Friday, June 29, 2012

Tour De Thursday and The Belgian Hammer

Yes folks, it’s hot out. Stop complaining about it, because I can hear Arizona and Nevada laughing at us all the way over here. I honestly don’t want to hear much complaining when your exposure to the outdoors consists of walking from your air conditioned car to your air conditioned place of employment.
Last night was Thursday night, which means that, despite the heat, it was Tour De Thursday time with Carmel Pedals. I’ve skipped for the last month due to a varied list of excuses and issues, and I was determined to hit this week. 104 degrees? Meh. I’ll drink plenty of water and be fine, right? Plus, it was going to be a short ride on the Monon, so it’ll be a cake walk.
Showing up, I was obsessively checking The Twitter to see if it had been cancelled due to the excessive warmth, but that was never the case. All in all, 16 people showed up for a short ride down the trail. A couple of us only went as far as the Monon Center, and the rest of the group went down to 96th before turning around, picking us up at the Monon Center, and heading back to the SoHo Café.
Once back at the Café, I loaded the bike back into the Cardis and went inside for a nifty presentation by Daniel Lee, author of “The Belgian Hammer” which is about young cyclists and their quests to become professionals. Joining him for the presentation were cyclists Adam Leibovitz and Guy East, who helped provide some anecdotes through his presentation, which lasted about 40 minutes.

Daniel Lee talking to us about "The Belgian Hammer"
and his experiences as a cyclist.

This was an interesting presentation, talking about his history as a rider, and his experiences with other riders training on the professional circuit. You folks know me by now, I’m by no means a physical person, and I’m not much of a cyclist. Heck, I hesitate to use that word in reference to myself. I’m shaky, I’m slow, and hills are my mortal enemy. However, I found this pretty cool and interesting, talking about what it’s like to go tearing down the side of a mountain at over 60 miles an hour on a bicycle, or how much more physical races are in other countries.
It was a good evening filled with good people and a good presentation. Thanks to SoHo Café and Carmel Cyclery for hosting, for the light snacks during the presentation (loved the guac and salsa!) and for the Carmel Pedals T-Shirts, which I’ll post a picture of after I wash the sweat out of it.
See you all Monday.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Who or what is "Tokar Rai"?

So, yesterday, I went and bought a couple more domain names, one of which I’d been thinking about buying for years, but never got around to it. I am now the proud owner of Now, why would I buy that, and not or or, something a little more… realistic? Professional? Not nonsense?
One night at Manchester College, back in fall of 1995, I was talking with some friends who were telling me about using Telnet to access BBS’s, or Bulletin Board Systems. Online chatrooms and forums where you can talk with people across the country. They helped me get connected to ISCA, a large one ran by the Iowa State Computer Association, and left me to my devices. When I got to the section where you had to put in your screen name, most of the stuff I tried had already been taken, especially since I was younger and stupid and didn’t have much imagination, nor was very tech savvy.
As a last ditch effort, I used the name of my AD&D character, which was borrowed from the Green Lantern character Tomar Re. Of course, Tokar Rai was available, so I rolled with it. And when people asked me what it meant, they got a *shrug* and that explanation, and life was good.
I was pretty active on that BBS, plus others, in college, which is part of why I didn’t last that long. When I was asked to leave at Thanksgiving of 1996, I was back to being without the internet at all, so Tokar Rai started fading away.
A few years later, a Star Trek fan club group that I had grown active with was full of Techies, not just Trekkies, and they did a LOT via e-mail. They helped me set up a Hotmail account, and when it came time for the e-mail addy, I went with, what else? tokar_rai (at) hotmail (dot)com, which is surprisingly still an active e-mail account 14 years later. Not long after this, I got another computer, and started joining message boards and forums again, and almost to a one I used that well worn alias, tokarrai or tokar_rai or Tokar Rai. The only place I didn’t was the Replica Prop Forum, where I used my old Track nickname, Double T. Yahoo! had a tokarrai, Google had a tokarrai, everyplace I could find ended up with a tokarrai.
Then came the Social sites, that required you to use your real name. Since I have no sense of privacy, that part didn’t bug me, it was just foreign at this point to use my real name instead of an alias. Yes, in retrospect, I could have used an alias that included my real name, but back then, why? So, I was back to Tony Troxell, at least until Facebook started offering custom URL’s to get to your profile. Then BAM! Tokarrai. When I decided to make a Twitter account, what else would I use? Tokarrai.
Now, these days, I have my fingers in many more pies, so I have multiple online accounts for different projects, so that’s why I’m going to set up as an online calling card. You can go there, and I’ll have a little bio, list of places to find me, and essentially make it a “If you like me here, check me out here as well…” sort of place. I believe they call it a vanity page? If they don’t, they should, because that is essentially what it is. “I believe that you like me so much, that here is EVERYWHERE you can find me! Love me! Worship me! Follow me! Validate my parking and my existence!”
Because isn’t that what we all really want on the internet?
I’ll let you know when it’s up, because I know you all love me and want to validate my parking.
Stay cool and hydrated out there, folks.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Stop Trying To Burn Us Down

