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Archived Entries from November 2007

Rocky Ryan

I took a half-day at work today. The redhead and I went and had lunch, and then went to get a gift for the wedding that we are attending tomorrow. As it was apparent that we weren't going back to work, I had a beer with lunch. (Okay, three. Okay, three big ones....) We then bought a set of bowls for the bride and groom, and quickly headed to the hairdresser where the redhead was going to get her hair cut and get highlights (or some such thing).

Fortunately (I think) for me, there was a buffalo wild wings place in the same strip mall. So I bellied up to the bar while the wife got her hair done. It should take like a half hour or so, right?

Well during the time I'm sitting at the bar, drinking my Bud Light drafts, a couple of older fellas sit down in my vicinity. I don't go out of my way to listen to their conversation, but the one guy refers to the other guy as "Rocky." And at that point I wondered, for whatever reason, if he was referring to Rocky Ryan.

Back up a few years. Okay, lots of years.

When I ran Cochrane's on campus, my beer distributor person, at the local (now defunct) Budweiser (et al.) distribution place was named (well, I won't list his first name) Ryan. And was called "Rocky." And I found out over the years that his dad was the actual "Rocky" and used to play football for Illinois and then played for the Bears, etc., etc.

At some point the family I worked for bought a bar that was off-campus. and renovated it and called it Central Tap. They had a huge Fourth of July party with a gigantic tent in the parking lot and live entertainment, etc., etc. With a limited staff for the actual bar, the Cochranes turned to campus doorman staff to act as security. And I was the head doorman of the head doormen.

Anyway. I dealt with Rocky a lot on that day.

So the "Rocky" I knew left the beer business to go work for a soft drink company. I left the bar business to go have a life, that didn't involve the bar business.

Later on, Central Tap was closed. After very, very extensive remodeling, it opened as "Rock's." As you can guess, Rocky was now part of the business deal. The redhead and I eat there occasionally.

This story is totally being derailled.

So I'm at the bar today, while the redhead is a few doors down getting her hair cut, and the not-"Rocky" guy gets up and goes to the bathroom.

So then the "Rocky" guy, who I'm guessing is older than my dad, looks at my orange sweatshirt and asks if I'm an Illini fan. Well, duh.

"Do you know who was the scoring leader for the Illini in 1952?"

"How the hell would I know that?"

"Well, I know who it is."

"Let me guess," I said sarcastically, "it was you."

I was right. We shook hands and introduced ourselves, first name only.

"Not to sound stupid, but are you Rocky Ryan?" I asked.

Illinois legend. Drafted by the Eagles. Played for Da' Bears.

I told him I knew his son. I worked for the Cochrane's. (At which point he leaned back and blessed me like a priest would, and told me that I was going to have salvation, for whatever that's worth...).

But how fun! We talked Illinois football. I bought him and his pal (Randy) a few beers.

I met Rocky Ryan, and knew who he was ahead of time.

Again and again, I love Chicago. But this middle-Illinois business is pretty cool most of the time.

Well, and I just loaded hundreds of pounds of steaks and beef into our deep freezer. Awesome.

Please pardon the typos--I've been drinkin' since 11:15 or so this morning. Ol' Ben Franklin supposedly said that beer is proof that "God" wants us to be happy. I don't know about the deity part, but I'll agree with the happy part.


(I'll explain later...)

Posted: Saturday, December 01, 2007, 12:23 am
Mood: Relaxed | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

I Made It!

A post a day for an entire month.

I think some days I even posted twice. How about that?

Hard to believe that November is already over. Drat. That means I have to get back to working on my application for grad school, that is due on December 15th.

And I have a project for my network security class that is due next Saturday. I'll see if I can get that taken care of this Sunday.

Tomorrow the redhead and I are going to a wedding of two people that I work with. The weather is supposed to get crappy, so I doubt will be at the reception until all hours of the night. It should be fun, at least.

Well, I'll try to get one more post in before the end of the day that's maybe more meaningful than this one, but I am now officially off the hook for NaBloPoMo. Woo hoo!

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2007, 4:36 pm
Mood: Happy | 2 comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Mr. T.

I don't mean the dude from the A-Team (which was a great show, BTW). I'm referring to Mr. Torvalds, of course.

Tonight the redhead was on the phone with our new vet (get this--we don't have to bring the dog to her--she comes to us...). Anyway, the vet must have asked what our puppy's name was, and the redhead told her it was Linus, and after a pause, where she was obviously listening to a question, she replied, no, not that Linus. She said her husband is a computer geek and Linus is named after Linus Torvalds, who created the Linux operating system.

And I don't know what it is about geeks. I tried. I tried to keep my mouth shut. But I just had to say it outloud: "No, he created the Linux kernel...." I was shushed with a motion of an arm, and knew that I should have kept that detail to myself.

It was Alex who suffered the worst, as Em was up in her newly renovated room reading a book, and he was still close by. I explained, in, well, not a lot of detail to me, but probably too much detail to him, how an operating system works and how you have an application layer, and a system layer, and there's hardware, and I/O and how the kernel is sort of in the middle of all that, and I told him about GNU (correctly pronouncing it as Guh-noo), and RMS, and the FSF, and, and....


It's occurred to me in the last few days, during all of this SSN stuff, and checking logs, and running scripts, that I am absolutely not the person I was five years ago, when I first tried to compile and build Apache 2 from scratch, rather than just install the RedHat rpm. I've listened to people on forums, and /., and other places blast certification programs because people with certifications and no experience are worthless (their overall general opinions, maybe not necessarily mine). I was a bit timid about my RHCT certification when I got it. I don't list initials behind my signature in my e-mail. I really don't bring it up much. (For the record, I'm not a fan of initials after titles--I'll admit that I think it appropriate for a doctor to make a distinction of M.D. doctor or Ph.D. doctor, but past that, seeing real estate agents with CR, GR, BSE, CSI after their names is sort of annoying. And yes, I made those initials up. Certified Realtor. Good Realtor. Best Seller Ever. Certified Selling Individual... You took a one-evening class at a community college for sixty bucks...)

But I learned something in those two week-long classes that I took a year apart. I do think that was money (not my money) well spent. I do know what I'm doing, for the most part. I'm not scared of *nix. I'm much more comfortable with a terminal window than a GUI (Oooh, and OS X "Leopard" wouldn't let me create a root-level symbolic link for /home to /Users today, and boy was I mad...).

This has gone off on a total tangent.

When my mother died, I tried like hell to stop being a nerd. I was in my room moving printer cards and disk drive cards to different slots in my Apple //e, seeing what it would mess with, when I could feel the garage door open, and knew that my dad was home from the hospital, and that that wasn't a good thing. I was right.

I went to college and tried pre-med, because doctors make lots of money, and I enjoyed my middle-to-upper-middle class upbringing in the Chicago suburbs.

I found beer. And frat parties. And a bar. And that was the demise of school.

Then thank goodness I found the redhead. Saying that I was a phoenix that arose from my former ashes would be so nerdy so I won't write that.

