Finger info for hendersa@icculus.org...


If I knew that updating a .plan file was this entertaining, I would have 
started doing semi-regular updates a long time ago.  Oh well.  My web space 
is located at http://nuthouse.org/~hendersa and I can be reached via e-mail 
at hendersa@db.erau.edu.


*****************************************
*02 January 2002 - No, I Am Not Dead... *
*****************************************
... but I sure came a little too close for comfort.  You see, over the past 
month or so I've been battling with mononucleosis.  Actually, the mono wasn't 
too bad in itself, but it wore me out to the point where all sorts of 
secondary stuff started munching on my insides.  In the span of about 4 weeks, 
I managed to catch and then ditch mono, bronchitis, and hepatitis.  Well, 
you actually can't ever really ditch mono, since it's in your system for life.  
But I beat it into submission, damn it, so I count it as a technical win for me.

So there.

Let me be the first to tell you that the worst flu that I have ever managed to 
get was a birthday party compared to this whole medical adventure.  Why, I even 
went to see a doctor, which is an event I usually reserve for occasions where I
need an amputation or I've received a very, very large gunshot wound.

Remember kids, only kiss the clean ones.  Mono primarily gets passed through
saliva, so a smootch might be the that gets you.  Or I guess you could just 
kiss the really drunk ones, since all that alcohol in his or her mouth will 
have done a number on any mono critters lurking about.

Anyway, you came here to be entertained, right?  Well, you might as well take
a look at some pictures from Thanksgiving and Christmas:

Thanksgiving over at yoda's parent's place:
http://www.nuthouse.org/~hendersa/thanksgiving

Christmas in New York at my parent's place:
http://www.nuthouse.org/~hendersa/xmas_pics  

I hope everyone has a happy (and healthy) new year.


************************************************
*09 November 2001 - Just How Dangerous ARE You?*
************************************************

-----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK-----
Version: 3.1.2
GCM/CS d- s: a-- C++ UL++ U P++ L++ E--- W++ 
N++ o-- K- w++ O+ M- V PS+ PE Y+ PGP t 5 X+ 
R(++) tv- b++ DI+ D++ G e++ h r++ y+
ma- k F+(++)3(4) x++ 
------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------

This is not just your stock "Geek Code" block.  The last line of the block 
sports the "Geek Code Weapons Extensions", of which a description can be 
found at: 

http://kuoi.asui.uidaho.edu/~kamikaze/documents/geekWeapons.html

The stock Geek Code block can be decoded via a web-based form at:

http://www.ebb.org/ungeek

Just use the web-based decoder to decode the whole block, and then look up 
the last line's worth on the "Weapons Extension" web page.  The web based 
decoder will just ignore the extensions.

Happy decoding.


****************************************************
*08 November 2001 - Everybody Needs A Hobby, Right?* 
****************************************************
Well, the day has finally arrived... the world is either a little safer or
a little more dangerous, depending on your point of view.  I was reviewing
my extracurricular "police and worst-case scenario" training to date 
(small arms, penal code 832, tear gas...) and doing some checks against 
the laws and rules of various states in the US, and I've come to a 
startling conclusion:

I now can legally act as a fully qualified freelance bail fugitive 
recovery agent in the states of New York, Ohio, Tennessee, and Montana.  
"Bail fugitive recovery agent" is the official legal term for what people 
refer to as a "bounty hunter."

You probably don't need me to tell you that it would be a good idea to 
move if you live in one of those four states I just mentioned.  If the law 
allows a freelance vigilante like me to run around your state with a stun 
gun and handcuffs in pursuit of justice, I would sure as hell think it high 
time to consider a change in scenery.    

This will undoubted irk my family to no end, since they are always afraid 
I'm going to end up doing something dangerous and get myself killed.  It's 
even worse when you consider that the majority of my family still live in my 
home town, which is located in upstate New York (which, as you can 
note from my little list above, falls within "freelance bounty hunter" 
territory).  On the bright side, though, I could quite easily make a decent 
living by just visiting my parents on occasion and then swinging by the local 
trailer park and bringing my ex-high school classmates to justice.  

