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Archived Entries from April 2005


Good to be Home

Even though I was only gone for one night, I was really happy to get back home yesterday. The meeting went off without a hitch and before lunch my boss leaned over and said as much and that I could hit the road at any time.

How nice for me. Not a bad deal for a few hours of just basically being in the room to make sure nothing goes awry.

Thank goodness it is finally raining. I think I went a bit overboard with the weed killer and fertilizer--I have some lighter-than-normal streaks in places. Hopefully the rain will even al of those chemicals out and kill the weeds and the grass will start growing.

The tomato plants I started in the Nerdrium are doing quite well, which makes me really happy because I wasn't sure it was going to work and the redhead seemed sure it wasn't going to work at all.

The Aurora is back in the shop--blinking lights again. Apparently the first of the two things that it could have been wasnt what it was so now they are replacing the second of the two things. C'est la vie.

I'm hungry. But Tuesday is gyros day! Woo hoo!

Posted: Tuesday, April 12, 2005, 3:34 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Great weekend...

Once again, I spent most of the weekend outdoors.

I planted two trees, which just really makes me feel so good and happy. I planted a pink dogwood back by the back fence and then another redbud by the gate to the front yard. I had to move a privet bush to a different spot on the other side of the gate, which was perfect because it was an odd spot where grass wasn't growing well anyway. I mulched the heck out of everything and I'm very pleased with the results.

I'm in St. Louis for another grant review session. The reviewers (and my bosses) meet for the next three days. I only have to be here for the start of it to make sure there are no computer-related kinks. Hopefully by lunch tomorrow I can hit the road and get back home before soccer practice tomorrow evening.

My wife's Aurora is acting up again, just a few days after we had it "fixed." I took a tree to my father-in-law this morning and we chatted on their driveway for a few minutes and he said something to the effect of "what did they do to fix the lights blinking?" I replied with a synopsis of what they did and his reply was "because your lights have blinked twice while you've been standing here talking."

Yep, they're blinking again. Drat. Hopefully the blinking won't kill the battery and the redhead can make it back to the dealer tomorrow on her way to work.

The view from my hotel room is awesome. I'm right across the street from the St. Louis arch. I have a corner room with a view of the arch and to the north as well. And I get paid mileage. Not a bad deal for a few hours of making sure people's laptops are working properly.

Here's the view from my hotel room:

I took a bunch of pictures for the kids and I'll probably have a few more to share later.

I'm looking forward to adding more to the actual Nerdrium site as well. I think I'm going to start pursuing the consulting thing more. If I'm going to do this, and run my own web domain, I need to stop doing it half-assed.

So yes, this whole blog thing really may come to a permanent close here. Either that or I need to rename the consulting thing and start a new site for that. It would almost make more sense to move the blog somewhere else to put a permanent end to the silliness that has ensued the past few months. But really, this whole Nerdrium business is silly in and of itself anyway. This was never made to be a front-end to my consulting business. It would make more sense to leave the silliness here and rename the consulting end of it.

Well, I have enough going on at the moment.

Been doing a lot of cool ColdFusion stuff, by the way. I'm looking forward to posting the new web site at work. I think PHP is probably more fun, but CF is "neater," if that makes sense.

Oh well. Enough for now. I need to meet the bosses downstairs at the, er, hotel lobby in a little while.

Posted: Monday, April 11, 2005, 1:21 am
Mood: Good | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment
 


Tax Time

Phew. Tax time is such a pain in the neck. Literally--my neck is killing me right now...

While it is hard to complain about the fact that I made too much money consulting last year, now that it is tax time, the truth of the matter is that I made too much money consulting last year. Groan.

I must buy more computer equipment next year....

Right now I'm going through all of my consulting bills to figure out how many trips I made to my major client, so that I can figure out how many miles I get to deduct.

Then I have to add up all of my utilities and figure out how many hours I consulted and what percentage of the house's total square footage the Nerdrium takes up, and calculate that amount.

And of course I can't find 1 or 2 months worth of statements. Sigh.

When the world becomes all-electronic I'll be so much happier. At least I can find everything I've paid the electric and gas utilities on-line right now.

If only the same were true for medical bills. If I'm not going to get my butt kicked this year by the IRS, I definitely need to be able to come up with more than the standard deduction. Sure the accountant will charge me ten more bucks to itemize, but it will (hopefully) be worth it....

What a long week.

And I need to complain about the wife's stupid car, but I'm not in the mood right now.