Papa made me quit my bar job and go back to school. I asked the dean what major I could have that, with my prior coursework, would get me out of the U of I as fast as possible. The answer was rhetoric.

I got a job making $6.50 an hour as a textbook assistant to the assistant editor. Alex was born shortly thereafter.

I quit that job after trying like hell for promotions, and finding that it was very similar to nepotism--nobody got promoted from within--the people that got the open higher-up positions were all friends of other people that were already in other higher-up positions. Even if they had no experience and didn't know what they were doing.

I went to a temp agency, and because I had listed QuarkXPress on my list of "skills," I was placed at a small mom-and-pop printing company. My experience with Quark was that I had, as an assistant-to-the-assistant editor, been given typeset files of textbook chapters, then opened them in Quark, told it to run a dictionary search, and manually wrote down whether the individual findings were probably typos, or were just scientific words that the Quark dictionary didn't understand.

But something went off in my head. Hell, I could learn Quark.

Heck, and looking back, especially Quark. The most picky, badly-coded, awful typesetting program (well, as if there were any good ones--and don't preach LaTex to me) that has ever existed. Using Quark was almost like programming.

Something clicked.

Why am I writing all of this? Sheesh? Oh gawd, I got verklepmt about my mother dying and here's what happened....

Rather than leaving my 0.5 readers hanging, I learned Quark, the hard way. I eventually found a job at the headquarters of an association for oil scientists, as a typesetter. I also ran the film equipment, because (heh) I knew that from working at the printer. How funny.

At the oil chemistry association place I found the Internet. It was not yet quite mainstream, but they had a few computers that could dial in. And they had a crappy web site. And I stood up one day and said they needed a better one. And I was assigned to do the research and take care of it (fortunately with help from a real graphic designer, which I am not).

I eventually took over all Macintosh support for the organization. I learned so much. My boss was awesome. The headquarter organization started to tank, like when General Grievous' ship started to fall out of orbit while Anakin tried to regain control. There's no Anakin at that place.

So I jumped and took a consulting job at a power utility, in the mostly-underground transmission center, as an internal web "developer." I worked there for a year. Sorry, they paid the consulting company, and the consulting company paid me, for a year, but "worked" is probably a misnomer.

The guys there tried to teach my Java. I was in the throes of taking community college computer classes, that started a year or two earlier with the full blessing of my old boss at the oil chemistry place. But I don't know that I ever made much for them that was actually my work. I had a few things, and they weren't pretty. Have I mentioned that I'm not a designer?

I finally got the opportunity to leave there and quit my one-hour each-way commute every day and go back and work for my alma mater.

In April it will be six years.

I may not be finished with school, and with proving all of this, but I'm a nerd again. I graduate with my second Bachelor's degree in May of next year. In what I should have done the first time--computer science. I'm built for this. Athletes on ESPN say that they "live for this"--well, I live for this. And yeah, I'm a RedHat Certified Technician to boot. Don't be surprised if I'm a RedHat Certified Engineer before I finish graduate school.

I've truly become a nerd again. Even if my somewhat-gruff personality is more like agent John Casey from Chuck than Chuck from Chuck.

Seriously. And I'm thrilled.

Is anyone still awake after reading this? Apparently I've missed Earl....

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2007, 1:47 am
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Two Days Left

I'm actually quite surprised that I made it through the entire month of November while posting every day. And for the most part, every one of my posts has been somewhat substantial and not just "I went to work today, came home, and drank beer."

I got up rather early today. I'm so wrapped up in this SSN removal thing that I had a hard time sleeping last night. What a pain in the neck.

We go pick up our cow tomorrow--I'm pretty sure that the freezer has thawed out completely, so hopefully the whole thing will fit in there.

The kids' new bedroom furniture arrived yesterday, and I must say, both of their rooms look awesome. No longer are they little kids' rooms. The kids, of course, like their new rooms as well.

Linus can get up the stairs now. His inside world has just doubled in size. And once he gan get downstairs its overall size will have tripled.

Well I suppose I should get in the shower and get ready for work.

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2007, 12:37 pm
Mood: Restless | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment


The part of owning a dog that I'm most looking forward to is running the damn neighborhood cats out of the yard.

Get 'em, Linus. Chase them 'round the moons of Nibia, and 'round the Antares Maelstrom, and 'round perdition's flames. I may have gotten a dog, but I still despise kitties.


Is it Friday yet? This week has been brutal.

And I spent today trying to figure out how I could use "Spotlight" in OS X with a regular expression. Campus is enforcing an across-the-board scanning and removal of any files that have social security numbers from any networked computers. Their main tool works for Windows (well, sort of--the listserv for the campus computer geeks was quite busy this afternoon...). They have a Mac "version" (it's a totally different thing, but with the same name) that supposedly can find them, but I ran it and came up with only 11 problematic files, and at least five were false positives.

Then I ran grep against my home directory (recursively) looking for a regular expression pattern that should match any three numbers, a dash, any two numbers, a dash, and any four numbers. It found hundreds of files. The listing took six pages to print out. 99% of them were from a grants project that we've done over the years, and yes, every file it found had a social security number in it. Yikes!

But they were Word files. grep won't work on PDFs.

Spotlight does, though. But I can't use regexen in Spotlight.

Then we are at an impasse. Spotlight is no match for my regular expressions. And my PDF files are no match for grep.

All of the files that grep found (which really, should be all of them, because I don't have PDF versions of the stuff that was in "violation") have been burned to multiple DVDs and removed from my machine.

Phew. Is this week over yet? Is this semester over yet? Is this year over yet?

My goodness.

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2007, 12:35 am
Mood: Anxious | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Four More Days

And I almost accidentally blew it just now. (Whoops).

I meant to blog during lunch today. Didn't happen.

I thought about it a couple of times driving home. I got home, and it didn't happen.

I've spent the last couple of hours talking about life as a university/state employee to my best friend Jeff, and forgot all about it.

But the kids' new furniture comes tomorrow, and I had to carry a bookshelf downstairs. And came into the Nerdrium to do a quick check of e-mail.

And flashed, like Chuck, and realized I needed to blog for the day.

So here's your lame post. Heh.

I'm quite content right now, to be honest. The redhead may be slightly perturbed that we sat and talked so long, but I'm glad that Jeffrey and I had our chat. Everyone is so busy right now, and under a lot of stress, and it's good to have a good talk about it. My work is fun, and I really like it, but it is nice to come up and take a breath of fresh air once in a while.

I spent today coding frantically. Trying to fix code from last year that was poorly written (by me, admittedly). I truly write on the fly. And I'm not 20, and I don't always have the best plan ahead of time. So sometimes I get frustrated as all get-out with my PHP sloppyness, after spend an hour whittling out possible defective code only to come to:

while ($i = 0);

Let me lecture again the difference between "=" and "==". Aargh.


I got my new MacBook Pro today. It's pretty cool. I haven't had much time to mess with it.