"I don't want to set the world on fire..." - The Ink Spots
June is coming to a close, and it’s very hot and dry. We’re talking Tinder Box dry. And yet, every night, I’m hearing some jackhole setting off fireworks, despite warnings about fire hazards. So here’s your warning: Unless we get measurable amounts of rain soon, if I catch you setting off fireworks, I’m going to light you on fire. Don’t worry about the grass, I’ll have water to help put out the trail you’ll leave while running around, screaming.
When I mentioned this thought to one of the supervisors here, he told me that he’s been having an issue around the bike rack here at the office. I guess smokers have been throwing their cigarette butts down on the ground around the bike rack, and it’s set the mulch on fire twice. I've had various friends on The Twitter mention the same thing, as well as talking about wildfires along the interstates.
Seriously, people. Look at Colorado. Look at anyplace out west. At one time or another, they’ve had huge fires. Is that what you want out here? I-69 is a pain to drive as it is, how would you like it if it was closed down due to wildfires and smoke because you had to flick your Virginia Slim out the window? Yes, a great way to celebrate our countries independence is to blow up a piece of it, but NOT to burn it down.
People, be smart, don’t feel entitled to your dang “tradition,” and realize that if you don’t buy fireworks this year, then you might be able to afford to make an extra mortgage or car payment to get yourself ahead!
Please, stop trying to burn down my home. I keep my stuff here.
I’ll have a gas can and a bucket of water waiting, and I won’t mix up what I’ll be throwing them on.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Flying Solo

So I’m driving to work this morning, and I notice a restaurant with the water sprinklers running, making its grass nice and green. EVERYPLACE ELSE around this joint has grass a lovely shade of dead, since we’re in a frakkin’ drought. I don’t know why, but this doesn’t sit well with me, and I don’t believe I’ll be going there to help pay for their nice green grass anytime soon.
I’m looking at you, Olive Garden in Castleton. While we’re at it, I’m looking at you, The Vitamin Shoppe at Clearwater Crossing.
Anyway, it’s warm, it’s dry, it’s Southern California without the mountains and beach! Huzzah!
It’s Southern California without the Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Lego Land, or Sea World.
Okay, seriously, what the heck? Anyway.
Speaking of Southern California, the girls are going to be flying out there Monday evening for a couple of weeks to visit my in-laws, while I stay out here to earn the paycheck, figure out how to survive off of beans and rice, learn how to make a pie, and try to find more work. Just a couple weeks doesn’t really bug me, because then that’s a couple weeks that I don’t have to wear pants around the house. Plus, I don’t feel like I’m losing time from my family when I go out walking or riding the bike, and I have no qualms spending time off playing Fallout. Bills go down, since I’m not home during the day so nothing is really running. Food consumption is down, since we’re feeding only me. Laundry doesn’t need done every day.
However, I’d rather have my girls around. I’d rather have the Geekling waiting by the window for me to get home, hearing the cries of “DADDY’S HOME! DADDY’S HOME!” as she rushes to the front door, waiting for me to open it so she can give me a hug. I’d rather have a dinner cooked by Shannon, with conversation about our days and how our little side money making gigs are going. I’d rather spend an evening watching a movie with the Geekling while Shannon is at the gym, then putting her through her bedtime motions of bathtime, potty, story time, then sleep than spend an evening at home with some Mturk, video games, treadmill and bed.
But it is what it is. I need to make the best of it, and see that when the girls get back, things are at least a little better than it was when they left.
I think that’s a pretty good goal.

Monday, June 25, 2012

"Feed": A Book "Review"

I’m not much of a reviewer, so when I do these types of posts, I do apologize. Despite my pitiful descriptions and my hackneyed writings on these things I enjoy, I DO want to put out there that this is something that I enjoy, and I believe you might enjoy it as well. So please don’t take my inability to put my feelings for these things into words as a poor indication as to what I’m writing about is like. With that being said…
As I wrote last week, I finally got my Indianapolis-Marion County Library Card. After getting this card, there was one book I searched the library for, and when I couldn’t find it, it was the first book I looked for and reserved when I got registered for their online service.
Don’t look it up yet, especially if you want to read the series. To even describe it will spoil the first book for you severely.
The first book in this series is “Feed.” It’s set after the zombie uprising, where bloggers are now considered legit journalists. They recognized what was happening before anyone else did, and since they had seen all the films, they knew what to do: aim for the head, destroy the brain. They got the word out any way they could, and the world survived.
The way the world is written is interesting. The book drops you into the life of Georgia and Shaun Mason, a sister/brother team of bloggers who get pulled into a presidential campaign. The book is part zombie book, part political thriller, and very interesting. It’s set in the “current” day, around 2040, and all the events that lead up to it are explained in blog posts scattered through the book, giving the reader a good background of the world and characters, and how things got to where they are in the book.
For people who like zombie books, this is a decent read. It doesn’t have as much zombie action as some people might like, but it’s very well done. I enjoy it at least as much as I enjoyed "World War Z" by Max Brooks, if not a bit more. Exactly why, I couldn’t tell you, these books just seem a bit more fun, and raise my anxiety a bit more during the anxious zombie bits.
And yes, I started reading these BEFORE I started my pitiful attempts at blogging, so the subject matter wasn’t a particular draw to me. I think I had actually read about the first book on, and picked it up on a lark, as I had the spare time to read, and a little extra scratch.
I’ve read it a few times since I bought it, and since then, the other two books in the series have been released. I picked up the second on Saturday, and I’m currently on Chapter 8, about 170 pages in. It has been as enjoyable as the first book, and I’m anxious to see how this one turns out.
I definitely recommend picking this up for a read, be it purchased, digital, or checked out at the library.
I’ll see you tomorrow, with something that probably isn’t a shoddily written review.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Brain Dump

