Totally Random Archives

February 14, 2002

Happy Valentine's Day

Today was a day of mixed blessings. Personally it was great. Work wise it was extremely difficult. Work: We had an Exchange server with a corrupt database, a SQL server with a corrupt database, two test wireless units that are unuseable because their contract is up (48 hours to activate and test have to be completed today), another SQL server has a failing RAID card. Personally: I surprised Cherie with flowers, Trey was in a good mood, we had Steak for dinner with brownie's and ice cream for dessert and Grandma and Grandpa Harris sent Valentine's day cards. All in all it was a good day.

February 22, 2002


Well, now that Valentines day is over, Easter season is here. Don't forget to get your Peeps. And for more Peep action try a Google search. Of course annie's peeps links is pretty complete.

Southern Charm

A friend sent me an interesting letter. Yes, it was one of those joke letters that end up annoying most people, but I really liked the following lines:
If you do settle in the South and bear children, don't think we will accept them as Southerners. After all, if the cat had kittens in the oven, we wouldn't call 'em biscuits.

Continue reading "Southern Charm" »

March 10, 2002

Word of the Day

Get your word of the day at If it weren't for having a father that read the dictionary, I wouldn't know about the word factotum. And thus my website wouldn't be For those who don't know, my initials are PH. So, expand your vocabulary. Sign up for the Word of the Day.

March 24, 2002

MovableType 2.0

I just upgraded my weblog to MovableType 2.0. I really like the new version. The backend, the part you don't see, but I do as an author, is really first rate.

I do need to fix it though to work with Mozilla 0.9.9 I've seen the instructions, but I don't quite understand them.

March 26, 2002

PHactotum's Place

Well it looks like I even have trouble keeping something as easy as a web log up to date. I mean here I have this very easy program that lets me log from any where I have an internet connection and my updates are still few and far between. I planned this web log as a way to keep family and friends up to date on the goings on at PHactotum's Place (Perry, Cherie and Trey's home). But, that won't happen if I don't write.

There are some things I'd like to do with this place. I need to put together the photo wheneverly (can't say it will be a photo d'jur since I take photos less often that I write). I also need to repost some old photo pages using a cohesive style. And that Phactotum Time thing (tells you what time it is where I am. See The Official US Time Clock.)

Of course all this comes after work, where I need to write a directory synchronization program (2 years), a distribution update program (5 weeks), and two programs to deal with expiring passwords (3 weeks). And after spending quality time with my wife and son, plastering a ceiling, scraping a wall, painting a room, cleaning a garage, ripping my CDs, finishing a fence, doing my taxes, and visiting some old friends.

Where does the time go?

PS. If you come here from the Movable Type web site, welcome. This is my hang out so it is all about me. Unlike at work, where it is all about Karen. (Hi Karen) So don't expect too much in the way of insite, or fantastic writing.

April 16, 2002

America One Mile at a time

This is just too cool. I first saw the link for this at meryl's notes.

This guy Matt Frondorf took a cross country trip and took one picture at each mile marker. There are a total of 3, 304 35mm photos.

Take a look at the Quick time move, which has all 3,304 photos in a single file.

Really, really cool.

June 2, 2002

Movie Wish List

I'm always forgetting what movies exist that I'd like to see. I see the previews when they first come out, then forget about them by time they are available to rent. This time, I'm going to list them here so I'll remember. I'm also going to try to include this in one of the side bars.

Continue reading "Movie Wish List" »

August 26, 2002

Harris Vacation 2002

Well here we are on our first train trip. My first impression of the room is how small and run down it is. After a while you get used to it.

Cherie has fallen asleep and Trey is fighting it. I think she got up too early and was a little stressed with getting ready and struggling wuth Trey. Trey wouldn't look at lunch, and had a hissy fit when we put his backpack in a locker so that we could find lunch. He got over it but not until we had repeatedly reassured him that he would get his backpack back. He really doesn't listen to the entire sentence, just cerrain words.

