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Archived Entries from May 2006


Aftermath

The rollercoaster definitely bottomed out last night. I don't understand why I can't control it more. Sheesh.

And this morning I'm in a haze. Like I've had the crap beaten out of my by a storm or something and now I'm trying to get my bearing and figure out in which direction I should head. Totally bizarre.

My mood is improving nonetheless, which can't be a bad thing.

And at least I've documented all of this using a database on my laptop. My rise and fall is cyclical, and I'm going to prove it. The past few days were good for data-gathering, as usually when I'm grumpy the last thing I want to do is fire up my laptop and fill out a silly web form....

At any rate. Lots to do today. I'm close to being able to move "prod" over to "test" and give it a test run with the new software configuration. I suppose I ought to order the new drives for the production server today...

Oh, crap--I need to fill out my tuition waiver for the summer and fall. I need to do that right away...

Posted: Wednesday, May 31, 2006, 12:19 pm
Mood: Improving | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


PMA Not Workin'....

I'm still spiraling downward and am unsure of a reason. Well, maybe not so unsure.

Let's see if this makes sense...

My "radar," if you will (that I've probably talked about before), is spinning again. It's been off for a while now, but it is definitely on right now. Searching. Looking for solutions to problems that just aren't there. Yet my mind tries, and tries, and keeps at it. What's the problem?

So my mind is wasting most of its processing cycles trying to solve a problem that it doesn't have, and trying to find a problem so that it can solve it. And that is exhausting.

Which makes me crabby.

And have a complete lack of patience.

Now if I'm mad, and have a reason to be mad, I feel no remorse. None at all. Even to the extreme. Last year my printer, a cheapo Epson 777 became ever increasingly difficult to use, to the point where one day (that probably wasn't a good day to begin with) it just quit working. And, while I semi-hesitate to admit this (but this is therapy, after all), I launched it across the Nerdrium. The cover came off, and there was maybe a couple of small pieces of plastic that broke off as well, but that was about it. And that didn't satisfy me. So out the front door we went. I lifted it over my head and threw it down on the front walk as hard as I could. Then I received the shattering of plastic that I so desired. And I felt better. And while that was totally ridiculous behavior for an adult, I don't regret it. Stupid printer. Heck, I'd shatter that damn thing again if given the chance. And see if I ever buy anything from Epson ever again. Okay, I need to calm down. This isn't about that stupid printer....

My point, I guess, is that I have no remorse if I'm mad for a logical (to me, duh) reason to be mad. Right now I'm mad, or at least somewhat preoccupied, and everyone here at home can sense it.

At work I can hide. I sit in my big dark office, behind my two huge monitors, and I gnash my horrible teeth, and I growl my terrible growl, and I'm actually not that crabby because nobody (usually) bothers me, and I can sit by myself and work and be a grumpus. (Apologies to Maurice Sendak...)

Then I come home. I'm not allowed to be grumpy at home. I'm a husband, and father, first and foremost. Before bad days. Before grumpiness. I must be the rock, the foundation, if you will.

Sigh. I'm totally belaboring this, but it actually might be helping, so I guess I'll keep going.

So I get home from work, and now I have to deal with people. The first two in question that are up to bat just happen to be my offspring.... I try to not be short with them. I try to be patient. I try to be interested. But it's hard. Khan has stuck a Ceti eel in my ear and while I'm trying to fight the urge, and trying to be a good dad, it's hard. How do I explain to my children that my psycho-radar is going off and I have no patience and get it through to them that it isn't their fault?

So then we add the next ingredient to this awful soup--guilt.

Nobody makes me guilty on the outside. Nobody gripes at me and says I'm being unfair. Because again, I'm not flying off the handle at them. I'm just being grouchy. They can tell. They can sense what's going on. And I know they can sense it. I'm not invisible--they can see me. They know. And they don't get it.

So now it boils down to dad (and husband) being upset about something and won't talk about it. Does that imply that my ire is with any of them? I would say "no" but I'm the punter, not the receiver. Were I in their shoes I would probably be worried that I had done something.

So now I'm being a bad dad. And husband. And it isn't any of their respective faults. But now I feel guilt. They were all having perfectly good days. And then dad decides to come home and make everyone walk on eggshells.

I picture some middle management type in the 1950s who wears a suit to work and his phone rings all day and his boss is a jerk and gripes at him non-stop, and he gets passed over for the promotion because his sales weren't as good that week and the other guy is the son of the top client, and the car gets a flat on the way home, and he trudges into his house and, well, I can sort of understand that.