I think I'm ready to tackle graduate school. I'm almost looking forward to it.


Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2007, 3:49 am
Mood: Content | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment


I'll spare everyone the favored Star Trek statement that us geek types always utter when a piece of electronic equipment cannot be resuscitated.

I should have let my powerbook sit for longer than 20 minutes before trying to start it up after the water spill. Whoops.

I was able to remove the hard drive, however, and copy what little data I had on it to my machine at work. Some of the people I work with like to have a laptop as their main machine in their office, so that they can take everything with them when they travel. I don't like that any more than I like hearing people say that they use a flash drive as their main method of backup. Anything you can drop down a sewer, or step on and smush, isn't a viable backup solution.

Likewise, if you leave your laptop in an airport, you may as well have dropped your keys in a river of molten lava. Forget it, 'cause man, it's gone. Or, well, spill a glass of water on it while it is running.

Once I get rsnapshot working that will be less of a concern, but still.

Most of what I had on my laptop was stuff that I either had on a server or had on my work machine, so it wasn't that big of a deal (well, and the hard drive was still in good shape--just the motherboard is probably fried....).

Oh well.

Posted: Monday, November 26, 2007, 10:25 pm
Mood: Not Thrilled | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Meet Linus!

Here's the new pup!

He's five weeks old. The first night home with us he slept part of the night with the redhead on the couch and the rest of the night with me on the couch. Last night was his first experience in the kennel, and he didn't quite like it so much. The redhead got up with him at one point, and I was up with him for the day at 5:00 a.m.

But that's okay. He's a good dog.

Surprised that I'm saying that? I am too.

But the wife is happy, and the kids are happy, and I'm admittedly happy about it as well.

He doesn't much like going outside to go to the bathroom, but he's getting much, much better about it. And I don't mind holding him when he comes back in and is shivering.

I can't believe we have a dog. He's lucky he's cute.

How 'bout them Bears! Woo hoo!

Posted: Monday, November 26, 2007, 1:07 am
Mood: Happy | 5 comments | Article URL | Post a comment


I almost blew it!

Well, I guess there are still over six hours left in the day, but I almost forgot about blogging and would have blown the NaBloPoMo thing if Aunt Molly wouldn't have just told me that I need to stay creative with my writing to be like Dooce.

That's not exactly what she said. I had a paper due today in my silly "Animals and Human Civilization" class (groan). I wrote about half of it a couple of weeks ago, and meant to write the rest of it on Monday. Then Tuesday. Then Wednesday. Then Friday. Then beer and football sounded better on Friday than writing did.

So I promised myself last night that I would get up and finish it today.

Of course I spent the night last night on the couch with a sleeping puppy.

Today we had Thanksgiving part deux at the in-laws' house. So the redhead was making potatoes and I was down here trying to finish my stupid, stupid paper about the therapeutic effects of fish.

Worst paper ever. Honest.

Well we're back from Papa and Gwammo's house, and have Aunt Molly and her dog Kozmo with us (Uncle Coley Goofus is at a movie in Champaign with his cousin). Molly started to proofread my paper, which I had printed out for the redhead to look over before we left for the in-laws'. I told her that it didn't matter--the paper was due at 5:30 and I had already turned it in before we left the house this morning.

And she told me I need to be creative with my writing.

I know that I have a college degree in rhetoric. But I'm a nerd now. I don't want to be creative. I don't have time to be creative. At least not as far as writing goes.

Well, Kansas and Mizzou starts in an hour or two (I think). Go Missouri! And I really, really hope that Cole knows what he's talking about and Coach Self is going to a pro team. Take that, Kansas!

Posted: Saturday, November 24, 2007, 11:51 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

What Have I Done?

After years and years and years of holding out, I've finally been broken.

We got the kids a dog.

I've never liked dog hair in my food. Or dog hair on the carpet. Or dog hair on my clothes. I don't like big smelly dogs that bark and jump all over people and are obnoxious. Big dogs belong on 25-acre ranches, not in little houses.

When Aunt Molly and Coley Goofus got married and moved into their new house this past year they got a Boston Terrier named Kozmo.

And I actually like Kozmo. Much to everyone's surprise, I even allow Kozmo in our house. I welcome him, even. He's small. He doesn't shed. He snorts and growls like a grumpy old man, but doesn't bark and carry on.

And there was an ad in the paper a few weeks back for Boston Terrier puppies in Arthur.

Of course, everyone else involved threw out the newspaper before writing down the phone number, so Wednesday I went to the main library, then the periodical library, and finally the communications library in Gregory Hall. Down in the ancient basement reading room they had two weeks' worth of the newspaper, and sure enough, I found the ad.

We were originally going to put $50 down on the dog today and then pay the balance when we picked it up in a few weeks, but the woman today said he was ready to go home (she had six more, and apparently was acting like she was ready to be rid of them...).

Well they just got home with our new puppy. My initial suggestion was to name him Sheldon, after one of the nerds on the Big Bang Theory show. Then the redhead and I almost simultaneously came up with Linus.

Now how's that for geek cred?

Posted: Friday, November 23, 2007, 6:57 pm
Mood: Lazy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know, "stuffed" isn't really a "mood" per se, but it's my blog so I can do what I want.

I need to make this post short, however, because I need to go to Apple's web site and price a new laptop.

Yep, half a glass of water. That's all it took.

First it would start up, get to a gray screen with a black line on it, then shut off. Then it would start up, get to the gray screen and hang there.

Then it would start up, chime, and show nothing on the screen.

Then it got to the point where it would start up (you could hear the hard drive, and pressing caps lock would make the green light turn on).

Now it won't do anything.


(Eh, it was several years old. Now I can get an Intel-based one and can run Parallels and such...)

Posted: Thursday, November 22, 2007, 6:57 pm
Mood: Stuffed | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

The Therapeutic Effects of Fish as Pets

That's the title of my paper that is due on Saturday. I should be working on it right now but I have no desire to mess with it.

I can always do it Friday.

But everyone else has left the office for the holiday weekend. I would leave too but the redhead and I carpooled this morning so I'm sort of stuck here until she can leave work later this afternoon. So I should be working on my paper.

I just got back from making my way over to the undergraduate library to check out a copy of the book that they wouldn't let me check out from the main library stacks (still not sure why--I even asked the kid at the undergrad library and he didn't see any reason why they would have only let me have it in the building...).

The kid at the library called me "professor." (There are really two main types of workers at the University--"faculty" and "civil service staff"--but then there are a much smaller group of "academic professionals," who are people who do stuff like what I do, must have a college degree as a requirement for employment, and aren't really classified as faculty or staff. But we're closer to faculty, and that's what my ID card says on it, so sometimes people get confused... Or something...)

The redhead called the butcher yesterday about how we want our half of a cow cut up. I'm excited. But we need to get the freezer in the garage completely cleaned out (and thawed to melt all the ice that has built up inside) and the freezer above the fridge emptied as well. Looks like lots of beef for the next couple of weeks until our half-cow is ready...

