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We got all of our stuff turned in for our class on Thursday and today, so we're all caught up. I don't know if what I turned in Thursday was what the instructor wanted, so we'll just have to see.

Today was Bamba day, and the "burrito artist" (heh, I'm funny) was all proud of himself and said my order before I did. Except that he said super combo with hot sauce and no beans, so I just smiled and nodded. He forgot the choriso part and made it like a "normal" combo, with steak and pork (which I don't like). That's why my order is always "super combo, steak and choriso, with no beans, for here." I guess I shouldn't have assumed. (And if I would have said anything, they would have gladly made me another one, but whatever--I put enough more hot sauce on it that I really didn't notice too much...). Some lunches are like that. Even in Australia.

So I got a bunch of actual work done today, which was quite refreshing. The bosses were all in good moods (not that they normally aren't, they just seemed especially happy today). I think we were all relieved that it was Friday. (But it still is Friday--hmm, Mr. Rhetoric, how does that make sense....)

I left at 2:00 or so and went to Barnett's (sorry, Piccadilly on campus--it used to be Barnett's when I was a student...) and purchased 1,984 ounces of beer for our annual Independence Day party. And I was smart enough to bring all of my sweatshirts and long-sleeved t-shirts from my office (I tend to start accumulating them in Spring when it is cold in the morning when I go to work, but not cold at the end of the day when I leave work) to "support" the keg so it wouldn't roll around in my trunk every time I turned the car.

I dropped by Sailfin to pick up a plecostomus for the water garden, since the loser tadpoles have done nothing with the algae problem. And a few hours later you could see exactly where the plecostomus had been, because the rocks were white again and totally stuck out when you looked into the pond. How funny. Two bucks well spent.

We've had rain all week until today, when the sun came out and dried everything out and provided the "light" part of the photosynthesis equation. I sprayed weed killer on all of the front yard and part of the back two days ago, which was perfect timing for mowing today. I even mowed a diagonal pattern into the front yard so it would look nice for our guests tomorrow.

After mowing the entire front yard and most of the back yard without incident I must have run over something that didn't agree with me because all of a sudden my eyes swelled up and I could barely breathe and it hurt to stand up. Holy moley. I need to be more thorough with the weed spraying in the back yard, apparently. I struggled through mowing the rest of the back yard and then took a shower and tried to get my sinuses cleared out. Blech. All better now. And the yard will look quite nice for tomorrow.

Apparently asperger-boy next door had a huge bonfire while I was at work. Our yard was covered in ash and soot and the pool has a bunch in it as well. I was pretty mad at first, but have since calmed down. I was going to go off on him this evening, but figured I'll wait until after our live entertainment tomorrow, lest his stupid self think to call the cops on me for being too loud. I'll deal with him after our party. But yeah, I'm going to tell him that the next time he lights that kind of thing in his yard that we're going to call the police. I don't care if he is a pyromaniac and has weird tendencies, this has to stop (hey, I have a hint of OCD myself, but for crying out loud....).

But that's not bothering me anymore.

We had a nice dinner (steak fajitas) and I got the kitchen all cleaned up. Tomorrow morning is going to be busy, but the payoff will be worth it. After a 1-year hiatus, our pal Larry Gates is going to be back at our house again this year to play two 1-hour acoustic sets for us starting at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow. I'm again expecting a pretty good turnout, and we usually get more people than I think we're going to get. Of course, being the obsessive person I am, I have food for well more than we even invited. Just in case.

The redhead has been under the weather the past few days and there was worry that we were even going to cancel tomorrow. But she's a trooper and seems to be feeling better, so the show will go on.

I bought a "glowbuoy" for the pool since our main light is still screwed up. Hopefully it works as well as everyone on the Internet says it does. I have it in the pool now--I should go look now that it is getting dark (it said to fully charge and drain it two or three times so that it will get to its "peak" charge time, or something--this is "drain" number two, and I'll charge it again all day tomorrow....).

So the planets are much more in alignment again. Tomorrow will be fun.

And hopefully Monday I'll have my new iPhone waiting for me at the office. Yeah, and we got the 8 gig ones too. Woo hoo!

Posted: Saturday, June 30, 2007, 1:59 am
Mood: Exhausted | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Sick of School

Actually, I'm pretty much sick of just about everything right now.

But yes, school is at the top of the list. I'll spare everyone the details.

So it's finally been raining. Yay.

I got up this morning before 5:00 figuring I'd go play nine holes of golf before the day started. I did quite well the first two holes, not so great on the third, and then started unraveling on the fourth. My first drive veered off to the right, hit a tree, and bounced back to the cart path on the left side of the tee block. I should have seen the signs... I teed up another ball. Same spot, but missed the tree. Teed up another one. Same spot, again missing any trees and going deep into the woods. Teed up another one and toed it and it went about 80 yards off to the right. I picked up the one from the cart path, drove up to the last one I hit, grabbed a five iron, lined up, and drilled it right into the woods--right where I was aiming.

