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Archived Entries from August 2005


Oh for pete's sake...


So I noticed the other day that my Photoshop application appeared hosed.

The icon in the dock changed from the Photoshop eye-con to just a plain blank document icon. I deleted it from the dock and re-aliased it. Hmmm. The actual application icon was just a blank document too. And trying to open it opened BBEdit instead, which then just displayed a bunch of mumbo-jumbo.

So I deleted the entire directory and decided to get it from my Retrospect backup set thing. That worked fine (surprisingly) but I still have the blank document.

I did "get info" for Photoshop and for Illustrator, just to compare the two. Same permissions, same everything--except it listed Illustrator as an application and Photoshop a document. WTF?

And of course I dug through my CDs and found an CD to upgrade to Photoshop CS (from 7) but no CD key. Grrr....

So on a whim I change the name from "Adobe Photoshop 7.0" to "Adobe Photoshop 7.0.app."

And that fixed it. Huh? The icon magically reappeared and it works just like it should now. So how the heck did that get changed? Oh well. And computers are supposed to make our lives easier....

Posted: Tuesday, August 30, 2005, 3:09 pm
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Y no Zs?


Gee, aren't I clever at 3:00 a.m.

So what's the deal with not being able to sleep lately? And I'm not awake-but-groggy because I got awakened by an obnoxious train conductor blasting away in the middle of the night just to, well, wake people up in town. We're not that close to the train tracks and the windows are shut because we've had the air on. No, I'm awake like up-for-the-day awake.

My "radar" is in full scan mode right now, and I'm not sure why. It's banging away, looking for a problem. Trying to find something to worry about. Trying to find something that has to be solved. But what?

The usual culprit is money. But it just can't be money. The redhead gets paid in three days and I should get a rather substantial consulting check by then as well. And I know this sounds pathetic, but since I quit drinking during the week we're literally saving a small fortune. We're cruising into payday with the bills all caught up and positive amounts in the checkbook register--which is a nice change from the status quo. My raise goes into effect on my next paycheck--and it was even much larger than expected. And the redhead got promoted to full-time (along with a substantial raise as well) starting next week, so money just can't be the problem.

Over 95% of the miles we drive are back and forth to work. We carpooled a couple days last week, are going to do the same this week, and starting Monday when her hours change we're going to ride together every day (we drive about 30 miles each way from home to work). So even though gas is going to be over $3 a gallon, we have effectively cut that amount in half by riding to work together. At this point I can swallow $1.50 a gallon much more than $3.00, if that makes sense.

I might be worried about money for our trip at the end of next month, but I don't think that's it either. I'm taking some RedHat training and when I looked into hotels and prices I found that it's only $10 more a night for two adults instead of one, and kids don't cost anything. Really? So the family is coming with. We didn't get to have a vacation this summer (not that vacations have ever been in our budget in the past) and the redhead was really disappointed that we didn't at least get away for a weekend, or even a day-long trip to the Indy zoo or something. What cheaper way to go than $40 for four nights? Mileage there and back is covered, my hotel costs are covered, and I get per diem on top of it all. While I do have to fork over the money for the hotel, etc., ahead of time (that is, I get reimbursed later--it's not like the University has paid for my hotel room already and is giving me cash for gas money) that's not a big deal. I'll get my money the week after we get back. And as I mentioned, for once in the past however-many-years the bills are all caught up and we're in great shape.

I don't think it's money. Work?

My eGrant software is finished and is up and running, and I haven't heard any complaints. And that was my one huge, nasty, had-to-be-done-no-matter-what project. And it's finished. And it works. No problem there.

I have a bit of a blip on the screen because I need to get the credit card payment process working for our Conferences web site, but that'll be done this week. Most of the hard part is taken care of by the business unit on campus--I just have to get our site to make three sets of request/responses from their server to verify that we're not trying to rip them off. It shouldn't be that big of a deal--I'm just still a bit fried from the whole eGrant thing. And I've already completed step one of six--sending a date/time along with our site ID and an amount, and received a proper token back, so I'm already talking to their server properly. I get can our database back-end done tomorrow, and probably have this all wrapped up by Friday (I hope).

I do not have any current consulting jobs--no worry there.

