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Archived Entries from August 2008


Huh?

How the heck did that happen? Somebody needs to add a "LIMIT 1" to his INSERT query, methinks. And I could go futz with the rss.xml file but it will still be cached wrong in people's browsers (assuming anyone other than me has a link to my rss feed thing....).

Posted: Wednesday, August 27, 2008, 7:08 pm
Mood: Confused | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Belay That Crisis!

Well we got our sealed brown "confidential" envelopes yesterday, finally. I was a bit surprised, to say the least! Not only did I get more than 1.5%, but I got more than what we normally get when we get "normal" raises. Woo hoo!

And grad school started Monday, so I have a task now to keep me occupied and not worrying about silly stuff.

And I read an article on cnn.com a few days ago that asked people "are you better or worse off than you were five years ago?" If I look back over the past five years, I have nothing whatsoever to be complaining about.

There's a forest in front of me, all right. I think I can start to see it now.

And I had a pretty good weekend as well. My dad and stepmother stayed with us Friday night. They went down to Carbondale to visit my brother, and stayed a night or two in Springfield and took in the Lincoln museums and such, and then stayed with us one night on their way back to civilization. Dad and I got up and played nine holes on Saturday. I didn't do too well, but I could have been home not playing golf, so I won't complain.

Saturday night Marc and I went catfishing at Lake Mattoon again. We were actually entered in a tournament this time. When we got there and hopped out of the truck one of the rednecks milling about pointed and muttered to his buddy "that's that @$%#ole that won last week...." Marc just grinned. So we got signed in and got the boat in the water. Then everyone had to wait in an area right around the dock until the starter blew the horn. Then it was nice to be in the fastest boat on the lake. Marc punched it and we flew out of there at like 60-70 miles per hour. One of his buddies was also in the tournament and fished in a spot close to where we ended up and by the time he arrived we had already set up all four poles and were all ready to go. It was pretty funny.

We didn't win, unfortunately. We finished about fifth out of 20+ teams. Marc had what would have been "big fish" ($200) and would have easily won us the tournament (like $225) but his 30 pound test line snapped as he was fighting it. Ooh was he mad about that.

We ended up catching about a dozen pounds--I think we had five fish total. I caught the big channel that's on the ground--we didn't weigh it individually but it was probably close to five pounds.

It was an interesting crowd of hillbillies. I mean, some of these dudes were country. Lots of sleeve-less shirts. Below is a picture of Marc awaiting word of our final weight.

Marc's friend had about ten pounds that he didn't want to keep so we actually about doubled our take home amount of fish. We figured that after that trip we've cleaned over a hundred pounds of catfish this year. And we're doing a great job cleaning them now--Marc found his skin peeler thing so he takes care of skinning them and I do the filleting (funny that the word "fillet" is pronounced "fill-ay" but "filleting" looks like it would pronounced as it is spelled "fil-let-ting." Anyway...). I'm cutting such good fillets off each side of each fish that when you look at the carcass from the side, what's left is translucent.

I'm really looking forward to our cookout.

Posted: Wednesday, August 27, 2008, 7:08 pm
Mood: Happy | 3 comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Mid-Life Crisis

I've been writing and re-writing this post in my head for about two weeks now.

I have been testy lately. My sense of humor is malfunctioning. The redhead can sense it. I get defensive about it. No, I'm not mad. I'm not pissed about anything. But something is amiss.

When I was younger, a close uncle of ours bought a convertible, red Corvette. It was after the Bears had won the Super Bowl and was right about the time that Saturday Night Live had the "Superfans" on. Their license plate was something like "DA VET 85" or some such. Or maybe just "DA VETTE."

This Aunt and Uncle lived in a more modest house than we did, in a town that was quite nice but maybe less exclusive than the town we lived in, and seemed to live an all-around less-expensive lifestyle than we did. Probably just my perception. Who knows. My perception is the problem right now.

Well, my mother, who "had passed" by this time, had always wanted a Corvette. A white one, even (seriously, Mom? White?). I even have a scar on my leg from when we went to the dealer and looked at a Stingray--before they were all fiberglass and still had metal bumpers. In fact, I just shared that story with the redhead a few weeks ago (it's not often that I tell a story that she hasn't already heard).

