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Archived Entries from October 2006


Politics

We're in the midst of the mid-term political season (if that is what it is called) and the letter writers in the local newspaper are coming out of the woodwork.

And I don't normally like to get into this sort of stuff, but I think I can make a point here without being too partisan (because, quite frankly, I don't think either side can point a finger at me and claim I'm part of the other side...).

I hear so much lately about freedoms, and how, well, to be honest, that our "forefathers" would essentially be rolling in their graves because our freedoms are supposedly being stripped away at a ridiculous speed. I have received several e-mail messages lately that had signatures containing quotes from Benjamin Franklin and other 18th Century era "patriots." Talk of freedom, and security, and deserving neither, and defending right to free speech--I'm sure most people have seen this sort of thing.

And I thought about this briefly tonight.... Ahh, the settlers of the United States. All about freedom and justice and rights.

They stole land from the Indians. Uh, and killed the Indians. Owned slaves. Burned witches. Shall I go on?

I apologize for the preachiness. But when I think about this kind of "deserving" freedom kind of stuff, it occurs to me that the country NOW is much different than the country THEN. And while the things that our "forefathers" said have some historical significance, trying to horseshoe our current situation into their situation is, well, probably not prudent.

As I mentioned to a friend earlier today, I feel more "betrayed" by Bush than the 49% of the country that voted against him, because I voted for him twice. I don't think he's as evil as people portray him. I think he did what most people would do after 9/11--want revenge. And heck, Saddam tried to kill his dad..... Okay--I'm quickly approaching a slippery slope that I have no desire to go down and enter into....

My point is, well, I'm not sure. I'm not at all trying to preach, because, quite frankly, I'm not thrilled with things right now either. But as I told my pal Jeff the other evening, I think people telling me that I can only be patriotic if I argue with everything that every administration does ever is just as bad as being totally complacent. I don't agree with the Democrats on taxes. I don't agree with Republicans on most of the rest of it. But I'm not going to hate my government just to be a patriot, like them folks in the 18th Century that all owned slaves.

Oh, and I still can't get xmame to install on Fedora using yum. Dang it.

Posted: Wednesday, November 01, 2006, 3:34 am
Mood: Curious | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment
 


Matrix Moment

So this morning in the shower, for some odd reason, I was singing a cheesy old song by Heart. Rather, I was singing a couple of lines of it. "A good man pays his debt, but you ain't paid yours yet..." I'm sure the reasoning behind this was that I was going over what I needed to do this morning, and part of that involved going to the bank in town and getting some money (the redhead got paid yesterday) and then bringing it up to the credit union here at work so that the mortgage payment will be covered when it is automatically deducted tomorrow. Makes some sense, I guess.

Twenty minutes later I'm on my way to work, and I'm flipping stations, and I end up on a classic rock station (you can see where this is going, right?). I knew from the first few chords that it was the same cheesy Heart song that I had been singing. What? Too weird.

Oh, and it is Halloween and that means that it's the redhead's birthday! Happy Birthday, honey!

I was talking to the redhead yesterday about an article I read at work in one of those free-but-pretends-it-has-value magazines that I get. The article was about people that blog for a living and it said that about 10% of people surveyed said that they make $1,000 or more a month in advertising revenue from their blogs. Now obviously I don't talk about anything exciting here, and while my readership is actually more than just the four or five people I know that read this thing, I am well aware that this blog is a very small fish in a vast ocean. But I thought, just for grins, about adding Google ads. You know, just to see.

But that won't ever work. If I were ever questioned by powers that be at the University about this thing, I could see getting slapped on the wrist at worst for using bandwidth and a computer that don't belong to me. The time part of it isn't an issue--I get my work done and for all anybody needs to know, I took five minutes to write this, but got to work ten minutes early this morning. My supervisor wouldn't have a problem, I'm sure. In fact, half the reason this entire web site exists is for me to keep track of things at work. The whole formatting of photos article I wrote? I do that all the time for work, and I can't ever remember how to do it so that the files get saved each time without checking that article. And the obscure Linux and ColdFusion stuff is all for work as well. I pay for this web site with my own money, all to help me with my job.