School startted Monday. But school shouldn't be on the radar. My tuition is free, so I only pay a $100 course fee. And I have a failsafe "abort" button built into that system. The absolute worst thing that happens with taking a class is that I drop it. Big deal. I had lots of practice doing that during my first attempt at college. And this time it isn't like someone shelled out the money for tuition and then I dropped a bunch of classes (and it isn't even like taxpayers are getting screwed in the deal--money doesn't change hands from my work campus to my "student" campus--the system sees my social security number and just doesn't charge me tuition...). So the worst that happens is that I get overwhelmed with work and drop my class and live to fight another day. No problem. And school is actually a fun diversion for the most part. So I don't think school is the problem.

How absolutely silly would it be if I were worried because of my weight/exercise status? I've "plateaued" at 185 pounds, which is kind of depressing, but so what? This was never about losing X amount of weight. Stop drinking so much beer, start exercising, maybe save some money in the process, and live to see 40 (and beyond!). The redhead and I actually rode our bikes last night instead of walking. It was fun, but I'd still rather walk because even though we rode all over the place (and I'm sure got as much, if not more exercise than we would have walking) part of what I enjoy on our walk is being able to talk to each other without kid-related interruptions. Either way, we're still exercising. I am eating better, and I need to quit worrying about the number on the scale. Even I have to agree with people now and admit that my face is getting skinnier, and I can tell that my gut is shrinking quite rapidly. My clothes are fitting better. The number on the scale doesn't matter.

Perhaps convincing myself, in this format, that everything is okay will get the damn radar to shut off and let me get some sleep. I even took NyQuil in hopes that it would knock me out. And it did. From 9:00 to 2:30. Thanks, Vicks. I was hoping to make it until 6:00, or even 4:30 or 5:00 would have been nice.

And I was starving when I went to bed, and I'm hungry now, and I'm really fighting the urge to go eat something (which is so damn silly--once again, my diet was about not drinking so much beer--it was never supposed to be about worrying about every single little thing that I eat and the number on the scale...).

Sigh.

Posted: Tuesday, August 30, 2005, 7:52 am
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Phew


It took me almost the entire day to mow the darn yard yesterday. It didn't help that it has been raining a couple of times a week and last weekend I only mowed the front yard (it was like a jungle in the back yard yesterday...). And now there are clumps of cut grass everywhere--I'll probably mow again in a couple of days to tidy things up.

Summer is waning, which means the "good grass" is starting to give up in preparation for winter while the crabgrass--the bane of my yardening existence--is going berzerk (and yes, I did just write "yardening"). I may have to keep the kids off the back yard lawn for a few days next year and spray the living heck out of the ground--I spray the front yard every year but I leave the back yard alone so that I don't have to worry about the kids running around in their bare feet. I really, really don't like crabgrass. Maybe I'll just pave the yard with asphalt. Nah--I'd still end up with crabgrass in the cracks.

I ousted another computer yesterday, so I'm down to 4. I think I"ll put the old Dell (the last one that needs to be ejected) into the garage and see about installing Fedora on it. I'm guessing that it won't boot from the CD drive, which means no Fedora--the Linux kernel is now too big to fit on a floppy disk so you have to have a computer that will boot from a CD. Maybe I'll install some flavor of BSD instead, just to be different...

Well, I should get busy. I should probably apply for the new SSL certificate for the webserver. I'm dreading it, even though I probably shouldn't be worried, so I've been putting it off. I think all I need to do is delete the old keys off the server, create a new pair, and modify httpd.conf to reflect the change (we're un-SSL-ing one domain on our server and then signing up for a certficate for one of the other domains, so I think I need to make some VirtualHost changes...). Or something....

Oh, and as an aside, I got to eat one of my carribean red haba?eros over the weekend! Holey moley was it ever hot. I cut it up and mixed it in with some chorizo that I was cooking on the stove and also put some in a little batch of salsa that I whipped up. My goodness--it about lit me on fire! Good stuff.

Happy Monday.

Posted: Monday, August 29, 2005, 1:45 pm
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Fedora Core Dual Monitors


Did I post this yet? I just looked and didn't see it but I wasn't going to read through all of my ramblings. (How pathetic that I even consider that anyone in the world would want to read any of this when I don't have any desire to do so...).

At any rate, I got dual monitors working in FC4.

I had to manually tinker with the xorg.conf file (duh--of course the graphical "control panel" wasn't going to work...). When I first got it working the screens were backwards, but I managed to get them put in correct left-to-right order without actually moving the left monitor to the right and the right one to the left (which would have been the next step...).