Mom never got her Corvette. After this uncle of mine bought his I asked my dad why he didn't go get one as well.

"I'm already past the time where I'd have a mid-life crisis."

Huh? I had heard the term "mid-life crisis" before. I guess in my sheltered suburban upbringing I never really put two and two together.

"What exactly is a mid-life crisis, dad?"

He told me that it is when a person who has worked so hard for so many years realizes that he's never going to make senior vice president of the company. He's never going to have the corner office. He's never really going to "make it."

But he's busted his ass for so many years, and tries to prove something by having an affair with a younger woman, or buying a Corvette, or whatever.

That conversation stuck with me.

You know, my dad lost a son, and his wife. And I'm getting ready to bitch about my career and money and stuff? Oh my goodness.

Gosh what a little perspective does for someone. If only it would affect me more...

But I feel like I'm spinning my wheels career-wise right now. Something is eating at me. Envy? Jealousy? Greed?

Maybe I'm just having a hard time with the second year of crappy raises (this one worse than last). A whopping 1.5%. Woo hoo! I'll make sure not to spend that $830.55 all in one place. Hey, I'm glad that I kicked ass for the last twelve months--thanks for the $75 per month increase in pay. You know, gas has gone up a buck a gallon in the last year, right? Milk? Groceries? EVERYTHING. Villa Grove raised water rates 50%. That means my water bill goes from ~$100 to about $150 per month. Thanks! Everything costs more money than it did a year ago. And I am (well, I guess hopefully--I still don't know for sure yet) getting a 1.5% raise. Thanks!

My neighbor across the street was working as a maintenance man at an apartment complex for years and years. Then one day he finally quit and joined the carpenter's union. Now he apparently works five 10-hour days (with Friday being all overtime, of course) and pulls in over $100,000 a year. The redhead's older brother, who was also floundering in a series of dead-end jobs, became an electrician, and while he has to travel the country, he supposedly makes like $140,000 a year. WTF? I'm glad I went to college.

I've always told myself that I'd never trade my job in an office, where I can come and go as I please, and constantly have different and exciting new projects, for a blue-collar job that involves actual "work" and is potentially dangerous. But sometimes that wears thin. I'm fighting my way up the ladder as best I can, but I want more. I want to be financially comfortable. I don't want to build a new house out in the country (like my neighbor) but I want to be able to.

I'm sure I'm spoiled. I'm sure this rings shallow. My family is healthy and happy. We eat well (too well). I play golf. I fish. We have that stupid pool.

I don't have the money to buy a Corvette. And really, they're so impractical. I'd rather have a nice Lexus or Infiniti--even a used one. But I can't afford one.

I could switch jobs, I guess. I went to that interview at Engineering and did terribly. I'm, for the most part, happy with my job.

I start graduate school on Monday. Maybe I am depressed that my original Alma Mater took a pass on me, but I need to get over that. They're churning out the kinds of people that invented web browsers (true), founded Netscape (true), made YouTube (right?), founded Oracle (yep), invented LEDs (I know, not computer science, but still), and created the HAL 9000. I'm a mostly-washed-up almost-40-year old.

I keep seeing trees. The forest is beyond my comprehension.

So I can't afford a fancy car. (I still drive a 12-year old Oldsmobile--a company that isn't even in business any more). I don't have any desire whatsoever to have an affair--my wife is still the perfect chick for me.

I'm just paying bills, and trying to save, and trying to invest, and hoping it grows. And hoping I can afford college. Alex started 7th grade this year--college is looming closer and closer.

I don't know. I'm either going to have to a) suck it up and be happy with the job I have and where I'm at, or b) really attempt to find another job and negotiate for a better salary.

I start graduate school on Monday. I hope it counts for something, and that I'm not just wasting my time. The second Bachelor's degree was just to get to graduate school--I never expected it to count for anything (other than an excuse to have a party), but the time spent on this Master's degree includes all of the past few years I've spent on my second undergraduate degree.