But if I were to start making money, even if it were five bucks a month, now the situation changes. Which means if I were going to attempt this Google ads thing, I'd have to do a lot of revising. I'd have to change a lot of dates and times and edit an awful lot of posts talking about work.

Much more trouble than it is worth. So I guess for now I'll continue to blab for free.

Posted: Tuesday, October 31, 2006, 2:14 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Busy Weekend

Let's see.... I took Friday off because the kids didn't have school. I spent a good part of the day trying to install XMAME on my Fedora box, with little success. Once we remodel the basement I thought it would be neat to build an arcade cabinet and do the MAME thing using a stripped-down Linux box and a big flat panel monitor. That's a ways off, however, so hopefully I can get MAME working by then.

Saturday I raked a bunch of leaves in the front yard. I'm not being too persnickety yet, as there are still plenty of leaves on the trees. I'm more just trying to get rid of the huge piles so that once the rest of the leaves fall I won't be completely overwhelmed. Saturday evening we went out to dinner to celebrate the redhead's birthday with some of our friends. We had a couple of bottles of wine, and everyone seemed to enjoy their dinner, so it was quite nice. Afterwards we went to Shannon and Darren's house and watched some old VG girls basketball games on VHS. My poor wife couldn't hit a free throw to save her life....

We had a few more bottles of wine, and generally just had a good time. There was a little drama at the end of the night, but that's always sort of expected, I guess. I'm just glad that it didn't have anything to do with me. Tee hee.

Yesterday we took the kids to Pizza Hut for lunch and made a bad decision and had the buffet. Not good. Oh well. Afterwords we took a drive through the country, and visited an old, old cemetery back in the woods and far away from any sort of major road. It was really neat. Many of the tombstones were so worn that you couldn't read them, and the ones that could be read were still all around 100 years old. And the trees all around have turned yellow and orange and the whole scene was rather beautiful. Which then brings up the discussion of buying land either in Indiana or southern Illinois. It won't happen this year, but maybe by this time next year? Who knows. This all depends on several factors, not the least of which is whether or not my car is going to live for a couple more years.

We went out to the farm and picked up Buddy on the way home, since my mother-in-law was gone for the day visiting my new nephew down in Carbondale. The kids played with him in the back yard while I attempted to burn more of the sticks and brush left over from my trimming of the green ash by the deck. And I kinda forgot to watch any football, either college on Saturday or pro on Sunday. And that was just fine with me. Illinois has been showing some signs of life lately, but they just can't seem to get their act together in the second half. As I told Tony on Saturday, talk to me again when Juice and the rest of them are juniors (I think Illinois starts the most Freshman of any Division I team....).

Anyway. I need to wrap this up because I have a ColdFusion mystery ahead of me this morning.... And I have some ideas on how solve the problem of people submitting letters of intent, then clicking the back button and making changes and clicking submit again (which makes a whole new entry in the database each time). Meta-refreshes and session variables will hopefully do the trick. Anyway.

Posted: Monday, October 30, 2006, 3:19 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Friday (For Me....)

The kids don't have school tomorrow, and the bosses are out of town, so I'm going to play hookie tomorrow. Well, it isn't really hookie since I asked. But anyway.

Today our daughter has a play at school at 9:00 and since she made it a point to mention that nobody came to see her play last year I figured I better go to this one. And since the bosses are out of town, nobody will miss me being a few hours late.

Not only am I caught up in my Data Structures and Algorithms class, I even completed next week's assignment yesterday so I'm now ahead of schedule. I need to get caught up on the on-line quizzes this weekend, and get started on the project for my Operating Systems class (it will be easy).

