Chris Benard

Chris Benard is a software developer in the Dallas area specializing in payments processing, medical claims processing, and Windows/Web services.

  • 161 Days

    It’s been 161 days since my last blog post, far too long.  Lots of stuff has happened in my life since then.  The anniversary of my birth has passed once again, and I’m 25 now.  I’ve loved.  I’ve lost.  I’ve been things in between.  I’ve been sick.  I’ve had a tooth pulled out.  My car was flooded in a flash flood.

    All of these things were bloggable events, and perhaps I will blog about them in the future.  I plan to write a few blog posts, at least, about some Web 2.0 services that I’ve been using.  I needed this post to at least break the ice for myself to be able to start blogging again.  161 days is a scary amount of time to go without writing anything.

    Twitter has been stealing a lot of my writing outlet mindshare.  I blame it, even though I just recently started using it.  It’s just too damn easy to blurt out a quick thought on Twitter than it is to make a well reasoned post here.  I hope to be better, at least in the near future.

  • MBA, Obama, and Water


    Today, I finally was able to register for LSUSMasters of Business Administration program.  I had to go to a stupid orientation that wasted 30 minutes of my life and then had to go across campus to a computer lab to waste another 30 minutes of my life where they showed people how to register.  I just needed them to unlock my Compass so I could register.  I’m not a retard so I knew which classes I wanted.

    Jenny is also starting the MBA program, though she is doing pre-requisites, so she was able to already register for her classes, and they made her go to it too.  We then went to get our new Pilot Cards made which took forever, and then to the bookstore to find out how ridiculously expensive books are.

    All in all, I paid a little over $1500 for school and $400 for books.  I hate school.


    Conservatives will believe almost anything that another one of their kind makes up about a non-conservative candidate, so it shouldn’t surprise me that people would believe absolutely fabricated lies about Obama‘s background as a "radical islamist" and things like that.

    Today at work, someone forwarded around that lie, so I did reply to all, and I set the record straight:

    That story about Obama is not true, even though it claims “We checked this out on "snopescom".”

    See the snopes article:

    Chris Benard

    Not surprising, I suppose.  I just get irritated by people spreading lies, especially when the lie even says it was verified by Snopes, which it obviously wasn’t.  People will actually believe these things without looking them up like I do.

    Shreveport Water

    Well, you know what they say about Shreveport: it’s a nice place to visit, but don’t drink the water.  We’re the new Mexico.  They don’t really say that, but they might now.  Today, we had a serious water situation.  It’s still not back to normal, and a boil advisory is still in effect.  I won’t be drinking city water for a long time.  Luckily, we have bottled water at work, and I have bottled water at home.

    Fatburger was closed when I went by today, and Moe’s was only serving bottled drinks.  Circle K wouldn’t sell ICEEs or fountain drinks.  All the children were sent home from school and won’t be returning tomorrow.  Lots of people are being affected by this, and it shows how serious of a problem it is to have a single water treatment facility.

  • Zero Gravity!

    After ice skating last week, Chris, Jen, and I were going to go to Dallas to The Galleria to go ice skating there on a better rink.  Jen sent me a link to a nearby place, where you can do all kinds of fun things that involve jumping from high altitudes, called Zero Gravity Thrill Amusement Park.

    Chris isn’t able to go, but Jenny is going to go with me this Saturday.  She doesn’t want to ice skate, but we’re hopefully going to be doing the 4 things that Zero Gravity offers.  I’ve been wanting to bungee jump since my skydiving trip, but there’s nowhere to do it locally.  Zero Gravity offers that and so much more.

    animated_bungee_small Bungee Jumping

    Bungee jumping is done from an Air Boingo tower. It is not a crane, but a seven-story permanent platform especially for bungee jumping. We have a triple safety system:

    • Super-elastic bungee cords – our bungee cords are so elastic they give you a ride that is much smoother than an ordinary rollercoaster ride.
    • Nylon safety backup straps – the safety straps are strong enough that they would catch you even with no bungee cord attached
    • A professional stuntman airbag underneath you – the air bag is rated for a fall even greater than the height of the tower

    Of course I’m going to do that, but in addition, they have something that looks even cooler!

    animated_net_big Nothin’ But Net

    Zero Gravity is proud to offer the ultimate thrill ride: Nothin’ But Net. This ride is the the tallest in the park at 16 stories high. We lift you to just below the top of the tower and then release you 100′ into a net below. That’s right – no bungee, no parachute, just you and the air. And the landing is smooth as silk.