I wore a T-shirt and shorts and tennis shoes to work today. The only conversation I had with my boss (who rocks, by the way) was one that I initiated to ask if I could start coming in early during the summer and leave at 4:00 and he thought that was a great idea. We talked about kids, and the weekend, and covering up our bald heads now that summer is here (unlike me, he did not get fried this weekend...). Sure, I got a lot of work done today, but I pretty much decided myself what was going to be on the menu for the day, worked through it, and got it done. And at the end of the day I was pleased with the results. Nobody bothered me. I didn't get a flat tire on the way home. All-in-all, a great day.

Except for the radar.

Well, I feel somewhat better now, at least, getting this off my chest. Maybe I can go let my son beat me in a couple of rounds of Battlefront II or something. Because, of course, I have to let him win....

Posted: Wednesday, May 31, 2006, 12:54 am
Mood: Grouchy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Grrr-ouchy....

And I'm not sure why.

I had an awesome day at work today. My boss is letting me go back to working my old hours (7:00 to 4:00) for the summer since I don't have to take the kids to school. And I'm so much more motivated and productive at 7:00 a.m. than I am at 9:00 a.m.

That Thing I Can't Talk About? is progressing as planned, which, again, is pretty cool.

The house is clean. The garbage got picked up today (thank goodness). The dishes are done. I'm making tacos for dinner (with semi-fresh salsa) and choriso for me (yum!).

The pool is warm, the house is cool, and my beer is cold.

So what's the problem? I can't begin to guess. But I'm going to try a dose of PMA and see if I can't get this rollercoaster turned around before it derails....

Posted: Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 10:02 pm
Mood: Grumpy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Summer Heat

It hit 90 degrees yesterday, and is supposed to be even hotter today. The pool warmed up almost 6 degrees yesterday, and is now almost 80, which is perfect. Now if it will just hover around there and not get any warmer....

The kids had a couple of friends each over yesterday to swim--it was fun watching them. The two little boys that came over to play with my son kept referring to him as "Kenny" and I didn't understand why, so I pulled him aside later "Hey Al, why are they calling you 'Kenny'?" "Uh, Dad, there's this saxophone player, I guess, and his name is Kenny G....." OMG. Hilarious. There is another Alex in my son's class (a girl) and she is Alex E. and he is, then, Alex G. So the kids call him Kenny G. Little boys are so bizarre. I'm just glad that he has friends, because I had a hard time growing up being the nerd that I was and not really having any good friends when I was that age. Anyway.

Oh, I finally got around to reading The DaVinci Code so now I'm not the only person on the planet left who hasn't read it. I like it a lot. The redhead has talked over the years about travelling to Europe when we're older and the kids are out of college, and my fear of flying (especially over a great big huge body of water...) always starts an argument when I say I'm refusing to go (yeah, how smart is it to argue about a scenario that can even be seriously considered for another 15-20 years). At any rate, I think I'll probably end up agreeing to it. There is so much history there. I mean, the USA is neat, but there's nothing here. Nothing old. No "history." I want to see the Louvre. To visit London. To maybe see some castle ruins. Cool stuff.

I guess that's all for now... I need to upload more gardening pictures...

Posted: Monday, May 29, 2006, 5:55 pm
Mood: Great! | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


The Pool Is Cold....

I don't care what the darn kids say. Brrr. 74° is too cold. 80 might be okay.... I mowed the back yard today, put the window (with newly-painted plastic thing) back into the garden shed door, took a bike ride with my son, swam in the pool, and now am enjoying a beer on the deck while the kids have watermelon. Whew.

Yesterday I took the day off of work, which was nice. I got the whole door situation straightened out (heh, "straightened") for the garden shed so that it actually shuts now. (The frame is still not plumb/level, but at least the door shuts..). I need to put about one more coat of joint compound on the hole behind the door, and then I can paint the walls. Then I need to do the floor.

We think that we're not going to do the carsiding floor in the house. The redhead was silently reconsidering it while I was silently doing the same thing. When she finally "broke" it to me I was already on almost the exact same page of the flooring storybook. So now I don't know what we're going to do. I'm absolutely not putting in fake wood stuff because I don't care what anybody says, I think it looks, well, fake. And don't get me wrong, I don't necessarily mean by "fake" that I think those kinds of floors look bad, but they look fake. So what's my next option? A real hardwood floor on the entire mezzanine and lower floor (minus the laundry room)? Yeah, that'll be cheap. We're talking probably at least 1,500 total square feet. What's real wood flooring? Six bucks a square foot? That's an awful lot of Hamiltons.... So we'll have to see, I guess.

