Saturday September 11, 2004
It's September 11--a day which will forever stand out in the memories of Americans.
Can you remember where you were on this day three years ago? I can vividly recall the events and the
horror of that day. The sense of disbelief as I watched the planes collide with the World Trade Center. The terror
of knowing our once inviolable nation had been forever changed. And now, three years later, thanks to the actions
of many great American and allied patriots, the fear of future terrorist acts by more of those faceless cowards is
Keep our nation safe--vote Bush!!
I haven't read much, gone to any movies, drawn anything worth mentioning
(I did finish the first charcoal drawing that I have attempted in years a couple of weeks ago)
or done anything significant to Badbartopia recently, but don't let that
fool you into thinking that I have nothing to talk about...
A few humorous (for guys, anyway) interpretations, from an email I received, of the differences between men and women:
Why do men fart more than women?
Because women can't shut up long enough to build up the required pressure.
If your dog is barking at the back door and your wife is yelling at the front door, who do you let in first?
The dog, of course. He'll shut up once you let him in.
I married a Miss Right.
I just didn't know her first name was Always.
Scientists have discovered a food that diminishes a woman's sex drive by 90%.
It's called a Wedding Cake.
Why do men die before their wives?
They want to.
Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a gut, and still think they are sexy.
In the beginning, God created the earth and rested.
Then God created Man and rested.
Then God created Woman.
Since then, neither God nor Man has rested.
Salary to hourly reclassification
My employer embarked upon a quest a few weeks ago to determine if all the salaried/overtime-exempt employees could legally be
Let me preface this by saying that it came to my attention several years ago that, being a California resident, there are very
specific laws and conditions under which I, a Software Engineer, may be considered as exempt from receiving overtime
There has always only been one condition, the
minimum salary/hourly rate of pay, that has been deficient for me to legally be considered exempt from overtime.
As you may expect, I am well behind the salary curve and, until last week, had been treated as an overtime expempt employee.
Due to my deficient salary, the Human Resources department has finally realized that I can not be treated as an overtime-exempt employee
though I have, for several years, been working over 40 hours per week without overtime pay. This is my employer's official Human Resources
statement regarding this change:
"Please note at this time that we are also reclassifying your position according to recently
updated Federal and state regulations. Due to the nature of your
your position is now classified as non-exempt (hourly and eligible for overtime pay). If you have
But that's not the worst of it:
I also learned this week that due to the salary to hourly adjustment, the percentage of the raise I would be receiving this year would be
decreased substantially. The rationale is that I now have the opportunity to work overtime--overtime that must be approved by managemnt
prior to working (the Human Resources department made no effort to make me aware of this fact in any sort of written statement).
So, do I sound bitter?
If you are a California programmer/software engineer and suspect that you are being treated unfairly, check out my
overtime exemption pages
for more details on the California overtime-exemption laws (the data is current through 2003--I haven't updated with 2004's
News from Iraq
One of my co-workers, Jim, forwarded an email to me last week with an attached video file called
News From Iraq.wmv.
Fearing the worst, I nevertheless opened the file and watched with caution. It actually turned out to be Monthy Python-esque
humor by some British guys dressed as Arabs. It's good fun, so give it a view.
PNY Memory Rebate Update
I decided to call the toll free numebr on the rejection card since I have heard nothing from PNY and the PNY Rebates web
site still says that my rebate
has been rejected
I managed to navigate through a maze of automated options, entering my rebate number from the rejection card, until I finally
(10 minutes later) made it to the stage where I could be connected to a "Customer Service Representative."
As I waited patiently, subjected to an endless barage of reminders that my rebate
status could be checked on the internet, I heard a click as if the line had been disconnected, and a few seconds later heard
"If you would like to make a call, please hang up..."
I thought about trying again, but decided that it was probably pointless.
The web site that I was referred to (during the pointless wait for a customer service representative)
was www.rebateshq.com, so I decided to try it out. I went to the site,
entered my rebate number, pressed the submit button and discovered that, according to this site:
"No status results were found matching your search criteria. Either we did not receive your rebate or
it is in the process of being entered in our systems. Please check back periodically."
Prior to making this call, I tried replying to the initial PNY email message notifying me that my rebate was being processed.
But the origination address on the email was a dummy.
I tried sending the scanned proof of their error with a detaled explanation of how they screwed up, but the message was immediately bounced
(so don't bother replying to pnyrebates@pnyrebates or firstname.lastname@example.org won't work).
I searched the PNY (www.PNY.com) and PNYRebates (www.pnyrebates.com) sites for any contact information, but there is not a single email address or even a telephone
number on either site.
I am now absolutely convinced that PNY is not in the business of issuing rebates. I will not buy another PNY memory module
(unless, by some miracle, a check arrives in the mailbox at some future point) and will recommend that anyone I know does the same.
On the topic of fictional rebates and deceptive
here is an interesting point of view
that mentions the whole mail in rebate scam written by Michael Robertson, CEO of Linspire (formerly Lindows).
Costco Mail-in Rebate
My Anti-virus software expired last week. Man, what a racket that is. I wouldn't be surprised if the Anti-virus industry wasn't
responsible for most of the
viruses out there...
heh-heh, just kidding MacAfee. I shopped around for about a week before I found a
deal that I considered acceptable. All the "deals" I could find, even the one I went with, required mail-in rebates--fearing
another PNY debacle, I was reluctant to go through that again. The best price, even without the $20 mail-in rebate, belonged
to Costco. I did see the same software advertised for $10 more with two mail-in rebates which would have reduced the cost to $0,
but two mail-in rebates sounded like twice as much trouble.