Well I'm stuck here until the redhead can leave for the day, so I may as well take the time and get this paper written. Ugh.

Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2007, 7:24 pm
Mood: Unmotivated | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment


I know that I've had this explained to me fifty times before, and I understand the reasoning behind it, but I still have a problem with the school photographer claiming that they hold a copyright for a picture of my child(ren).

You took a picture of each of my kids. I paid you for those pictures.

They are my pictures now.

If I go buy a magazine at the grocery store, and find an article that is interesting in it, and photocopy it at the library so I can bring the copy with me at work, I'm pretty sure I can do that. Right? I'm not selling it. I'm not copying it from the magazine and not buying the magazine. I paid for the magazine. It's mine.

I'm not distributing anything to anyone for my own profit or otherwise.

So how is it that I can't make duplications of pictures of my kids that I paid for already?

The short answer? I'll make all the duplications I want and there's nothing they can do about it.

I know, I know--if you go to Walgreens and try to use the kiosk thing that scans the picture and then prints it out, the camera department clerk has to come okay it and will bong you if you try to copy a professional picture.

Don't do it that way. I'd rather not reveal my methodology, but let's just say that I won't be going anywhere near a Walgreens....

Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2007, 1:55 pm
Mood: Okay | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

The Dentist

So I went to the dentist this morning, for the third time in a month or so. My first visit was for a cleaning, which are supposed to be six months apart but always feel like they're only two or three months apart. Two weeks ago I had to have two of four cavities fixed (from my top teeth being too close together--and they weren't really cavities to begin with--my dentist used some new tool thing that could check density of enamel, and found four teeth that were going to be problematic so fixed them before they actually turned into cavities, or something).

I also had dental impressions made. Yuck. And I promise, (did I blog about this before?) that I'm never having that done again.

So today I had the third of four fillings done, and got my "splint"--the mouthpiece thing that they made for me for my TMJ (which is why I had the impressions made two weeks ago).

ANYWAY. This wasn't supposed to be about my teeth.

It's about weird human nature.

I schedule my dentist appointments at 8:00 a.m.--right when Prairie Dental Circle opens--so that I don't have to wait when appointments invariably run long and there are emergencies, etc. When I show up at 8:00 I'm the first one there. Well, they have two dentists and multiple hygienists (sp?), so there are three or four or more people that get there for appointments at 8:00. My point to all of this?

In each of the last three visits I've sat in the waiting room for less than two or three minutes. But each time, during those few minutes, at least one man has come into the office, checked in, then gone straight for the single, unisex bathroom.

Gone into the single bathroom to finish up, err, their "morning business," if you get my drift. (I know--gross....).

Isn't that weird? Seriously. I'm not going to get into my schedule, but I'd sure as hell never show up at the dentist's office, say hello to Ellen at the front desk, then casually wander into the waiting room and into the shared bathroom and do that.

I hope that when I'm an old man that I have some damn sense. Make your appointment for 8:15, then, and take care of that at home.

I almost blew NaBloPoMo today, even though I've meant to blog about the dentist since this morning. But I'm still in the game--eleven days to go. (?)

And yeah, I'm that busy right now. I wish Thanksgiving weren't this week--I need the two extra work days. Oh well. I'll try to relax Thursday and maybe Friday. We'll see.

Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2007, 12:15 am
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Meat Is Murder

...tasty, tasty murder.

The cows went off to the slaughterhouse last week. We've actually entered the grow-your-own-meat system this year for the first time. We'll we haven't actually done anything, but we've been given permission to buy a half. Maybe next year we'll be more instrumental in buying the calves, etc. (Like I know how all of this works...).

At any rate, I have to call the meat locker tomorrow and tell them how thick we want our steaks, how many pounds of hamburger per package, etc., etc.

You've never had a good steak until you've had one from a cow that you know has done nothing but sit around and eat corn all year long. Mmmm....

The in-laws cleaned out their freezer today in anticipation of their loot, so we're helping them eat the rest of the meat from last year.

I'm excited.

So I've calmed down about my dumb neighbor. As I painted my son's room today I had a bird's eye view of his goings on outside. He had tried to burn the trunk and stuff of that tree yesterday, but it didn't work because (duh) it was a live tree. Today he walked out there with a full bag of charcoal briquets and stuffed them down in the pile of tree debris, covered the whole thing with leaves, and set it on fire.

The leaves burned. Nothing else did.

Oh my goodness--the Bears are awful...

Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2007, 11:24 pm
Mood: Bushwhacked | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment

Pure Rage

I realize it is his property.

Remember my neighbor that moved in to the north of me a couple of years back? The one that cut down an eight foot mock orange bush that was on my property and then was about to cut down a 12-foot lilac bush before I politely stopped him? (And then he freaked out about it to my mother-in-law, like I was some mean evil overload who wouldn't let him chop down MY bushesh...).

Last year he took to hacking apart his own trees. Climbing up on ladders and cutting off all limbs that were less then 12 feet from the ground. Total moron.

Today he cut down a beautiful 30-year old redbud tree that was off the side of his garage. I'm talking gorgeous.

Chopped it down to a stump, with a circular saw and a compound mitre saw.

I'm trying not to be livid, but it's hard. Fine, it's his property this time. But what a moron. I shouldn't say moron. We're pretty sure he has a form of asperger's and loves to burn things, which is why he does this. (My mother-in-law attributes his freakish actions to being "too smart"--I know a lot of smart people. My neighbor? Not so much. Weird, maybe. Not smart....)

What a travesty.

Illinois won, at least. And I'm finished with Em's room, though the boy's room is a disaster, and I'm not doing anything more with it today.

He can pick up all the Legos.... And if his room doesn't get painted before the new furniture arrives, that's not my problem. I agreed to paint--not to be a maid.

Posted: Saturday, November 17, 2007, 9:23 pm
Mood: Livid | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment


I don't have too much to report, but I didn't want to blow the NaBloPoMo thing.

I took the day off work today so that I could paint Em's room. The redhead and I went to Benoud's this morning and picked out paint for both kids' rooms.

After two coats of very, very light blue paint, the Pepto Bismol pink walls are now completely covered up and only a memory.

Okay, I need to go pick up pizza--maybe I'll write something worthwhile tomorrow...

Posted: Friday, November 16, 2007, 11:59 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Bloody Mess

So I must have had a zit or something on the back of my neck, right at the base of my skull.

Whatever it was hurt like hell when I ran a triple-bladed razor over it at 6:00 this morning. And you would have thought I was filming Psycho in the shower afterwards. How such a small hole could bleed that much is beyond me. And it kept bleeding--my towel was covered in the short time it took me to dry off. Then I ran around the house with a wad of toilet paper pressed to the back of my head while I searched for band-aids.

I finally found a box. "Dora the Explorer." Wonderful.

So now I have a cotton ball with two criss-crossed Dora band-aids on the back of my head.


I need to finish my grad school application today. It isn't due for another month, but the sooner I can get it done and submitted and forget about it the better.