I hit an okay drive on the fifth hole, but insisted on hitting a couple more attempts, and each one went into the water. That's what I get for not being content. (And there's probably a moral in here somewhere about being content, but I'm in no mood right now...). My original drive was pin high about 30 yards right of the green. So I grabbed a wedge. And flubbed it. And flubbed it again. Then got it onto the green, barely. I grabbed the putter and hit a great long put that ended up two inches from the hole. Now if I would have hit that second shot right on the first try, I would have had a four, but because I screwed it up two times before finally getting on the green, I got a six.

The sixth hole didn't get much better. I stayed out of the cornfield, which is an accomplishment, but drilled two or three balls into the creek. I'll spare you the rest of the details--you get the ideal.

On seven I flubbed two shots, then hit one into the creek. I picked up the first two balls (in the eighth fairway) and drove back home. I thought this golf business was supposed to be enjoyable...

I stayed home with the kids yesterday because my mother-in-law was going to be in southern Illinois for the day. I got a nice nap in, although I don't understand why I'm so exhausted. I think I'm not sleeping well at night.

So I decided to do some laundry, to help the redhead out a bit since Saturday is our big annual party. After washing a load of towels I thought I'd save some electricity and not run the dryer so I took them all outside and hung them on the line. And ten minutes later, asperger-boy next door decided to light a fire. So I had to go take everything down and run the dryer anyway.

He has systematically cut down every bush, shrub, etc., in his entire yard and watched it burn. Now he's up to cutting off huge limbs of trees to watch them burn. The moron sat out there yesterday with a DeWalt compound miter saw and cut branches with it. There's a reason chain saws exist. Construction saws aren't made to deal with the huge amounts of sap and other "live" material that are in fresh cut wood. They gum up. Any construction saw in the world has instructions that specifically say not to use it for cutting up sticks and branches. For those of you who wouldn't already have the common sense to grasp that on your own. Seriously.

Now he's gotten to the point where he's up on a ladder, because he's already cut down all of the limbs that he could reach from standing on the ground. The trees in his yard look terrible. I realize that he has something wrong with him, mentally, but really. This is getting out of hand.

So I come back inside and attempt to find a bug in a web application that I'm creating for work. I need a user area where they can log in and then have a cookie set to keep track of their session. And this is code I had already written and copied somewhere else. But the cookie wasn't getting set. The usual reason that cookies don't work properly is that they have to be set before any HTML headers are sent. I don't know hot to explain that more simply--PHP applications are a combination of server-side program parts and browser-side HTML rendering. If you set a cookie, you have to do it before any HTML is sent to the browser.

But for the life of me I couldn't figure it out.

It was a space. A SPACE. I had an include file with my database connection information, and while I properly started out the include file with <?PHP, I had copied and pasted the whole thing from a section of indented code, so there was a SPACE before the <?PHP. Are you freaking kidding me? So that space was assumed to be part of the HTML document, which means setting a cookie afterwards won't work.

A freakin' space. There's a reason I have never bothered to learn "Python." (Well, besides the fact that it is named after Monty Python, and people that love Monty Python and can quote every line of every episode of every movie and Flying Circus show drive me absolutely nuts....)

Okay, I need to go to work and quit having my panties in a bunch.

Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2007, 11:24 am
Mood: Stressed | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Great Weekend

First and foremost, we got rain. It's only June and the yard looks awful already. Not to mention the fact that Papa isn't thrilled about not having rain (although we weren't as bad off as some counties north of us) and Gwammo was having to water our garden out at the farm. I registered .5 inches Thursday evening, .3 Thursday day, .7 Friday day and evening, and .5 yesterday (day and evening). Two inches isn't bad, but we could use a couple more. Like, in the next few days.

Yesterday was the first of three showers for the redhead's sister. I know, I know. One was from her future husband's family. One is from her (extended) family. And one is from some people in town that, well, I'm not exactly sure why they are throwing her one....

Em went with the redhead to Barb's (Cole's mom) house yesterday. While they were there, Alex and I went to the old reservoir for some catfishing.

And as usual, we got one fish, and then a turtle and some other probably-not-more-catfish bites. My theory is that both the catfish and the turtles detect the presence of the chicken liver blood in the lake from however-far-away. The catfish get their first. And by the time I wrangle one of these dudes from the lake, the turtles have arrived en masse and then we sort of don't do so well anymore.

But if we get only one each time, we should have plenty of catfish nuggets to have a pretty decent fish fry out at the farm.