I sure hope my book for my class shows up this weekend.

Speaking of this weekend, I think I'm finally unloading the old B&W G3 on my pal Jeff, and getting the old Dell P200 moved out into the garage (with a couple of 8 gig drives that I scrounged up to do RAID 1 in FC4--assuming the old thing will boot from a CD....). And I need to mow the yard. BADLY.

And can more salsa. Phew.

Posted: Friday, August 26, 2005, 9:16 pm
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Ahhh, Friday....


It's about time. I'm ready to file this week away and forget about it.

And you know, I finished up the eGrant software earlier this week. I succeeded in completing the huge first step in the campus credit card reconciliation thingy. And I finished up my latest freelance job this morning. You'd think this would have been a good week.

Oh well.

Hmm. Looks like I'm going to be eating my burrito by myself today. Ho hum.

Posted: Friday, August 26, 2005, 3:59 pm
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I hate people...


Oh boy. Cover your ears, everyone...

I hate people that rush around. I hate people that don't stop at stop signs and pull out as if they are doing nothing wrong. I hate people that speed up and run yellow lights. I hate people that go a step further and run red lights. Especially ones that have been red for several seconds. I hate people that change lanes back and forth and back and forth so that they can be one car further ahead at the stop light. We're all going to the same place--relax, enjoy your place in the line, and settle the hell down in your white Intrepid.

I hate people that drive 40 miles per hour in the parking garage. There are plenty of spaces--trust me on this.

I hate listening to people bitch about Bush. There's nothing anyone can do--save yourself, and more imporantly ME, the wasted breath. He'll be out of office in a few years.

On a very related note, I hate people that feel the need to deface public property, just because they don't like the president. I don't like your mom either, but I don't write it all over the walls in the bathroom. Grow up.

I hate people that send an e-mail, then 30 seconds later walk down the hall and ask if the e-mail was received. Either walk down the hall and talk to me, or send me an e-mail. I do not need both. Honest. The university e-mail system handles hundreds of thousands of electronic messages per day--there's no reason to think that yours somehow slipped through the cracks.

I hate the people who have worn a path in the brand new sod next to the parking garage because they can't be bothered to walk an extra few steps and take the sidewalk. Are you that important that you can't spare four extra steps on your way from your stupid car to the lab?

I'm so damn irritated right now that I don't even have the energy to continue this.

I think I'm going to take the wife and kids and move far away from "civilization." Civilized my ass.

Grrr....

Posted: Thursday, August 25, 2005, 1:08 pm
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I'm walkin'....


So I thought I'd blog for a moment about the whole weight/diet/exercise/drinkin' thing. I'm still going strong. We took a day last week and broke the "beer ban," but other than that, it's been right on track.

The redhead's foot was sore tonight so I had to walk by myself, but that's fine. I miss the conversation, but I still enjoy the breeze and the trees and the exercise itself. Now check this out....

I weigh about 180 pounds (which is still too much but I was 200 not a few short months ago...). To burn 1 pound of fat per week I need to have -3500 calories in my diet, compared to what was "normal" before. At 180 pounds I burn 105 calories per mile, which is about 315 total, per day. That's 1575 per week. Not too shabby.

Now we need to figure in the beer... Busch Light is 95 calories per can, and I'll give a very, very conservative estimate and say that I drank 10 cans a night (probably more like 12-14, but anyway...). That's 950 calories a night, just on beer (holey moley!). 950 x 5 is 4,750. Add that to my 1,575 from walking and I'm at -6,325 per week. Now I won't even consider all the wine I used to drink with dinner (probably a half-bottle or more an evening, in addition to the brewskis--I know, it's pathetic...) or the fact that I feel like I'm eating less at dinner because I haven't stretched my stomach out by pounding 8 beers while cooking our food on the grill. So theoretically I'm about 675 calories short of losing about 2 pounds per week.

Now, of course, this was never about the weight. Well, maybe sort of (I was a lot more concerned about the weight aspect when I was 200--like I said, 180 is still too much but it is better than 200....). I do feel better about myself, and as dumb, dumb, dumb as this is going to sound--I like that people see me (us) out walking. There's a lot of nosy people in this town and I'm sure that people see me in the grocery store buying beer, or know that we're out on the deck every night, etc., etc., etc. And being out walking every evening makes me feel a lot better about that (probably only perceived by me) situation.