Halfway through November and I'm still keeping up with NaBloPoMo!

Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2007, 2:53 pm
Mood: Anxious | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment


A pal of mine from the fine state of Iowa "tagged" me yesterday to do a little survey thing.

Unfortunately, I'm guessing that she's going to be somewhat disappointed in my answers. I'm not really a big book reader (the redhead and the snotrockets read a lot, but not me). I thought I'd humor her, however, so here we go...

The Questions:
1) How many books do you own?

I don't have any idea. I have a bunch of computer books at work, and a fair number in the Nerdrium, but most novels that I've collected over the years I donated to the little library in town many years ago.

2) What was the last book you read?

Oh, this will be interesting. How about Network Intrusion Detection, Third Edition, by Northcutt and Novak. Interesting stuff.

3) What was the last book you purchased?

The Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings, edited by Linda Kalof and Amy Fitzgerald. I had to buy it for a class.

4) What five books are most meaningful to you?


How about:
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Neuromancer by William Gibson
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Hmm. I can't think of more than three....

5) What is your most obscure favorite book? Or, favorite most obscure book?

Heh, I actually have an answer for this one. How about Hobgoblin by John Coyne.

Unfortunately, I don't really know anyone else that I can send this too, unless Mr. Hooker would like to take a stab at it...

Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2007, 2:56 pm
Mood: Exhausted | 5 comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Last Golfing Day

November 13, 2007, 64 degrees Fahrenheit, light winds, sunny skies--who on Earth could be expected to stay inside this afternoon?

So I left work at 11:00, picked up a Papa John's pizza, and met the redhead at Hessel Park. The weather was gorgeous (as was the redhead) and the pizza was quite good, even if the pizza makers were a bit heavy-handed with the black olives (which I don't mind, but there were a lot of them).

After kissing the redhead goodbye I headed home.

I had put the golf cart on the charger at 6:00 this morning before leaving for work. This was probably going the be the last day of golf for the year.

And of course, every old retired person in town had the same idea I did. There was even a group playing seven. Groan. So I skipped in front of as many people as I could and got seven holes in before heading back home. I didn't do well, but I didn't do too poorly either. It didn't help that the clubhouse was closed so I couldn't get any beer....

But it's been a fun golf season. I'm glad I joined. Both the redhead and the kids want to play next year.

After golf I came home and watched a silly Arnie movie ("Eraser") and had a few beers.

Now I'm making chicken and broccoli for dinner, and the geerow and the redhead both just got home, so I guess I should wrap this up before Alex gets home from basketball.

Oh, and I saw a cool hawk sitting on our fence in the backyard after I got home....


Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 11:33 pm
Mood: Happy | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment

Stroke Man, Stroke Man

So when I was in junior high--parochial junior high--we had to take dance lessons. Well, I'm not sure we had to take them, but we all did (if it wasn't everyone, it was just about everyone). They were at night, maybe one night a week, in the lower level of the chapel.

Our church/school consisted of three buildings. The three-floor high school was in a building by itself. Then the "church," which was an old building like the high school, was another building, with the two upper floors and part of the main floor being the grade school and junior high. Lastly was the "chapel" which was newer, had a bigger worship area (?) than the "church," had the high school gym on the second floor, and a bunch of rooms in the "lower level" including a rather substantial main room--where we had our dance lessons. The "chapel" was connected to the grade school by "the ramp," an elevated concrete tunnel that went from the second floor of the school to the second level of the "chapel."


As if being in junior high wasn't awkward enough, now add silly dance lessons. I don't know what everyone's parents were thinking. It's not the roaring 20s anymore.

So, of course, I was a nerd, so I had even a harder time with the stupid dance lessons. We were assigned partners most of the time, so that wasn't a problem, but there were times when the girls would line up on one side and the boys would line up on the other (they must have done stupid stuff like this in the 1950s or something) and boys would have to walk to a girl on the other side and ask "May I have this dance?"

Do you know how fricking humiliating it is to be told "no" in this situation? I mean, seriously. We're in silly dance lessons--I'm not asking to marry you. Well, there was this girl--we'll call her "Buffy" because, well, her name was Buffy. Heh, that's sort of funny. I feel better about this story already. Well, Buffy was my "girlfriend" in third and fourth grade. When I had my first hernia surgery (in third grade) I had to stay in at recess and was told I could have a friend stay inside with me. I picked Buffy. We would sit in the prayer corner and kiss (oh, this story is so ridiculous), and try to do it like people on television (make out, in other words, though we didn't know how to "make out"). We'd press our lips together and count to five with our fingers.

Okay, I'm derailing this story.

So once we were in junior high, I became more of a nerd, and Buffy became more of a stuck-up, well, word that rhymes with "witch." And maybe I still had a small torch aflame for her, and maybe sometimes I would get up the nerve to ask her "May I have this dance?" in dance class.

And on more than one occasion, she told me "no." Seriously?

Anyway. This story wasn't supposed to be about Buffy. When it came time to go to high school I went to the big public high school and she went to the church high school. From there she went to the all-girls college that was the counterpart to Notre Dame (St. Mary's, maybe?)--her dad had gone to Notre Dame (and was the dancing leprochaun) and her older brother was at Notre Dame (and was the dancing leprochaun). I think she ended up being a cheerleader or something as well. I'm sure she married a good catholic boy from Notre Dame, had three or four or ten good catholic children, and gives 15% of her income to the church.

So back to my story about dance lessons. The guy that taught the dance lessons was sort of a weird dude, as I'm sure anyone can imagine. And he always had a "helper," which was usually a girl from high school, but not from our high school.

Well, at the end of our hour-long dance lessons, he'd always have a free dance of sorts, where he played contemporary music and we'd all jump around and "dance" like the stupid little kids we were. He gave away 45s as well, usually of the songs he'd play at the end of class. I'm not sure what one had to do to "win" one--I never did, I don't think.

On the way to work today I was flipping radio stations, and the song "The Stroke" by Billy Squier was playing. "The Stroke" was one of the songs that our dance teacher would play at the end of the evening. We all thought the lyrics were "stroke man, stroke man" and had no idea what the song was really about.

But it occurred to me while listening to the radio this morning that this creepy dance lesson guy had to know what the words were, and had to know what Mr. Squier was talking about. Right?

Let's just finish by saying that I wasn't really surprised when I was in high school and my dad told me that our old dance teacher had been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting and abusing more than one of his "helpers" over the years.

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 12:49 pm
Mood: Pensive | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Da' Bears!

I successfully quelled my desire to do anything productive yesterday. I watched part of the Packers/Vikings game, then took a nap with the redhead after Papa and Gwammo came and picked up the kids to go shopping for new bed linens (the in-laws bought both kids all new bedroom sets--beds and dressers--for Christmas).