I have had so many face palm and head desk moments today, it’s not even funny. Add to that having to listen to political news reports, and this is all seriously damaging my calm. Plus, it’s Friday. Why am I wearing pants? Oh well, at least I have my Hawaiian Shirt. Now, where did I put my towel?
Money is on my mind again. I’ve hit that frustration lull in job hunting, where you’ve dropped off applications everywhere that you’ve seen a “Now Hiring” sign, you’ve done so many online applications that your fingers are ready to drop off, and you haven’t heard one thing back from anyone. I know one major issue is, many places need an open availability, and I have a limited availability of nights and weekends. I know I’m going to find something, it’s just frustrating not knowing when. Until then, I’m just hitting the gift card sites and mturk heavily. Did you know you can buy personal care products on Amazon?
In other news, I still need to see The Avengers. Thanks to the internet, I know it has something to do with aliens, shawarma, and the Hulk going nuts on Loki, but how it all ties in, I have no idea. Do they kill Wash again?
In other random thinkings, you can attach coupons to your Marsh card online? Yes, please.
I downloaded the Couch to 5K app again on my phone. Let’s see if I’ll actually use it. I want to put together a lightweight Ghostbuster costume and start running 5K’s dressed as a Ghosbuster.
Sometime this weekend, I also have beer to bottle. Let’s see how THAT works.
Don’t you love how Friday’s have no solid theme? It’s just a brain dump? Nice little mess of non sequitur going on here, isn’t there?
I really need to pull my bicycle out of the closet and ride again. I’m thinking of taking up night riding, since there aren’t as many people driving around Castleton. However, the drunks come out at night, so I have to watch out for that. I think I need to get that light up jacket that the Riddler wore in Batman Forever for night riding.
And if you don’t get that reference, you’re better for it. Trust me.
I’ll see you all next week.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Library Card!

So yesterday, I realized that since I have an Indiana driver’s license, it is now easy for me to get a library card. So, before the office network went down yesterday, I printed out the form, filled it out, and headed over to the Lawrence branch to get it taken care of.
I was able to get the card with minimal fuss, after a little mix-up with someone else in the system with the same first and middle name as mine. I guess Anthony Lee is common enough to throw off a librarian. Anyway, after getting the card, I kind of skimmed around, making note that the branch was smaller than what I was used to in Henry County, or Rancho Cucamonga, CA. After getting a feel, I left without checking anything out.
Then, last night, I got online and registered my online account. That is when it clicked that I was just in a branch of a large system. I started putting together my want list, all to be picked up at my local branch. I have comic books on my list, I have the second book in the Newsflesh Zombie/Blogger series and The Nerdist Way on my list, I have Animaniacs DVD’s and CD’s for the Geekling on my list. And this was just after poking around a bit. I still need to peek through my Want To Read list, figure out what I want to read that I don’t already have digitally.
Speaking of digitally, they also have loaning of books for eReaders. Since I have a Nook, albeit a dying Nook, I like this and I’ve put a couple of those on my hold list as well. They also allow 3 MP3 downloads from the Sony catalog a month, and they have some hard to find albums on there, that I haven’t been able to find via Amazon or random web searching. Audio Books will be good if I have any more long road trips, although I do normally listen to Podcasts for that.
So, I now have access to books, comics, magazines, cd’s, DVD’s, Audio Books, Digital Content, and a collection of children’s entertainment that will hopefully help me teach the Geekling about borrowing vs. owning, sharing, and treating others property with respect.
Yeah, I know I’m just now catching up with all my frugal friends, but I’m just very excited. Now, if only they carried Xbox 360 games, but I thought it was weird that the library in Rancho Cucamonga, CA carried those in the first place.
Now to wait for my hold list notifications to come rolling in…

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

More Tales From The Switchboard

Time for more tales from the Switchboard.
First, keep in mind that I don’t know HOW many phone numbers come in to me, but I can field calls from 12 locations in 4 states.
I love it when I have a call that comes in that shows it’s been in the call queue for a minute or so already. Normally, after getting through our short menus, it takes 12 seconds to get to me.
Me: Thank you for calling My Company, how may I direct your call?
Caller: I’ve been trying to get a hold of Person in Virginia, but they’re not answering. Can you see if they’re in their office?
Most of the time, they’re cool when I say that I’m not able to do that. I have had one or two people start to argue with me, asking if I’ve even seen them walk by the front desk, or demanding that I go check. At that point, I put on my friendliest voice, making sure not to cross the line into sarcasm and snark, because it really is a fine line. In that voice, I ask them if they realize where I’m located, and that if I have to check the office, they’re going to be on hold for a long time, and I will charge them mileage. At that point, the realization hits, and they become understanding and are willing to leave a voice mail.
And mentioning voice mail, do you know how often I’ll get one of those calls from people who don’t understand voice mail?
Me: Thank you for calling My Company, how may I direct your call?
Caller: I tried getting in contact with *INSERT NAME HERE* but all I can get is their voice mail. Can you take a message for me?
At this point, all I can tell them is that I am not, but I am more than happy to send them back to the voice mail, and they can leave a message there. Most of the time, this pacifies them, and the times that it doesn’t, well, what else can I do?
And all this time, all that goes through my head is that at least I don’t have people asking me what time the Three O’Clock Parade is.
See you tomorrow,