So good. My pal Jeffrey asked me to start taking care of our fraternity alumni association web site again, so I think I'm going to drag the laptop upstairs and sit on the couch with the fam and code some PHP while they watch whatever the reality show du jour is for the evening.

Posted: Tuesday, August 23, 2005, 12:32 am
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eGrants Nearing Completion!


I just took a huge step closer to being finished with my project from hell today. Hmm. I shouldn't say it that way. I actually enjoyed working on it, and I'm getting very comfortable with ColdFusion, but I'll be happy when all of this is finished.

I finished up the pages for managing individual grant proposals, including pages to upload files and delete files (it doesn't actually delete them--it just resets the name back to "null" in the database--in essence I'm providing them with a "Trash" can of sorts... And if they upload a new file with the same name it renames it to something else so that it doesn't ever overwrite their original file...). I also created a "did you forget your password?" page. The trickiest part to that is coming up with a non-offensive way to label that link. "Forget your password?" sounds like it is their fault. "Lose your password?" is even worse. So I changed it to something like "Need a password reminder? Click here...." Much nicer.

So stupid Retrospect keeps failing to back up my system because when it is talking about backing up to a device, it only means removable devices like CD-RW and tapes. To back up to my firewire hard drive I have to tell it to back up to a "file" and then tell it to put the file on my external hard drive. That doesn't seem very intuitive to me--and I've tried this three or four times with it failing. Um, you could see my external hard drive when we started backing up, how come after spending an hour reading in all 60 gigs worth of stuff you then decide that there isn't a disc that can be written to? User error, perhaps. And yes, after reading TFM I found out "my mistake" but I still hold that their definition of what is external storage is different than mine... At any rate, theoretically we're backing up right now.

I stayed up until 1:30 this morning finishing up a consulting project. That sure was fun. Groan....

Now I'm all caught up and don't know what I'm going to do with myself.

Oh, but class started today. Ho hum. At least the haba?eros have started to turn orange! (I even picked one of the Red Caribbean variety the other day..). Our garden got hammered by the storms that we had over the weekend. A bunch of the pepper plants are pretty lopsided now--I hope that they are just bent and not permanently damaged.

I canned 7 jars of salsa this weekend--much nicer to use pint jars than quart jars! Peeling all of the tomatoes sure is a pain in the neck (and back and feet) though. I kept the laptop up on the kitchen counter to keep me company--I made it all the way through both Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi before I was finally finished canning. I sure hope that I appreciate the salsa this winter, because it sure is a pain in the butt to make right now...

Hmm. I don't know much else. I hope my class is entertaining this semester, but I really, really hope it isn't hard....

Posted: Monday, August 22, 2005, 8:24 pm
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Enough Procrastinating Already!


Well it's Friday. And my eGrant software isn't finished. But it will be before I leave at the end of the day today.

I haven't been in the mood to work on it. How pathetic is that? It sure is a good thing that I don't work at a software company. My "soft" deadlines are much nicer.

At any rate, I brought a 12-pack of Code Red into work today, and after a few pops of Vitamin B I'll be off an running. Blood pressure be damned!

Posted: Friday, August 19, 2005, 1:18 pm
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Peppers

In gardening news... the first haba?ero has arrived! I actually picked three orange ones yesterday. The kidders were at the State Fair for the day so the redhead and I were on our own for dinner so we sort of did an every-spouse-for-themselves dinner last night, and of course, I chose chorizo with cut up peppers. Oh. My. Goodness. After the very first bite I wasn't sure if I'd be able to make it through the whole thing. It was that hot.

But it was so good. I used a whole chopped up haba?ero, two red super chilis, two long slim cayenne peppers, a jalape?o, and part of a poblano bell pepper. Did I mention that it tasted great?

The diet and walking and no beer has been going well. I've lost another five pounds and just this morning I had to cut another hole into my belt because it was too loose. How cool is that? I think the wife and I are going to try to start carpooling a few days a week to get some relief from the ridiculous gas prices.

I can't believe school starts next week. For the kids and for me. "Data Structures and Algorithms." I'm looking forward to it. It's about time we get back to learning about computing--that class over the summer was a total waste of my time. Oh well.