In other non-news, we went to a cookout at Molly and Cole's house today to celebrate Father's Day. I don't know if Papa was in the field on Father's Day, or if it was just that they weren't ready in their new house to entertain, but today was lots of fun. Budge was even back in town because of a wedding that he was in yesterday, and it's always good to see him. Even if he and Cole together can sometimes be a bit much..... ;)

Okay, the redhead is back outside so I guess that's all for now....

Posted: Sunday, June 24, 2007, 11:10 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

"Geek Cred"

So I made a correction to the Wikipedia page for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign today.

And it was a tech-related correction to boot.

(The "Mosaic" web browser was made at UIUC, not the "Mosaic" art form...)

How cool (well, or lame) is that?

Posted: Saturday, June 23, 2007, 1:35 am
Mood: Smug | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Slight Updates

I had a few details wrong in my earlier story....

Ryan didn't end up in the back of the van. He was just taped up and left at his house with the other three (Jeremy was, apparently, really put in the trunk of the Infiniti....). We still don't have details on what exactly happened anyway. Why did they stop? My guess was that they were purposely trying to ditch their vehicle for one that wouldn't be recognized.

Why would they have stopped otherwise?

Oh, and apparently the reason the state cop didn't pursue on I-57 originally was because there were TWO cars there, and two people in the other car fled on foot as the Infiniti pulled away, and the cop there went after the two people that were on foot. Supposedly.

Now here's the funny part, and it's lots funnier if you actually know Ryan. (And he and I are by no means pals--I know who he is and have been "out" when he's been out--I'm sure he knows my wife but I doubt he has any idea what my name is. I could be wrong--but just want to point out that it's not like I'm acting like he and I are best buds or something). But he's a laid back guy.

And apparently he and Jeremy had been, well, sitting on the front porch enjoying some liquid refreshments. Like, for a while.... And apparently when they pulled the gun on him he said "how come we Cubs and Sox people can't all just get along?" Oh my goodness....

I'm just glad that they are all safe and that this whole business is over with.

Apparently, however, Chicago police found a man dead in his apartment today. With "666" written on him or carved into him or something. And other "satanic devices" at the scene.

The Infiniti we talked about? Yeah, it was his car.

And the story unfolds further.....

Posted: Saturday, June 23, 2007, 12:54 am
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Small Town Excitement

So we had some pretty scary excitement down here in east central Illinois yesterday. It even made CNN Headline News.

If you didn't read or hear the story yesterday, basically a couple of guys were driving a car on I-57 with heavily tinted windows. A state trooper pulled them over, and as he was talking to them realized something wasn't quite right. So he went back to the car to radio for a K-9 unit, and the guys in the car took off. Illinois State Police forbid officers from pursuing high-speed chances when there hasn't been a major offense, so they got away.

Well, they thought they were still being pursued so they got off at the Tuscola exit and headed toward Villa Grove (where we live). Out in the country they stopped at a farm house and "robbed a family" and stole "their" minivan. A little while later, west of Villa Grove, they were spotted by a county deputy who pulled them over. As he got out of his car, they reached out the window and shot him in the chest and once in the face. He was able to radio in and say what happened and give a description.

The van continued down Hayes road, turned right on Route 45 and headed toward the Interstate exchange in Pesotum. A state trooper coming the other direction saw them, turned around, and a high-speed chase ensued. They got on I-57, sped up over 100 mph, got off in Arcola (south of Tuscola), tore through town, and then wrecked as they tried to go over the train tracks in town at a high rate of speed. The troopers in pursuit managed to get the driver, but the passenger got out, ran into the bank across the street with his gun, and then we had a nine-hour hostage stand-off.

It finally ended last night, with the bad guy and the last hostage (the bank manager), peacefully leaving the bank and the guy being taken into custody.

Now for the details that weren't in the newspaper.

The house in the country where the van was stolen, while technically in "Camargo" as far as a mailing address, is really more like half-way between Camargo and Villa Grove. And the person that lives there is named Ryan (I'm not sure why I feel this way, but at this point I don't see any reason for me to give out these people's last names in public, even though it will probably all be out in the press in the next day or two...). A woman named Betsy had stopped by, likely to deliver a farm "first aid emergency kit" or some such that was bought through 4H or something like that--she had been to my mother-in-law's house earlier in the day to do that very thing. They weren't a "couple" as the media reported--she just happened to be there. Ryan doesn't drive a minivan--he drives a black Chevy truck. And a kid (guy? Lots younger than me, though...) named Jeremy was there too. Jeremy might live there too--I'm not sure about that.

Well, Jeremy bartends at the bar that is just outside of town, which also happens to be right down the road, sort of, from the house in question. And this Betsy (who also has red hair like "my" Betsy) has a son that is in Em's class at school. It was her minivan. Ryan is the son of Jim, who also farmed around Villa Grove until he died last year, and knew my father-in-law very well. Jim and his wife live right around the corner from us.

