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|Saturday, July 9th, 2011|
I've moved my blog from here to RandyTayler.com
. If I could figure out how to make LJ redirect to my site, I would. But I don't think they're too keen on adding that functionality.
|Thursday, November 18th, 2010|
|Funniest Peer Review EVAR
A coworker of mine altered this review below to put my name in. I've included the original here, which I believe can be attributed to Bob Hart here in Utah. Works at HP or somesuch. Hi Bob. You made me laugh, whoever you are.
I have been asked to recommend a colleague of mine, Laura. I assume that she asked me because I am one of the very few that still speaks to her. Over the last 18 months, I have watched Laura systematically alienate herself from supervisors, peers, and customers. She has done so through a series of poor judgments, vengeful acts, and harsh, harsh words.
Laura is a ticking time bomb ready and willing to ignite at a moment’s notice. During any situation when I am in a room with her, I constantly check my watch as the second hand painfully slows to a crawl. She has been set off on a number of occasions, sometimes without provocation of any kind. She rants, she raves, and she throws things. The glazed look in her eyes is only surpassed by her stinging use of profanity. She has an extensive, sailor-like mastery of four-letter words. To be frank, Laura is a taco or two short of the full combo.
Laura is constantly scheming and plotting against others for her own benefit. I’ve never known anyone so bent on revenge against the world. She is willing and able to do anything for the sole purpose of embarrassing others, and doubly willing if she benefits. On numerous occasions I’ve seen Laura hit absolute rock bottom in moral judgments, just to somehow pull out a new shovel and continue digging even lower. If I had to describe Laura in one word, I would choose “cannibal.” And I would whisper it so she didn’t hear.
The desk she has been assigned is by far the messiest I’ve ever seen. There has been an unsavory stench developing since February in her file drawer. At first, we made an office pool where everyone bet whether the source of the pungent odor was animal, vegetable, or mineral. We recently revised the bet to “dead, illegal, or both.” Deep down, I pray we never find out.
After all this, I implore you to accept Laura for whatever role you are considering her for. For your own safety and for the safety of others, please do whatever she says. Frankly, I’m fearful of what she might do to me if she does not get her way. You should be too.
|Friday, November 5th, 2010|
|Robot Apocalypse Watch, Volume 18
So. What do humans taste like to robots?Like bacon.
You can hardly blame them for wanting to destroy us now, can you? That goop that Neo was sleeping in before he was freed from the Matrix? Yeah, that was some sort of marinade.
Not that I've ever seen the need to marinade bacon, but hey, why not try it? Life is short.
Especially now that the robots have tasted us.
|Thursday, September 9th, 2010|
|Monday, August 30th, 2010|
|The Next Great Epic Series
I had the great fortune of reading Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings
before its official release. I've had my copy for a little less than two months now, and it looks like it's been hit by a car. Or two. At least that's how it looked the last time I got a glimpse of it.
See, it's gone through many pairs of hands already. It's currently being devoured by its seventh set of eyeballs. And everyone who has read it so far has concurred that it's amazing, even calling it Sanderson's best so far. Another friend said it makes him dismiss any dream of being a writer, because the bar is now set too high. (Thanks a LOT, Mr. Sanderson.) (No, really, thank you. He probably would've made a terrible writer, and I would have to read his stuff and critique it.)
I'm not really a fantasy geek. I've read very little fantasy outside of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But Brandon Sanderson sucks me in -- I love the universes we explore, the characters we meet, the twists that broadside me when I least expect them. (After reading Mistborn
, I was afraid to pick up anything else he'd written, for fear it would disappoint. Nonetheless, I read Elantris
next, and loved it.)The Way of Kings
is no different. There are so many moments that I loved -- from disasters to triumphs, from profanity-worthy shocks to a few creepy scares. The last still give me the shivers when I think about them.
If literature is food, then most of what I read is dessert - "Mm, yummy" -- whereas The Way of Kings
is an exquisite seven-course meal. It kept delivering, page after page. The biggest downside, and I mean this sincerely, is that I now have to wait for the next book. WRITE FASTER, BRANDON.