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Bit About Cooking

So, a tray of muffins gets put into the oven. One muffin looks at another and asks, “Is it hot in here?” The second muffin looks at the first and goes “AHHH!!! A TALKING MUFFIN!!!”
I enjoy cooking. I am not a chef, I am not a foodie, I just enjoy throwing a bunch of random things together and at the end, eating something that is hopefully delicious. I do have a few standby dishes that I enjoy, like chicken breast in Teriyaki with onions, mushrooms, and banana peppers on some rice, or venison chili with my mix of spices and chili powder, cooking in the crock pot for 16 hours. No, I’m no Colonial Sanders. I’m not even Private Sanders. I just know brown sugar seems to work to cut down the acidity of the tomato juice. Oh, and why venison? Why not? It’s delicious. I know that bacon in the oven can come out crisp and delicious, and make less of a mess than the pan. And I know that when working with raw chicken, SANITIZE AND CLEAN ALL THE THINGS!!!!
I have simple tastes, and I’m not always perfect or good at this. I have failed to hard boil an egg more than once, and a perfectly toasted grilled cheese still escapes me. I don’t fiddle with this, that, and everything else, I just have a couple dishes that I enjoy and I do well. However, the thing is, I’ve mainly worked with meats and vegetables. I’ve never really done any baking, be it bread or donuts. So how am I going to make a pie?
Aye, with no experience, I am to make 2 Bavarian Cream Donut Pies for a contest/fundraiser at the end of July. And why not? Isn’t life about new experiences? Shouldn’t we strive to learn something new any chance we can get? Yes, I am aware that this new experience is going to be consumed by others, so I’ll be making a practice pie before hand, but I’m really excited about this.
The last time I made anything for consumption by the public was cookies in 4H. I used to be active in that, and I tried my hand at the Cooking section in addition to Model Rockets and Electronics that year. Did you know that, in 4H, the Snickerdoodles are supposed to be small? Yeah, I made them the size that I would want to eat, which was about 2.5X the size that they wanted, so even though they were delicious, I got marked down for size. The absurdity of that made me not continue in Cooking in 4H.
I know I will not have this problem for Pie Wars, though, since Pie Pans come in pretty much one size.
Now, I just need some pie pans.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Things To Live By

And another week begins anew.
Right now, I have a lot of things in life coming to a head. I’m not going to write on them here, but let’s just say I have made the mistake of venting/ranting about it vaguely on Twitter, forgetting that I now actually have FOLLOWERS that actually READ the tripe I put up there. While I’m thankful for that, it made me realize that I REALLY need to watch my vague ramblings so I don’t needlessly worry people.
So now I’m going to put my vague ramblings on Google Plus. No one will see them there.
Seriously, I just need to stop doing that, and I need to reflect and go back to the three things I TRY to live my life by. No, none of these three things involve bow ties.
The first thing is the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Treat others as you want to be treated. Don’t crap on people if you don’t want to be crapped on. Don’t be a jackhole if you don’t want others to be a jackhole to you. It’s fairly simple, and we’d all be a lot better if we all did that.
The second thing is, it doesn’t matter if they’re laughing at me or laughing with me, as long as they’re laughing. I’m a person that can act stupid. I’m not a comedian, I’m not a clown, but I can do stuff to make people grin and laugh. When I’m doing that sort of thing, people might think they’re laughing at me, but I have no problems with that, since most of the time I’m laughing myself.
Finally, I have a quote that I got from a book called “The Golden Rule of Schmoozing” by a gentleman named Aye Jaye. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow’s a mystery, today’s a gift. That’s why they call it ‘present.’” Don’t sweat yesterday, it’s over, it’s done. Who knows what tomorrow might bring? Today, though? Make today great. Live today like it’s your last today. Live today so that if tomorrow never comes, your family knows you love them, your friends know you cared, and your job knows that you could have found something better, but you didn’t because you liked them.
Life is too short to let petty crap pile up on you, and it’s definitely too short to post the petty crap on Twitter, The Book of Face, or even Google Plus.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Little Friday This & That

All right, folks, it’s Friday. Nothing solid today, just some end of the week catch up.
First, I’m adding a new section for Blogs I Follow on the side of the page. In fact, you’ll see that it’s already there, since after I typed that line in, I just went into Blogger and reorganized. I’ve also removed the Swagbucks widget, and moved some other gadgets and widgets around.
Also, I’m still up for the gas station pizza, or as I told my challenger, I’m as serious as the gastronomical distress that is sure to ensue. I will also admit to a morbid curiosity as to precisely how bad gas station pizza is.
I know I’m not the only one who, instead of going to a dictionary while writing, goes to Google and starts typing the word they don’t know in, and lets the auto-complete tell them how to spell it? I honestly thought there was an extra “u” in curiosity, and keep trying to figure out why “Curiousity” was being red-lined by Word.
On a totally unrelated subject, drinking a large bottle of water, a cup of coffee, and a breakfast shake before my first break at 10:30 really makes that last half hour crawl by. I really need to hit the restroom.

