Thursday, September 30, 2010

Revving Up the Economy

I have a great idea to kick start the economy, employ hundreds of thousands of people, and get the USA's auto manufacturing plants back up and running to full capacity. It's real simple and easy. All it takes is the following:

You get a chauffeur with every new car you buy.

Think about it! You already send a large chunk of money for your car payment each month. What if you could subscribe to a chauffeur service just like you could subscribe to Sirius, XM or OnStar? The first few months or year are free, then if you like the service, you pay a small amount tacked onto your car payment.

Kids are fighting in the backseat but you don't want to turn around to smack them while driving? No worries! You can now sit in the back seat between your kids while your chauffeur drives you to the store.

Want to check your email, stocks or Facebook account, but are too busy driving to work? You won't be too busy with your new chauffeur, courtesy of your auto manufacturer.

Traffic can be awful, and public transportation is always a hot topic in any large city, but a good public transportation system takes time and money. There are new roads to build, new tracks for a tram or subway, new bus stop signs and benches to put up, etc. But if the chauffeuring service becomes huge, then we don't need any new infrastructure or new tracks, and as a bonus we won't have to sit next to a random stranger on a bus who looks like he hasn't bathed in a few weeks.

And you wouldn't feel bad for having somebody drive you and your kids around all day... you're giving them a job that they otherwise wouldn't have. You're a hero!

The chauffeur that you employ is now paying taxes, which goes to help maintain your kids' schools and libraries, and he is now also able to afford to buy more stuff, so the economy gets better. And you can reflect on all of this on your way to work, as you lounge in the back seat of your car while your chauffeur takes the scenic route.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Ramadan Meal

One of the cool things about being a computer programmer is that I get to work with people from all over the world, with different backgrounds, religions, cultures and languages. And occasionally I even get to take part in their celebrations and festivities.

For example, a few years ago my cousin Elizabeth went to India on a missionary trip. I asked her to bring a statue of Ganesha home to me, because I used to play a game where my character's name was Vighnaraja, and "Vighnaraja" is one of the incarnations of Ganesha. Ganesha is the Lord and Destroyer of Obstacles in the Hindu religion, so I keep the statue of Ganesha by my desk and then any time I can't solve a complicated computer problem, I turn to the statue and say, "Well?!? Are you going to help me out or what?!" (I usually talk to it in a nice voice, but occasionally I do plead for it to just write my code for me.)

I work with several people from India, and one day last year I got to work to find flowers in and around my Ganesha statue. It turns out that one of my coworkers, Vineela, placed flowers on the statue because it was Ganesha's birthday that day.

Pretty neat! But then I felt bad, because all I had gotten Ganesha for his birthday was a big pile of projects that I wanted him to complete for me.

This year I was invited to take part in a Ramadan meal. I've always known that Muslims celebrate Ramadan but only learned this year what it's for: Muslims fast so that they understand the hunger of poor people, and it reminds them to be thankful for what they have and encourages them to give to the poor. At the end of Ramadan, Muslims have a big meal to celebrate - and because they're hungry!

(Thanks again, Elizabeth, for your great blog on that topic!)

I'm not one to turn down a meal, especially when I get to take part in something that I've never done before, so I went to two of my coworkers' apartment and had lunch with them. Not only did they invite me to their place and cook for me, but they also agreed to let me take pictures and write a blog about my experiences.

First, introductions: Pictured here is Vineela, who was the head chef (and who left flowers on my Ganesha statue). Vineela is a Hindu from India. In the background is Nawaz, who invited us into his home for the Ramadan meal. He's pretending to cook, but we all know it's just for show! Nawaz is also from India but is Muslim. Both Vineela and Nawaz worked on my programming team at one point, but my other coworkers have stolen them from me. Several other people were invited for lunch, so Vineela cooked for a lot of us.

[Vineela adding the finishing touches to our meal]

So like I said before, I took pictures of everything. Nothing was off limits! I wanted to be immersed in this experience. For example, I took this picture of a beautiful adornment on the wall, as well as the ceremonial Microsoft basketball goal right next to it.

[Wall adornments]

I also took these pictures of traditional Indian trophies and medals.

[Trophies!]

Actually, Nawaz was the Indian Student Body President at his college, and one of his statues is to commemorate that achievement. He's also won several tennis championships in Baton Rouge and throughout the state.

Nawaz also won a medal for his ability to set the table. Good job, Nawaz!