But there's something exciting about being there at the birth of something great. I was too young to remember the release of Star Wars, but I do recall the delighted anticipation as its sequels approached. Having read The Way of Kings,
I can say with certainty that it is the next great fiction series -- and not just for fantasy-lovers. Though you may well be a fantasy-lover when you finish reading it.
As for me, I need to buy a new copy, because my other copy is thrashed.
|Tuesday, June 1st, 2010|
|Robot Apocalypse Watch, Volume 16
Isn't it about time we gave robots rockets? Haven't they earned our trust by now?
It's been good knowing you all. (Explosion at about 1min 35sec.)
|Monday, May 31st, 2010|
|"Parallelogram Bus" by my 7 year-old daughter
Ther wus a parallelogram bus that one day came to life! I don't know haw it came to life. I only know it did. It cared pople hie and loe. It eavin cared me!
It wus a very nise bus uvcors. But one day sumtheing hapint to the bus. I don't know wut hapind to the bus. But I do cianduve know what hapind to the bus.
It ol stardid win it wus night. Sum kid's had a bucit of water. And they wre up to mistgif. Naw the only way I know it hapind is becus sumone told me. The kid's saw the bus sleeping. And they pord the bucit of water on the bus. I don't know wut hapind to the bus. The kid's dinint mean to hurt the bus. They just got kared uway.The only thing that bothered me was the apostrophes in "kids". Don't worry, she's grounded.I should also add that she sure seems to know a lot about what happened to the bus, despite thrice affirming she did not.
|Monday, April 5th, 2010|
|Carefully Dividing My Brain in Half
I can't do my day job effectively when I'm daydreaming about my dream job. I need to find a way to separate these personalities - the happy worker and the dreamy artist - and keep them hidden from each other.
At work, I need to be focused on performing well, getting the job done, seeing myself in the same company five years from now.
Then, secretly, at home, I need to be focused on achieving my dream job. Focused and WORKING. Not escaping with movies or video games, but working in a different direction.
They are working in different directions - so unless I can hide them from one another, both will feel fruitless. This means, first and foremost, no checking Twitter during the day. Don't need anything breaking the spell that I'm a hard working, nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel, upwardly mobile software engineer.
No taking notes on ideas. That's the punishment for dwelling on them.
And maybe at work I'll wear a tie.
|Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010|
|Anything With Your Name On It
I have a new rule I just invented: everything that I publish or create must have a link back to me.
I think everybody should have this rule. If you write a comic book, insist that they put your Twitter link in the credits. If you design a website, demand that they put a link at the bottom naming you, and with your blog's address. If you play an instrument for an album, make sure your homepage is in the liner notes.
It's a simple enough concession for others to make. It doesn't need to be huge, it just needs to be
there. In fact, I may start putting it in the comments of code I write, so future developers can see WHO COMMITTED THIS ATROCITY?!
I don't update this blog much anymore, and it's not where I plan to keep my blog in the future, but I do
think I'll have my Twitter account for a long time. That will be my link. I'll probably be aggressive enough to ask for "Follow RandyTayler on Twitter" as the full link. So for a website, it could be "Designed by Randy Tayler, whom you can follow on Twitter
Is it egotistical? Conceited? Self-serving? Ma
ybe, perhaps, and absolutely. But everything you do, creatively or otherwise, is making a name for yourself. This just helps make your name faster.
Perhaps one in a thousand people will go to the trouble of visiting that link. But why throw away a chance to get your name out to one more person? Maybe your creation will be seen by 100,000 people. Give 100 more folks a chance to learn your name, and who you are.
|Thursday, November 26th, 2009|
|Monday, August 24th, 2009|
|Robot Apocalypse Watch, Volume 15
"Sheer mass and strength won't cut it, people! We need to give these automatons of death better dexterity than humans could ever achieve!"
Yeah. Good work, engineers. I especially like how you taught the robot hand the vital human-subduing skill like KNOT TYING. Oh, and getting him to use tweezers. Nice touch, there. Nice to know when they're doing precision surgery on us, implanting their control chips, they'll leave very small scars.
|Saturday, August 1st, 2009|
|You Want to Give Me an Injection Where?