Anyway. 91°. Sheesh. So much for Spring...

Oop--the redhead has joined me on the deck, so enough blogging for now!

Posted: Saturday, May 27, 2006, 8:03 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


It's Looming...

I'm just not exactly sure at this point what "It" actually is.

I mean, I shouldn't have anything hanging over my right now.

My class is finished. I already even have my book for my class this summer--totally caught up as far as school is concerned.

Pool open? Check. Looks good too (but don't tell anyone that I admit that I enjoy the stupid pool...).

Farm garden planted? Check. Did that Saturday. 21 tomato plants, along with dozens of peppers, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, eggplant, cabbage, uh, and that might be everything.

Home garden planted? Check. All the rock has been moved (again). I put three Gator-loads of black dirt from behind the shed at the farm (long story) in there, mixed it all up, and planted 4 tomato plants, maybe 8 or 9 pepper plants, a single cucumber mound, and a row of carrots and radishes. Oh, and leaf lettuce in the whiskey barrrel again.

Yard mowed? Check. The front, at least. Maybe I'll mow the back tonight after work. As long as the front looks nice, I don't get too worked up about the back.

Jeff's yard mowed? Check. Sort of. I went over there Sunday to mow (and it was rather long) and he was home. Uh, oops. He had come back for a few days to go to a wedding. He understood that it had been raining most of the past few weeks, so he wasn't concerned.

What else did I have to do? I don't know. My best guess at this point is the whole situation at work that I still can't talk about (and yes, not being able to blog about it is starting to bother me...). Hopefully it will all get, er, "resolved" soon.

Anyway.

Can I switch the battery in this thing without turning it off?? Cool--apparently so (and people think I'm some sort of computer expert or something....).

Last day of school for the kidders! Well, sort of. The last "real" day at any rate (tomorrow is a teacher's institute day, and then Thursday they go in for an hour and get their report cards and then are done for the day). Today my daughter has to bring cookies, and both kids are bringing a huge paper bag so they can clean out their desks. I can't believe summer is here already...

Speaking of the kids...

Something happened over the weekend that gave me what I think is a funny insight into my kids. Our daughter went to Chuck E. Cheese's (in Springfield--2 hours away!) with her friend and her friend's parents. I sent a $20 along with her so that she would have money for games. Apparently, upon arrival she promptly stuck the entire twenty into the ticket/token machine. To her credit, she gave half of the tokens to her friend, and they played games (or whatever it is you do at Chuck E. Cheese). Well, when the parents of her friend dropped Em off the next day, the mom gave the redhead ten dollars and told her that Em hadn't spent all of her money (basically, that Em spent the whole $20 but half of it was used by the friend, so here's her $10 back...).

So then the next day I was told that Alex needed money for school on Monday because they were going for pizza. The pizza was paid for, but (as you can probably guess) they needed money for games. "Where's that ten bucks?" I asked. Well, the long and short of it is that Em wouldn't give up the ten bucks. Uh, that's my ten bucks, first of all, chicky-bird. So later that day I went to the grocery store and wrote the check over so I could give Al $15 for his field trip.

And you know what he did last night? Brought me the $3 that he had left over. Uh, you can keep the three bucks, son.

And I'm not being mean, of course. Like I said--just a little insight into their differences. Who is going to be the mega-gazillionaire corporate raider? I'll give you a hint--it won't be Alex....

Tee hee.

Okay, I need to make breakfast for her royal highness. And she needs to comb her hair...

Posted: Tuesday, May 23, 2006, 12:35 pm
Mood: Uptight | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Hey, It's Saturday!

For a moment there right after I woke up I started thinking about what I needed to do at work this morning. But oop--I don't have to go to work today! How cool is that?

Okay, sorry for being so silly.

It just feels like I haven't had a weekend lately that involved anything other than sitting inside and watching it rain outside.

So much to do today!

I have to vacuum out the pool one last time this morning and get it ready for some awfully brave swimmers that will be ready to jump in this afternoon.

I'd love to get our garden planted today, and I have a feeling that my mother-in-law expects me to plant the garden at the farm as well...

I should probably go mow Jeff's yard. (He's in Canada for a few months doing "research").

I need to help the redhead get the house picked up and some laundry folded and put away as the Jebes, the Behls, the Tondinis. and hopefully Molly and Cole are coming over this afternoon/evening.

Which means I need to take the 8 pounds of hamburger that is in the fridge and make hamburger patties today as well.

And get a nap in so that I don't fall asleep at 9:00 after two glasses of wine.