And yes, I'm not taking "comments" anymore. I added that "feature" more because I wanted to program it than anything. Once people I don't know (or think I don't...) start leaving comments and listing themselves as players from the University of Utah's basketball team, I think that's a good sign that there's no longer a need for comments. Besides, while people consider themselves kings of their own domains, I am king of this domain. And if you don't like it, too bad. This is my therapy, not anyone else's "classroom." I deal with enough crap in real life. The only opinion I value is my wife's. And she can tell it to me in person. And while it stinks that I subsequently bonged a whole series of local cablemodem IP addresses, that's just too bad as well. Go find something else productive to do.

Posted: Thursday, April 07, 2005, 3:24 am
Mood: Stressed | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


One More Nail-Biter to Go....

It will be interesting how much of the game I sit through tonight before I get too worked up and have to go in the other room. Or outside. Or to Indiana...

I hope so badly that Illinois wins tonight. It would be so wonderful.

But I'm scared to death. Everyone on campus seems sure Illinois will win. And that makes me nervous. Surprising, of course, coming from someone who is ALWAYS waiting for the other shoe to drop.

So at lunch today at Jimmy John's, my cohorts and I sat on the stools by the front window and scoped foot traffic down the sidewalks of Green Street in campustown. And here comes a city worker walking down the street with a sprayer--you know, the big plastic 5-gallon or so thing that you carry that has a hose and a wand--for spraying weeds. One of us made the comment that it was an odd time to come through campus to spray for weeds.

That wasn't what he was doing.

He walked up to the light pole a bit down the street from where we were, aimed the sprayer up at the pole and began spraying the hell out of the pole--walking around it and making sure he got each side.

And not at the base of it, from about 6 feet up to about 10 feet up.

While not exactly sure what was in the sprayer, we're pretty sure it isn't weed-B-gon. They are spraying light poles so people can't climb them tonight. Hilarious.

Ten minutes later another worker came by, and he too sprayed the heck out of the light pole. How hilarious.

Tonight will be interesting, I'm sure.

Posted: Monday, April 04, 2005, 5:28 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Decompression

Other than being inside to sleep, I spent pretty much every waking minute this weekend out in the yard. It was absolutely wonderful. I'm going to be so sore this week however.

I split so much wood yesterday and my hands hurt so badly I can barely type. The kids helped stack the wood for me behind the pool house. The width of the stack is maybe 3 ½ feet or so, and when I finally when to check on their progress the stack was almost as tall as they are so I had them start a second row! When I put the last of it up yesterday evening that stack was about half as tall as the inital one. That's a lot of wood.

I dug up the variegated weigala from the front yard and moved that yesterday as well. It was with the other "hedge-type" bushes because I didn't know what I was doing when I planted it (and no, I'm not insinuating in any fashion that I know what I'm doing now...). As it turns out, a weigala is an out-in-the-yard type of bush, not an in-the-two-feet-between-walk-and-garage type of bush. Well, on the north side of the house is the main gate to get into the back yard and between that gate and the house is where the garbage tote thing is--I made a little patio of sorts for it using bricks. In the area between the tote and the gate (about 6 or 7 feet) were a bunch of logs left over from when we lost the two trees in the front yard 3 years ago this month. Just piled up, and not necessarily bad looking, but I got on a mission yesterday.

I broke out the chainsaw, well, because I wanted to cut a big limb off the neighbor to the north's tree that was hanging out over the playhouse---the tree in question is a silver maple and I wanted to get that odd limb out of the way before it breaks off in a storm and takes out my future garden shed. I had asked the woman months ago if I could do this and she didn't care. However, their house is now "sale pending" so I figured I had better get to it before the house is owned by someone else.

So anyway, I had the chainsaw out, got rid of that limb, and then proceeded to go through the big logs in front of the fence and cut many of them in half. I'm so glad I did so--it makes it so much easier to split them with a maul when they are 18 inches long instead of 3 feet. So I ended up splitting a huge amount of wood yesterday. Oh boy am I sore...

Oh, so then where the wood is I dug up the dirt and mixed in some of my new compost and then replanted the weigala there. It will have so much more room to grow there. I finished up by spreading cyprus mulch all over the area so now it matches the landscaping that runs along the length of the north side of the house with the hosta.

And even though it is only Spring, I did manage to get my damn bald head rather sunburned. Oh well.

On Saturday the kids and I got to be the first to take the brand new Gator out for a spin at the farm. It's pretty cool. The bed of it lifts like a dump truck (the kids thought that was so cool). And that thing is fast--this is no golf cart!

Okay, I should get to work. One more nail-biter to go this evening. Go Illini!

Oskee wow wow!

Posted: Monday, April 04, 2005, 1:13 pm
Mood: Wonderful | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


And Anothter Thing...

I almost forgot...

OSKEE WOW WOW!!!!

(Go Illini!)

Posted: Saturday, April 02, 2005, 4:11 am
Mood: Elated | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Quest for the Pin

When our subdivision was laid out 30 years ago, the surveyors (and I assume this is standard practice?) buried metal "pins" at the absolute back corners of every lot to serve as a permanent boundary check.