I'm repainting both kids' rooms this week in anticipation of the new furniture, etc. We've convinced Alex to take all the ratty posters off his wall, and I'll just hang his nice framed White Sox team photograph. I'm going to paint his walls light gray, and maybe put a black stripe on one of them or something. He got black and gray bedsheets and blankets, so it will look pretty cool. Em wants light blue in her room, but contrary to what everyone else is suggesting, I am not getting the exact same color as her sheets. Trust me, everyone, that will be too dark and even if not, still a bit much. I'll get a swatch that matches it, and we'll go "up" a couple of shades on the card.

In other news, how 'bout them Bears! When Griese was doing poorly a couple of weeks back I was hoping they'd put sexy Rexy back in, and I got my wish yesterday after the old man from Michigan hurt his shoulder after getting sacked. And what a difference that made! We got "good Rex" yesterday. Even when he was doing badly earlier in the season I thought they should stick with him--I get tired of the old, washed-up quarterback thing. It's more exciting to watch us lose with Rex than watch us lose with some old guy that is now playing in his 20th season with his 27th different team. Yawn city.

But Rex came in and threw a nice bomb to Bernard Berrian to give the Bears the lead and we never looked back. I hope Coach Lovie sticks with Rex for the rest of the year. We're not going to make the playoffs (seriously--does anyone out there think the Packers are just going to fold and that the Bears are going to win the rest of their games? I didn't think so...) so we may as well be happy with what we have.

Last night we got caught up with Survivor episodes, and then had time to watch The Amazing Race. This whole writers strike might be good for us, as we'll be able to get caught up on all of our network shows once they start prematurely going to re-runs.

Drat. I have to finish up the final draft of my paper for that silly Animals class. Oh well.

Posted: Monday, November 12, 2007, 4:27 pm
Mood: Awesome | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

And That's Why...'ll never see me (or hear of me) jumping out of a plane, especially one that is perfectly capable of landing safely.

Skydiver Found Dead 2 Days After Jump.

In other news...

I'm still doing okay with not doing anything today, although my antsy-ness level has probably moved from 0 out of 10 up to close to 1 or so. Maybe I'll open a beer here shortly and see if that helps make sure I keep my butt on the couch.

On the couch, watching the Vikings versus the Packers. Jeez, who do I want to lose this game? I think I'd rather the Vikings lose. As much as I'm sworn to hate the dreaded Packers, I do have to respect both their quarterback, Bert Favor, and the fact that their team is actually owned by their town, and not some rich, pompous football family.

Speaking of da' Bears... They play in Oakland in the late afternoon game. It should be quite the yawner. It's too bad there are two early games on, which means there will only be one late game, so I won't have anything else to watch when the Bears game goes south.

Maybe ESPN classic is replaying the Illini vs. OSU game again, like they did earlier this morning (yeah they really did, and yeah, I sat and watched it, again...).

Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2007, 7:47 pm
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Lazy Sunday

Well I woke up yesterday and promised myself that I was going to do anything the entire day. It had been a heck of a week and I needed a day off.

That lasted about an hour.

I "raked" the main part of the front yard (with a leaf blower, for the most part), including part of my neighbor Pete's yard--I figure if I'm going to clean up the leaves, I may as well go all the way to his driveway and get all of them. Then I actually mowed that part of the yard for what I'm assuming will be the final time of the year. My motivation for raking and mowing was that the bulk of the leaves have yet to fall, and the grass is just long enough that raking them becomes more of a pain in the neck, so I wanted to cut the grass one last time so that raking next weekend isn't totally awful.

So while I tried to do nothing yesterday, I promise that I'm going to do nothing today. Maybe watch some football...

It's all about the Hamiltons...

Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2007, 2:55 pm
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How Sweet It Is...

Are you kidding me?

I sat on the couch in total shock as time ran out.

Sports aren't the end of the world (right, kids?), but this was certainly a refreshing outcome.

I'm almost as happy that Michigan lost.

Rooting against Notre Dame almost isn't even fun anymore. Well, yeah it is...

Now we need to hope that Tressel's kids can win in the big house next weekend so we get a share of second place.

Actually, I just need to keep doing well in my two classes. As should all of you that are in school. Ten years from now your degree will mean more than who won the football game way-back-when.

Okay, grandpa, get off the soapbox, grab your beer, and go back upstairs....

Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2007, 1:47 am
Mood: Ecstatic! | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Peaks and Valleys

Ahh, finally the weekend. I got all of my readings and subsequent posts for my class done yesterday so I won't have to mess with it today. In fact, I don't really have anything to mess with today.

We moved a web site from the college server to our server yesterday, and the DNS should have been pushed through late yesterday afternoon. I didn't really want to get out of bed just yet this morning so I grabbed the laptop and climbed back under the covers next to the redhead.

Well it appears the DNS change happened, but the site I moved (that I never really took the time to look at) is expecting database connections and all sorts of other stuff, so it just comes up as a blank page. Wonderful.

I'll deal with it Monday.

So I checked in on one of my classes to see if anyone replied to my post or any of my replies to other posts. And encountered a pet peeve that I've now seen twice in as many days. This one was in a post by a student, but the previous one was offered up by the publisher of our local small-town newspaper.

Things don't "peak" your interest, people. The word is "pique."

"to excite or arouse especially by a provocation, challenge, or rebuff"

If something piques your interest, then your interest has been piqued.

I know, I know. I'm not perfect either. And I was an adult before the redhead explained to me that the phrase was "I'd just as soon..." and not "I'd just assume..." Of course, I was hearing and interpreting incorrectly--not hearing correctly and using the wrong word.

Anyway. I should type more quietly or I'm going to wake up the redhead....

Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2007, 1:40 pm
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Finally Friday

Thank goodness. This has been a hell of a week. It's a good thing I didn't have a lot to do for school this week or it probably wouldn't have gotten done.

Locking down my server(s) to prevent further intrusions has been a lot more complicated, and a lot more work, than I had anticipated. Not to mention the fact that I have about eight other huge projects going on at the same time. I'm always happier to be busy than be idle, and I sure am swamped, so I must be happy too. Heh.

I haven't seen a lot of our son lately. He is one of the managers for the high school boys basketball team--Papa is the head coach again, so Al got drafted to be one of the managers. He apparently enjoys it, but he seems to be spending more time at basketball practice than at hom. As long as he's getting his homework done, I guess.

I'm not sure what's in store for this weekend. I've been spending so much energy trying to get through the week that I've given little thought about what to do once the week is over.

Big quandary for today: the redhead was home yesterday morning with our sick daughter, and she's out of the office all day today. My Bamba pal Tod is out of the office today, so that coupled with the redhead being home yesterday morning had us move Bamba day from Friday to Thursday. So now I'm the only one at work today. Do I get a burrito again for lunch today? Surely the sandwich I made yesterday morning in anticipation of eating at my office won't be any good today, right?

Decisions, decisions.

Posted: Friday, November 09, 2007, 2:04 pm
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I'm not going to start work today at 4:30 like I did yesterday. I was bushwhacked last night--I'm not sure what time I fell asleep but I'm sure it was well before the 10:00 o'clock news.