Also, mark your calendars for July 23rd, as the second Pie Wars: The Pastry Strikes Back comes to Indianapolis benefitting Indy Schools on Wheels. More information to come as it’s getting finalized, but I will be there, and I’ve already been marked down as bringing Bavarian Cream Donut Pie, as well as volunteering. Now, I just need to learn what a “ganache” is and how to make it…
Finally, I’ve been posting on my temporary Geeking in Indiana blog recently, so feel free to check in on there. Not much in the way of shop listings, more along the lines of items of interest and upcoming events. However, feel free to check it out, and follow the IndianaGeeking Twitter account as well.
Yes, this is a short post today, but I have a lot going on. Remember that Sunday is Father’s Day, so remember to remember your dad on that day. I’m not quite sure what’s going on that day, but as long as I’ve got my family, it will definitely be a good day.
I’ll see you all on Monday!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gas Station Pizza and an Experiment

8:42AM: Brain dead, coffee not kicking in. About ready to make a big mistake. I’m going to go to Twitter to ask for a blog topic.
8:44AM: Tony Troxell @tokarrai  Mistake time: if you were to go to my blog today, what would you want to read about? #BrainDead #TryingSomething
8:49AM: Still waiting. Told The Twitter that I’ll take the first topic that’s thrown at me.
8:54AM: Told that I’m a “Brave, brave soul” by @mattdantodd. Asked if that was an idea or an observation. Awaiting response.
9:05AM: Been told not to write about “Mellisa & Joey” because it’s “the crazys are out for blood on that one” by @sssemester and also been asked if someone has asked me about unicorns yet. Giving this until a quarter after 9.
9:22AM: Experiment failed. However, I was inspired by a posting on the Hyper Monkey Media blog (follow it, it’s awesome) about pizza, and a conversation that’s been happening yesterday, so I’m going to roll with that.
Yesterday, a friend wrote a blog post about Gas Station Pizza. He’s from Chicago, and according to him, they take their pizza very seriously. Honestly, I just thought they took their pursuit of Jake and Elwood very seriously, but I guess I shouldn’t allow my education of the Windy City to be from The Blues Brothers.
After reflecting on pizza he loved up there, he discussed finding pizza and other foods at Speedway. He also mentioned that while he has no beef with Speedway, he takes issue with “certain foods being sold at a place where you feed your car.”
Now, here is where I disagree. Say I’m on a road trip, or I’m just tooling around Indiana. My car needs gas, and I’m hungry. I pull into a Speedway, it takes $40 to fill up the gas tank of the Cardis, and I go inside the convenience store to find something to munch on. Do I just grab some chips and a Twinkie and go? Oh no, I’m going to look at the warm stuff. The pizza. The big arse taquitos. The sandwiches. Are they gourmet? Heck no. Do they sit in your stomach, at least until the first rest area? Hopefully.
However, I’m not a smart man.
Needless to say, I do believe I am pro-gas station pizza, and the general consensus of people I asked (1) agree that if they’re hungry, they’ll at least try it.
Tomorrow: Pie Wars.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Building Up The Blogging Arsenal

Good morning to all those that somehow stumbled over here! Are we doing well? Have we had our morning coffee, or tea, or beer? Hey, I don’t judge. Unless you’re doing Twitter wrong, then I’m one judgmental jackhole!
And no, that’s not going to roll us into yet ANOTHER blog post on The Twitter. Even though I’ve noticed that they get more views than normal, I am NOT going to whore myself for page views. At least, not like I’m whoring myself for ad clicks and affiliate links. Yep, I’m really monetizing here. I think since I connected adsense to… something, might not be here, I’ve made 3.64. Yep, I should write a book.
Anyway, I should probably get on a topic, although I’ve been told by people who are regionally famous in three zip codes on The Twitter that they like how random I am.
And there I go with the Twitter again.
Anyway, I’ve recently come into the use of a new laptop/tablet PC. It’s one of those HP machines where the screen flips around and it becomes a tablet, provided you use the included stylus. It is pretty heavily used, and it needs a new battery, but it has built in wifi and a clear screen, so I am not complaining. As I’ve been playing with it, I’ve discovered that the handwriting recognition software is pretty nifty, and it exports into Word, so I can jot down my bloggings on it. Plus, since I don’t want to install too much software on it, since I only have it until, well, I don’t know when, guess what is my new blogging buddy? All I need is an external HD for anything I want to keep off of it, and a mouse for when I don’t want to use the touch screen, since it has one of those eraser tips in the center of the keyboard which drives me nuts. However, once again, not looking a gift horse in the mouth.
Needless to say, between this and my Evo, which provides me with a camera and a way to upload pictures, I’ve got everything I need for blogging on the go. Well, except for an everywhere Internet connection, but heck, MCDONALD’S has wifi, and where is there not a McDonald’s?
Now, if only I went anywhere that I wanted to blog about WHILE I was there.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tales From The Switchboard