Last I heard, most of them peaked in their senior year of high school and still
live in my home town.  And only about half of them have been arrested at 
one point or another for "domestic disturbances".  While kicking in doors at 
the trailer park for $300 a pop doesn't sound like the healthiest way to make a 
living, I can at least take comfort in the fact that I'm giving something back 
to my old community.  

I can also take great satisfaction in stunning and then handcuffing the 
wife-smacking ex-star center of the football team that decided it would be 
a great idea to give me a wedgie and hang me on a showerhead in the locker 
room when I was a high school freshman back in 1993.

Oh, and for the folks living in Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, 
South Carolina, Oregon, or Wisconsin, you can rest easy... freelance bounty 
hunting is illegal in your state.

 
********************************************
*17 October 2001 - The BioWare Strikes Back*
********************************************
I bet you thought that the Canadian software company BioWare wasn't 
going to reply to the "rejection" mail I mentioned in my 04 October 2001 
.plan update!  Well, much to my suprise, they actually did reply:

> Hello Andrew,
> 
> I have to tell you that is the most interesting acceptance/non-acceptance
> letter I have ever received.  It took me a while to figure out what you 
> were saying!
> 
> We hope you hang on to the unique sense of humour, and perhaps our paths 
> will cross again someday.
> 
> Best to you, 
>
> XXXXXXXXXXXXX
> BioWare Corp.

I have a feeling that my original "rejection" response mail is hanging up 
by the BioWare water cooler.  Or maple syrup dispenser.  Or whatever the 
hell Canadians stand around while they talk about last night's hockey 
game.

OK, BioWare... you guys are good sports (even if you are a little SLOW 
to respond to resume submissions), so I guess your office gets removed 
from the list of buildings I am required to pee on each day.  It would 
have been a rough commute from southern California to Canada every day, 
anyway.


********************************************
*16 October 2001 - My Blind Date From Hades*
********************************************
(If you haven't read the 05 October 2001 .plan update, read that before 
reading this update.)

I had punched my search criteria into Singles.com before and come up with 
a list of prospective young ladies, but I was somewhat reluctant to try to 
contact any of them.  I was hoping that I'd never have to cross that line, 
but it looked like it was about time to get with the program and start 
acting like all the other scumbags on Singles.com.  So, I started off at 
the top of the list of prospective matches.

A 19-year old Mexicali girl was the closest match for my profile, and she 
only lived a whopping 5 miles away.  While I was a little reluctant to 
date someone that young, her interview showed that she was working as a 
medical assistant at a clinic while working towards her RN.  She could
actually spell, use punctuation, and capitialize words correctly.  I 
figured that it wouldn't hurt to send her a message.  After all, she did 
have an attractive picture posted and she didn't look like an axe 
murderer.  At the very least, I figured that I'd get a good story or two 
out of the experience.  And boy did I.

It was a while before I heard back on my message, but I wasn't disappointed
when it arrived.  The young lady's name was Paloma, but everyone calls her 
Lomi.  Lomi seemed very happy to hear from me, and she mentioned that I 
'sounded normal'.  As she put it, "Believe me when I say that sounding 
normal is a very good thing.  I've gotten some messages that were just 
awful from some people.  But you sound like a nice guy."

OK.  The foot was in the door.  Now what?

The delay on hearing back from Lomi was because she didn't have net access 
at her home.  She only got a chance to check her mail and surf the web a 
few times a week when she visited her aunt here in Tustin.  She had 
mentioned this in her mail and "emphatically apologized" for not getting 
back to me sooner.  She also mentioned that she'd be on AOL Instant 
Messenger the next time that she'd be online and that she'd like to ask me 
a few questions.

Sounded like a plan.  Maybe this Singles.com wasn't so bad after all...

Anyway, I did catch her online and we shot a few IMs back and forth.  She 
seemed very nice and she was somewhat assured by my responses that I 
wasn't insane.  After 20 or 30 minutes or shooting messages back and 
forth, she asked if she could have my phone number so that she could speak 
with me over the phone, since AIM is "great and all, but too slow".  
Seemed reasonable enough.