As I write this we have gone through Milwaukee. Not much to see from the tracks. Of course some of that could be because I am looking at my PDA instead of the window.

September 2, 2002

Harris Vacation 2002 Update

Well it is a week later and we have been at Brenda's for the last three days. Trey has come down with a cold. It started last night. He woke up every half hour complaining that his stomach hurt. During the day he has complauned, "My nose hurts." We have tried to talk him into "blowing" his nose, but get the velehement "No." Oh well the joys of parenting.

Brenda and Lance's house is beautiful. Both the house and the furnishings. Two stories, four bedrooms, living room, reading room with piano all with nine foot ceilings. My little sister has done well for herself.

Speaking of doing well, you should see Aja. She is a little darling. I was surprised by how light she was. I had fogot what it was like to hold a newborn.

I also got to go to Fry's Electronics. This store is Best Buy on steroids. They have built PCs, parts to build PCs, audio, video, toys, software, tools, electronic kits, appliances, etc. I was in heaven. Yet I held back and bought nothing. Cherie was so glad.

Vacation is wearing on us. I'd be happy flying home tomorrow. Yes, we would miss SF, and the aquarium, but I'm ready to be home and do work around the house. Of course Trey won't fly very well at all with his cold. We can only hope that his cold is much better by Friday.

October 6, 2002

2003 Sebring LXI

Well dependable transportation has finally reappeared at the Harris household.


Here is the sticker. And don't forget to look at the rest of the photos.

January 3, 2003


Appears that the name of my Web Log, "Random Thoughts" isn't unique. Another person has decided to use it. In order to remain unique, I will be changing the name of my Web Log to something else. What do you think of the following:

  • PHactotum around

  • PHactotum's mess

  • PHactotum Wheneverly

  • fill in the blank _____________

Let me know if you have any ideas.

January 6, 2003

New Site Name

Well, I've decided. Random Thoughts will now be known as PHactotum Wheneverly. This should be as unique as I can get it. All the old content is here, just under a new name.

Maybe next I can work on a new design.

January 16, 2003

Upgrades continue

Well, I just finished upgrading my Movable Type to version 2.51. This took a lot more time that the Upgrade document suggests.

After the Upgrade, I needed to upgrade my templates to take advantage of some of the new features, like the search form to the left, and TrackBacks. I don't really understand TrackBacks, but they are enabled.

I also decided to change my style sheet. This is the Clean style sheet that is one of the standard style sheets shipping with MT. I'm not sure I like it, but I really stink at these style things. I'd like to personalize the style a little bit more, but that will take more time and skill than I currently possess.

April 23, 2003

Slanderous statments at BebsLand

Seems Aja's Mom can't keep her site up to date. Aja really needs to give her some time off. Bebsland still reports that PHactotum hasn't updated his site recently, but that statement was made over a year ago. This site has had many changes since then.

I wonder when Bebsland will get updated

Update: Brenda has updated her site to remove the offending statements. I must say, this was all tongue in cheek and just good natured ribbing by an older brother. Thank you Brenda.

July 25, 2003


"Sometimes it happens. The stars misalign, your karma takes
a beating, and the powers that control the universe decide,
"Things are going to break today." When this happens to me,
the powers usually pick a time when I'm in my car with a
full day's schedule."

--"Enterprise Windows" columnist Oliver Rist

September 14, 2003

Who are these people?

If you are related to me, I need your help. I just scanned 10 photos that have been in our living room for a while, but I'm not sure who each person is. Can you help me put names to faces?

I'm interested to know the name of the person(s), the approximate date of the picture, and any futher description.

For instance, I know that Scan3.jpg is the newly married Albert (Red) and Donita Sheffler. I do not know what year they were married.

I appreciate your help. Just post a comment, or send me email.



October 17, 2003

Happy Birthday to me

Look what I bought tonight. We now have more than one vehicle and I have a truck. Woop!!!