Will it be worth it? I'm pessimistic, so I doubt it. My pal Tod has a Master's in computer science and he's now an Assistant Dean of a college on campus and makes well over six-figures. That's my goal. Focus on the carrot. I can do this. I hope.

Posted: Friday, August 22, 2008, 2:21 am
Mood: Uptight | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Greifenkamping Photos

This won't (hopefully) be a long post. I went through the trouble to post the pictures from camping this weekend (mostly so the redhead could show the ladies in her office), so I figured I may as well post a link to them.

The dog had his first post-operation bandage change by our "family" vet. It seemed to go okay. I was worried that it would be a lot more, I don't know, dirty under his original bandage, but it wasn't too bad. Four and a half weeks until we (maybe) get to have the robo-arm removed. I don't know who will be more relieved--us or him. Dang dog.

Today at work i did a sort of cool thing. One of the professors (heh, the one that hates it when people refer to him as a "professor" and doesn't even much like the "doctor" part either) does a bunch of research on soybean aphids. Well, they have a bunch of different fields in a bunch of different counties, and then people go out once a week and sample a bunch of plants in each of the fields and write down how many aphids are on each plant and what growing "stage" the plant is in. Starting this year they upload that information using a web site and the information can be output in tabular form--not that big of a deal, of course.

But I was asked if I could output the data in a graph. Well.... I had never done anything like that before. But using some PHP libraries (called "GD") and poking around I was able to figure out how to draw a blank graph and then plot average aphid points vs. time on the graph, all on the fly. We're even at the point where we can plot multiple different-colored lines on the same graph, and label them by field, etc. It was a lot of fun, and in the end, not that difficult (but we won't tell them that, of course--hee hee...).

Tonight I finally ran a Cat5e cable for my son for his XBox 360 so that he can play something called "XBox Live" over the Internet. It wasn't that difficult to do, but anything involving going from somewhere in the house, into the crawl space, and then back out and into the furnace (/network) closet, requires some doing. But the network is all put back together and up and running and supposedly this thing for the XBox is doing what it is supposed to do as well (and didn't require me poking holes in the firewall, which I suppose is nice....).

Phew. I need to eat something for dinner.

Posted: Wednesday, August 20, 2008, 1:23 am
Mood: Blah | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment
 


Greifenkamping!

The family and I went camping yesterday at Forest Glen. It was very, very relaxing. No phones. No e-mail. No bills. No money. No nothing. When all I have to worry about is what log I'm going to strategically place on the fire next, that's a great thing. (And yes, I run a tight fire....).

Well, while we were Greifenkamping, my pal Marc was down at Lake Mattoon fishing in a catfish tournament. His daughter had a sleep-over that evening, so he snuck out and went fishing after dinner, etc., was finished up. He got to the lake late. He didn't have help getting his boat launched (since he was there by himself). He needed to go get bait while everyone else had started fishing.

And he won the tournament. Remember I said that a week or so ago we got 27 pounds for 12 fish?

Last night Marc caught over 40 pounds. Six fish.

I just got back from his house where I helped him clean the monsters.

But we still don't have enough fish for our fish fry. I think Marc and I will try to talk the bosses into letting us go fishing this Saturday evening. We'll see.

This "light red wine" that I bought sucks. Blech.

I'll have some pictures to post from Greifenkamping at some point. Right now I'm just worn out. This entire summer has been a total blur. Is that a good thing?

A week from tomorrow I'll officially be taking grad school classes. If only I could afford Birkenstocks....

Posted: Monday, August 18, 2008, 4:32 am
Mood: Exhausted | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Cats and Dogs

What a busy few days.

As I mentioned, I went fishing with Marc on Friday evening. The weather was perfect (80 degrees or so with a light wind). We got down there at 6:15 or so, while it was still light, so that we could catch shad for bait. After we had a good amount of shad in the bucket we went and fished for bass for a while (we didn't catch any, but I wasn't surprised, since the last time we went catfishing and did this same routine we didn't get any bass either...). The lake was gorgeous.