Late yesterday afternoon I came home and took our daughter to the doctor because she had a sore throat and a bad cough. They did a quick strep test which came back negative. When we finally saw the doctor he said that he was reluctant to prescribe an antibiotic because it's probably a virus. He was almost apologetic about it. Heck no, Dr. Lee, if she doesn't need an antibiotic, don't give her one! I'm not one of "those people" that demands an antibiotic every time I get the sniffles. Or people that, when prescribed antibiotics, stop taking them as soon as they start feeling better, even though the instructions specifically say to keep taking it until they are all gone. I even know some people that keep half-full bottles of antibiotics from whenever and prescribe them to themselves (and family and friends) when they deem it necessary.

And now we have these antibiotic-resistant strains of staph out in the wild. Thanks, everyone! Thanks for insisting on antibiotics when you had a virus. Thanks for not taking all of your antibiotics as you were instructed, possibly allowing a half-controlled-but-still-alive bacterium to mutate into something worse.

Wow. I didn't mean for that to turn into a tirade.

So after we got home from the doctor's office I got sucked into a "fifteen minute" time vortex. It was before the redhead was going to get home from work, and our side yard was filled with leaves, and even though I try to wait until all the leaves have fallen before cleaning them up, I told myself I'd grab a rake and the blower and spend fifteen minutes getting the bulk of what was there to the street. You know, sort of give myself a "head start" on what I'll have to tackle this weekend.

Two hours later.... (It was a lot of leaves...).

I will have to admit that being able to burn leaves is one of the nice things about living in rural America. Personally, I would vote against being able to burn leaves, but as long as it is legal in our town, I'm sure as heck going to do it because it is by far the easiest method of disposal.

And no, I don't think that it is overly terrible for the environment. Our little town could burn all the leaves on every tree, every fall for 100 years and that still wouldn't be equal to what went up in flames in southern California last month. And putting the leaves in bags and burying them in landfills isn't great for the environment either. No matter what people think, stuff doesn't decompose in a landfill. There's no oxygen, and stuff is packed so tightly that nothing decomposes. Anyway.

I don't feel bad. I still have a small environmental footprint than Albert Gore does.....

Posted: Thursday, November 08, 2007, 12:47 pm
Mood: Busy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Just Plain Awful...

I can't believe some of these web application pages actually even work.

Well I got a lot of security-related stuff straightened out this morning. Like not connecting to the database as a user with full privileges when all the page needs to do is read data. I created a new "read only" user that will handle those connections--even if someone manages to inject SQL, it won't execute because the user doesn't have permission to do anything other than SELECT data.

I already one-way hash any administrative passwords, but they still get sent in plaintext from here to the server (which is, albeit, over a relatively secure network as we're inside the campus firewall...). However, I have random "admin" pages strewn about inside various separate application directories. I'm removing all of those (I've already taken most down that aren't needed anytime soon) and am going to use one single "/admin" directory that will keep a session open after the administrator logs in, and all transactions back and forth will go through https. Why didn't I do all of this back then? Who knows.

I had several pages that had queries and result sets inside of queries and result sets inside of other queries and result sets. Okay, we're not 10 years old anymore--how about one single query to handle all of that. Some of my pages were no better than any of those various uber-crappy PHP-based bulletin board/forum systems that run slow as molassis because they use 40 queries to draw a single page.

Anyway. This is lots of work but I'm making good progress.

I was planning on going for the twelve-hour day today, but it looks like I'll be cut short. My daughter is sick and has to go to the doctor at about 3:00, so it looks like I'll only be here for 9 hours or so. I'm happy to be able to leave "early," but I wish the circumstances were different. My poor geerow--she apparently sounded awful when she talked to the redhead on the phone earlier...

Well, I've got about another hour to go and I'm kind of in a zone, so I'm going to get back at it...

Posted: Wednesday, November 07, 2007, 6:58 pm
Mood: Tired | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

SQL Injection

Yes, you read that time right. I got to work at 4:30 this morning. I hope I don't get towed from the parking garage for being in there before 6:00 a.m....

I can't sleep. I have too much work to do. The number of PHP applications that I'm going to have to clean up is ridiculous. Six years of sloppy coding that has to be fixed as soon as possible. And this couldn't have come at a worse time--the end of the calendar year brings me a couple of hugely time-consuming projects every year.

Okay, I'm being too hard on myself. Maybe "sloppy" isn't the right word. If I only knew then what I know now...

Well, I had better get to sanitizing....

Posted: Wednesday, November 07, 2007, 10:59 am
Mood: Exhausted | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Last Semester

It's official--I've registered for my last semester at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

I'm irritated though, because I forgot to register yesterday, which was the first day. So the class about the Beatles is already full. I'm taking a class about the rise of Chinese capitalism instead, which should be interesting. And of course I'm taking a computer class as well--Software Engineering Capstone. The instructor is the guy that gave me my one 'B.' I guess I'll have to give it 110% this time around.

I went to the campus computer security group meeting this morning. I had to walk there in a big hurry (maybe a mile or so) and it was cold out. I had a sweatshirt on and my leather jacket, and was walking fast enough that I was sweating by the time I got there.

And of course they dealt with my situation first since I was a guest. And I kept sweating. Gross.

We talked about the hacking of my web server last month. They assured me that my response was appropriate, that it happens somewhat frequently, and they appreciated that I wanted to come talk to them about it.

It was very interesting. They are very nice, very professional people, and they do know their stuff. After the meeting I went back to the office and sent one of the wonderfully helpful security officers some of my log files from the time of the attack.

It was SQL injection. Five days before I thought it had first been compromised.

I felt violated when this first happened. Then I was irritated.

Now I'm just embarrassed.

I have a lot of work to do....

Posted: Tuesday, November 06, 2007, 10:28 pm
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Dental Impressions

I had to go to the dentist this morning to get two cavities filled and to get a set of impressions made for a "splint."

And these weren't cavities in the middle of teeth from not brushing. These were little pips on the backs of a couple of my upper front teeth, where the enamel level was starting to wear through. In fact, they were detected with some new-fangled tool that can read the density of the enamel on a given tooth. So techincally they weren't a cavity until she drilled into each of them. Anyway. The most amusing part about that was that fillings now-a-days aren't metal anymore, and whatever stuff they use can be mixed to be different shades of ivory to better match the color of your teeth. So they sat there with their tooth "swatches" trying to match my color. Remember, these are for two tiny little holes on the back of my teeth.

Then I had to get impressions made so that they can get me a moutpiece (sorry--they kept referrring to it as a "splint," which of course makes me think someone has broken their leg....). I've had impressions made before--twice. Both times were for braces (I had a couple of rather severe oral surgeries in between the time the first set and second set were made, requiring a new set). Well, I'm "gaggy." And I think even non-gaggy people would not find having that crap in their mouth enjoyable.

