Travel, Conferences, Vegas – oh my!

Just a short and informal list of things that I’m going to be busy attending to in the next three weeks or so:

  1. Speaking about FULLTEXT indexes at MySQL UC 2005 in San Jose, CA. I leave tomorrow and my presentation is only about 80% done. Those of you who worked on projects with me in college will find this to be par for the course. I’m staying with Jeremy while in CA. Our plans consist of talking about geek topics (Linux, BASH, PHP, etc.) and eating nothing but $2 burritoes from El Taco De Oro.
  2. My mom is attending a conference in British Columbia the following week. On her way home she’ll be visiting for a few days. Luckily, it looks like she’ll have good weather while in Seattle.
  3. I’m visiting Vegas baby! It’s my first time and I’m doing it up right by visiting with a few of my fraternity brothers. The entire weekend will most likely consist of ribs, beer, slots and general Vegas debauchery. Should be good times.

After that I’m staying grounded for a while. Lauren and I’s old condo will be closing tomorrow and we’re looking forward to finishing remodeling the new place. I’ll make sure to post pictures and my presentation from MySQL UC when I get back and settled in.

I also plan on doing a follow-up to last years John Stevens Fan Mail covering the slew of retards that have posted to my Anthony Fedorov post.

Lauren gets a new job



  $currentJob = Wife::getCurrentJob();
  $newJob = Wife::getNewJob();
  if ($newJob->getWage() > $currentJob->getWage()) {
      * Lauren got a new job so Joe gets lots of fun new gadgets


Maxent 42 inch plasma EDTV Review

This weekend we stopped by Target to get a few things. This Target has a Best Buy right below it and I figured with time to waste I could spend a few minutes drooling over the many flat panel TV’s they have sitting around. We were not disappointed. While looking around we saw a Maxent 42 inch plasma EDTV for $1,700. I thought for sure it was some sort of typo. Either that or this crazy EDTV was some sort of marketing trick to make people buy the thing. Come to find out EDTV is a stepping stone to HDTV. It supports a higher resolution than standard TV signals and also supports progressive scan DVD’s.

We ended up getting a great deal on the TV and I’m now watching Matrix Revolutions in all of its glory. I’ve finally figured out all of this HDTV crap and I can now recommend to all four of my readers what my take on all of this stuff is.

  1. If you are going to buy a flat panel display make sure you buy a plasma and not an LCD display. The plasma displays are, oddly enough, cheaper and have better picture quality than LCD displays.
  2. Unless you live in a magical universe where everything is already being broadcast in HDTV there isn’t any reason to buy HDTV. For the most part your shiney HDTV will be running in EDTV mode anyways so you might as well save a buttload of cash and buy an EDTV display.
  3. Make sure you get the service plan. I know, I know, they always sound like a line of crap, but LCD/plasma displays suffer from something called “dead pixels” and the service plan states if you get three dead pixels you get a new TV. This is definitely worth the money.

What I found most amazing was that the clerk at Best Buy was willing to haggle over the pricing. If we had bought the display, paid taxes and bought the service plan all at retail we would have spent about $2,250 on our TV. In reality, we only paid $1,900. To say your DVD’s have never looked this good would be a huge understatement. I’m super impressed thus far. Now I just need to get a HDTV compliant TiVo box.

New Job … New House

A few weeks ago Brad, owner of (a longtime client of mine), offered me a full time position as what can be best The Big Geek. I’ll be doing pretty much what I have been doing; programming, systems administration, database management, etc. I’m really excited to get started. We have some great products that we’re working on and I’m happy to be a part of it all.

Also on the personal front, Lauren and I are moving … again. We’ve just signed on a larger two bedroom condo. We almost don’t know what we’re going to do with all of the space in the new place. It’s over 200 sq. ft. larger than our current condo. Combine that with a better floor plan and use of space and you can understand why we’re excited. I’ll post pictures when we get the keys tomorrow.


Looks like I’m going to have to change the photo in my header. After much prodding from Lauren and the thought of wearing glasses in my wedding photos, I decided to break down and start wearing contact lenses.

There are a few things that I like about contacts over regular glasses.

  1. Things are extremely clear. My old glasses (the old-old ones, my newer ones got destroyed) were scratched, which made my vision cloudy.
  2. You don’t have any rims/lenses to get in your way.

And of course there are a few things I hate about contacts.

  1. Putting the little fuckers in.
  2. Taking the little fuckers out.
  3. I have some strange blurred and double vision in my peripheral vision.

At any rate, I’m slowly getting used to them. Though I think my vision could be clearer at this point. And, one last point, Desperate Housewives kicks ass.

Arrgghhh Matey! Check out my booty!

After spending two weeks limping around on a gimp foot I finally broke down and went into the emergency room. This is no small feat considering I don’t have health insurance. Lauren was making fun of me the entire time. I’m a big wuss, etc.