Once we started fishing for catfish, the excitement really began. Our evening started with Marc landing a 5 and a half pound blue catfish, shortly after we found our destination. I won't divulge too many secrets, but let's just say that Marc grew up around there and knows his way around the lake, and he has his "spots." I caught a slightly smaller blue (just under five pounds) shortly after Marc landed his. Then we had a bit of excitement when I hooked a monster, and (of course) had equipment problems--I was using an older reel that I hadn't used before (that was in my dad's garage for however many years) and the line got wrapped up under the spool--let's just say that that reel is getting thrown into the trash. Anyway, I lost what would have easily been the biggest fish of the night. It came fast at the boat but because the reel was being difficult I couldn't reel quickly enough to keep the line taught and the fish went under the boat. "Don't let it near the motor!" Marc yelled. I tried. I really did. But it got back in and around the motor and *snap* went the line.

We'll get that #%$&*%er next time.

We ended up fishing until around 4:00 in the morning. Twelve fish--3 blue catfish and 9 channel catfish. It was a blast. We fished three different spots around the lake and each fished differently than the last. We sat still at one of them and drifted all the way across part of the lake at another.

It was awesome. I love fishing. Our final haul was over 27 pounds of fish, with the top five fish totaling about 19 pounds.

Yesterday we cleaned the fish, and for the first time I tried it a different way. Rather than fillet the fish like a bass and try to remove the skin afterwards (like one might do when fillet-ing any scaled fish), we instead used a pair of pliers to pull the skin off first, and then filleted them. It worked so much better.

We even had a few little guys that I removed the skin from, then removed their head, gutted them, and bagged them. Those will be awesome to fry whole. Yummy.

So, the best news from all of this, is that we got to bring the puppy home today! He's much more lucid than he was when we visited a couple of days ago. His "cast" is much smaller as well. And most importantly, he's happy. I think.

He's not supposed to run around on his "fixed" foot. Nor jump. Nor run up or down stairs. Nor lick it or get it wet. We have a lamp shade thing for him (like in the picture a post or so ago) but we took it off when we got home and he's been great about leaving things alone, so we'll go from here.

He was quite happy to be able to go out and sun himself on the deck today.

It ended up being slightly less expensive than the estimate, so that was an easier pill to swallow. I'm still guessing that I'm not getting a new golf cart next year. Oh well. If the puppeh is happy, the family is happy, and if all of them are happy, I'm happy. So it's all good.

I forgot to mention that Em got to cheerlead at her first game yesterday. The game itself was relatively uneventful. Each team would get the ball, run three running plays, go nowhere, and then "punt," but they didn't kick the ball, it was just moved 25 yards down the field and then the other team would take over. At one point a kid from the other team broke out for about a twenty-yard gain. And there was a flag--holding. And their on-field coach went bananas. (Let's put it this way--I didn't see the hold, but neither team made pretty much any progress on any play ever--if a kid manages to break free for a twenty yard gain, yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if people weren't being held illegally--there's a reason why "holding" is a penalty...). Well the referee even had to talk to this coach.

Of course, I didn't fail to voice my opinion, er, not quite under my breath. Great example for the kids, there, coach. Good sportsmanship. Way to go. Jerk.

I've made it clear that I'm not an all-out sports person. I enjoy watching college and pro sports. Little kid sports? Not quite so much.

Alex is playing Halo 3 on his brand new Xbox 360 (from his detassling money) with his pal Lucas, who plays on the "heavyweight" team that played after we left (Em cheers for the "lightweight" team, which are the sixth graders), and he said that a kid got his clock cleaned and was knocked out and there was a huge delay in the game and an ambulance had to come and everything.

That's why you don't let little kids play football. Sorry--just my opinion.

So anyway, this coach goes ballistic. And that is of course always expected from the team that they (we) were playing. But really. I wholly understand the idea of learning to play as a team. To try your best. To achieve. To think and learn and do what the coach says. To play fair. To be a good sport. If my son wanted to play football, I'd let him. But I won't force him (and he doesn't want to, which is just fine with me). I don't need some sort of self-glory by raising a little football player (and I'm certainly not saying that ALL parents, or even MOST of them are that way, but there definitely are SOME of them).

Anyway. Back to this coach.