[Proof that Nawaz helped]

Nawaz even let me take a picture of him after he changed into a traditional outfit. I also changed into my traditional lunch outfit, which involves unbuttoning my pants so that my gut can hang out after I eat. Most people wait until after they eat to unbutton their pants, but I like to get a head start.

[Nawaz's traditional outfit]

On to the food!

Vineela made a three course meal for us! First was the appetizer, which consisted of chick peas and a potato thingy. I don't know what it actually was, but I liked it! And of course, being of Lebanese descent, my family is used to scarfing down chick peas in the form of hummus, so I felt right at home.

[The appetizer]

The entree was chicken and rice, which was right up my alley because that's what we always eat down in Louisiana.

[Chicken!]

Of course, this chicken and rice had different spices than what we in Cajun Country are used to. I've eaten at a few Indian restaurants with Vineela and Nawaz on different occasions so I at least knew what to expect. And I have to say, Vineela's cooking was better than the Indian restaurants here in Baton Rouge.

[And rice!]

Served along with some bread, the chicken and rice made for a tasty meal! I liked it so much that I had seconds.

[My plate]

But my favorite part of the meal was dessert. It was vermicelli cooked in milk and sugar, covered with nuts and raisins... it was awesome! I had never eaten vermicelli cooked like this, so the texture was new to me, but it was really good. I liked it so much that Vineela has volunteered to show Betty how to make it.

[My favorite part of lunch - dessert!]

So that's my Ramadan lunch. Thanks again, Nawaz, for inviting me into your home for lunch! And thanks again, Vineela, for cooking for us!

And thanks again, Brian, my coworker who not only stole Vineela from my team last year but also stole the couch after dinner!

[Brian stole the couch!]

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Camera on a Cable

My coworker bought an LCD "Inspection Camera" that I'm calling a Camera on a Cable. It's supposed to be good for jamming down into a clogged pipe and seeing what's the matter.

[Pic of camera's handle]

It's got a camera on the end of a three foot-long cable. There's also a light by the camera, and the light is adjusted at the handle.

[Pic of camera's light and camera]

It's also got a nice little LCD screen. It's so fancy that you can almost make out what the camera is pointing at. We were never able to get it to focus, but that didn't stop us from trying to stick it anywhere it would fit.

[Pic of camera's screen]

And by "anywhere" I really mean "anywhere." The first thing we thought of doing was our own colonoscopy. It's never too early to get one of those, you know.

[Pic of me defiling the camera on a cable, as well as myself]

So my new side job is to give people colonoscopies. I don't think you need a doctorate for that... all I think you need is a camera on a cable, lots of lube, and a cute, trusting face.

[Bob and the camera on a cable]

Any takers?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Department of D-Fence

LSU has had some great defenses over the years, and most of those great defenses had their own nicknames. Remember the James Gang?

I know it's early in the season, but after watching LSU intercept its fifth pass against Mississippi State on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium, I decided to give our defense it's own nickname:

The Department of D-Fence.

I even made a shirt on Zazzle for it.

Department of D-Fence! shirt


I'll have to spend some time on really making this shirt look nice, like maybe adding a circular seal, a jet bomber, or a guy in a suit wearing sunglasses and pressing an earpiece with one finger. Or all three. Or maybe I'll just spell out "Department".

But for the moment, I just wanted to give our LSU defense a great nickname. They deserve it.

Geaux Tigahs!

I also have several nicknames for our offense, but none of them are fit to be printed on a shirt.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Who Wore it Best?

Betty was getting Anne dressed one day when I hear her yelling out for me to get my son Peter dressed. So I walk out into the living room, pick Peter up, and find some clothes on the chair. So I changed him into those clothes.

The result:

Peter

I thought the clothes were a tad big but otherwise OK. Then Betty comes in and starts cracking up. She was laughing so hard that I couldn't get her to tell me what was so funny! And in between gales of laughter, she says...

Those are Anne's clothes.

Anne

So now you get to chime in: who wore it best?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Super Foods

There are Super Foods in nature, like blueberries, broccoli, salmon and bacon cheeseburgers. Then there are Super Foods that are manufactured, like these 18" pizzas from Rotolos.

[Look at this huge pizza!]

Betty and I made the mistake of ordering two extra large pizzas from Rotolos while my parents were in town. We figured that there would be leftovers... but didn't figure that these pizzas would feed our family for an entire week. Each pizza is larger than both of our children combined.