Ten minutes later, Lomi and I were talking on the phone.  She had a touch 
of a Mexican accent, but her English was just about perfect.  And very, 
very fast.  Boy, that girl can talk.  After talking with me for about 20 
minutes, she really let her guard down a lot.  I could tell by the big 
increase in the number of questions she was asking.  She was very 
friendly, but I could tell that this was not a girl to mess with.  At one 
point, she asked me to hold a second and then began screaming something in 
Spanish off into the background.  Then, she came back and talked in the 
same tone as before.  Yikes.

The upshot of this whole phone conversation was at the end when Lomi asked 
me what I was doing the upcoming Saturday night.  When I said that I had 
no plans, she replied, "Well, you do now!"  I guess that I didn't have any 
choice in the matter.  Not that I really NEEDED one.  She gave me her cel 
phone number and her pager number.

The plan was to meet up at 'The Block', which is a big outdoor mall, and 
go see a movie.  'The Block' is known for having one of the few Krispy 
Kremes in California, so it's a popular place with the locals.  It's only 
about 10 minutes North of Tustin, and I never even knew it was there, so I 
guess that shows how much of California I've made it a point of visiting.

Fast forward to Saturday night.

I found myself driving up to meet Lomi while wondering what in the heck I 
was doing.  I had never done anything like this before, so I was flying 
blind on this one.  Still, I managed to calm myself down and convince 
myself to just enjoy the evening.  Oh, if only I knew the suprises that 
were in store for me.

Two suprises, actually.  Dinner and Mimi.

Since I doubt you've ever dated someone that hails from south of the 
border, you probably don't know that it's Mexican custom to have another 
girl that is a close friend or relative tag along on a first date as a 
chaperone.  I sure as heck didn't know.  In this case, Lomi's cousin Mimi 
was waiting with Lomi when I met up with her at the outdoor cafe at 
Starbucks.  Both Lomi and Mimi were dressed to kill... Lomi was wearing 
tight black everything and Mimi was wearing a tight full-length denim 
skirt and a tanktop-type shirt.  I had not been in the company of one girl 
that looked as good as one of these two did in quite a while.  And there I 
was, sitting with the two of them.  This whole situation was something 
that I was NOT expecting.

Another thing that I wasn't expecting was that Mimi was only 18.  She 
looks at least four years older than that.  But, 18 year olds have 10 PM 
curfews (Doh!), so the plans for a movie got scrapped in favor of a quick 
dinner instead.  Of course, I wasn't the least bit hungry, but oh well... 
I'm flexible.  So, it was off to Wolfgang Pucks for dinner.

After a dinner with Lomi and Mimi, I think I could handle myself if I ever 
had to testify in court.  I was hit with questions non-stop once we were 
seated at the table.  One girl would eat while the other questioned me, 
then they'd swap.  Sometimes, they'd both ask questions at the same time. 
Tag team Mexicali questioning threw me off balance a bit since I was on 
defense the whole time, but I handled myself OK.

It was becoming apparent through the thorough questioning that I probably
wasn't what Lomi was looking for.  There were enough points of difference
between the two of us that I could tell she had already written me off by 
the end of dinner.  Lomi had a pretty good idea of what she was looking 
for, and I sure ain't it.

But, that wasn't all I noticed.  Since she had first laid eyes on me, Mimi 
had been eyeing me the way a tiger eyes a can of tuna.  I had been doing 
my best to politely ignore Mimi's flirting, since I was NOT on a date with 
her, but it was pretty apparent what was going on.

"So, what kind of music do you listen to?" Lomi asked.

I replied, "A lot of different things, actually.  While I'm working or 
just spending time at home I usually listen to 80's tunes."

Lomi scowled at me and said, "That's strike number one, pal."

"Now come on... what's wrong with U2, huh?" I said to Lomi with one 
eyebrow raised.

"Hey! I really like U2!" Mimi chimed in.

... and on and on.  I was now trapped in a bad hypothetical sitcom.

When the bill for dinner came, I tried to do the galant thing and pay it. 
I was rewarded for my effort by having Lomi's hand smash into the arm that 
was holding the bill.  She snatched the bill out of my hand and stated 
triumphantly that she was going to pay it.  Mimi was trying to hold back a 
snicker, and she wasn't doing a very good job of it.  I was just trying to 
hold back the spreading of the massive black and blue mark.  I probably 
forgot to mention that Lomi was offered a college sports scholarship for 
softball because of her strength and pitching skill with the same arm that 
swatted me.