Hmm. I probably better go get more wine as well.

And somewhere in here I need to call my dad and figure out why he can connect to the Internet if he plugs his iMac directly into his cable modem, but when he puts his router in the middle it stops working. I have a feeling I may have to make a roadtrip this time next week....

So much to do, and so little time to do it. At least I'm up and getting an early start....

Posted: Saturday, May 20, 2006, 10:35 am
Mood: Excited | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


I Don't Understand

My class is finished for the semester.

Nothing too terribly pressing is going on at work (most of my upcoming tasks are self-generated, if that makes any sense--like rebuilding a couple of web servers, etc.).

I can't even come up with a third suggestion for what the problem is.

Yet it is 3:00 a.m. and I'm WIDE awake. I'm back in crash-hard-at-9:00 p.m. mode. If only my body could take advantage the benefits of going to bed at 9:00 and sleeping until 7:00. Or even 6:00.

Too bad it is pitch black outside or I'd do something useful like vacuum out the pool (again).

I think I need to buy some tomato and pepper plants tomorrow. It's a long shot, but the only possible thing I can think that would be stressing me is that I don't have the garden (well, either of them--here or at the farm) planted yet. And I have a lot of work to do in the playhouse/garden shed. And I need to clean out the garage.

What I need is a few days off without rain. I mean, I enjoy the water-from-the-sky as much as the next plant, but photosynthesis doesn't work well without at least some sunlight, if you get my drift.

Anyway.

Posted: Friday, May 19, 2006, 8:13 am
Mood: Anxious | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Validation?

I spent the better part of today at a conference for campus computer people.

Most of the sessions were quite informative. Lunch was awful (only because it was teriyaki chicken, and I don't do teriyaki--really there isn't something else that is available to eat?). Some of it wasn't great, but that's sort of how conferences are, right?

I feel much better about my place in the, well, I don't know. I think I'm in a good place. And the fact that I love my job probably helps.

The redhead and I talked a bit today about our jobs, and the future, and such. Oh, and school. And my bizarro need to "keep going." I got a perfect in my Java class--785 out of 785 points. Not bragging, of course--from what I can tell most of the students earned all the points. But I lost sleep about it this semester--and for what reason exactly?

Anyway.

I have some sort of odd need to "prove" myself as an I.T. person. My degree is in Rhetoric. It's not even like it was in Math. Or engineering. Rhetoric. So who am I to claim to know anything about computers?

And I am often quite aware that I don't have a degree in computer science. I'm sure I focus more on that fact than anyone else involved.

Did I have a point to all of this? (I've been arguing with the kids about bed, dealing with a math timing page for the geerow, etc...)

I don't know. I need to be less hard on myself, maybe.

Okay, this post is sort of useless. I still think I'm in a good place.

Or something.

I'm staying the course.

Posted: Wednesday, May 17, 2006, 1:37 am
Mood: Anxious | 4 comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


The Pool Is Open!

Well, sort of...

I thought I'd at least get the cover off, put in the jet things, and get the pump running.

Then I broke one of the drain plugs that go in the pump. Like, broke it while I was twisting it into the pump with a pair of pliers. Like broke it with half of it still inside the pump and just the head of the plastic bolt in my hand. Yeah, like that.

So I have to unhook the pump from the plumbing so that I can turn it on end and hopefully use a screwdriver and work the broken piece out of the pump.

I got one side of it unhooked, but couldn't get a grip on the other side.

And then it started raining. Again. Sheesh

Hopefully I can find the extra drain plug. You know, if I were organized on the day that I close the pool every year, it wouldn't be such a hassle every year when I go to open the damn thing. Something to strive for, maybe.

So I may be driving to Champaign today in search of a new drain plug.

My hand is still numb from reaching down into the water to take the plugs out of the jet holes and screw in the jet things. Brrr.

Tell me why I decided to do this today?

Posted: Sunday, May 14, 2006, 1:50 pm
Mood: Half-Irritated | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Come on Sun!

It's been rainy and dreary and cold for the past few days, and according to the local meteorologists, it isn't going to get any better until the middle of next week.

I guess it could be worse--supposedly they got six inches of snow in northern Wisconsin...

I'm ready to be gardening. Actually, what I want to be doing is putting in the wood floor of the playhouse. Maybe then I'll start training myself to call it the garden shed and not the playhouse any more.

I was going to open the pool today. It's dreary and about 50 degrees out. Guess what isn't going to happen...

I need to get up to Champaign to get a mother's day present for the redhead. At least she told me what to get her so it makes it easy. Maybe I'll get creative and see if I can find an additional gift all on my own.