[Pizza! Pizza!]

Those pizzas are large and in charge. And that got me thinking... what other kinds of huge foods are out there, waiting for me to eat them over the course of several days?

As luck would have it, there's a burger joint in Baton Rouge called Tramonte's that has a 32 ounce burger. That's two pounds of meat! I like big buns and I cannot lie, but there are no buns that can contain such large quantities of grilled meat. So Tramonte's puts their burgers on poboy bread.

[The Tramonte bacon burger]

Each quarter of that burger is enough to feed a single adult male. To give you some perspective on how big this thing actually is, here is my buddy Brannon acting as a Tramonte burger model.

[Brannon about to eat a Tramonte burger]

We've learned that there are at least two places in Baton Rouge that could feed your entire family with a single pizza or a single burger. And we've also learned that I'm only capable of eating three pieces of an 18" pizza from Rotolo's before I start getting the pizza sweats. And knowing is half the battle.

If you know of a super food in the Baton Rouge area, let's get together and go eat there so I can take a picture of you stuffing your face with a humongous serving of food and then post it on my blog.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

WikiTanory

I have a new nickname at work: WikiTanory.

I got this nickname either because I have an encyclopedic knowledge of our system, it's code and our business practices, or because anyone can edit my knowledge base with little to no documentation or external references.

And I gotta say, I love my new nickname, mostly because I love Wikipedia. I especially like Wikipedia's entry on Wikipedia.

Of course, Wikipedia also has some of the most sexually explicit content on the web. Go ahead, think of the dirtiest sex act that you know of, then type it into Wikipedia. It's probably not only explained in length, but there are probably pictures of the act being performed either by two or more young lovers, two hot girls, or shown via some ancient hieroglyphic.

How do I know this? I read it on Huffington Post, of course! (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!)

So maybe that's why I'm called WikiTanory... because I have hieroglyphic tablets at my desk that show ancient Egyptians in interesting positions. What can I say, they help me think.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Burger Error!

As an IT professional I'm always looking for ways to make the customer's experience better. But to do that I have to put myself in the shoes of the customer. (Seriously, I like to steal people's shoes when they're not looking. At least my feet aren't stinking up the joint, like some people's. You know who you are.)

I like to think: What would make my life easier? And what do I hate seeing the most? Let's write code to fix it!

One thing that I hate to see when I'm using a product is any type of error. But errors are just a fact of life - especially when you maintain an existing system, you have no control over what someone wrote five years ago. As a programmer, my goal is to leave the system in better working order than how I found it.

That's why I have a new suggestion for all you programmers out there:

BURGER ERRORS!

Think about it: instead of getting a "timed out" error when checking your Fantasy Football roster on your iPhone, what if you got a picture of a big, juicy burger that said, "BURGER ERROR!" You couldn't help but feel happy after that. You'd probably want more errors!

I thought of burger errors last night, but then did some searching and found that Burger King is going to start running ads on 404 (file not found) pages. I like it. Long live the King!

But don't limit it to burgers. Does your code have an infinite loop? Sounds like your program needs to display a donut somewhere. Does your project crash often? How about a Red Bull or an energy bar displayed, with text that says: avoid the crash, drink Red Bull!

All I'm saying is, we're in a recession yet we still have great opportunities to make money and/or just make people happy or hungry. All it takes is a little ingenuity, some management backbone to get these projects implemented, and some high resolution pictures of burgers provided by your favorite local restaurant.

Who's with me?!?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Weekend Warriors!

Betty and I are true Weekend Warriors! Every weekend is Fun Time at the Tanory household. It's go, go, go, getting in as much fun as we possibly can in the hopes of tiring out the kids for the rest of the week.

Go team!

Last week we went to the Louisiana Arts and Sciences Museum (LASM) in Baton Rouge, and we had a great time. Anne's favorite rooms were the kids' rooms. I thought there was only one kids' room at the LASM but Anne sniffed out a second one.

And Anne played with every single toy. She left no toy unturned!

She's so sweet that she loves to share. Here she is making us some smoothies in her play kitchen.

[Picture: Playing kitchen]

Then she saved several toy houses from burning down, by getting the toy firemen ready for action.

[Picture: Firefighter Annie's on duty!]

I don't know what you call these things... I usually see them in doctor's offices or kid's shoe stores. I was pretty bored with it (well, OK, it entertained me for a good 30 minutes) but Anne loved it.

[Picture: I don't know what these things are called but I love them!]

