The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

March 14, 2013

Random Thoughts: Slouch Forward

Filed under: Random Stuff — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 1:27 am

Officially we are still about a week away from the Vernal Equinox that marks the official arrival of Spring, but the signs of its arrival are already beginning to appear.  Granted, the Winter we got around here ended up being pretty tame even by Pacific Northwest standards.  In fact, the weather has been so uneventful this Winter that University of Washington Meterology professor Cliff Mass proclaimed this to be “The most boring Winter in Seattle history“.  With virtually no snow at all in Seattle or Bellevue, no significant wind events, and not a lot of unusually hot or cold temperatures, there just wasn’t a whole lot going on around here this Winter.  Friday and Saturday of last week turned out to have some surprisingly nice weather though, with temperatures approaching 60 degrees (which would be considered ridiculously cold around here if they happened in August, but in March that’s practically shorts weather.)  Of course it went right back to the usual overcast-and-rainy just a couple of days later, but at least it looks like there’s a decent chance that Spring might actually happen this year.

With the change of the season also comes Daylight Savings Time, which seems to be one of those things that’s nice in theory, but it’s a bit of a pain in practice.  Given my night owl tendencies, it tends to mean that I lose an hour of sleep, and it takes me a few days to catch up with things.  The fact that I’ve been working long hours at work for much of the past week  (including 13 1/2  and 12 hour days last Thursday and Friday) probably hasn’t helped much.  Things are slowing down just a bit now (aside from some random surprises here and there) so my Blogging time has been a bit short.  Since I haven’t had a whole lot of time for this lately, I think I’ll go ahead and share a few recent odds and ends.

I’ve mostly gotten everything back the way I want it set up on my new computer now, and I’ve had plenty of time to mess with things and run some benchmarks.  This, for example, compares the old 500GB storage drive I had in my old system with the Samsung 840 Pro SSD I’m using as my system drive now.  Granted, this isn’t quite an apples-to-apples comparison (a more apt comparison would be between the SSD and the 10,000 RPM WD Raptor I was using as the system drive in the old system) but this should give you a pretty good idea of just how far we’ve come between now and then.  Of course, even the new storage drive (a Seagate 3TB drive) is nearly 6  times faster on the sequential read/write numbers than the old drive with twice the IOPS, but even that’s pretty soundly blown away by the sheer speed of the SSD.  It’s kind of nice being able to go from hitting the power button on the system to seeing the Windows login screen in 12 seconds, and not having enough time for the Loading Windows animation to even finish.  I’m still not completely convinced about the long-term reliability of SSDs in general, but you certainly can’t argue with the speed.

A couple of weekends ago was Emerald City ComiCon, and as I have for the past several years, I managed to get over there for most of the day on Saturday.  As I’ve discussed before in earlier posts, I’ve never been big on comic books, which means that a good portion of the show is largely Terra incognita for me.  On the other hand, I did get a chance to see the Wil Wheaton\Paul and Storm and the Adam West\Burt Ward panels, and even if you’re not big on comics there’s usually plenty to see while just wandering around.  Of particular note this year was the Lego display, which was headlined by an incredibly detailed 400,000 piece model of Hogwarts (more info here and lots of photos here) and a gigantic model of a Borg cube from Star Trek TNG.  As usual, PAX is more my speed these days, but ComiCon isn’t a bad way to spend a weekend either.

And as usual, I probably spent way too much money on stuff I didn’t need.  Here are (most of) my ill-advised purchases from the show.  There’s still one other shirt that ended up over at my friends’ house which I still need to pick up at some point.  The pickaxe, which probably has no discernible real-world use, has found its way to my cubicle at work, where it serves as a universal debugging tool (which it probably does a lousy job of, since everything is still just as buggy as ever.)

I’m probably not going to bother doing as full-fledged Easter kitsch roundup this year because there’s just not really all that much interesting new stuff (“interesting” or otherwise) out there this year on the Easter merchandising front to really warrant it, but there are a couple of things that stood out when I wandered around a bit.  As seems to be the case with the various other holidays, Easter candy seems to be getting bigger and bigger, which has now resulted in this 2-pound chocolate Easter Bunny.

As you can probably imagine, the nutritional info isn’t a pretty sight.  Actually the nutritional info is never a pretty sight with this kind of thing, but this one’s worse than usual.  4,800 calories, 8 times the recommended daily allowance of saturated fat, and 560 grams of sugar.  Fortunately, I doubt most people’s kids would be able to finish one of these in one sitting, and if they do, then at least they’ll have the benefit of a valuable lesson about what not to do with excessively large amounts of Easter candy.

This, on the other hand, looks surprisingly reasonable in comparison, at only 1,320 calories, 209 grams of sugar, and no fat.  I seriously doubt you’ll be seeing either of these in an “Eat This Not That” book anytime soon though (at least not unless they start adding a “Don’t even THINK about eating this, ever.  EV-ER.” section to the book) but when a giant 1-pound gummy rabbit start looking like one of the more sane options on the shelf, then things might be just a little out of hand.

Then again, I’m starting to get the sneaking suspicion that the Easter Bunny has been slipping a bit lately anyway.  If I started finding these hidden in the yard I’d probably be just a little bit suspicious…

Yes, this is a Walmart, why do you ask?  Not to reinforce any stereotypes or anything like that…

And a couple other quick thoughts to close this out

– I’m scheduled for four days of jury duty at the Redmond District Court in a couple of weeks.  Given how hectic work has been lately, that’s actually starting to sound like a nice little break from things.  Then again, I haven’t ever done jury duty before, so I really have no idea what to expect.

– May, on the other hand, is looking like it is going to be a bit on the busy side.  My brother is getting married later in the month down in Atlanta, and I still have no idea how I’m going to get down there for that.  Me and my friends are also booked for a 3-day repositioning cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver earlier in the month, which I’m looking forward to, but kind of wish I had time for a longer one.

– Currently stuck in my head:

I’m not sure why, but lately I’ve been on a bit of an Ambient Techno kick for some odd reason.  The fact that my job currently has me testing music apps means that I seem to be spending a fair bit of time listening to music at work, but even with all that this one kind of came out of left field.

– OK, I’m here…  Now what?


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