I finished my final program for my Java class yesterday. We had to create a program that plays a round of Jeopardy!. Of course, being the nerd that I am I amused myself with my various categories, and I said something about it to the instructor, and he's not an SNL watcher so he won't get it. Oh well. (The categories, in case anyone cares are Colors, Swords, Album Covers, Sean Connery, Mallards, and Bangladesh). "This color rhymes with 'purple'." Answer: light urple.

I so wanted to put in an "easter egg" of sorts that would randomly respond to a wrong answer with "Sorry--if you would have answered Bangladesh..." but when I found out he wouldn't get it, I didn't do so.

Ah, SNL Jeopardy!--good times, good times.

At any rate, my understanding of objects is so unbelievably much clearer after doing this project. I've struggled with them for a while (when I've had to program with them) but this was the first time that I took the very minimal amount of help from my java "mentor" and did the rest on my own. Objects are very cool.

Okay, I'm going to head out to the pla--err, the garden shed and tear up he rest of the carpet.

Posted: Saturday, May 13, 2006, 1:14 pm
Mood: Anxious | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment
 


Smart People

And while I'm thinking of it...

I did, in fact, qualify for Mensa. I got my welcome letter and "passport" today.

So the next time you hear someone say "ooohhhh---'so-and-so' is in MENSA" you can once and for all realize that it isn't that exclusive of an organization if I can get in.

What was the Groucho Marx quote? "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member" or some such?

Yeah, so I'm in Mensa now, and I have an RHCT certification, and most importantly I can change my own damn oil...

Sheesh.

End of tirade.

Speaking of tirades, one of our U.S. Congresspeople has introduced a federal bill that instructs the NCAA to worry about running NCAA stuff and not worry about mandating policy to member institutions. It won't pass, but I appreciate the sentiment, because I agree with it.

Oskee wow wow, NCAA.....

Posted: Friday, May 12, 2006, 2:31 am
Mood: Amused | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment
 


Thursday?

What a week.

My final project for my Java class is due the day after tomorrow.

And my brain is half-fried at this point. I've finally gotten my head around this whole object-oriented thing (and I mean really gotten into it). I get it. But it is huge. It's like being handed an explanation of the universe. Okay, that's a bit dramatic.

But oh my goodness.

Anyway, the redhead is on the phone, so I thought I'd take the time to answer a questionnaire of sorts--the kind of thing that I don't normally do, but I guess once in a while is okay....

1. What time is it? 8:35 p.m. (and we're a year off, otherwise I could repeat a wonderful Terminator quote--"Twelvth. May. Thursday...")
2. What's your full name? Michael Thomas Greifenkamp
3. What are you most afraid of? I was afraid of flying. Not so much anymore. I don't want to speculate past that.
4. What is the most recent DVD you watched? Uh... Dang it. I can't retrieve it. I'll have to ask the redhead...
5. Place of birth? Chicago, Illinois
6. Favorite new food? New food? I don't do "new" things.
7. What's your natural hair color? I'm bald. By choice. And no, I don't have male pattern baldness--I could be bushy as all get out in a few weeks if I wanted to. Oh, and my hair is dishwater blond, or as I would call it, brown.
8 . Ever been to Alaska? No.
9. Ever been toilet paper rolling? I don't know what that is.
10. Love someone so much it made you cry? Yes.
11. Been in a car accident? A few times. Twice with a guy I know who now lives in Alaska...
12. Croutons or bacon bits? Croutons in salad, bacon bits in twice-baked potatoes.
13. Favorite day of the week? Thursday?
14. Favorite Restaurant? How dare anyone even ask! La Bamba, as if you didn't already know. Note that their first store opened on Green Street in Champaign when I was in college (the first time)--I've been going there since the beginning, and I'll be having lunch there tomorrow....
15. Favorite Flower? Any, actually.
16. Favorite sport to watch? Probably football.
17. Favorite Drink? Uh, beer...
18. Favorite ice cream? I don't eat ice cream. Or chocolate. Or cake. Or donuts. Or anything like that. I like beer though...
19. Favorite activities: Playing with the brats. Gardening. Doing computer stuff.
20. Favorite fast food restaurant: Uh, I would guess that La Bamba might qualify as fast food? Other than that.. All other fast food is gross. (Not saying I don't eat it, I'm just saying...)
21. What color is your bedroom carpet? Gray
22. How many times have you failed your driver's test? Never for just a regular license. Several times, on purpose, for getting a CDL when I was in college and working for the street department back home--long story that isn't that important...
23 . Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail? Uh, I've forgotten already. Oh--notification that blog spammers have tried to post to my blog five more times, but I checked the database and the "protection" I put in place is working...
24. What do you do most often when you are bored? Lots of times I try to find stuff on the Internet that I haven't seen before.
27. Who is least likely to respond? I don't send this kind of stuff to people normally...
29. Favorite radio programs? Johnny B. is back on in the mornings on The Loop in Chicago. Of course, we don't live in Chicago. It was nice listening to him when I was doing the whole RedHat training thing. Otherwise, there's nothing useful here in Central Illinois..
30. What are you currently reading? Archangel by Robert Harris(?). I need to get busy on the DaVinci Code before the damn movie comes out...
31. Ford or Chevy? Chevy. But since I don't drive a truck, my choice is actually quite different...
32. What are you listening to right now ? Nothing. Just computer fans. When I contemplated answering this earlier at work I was listening to The Cure--Staring at the Sea: The Singles (using iTunes of course).
33. What are your favorite colors? Green
34. How many operations have you had? Too many. A half-dozen would be a good bet. It's the next one that I'm dreading...
35. How many pets do you have? One gold fish. Thankfully it is outside for the season.
36. Which came first the chicken or the egg? Questions like this are the reason I don't answer questionnaires like this. :)
37. What would you like to accomplish before you die? To be perfectly honest, I've accomplished most of it, I think. I just want everyone around me to be HAPPY.
38. How many people are you sending this e-mail to?... Probably nobody, to be honest.