Pete wanted to get in on the action, too, so we let him drive the toy train. He only has his permit so Betty had to be in the train while he conducted it.

[Picture: Tickets, please!]

The LASM was fun but by Wednesday the kids were regaining their energy. Anne started taking out all of her toys, playing with everything everywhere... it looked like a toy shop exploded in our house. So we knew it was time to take her back out and unleash her upon the world.

So Saturday we took the kids to City Park. The high on Saturday was 93, so we tried to hit the park extra early. Unfortunately for us, it was still around 90 when we got there. So we only stayed for about 30 minutes, but in that time we rocked the place!

First we swung (or "swang" as I like to say):

[Picture: Swanging!]

Then Annie went exploring on the giant slide thingy. Anne loves to play on this thing, but there are drop-offs in the middle of the second level where a small child can just fall off, so it makes me nervous. Anne hasn't fallen down one of these or even come close to doing so, but I've injured myself several times trying to run and save her from whatever danger I imagine awaits her.

[Picture: About to slide!]

Sunday we went to the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans. Betty's extended family came with us, and my sister and her new fam came with us as well. The Tanory clan invaded New Orleans!

And were immediately swallowed whole by a giant shark.

[Picture: Shark attack!]

Anne conquered a giant toad and made it her steed while I sang some Toad the Wet Sprocket songs.

[Picture: Pet toad!]

Anne also saw some regular-sized frogs as well. Grammy, Pops and Annie all checked out some frogs in their native environment.

[Picture: Frog watching]

Since we were at the aquarium we obviously saw a lot of fish. Here's a picture of a mullet:

[Picture: Mullet!]

Pete was so at ease with the aquarium that he decided to take a little snooze. I tried to wake him up so that I could take his place - my feet hurt after walking all day - but he just slept right through me strolling him over the bumpy tiles.

[Picture: The snoozing machine!]

And what aquarium would be complete without some sea lions and starfish?

[Picture: Sea lions and starfish!]

My sister's husband, John Bobby, took this picture probably because he lost a bet or lost a poker tournament. John Bobby, this picture will definitely be on next year's Tanory calendar.

[Picture: The dude!]

John Bobby doesn't just pose for pictures with giant toads... he also makes incredibly astute observations. He noticed that one of the frogs came from Indonesia... but what's a frog from Indonesia doing in the Aquarium of the Americas?!?

[Picture: What's this guy doing here?]

The aquarium is very hands on. Anne even caught a fish!

[Picture: Look what I caught!]

But the best part of our weekend was spending time with our family. Betty's parents, brother, niece, aunt, cousin, cousin's son, my sister, John Bobby, John's mom and John's two nieces all came with us to the aquarium. We had a blast! Plus, my sister's birthday is on Monday and we were so thankful that she spent Sunday with us.

[Picture: Family!]

What's in store for us next weekend? I don't know, but every fun place within 75 miles of our house is officially on notice! Get ready for the Tanory clan!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

I recently moved to a new cubicle at work, and my new keyboard has a big red warning tab on its cable that says that typing can cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Which makes sense: although there are several causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, it's mostly associated with typing.

The "correct way" to type is to have your hands hovering over the keyboard and your wrists slighly bent. The problem is that this "correct way" puts pressure on the median nerve in your wrist, which in turn can cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

I learned how to type in high school (thanks, Mrs. Dauphin!) and was taught the correct way to type - and type fast. But because I'm a slacker, my hands have never wanted to stay in that upright position. That means that my wrists aren't always bent, so I'm not putting pressure on the median nerves in my wrists - meaning I've never experienced pain or numbness in my hands due to typing.

Hurray for being lazy!

That's not to say that I never experience pain or numbness in my arms. I sleep on my side a lot, and usually end up cutting off the blood circulation in my arm. I routinely wake up with no feeling in my arms, then have to hold my limp arm in one hand and shake it to get any feeling back in it. If I wasn't always concerned that my arm would die and have to be amputated, watching me flail my own arm around might be kind of humorous.

But hey, at least I won't lose arm functionality due to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. And if I do lose my arm to sleep-related issues, I'd want to keep it so I could hit people with it. I'd have a longer reach.

So I guess the red warning tag on my keyboard should read: "Warning! Following proper typing technique is hazardous to your health!"

Sometimes it pays off to be a slacker!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Bob's Bookstore

I've always wanted to own my own bookstore. I just love books! I'd have knowledgeable people dress up as characters in the different sections to help customers find what they want.