Posted: Wednesday, August 17, 2005, 7:36 pm
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Gasoline Prices


So a few weeks ago I made what I thought was a pretty smart change in my lifestyle--to quit drinking beer and wine every night of the week. The redhead will argue with me but I bet that I've saved close to $100 each of the last few weeks. That's over five thousand dollars a year.

Well, one of my neat personality "features" is that I tend to obsess about things, and I often don't settle for anything less than perfection--I say often because I have my shares of projects that are 90% completed, but there are many other times that I beat the dead horse over and over and over and over again rather than stopping. At any rate...

Last week someone told me that gas prices are supposed to hit $3.50 by Christmas. Well, it was $2.80 last night in our little rural town and the kid behind the counter was announcing to anyone that would listen that it was going to be over $3.00 next week. I have a feeling it may be over four bucks a gallon by Christmas.

Now I can put all of this in perspective. Most of the mileage that I put on my car is driving through the country back and forth to work. Even if we figure a jump from $1 to $4 per gallon, that's only five or six bucks a day. And once again, I'm figuring I'm saving at least ten (and probably more like $20) every day day by not drinking. So big deal, right? (And it would make more sense to think in terms of $1.50 to $3.00 at this point...). But anyway. Phew. I'm obsessing.

I've talked with the redhead about driving up together. She works fewer hours a day than I do, so we'd have to go drop me off, have her go to work, and then pick me up on the way home. I wouldn't eat lunch any more, which would save even more money. Then I wonder if that hassle is worth it? She'd probably use as much gas driving through town to come get me as she does driving from home to her office.

Whether or not we get our situation figured out remains to be seen. But I quickly changed the focus of my obsession this morning on my way to work.

We live in a little town--about 2,600 residents. I can't come up with exact demographics for how many of those people are at an age where they work full time (maybe 1,000 to 1,500?), but I would hazard to guess that probably 95% of that number work in Champaign-Urbana--30 miles away. Some morning I should take a few hours and sit at the four-way-stop in town and count how many cars head northward to C-U. Okay, no--that would be excessively obsessive.

My point is that hundreds of cars leave our little rural town and drive to the same urban area every single morning during the week. Now I like to have the flexibility of having my own car at work--especially if I need to turn in a consulting project after work, or need to stop at the store, etc. But surely there are people that work close enough together and close enough hours that they could share a ride.

And no, I'm not thinking in terms of "saving natural resources" and helping the environment--that's someone else's battle. I'm purely speaking economically.

So what if I registered a domain name and built a customized bulletin board system where users in our little town could get a username and post messages--like a share-a-ride board. You know, maybe someone can carpool one week but not the next two--every little bit would help. I might only share a ride with someone on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Rather than set up a fixed, formal arrangement that is semi-set in stone, make it variable and flexible enough that people can share a ride when they want to and it is convenient for them, and drive alone when it won't be. Almost like a hybrid car--it's fuel efficient in some situations, but sometimes you need to put the gas pedal down and go. The idea being--every little bit helps.

Now there are all sorts of caveats to this whole idea. The biggest hurdle is that out of those 1,000 cars that head to C-U every morning, I bet the number of drivers who are Internet-savvy is 25%, and that's being pretty generous. And by "savvy" I mean that they use e-mail. The number that don't freak out about giving their information on-line is probably much, much smaller (even though if I were to create something it would be a mostly-closed system--you need to sign up first to use it...).

I don't like other people for the most part. I would feel semi-uncomfortable in someone else's car. And I like being in control. I would have to make some pretty serious emotional concessions before I started riding in someone else's car every day. And this is my idea--I can't imagine that everyone else in town would jump on the bandwagon and say "cool--I'm riding with someone else every day now!"

Hmmm...

I guess, like probably everyone else, that I'm just getting frustrated with this gas price thing. There are families out there who probably are right now deciding between gas to get to work and money to put food on the table, and I'm bitching about a few bucks. Europeans have been paying $5 a gallon for years--it's about time it caught up. And yeah, necessity is the mother of invention and we (as a country) have been dragging our feet. Somebody should have seen this coming. This isn't all related to 9/11--the reason prices are so high is because our economy has fueled the economies of Asia, and those countries are starting to purchase more and more automobiles. And someone should have figured out that that was going to happen. Do I want to drive a hybrid? Not really--at least if I get in a car accident in either of our cars now I have a chance of survival. A little plastic bubble with a hamster in the back? That's great that you get 60 mpg, of course, when you get smushed all the gas you saved won't do you much good. Now a hydrogen-powered car that looks and rides and drives more like something out of a futuristic movie than even our cars now? That would be cool.