I had a delightful experience at the doctor's office yesterday. I originally went in for help with my sciatic nerve, which had been causing me pain at night. So much pain, in fact, that I couldn't sleep. And my long-standing rule has always been the following: "Be tough, be strong, and suck it up, unless it's interfering with sleepytime."
So one X-ray and one MRI later, the doctor informed me that the pain was coming from a disc that was slightly torn and leaking disc-goo onto my a nerve, creating the same sensation one might get from an actual pinched nerve.
The problem could hopefully be solved, he said, by giving me a steroid injection in that part of my spine, thereby giving the disc time to heal. "It's called an epidural," he said, which put me at ease. My wife has had three epidurals, and they were great at relieving pain. Simple math.
Alas, I think what he was trying to tell me was "It's called an epidural, but this ain't your old lady's epidural." He proceeded to tell me that it would, in fact, hurt. "Say what?!" I thought, while successfully maintaining my cool demeanor. Couldn't he numb me wherever that shot had to happen? And where DID it happen, for that matter?
My question was soon answered. He pointed on a little model of the spine to a tiny hole in the tailbone. The shot would go in that spot, as shown in the picture.
You'll notice that needle is going in dangerously close to what I like to call the "no-touchy zone." But no matter! I'm nothing if not a tough, manly, no-pain-no-gain type of ubermale. That said, I did ask if there was anything we could do to avoid the pain -- we ubermales don't like embarrassing other men with our incredible tolerance for pain -- and he answered in one word as he left the room.
I laughed. My laughter would be short-lived, however.
I switched into a hospital gown, and a nurse prepared the area for the injection by wiping it with iodine-type stuff -- a task I do not envy her. Then the doctor came back in, and got ready to give me the shot of cortisone. I was a bit unnerved when I saw him prepping the shot. I snapped this picture when he wasn't looking.
Nevertheless, I was braced for the worst. After all, the spinal cord doesn't extend all the way down that little hole, so there were probably no nerves there to be bother--"HOLY CRAP THAT HURTS!"
These and other words were among the many, many things I did not scream. I was dismayed to learn that my health insurance didn't cover a nice wooden stick for me to bite down on, which I think might've helped considerably.
I'll be honest: my butt cheeks clenched up tighter than an alligator's jaws on a poodle. In fact, I'm fairly certain I could have held an alligator's jaws shut
with my butt cheeks.
"All right, let's try to relax there," the doctor said. "Don't want to break my needle here..."
OH YES. THAT
HELPS ME RELAX. THANK YOU, DOCTOR, FOR THOSE SOOTHING WORDS TO PUT ME AT EA
to relax, but let's face it -- I have one tight bottom. Nary a day goes by that I don't catch some woman getting ready to spank my tookus as I go by. So he pulled the needle out, whether out of concern for my pain or out of concern for his precious needle, and then decided to give me something to numb the area.
you decide that? Why couldn't... why would you... WHAT THE CRAP, DOC? I even asked
if there was something you could do, and you said to pray! Was that a little test? Were you listening outside the door to see if I prayed, and when I didn't
pray you opted not to numb me first? You're a sick man. A sick, sick man.
So he got something to numb it, which, of course, also
had to be injected. But eventually it took effect, and I was able to coax my buttocks into their normal, non-bulletproof state. He then finished the injection, which still hurt like the dickens, but perhaps only 3 or 4 dickens, as compared to the hundreds of dickens it was hurting like before.
In the end (HA!) I think it'll be for the best. I won't know for sure for a couple days if it's really helping or not. But if the sciatic nerve pain persists, maybe I can reflect back on the injection and it'll seem like nothing.
I leave you with this stanza from Dr. Suess's "There's a Wocket in my Pocket:"
Have you ever had a doctor put a whatzit in your whozit?
Or see a thingy-thangy that you thought might make you lose it?
If your doctor has a floogus that he says will help your woogus
Then make sure you make him promise that he isn't gonna bruise it.
|Thursday, July 16th, 2009|
|Robot Apocalypse Watch, Volume 14
"But Randy," you say, "do we really have to worry about robots? I mean, it's not like it would ever be in their best interests to destroy humanity, right?"