For instance, a man in a Storm Trooper outfit could help customers in the Science Fiction section of Bob's Bookstore. Darth Vader could help check customers out - the buttons on his torso could even be where customers swipe their credit cards.

A young man dressed like Harry Potter or a young girl dressed like Hermione could help young ones find what they need in the Young Adult or even Fantasy sections.

A buff, shirtless man with long hair would await customers in the Romance section. If we get the permit, maybe the shirtless Fabio guy could be sitting on a horse.

I'd have a chef's station set up by the cooking books, with samples from some of the books ready to be taste tested.

Competitors and people critical of my bookstore could be killed and dumped on the floor by the Mystery, Thriller, Horror and True Crime sections. Whodunit!?!

I probably wouldn't compete on digital downloads, although I would have computers for customers to use if they wanted to download an eBook. My main draw would be to interact with the customers.

Now if I can only find a way to integrate the bookstore idea with my pizzeria idea, where the main draw would be my Gradient Pizza (it goes from thin crust to thick crust all in one pizza!), my life would be complete!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Fantasy Football

I've joined a Fantasy Football league on Yahoo. It's my first time playing so I'm not really sure what the rules are or what I have to do to play. There's a helpful tutorial on Yahoo's website but I don't feel like reading it.

Instead, I just drafted Saints and former LSU players. I think I'm golden.

I originally thought Fantasy Football involved orcs, elves and dragons, as that's what all of the fantasy books I've read involve. Then I thought it was similar to the lingerie league, which actually has a football team called the Orlando Fantasy.

But when I figured out it was regular football, I was excited. I've been listening to Sirius NFL Radio for the better part of a year, so that makes me a football expert.

We had our draft on Sunday. My team's name is The Tantrum. Here are my players:

Starters
Drew Brees (NO-QB)
Robert Meachem (NO-WR)
Devery Henderson (NO-WR)
Early Doucet (ARI-WR) - former LSU player
Reggie Bush (NO-RB)
Darren McFadden (Oak-RB)
Jeremy Shockey (NO-TE)
Sebastian Janikowski (Oak-K)
Tracy Porter (NO-CB)
Miami (DEF)

Bench
David Akers (Phi-K)
Randall Gay (NO-CB)
Darren Sproles (SD-RB)
Damian Willians (Ten-WR)

I picked Janikowski and McFadden because I figured Oakland probably will try for more field goals than touchdowns this year, and because they have a new QB they will probably run the ball often.

I picked Darren Sproles because he stutters (like me), and he was the Stuttering Foundation spokesperson last year. To stutter and yet get up in front of the media and talk, well, that seems pretty fearless to me. (That's also why James Earl Jones is one of my favorite actors. He stuttered as a child, but went onto becoming the voice of Darth Vader, one of the most recognizable voices ever.)

And I picked Drew Brees because HE'S FRICKIN' DREW BREES. I had the seventh round pick and I still got Brees. I don't know how I lucked out.

And finally, I picked Reggie Bush because he's a great all around player, and because he banged Kim Kardashian and maybe he'll send me some hot pictures if I tell him he's on my fantasy team.

My first match is against my cousin Jeremy, whose team name is named Flo-Rida. I've got lots of Saints on my team, and Jeremy has Minnesota as his fantasy team's defense. And the Saints play Minnesota on Thursday.

Plus I have a bookshelf full of orcs, elves and dragons, and am not ashamed of it. So I think I have the upper hand in this fantasy football thingy.

Bring it on!

Funny Porn Names

One of my family members and I were thinking up funny porn names. I won't name names, but interestingly enough, the family member in question's nickname is Dick.

Here's what we came up with:

Schlong and Dance
The Blown Identity
Shaving Ryan's Privates
Missionary: Impossible
Sex Toy Story
Assatar
Nanny McPhee Returns (for more Hardcore Action)
Eat Pray Love
One Blew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
American History XXX
City of God, Oh God, Oh Yes!
The Gaytrix
The Lord of the Cockrings
The Penis
To Feel a Cockingbird

Have an idea for a funny porn name? Leave a comment!

One quick note: Betty is nice enough to upload my blog to her Facebook page, so all of my blogs make it to her profile in the form of notes. I'm sure that some of her Facebook friends don't know that these notes are not from her... which makes it all the funnier when I write a blog like this one. Sorry, B! You know I love you!