Why do people get ticked off at me when they’re the ones who dialed the wrong number?
Working the main switchboard for our company is always amusing. Most of the time, if it’s a legit call, the person has the direct line and doesn’t have to mess with me. Who DOES have to mess with me? Mainly, the sales people and the scammers.
Sales people are easy, I just send them to the voice mail, and if they keep calling back, I kindly inform them that all they’re getting is a voice mail, and they’re normally cool, leave a voice mail, and stop wasting their time. I could say they’re also wasting my time, but what else am I doing here, other than writing a blog post about it?
The scammers crack me up. Have you heard about the Toner scam? I might have written about it before, but I can’t remember and I’m too lazy to review what I’ve done. Essentially, someone calls and asks to update the information on your printer or copier. Once they have the model number, they send you an invoice for the toner needed for that printer, and they hope it slips through and you pay it.
Most of the time, when they call, I don’t even transfer them to our supply purchaser, which is who they often want to talk to. Instead, I let them know that the info is on the paperwork that is on file with the company that is contracted to do our service, and they normally hang up when they realize that I know who they are. However, yesterday I had one that, honestly, sounded like a real thug call in.
Scammer: Yo, let me talk to *****.
Me: Excuse me?
Scammer: Let me talk to *****!
Me: ***** who? We have many people here with that first name.
Scammer: You know, ***** who’s in charge of the Xerox machines.
Me: We don’t have an ***** in charge of the Xerox machines.
Scammer: Well, who’s in charge of your machines? I need to know about your machines.
Me: Well, all that information is on our paperwork…
Scammer, interrupting me: Who the hell do you think you’re talking to, di**head?
Me, starting to laugh: Obviously not you anymore. This call is over. CLICK
Let me see, you’re calling from a blocked number from an unknown location, and you want me to just hand you over information, and you’re calling ME names? Yeah, in retrospect and in joking with supervisors, that’s the point where I should have hit the RECORD button and started really trolling and messing with him, but what’s the point? Needless to say, people like this ARE wasting my time.
And they’re doing it wrong.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tap N Run

Wow, what a full, fun weekend.
First, I took Friday off, that’s why there was no posting on this normally Monday through Friday blog on this Monkey Fighting Internet. That day was spent at the the Wolf Park up in Battleground, IN, and you can read about it here.
What I will be writing about here is Saturday. Saturday was the Tap N Run, a “marathon” that involved 4K of Walking/Running, costumes, beer, and being social, which meant I couldn’t just walk along listening to the soundtrack to The Muppets.
Starting line, about an hour & a half before festivities begin.
For those unaware, the Tap N Run is a 4K that involves 4 “Beer Chug” stations instead of water stations, each offering up about 4 oz. of beer. At the end, you get a full glass of beer, an awards ceremony for things like costumes, hottest mess, facial hair (which I missed), and other items. Plus, there was a nifty t-shirt and a medal that doubles as a bottle opener.
One of the "Beer Chugs"
I walked with Team Dolphin Rodeo in the race, which consisted of a group of people that, up until that point, I had never met. It made it rather weird when I was looking for my team at the Wave 6 starting point. However, I did find my team, dolphins were wrangled, the agreement to not sweat was made, and we moved to the corral for our first beer.
After the first beer, the gates opened and our wave, Wave 6, the slow group wave, was cut loose. Somehow, running became involved going out of the first gate when people were caught up in the excitement, but that didn’t last long, especially not for “Fatty and I Know It” here at the keyboard. After that initial excitement, most of Dolphin Rodeo regrouped, and we meandered on down the course, taking our sweet time.
How much sweet time did we take? We were moved off the road onto sidewalks because they were opening the road after us.
Team Dolphin Rodeo
However, we didn’t care. We were having fun, we were having beer, we were yelling at each other, and the Indianapolis Metro officers along the course, who were awesome as well. We had a good time, and while we didn’t come in last, we were close as we crossed the finish line.
To give you an idea, for my stats: Time was 56:08 (22:35 per mile), I was 1426th of 1479 finishers, 616th of 635 males, 266th of 273 in the M 26-35 division.
Yep, I’ve got quite a future as a marathon runner.
I love a medal that will also open your beer.
As we crossed the finish line, to the welcoming embrace of our full beer, medals, and volunteers, the group got pictures, and drank beer, and swapped fake mustaches, and generally had a good time. At this point, I faded away from the group and joined some of the volunteers who I knew, and I was getting to know.
After tear down was done, we went to Chumley’s around the corner to get food in the stomach and sober up while the rest of Broadripple was getting drunk, and then I gave The Kahuna a ride home and went home and wiped out myself.
This was a great experience, with some great people, that I can’t wait to do again. Next year, I think I’m going to do a better costume, not just bad facial hair and a bow tie. No offense to Dolphin Rodeo, but I think I might do my own theme team next year, perhaps Lord of the Rings related. Either way, it was definitely a great experience, and I met some great people doing it.

Need to do better next year.
So, to everybody I met, thank you for a great day!  To everyone else, I’ll see you someday!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Not Very Tech Savvy