I'm going on an expedition at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow. I will find those pins and prove that I am the rightful heir to the 3 feet of land on the other side of my back fence.

Well, or just that I own it. I still haven't decided if I'll put up a polite marker flag thing or stick a huge piece of rebar on the spot or perhaps event concrete in green treated 4 x 4s just inside the pins and run a huge chain between them to get the point across.

Either way, tomorrow I find my destiny.

"When I first met you, D.A.D., I was but a learner. Now I am the conniving master--and not a master of evil but a master of goodness and non-craziness and non-moronificiable behavior."

Bring it on, thou named after a cloned sheep....

Posted: Saturday, April 02, 2005, 4:07 am
Mood: Tickled | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


ColdFusion

Well, I decided to take the afternoon and start really getting my hands dirty with this ColdFusion business. I successfully created a new database table to play with (already knew how to do that, of course), hooked it up to CF in the administrator (knew how to do that too), and then built a page that runs a query and displays results (sorta knew how to do that, but this is what I need to be more comfortable with...).

And it worked. Mission accomplished. For today, anyway.

I think CF will take some getting used to, but only because I'm more used to PHP because that's all I've been developing with for however long. Part of the problem with the manual from the training course I went to last year is that it was all taught using Dreamweaver for Windows XP. And I'm using OS X. The main (huge) difference is that Dreamweaver for Windows has a virtual CF server that you can set up and develop against. The OS X version doesn't have that. So all the "click this button" steps in the manual don't work for me. Not that big of a deal, of course, but it is different. I'm sure that when I got browsing for a CF book this weekend I'll have the same issue. Maybe I'll get lucky and find a "Developing with ColdFusion using Dreamweaver for Mac OS X" which would be subtitled "For all three of you that are doing so..."

Oh well. I think it's time to head home for the day. ETB in 30!

Posted: Friday, April 01, 2005, 9:28 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


The IRS

Well, I've kinda had the wind taken out of my sails.

And this lamentation is going to sound weird, but I'll try to explain.

I made almost twice as much money in 2004 consulting as I did in 2003. Quite cool, of course. The problem, is that I didn't adjust my withholding at work accordingly. I just ran through a "rough sketch" of my taxes before I bring them to the accountant tomorrow, and by my math, even after the $1,000 per kid that Uncle Dubya throws our way, I'm going to owe money this year. Like $600.

Now the problem isn't so much that I don't have the money. Next week I'm getting a big fat consulting check for the 40+ hours I've put in over the past two or three weeks. It's just that I was planning on saving in the neighborhood of $600 out of that check, giving a couple hundred to the redhead, buying my daughter a new bed, buying most of the components for a new computer, getting the wood too do the privacy fence on the south side of the yard, and maybe having a few hundred left over.

And now whap. $600 to the IRS.

It could be worse. I could not have the $600 to cover it, I guess. So I'm not depressed in that sense. I was just looking forward to this money that was coming and had it all figured out what I was going to do with it. I busted my ass the past three weeks. Working all day and then going home and working more isn't fun. Especially when I was coming home and working every single evening. And yeah, I was going to enjoy the payoff for my hard work.

I know this sounds sooooo stupid. I should be happy I'll be able to cover taxes and still put the money in savings, but maybe not do everything I was planning on. I should be happy that I made so much money last year. But here I was finally going to get a step ahead of the bills and the expenses and everything else, and instead I'm just breaking even. Again.

Okay, I'll shut up about it now. I guess I'll get over it...

Posted: Friday, April 01, 2005, 6:55 pm
Mood: Fair | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Great Day!

No, I don't suffer from seasonal depression at all....

I totally have Spring Fever! Woo hoo!

I talked with Pete, my neighbor (one of the "good" ones) last night about me replacing the chain-link fence between our yards with a short (four foot tall) privacy fence. Not for more privacy, but because I think chain-link fences are an eye-sore, and I can't landscape "up to" a chain-link fence. He chuckled and gave me the go-ahead. So I'll head to Menards today to get some prices and see how much this is going to cost.

I'm ready to starting planting stuff. Anything. I mean, I just want to start digging holes. Heck, I may dig some holes and just fill them back in again this weekend. Yes, I have the spring fever that badly.

I'm on my own for lunch today, so I thought I'd go check out the new pizza-by-the-slice outfit that opened up on Green St. on campus. That way, if it is terrible, I only ruined my own lunch and not that of my co-horts as well.

But no. I think I'll get a burrito instead. Mmm..

Woo hoo! Okay, I need to quit writing and get my butt to work...

Posted: Friday, April 01, 2005, 12:47 pm
Mood: Awesome | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


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