Well, guess what? I have a stress fracture in my foot. SO THERE LAUREN! As a result I’m walking around in this amazingly NOT COOL booty. It is supposed to keep my foot from bending and putting stress on the broken bone. I get to walk around in this thing for a full 6 weeks.

What amazed me so much was how technically advanced the hospital was. I got a few x-rays and before I was wheeled back into the waiting room I saw the doctor treating me looking at my x-rays on a monitor. The most amazing part was that I was in and out of the emergency room in less than two hours. Of course, they told me the bill was in the mail. Scary.

Back from OSU

I’m finally back from my trip to OSU. The PHP training went well, though I do think some of the more advanced topics went over some of the students heads. However, all of them said they came away with some things though could use to instantly improve their applications, so it wasn’t all in vain.

While I was down there I was able to visit with an old fraternity brother and roommate of mine as well as my soon-to-be best man for my wedding. Many beers were drank and more than a few chicken wings met their doom.

Before I wrap things up here I’d like to point out a few things that I hate about flying and being in airports. Below is a small list of things that annoyed the hell out of me on this recent trip.

  1. Am I the only one who doesn’t walk like they’re site seeing while walking through the terminal? Come on people! Pick up the pace!
  2. Why isn’t there an airline that offers adults-only flights? I’d pay $50 to $100 above a regular ticket price if I knew there would be no chance of an infant being on the aircraft when I boarded.
  3. A lady sitting next to me actually reach across the row of seats into MY pouch (the little puch in front of your seat) and grabbed one of the magazines I had purchased. Hey lady, how about you buy your OWN magazines next time?! I don’t mind her reading my magazine, but I do mind the fact that she assumed something in my area of the aircraft was fair game.
  4. I now know why everyone got so upset when my fraternity was up late drinking and partying at the hotels we stayed at for formals.
  5. C’mon! If you have a convention center in your hotel you HAVE to have high speed internet in all of your rooms. And if you charge for it I’ll never stay at your hotel ever again. If the Comfort Inn in Souix City, SD gets this why can’t you Holiday Inn?

Ahhh. I feel better now.

Mazda 6i

We bought a new car on Sunday. It’s a 2004 Mazda 6i (with the 5th door). It’s nothing too special, but it definitely is a step up from Lauren’s dying Escort and my Ford Focus. We needed something that ran well and would last the next 3 to 5 years. We settled on the Mazda because it got high ratings on, got decent gas mileage (with the 4 cylinder) and qualified for the Ford A-Plan that Lauren and I both have through family members.

As can be expected we are selling my 2000 Ford Focus SE on eBay Motors. If you live in Seattle, WA and are looking for a car go bid!

American Idol Finale

Not that the horrific voting even warrants a response, but I thought I’d tell my loyal fans what I thought about the finale. First of all, on a personal level, I hated both of the final contestants. While I think they both are fine singers, I think that Fantasia is a ghetto queen who probably says “my baby’s daddy” way too much and I think that Diana is a complete cutesy fake (Simon said this very thing when she first auditioned).

That being said, you can expect that I hated the finale. Well, I thought both did fine in the finale. I voted for Diana, because my hatred of Fantasia’s ghettoness won me over. In fact, I’ll go on the record saying I power voted for Diana. There, I said it. I fucking power voted on the worst reality TV culprit in the world.

So what’s the future hold for these lame ass wannabes? Well, it’s pretty obvious to me. First, Fantasia will come out with some lame CD that features the song she sang Tuesday night as well as her craptastic rendition of Summer Time (maybe they’ll even include her sobbing at the end of the track on the CD like she did everytime she sang it on the show – lame). Second, Diana’s fat ass will continue to sprial out of control and she’ll end up broadcasting her gastro bypass surgery like Carni Wilson did to a live Internet audience. Finally, the true American Idol, LaToya London, will release an amazing CD which will be met with rave reviews.

I can only hope that John Stevens attempts to remake some big band CD and is quickly booted back into obscurity.

Just call me Mr. Chef

Most of my family knows that I like to cook. Cooking is, for the most part, a national past time in my household. Both my mom and dad are great cooks who have signature dishes that are repeatedly requested by family and friends. Growing up normal kids would whip up mac n’ cheese, while I cooked french toast and no bake cookies. I guess the gene had passed on to me. Of course, anyone can be a decent cook just by following the recipe, at least this is what I thought until I met Lauren.

Last night I was at my computer with Josh working through some client work that is due this Friday when I smelled something burning. I turned to Josh and asked if he smelled the burning as well – he did. I then yelled out to the kitchen about the burning smell, which Lauren apprently didn’t hear over the droning of the A/C. I figured she had it under control and the burning soon ceased.

When Josh was leaving Lauren asked if we had smelled the burning smell coming from the kitchen. We had. She then informed us that she had burned Jell-O.