So anyway. Apparently the two guys tied up Jeremy with duct tape and locked him in the trunk of their Infiniti. They taped Betsy to a pole or something, and then taped up Ryan and put him in the van with them. Somehow Betsy managed to get her cellphone out of her pocket and called 911 and gave them a description of the van, which is why the deputy knew to pull them over.

(And as sort of an aside, some relatives of a friend of ours, who live in Arthur, another rinky-dink town down by Arcola, caught wind of the "Betsy with red hair" part of the story and added our last name to the description instead of the other-redhead-named-Betsy's last name, and that filtered its way back up through the gossip chains and my mother-in-law received a frantic call from someone asking if "my" Betsy was okay. Uh, yeah, of course she is. She's at work....)

I haven't heard how any of the three of them are doing today, but I hope they are doing well. While I can't imagine being held hostage in a bank, I think I'd be even more frightened being tied up in the back of a van going 100 mph down I-57 while the passenger in the van is shooting out the window and the state police are shooting back (they blew out the back window of the van).

From what I hear the county deputy has had his second surgery on his face, and while he's still labeled as "serious" at least his condition is stable.

Scary stuff.

Posted: Friday, June 22, 2007, 10:13 pm
Mood: Okay | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment

No More dnetc has cancelled the RC4-128 RSA labs contest, because, well, RSA labs said they are finished with it.

I guess I've always thought that this one wouldn't be completed anytime, well, ever. I was interested to see how the completion rate would accelerate over time, due to new processors and such. When it had been running for several years and we still hadn't come close to 1 percent of the keyspace I admit that I got a bit discouraged.

During that time the company that bought laid off a bunch of the people from the group, and that was a bit unsettling as well. Some of them went on to start a company that provides free web airline updates (Flightaware), and while that is cool and all it seemed very apparent that dnetc was taking a back seat. Pretty far back.

Oh well. No need to mildy have concern over whether or not the PC had rebooted itself automatically three days back and the client hadn't been running during that time. No more, again, very mild, concern about wearing out processors (and while I'm pretty certain how computers work, it still mildy bothered me that a machine that normally was expected to spend its time at 2-25% average processor use was instead going to be pegged at 100% on the reactor for weeks on end....).

And I still don't know where my sweatshirt has disappeared to (grrr...).

Oh well. Shut 'er down, fellas. And turn off the lights before you leave.

Posted: Thursday, June 21, 2007, 4:16 am
Mood: Okay | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

I'm Rich!

Dear Michael Greifenkamp
I am Frank Rubell(Esq), a solicitor at law.personal attorney to late Mr.Robert Greifenkamp,who was a contractor with European Development company.Herein after shall be referred to my client.
On the 11th of september 2001 my client was involved in world trade center bombing.unfortunately lost his life three month after the incident due to injuries he substained in the bombing , since then I have made several inquiries to your embassy to locate any of my client extended relatives but this has proved unsuccessful.
After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to track his last name to locate any of his relatives hence I have contacted you to assist in repatriating the fund valued at US$10.5 million left behind by my client before it gets confiscated or declared unserviceable by the Finance Security Company in Lome/Togo where this huge amount was deposited in a trunk box under the coverage of family valuables. The said security company has issued
me a notice to provide the next of kin or have this box confiscated within the next twenty one official working days as they don't know the content of the box.
Since I have been unsuccessfully in locating the relatives for over 2years now,I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin to the deceased,so that the proceedings of this box can be transfer to you.Therefore, on receipt of your positive response,we shall then discuss the sharing ratio and modalities for transfers as I have every necessary information and legal documents needed to back you up for claim.
All I require from you is your honest cooperation to enable us see this transaction through. I guarantee that this will be executed under legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.
Thanks and God bless
Frank Rubell (Esq)

The redhead's reply when I told her was perfect:

"Give them our bank account number so they can deposit it!"

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2007, 7:14 pm
Mood: Amused | 2 comments | Article URL | Post a comment


Golf with my dad was great fun yesterday. Neither of us played very well, but we had fun. He's such an old goof. On the 17th hole some old guy behind us hit into us while we were looking for my ball. After I hit, dad went and hit this guy's ball because he thought it was his. And of course the other guy got all bent out of shape about it. Groan. Get over your bad self. You're not at Medinah. Other than that, the day was pretty uneventful, except when Tim and his nephew, in a group behind us, both hit errant shots and almost clobbered my dad the with the second one. Fortunately dad has been around enough that when he hears "Fore!" he immediately crouches down and covers his head with his arms. I kinda go "whassa-huh?" and look around and by the time I realize what happened the ball is bouncing right by.

I went and got four new fish for the pond today. Em insists on naming one of them "Goldie the Second." Uh, Em? We're on like the 10th "Goldie."