November 18, 2003

Rough day

Metallica on the headsets, code in the window....people bother me today arrrgggh

February 25, 2004


It's 2:00 am, Norah Jones is playing on the headphones, and work just finished. Norah just makes me feel mellow. Work tonight was essentially waiting on someone else for the last three hours. I was just there in case something went wrong.

So now I need to go to sleep so that I can getup in 4 hours. Basicly this post, was just to let you know, that I'm still alive and haven't given up on blogging. I am about to give up on comments though. The number of spam comments is getting out of hand. You don't see them, because I've deleted them. But I've deleted over a dozen comments today and yesterday, which is a lot for this little read blog.

April 18, 2004

How to Persuade

Robert Scoble writes a good article on the art of persuasion. Check it out. I'd like to see more people get away from the "my product is great and everyone else sucks," method of persuasion.

November 29, 2004

Frustrations and happiness

From Joel on Software:

And I started to learn that the days when I was happiest were the days with lots of small successes and few small frustrations.

Years later, when I got to college, I learned about an important theory of psychology called Learned Helplessness, developed by Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman. This theory, backed up by years of research, is that a great deal of depression grows out of a feeling of helplessness: the feeling that you cannot control your environment.

The more you feel that you can control your environment, and that the things you do are actually working, the happier you are. When you find yourself frustrated, angry, and upset, it's probably because of something that happened that you could not control: even something small. The space bar on your keyboard is not working well. When you type, some of the words are stuck together. This gets frustrating, because you are pressing the space bar and nothing is happening. The key to your front door doesn't work very well. When you try to turn it, it sticks. Another tiny frustration. These things add up; these are the things that make us unhappy on a day-to-day basis. Even though they seem too petty to dwell on (I mean, there are people starving in Africa, for heaven's sake, I can't get upset about space bars), nonetheless they change our moods.

Now that I think of it, the idea that you can will yourself to happiness, something I've beleived in if not practiced all the time, isn't too far off. Essentially you are willing yourself to ignore the little frustrations.

How to discourage team work and problem resolution

Page out approximately 3 hours after people get to sleep. Then after they solve the problem: "Say, now that you've fixed the major problem today, We're going to make you write an essay on it."

Used to be that's what you got to do when you got in trouble...."Write 'I will not screw up again.' 1000 times on the board"

Now, tell me again why I want to help you?

December 19, 2004

Reading a Blog

Understanding and Reading a Blog -- John C. Dvorak

February 15, 2006

This is a test, this is only a test

So, I thought I'd just put in brrreeeport to see if my hardly ever updated blog would even show up.

I doubt it....

December 12, 2006

Perry's Christmas Wish List 2006

I thought I would share my Christmas wish list, just in case someone wanted to go out and spend money.

Concrete Nail Gun

I have a few projects where I need to nail some wood against the concrete walls in our basement. This would help there.

Craftsman CompuCarve

I'll bet I could program this to make some wicket Pine Wood derby cars.

T-Clock Shirt

What can I say? The geek in me thinks this is cool. And since I work in the home office, I could even wear it to work.


I just like this product. I've used the 30 day trial several times to produce great demos of how to do something. Maybe my manager will see this list.

Mind Manager Pro

Hal 9000 USB Memory Unit

Who wouldn't want some extra memory?

ScanGauge II Automotive Computer

I like to know what is going on. Also would come in handy that inevitable day when the check engine light comes on.


This would be very usefull. Just how much does it cost to run the server all the time?

Black Video I-Pod

80GB of course


I've always wanted a Mac.

Thinkpad X60 Tablet

This would make a sweet replacement for my current Thinkpad. I'd like it with the SXGA screen, the 100GB hard drive, 1.5GB of memory and the 8-cell battery.

March 17, 2008

Guess I'm addicted to blogging

74%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

December 16, 2008

Robin Williams on the Election

Saw this over on Life On the Wicked Stage: Act 2

July 13, 2009

My Cyborg Name

Positronic Handcrafted Android Calibrated for Thorough Observation, Troubleshooting and Ultimate Mathematics
Get Your Cyborg Name

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