Here's the really cool part. Costco has an online mail-in rebate redemption site. You enter your Costco number and a few other pieces of
information from the receipt and wham, you're good to go. I haven't actually received the rebate check yet, but it seems to be progressing
This is, for you cave dwellers who missed the media-blitz, another
It's a combination of the Cinderella legend (complete with fairy godmother, wicked stepmother/sisters and, of course,
a main character named Ella.), The Princess Bride (Cary Elwes played the dark side of his Princess Bride
character), Shrek (although that might be a bit of a stretch--there were ogres, but they were blue),
and Anne Hathaway's other movie, The
. The film, as with The Lord of the Rings, had a definite pro-nature, anti-over indistrialization theme.
There was a los a definite "girl-power" theme throughout.
The DVD had loads of DVD extras: deleted and extended scenes, featurettes, and a game.
I haven't actually ever read the book that this movie was based upon, so I can't offer any criticisms about integral scenes that were
omitted or other detrimental changes. Sorry.
The cast, other than Anne Hathaway, included a few noteworthies: Eric Idle, of Monty Python fame, was the narrator and popped in
from time to time.
Heidi Klum was a giantess who had a thing with an elf.
, the Indian cutie from
Bend It Like Beckham
Anne Hathaway does a stirring rendition of Queen's
Somebody To Love
. Who knew she could sing, too?
Not only can she act, she also displays fine comedic timing and is a natural with physical comedy
(facial expressions and
). SHe does some fine marital arts fighting in one scene, also. Watch out, Mr. Grabby hands!
I saw this film on opening weekend in the theater, being a big Highlander fan, way back in 2000 and was no less disappointed by this
film than by the previous 2 travesties (well, maybe a little less). So when I saw this DVD at the video store for a mere $15
with the promise of a new ending, 2 additonal minutes and new steamy scenes recently, I had too pick it up.
How I managed to avoid picking it up sooner is a mystery. Who knew that I would see it at Circuit City the next day for only $10?
But enough about my lack of shopping skills...
Christopher Lambert has
not aged well
since the original Highlander
(it has been about twenty years, after all).
It's sad to see his
aged, balding noggin
in the flashbacks with his first wife from the 1600's, Heather
(also played by the original actress who has aged dramatically). Granted, she was a mortal, so aging was to be expected.
The timeline is unclear, so the flashbacks could have been from later in her life...but Connor, on the other hand...
The movie feels like an extended episode of the television series. Duncan, Methos, and Joe are all there. Surprisingly, Amanda was not.
There were Watchers running amok (as they often did on the television series) and immortals banding together (a new concept, I think)
to take out the MacLeods. Connor's head is taken to, let's hope, excuse him from any future sequels.
plays a sultry, much more Interesting than
, female immortal and Duncan love interest.
It was interesting to hear the characters discussing a little more of the mythology behind the Highlander immortality; the
concept of being immortal, but dying of old age because you had never suffered a violent death was introduced.
The DVD had a couple of interesting features. The cover advertised 12 additonal minutes (not sure where they were inserted),
an all new ending (extended, actually; and happy. Lisa Barbuscia is saved for the sequel) and more steamy scenes
(not sure what these were, but I suspect that not quite as much of
anatomy was shown as clearly during the sex scenes with Duncan in the original release).
Also among the DVD Extras was an original cut (unedited) of the movie, a boring 3 level trivia game, deleted scenes, featurettes,
and many other features that I have not bothered to explore.
Princess of Thieves
I actually saw this movie on VHS, not DVD, thus the change of the section header from "DVD" to "Videos".
This movie is a Disney, made-for-TV, film that came out way back in 2001.
It stars a fifteen year old
as the daughter of Robin Hood and Maid Marion (who has long since died).
The movie lacks any semblance of geographical or historical accuracy, is very predictable and targeted to young, teenage girls,
but I still liked it.
put on a fine performance as a petulant, bored teenage girl (hey, wait, she was a teenage
girl at the time of filming, so it probably wasn't much of a stretch). Her passing as a boy
(with or wtihout the short hair
was stretching reality a bit thin. Who could ever mistake
for a boy?
In the end, Keira become one of Queen Amidala's
...oh wait, no that's something else.
In the end
, she lives more or less happily ever after (this is a Disney movie, after all).
Keira Knightly's character
has the same abbreviated name as her character in King Arthur and is an also an expert archer.
Okay, maybe it's not noteworthy, but it does make you stop and say "Hmmm..."
And how about
as the sheriff of Nottingham? I would have not expected to see Malcolm McDowell in
a Disney movie with his acting history (A Clockwork Orange and
), but there he was.
The Whole Ten Yards
The cast of
The Whole Nine Yards
is reunited for this nearly identical sequel.
The couples are all happily married and trying to procreate when inept mobsters go
after Bruce Willis, grabbing Matthew Perry to find him.
Bruce Willis and
turn the tables on the mobsters and they all live happily ever after.
manages to show a little less skin in this one than she did in the
The Whole Nine Yards
, but she still does her best to show off her lithe body with teasing glimpses
This wasn't a bad movie, but I can't think of a whole lot to say about it. It is what it is.
The DVD Extras were practically nonexistent--commentary and the theatrical trailer.