In honor of our new pets, we've decided to have fish on the grill for dinner tonight. That will actually just have to be the appetizer because these fish are still awfully small and there's only one for each of us. Kidding. Heh.

I think we have salmon and tilapia and maybe cod or something else in the freezer.

Oh, I might be getting an iPhone through work. How cool is that?

Hope we get some rain soon....

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2007, 9:16 pm
Mood: Relaxed | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Melodrama Redux

I dropped my Applied Study Term class today. I talked to my advisor and told her that I was already having a hard time this summer and that part of the promises that I made myself was that I'd only keep going to school as long as I was learning new stuff and having fun and not being stressed. And I was stressed.

I'm going to graduate a semester later than planned.

But there never was a timed plan anyway.

I'm exhausted from being so stressed (melodrama). I'm quite relieved to be out from under the AST.

My father is coming down tomorrow and we're going to golf at the country club. I'm excited!

My mind is racing. AST is over with, forever (I've been given other options that will work much better) so I'm quite happy about that.

Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2007, 2:01 am
Mood: Much Better | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Cool It with the Melodrama Already...

Okay, so I got a bit worked up the other evening. I calmed down once I got to work yesterday morning and got busy. This AST thing will be no big deal. If anything I'm probably trying too hard. I have two projects to do, and eight weeks in which to do them. At the very least, I'll have to stretch this all out to fill an eight-week span. And if they have problems with my having to do my real job in-between all of this, well, they'll just have to deal. Oftentimes the "real world" doesn't involve being able to do just one single thing for two months straight (gosh, how boring would that be?).

We got my new Dell 2950 installed yesterday. Finally.

So I played golf Thursday afternoon, Friday afternoon, Saturday early morning, and Sunday mid-day. By the end of the outing on Sunday I could barely swing the club. Ugh. I'm still sore. How pathetic that I'm that out of shape.

Okay, too much to do today--I need to get to work.

Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2007, 11:31 am
Mood: Exhausted | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Applied Study Term

The redhead and I decided that we weren't going to "entertain" this weekend, which has been nice. After playing golf this morning I cleaned out the algae-filled water garden (would you believe all four of the tadpoles were still in there and alive?--so much for the pet store dude telling me that tadpoles were the answer to alage--I'm getting a plecostomus....). Then we went (sans Alex) to Kleiss Nursery and got plants. I'm actually going to post an "article" in the "gardening" section of the Nerdrium web site. How nice for me.

After dinner tonight, since we don't have guests, we sat down as a family to watch a movie from one of the umpteen movie channels that we get.

And we settled on some movie with Woody and Julienne Moore (who I am still mad at for being bitchy to Harrison Ford in "The Fugitive"...) set in the 1950s that deals with an abusive husband and a wife that makes money by entering television contests.

And I can't watch it. As I sat with my family and watched, I was of course appalled by Woody's character. And while I don't "manifest" myself in that way (the redhead would instantly kick my ass), I'm fully aware of the feeling of non-control when it comes to bills, etc., etc.

Before I met the redhead, and then after we had met, I lived by myself in an apartment. This was all after dropping out of school and working at the bar full-time. I had an awful relationship with my dad and my stepmother. I was inundated with credit card debt. I got a "you're being evicted for being late" notice slipped under my door every month.

I have a retirement fund through the University. I have a secondary fund that I also "contribute" to on the side. I have mutual funds that get a monthly contribution. Our house is gaining value. And my salary is going up yearly.

And I'm scared to death. I feel like I shoulder so much. And that's waaaaay melodramatic.

I can't explain it. We'll be fine. We'll be more than fine. It's almost stupid that I'm even saying anything about it.

I remember sitting in that apartment. Not answering the knock on the door because I knew who it was. I had a fridge with no food. And now I sit in a house with a wonderful wife and two wonderful kids and an outside freezer and a full fridge I still have moments of panic.

Heh. And as I look at my post title I remember the point of all of this.....

I might be dropping out of school.

I've been on "applied study term" for two weeks now, and I wrote off not doing anything the first week as school not having started yet.

While I turned in a valid 8-week project for the AST, this isn't going to work.

I have too many other duties. I'll finish that project. But I'm not going to moan and groan over 8 weeks and then "surprise" come up with a solution. I'm still in talks with the people the project is for, actually. I have too much to do (I'm not complaining about too much to do--HONEST--but I don't know how I'm going to have the time this summer to devote such time to something I can code in less than 8 weeks when under a crunch.....).

REAL IT doesn't work that way.

Eight weeks. Good luck with that.

So I may be done with school.

I'm supposed to graduate in December. That's much less than a year from now.

Why am I so driven?

Sorry to whine. But this both hurts and perplexes me.

Posted: Sunday, June 10, 2007, 2:31 am
Mood: Anxious | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

More Golf

How fun.