Sheesh--how long have I been rambling on? I need to get busy....

Posted: Tuesday, August 16, 2005, 1:03 pm
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Rain


I didn't have much else in mind for a title for this post, but I just looked out the window and thought "oh, rain." I'm glad that I remembed to bring my umbrella.

Even though it has been a week since my last update, I really don't have much to talk about (I'm sooo boring). I've been busy at work, busy with freelancing at home, and busy not drinking beer. Well, except for my "allowed" days this weekend. And the nice thing was that since I haven't been wasting money every damn day on beer, I actually rewarded myself with a 12-pack of Corona for this weekend. It was kind of a nice "treat."

I canned salsa yesterday. Three-plus hours of work for three pints. Canning is fun? Who are they trying to kid! And I didn't even like the way it tasted--I like gardeny-fresh, not boiled and cooked and tasting more like chili than salsa. Oh well. The redhead says I'll appreciate it more in the middle of winter and she's probably right.

The kids picked their first watermelon from our garden at the farm-it probably should have been left on the vine a few more days but they were all excited so we picked it and took it home. Maybe they'll eat some of it this evening.

I still don't have dual-monitors working in Fedora Core 4, but I've been too busy to mess with it. I'll probably modify the xorg.conf file and try to get mirroring working, and if I can get that going then I'll screw with making it all one continuous desktop. I was going to make a web page for that server as well--which is going to be called "ipmfiles" and make a logo a la "the X-files." I think I knew once how to do the faded shadow thing....

I've been solicited to join the "Computer Science Club" at UIS. How funny. And I'm happy to join, but are they going to be happy having a 35-year old in their "club?" I told them that I'd do a web site for them if they'd like. The president has already started giving specs for server platforms and stuff--um, I think we'll use whatever platform campus is running for their registered student organization web server... Anyway.

Our new budgeting system goes into effect this Friday. I'm excited but nervous at the same time. Oh well.

I knew I recognized "Andrew" from Monarch of the Glen. The actor's name is "Paul Freeman" which still didn't ring a bell. Then I scrolled down on IMDb.com.... There it was, from 1981.

Raiders of the Lost Ark. He was Rene Belloq--Indy's main nemesis. "It's beautiful!" he said right before his face melted. How funny.

Posted: Monday, August 15, 2005, 7:52 pm
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On Schedule


Well, everything is working as planned as far as the "booze situation" goes. The redhead and I walked last night and again tonight, and I'm still okay without the beer and wine--how cool for me.

A neat side-effect to all of this is that I've been totally getting caught up on my consulting work, which is a good thing since we'll need the money when we go on "vacation" in September. I get to go to RedHat training for four days and the family is coming with (it's only ten bucks more a night to have them stay with me at the hotel, and I'll gladly pay the forty bucks!). Of course I'll still get my per diem, and I'll get mileage for driving, so even though I'm planning on bringing, well, a good amount of money, in the end this will end up being pretty durn cheap.

So we've been swimming every night after the redhead and I get back from walking, which has been fun. I only wish that we had started doing this as a family sooner--like in June instead of waiting until three weeks before we close the pool. Oh well--at some point I'll learn to slow down and smell the roses. Or something.

Well, I managed to get some sleep last night, and I've stayed up working late enough tonight that I should be able to get some sleep tonight as well. I hope, anyway. Phew.

Posted: Wednesday, August 10, 2005, 3:42 am
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Scratched Records


It's a little before 5:00 a.m. and I am probably up for the day, even though I don't necessarily want to be. I stayed up reading until after 10:00 and could have stood to have slept until maybe 6:00, but if 4:30 is as far as I'm going to get, I guess I'll have to deal with it.

So I made it through my first week/weekend on my new drinking routine. As promised, I didn't have anything with alcohol until Friday evening, where I had a few beers and promptly fell asleep. Saturday we took the kids to Ag Days, which is the yearly fair in our little town. They rode the rides, the redhead and I probably got either too much sun or were just worn out from heat exhaustion, we ate some gross fair food, and back home we went. That night we had some friends over to swim, and once again, I had a few beers and a few glasses of wine and ended up asleep on the living room floor (apparently next to my son who fell asleep on the couch).