On the grand scale of things, the outcome of a sixth-grade football game has to be one of the least important things to worry about ever. Teach the kids to try their hardest. Teach the kids to play fair. Teach the kids the rules. Be good people. Gosh, I have the same problem with kiddie football that I have with religion....

Our teams seem to exhibit good sportsmanship. I'll give them that. I don't know. There's probably kids in that other school district that don't get enough to eat, yet their district spends tons of money on the sports program.

Color me cynical. I don't care.

Well, I didn't mean to get too sidetracked. Em and her pals cheered well. I didn't much like the "cookie monster" cheer (I didn't dislike it, like it bothered me, I just thought it was sort of dumb). But since I obviously don't get to decide what is dumb and what isn't, I guess I'll just have to stick to servers and golf and fishing.

Posted: Monday, August 11, 2008, 2:36 am
Mood: Awesome | 2 comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Puppy Visit

Well we hemmed and hawwed yesterday about whether or not we were going to attempt to see the puppeh today. We were concerned that he'd get too excited and then be sad when we left. And worried that it might make him even more disappointed if he was to visit with us and then not be able to come home.

But Melissa (or veterinary graduate student helper) called my office this morning and said it would be a good idea to come visit. So, of course, we did!

He tries to walk on his wrapped up leg, which she told us is a good thing. Dang puppeh.

We think we'll be able to take him home Monday.

Tonight I'm going catfishing with Marc down at Lake Mattoon. He went a few weekends ago (I was at a wedding, unfortunately...) and caught a one-pound channel catfish, a five-pound channel, and a massive eleven-pound blue catfish. And he claims that he had one on the line that was even bigger than that but the line broke.

I cleaned all those fish the next day and put them in our upright deep freeze. We're hoping to have a big end-of-summer fish fry in September or October. Marc also has three or four pheasants for us to grill and we'll probably have deer steaks as well.

I'm going to borrow the turkey fryer from the farm and use it to fry all of the catfish. It should be a good time.

Hopefully we'll catch some big ones tonight. Or even a bunch of one- or two-pounders would be cool as well. And I'm going to bring the camera and really hope to take some pictures this time. Woo hoo!

Posted: Friday, August 08, 2008, 9:46 pm
Mood: Great! | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment
 


Puppeh Update

I brought the puppy in today. He was supposed to have surgery starting at 9:00 this morning. They were going to call me between 11:00 and noon. I heard nothing.

The redhead and I had to go to lunch at noon because of her schedule, and the schedule of the other people in her office, so we went then (we had Fiesta Cafe--it was awesome).

When I got back to the office I called VetMed, just to see if they called when we were at lunch. Nope. Still in surgery.

Uh oh. I got scared.

Verklempt scared.

2:00 p.m. No phone call.

3:00 p.m. No phone call.

The redhead and I really stated to get worried, and I feared the worst.

My office phone rang at 3:45 or so. He was finally out of surgery. And he's going to be okay.

It was weird coming home today. I'm used to the scurry of puppeh claws on the hardwood floor.

Ooop, I think the clinic just called and the redhead is on the phone with them. Over and out....

Posted: Friday, August 08, 2008, 1:52 am
Mood: Sad | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


The GIMP

On so many levels...

Oh boy.

A month or so ago my sister and her family came down for a couple of days. At some point while we sat around the pool we noticed that the puppy was limping and favoring his left paw. We had never seen that happen before. I assumed he stepped on a rose bush thorn or something, or, well, who knows. He's still a puppy--who knows what happened. We sort of all assumed whatever he had done would heal itself or whatever.

But it didn't get better. It got worse. Well, maybe not worse. But we noticed that he would turn his left front paw out when he sat, and modified slightly the way he walked. The redhead and I weren't alarmed, but the last time Dr. Mac came to our house (yeah, the Vet comes to us--and I would want to live in a huge city again why?) it was to just do a routine blood test and to get the puppeh on heartworm medicine. But we asked her about the paw.

And she said we needed to see an orthopedic expert at the University small animal medical clinic.

Yikes.