Posted: Friday, May 12, 2006, 2:17 am
Mood: Exhausted | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Chief Illiniwek

I was going to start this off with a "tirade warning" designation, but honestly, I don't think this will turn into a tirade. For some reason I was thinking about our pal Chief Illiniwek on my drive into work this morning....

The other day, the athletic director here at the Big U made some comments to reporters (or whoever) to the effect that the NCAA sanctions will actually hurt our school. That is, if we aren't allowed to hold championship-level events on campus, it will hurt recruiting, and therefore, our many varied athletic programs. And, unfortunately, he's right. The long and short of it is that we appealed, twice, and lost both times, and the NCAA apparently isn't kidding around.

Now as much as I think the NCAA has no business interfering with the autonomy of our campus in this regard, there are plenty of other people (the entire Board of Trustees, for example) who can fight that battle. Hence the lack of a tirade from me on that subject.

But let's think about this for a second... What exactly does the NCAA expect from us? Remember that we are still "allowed" to use the term "Illini" and "Fighting Illini" to describe our athletic teams (and our band(s), and everything else). So it isn't about Illini, it is just about the Chief himself.

And what of the Chief? He dances at halftime of football games. He dances at halftime of basketball games. And other than that? Anyone? Yeah, his participation in things has been completely whittled down over the years. And the "hostile" imagery? Let's look at a few web sites and see if we can find any of that imagery. From what I seem to remember, other than here on campus, the Chief logo has been replaced with the nondescript orange "I". Let's take a look....

Here's ESPN's team page for the Illini. No Chief that I can find.

Here's fightingillini.com. I don't see the Chief logo anywhere. Do you?

(I do have to acknowledge that Yahoo's Illinois page still shows the Chief logo...)

The Illinois page at Chicago Tribune's Chicago Sports web site doesn't show the Chief.

Big Ten Conference Official Site page for Illinois. And again, a big orange "I," but no Chief.

So what's the problem? I know for a fact that they don't use the Chief logo on any of the uniforms for any of the sports teams any more.

Here's what I propose: Open Source the Chief. That's right, cut him loose. No longer will he be the "honored symbol of the University of Illinois" (even though our very state legislature passed a damn law that makes him the symbol of the University...).

I think not having the Chief dance at halftime will be the toughest pill to swallow, but I think that's the only thing left keeping us from compliance. And I don't know that under my current thought process that necessarily needs to be the case either...

The "3 in 1" at halftime is a band thing, right? It's not a "football program" deal, nor does it have anything to do with the actual basketball team. The Chief dances at halftime as part of the band show (that is, I think the Chief is actually a "member" of the "Marching Illini," but I could be wrong...).

I don't exactly know what the relationship between the band and the school is, but I do know, for instance, that the University of Illinois hockey team is a "club." That is, it isn't really connected to the University. They pay their own money for uniforms. Pay to rent time to play games. Pay for their equipment. Out of their own pockets. The University doesn't give them a thing. And the University can't "cancel" them (a la the fencing team, etc.) because they aren't actually a varsity sport.