I did okay on the first impression, which was on the bottom, except that she was pressing it down kind of hard and the metal edges of the tray thing (that holds the goop) was pressing on my gums, and that hurt. Of course, after waiting however-many minutes, she removed the goop and lo and behold, the tray thing she used was too small and they didn't get a good impression. So we do the top ones next. She must not have over-filled the tray thing, or something, because I gave her the thumbs up after she jammed it up on my teeth. Nothing oozing down the back of my throat, and no gagging. Two minutes later, and out the mouth it went.

And it was wrong too. Grrr.....

So we re-did the bottom set. Bigger tray thingy, same drill, hotter water in the mixture of the goop to theoretically make it set up faster. She still pressed hard enough that it hurt my gums, but I was getting tired and a couple of times she had to let me know I was biting her fingers, so I think we're even on that front. On to the top set, for the second time. Bigger tray thing, more goop. Top of the mouth, oozing backwards....

Just like grade school. Rrrr-etch. She made me sit forward, told me to breathe through my nose, and try to be calm. Oh, it was awful. I was totally panicked, and trying so hard not to be. The two minutes seemed like ten before she finally peeled the damn stuff out of my mouth. There I was, covered in drool, with my heart racing. "Sorry," I said.

And so we're all clear--no matter what the reason, I am never, never having that done again. Ever. Blech. Phooey. Yuck.

Posted: Monday, November 05, 2007, 8:16 pm
Mood: Frustrated | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Going Bowling...

Alex and I went to Steve's house last night to watch the Illinois vs. Minnesota game. Tony V. was there too with his son Lucas, who is Al's best buddy. They played guitar hero with Sara while the three dads watched the game.

And what a wonderful game it was. Sometimes an edge-of-the-seat matchup is fun to watch, but sometimes it's also nice to watch a game that's completely lopsided from the opening snap.

At the beginning of the season one of out acquaintances mused that Illinois was going to win six games this season, and we all told him he was full of baloney. (His six were Western Illinois, Syracuse, Indiana, Ball State, Minnesota, and Northwestern). As it turns out, we have one each of those games (except Northwestern, who we haven't played yet, and we've also upset both Penn State and (what now looks like an entirely over-rated) Wisconsin. The Iowa game would have been nice, but as it stands right now we're 7-3 and in sole possession of third place in the Big Ten. That's a whole lot different than 1-11 or 2-10, which we've suffered with for the past three or more years.

And how wonderful to see Navy beat Notre Dame. If only Michigan State would have held on. But, hey, I can't expect everything to go my way, right?

I took a quiz for one of my classes this morning, so I'm all caught up for the week.

Fall is definitely in full swing--the trees have all changed color and the leaves are starting to fill up the yard. I'm guessing next weekend might be the fall burn-fest in the neighborhood. It would be nice if the leaves would blow from my yard to Josh's across the street this year instead of the other way around (and I'm not complaining, I'm just being silly...). The autumn purrple ash is gorgeous right now--I should take a picture.

Go Bears! Oh, wait. I think they have a bye this week. Well, at least we don't have to worry about them losing....

Posted: Sunday, November 04, 2007, 5:39 pm
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Time Management

Yesterday morning we had parent-teacher conferences at the grade school. Em's conference wasn't really any big surprise, and we only went because we hadn't met her teacher before. We've known Al's teacher for quite a while--the redhead used to babysit her three grown sons when they were babies--so his conference was pretty informal as well.

At one point, however, I did say "what's up with the B+ in Math, Jane?" She laughed. Alex is taking seventh grade math with a few other kids in his class (he's in sixth grade), so getting a B+ isn't a bad thing. She asked us if he had lots of math homework every night, and we told her that he almost never has math homework. She said that the parents of the other kids taking the advanced math complained of having hours of homework every evening. Apparently our son does his homework during breaks at school, over lunch, and while waiting for and riding on the bus. I explained that the reason probably isn't that he's overly motivated, but that he knows he can't play Guitar Hero after school until his homework is finished. The solution? Get the homework done before getting home. How funny.


Happy hour was lots of fun last night. We stayed at Esquire for quite a while before heading out to Jeremy and Emily's house where they had a big bonfire in their back yard. We had a blast. I'm really happy that our pal Steve got out of the situation he was in and got this new job.

Today the redhead and I went uptown to the new restaurant in town and had their breakfast buffet. It was really, really good--we were pleasantly surprised. I had some homework to do for both my classes that was somewhat tedious, but it's finished now, thankfully. I'm folding some laundry and watching Michigan vs. Michigan State (come on, State....).

Tonight we're going to watch Illinois at Minnesota at Steve's house. It's on the Big Ten Network, of course, so we can't get the game on cable. Steve has a projector, with a pretty cool set-up.

Well that's all I know for now....

Posted: Saturday, November 03, 2007, 8:59 pm
Mood: Lazy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Busy Week

This week was nice and busy, and went by somewhat quickly.

On Wednesday I learned how to use something called rsnapshot (which is a wrapper, essentially, around rsync) to make back-ups of Windows machines to a Linux server. The reason this is cool is because the Linux box goes and copies the files from the Windows machines, and not the other way around. In the past I've set up all sorts of different configurations of NTBackup, but silly Windows seems to run them for a couple of months on schedule, and then just sort of gives up. So three or four times a year I have to go and re-do my NTBackup jobs and schedules. Cron on *nix, however, is totally trustworthy.

Part of the other reason rsnapshot is cool is because it only copies the files that have changed. But not like Retrospect, where the whole kit and kaboodle is put into one big backup file and if that gets corrupted you're out of luck. Rsnapshot uses hard links to the files from the previous day so you truly have the entire directory in one single place.

Tonight we're going to happy hour to celebrate our pal Steve's last day with his current department. He's making a very good move, I think, and we're very happy for him.

Posted: Friday, November 02, 2007, 6:52 pm
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Graduate School

I still can't believe I'm doing this....

My three reference letters have been uploaded. The rest of my information has been uploaded. I just need to send transcripts.

I still find it funny that they want parental information--um, I'm 38 years old, have been married for 13 years, have two children, and with my darling wife have owned our house (which is our our third house) for a half-dozen years.

To be honest, I'm scared. Really. I can make jokes, but this really scares me half to death.

I thought I was going to take undergraduate computer classes ad infinitum and that was just going to keep going. (Nice sentence, Mr. Rhetoric major...)

Technically I'm a computer science major and a rhetoric graduate. Ugh.

I don't have anything important to say, I guess.

I hope this graduate school stuff isn't too overwhelming.

Well, I need to quit assuming--I guess I hope I get accepted.... Talk to me again in March...

At least I won't have to take any more classes about pets and such. Sheesh.

Posted: Friday, November 02, 2007, 3:51 am
Mood: Still Happy... | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment


I'm doing it this year. And I'm going to make it the whole month, unlike last year.

I promise.

Today, however, I have to write a silly paper about the therapeutic effects of fishies. Sheesh

Posted: Thursday, November 01, 2007, 3:51 pm
Mood: Happy | 3 comments | Article URL | Post a comment

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