For someone who works in IT, I am not a very tech savvy individual. I like tech, don’t get me wrong, but when it comes to troubleshooting, or coding, or hacking, or modding, or anything like that which many of my friends and peers do, I will normally look at it for a few minutes, then curl up in the corner in the fetal position and whimper softly.
All right, I might not be THAT bad, but I’m definitely on the lower end of the curve when it comes to many people I know. However, let’s be honest here. I’ve never been around that much tech. When I was growing up, I was doing a lot outdoors, even up through my teen years with the Boy Scouts. When it came to gaming, I did a lot in the Pen and Paper category, with some dabbling in the Collectible Card Game category. I had a grand total of 3 video game systems between when I was born and I was 20: my father’s Magnavox Odyssey 2 which we were rarely allowed to play unless we were VERY good and were supervised, a Nintendo Entertainment System which we got when we were older that came with the gun AND the robot, and a Game Boy.  I didn’t get anything new until I picked up a Playstation from a co-worker in 1997. So, seven years without a game console, without any gaming that didn’t involve pumping quarters into a machine. Since then, however, I have had a work history that is heavy on console gaming, so I’ve had to catch up with the Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast, Playstation 2, Nintendo Gamecube, Nintendo DS, Playstation Portable, Microsoft X-Box 360, and the Nintendo Wii, along with a couple Game Boy Color systems. However, I’ll never be labeled as a “hard-core” gamer. I’m not much into online shooters. Massively Multiplayer Online Games aren’t my cup of tea, either. Plus, I have NEVER cracked open a game system to mod it. I like my things to continue working.
Computers are sort of the same way. Most of the computers in our house growing up were my father’s, which was to be used for work. We really didn’t do much on them except type up the occasional paper on them. Even as the computers got better, and were able to play games like Ultima or Doom, we didn’t clutter the hard drive up much. Additionally, since my parents lived, and still live, out in the boonies, and almost every call they made was long distance, connecting to the internet was out of the question without a STEEP phone bill. Because of this, I didn’t get much hands-on computer experience until my freshman year of college in 1995.
College gave me my first taste of the Internet and Social Networking, in this case in the form of Bulletin Board Systems. ISCA and Monolith were ones I used to frequent, and it’s also where I started using the tokar_rai, Tokar Rai, or tokarrai handle on the internet.
This is what happens when all user names you wanted were taken, and you decide to use your D&D character’s name. And then you keep using it, for 12 years.
When I left college, then I was without a computer again for quite some time, so I lost many of my contacts until I bought my first computer in 1999. I actually purchased this computer to run Baldur’s Gate, and then I figured out how to get online with it, since I was in an area that I COULD get online.
With this computer, I started figuring out a little bit about how to tear it apart and replace parts and upgrade, mainly replacing the CD-Rom with a CD-Burner and adding more RAM. However, I never really learned much with it in terms of how it actually RUNS.
When I started building websites on Geocities, I started with HTML for Dummies and Notepad. After a while, I moved to Dreamweaver and used that for quite some time. When Geocities went the way of the dodo, I moved over to, then what is currently being rebuilt using software from and here.
However, I do believe my failure lies in my desire just to do something, get something up and done instead of learning precisely how to do it. It’s not that I don’t want to learn, it’s that I’m impatient. However, this bites me in the bum a bit, since when something comes down, I can’t get it to come back up. This is what stung me on my Geeking blogs last year.
However, I will get better, I will learn from my mistakes, and I will get everything back up. Savviness or not, things will run again.
Just don’t ask me how I did it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Kids Books

I sometimes think I could write some awesome kids books. I get filled with ideas, but then something shiny comes along and I forget about it.
Yeah, I’m a goldfish.
Look! A castle!
Anyway, on The Twitter this morning, we were bagging on the whole “You’re doing it wrong” thing, with myself being the one saying “You’re wrong.”
Look! A castle!
Anyway, I was told to write a book about using social media right, so bam! Right there I’ve got the idea for a kid’s pop-up book using the delicious dessert known as Cake in social media: Photos of cake using different filters for Instagram. Talking about how delicious and moist the cake is on Twitter with hashtags of #moist and #delicious. Checking into the bakery to get the cake on Foursquare. Talking about your expertise on cake and cake-related industries on LinkedIn. Playing Cake-related games and tagging friends on your cake photos on The Book of Face. All in all, a nice beginners guide to social media.
Look! A castle!
I’ve also been thinking about an alphabet primer book for kids about alcohol, talking about why their parents drink. “B is for Bourbon, which daddy drinks when you’re bad.” “V is for Vodka, which mommy uses to escape from your Vile ways.” “W is for Whiskey, which is needed when you’re Wicked.” I think it would be a very fun and educational book on why they hear Daddy snoring on the couch at 7PM and Mommy crying quietly in the bedroom. This one wouldn’t be pop-up, but instead using fun drawings to help show the difference between a shot glass and a wine glass, and to illustrate exactly how daddy sees the world after a bottle of Applejack (for when you’re at your Aunts.)
Look! A castle!
These are just a couple of examples. I don’t want to put them all out there in case you try to steal my ideas. However, one day, you will see my work at your local book store. Or on Amazon. Or on the Million Mother’s site listing how horrid a person I am.
Then I WILL know I made it.

Look! A castle!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Praising The Twitter