Sunday rolled around, and I got back on track. The redhead spent the day cleaning the house and doing laundry, and I spent much of the day switching back and forth between mowing the yard and swimming in the pool for a few minutes to cool off. After dinner I walked by myself--the redhead was too pooped from cleaning the house (and probably still from the fair Saturday) and opted to stay home, which is fine. I'm not obsessed with her changing her lifestyle--I'm only obsessed with myself for the time being. My therapist asked me last week if I thought there would be potential kinks in the new system I came up with for myself and I told her the biggest concern would be Sunday. Far too easy to want to sit on the deck and have a few beers Sunday afternoon and skip walking, etc.--"we'll get back to it on Monday." And that's a slippery slope on which I don't want to slide. So no beer yesterday, and I forced myself to walk, even if it was by myself.

And now comes the "fun" part of my screwed up psyche, and the point of this whole long, drawn-out post about nothing (not nearly as entertaining as Seinfeld, the show about nothing...). I have a neat built-in "feature" that (fortunately) not many other people have. It's manifested itself many times before, but I'm guessing that it gets washed away with booze and that I never noticed it much before except the one time it decided to start up on a Wednesday morning and carried all the way through until therapy, at which point my therapist was able to bump the jukebox and get it to stop.

There are times when my brain gets stuck on a thought, like a scratch on a record, and can't "free itself" from the thought. And it is usually something really dumb. But the thought is stuck nonetheless and my resources are completely occupied obsessing until, for some reason, it stops. Like I said, I'm guessing that enough wine gets my brain to shut down enough overnight to bump the jukebox and get back to "normal." Well I got stuck on a scratch last night, and now it is 5:00 a.m. and I'm having a hard time breaking free.

And the problem is that while the record player needle is stuck on that same spot, it is as if the record itself starts spinning faster, and wasting more and more resources--like a black hole that just drains energy from everything around it. Like doing $i = 1; while $i > 0 { $i++; }, which would blow up quickly in the old days but now that computers have so much main memory (uh, RAM) it takes a whole lot longer for that thing to run out of room. But it totally drains resources and brings everything else on the machine to a halt.

Okay, I'm rambling now. And no, I'm not going to talk about the thought that I'm stuck on--it's totally dumb, has nothing to do with anything personal, work-related, family-related, or otherwise--and the thought isn't the point. I could be obsessing over why the sky is blue--it doesn't matter what the thought is.

But if I'm going to not be drinking, this is something I'm going to have to find a way to deal with.

I really don't want to be up for the day. But if I go back to bed I'll just be restless and keep the redhead awake, and there's no need for both of us to have crappy days today because I can't sleep. I guess I'll go take a shower and go to work. Ho hum.

Posted: Monday, August 08, 2005, 9:40 am
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Hard Drives


So I was excited last night to see that my hard drives were in Indianapolis by 4:00 or so in the afternoon and were then "in transit"--it only takes an hour or so to get to Urbana.

My heart sank this morning when the next update I saw was "At local FedEx facility" at 7:28 a.m. Drat. I'm sure the delivery trucks are already gone for the day at that point. The estimated delivery is listed as August 8 at 4:30 p.m. Groan. It's Friday and I'm really not in the mood to do much programming--I'd much rather build a server. :)

But lo and behold! I just checked back in and there is now a listing for 7:29 a.m.--On FedEx vehicle for delivery. Woo hoo! And the professors are all out in the field today looking at corn roots. I'm excited! Now to get the rest of the junk that's on my other desk out of the way so I have room to work.

And good for me and my optimism--I already started downloading the ISOs for FC4. And I get to have beer today! How wonderful! This has been a fantastic week!

Posted: Friday, August 05, 2005, 1:24 pm
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Day four--finished.


Piece of cake. And I know to anyone unfamiliar with my situation it probably sounds really, really, really silly that I'm proud of myself that I haven't had a beer since Sunday. But I've spent the past 15 years telling everyone, including myself, that I wasn't an alcoholic.

And trust me, I know that this proves nothing in and of itself. I'm fully planning on having a beer tomorrow afternoon when I get home from work, and I'm looking forward to having some wine with dinner.

And we may get together with friends on Saturday night, and that will of course involve some cocktails.

But when Sunday rolls around again, this cycle starts again. And what I did this week, I'll do next week. And the week after.

And if anyone still doubts me at that point, well, I never really cared that anyone doubted me the past 15 years, and I won't really care now.