Do that to the band. Make them a club that has nothing to do with the school. Let them pay their own money for their uniforms, and travel, and instruments. And if the band "club" wants to have the Chief dance, well, so be it. You can't tell me that thousands of wealthy alums (especially ones that used to be part of the Marching Illini) won't step forward and donate money for uniforms and instruments and travel and everything else. If the University actually "owns" the Chief garb, we'll get a new set made, with "public" money.

And even if we must lose the dance at halftime, if that last thing has to be taken away, the symbolism of the Chief can still never be destroyed.

What happens to the copyright on the Chief logo? If the University isn't allowed to use it any more, do they still enforce people using it? Can Campus Sportswear still silk screen t-shirts with the Chief on them, even if he is removed as the "honored symbol" of the University? I'll buy one. Or two. Or a dozen. Heck, I'll wear one every damn day.

As far as I'm concerned, we've kept the Chief from traveling to other schools. We don't use any likeness on any of our sports uniforms. "Illini" and "Fighting Illini" are still allowed. So what's left for us to comply?

Open source the Chief. Remove the problem from the University.

And then the "we're miserable with our own lives so we want to make you miserable too by starting a fight about the Chief" people will have no choice but to crawl back under their rocks.

Posted: Tuesday, May 09, 2006, 2:17 pm
Mood: Curious | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


My Kinda Town...

Friday after the kids got out of school we loaded up the car and headed north. We skipped the interstate nastiness north of Manteno and made our way through the southern and western suburbs until we reached our destination, the Hyatt Regency at Woodfield Mall. We dumped our stuff in the room and headed out for some place to eat. We ended up at a place called Ruby Tuesdays. We agreed to let the kids order whatever they want (because we didn't get to do that when we were kids, of course) and both of them opted for a huge platter of food, each of which had shrimp, and chicken strips, and a half-slab of ribs (and fries, to boot!). I was just happy to have a big glass of beer....

Saturday was the baby shower for my sister Bridget, who is having her first baby, a son, in July. Fortunately for me, the only person whose presence was required at said shower was the redhead, so the kids and I spent the afternoon with my dad. We went out to lunch and then we took the Kennedy downtown to see some sights. I don't know that the kids have been to Chicago in the last few years, and probably don't remember much. We drove down Ohio street, past the 50s McDonald's, onto the "Magnificent Mile," past the John Hancock building (where my dad worked for years) and out onto Lake Shore Drive. My daughter was stunned to see the "ocean." It probably is odd when you think that her understanding of a "lake" probably involves something that you can see from one side to the other. Anyway, we drove by a couple of marinas, turned around, drove by Navy Pier, and then went back into the city. Dad double-parked across the street from the Sears Tower so the kids and I could get out of the car and look up and gawk like, well, like the hicks that we are.

Of course, I had to remind them that during the summer between eighth grade and my freshman year of high school I had my own office in the Sears Tower--on the 86th floor, facing the lake and Soldier Field. I worked for a law firm of a friend of the family. They were embracing the technology of the future (it was 1983) and based on my consultation purchased an Apple Lisa computer (for $10,000+ !!). My job was to take all of their paper ledgers for their profit sharing program and enter it all into an electronic spreadsheet. And people think it isn't cool to be a geek....

Anyway we took the Eisenhower back out toward the suburbs and met up at my sister Megan's house (the locale of the aforementioned baby shower) and watched the Derby and ate pizza. Then it was back to the hotel so that the kids could swim (I'm starting to wonder if staying at hotels with pools is a good thing or not....). It's all Em could focus on yesterday. So we got that out of their system (and groan, I'm opening their own pool next weekend so I can't see what the big deal was...). Then my sisters and my brother came over and we sat in the hotel room and drank a bunch of Stellis and went through a few bottles of wine (none for the pregnant one, of course...) and just shot the breeze and realized that we don't see each other nearly enough.

There were a lot of "flashes from the past" at the baby shower. Therapy will be interesting this week....

So now, of course, I'm the only one that is awake. I'm packed and ready to go and starving. Wake up family! I'm ready to get something in my big fat gut and then get on the road and get home.... Ick. I have consulting work to do when I get home. Dang it.

Oh well. But I am really ready for breakfast...

Posted: Sunday, May 07, 2006, 1:11 pm
Mood: Anxious | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Hanging Around...