Wrong! I give you ROBOTS POWERED BY DEAD BODIES:
From Fox News
A Maryland company under contract to the Pentagon is working on a steam-powered robot that would fuel itself by gobbling up whatever organic material it can find — grass, wood, old furniture, even dead bodies.
Robotic Technology Inc.'s Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot — that's right, "EATR" — "can find, ingest, and extract energy from biomass in the environment (and other organically-based energy sources), as well as use conventional and alternative fuels (such as gasoline, heavy fuel, kerosene, diesel, propane, coal, cooking oil, and solar) when suitable," reads the company's Web site.
That "biomass" and "other organically-based energy sources" wouldn't necessarily be limited to plant material — animal and human corpses contain plenty of energy, and they'd be plentiful in a war zone. [bold added for scary emphasis]
Ah, yes! So now, in addition to angering our creations with our constant abuse
, we can now give them a real reason to destroy us all -- for FOOD. "Hey, Z4D9, I'm hungry. Let's go make a war zone."(Robotic Technology Inc
.'s nice touch is that the robot is steam-powered. Hurray. Not just robots -- STEAM PUNK robots.)
|Saturday, July 4th, 2009|
|Sorry, Wrong Zombie
My brother Howard is down in Provo playing an all-nighter role-playing game, where instead of controlling swords-and-sorcery-type characters, your character is yourself. And the day is today. And the 4th of July crowds... have all turned into zombies.
I suggested it might be fun if I showed up at midnight or 1 AM, when folks are kinda loopy and tired, and started moaning and banging/clawing on the door. Howard would be in on it; he could text me and let me know if it would be worthwhile on his end.
Alas, by the time 10:00 rolled around, I was too tired, so I texted him that I wouldn't be coming, in three short words:No zombie randy
The reply I got was What?
It was at this time that I realized I still have Howard's OLD mobile number in my cell. (I thought I deleted it. Guess not.)
I could've texted back "wrong number, my bad," but what fun would that be? This way, somebody has a little bit more mystery in their life.
I'm glad I didn't write "No randy-zombie," though. I mean, you get that
message, and you're glad there are no randy zombies, but now you have new fodder for nightmares.
(And what if there WAS a zombie near the person I mis-texted? What if they were waiting inside their house, and their friend went out to see if all the zombies had been dispatched, and then they got that message? "Oh, I guess it's safe to go outsiAHHHH!" Man, I'll feel pretty bad if that happened.)
|Saturday, May 9th, 2009|
|A Commen Theme in My Story Ideas
So, I'm trying to decide which stories I should be writing, and I've seen some interesting themes that recur between each.
The first one -- and one I've started rewriting from scratch multiple times -- is a deep-future sci-fi about a man taken prisoner on an alien spaceship. After some terrible torture, he escapes into the bowels of their ship, and is torn between committing suicide to prevent that torture from ever happening again, or going on living in the hopes of finding rescue, and perhaps rescuing his fellow-prisoners.
Second, paused at about 45,000 words, is a modern-day sci-fi about a man who has very vivid dreams of a different life. So vivid, in fact, that he can't tell which is his real life and which is the dream. In one existence, he's powerfully depressed and alone; in the other he has a girlfriend, family, and successful career. He embarks on reconciling the two worlds, while escaping the dangers present in each one.
Third, a short story, is a near-future sci-fi about a woman who awakes to discover that she has no senses except for those that a computer feeds her; she's told that after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, she volunteered for a terrifying experiment which keeps her brain alive, connected to a powerful computer. As she finds herself hostage to the experiment, and to powerful levels of pain-inducing feedback, she has to decide whether to end her frightening new life, or to go on towards an uncertain future.
Whew! Little dark! Are we seeing a bit of my bipolar experience coming through here? Methinks so. The connection between mind and body is a theme in each, and the courage (or other motivation) it takes to keep going. But I have happy endings in mind, really! Well, I actually could end two of them with not-happy endings, but... I don't like not-happy endings. I can admire them, and sometimes they are far more fitting than the happy ones we get, but I hope that I could make happy endings for the stories that DO fit.