Last night we went to Aunt Molly's for dinner. She made spaghetti and meatballs and it was very good. So were the three or four bottles of wine that we had as well.

This morning I awoke at 5:30 a.m. and realized that I've yet to get up that early and go golfing before anyone a) is awake at my house and b) is out on the course.

It was very nice. I played pretty well (better than yesterday, although I did have a handful of do-overs when I was rushing myself for no reason...). I hit par on a hole (and that score on that hole was legitimate--no mulligans). I actually double-bogeyed the par 3 fifth (the one with the pond that I always hit into but didn't today--pin high just right of the green) after getting on in two and then three-putting (ouch). And that was because I was rushing myself. I'm such a basket case. I got all worked up because I realized that there was now someone else out on the course, albeit a couple of holes behind me (and by the looks of it, there was a reason that he was out there at 6:00 a.m. as well, if you get my drift--he sure didn't seem to be driving very far between shots, not that there's anything wrong with that....) and by this time Greger was out mowing as well. Neither of which interfered with me, but I still get worked up about that kind of stuff and need to stop doing that.

Either way, I had a good time. Everyone here is still in bed so I'm going to get some bacon out to thaw and, well, I guess I don't know what I'll from there.

Three games of golf in three days. How nice for me. (And I'm sure I'll play with Marc tomorrow as well....)

Posted: Saturday, June 09, 2007, 12:21 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Friday Afternoon

So I was busy, busy, busy at work all morning. And part of what I was busy with was helping my boss make some PDFs for some sort of grant proposal that he's applying for and making sure he could upload them to the grant issuer's web site. We did one in the morning and then he had to work on another one during the middle of the day. He had a meeting at 1:30 that was going to last who knows how long, and the telltale "are you going to be here all day?" question was immediately answered for both of us. He's the boss, and if he needs me there, I won't ask to leave early (even though I got to work really, really early today). No big deal.

Well at about 1:00 he comes in my office, tells me the second proposal is finished and he had no problems turning it into a PDF and uploading it to the site. "So if you need to get out of here early this afternoon...." As a matter of fact, I answered, I wouldn't mind getting out of the office a "bit early" this afternoon.

"Well thanks for all of your help and enjoy your weekend."

Sa-weet! Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to the golf course we go....

As I feared, the course was moderately busy. As I tied my shoes after signing in at the clubhouse I paid close attention to the older couple who were finishing up the ninth hole. Were they finished? Or playing another nine? Alas, the got back on the first tee block. Oh well--I wasn't in any hurry.

Then as I waited for them to finish up, a couple of high school golf team kids showed up. Funny how nervous they were about driving up to the tee block while I was waiting there. Settle down, boys, I won't hurt you. (I think that, even for a course that isn't very strict like ours is, the high school kids really do get held to a pretty high standard, because every time I run into one out there and interact with them they act like they are in trouble or something. Anyway.) I chat with them briefly, then realize that I probably don't want to be sandwiched between them and the older couple, so I tell them they can go ahead and that I'm going to skip a few holes.

Rather than hop right up on the second tee in front of the couple, I drive to the third tee, hoping nobody is there. A guy playing by himself had just teed off and while I drove slowly, he waited for me to get up to the tee. "You're welcome to join me," he said. I hesitated for a second and then thought "you know what, why not?" He seemed nice enough, and maybe I'd be less miserable than playing by myself. "Are you sure?" I asked. He almost insisted. So I teed it up and hit a beautiful driver a very good distance and right into the middle of the fairway (about a dozen feet right behind him, actually).

Well, after we had introduced ourselves (his name was Bill), recognizing that, as with anyone around here, my name didn't at all ring a bell, I pulled out the first piece of notable information. "Do you know Larry Sigler?" I asked. "Sure! I know Larry!"

"He's my father-in-law." Now we were pals. This guy might not have known the redhead was married or any other details, but now he has a total frame of reference for who I am. Interesting how that works. Bill is from Tuscola (a town about twice the size of ours about 10-12 minutes away). He used to be a teacher, and then was the principal of the school in Tuscola until he retired.

Then he asked me where I lived, and I told him right down the street. "Do you know where Frank Norris used to live?" This is another calling card of sorts. Our house is a "school house," meaning, it was built in the 1970s by the school's "Building and Trades" program. And Frank Norris was the high school principal at the time and bought this house. He's the one that had the pool installed, etc., etc., and lived here until he retired and moved away at which time my father-in-law bought the house.

"Sure, I know where that house is."

And that's who I am in Villa Grove. If someone is around my age, I'm Betsy Whitfield's husband. If it's a kid, I'm Alex and Em's dad. And if it is anyone more than a few years older than me, I'm Larry and Joyce Sigler's son-in-law and I live in Frank Norris' house. Got all that?