    The patented release system insures that you land on your back – even if you try to twist or turn. The landing is so smooth you will hardly notice it. When you land there are actually two Nets, one under the other, and each corner has a safety backup.

    The Nothin’ But Net is the first ride of it’s kind in the DFW area!

    Additionally, these look fun: Skycoaster and Texas Blastoff.

  • Wedding and Ice Skating!

    Today, at 3 PM at the Randle T. Moore Center, Joey and Natalie got married!  I got to witness it all, and it’s pretty weird to think about "Natalie Wall", but I’m extremely happy for them both.  I’m sure I’ll add pictures to this post later when I have some.  I didn’t bring my camera, but there were plenty there.  I wore fancy clothes that I never wear, so that’s always fun, but those fancy shoes hurt my back a lot.

    I helped mess up Joey’s car and that was a lot of fun and then we didn’t get to throw anything at them!  They only had bubbles!  I wanted to hit Joey with rice really hard!  Oh well.  I think they’re going to Rexburg, Idaho now for a gathering with Natalie’s family or something.

    Shreveport Ice Rink After the wedding, for which the reception ended around 7:15 PM, Chris, Jen, and I went ice skating downtown.  That was fun?  I’m not sure, really.  I thinkIce Skating Fake Action Shot I had fun, but I also got cold and wet.  Overall, I guess it was fun.  Chris did really well, because he has rollerbladed a lot.  Jen and I sucked hard at it.  It’s a lot easier when you go faster though.  I fell a couple of times because I tried to go too fast and the first time I fell on my butt and my wallet pressed into my ass and my ass still hurts from it.  Ouch.

    The second time I fell was because a little kid was going the wrong way and we had an unavoidable (due to my lack of control over direction) collision and I fell on my knee that time and did a nice little twirl around my knee that looked like a trick one might do on purpose, if not for getting wet at the same time.  That little kid tried to make me run into him again, but the second time as we were about to collide, I just picked him up.  That cracks me up.  So instead of us colliding, it was just me taking him in the direction I was going until he could get his footing again and then I put him back down and he almost fell again!  He pretty much just fell from place to place on the ice.  It was cute.

    Update: Jen blogged about our adventure too.

    I’d also like to point out that Seth blogged again, thanks in no small part to Windows Live Writer.  It’s an amazing tool, and I’d really recommend it to everyone that blogs.

  • Emergency Command Hologram

    Q Update: As pointed out by Jen, Q is actually much cooler than Wesley.  I apologize.

    Emergency Command Hologram (ECH) I love the Emergency Medical Hologram from Star Trek: Voyager.  Played by Robert Picardo, he is probably my favorite Star Trek character from any Star Trek, save possibly Wesley Crusher, played by Wil Wheaton.  I’m big into Star Trek, and most people won’t care about this post, but I went to the trouble of editing and cutting out the ECH part of Voyager episode 6×04 – Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy and posting it on YouTube for everyone to see.  It’s below.

    I was reminded of how awesome he is from a very inaccurate and completely incorrect article Courtney sent me via  In case anyone has forgotten how awesome the ECH is, especially during his transformation from EMH to ECH, watch the video.  You can also subscribe to my delicious or Courtney’s delicious to keep track of links we find interesting.  In case you’re wondering what I find so awesome, it’s his transition from medical teal to command red and then the appearance of his captain pips after he activates the ECH.