Some of my writing is targeted at a Crichton-y style, though some is more Stephen King-ish. By "style", of course, I mean "economic success". How cool would it be to make up stuff for a living, eh?
The problem I'm facing now is that I don't know what I should be writing. None of them are poking at me anymore, begging to be written. I think I need a nice manic swing to get back into the groove of writing.
Oh, I didn't mention the deep-future sci-fi teleplay about the clone who is trying to rescue his original in exchange for his life-rights, and the modern-day teleplay about surviving a zombie apocalypse.
For somebody who did improv & sketch comedy over the course of 15 years (in over 1000 shows, I've estimated), I sure don't infuse my writing with much humor. There are exceptions, but the stuff I've pursued more consistently is always serious. The only big exception would be my blogging and Twittering, which I generally try to make funny, at least on some level. I just farted. Current Mood: contemplative
|Wednesday, May 6th, 2009|
|Probably My Favorite Memory
I recalled this memory tonight as I was trying to sleep, and laughed. I need to get it in writing in case I get hit by a bus tomorrow, and my brother Bill never shares it of his own accord.
When I was 15 or so, we had two brooms: one for inside, and one for the trampoline, outside. Leaves would fall year round in Florida, as trees get confused as to whether or not it's Fall, so the trampoline broom just stayed outside because of its frequent usage. However, as I recall, this broom got so weathered that we eventually had to throw it away, leaving us with just the kitchen broom. We kept our broom beside the fridge, as per federal regulations, and would fetch it when the tramp needed sweeping.
Late one night -- let's say midnight -- I glanced through the glass doors before heading to bed, and noticed the kitchen broom had not been replaced; it was lying on the porch outside by the trampoline. In an unusual moment of fastidiousness, I opened the sliding door, went out, and closed it behind me while I went to get the broom.
(Why close it? Well, we had two cats that were not allowed outside -- ever -- and it had become an ingrained habit; you step outside, you close the door, even if it's for two seconds. We were pretty paranoid about the cats getting out and catching Typhoid.)
I grabbed the broom, and went back in the house (again opening the sliding door, going through, and closing it). It was during this second opening that Bill woke up -- he was Billy back then, age 12 or so -- and was rather frightened to hear someone coming into our home in the middle of the night.
I returned the broom to its position in the kitchen, then walked back towards my bedroom, which is just past Bill's. His door was open at night, as was mine, so we could see the nightlight in the hall. (By "nightlight" I mean "hall light" -- I don't know how we slept with a light that bright on, but apparently the dark was fearsome enough that we couldn't sleep without it.)
So I'm on my way to my bedroom, almost past Bill's door, when he jumps into his doorway in a Karate stance and yells "Hi-YA!"
That was funny. What was funnier, though, was that Bill didn't really believe
somebody had come in. He was pretty sure it was his imagination, but he was going to play it safe, and use his stellar acting skills to frighten off any possible intruder. That's why, when he saw me there in the mostly-dark, he was mortified. There was a distinct moment before he recognized me as his brother that all he saw was his fears made real: there really was an intruder in the house. It was during that moment that he screamed and fell backwards.
You really need to imagine the whole scene from my perspective to truly appreciate it. Walking towards my bedroom in the still of night; my little brother jumps out in a fake Karate pose and yells "Hi-YA--", but it's cut short by his scream; his unconvincing stance disappears as he stumbles backwards in terror at seeing me. All out of the blue, all in about a second.
I wish you could have been there. (Because then we really
could have scared him.) Current Mood: amused
|Tuesday, April 14th, 2009|
|Fixing Your Browser When It Gets Hijacked to getsearch0330 or searchinworldx
I just thought I'd share how in the world you fix your computer after this particular browser hijacking happens to you. Here are the symptoms:
- You were invited to use a Facebook application for sending smileys, perchance
- Whenever you search for something, you either get redirected to searchinworldx.com or getsearch0330.com, or maybe something else
- You have a smooth spot on your scalp where you have pulled out all of your hair
First, don't bother with AdAware -- at least as of this writing, 4/14/09, they didn't seem to find the bug I had.