So we played a few holes, and I didn't surprisingly really, really well for playing with someone I didn't know a half-hour earlier. Bill was very, very nice and had a few tips, and let/me redo a couple of awful shots that I had. It was really fun.

After those few holes I asked "so how do you know my father-in-law?"

"You know when you go into Pizza Man or the High School and there's that black-and-white picture of the basketball team that says 'The Cinderella Team?'" Yeah, I know the picture. Papa's in it.

"I was on the other team."

How funny. And that is small-town living. He talked about playing football against my father-in-law, and how great of a teacher my mother-in-law was.

I almost couldn't wait to get home to call my mother-in-law and tell her "guess who I played golf with today?"

I'm glad I (finally) listened to the redhead and took the plunge and joined the country club. What an awesome afternoon.

And this evening we're going to Auny Molly's new house and she's cooking dinner.

And this weekend we're not doing a damn thing. No kids are coming over. No friends of ours are coming over. We're just going to relax. (I'll probably still play golf with Marc on Sunday, but duh....)

Posted: Friday, June 08, 2007, 10:11 pm
Mood: Awesome | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Much Better

Well I wanted to post to my blog, but my web site is down.

I recently cancelled Aunt Molly's hosting package (two reasons--a) I can have add-on domains as part of the, like the web site for the country club, so I may as well put her site as an add-on as well, and not pay for two accounts, and b) she just accepted a job offer last week and the whole point of the web site was for prospective employers to look at, and c) she's not going to have the last name she has now after she gets married in a couple of months....).

So... I'm hoping that they didn't attempt to cancel both her web package AND the one for the Nerdrium... I being reminded of the time I signed up for a class at UIUC a few years back, ended up dropping it before it started, and two months later my e-mail at work stopped working because the folks north of Green Street shut my account down when I was no longer a student, not bothering to see that I worked there.

(And I've entered the IP address of the Nerdrium web site into a browser, and I should have been returned to a "Oops--don't try to find your site by IP Address" page from the hosting company--since I'm sure there are hundreds of virtual hosts at that same address---so I'm assuming they are having server issues so I'm not that worried about it...)

Anyway. I'm in a much better mood than I was this morning.

Hang on, my geerow wants to go play a game of HORSE.

I came home from work right after lunch because the redhead and Al had dentist appointments and I didn't want Em to have to be home by herself (normally they are with their grandmother, but I don't know exactly what the deal was yesterday--it doesn't really matter, I guess). It was hotter than heck out yesterday, and the redhead had turned the a/c on right before I got home. But the house wasn't getting cool. The furnace was running, but the a/c unit outside wasn't running. No big deal--sometimes the circuit breaker pops on the unit outside. I went out and pressed the reset, it started up, and I went back inside. Five minutes later I opened the back door and the unit was off again. Uh oh.... That's not good. I pressed reset again and went back inside. Five minutes later, you can guess the status of the a/c. So I got out my toolbox and started taking the top off the unit. When I was a kid my dad used to always hose out the radiator of our air conditioner--the more dirt that is in there, the less efficiently it cools. Now, I was pretty sure that clogged radiator fins wouldn't make the unit overhead and shut off, but I took it apart nonetheless.

I tried to suck out what I could with a shopvac but it didn't work too well. I did hose out the radiator, and it was full of lots of dirt, so that was good. I think the problem was that the vent holes on the fan motor themselves were caked with dirt and dust (and lint from the dryer vent, probably) and when the fan couldn't cool itself, it would overheat and flip the breaker. So I cleaned all of that crap out as best I could, pressed the reset button again, and held my breath.

And 15 minutes later it was still running. Thank goodness.

We had a wind advisory all day yesterday and while I had told Em that we could go down to the golf course while Mom and Al were at the dentist, I tried to gently prepare her for that not happening because of the wind (and the heat). She was disappointed but didn't get upset. Well, I decided that we may as well go down there anyway--sure the wind wasn't that bad.

We were the only people on the course. I got Em a fountain Pepsi from the clubhouse and off we went. I didn't play too poorly--it was nice to be able to take my time since literally nobody else was out there. After we played nine holes (well, I played, she just rode along....) we headed home and that's when she asked about shooting some hoops.

Well the redhead and our son arrived home right after I finished schooling Em in HORSE. I ended up swimming with the children for a while, after vacuuming the pool first. The water is finally warm enough that it is tolerable.

I cooked steaks and chops on the grill for dinner, which were awesome, of course. All in all, a much better day than it started out....

Posted: Friday, June 08, 2007, 11:12 am
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Little Girls

I'm in a bad, bad mood right now. Last weekend my daughter's "best friend" had a birthday party sleepover. The same little girl that cried at the beginning of last school year because she and Em didn't end up in the same class at school. Well, we had to go to Chicago because of my brother's graduation, so Em had to miss the party. She was disappointed, but didn't get upset about it.

