

Track marks

Mar. 5th, 2009 02:14 pm
plonq: (Plonq @ Work)
Most of our tracks have boring names - usually a yard designation and track number; e.g., RJ01, D12, NC17, etc. Sometimes though, if the track is the only one at a siding for instance, they will forego the numeric designation for something more descriptive. I was updating one of my tables when I noticed this entry for a departure track at Norma Junction, ND (SPLC 513147 for any of you railway geeks out there):


The naming is pure chance, of course, but it was still enough to trigger a minor nerdgasm.
plonq: (Grawky Mood)
A couple of days ago one of my co-workers sent me a link for the World Clock. While it is fascinating to watch the little meters count over for births, deaths and disease, I can't help thinking that the site would look much better if all of the statistics were presented on steam-punkesque dials.

Also does it make me a bad person that I get the song "Another One Bites The Dust" stuck in my head every time I stare at the death counter for too long?
plonq: (Christmas Mood)
As expected, it is accurate on some counts, misses the mark on others, and is obvious (snow leopard!) on others.

My score on The Golden Compass Daemon Test:

Independent Soul.

(You scored -12 Extroversion, -5 Sensitivity, and -2 Openness!)

You are calm and logical, but not unemotional. You are an introvert, at heart, preferring to read alone than be subjected to the crush and noise of a big party or bar. You have a few friends and family, whose presence you welcome - to a point. Even they can wear on your nerves eventually, and you need to retreat back into your personal space for a while so you can recharge. Your energy comes in bursts, after which you need a long nap or a couple of evenings at home to recuperate.

You are comfortable with yourself, and reasonably confident. You want the friendship and goodwill of others, but you are not willing to sacrifice your principles in order to get it. If your close friends need something that you can provide, however, you will be the first to offer it.

You are a good and sympathetic listener, and are aware of your friend's emotional states. With your very close friends, you will open up, but rarely - you don't like to burden people with your problems. At the same time, though, you are honest and are not willing to alter the truth for the sake of convenience. Among strangers you are reserved, and may resort to making jokes to disguise your true feelings.

While you are not afraid of conflict, you do not seek it, either. When you are hurt or insulted, you feel that you have a choice to make. You can choose to take the up on it and defend yourself, or you can let it pass. Your decision may depend on how well you know the person, how personally you take the insult, or simply what mood you are in that day. Your friends may not always know how you are going to react, for that reason. Whatever you reaction, though, you will be logical, rational and unnervingly accurate: a measured strike.

Your daemon's form would represent your calm, introverted nature, your cool logic, and your impatience with crowds of people. He or she would probably whisper ironic comments in your ear, give logical advice and try to hide his or her soft side from everyone, even you.

Suggested forms:
Peregrine Falcon, Snowy Owl, Snow Leopard, Siberian Tiger.

Link: The Golden Compass Daemon Test

View My Profile:

(OkCupid Free Online Dating)

plonq: (Groovy Mood)
No wonder the bathroom sink won't drain - it's full of hair!
Pictures behind the cut )


Nov. 28th, 2006 02:11 pm
plonq: (Oolong mood)
Sometimes I wish my life had a RESET button so that I could change a few things. On the other hand, there are parts of my life that I'd prefer not to relive. Likewise, there are other bits that probably weren't as good as my selective memory makes them out to have been.

Which would be better, living with a few regrets, but good - if probably somewhat inaccurate - memories, or being disappointed by living it a second time through? I think there would be a lot of "oh ya, there's a reason I forgot this part" stretches.

Name Game

Sep. 22nd, 2006 08:05 am
plonq: (Bouncy Mood)
I was reading an otherwise uninspiring article from the BBC News online about some questionable hiring practises by the Gloucestershire police force, when I noticed the following line buried down in the story:

Ian Anderson, chairman of Gloucestershire Police Federation blamed unrealistic government targets for their illegal recruitment drive.

While I didn't really think that he'd hung up the flute to pursue another career, it still called up an amusing mental image.  I have long been a fan of his band.  Having a flute as lead instrument lent it an air of quirkiness and sophistication that appealed to my inner counter-culture rebel.  Although most people, if pressed for the name of a JT, could probably only name Aqualung, if I was asked to name an album or two that represented the quintessential Tull, most die-hard fans like me would list Songs From The Wood and Heavy Horses.

On the other hand, although most would probably not include A Passion Play in their list of top tens, I think it's worth listening through at least once to hear the delightfully whimsical spoken piece midway through the album.

This is the story of the hare who lost his spectacles.

Owl loved to rest quietly whilst no one was watching. Sitting on a fence one day, he was surprised when suddenly a kangaroo ran close by.

Now this may not seem strange, but when Owl overheard Kangaroo whisper to no one in particular, "The hare has lost his spectacles,'' well, he began to wonder.

Presently, the moon appeared from behind a cloud and there, lying on the grass was Hare. In the stream that flowed by the grass -- a newt. And sitting astride a twig of a bush -- a bee.
Ostensibly motionless, the hare was trembling with excitement, for without his spectacles he was completely helpless. Where were his spectacles? Could someone have stolen them? Had he mislaid them? What was he to do?

Bee wanted to help, and thinking he had the answer began, "you probably ate them thinking they were a carrot.''

"No!'' interrupted Owl, who was wise. "I have good eye-sight, insight, and foresight. How could an intelligent hare make such a silly mistake?'' But all this time, Owl had been sitting on the fence, scowling!

Kangaroo were hopping mad at this sort of talk. She thought herself far superior in intelligence to the others. She was their leader; their guru. She had the answer, "Hare, you must go in search of the optician.'' But then she realized that Hare was completely helpless without his spectacles. And so, Kangaroo loudly proclaimed, "I can't send Hare in search of anything!''

"You can guru, you can!'' shouted Newt. "You can send him with Owl.''

But Owl had gone to sleep.

Newt knew too much to be stopped by so small a problem -- "You can take him in your pouch.'' But alas, Hare was much too big to fit into Kangaroo's pouch.

All this time, it had been quite plain to Hare that the others knew nothing about spectacles.
As for all their tempting ideas, well Hare didn't care.
The lost spectacles were his own affair.

And after all, Hare did have a spare pair.

I caught Jethro Tull in concert back in 1984, and a few more times over the years (the last time being about 6 years ago).  Even though he had trouble hitting some of the higher notes in the later concerts, he always put on a very classy, refined show with a real high-brow appeal.  Even so, I was a little surprised when I did a GIS on him to see what he was up to lately.

Ian Anderson

He seems to be sporting a different look these days.  He is also ageing very gracefully compared to some of his peers from the same generation of rock - though I think at lease some of that can be attributed to the fact that he and his band mates eschewed the hard narcotics of the day.
plonq: (Cheesy Mood)
A Star Trek meme stolen from [ profile] genebreshears. I can't say that I am surprised by the answer.

It is only logical. )
plonq: (Usual silly mood)
[Poll #633646]
plonq: (Contemplative mood)
Yesterday's massive hangover reminded me why it is that I seldom drink to excess.  It also serves to remind me that back when I did, I tried to avoid mixing liquors (that is, don't pound back tequila, scotch, absinthe & beer and then expect to avoid consequences the next day).  I've had much worse hangovers, but I guess I'm out of practise.  Maybe that's a good thing.

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