Second, don't bother with Windows Defender, or ComboFix, either. Same reason.
Third, ignore all those people who tell you that you are insane to not run anti-virus software of some kind. I know it SOUNDS like they want you to strangle them with your bare hands, but really, they mean well. Just ignore them.
Here's where to go and what to do, and the special secret that was killing me.
- Go to http://www.superantispyware.com/downloadfile.html?productid=SUPERANTISPYWAREFREE and download SuperAntiSpyware. Sounds awful, I know. Seriously, I half-wondered if it was going to ask me if I wanted the Ask.com toolbar installed. But it didn't -- it's a very nice program.
- Install it, and run it. But don't run the quick scan -- do the big-boy, COMPLETE scan. I tried the quick scan and it found some stuff, but much to my chagrin it was still there when I restarted (as it will ask you to do when it's all done). So do a complete scan, and restart.
- When you restart, you'll find that your browser is no longer being hijacked... BECAUSE YOU CAN'T BROWSE THE INTERNET. This was the painful part for me. I thought it had something to do with my newly-secured wireless network, but it was not -- it was because the hijacking malware changes your proxy settings for all the browsers it finds on your machine, and removing the malware doesn't set the settings back. You have to change those settings back manually.
- Go to Tools>Options, then the Advanced tab (don't be scared), the Network tab (stay with me), and click on Settings.
- See that ugly proxy server it's trying to send you to on port 7170? Yeah. Set your stuff back to NO Proxy. (Unless you were supposed to have a proxy, like for internet filter software, perhaps?)
- Hit OK a buncha times. Voilá! You're back in business.
In Internet Explorer (sorry, I only have 6.0 installed... no, don't ask):
- Go to Tools>Internet Options, then the Connections tab, then click the LAN Settings button.
- Unclick that Proxy Server checkbox, and hit OK a lot. (Again, if you're supposed to have a proxy server, you're on your own figuring out what it's supposed to be. But you know what it's NOT supposed to be? Localhost on port 7170.
- IE will now be happy.
- Go to Edit>Preferences, then the Advanced tab. Click on Change Settings right there next to Proxies.
- This will, oddly enough, pop up your Internet Explorer's internet options, if you're running Windows. If you didn't already fix it in IE, you can do so now.
- Ask yourself why you're using Safari on Windows.
In Chrome or Opera:
- Hell if I know. Who ARE you people, anyway?
For those of you who are curious, NO, it was not me that got our computer infected, thankyouverymuch. I won't name names, but it was my wife. Rebecca.
|Monday, March 16th, 2009|
|Robot Apocalypse Watch, Volume 13
Well, good news, fellow robophobes! They're getting ever closer to androids, which, as you know, is a critical first step to terminators. We'll be proven right eventually, and hopefully we'll have enough time to say "I told you so!" before a cybernetic warrior crushes our skull in its vice-like grip.
|Friday, March 13th, 2009|
|Monday, March 9th, 2009|
|Islamic Law is Idiotic. There, I Said It.
tells the story of a 75 year-old woman who has been sentenced to receive 40 lashes because she had two unrelated men in her home. Yep -- that's the crime. Men that weren't related to her were in her home.
Countries that rule under Islamic law... I don't know what to say. Are people there just stupid? Does it take a smaller brain to embrace Islam? Saudi Arabia is still ruled by a KING, for heaven's sake.
But we treat them gently, and let them establish state religions, because hey, it's their country, not ours. What right do we have to protect their
citizens? None. And we just hope and wait that they'll get civilized. And we're willing to trade freely with them, despite their constant human rights violations, because, quite frankly, we need to -- if we're going to maintain our standard of living.
Or in some cases we ignore them entirely because they have nothing to trade. I'm looking at you, Sudan.
I don't have a solution. Just venting. If it were up to me... well, thank goodness it's not up to me. I'd probably have assassinated every one of their government officials by now. Can't get them much madder at us than they already are. Unless we drew some cartoons of Mohamed, perhaps.