"Hey man... how was your date last night?"

"She belted me!!!"

Anyway, Lomi whipped out her credit card and paid the bill.  Chivalry ends 
at the threat of physical pain in my book, so at that point I was more 
than happy to let her pay it.  I'm getting too old for this.

Next Dating Update: The blind date horror continues.


**************************************************
*12 October 2001 - A Whole New Level Of Rejection*
**************************************************
I have come to realize that the computer gaming software companies 
have joined forces in an attempt to keep me out of the gaming market.  
Not a single one bothers to notify you of your state in the HR 
evaluation process for employment without your constant e-mailing and 
calling.  Most won't even return your calls.  It oftens takes a 
few weeks to a few MONTHS for these companies to get back to you 
with an indication of their interest in you as a job candidate (yes, 
I'm talking to those people at Bioware, Black Isle Studios, Blizzard, 
Interplay, and Westwood).  In fact, the speediest results I've seen 
came from a damn web comic:

Normally, 
you have to pay to get embarassed this badly. Normally, you have to pay to get embarassed this badly.
You game companies need to really revamp your HR departments. I know that you must get flooded by resumes that really aren't up to snuff, but COME ON people, get with the program! At least Black Isle Studios apologized when they finally got around to contacting me (three MONTHS after I submitted a resume) to say that my resume looked great and that they were eager to talk to me. Westwood replied with a "well, we were busy... suck it up and deal" type message when they finally got around to telling me that they wanted me to come in for an interview. Blizzard takes a "contacting us will make us want you less" approach (which I can understand, considering that they must get pestered by people non-stop). You have no excuse, people... what the heck are your HR departments DOING? Do you have a stack of resumes sitting around that you never look at? Do you look at them and then never even give a response? At least give an auto-mail back or something within the first few WEEKS after an application has been made, OK? As for all you fanboys out there that want to "break into the gaming industry", are you SURE that's what you really want? It's not as fun as you think it is... trust me on this one. ************************************************************ *11 October 2001 - Requests For .plan Updates Will Be Eaten* ************************************************************ Yes, I know you all want to hear about my horrible blind dates. The amount of mail I've received ranging from polite requests to out-and-out demands for .plan updates has been pretty impressive. Don't you people have cable or something that you could be watching, rather than camping icculus.org for .plan updates? I've been rather busy lately (hence the lack of updates). I've been doing important things as of late, and they've kept me busy. Important things... like playing Xenogears on the Playstation. Anyway, just be patient. Updates are coming. Stop pestering me.
Damn you, 
SquareSoft! I place the blame on SquareSoft. Oh, and Canada, too.
******************************************** *05 October 2001 - The Scoop on Singles.com* ******************************************** I'll spare you the details of how I stumbled upon this site. I'll even spare you the details of why I decided to fiddle with it. What I WILL tell you is the scoop on how this "blind date" web site works, and how I had terrible experiences because of it. The sanity you save might be your own. So, on to Singles.com. Normally, I'd make fun of anyone who would even consider using one of these sites. In fact, I DO make fun of people who use these sites. I'm an equal-opportunity heckler. Since you probably aren't familiar with the way these sites work, here's the scoop. The first step is filling out a basic profile about yourself. This part is pretty easy, since it's the criteria that the search database sorts you by. Hair/eye color, age, race, height, religion, education... on and on. The one zinger category is the 'body type' category. This category leaves a lot to interpretation because the available choices are 'slender' (you are a rod), 'average' (you are a few pounds overweight), 'athletic' (you can crush bowling balls with your thighs), 'full figured' (a few pounds overweight, but all in the right places), 'a few pounds overweight' (you influence tides), and the enigmatic 'other' (which leaves everything to the imagination). There are exceptions to every rule, of course, so there is the occasional person that actually reports truthfully for this category. By far, the most common one is 'average'. Liars. Now that we've got the simple stuff out of the way, it's on to the details. There are two essay-question style interviews that you can fill out to bump up your chances of having someone bite on your profile. The first interview is the 'intimate' interview. This one asks you all the stock questions about what you do for a living, what type of person you're looking for, what you think you're biggest flaws and strengths are, etc., etc.. Pretty standard stuff, and it's primarily what the saner folks out there use