At any rate. The redhead and I added a half-mile "appendage" to our route tonight to bring the entire trek up to two and a quarter miles. And I'm still loving it. I doubt we'll walk tomorrow evening, but perhaps Saturday morning, and then Sunday evening we'll get back on evening schedule.

In much more fun news, my two 320 gig hard drives made it all the way from L.A. to Indy today, and they are listed as "in transit"--which means on a truck from Indy to Urbana--which means they'll get to the Urbana sorting facility tonight.

Which means I might get them tomorrow. Woo hoo!

And that means that I need to quit blabbering and get to downloading the Fedora Core 4 ISOs. I love programming, and I love server administration, and I love making web pages, and databases, and all that other stuff. But I really, really am a hack deep down--I love taking things apart and putting things back together. And tomorrow I can get away from my keyboard for a few hours and grab a screwdriver, and hack away. What fun!

Posted: Friday, August 05, 2005, 1:48 am
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Day Four...


So I'm on day four with no beer. And I'm not missing it a bit. Sure, I'm going to be up for a few beers this weekend, but this new plan is definitely do-able.

I told my therapist about the whole thing yesterday and she was kind of surprised. For starters, she didn't realize quite how much beer I ingested on a regular basis. She told me that for an alcoholic the first 24-48 hours is the critical time, and most don't make it longer than that. Well, we're at 72 hours plus and I'm not feeling any differently than normal. We walked again last night, and swam for a while afterwards. And the only thing I'm looking forward to tonight is walking again.

We've already decided to add an "appendage" to the route that we've walked the past three days, which will increase the distance from 1.75 miles to probably closer to 2.5 miles. The redhead will probably need to get some new decent walking shoes, but the way I figure it, I've probably saved close to fifty bucks by not drinking the past three days, so a new pair of shoes shouldn't be that big of a deal.

What fun. Now if I could just get caught up at work....

Posted: Thursday, August 04, 2005, 1:44 pm
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Light at the End of the Tunnel


Life is getting better each and every day. I'm getting closer to getting caught up with everything at work and with all of my consulting jobs. Phew. July is finally over with, thank goodness.

The redhead and I have made some financial and life-related changes lately. If we can stick to them I think 2006 may end up being a wonderfully prosperous year for us.

For starters, and I admit this only because this blog is anonymous (so hopefully we won't ever have the fiasco that I had with my blog when I hosted it on my own web site--dumb, dumb, dumb), I've decided to cut down on my beer and wine intake.

There are several reasons that this is significant. My parents were teetotallers, and when I went off to college, I went off the deep end (especially because my mother had passed away by then and my dad was in no position to keep me grounded). I dropped out of school and ran a bar for a while. It was only after I got married that I was shooed back into school by my father-in-law, of all people.

At any rate, I like beer, and like to drink beer. And I drink a lot of beer. My in-laws and my dad think I drink too much beer. Whatever, I'm an adult. I know that I'm not an alcoholic. Of course, I'd wager that most alcoholics know that they aren't as well.

So I'm going to prove it.

And I'm going to save some money, and get in better shape in the process.

Starting Monday I decided that I'm no longer going to drink beer during the week. Period. And also, the redhead and I have started going for a 2-mile walk around our subdivision as well. And you know what? I'm loving it. We've been coming home from our walk and getting in the pool, and it has been great.

I feel better in the morning. And I'm excited about this. I'm excited to save the money that I've been wasting. I'm excited to lose weight.

And I really, really enjoy the walk. The redhead and I just talk the entire time--and sure, we talk at home, but we can't through a story without being interrupted 8 times by the kids.

Watch me lose another 20 pounds. Watch me start being a "normal" drinker and only have a few beers on the weekends and maybe not even then.

I may drink beer out of habit, but not because I'm addicted to alcohol. And I'm going to prove it.

Anyway... I am making another server at work. I am re-tasking an old PIII desktop machine and making it a Linux file server. I just ordered two 320 GB hard drives. I'm going to do RAID 1 and install Fedora Core 4 (4 is out, right?).

All of my programming/database jobs are going well--I'm gradually gaining the upper hand.

Oh, and I got my final grade in my class--I got an A. Woo hoo!

I haven't been in this good of a mood in a long time. It's quite refreshing.

Posted: Wednesday, August 03, 2005, 3:48 pm
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