First off, the people I follow and who follow me on Twitter are awesome. I just can’t put it out there enough.
When I first joined The Twitter back in October of 2008, I honestly don’t know why I did it. You can’t get squat done with 140 characters, most celebrities I followed didn’t post anything of interest. So I would sparingly use it to rant about customers at work, and to promote the Geeking blogs when I was actively working on them.
I kinda puttered with it the first few years, mainly having it as an extra app on my smartphone, or an extra tab up on my browser. However, then I started interacting with people. And through those people, I started interacting with more people. No purpose, no reason, just because they were fun to interact with, with their kids and their unicorns and cat photos and bike rides.
So yes, I ended up networking with people, socially.
Yeah, I’ve been on other networks, but none have been this much fun. Facebook is all drama, casual games, and links to political articles. Myspace was profiles that sparkled more than a Twilight vampire, and people bugging you to play Mafia Wars. Google Plus is, well, it’s Google Plus. I like it, but no one is there. LinkedIn doesn’t like snark and fun. Tumblr? I’m not a brony. So Twitter has been my drug of choice.
Through Twitter, I have found friends, both new and old. I have had opportunities to do things like Carmel Pedals and guest on The Pony Hour Podcast. I’m “running” the Tap N’ Run this weekend because of people I know on there. I have won contests for anything from Blu-Rays to concert tickets. For about a month, I had “Free Food Friday” using gift cards I had won through there.
I admit that this is kind of a rambling post inspired by this one by CS_indy talking about using Twitter and social media wrong, and it had me thinking that if I’m doing it wrong, I don’t want to be doing it right.
Through social media, and especially Twitter, I have friends that have been very supportive. I have friends that are very funny. I have friends with multiple Twitter accounts that are obsessed with unicorns and cats on Pinterest.
And I wouldn’t give any of them up.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Teeming With Ideas

Don’t you hate it when your creativity gets its second wind, and there is really nothing you can do about it? I have found a path I want to take for the Geeking Blogs, but first I have to get the foundation set for them. In order to get that foundation set, I need to have the time to set it, which I’m just not being given. Once that foundation is set, then I’ll be able to resubmit all the content I already have, start kicking butt on putting up NEW content, and harassing my friends out in California about getting some content for the one in their neck of the woods.
One thing I do want to do is start a YouTube channel for the site, but that would also take money, since the only camera I own is the one on my phone, and I’m envisioning something a bit more… professional looking? I’m not looking for something that looks like it was filmed for television, but I want something more than a shaky shot filmed with a phone cam. I want something that I can actually have an intro for, something that I can link to blog posts that pertains to the subject, yet people can subscribe to on YouTube. Original content that I MIGHT be able to pull some advertising money out of to help continue to feed the habit, because visiting comic shops and conventions isn’t cheap.
Now, content wise, I don’t want to put too much out there. While I am working on a plan on what I want to do, I don’t want to put too much of the plan out there. I’m going to be very honest with you, I once bounced something like this off of a friend out in L.A. and he really thought this was a “million dollar idea,” something that he really thought could fly, people would enjoy, and would help me make some money doing something I enjoy. Needless to say, I’m keeping it fairly close to me at the moment. However, I have had some friends out HERE that I’ve bounced the idea around to, and they think it’s something worth pursuing, and have given me some advice.
One friend, Wayne Deal, has worked television production and is very familiar with things like this, has offered up some very sound advice and is someone that I’m hopefully going to partner with once the plan is in place, and equipment is procured. Oh, and there is equipment to procure.
The very first thing I am looking to pick up is a video camera. Wayne has recommended to me the Sony DSR PD-150. It’s one of those models that straddle the line between consumer and professional grade, and it will give us a good, clean, professional look without completely breaking the bank.
And by “completely breaking the bank” I mean that it comes in around $1K. Used.
Yeah, if you’re interested in giving me a late Birthday gift, my Paypal info is tokarrai (at) gmail (dot) com.
Seriously, though, right now I’m looking to get the sites back up and running, and starting to put pennies away towards the camera. I have ideas to write down, schedules to plan, and general geekery to perform.
Now I’ve got to find the time and money to perform it, and still be able to pull a paycheck and spend time with my family.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Busy Weekend Coming

It is National Donut Day, and I’m in a donut-less office. Everyone on the Twitter is going on about their donuts, but I’m just sitting here, sipping my green tea flavored with sorrow and self-pity.
Wait, I was given a donut, filled with cream and happiness and sunshine. Everything is coming up Milhouse.
Anyway, I hope you’ve all had a good week. I’m glad it’s Friday, despite it being a shortened week. It has just been very busy, hopping, a lot going on. Due to the inclement weather last night, I wasn’t able to go riding, so the bike very well might be in storage for a bit, due to commitments the next couple of Thursdays. We shall see, as I’m also trying to work up the guts to ride to close shops for small items, like if I need to hit Aldi’s for some milk, or down to the Dollar Tree for cleaning supplies. It makes more sense financially and physically, but if I get wiped out by a H2 because of the narrow roads and inattentive drivers, then what’s the point?
This weekend, Grammy and Pop Pop are taking the Geekling so Shannon and I can have an evening that will more than likely be filled with fondue and movies on either HBO GO, Netflix, or Amazon Prime. Maybe Prime, since our trial membership knocks out in a few days. Either way, it’s the Geekling’s first night at my folk’s house, away from us, so we’re rather anxious to see how it goes.
Sunday is the Indy 1500 Gun and Knife Show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, which is always great for people watching and purchasing the flesh of different animals that has been turned into jerky. Oh yeah, also guns, knives, and military surplus. Shannon is going for the actual guns and knives. Personally, I like checking out some of the surplus, especially as it pertains to movie props and costumes. Alice Pack frames and straps were used on the Ghostbusters Proton Packs. Old flight helmets were turned into pilot helmets for Star Wars, with some modifications. Many different little parts and uniform pieces turned into other parts and uniform pieces for Science Fiction films, and since I know some of them, I keep my eyes open. Oh, and the jerky that will be consumed. Oh, so much jerky.
So with that, I hope you all have a good weekend. I will see you back here on Monday!