And then this...

i've been gone for a while and I have to tell you something that's reallly been bugging me. When I was at XXXX's party, part of the time I lay half asleep on a chair. Well, XXXX and YYYY came to lay down on the beach chairs that were next to me. They brought up the subject of you( in a bad way) and the XXXX said "Poor soul. She thinks I like her. I just pretend ( something other along the lines like that.) so that I can go to her house to swim." I didn't say anything to her because then she would have been mad at me on the way back to VG and it would have been scary to say something. I hope you are not mad at me and I am sorry to have to tell you this but I thought that you should know. It sort of hit me hard when I heard it. I'm REALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLYYYYYYYYYYYYYY sorry about this. I don't get why they are mad at you. I personally think they are just being meen to you. As I said, I'm REEEEAAAAALLLY sorry. I don't want to leave you hanging like this and I hope that you don't think I am lying. I'm really sorry and I don't want to leave you like this. I fell like I have to keep on typing to keep from being rude to you. I am verrrryyyyy sorry to have to leave you like this. Please call to talk about it to talk about it. I have a game tonight but I am free in the afternoons. I don't think I have a game tomorrow night but I can't promise. I'm really sorry.

I'm a pretty good judge of character--even the redhead will admit that. And I've been less than thrilled with XXXX for a few years. Em tends to not obey her orders when XXXX is involved. And Em is usually very good about doing what she's told. I won't get into that further, but suffice it to say, I think XXXX is a little &$%#.

And now this. And Em was very upset about it, as I'm sure anyone can imagine.

And I sent their family an invitation to our annual fourth of July party yesterday morning. Sure wish I could get that back.

Em is going to be a bigger person than I would be about this whole situation. I'm mad. I'm very mad right now. First we have the stupid kids at school giving her grief because she goes to "enrichment" a few tims a week. Now we have the (biting my tongue...) snotty little friend saying mean things about her.

You're only pretending to be her friend because we have a pool? What's the operative words here? We have a pool. And Em is smarter than you, and she's prettier than you, lives in a nicer house than you, and AAARGH. I'm so mad about this.

And I need to calm down. Em will handle this. It will be fine. The redhead was going to call up the mother in question and her head cooled off pretty quickly and she scratched that idea. I need to cool off too.

Today is not going to be a good day.

And, of course, we get a letter from the school yesterday. As it turns out, they are going to start having kids in junior high skip up a grade in math if they are smart at math. (This probably comes in response to the valedictorian in the high school, who got a perfect score on the ACT, getting rejected by MIT because the admissions people at MIT said he didn't have high school calculus and came from too small of a school...) Either way, good for the school to figure this out. "And based upon the recommendations of teachers (etc.), we think your child...."

And he doesn't want to do it. He's afraid kids will pick on him the way Em was picked on this year. I explained to him that it won't be just him--it will be a bunch of kids in his class. And that he's a boy and boys aren't mean to each other the way little girls are.

GRRR. I'm so frickin' mad right now....

I need to calm down. Beluga whales.....

Posted: Thursday, June 07, 2007, 1:03 pm
Mood: Grouchy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Having Fun

We had a good time up in the Chicago suburbs on Saturday. The 17-year periodical cicadas were out in full force, and the din was so loud that even inside the house with all the windows closed (and shades drawn) you still had to speak more loudly than normal to be heard. And anywhere in the house you could tell when the front door opened because the volume of the background noise all but doubled.

We got up early on Sunday and were back home well before noon. The perfect trip, to me anyway.

Even better because we got home, took a nap, I mowed the yard, and then talked Marc into playing nine holes. His daughters (the older of which is a good friend of Em's) came down to swim. Peggy (their mom and a friend of the redhead's since high school) came down and hung out here while we were gone.

My golf game wasn't great, which is par for the course (couldn't help the bad pun), but that's okay--we had fun. We hurried back to my house after we finished playing, lit the grill, and had burgers, hot dogs, and pork chops.

Tonight we had spaghetti with my home-made canned spaghetti sauce, and it was awesome.

Now the kids are upstairs watching "Hell's Kitchen," a show that I can hardly stand, and I'm down here watching the White Sox kick the crap out of the Yankees. It's about time that we're winning a game, and even more fun that it's against the Yanks.

I'm relaxed. I'm happy to not be typesetting. Sure, I need more time in the yard than I have, but I'm not complaining. Work is fun. My future is secure there. And I'm doing stuff that I like, that I didn't used to do. I'm playing golf, and starting to have fun at it. I'm watching the Sox on television when I have the chance. I'm relaxed. Well, as relaxed as I get anyway....

Oooh. I finished up the Independence Day invitations today. I need to print them out tonight and get them in the mail.

Maybe next commercial....

Posted: Tuesday, June 05, 2007, 1:53 am
Mood: Optimistic | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment

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