    The source for most of the things I linked for Star Trek, Memory Alpha, is the best source for all things Star Trek and is an amazing community-powered resource.  For your viewing pleasure, an EMH music video remix is after the break.


  • Independence Bowl

    Independence Bowl Ticket My work allowed all employees to sign up for two free tickets for the Independence Bowl.  I’m not normally into football, unless it’s LSU playing, but I figured it was free, and I’ve never actually been to a football game in real life.  It was pretty fun.

    It was Alabama vs. Colorado.  Apparently, I’m supposed to cheer for Colorado, since Bama is LSU’s arch enemy or something.  Colorado kinda sucked, especially their weak offense, and they lost 30-24.  Colorado did take an actual buffalo and parade it all around the field, so that was pretty neat, and I think we were on TV for a few seconds, but I’m not sure.

    Cold Weather Clothes It is cold outside, and I don’t really have any cold weather clothes.  I was wearing my normal Old Navy jacket and my City Name Sports Team T-shirt (apropos).  When I arrived at Jenny‘s apartment to go shopping, eating, and to the game, Rachel informed me that I’d be freezing.  I thought we were just going to get a new jacket with a hood and some gloves for me, and Jenny and Rachel were going to get gloves.

    Me, Jenny, Rachel Independence Stadium View From Our Seats Jenny let me know that hoods aren’t cool and made me get a pea coat.  I’d never even heard of such a thing.  I also got a sweater from Marshall’s and a hat and gloves from Wal-Mart.  I like the sweater, and I’ve never had any of those either, but I don’t know how I feel about the pea coat yet, and that stupid thing was $50, even at the cheap store, Ross.

    Bama FansThe pea coat, hat that covered my ears, sweater, and gloves kept me nice and warm, and I drank a little which helped too.  Now I have cold weather clothes and I’ve been to a football game!  We got there right as the 1st quarter was ending, and left 3 minutes into the 4th quarter to beat traffic.  We caught the end of the game on ESPN HD and watched Colorado lose.

    Then I played some kind of gun game on Jenny’s Wii.  I think it’s called Crossbow Training or something.  There was no Mii for me on the Wii, so I created one of those first.  That was the hardest part!  I got silver on my first try on the game, but it’s not as fun as shooting real guns. 

  • LSUS Doesn’t Hate Me and Some Nerdy Updates

    MBA Admission - RedactedApparently LSUS doesn’t hate me.  They’ve admitted me into their Masters of Business Administration degree program, not that the requirements are all that stringent.

    I’ve just been waiting forever to get something in the mail from them, so this is finally some good news.  Unfortunately, I have to go listen to them drone on about the school that I’ve already been attending forever before they’ll unlock my courses so I can register on Compass myself.  That school is so ignorant sometimes.

    Me holding Intel Core2 Quad Q6600 2.4GHz In other news, I built (or rather Chris built) a new computer.  It’s a Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4GHz, pqi 4GB(2 x 2GB) DDR2 (PC2 6400), ASUS P5K Motherboard, and a CHAINTECH GSE86GT-A1 GeForce 8600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 video card.  Yes, I know the video card is crap, but I don’t play PC games at all.  I play games exclusively on my Xbox 360 Elite.  I just needed a DirectX 10 capable card to offload all of Aero Glass to the video card, rather than the processor.  All four parts cost a total of $630 on 12/19/2007.

    This new computer is insanely fast and runs much cooler and quieter than my old PC (Athlon 64 3000+ with SilentBoost K8 fan).  Speaking of Aero Glass, I’m a Vista convert.  It works much nicer on this hardware than on the previous hardware I tried, and I really like its interface and layout.  If you use Vista, definitely get Switcher.  It’s life changing.

    On Vista, Windows Live Writer, which I’ve been using to compose my blog posts over the past couple of months (and it’s totally awesome), works a lot better on Vista.  I’m guessing that it’s written in WPF or something, but I’m not sure.  On my XP, it flickered a lot, a common problem if you look in the forums.  I’ve had none of those issues on Vista.