as a guide. The second interview is the 'adult' interview. That's the interview to read if you are looking for someone that likes to be tied to the bed or enjoys having sex on the kitchen floor at 2 in the afternoon. So, you've done the basic info and the detailed info. What else? Pictures, of course! If you haven't posted a picture of yourself, you'd better have a pretty amazing adult interview or no one will even bother to contact you. In fact, there is an option in the search criteria that filters out all profiles that don't have pictures. So, if you want to know what you're getting into, check the box and filter out 70% of the profiles out there. There's always a chance that there is a 'diamond-in-the-rough' that you filter out by checking 'profiles with picture only', but that's Russian Roulette dating. Then again, chasing after some woman because she has a cute picture isn't necessarily a mark of sanity either. Caveat emptor. By the way, a note on having pictures in your profile: Apparently almost everyone searches just the profiles with pictures. Once you post a picture, you pop up on the radar of a lot of wacky folks. Be forewarned. I'm not the most ideal physical specimen out there, but I kinda like to think I look a bit better than average. The point when my picture first showed up next to my profile was when some interest stirred up and my stories really begin. A scant 24 hours after the picture was up, I had my first nibble. From a woman who worked in the IT/telecommunications field. Who was 40-something. Being only 23 at the time, this was a pretty scary proposition for me. She said that she really liked my profile and that she wanted to go out and get a drink in the evening sometime. I sent her a message back with a very good-natured and polite refusal. The fact that her picture showed that she had teeth that reminded me of Mr. Ed wasn't helping her case, either. I held back the urge to ask her if she had any cute daughters. A few days later, I received a very odd message in broken English. From a woman in the Philippines. At least this one was the same age as me. While the mangling of her sentences was reaching the Zero Wing level of proportions, I could roughly make out the gist of her message. She wanted a husband in the United States. I wrote her a nice refusal back, saying that I wasn't that interested in mail-ordering a wife at this point in my life. I silently wondered how many other guys she's hit with this request before. I bet she's the type to search the profiles without pictures, too. After another few days, a young lady who seemed to have a lot on the ball contacted me. She seemed to have everything going for her: good job, only 25 years old, and a graduate degree. Her message said that she thought I was a good match for her and that she'd like to get to know me. There were two major snags to this one. Number one was the fact that she didn't have a picture in her profile, so I had no idea what this girl looked like. Still, I was willing to give it a shot if her profile matched me really well. Second, her message said that she was looking for "a GOD fearing gentleman". Yes, the 'GOD' was in capital letters. The 'gentleman' part I think I could manage... it'd be a stretch, but I could handle it. The only reason I would ever fear God is if I thought he/she/it actually had a chance at getting back at me for calling Sister Kate 'Atilla the Nun' in my Catholic confirmation classes back in high school. One more polite rejection stating 'agnostic tendancies' was sent out and was understood and well received. That girl actually sounded very nice, and I hope she finds what she's looking for. I'm pretty sure that what she was looking for wasn't me, though. I tend to start smoldering when I step inside of a church. Strike three, and I was out. It was time to start going on the offensive. I had burned a week already and I wasn't getting anywhere. Hanging out in bars was starting to look pretty good. Next Dating Update: My blind date from Hades. ********************************************** *04 October 2001 - You May Already Be a Loser* ********************************************** This is the e-mail I received when I applied for a job with the Canadian entertainment software developer BioWare: > Hi there Andrew, > > We would like to thank you for your application, however, presently we > do not have any positions available for someone with your > qualifications. > > We would like to keep your contact information in our files and let you > know if something should become available in the future that may fit > your profile. > > Best regards, > > XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX > BioWare Corp. Here is the response that I sent back to BioWare: > To XXXXXXXXXXX: > > Thank you for your somewhat belated response to my 17 January request for > a job with Bioware. After careful consideration, I regret to inform you > that I am unable to accept your refusal to offer me employment with your > organization. > > This year, I have been particularly fortunate in receiving an unusually > large number of rejection letters from the gaming industry. With such a > varied and promising field of candidates it is impossible for me to > accept all refusals. > > Despite your organization's outstanding qualifications and previous > experience in rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does not > meet my needs at this time. Therefore, I will be starting employment with > your company in a software development capacity immediately following the > finalization of my plans to relocate to the Great White North. I look > forward to seeing you then. > > Andrew Henderson Hear that crackling noise? That's the sound of bridges burning. I have yet to hear back from BioWare in regards to my response. I'm guessing that I probably won't hear anything back. Lighten up, eh? Hosers. ************************************** *03 October 2001 - Moral of the Story* ************************************** It just kind of popped in my head this morning while I was making an attempt to not fall asleep in the shower... I remembered back to my days of my first post-college job. I was working as a systems engineer at a Lockheed Martin facility in Orlando, Florida. Since I was still living in Daytona Beach at the time, I had a massive commute of 150 miles round trip to work and back each day. Aside from my usual 40 hour per week work load, I was also doing management training. That meant that I was also taking masters degree classes at the University of Central Florida after work. So, back then, my days were about 12 hours long at a minimum. I even slept at my desk from time to time. I spent a lot of time working on homework and management project papers in the evenings at Lockheed Martin. Around 8:00 or 8:30 at night, I'd be the only person around amongst the vast sea of cubicles that dominated the development area I worked in. I'd take ten minute breaks and stroll up and down the rows of cubicles, reading the comics and looking at the pictures that people had posted around their cubes. One evening, I was taking one of those breaks when I wandered past a sign with moveable letters that had apparently been part of a tour at one point. Since Lockheed had so many military contracts, it was very common to have colonels and even one or two star generals touring through the work areas to see how the Army's weapon development budget was being spent. This sign's message was pretty simple: LOCKHEED MARTIN INFORMATION SYSTEMS Now, you and I both know that a burnt-out engineer isn't going to leave a sign with moveable letters alone when no one is around to stop him. I started shuffling around the letters and after about 20 minutes, I came up with the following: LMT STOCK SHARE IS NOT MY IDEA OF WINNER I even used all the letters. There're a few important points here. First off, "LMT" is the NASDAQ ticker symbol for Lockheed Martin. At the time I fiddled with the sign, the company's stock was at an all time low. This was great for me, since my retirement fund was composed mostly of stock. So, I was getting a ton of stock for the amount of money I was investing. The old timers that had been putting stock in their retirement plans for the past 15 years, however, were getting kinda nervous. Talk about the dropping stock value, possible corporate take-overs, and even layoffs were common watercooler banter. Anyway, after messing with the sign, I worked for perhaps another hour and then started the long drive home. When I got into work the next day, I found out that the sign had been discovered. My supervising manager didn't even know the sign had been changed, but my manager's manager heard about it and thought it was one of the funniest things he'd even seen. Most employees looked at the sign, snickered, and then went on with their work. It wasn't a real show-stopper at work, but my handiwork was silently appreciated by quite a few co-workers. Upper management, however, didn't think it was funny at all. They smelled dissention in the ranks... possibly someone from Raytheon or Boeing that snuck in somehow for the sole purpose of lowering morale. For some reason, upper management tends to come up with odd conspiracy ideas like that. Anyway, they decided to take immediate action to quell the impending uprising. They sent out a memo. Not just any memo, though... the memo stated that there would be a company wide pizza party to raise morale. I was told by several other employees, peons and managers alike, that the memo was a direct result of the sign getting changed around. Now, if your stock is tanking, you probably shouldn't spend $20,000 of your overhead budget on pizza because some yahoo fiddled with a sign. But what do I know? I had only been doing management for a year or two by that point, and the folks comprising upper management had been managers since the days when flogging employees was still considered acceptable business practice. Moral of the Story: "The squeaky wheel gets the greasy pizza." *************************************** *07 September 2001 - Investment Advice* *************************************** If you bought $1000 worth of Nortel stock one year ago, it would now be worth $49. If you bought $1000 worth of Budweiser (the beer, not the stock) one year ago, drank all the beer, and traded in the cans for the nickel deposit, you would have $79. My advice to you is to start drinking heavily and recycle.
Stick it in the Vogel and go "Setzen sie es in das betrunkene deutsche ein und reisen sie ab." (Or, quite simply, "Stick it in the Vogel and go.")

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