Let me back up a minute. My old boss (years ago) who was, well, (and is) pretty much an obnoxious jerk, gave more attention to his dogs than to people around him. That's unfair. Well, unfair to dog owners, not him. He was obnoxious. And a philanderer. But that's neither here nor there. (And I'm talking WAY before working at the Big U...)

Anyway.

He once rescued a dog that had been hit by a car and spent thousands of dollars having replacement hips installed, etc., etc.

My wife grew up on a farm. Animals are just that--animals.

Between the two of us, we had found pet-ownership, well, sort of silly. I never had a dog growing up. She had watched many a farm dog/cat/whatever have to be put down for whatever reason. Animals are animals. There are starving kids, not just in Africa, but right here around us, and yet people fawn over their pets.

So as a miserable kid/adult who always wanted a dog but could never have one I grew my anti-pet shell around me and cast aspersions against those who would think to spend thousands of dollars to "fix" an animal that didn't cost a tenth that much.

Then Molly showed up with Cozmo. Then we got Linus.

Oh boy.

A dog for the kids. The kids love the puppeh. The redhead loves the puppeh. We have a happy, fun goggin. Yeah, sorry--forgive the baby talk. We rarely call the stinkpots their actual names, so why call the puppy by a "real" name?

I got to name him. That was my stipulation. I chose Linus, not because of "Peanuts," of course, but, well, if you're reading this you should probably have figured the name thing out already.

He used to hate going for walks. We take him for a walk every now and then. I started taking him more frequently. He got to the point where I'd jingle his harness thing and he'd go bananas and be ready to go. When we sit down on the couch as a family he sits on my lap.

Yeah, I've become a dog person.

He calms me. I know, it sounds dorky. I'm an uptight person. I really enjoy playing with the dog. I like petting him. It calms me down. Before we even had the dang puppeh I wrote a paper for a class about how animals can calm people down. If anyone needs to be calm it's me, and Linus does it.

So I took the pup to the vet clinic today.

Dr. Mac was right. The orthopedic people agreed with her. They took x-rays (not really--no film used and they go straight to a computer screen, which is geekily cool). Linus' left radius is growing faster than it should be, or something else happened, or something. Either way, his left radius bone is jacked up. And it will just get worse. He favors it. He walks and runs okay, but sometimes you can see that he's not thrilled about the situation.

They took multiple "radiographs" (or whatever they were called) and spent a lot of time talking to me about what was going to have to happen.

Linus is having surgery tomorrow. They are cutting his radius, making it straight like it should be, and putting pins in it to attach it to his ulna.

My poor dog. There I said it.

And I'm more upset about it than he is. We all are.

The vet clinic wanted to keep him today and overnight to do surgery first thing tomorrow. I brought him home instead so that we could, I don't know, be around him tonight. I have to get up at the butt-crack tomorrow and get him back to the clinic.

And here's the hypocritical part.

This is going to cost a substantial amount of money. I'm not going to say home much, lest my mother-in-law wander by and freak out.

There was never a question. The puppeh is in pain, and it will only get worse.

Anyway.

I took a few pictures of our puppeh tonight to try to show his weirded-out leg, but I don't know that they'll do justice.

I hope the puppeh is okay. I hope this works.

Yeah, I'm sad. And I'm a bit worried. He should be fine. "Having" a dog has calmed me down. Linus helps me relax. It's easy to be distracted from the crap of everyday bill-paying life and work stuff when you sit down and just play fetch (and tug-of-war, as with our doggen...). Being distracted is good.

We're going to be without the puppeh until Saturday or Sunday.

Yeah, I've become a dog-person. Well, it's just like kids. I love my kids. I loved them as babies. I don't necessarily like all kids nor am I enamored by any babies that aren't mine. The dog thing, other than Cozmo, is probably the same thing. I don't like other people's dogs. But I like my dog.

Oh, and I used the GIMP to resize those pictures. Em and I joked that we should rename Linus to "the GIMP" because it would save me money on surgery and the reference would still be geeky enough.

If only there were open-source dog surgery.

Posted: Thursday, August 07, 2008, 3:55 am
Mood: Sad and Scared | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Bad Blogger

It's been a weird summer.

I've had a seemingly weird personality lately. Maybe longer. Who knows.