    Unfortunately, my keyboard software (iTouch) doesn’t work with my Logitech keyboard.  Someone wrote replacement software for Vista called nTouch, but it only works if the media application (I use Yahoo! Music Unlimited so I have to use Yahoo! Music Jukebox) is focused.  That removes the entire utility of the media keys!  So, I’m faced with one of two choices: switch to the Jesus of keyboards, the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 (I swear by it at work [software developer]), or live with degraded media key support.  The reason I’m still using this Logitech Cordless Elite Duo is because of the nice keyboard media keys, which the Microsoft Natural 4000 doesn’t have.

    The other issue is my scanner.  I use a Visioneer OneTouch 8700.  There is no Vista support, and the scanner has been EOLed, and there will be no Vista support.  Another choice: buy another scanner, or do something completely nerdy.  I chose the nerdy path of course, and installed VMWare Workstation 6.02.  It has the ability to virtualize USB devices, not just the installed driver versions of them.  In other words, the guest OS can see the raw USB device and install its driver for it.  The host doesn’t have to have any knowledge of what’s hooked up to the PC.  So my guest, XP, can see the scanner and use its drivers and the host, Vista, doesn’t know anything about the scanner.  I installed PaperPort inside my tiny VM, and it all runs extremely quickly on my new hardware.  So now, when I want to scan, instead of firing up just PaperPort, I fire up a suspended virtual machine with PaperPort already running.

    Whatever.  Bottom line: I love my new computer, Vista, Switcher, and Windows Live Writer a lot, and I’m glad the MBA program at LSUS finally realized that I applied.

  • Near Death Experience?

    graduation I finally had my graduation ceremony Wednesday, December 19th.  Some friends and family went with me to Buffalo Wild Wings afterward, and that was fun.  I had a lot of leftover wings though, and against Bill’s advice, I ate them Saturday for lunch.  I think I might have gotten food poisoning.

    Last night, I went out for a little while and then went to sleep around 3 AM.  I felt fine at the time.  However, I woke up at 5 AM shivering and convulsing.  I got up, moved the thermostat from 73 to 76, put on more clothes, and got back under the covers, still incredibly cold for some reason.  I went back to sleep.

    I woke up a little while later burning up.  I went back to sleep.

    I then woke up again shivering and convulsing, cold for no reason, but I had to use the bathroom extremely badly (I’ll spare the details).  While traveling to the bathroom, I felt faint; I couldn’t even focus on my own image in the mirror.  While using the bathroom, I literally passed out on my shower doors to the left of me.  I couldn’t even stay conscious.  I finally came to and went back to bed again, but I was still fainting on the way.  I even passed out while laying flat.  It felt like I was actually going to die.  I couldn’t even sit up without like passing out.  I woke up finally at 10 AM feeling fine, except for a headache and being incredibly thirsty.

    So, I have no idea what happened, or if it was food poisoning or what.  I thought maybe it was a drug interaction with alcohol, since I take Singulair at night, but the Internets say that there is no such interaction.  I just know I thought I might actually die, and that was kinda scary.

  • Firestone Blows

    Firestone has just made my shitlist.  Tonight, after work, I drove all the way across town away from my house to get my hair cut.  I wanted to look "presentable" for pictures tomorrow since I’m graduating tomorrow night.  After I did that, I drove way back over to the Time-It Lube on Bert Kouns to get my oil changed, but they were closed, even though I thought they were open until 6.  At the suggestion of Courtney, I went to Firestone, since they’re open until 7.

    I went in, and there was nobody there, at all.  I waited around, with no bell to ring for service, and no one was there.  Finally, I just peeked my head into the service bay and the guy finally acknowledged I existed and said "Someone will be in there in a minute."  A guy finally came in and I proceeded to give him my car’s info.  I’ve gone there in the past, but not with my new car.  He looked up the 2007 Hyundai Azera Limited with the 3.8L V6.  After finding it and confirming they had the oil filter, he seemed OK to proceed.  I asked if I could get the oil changed without the filter too, and he said no, so I didn’t really care, since it probably needs it anyway.