My ColdFusion pendulum is swinging back toward the "don't like" side. While installing PHP and MySQL the "right way" worked swimmingly, the $1,000+ installation of ColdFusion isn't happening. I got a CD for the version 7 update over a year ago, and when I try to use it to do a fresh install it doesn't like my serial number. Wonderful. Fortunately, the folks at Macromedia/Adobe have been quite prompt with their replies to my e-mail messages, so hopefully this will be resolved soon. Until then, however, I wait...

I had a fun bit of troubleshooting yesterday... As I was returning from lunch one of the people I work was headed out and let me know that she was going home to walk her dog and then returning with a pair of needle-nosed pliers to fix the jam in the printer in our secretary's office. Uh....

Needless to say, I came upstairs and asked the (old) boss what was going on. We opened the printer, he told me to take out the fuser, at which point I commented that I didn't see any paper jammed underneath. "Look inside the fuser," he said. Oh. Nice. There were like three or four sheets of paper, all folded over themselves, crammed between the rollers and the "frame" of the fuser. Wonderful. I brought it back down to my office and took it about halfway apart before I could start removing the paper a shred at a time. I'm sure I used some not-Xerox-approved methods for removing the jam, but after about a half hour I had it all cleaned out and put back together. And it seems to work....

Anyway.

I wrote my first Java applet yesterday. What a treat that was. Hope I never have to do it again. (I could have done the assignment using PHP in like 2 minutes....) Tee hee.

Okay, I need to order new drives for my production server, so I should get busy.

Posted: Wednesday, May 03, 2006, 2:22 pm
Mood: Content | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment
 


Close the Sunroof?

I need to create some more clever t-shirt designs for my CafePress store, because now that I have dozens, I mean hundreds of (well, maybe accidental) visitors, I could make a *mint*.

Actually, no, but it would be funny if someone ever ordered a Nerdrium t-shirt. I just became the first customer and ordered two--again, I need to take the time to come up with something that is worth ordering.....

So the point of this extraneous, useless post: I was just reading about cars that all but drive themselves, and I found this funny:

"If my model were to sense an unavoidable crash, its Pre-Safe system would cinch seatbelts, shift the front seat into optimal crash position, and close the windows and sunroof."

Close the windows and sunroof, eh? If I looked up at an upcoming potential crash and realized that there was time for the sunroof to go "whirrrrrrr....rrrr..rrrrr...." and close, I'm guessing I'd have time to avoid the actual crash.

But what do I know.

Oh this is ridiculous (as I read further...). A Lexus that parallel parks by itself?

I bet I can still do it better. "Lexus ain't from Chicago, and I am...."

Okay, time for bed...

Posted: Tuesday, May 02, 2006, 3:36 am
Mood: Amused | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Google

Wow.

Logs are an interesting thing....

Get this: If you type "philodendrons" into Google, I'm the last hit on the third page. Really? Out of "about" 75,400 returns, I'm number 30. And I don't know that I actually know any more about philodendrons than anyone else does...

It gets even funnier....

Google (without the quotes) "linux symbolic link". My silly "how to" page is listed FOURTH. Really? Heck, the only reason that page exists is because I can't ever remember if I list the directory first and the link second or the other way around (and yes, duh, I do remember how to do it every time now--but at that time I added that page just as a personal reminder...).

363 unique visitors? I don't believe it....

I thought I could count on one hand the people that visit here.....

Anyway, So is anyone else bored that my mood lately has just been "happy" all the time? Surprisingly, I'm not. My degrees of "happiness" have fluctuated slightly, but overall, well, I'm just happy.

Posted: Tuesday, May 02, 2006, 3:12 am
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Monday

So while I love thunderstorms, I do think that dreary and gloomy and drizzly for days on end makes me depressed.

At least today I get to immerse myself in updating my test server at work. If I had one complaint about this whole RedHat business it would be their subscription "entitlement" thing. When I take a machine and erase it, RedHat network gives me the "system not checking in" thing when I log into their web site. Then I install an OS back onto the machine, and of course, then RedHat Network won't let it do updates because it isn't "entitled." Okay, so you have one machine called ipmtest.cropsci.uiuc.edu that isn't checking in, and then lo and behold, here's another machine called ipmtest.cropsci.uiuc.edu that's trying to get updates but isn't entitled. I guess hoping that it would figure that out on its own is too much to ask. But then I delete the one system and, I think, move the entitlement to the "new" system, but it never really makes it clear whether or not it believes me that the new system is now entitled. Or something.

Okay. Apache is up and running. I need to see what sort of MySQL and PHP packages were installed and see if I need to add anything. Then I have a long date with httpd.conf.

A lot of work to be done, but at least it is stuff that I really like to do!

Posted: Monday, May 01, 2006, 2:37 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


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