Work has been busy. I have a lot of projects on my plate. I'm still embarrassed about the interview and subsequent dropping out of the search for the web position with the College of Engineering, even if that wouldn't have been a road on which I would have wanted to travel in the long run. The five-year plan at work turned into a four-year plan when UIUC rejected me for grad school and I entered a program that wasn't going to take as long. I think I'm going to ramp up the grad school classes I take at UIS and turn the four-year plan into a two-year plan. We'll see.

The politicians in this state are screwing us university employees over royally. They're screwing the university over royally. Our fine institution has become a company that makes money doing research and is no longer the great educational utility for children of state taxpayers that it once was. I'm becoming most disillusioned with my alma mater, as well as their goal of turning into the University of Phoenix diploma mill. I don't know.

It's hot. That never helps. I've made it through the first round of summer bills. Electricity was $360 last month. Water was $120. The water bill that arrived today was $150. Fun times.

I'm too grouchy to be blogging. I think I'm just plain worn out.

The radius bone on the puppeh's left leg is growing faster than everything else, and he limps sometimes, and his left front paw turns outwards now. Dr. Mac came last week to do the Heartgard thing and advised us to see an orthopedic specialist at the U. of I. veterinary school for further advice. Unlike, say, the dental school at Parkland College where you can go get your teeth cleaned for cheaper than a "real" dentist, the veterinary clinic at the big U is substantially more expensive than a "normal" vet. I take Linus in on Wednesday. Poor dog. It's appropriate that it will be August 6th, because as the redhead joked, the bomb that they're going to drop on us about how much this will cost to fix is going to be difficult to take, to say the least.

I was an awful father last night. I'm not going into details. But I was a jerk. The redhead and I both swore we'd never physically discipline the kids, because both of us dealt with that when growing up. I still haven't, and won't. But sometimes spoken words can be as bad as getting punished physically, if not worse.

I went and saw my ex-therapist a few weeks back. Something is wrong. (Obviously...) The St. John's Wort is no longer correcting my mood or whatever it is that needs to be corrected. I swore up and down for years that I'd never be medicated with prescription drugs to alter my mood. I don't want to be a vegetable or zombie. I need to be cognizant to do my job. And cognizant wasn't the word I wanted but that's what I came up with. Therein lies the rub. I'm in a fog right now.

And my therapist gave me a card, and talked to me about some things. And I haven't made the phone call yet to the people that can take this further. I'm scared. I don't know. It still feels like a cop-out. But at this point...

Golly, I guess I did have a lot to say.

In less depressing news... I bought Em a laptop from an ad on Craigslist the other day. It was $115. The guy I bought it from buys old used and broken laptops (I have a huge desire to start inserting commas back there, but I think it's okay...) and he "refurbishes" them (sort of) and re-sells them. I got a Sony VAIO laptop that originally came with a Duron 800 processor that he replaced with a 1.6 GHz Athlon processor, with a DVD drive, and a 14.1 inch screen. It needed some cleaning with rubbing alcohol, and I still had to do some work to it, but I think I made out okay. It didn't come with a battery and I ordered a brand new one for $50 or so (he told me to go get one from eBay, but no, I'm not getting some old battery for $20 that will die in four months). The machine has 128 megs of RAM installed, but as luck would have it, it takes 144 pin PC100 SO-DIMMS, and I have a 128 and a 256 from my old Rev. A-D iMac days. It also had a 6 gig hard drive, and I had a (ahem) 80 gig laptop drive laying around, so I swapped that out. I installed Fedora Linux 9 yesterday, along with OpenOffice, and everything the geerow will need to continue with her writing. I have a PCMIA wireless card for it, but I need to look further into how to get that to work with Linux. It does have built-in 100base-T, so she can always plug it in to the multitude of ports around the house (including the one in her room). I'm glad I was patient and waited for the right time to get her one. This should be a good machine for a few years.

Yikes. I didn't mean to blog this long.

Our town's "Ag Days" started tonight--beer tent tomorrow night!

Posted: Saturday, August 02, 2008, 3:59 am
Mood: Tentative | 2 comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


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