    He then informed me that it would be 45 minutes to 1 hour before they could get to me, since they had only one service person, and he had to put 4 tires each on 2 trucks before he could do my simple oil change.  Again, I hesitated, but I said "OK," since I had my copy of The Amber Spyglass (the third book in the His Dark Materials trilogy).  I also was hungry, so I gave him my cell number and I told him I was going to Taco Bell next door to eat and read until they finished.  I wasn’t delighted about spending an hour waiting, but I figured the time would pass quickly and I’d just be reading at home anyway.

    40 minutes later, I get a phone call from the guy telling me they don’t have an oil filter for my car, even though they do for all the other Hyundais, as if that would console me somehow.  I said something like "That’s fine, just do the oil change without the filter and I’ll get it changed when I can get one."  He told me they couldn’t do that because of company policy.  I argued a little bit over the phone, but then I just told him I’d be over there in a minute.  I finished my current chapter, and headed back over there (after talking to Mr. Pedro, how cool was that to see him there?  I then called Josh to tell him about that).

    When I got back over there, one of the truck customers was over there, and the guy was nowhere to be found, and I waited around forever again, and he finally made an appearance.  He had left my keys out on the counter too, for anyone to grab, so I got those before he came in.  I guess he didn’t care if someone stole my car or got things out of it.  What an ass!

    I asked why they couldn’t just do an oil change, and he proceeded to tell something like:

    Him: "If we change your oil and not the filter, something might drip back in there and then it’ll get damaged and you’ll blame us and we don’t want that."

    Me: "But you don’t even have the filter for my car!"

    Him: "We can’t do an oil change without the filter and we don’t have the filter."

    Me: "So you won’t ever do an oil change on my car unless you sell the filter?"

    Him: "Nope."

    Me: "What if I bought the filter and brought it here from O’Reilly’s?? Would you do it then, or do you have to actually sell it?"

    Him: "We have to sell it."

    Me: "Why?!? I’ll tell you why, because you just want to upsell filters and it has nothing to do with engine damage."

    Him: "We are a business; we’re here to make money."

    Me: "I want to pay you money… to change my oil!!!"

    Him: "That would be like you buying tires and bringing them in here for install.  We wouldn’t know the quality."

    Me: "That’s ridiculous, a filter is a porous material that keeps impurities out of the the oil system and is completely different from a tire."

    Him: *hands in air, walks away from me to the back, saying nothing, in front of that other customer*

    OK, does that not make him an ass again?  The correct thing to do when a customer accuses you of gouging in front of another customer isn’t to admit that you’re doing it, and that what you said before was just a lie.  What is their problem?  I then asked for the manager’s name, and he gave me the card and told me he wouldn’t be back until Friday.

    I really hate Firestone now, and I’ll certainly never bother them again, trying to give them money.  What was I thinking??

  • Operation: Bachelor’s Degree – Mission Complete

    I can’t believe it’s over.  I had my last final tonight and I ended up not even having to take it!  My teacher decided to let us drop our lowest grade, and I had an A in the class already, so I didn’t even take the final.  That leaves me with 2 As and 2 Bs, on a semester when I didn’t even try that much!  Haha!

    After the final, Sabrina, Ashley, Kristina, Bill, and I all went to What’s On Tap to celebrate!  I don’t even think it’s quite hit me yet that it’s actually over.  It’s hard to comprehend not going to school for my BS, since I’ve been doing it seemingly forever.  I guess it’ll pretty much be the same thing, now that I’m starting my MBA, but it feels really good to have accomplished my goal, after all these years, of getting a Bachelor of Science.  The real celebration is the weekend after next.  We’re going to do it up big, I hope.

    I smell like cigarettes, thanks to my friends Kristina and Sabrina (and Sabrina’s friend Zach), but that’s cool.  It’s better than dead carcass, and thankfully that smell has already died down a lot.

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