Well I don't have much else to talk about. Work is going well. School is good. The redhead has seemed more irritated at me than usual lately, but I think it's because now that I've given up being a high-strung worry-wort I'm turning more into an oblivion. Or something.

Posted: Thursday, October 26, 2006, 1:14 pm
Mood: Oblivious | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Happy About School

So I had an assignment due that dealt with a doubly-linked list, with only a head (and no tail). I bought my pal Tod lunch today and asked his help with getting me started. I started "programming" computers when I was in grade school, circa 1980. I understand the algorithmic stuff. Or at least the basics of it. I can grasp the concepts. I just kinda get stuck at with the whole object thing. Still. And after a nudge I pause for a moment, and then it all makes sense again.

Well after lunch I had all sorts of fun--the assignment was really, really neat, and worked well on my first attempt (3 classes, a couple dozen methods). I know that there are main points to these assignments but some of the more minor things are fun as well. I don't know how to explain well. But understanding that something like:

for (int i = 0; i < size(); i++) { ....

isn't the same as:

s = size();
for (int i = 0; i < s; i++) { .....

Who'd a thunk that the size() thing was going to recalculate each time. It makes sense, of course. The loop compares itself each time, but everytime it asks what to compare itself to, size() is re-calculating. What fun!

Fortunately I'm a very anal-retentive code tester by default, so while this all compiled correctly the wrong way, I still found the error and grinned when I made the realization to what the problem was. Heh. Nice sentence. I meant that the code was legitimate, and compiled, it just didn't do what it was supposed to--not a compiler error, or a runtime error, just a programmer error--it did what I told it to.

I got a 98% on the midterm for my other class.

Thousands of kids that are half my age are doing much better with their computer science degrees than I am.

I realize that.

But I'm having fun with this. And I'm doing well. And I didn't do well with school "the first time around."

I'm not consulting anymore. I don't have any of that to deal with on a day-to-day basis.

I don't know. Work is fun. I have fun programming projects to do there as well. And a new server to play with. And a couple of other servers that I have time to mess with more than I have.

Anyway. Good times....

Posted: Wednesday, October 25, 2006, 3:00 am
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Car Update

This morning I put a bottle of STP Oil Treatment into my engine crankcase, hoping that it might thicken up the oil just enough to keep the oil pressure from dropping at idle.

As it turns out, I forgot a book for one of my classes, and I have a midterm exam to complete this weekend, so I drove up to work this morning and gave the ol' beater a test drive with the added gunk.

I made it all the way up, and all the way back, with nary a "bing" and no idiot light activity whatsoever. How cool for me.

I'll keep a close eye on the situation and hopefully I can just add a bottle of STP each time I change the oil. I think I like that scenario better than switching to 10w40.

Heck, for all I know when I added oil the other day I dumped in a quart of 5w30 instead of 10w30. Surely not, though, right?

Anyway. I hope this takes care of it for a while at least. The redhead is getting a rather substantial promotion at work in the next six months (I think they are going to hire someone to fill her position, and then she will supervise this new person, as well as take on a bunch of new lots-more-important duties...). Depending on how all that shakes out, perhaps a new(er) car is in my future at that point.

If I can just keep the Aurora running until then....

Posted: Saturday, October 21, 2006, 8:23 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


About That Rug...

So I left work today around 5:00 or so. Walked to the parking garage with the boss. Talked some sports. Talked some shop. While I don't have a "magic pixie wand of awesomeness" like my wife, he seems pretty darn happy with me, and I think he's pretty cool to work for.

I headed to the liquor store in Urbana to get some Stellis and a bottle of wine. Then I headed south into the country for a relaxing drive home.

And a little more than halfway there I came upon a stop sign at an intersection. So I stopped. A pick-up truck was driving on the cross road and he didn't have to stop, so I waited a moment for him to pass before continuing. And then it happened.

Bing-bing-bing-bing. I looked at my little computer display thing and it was flashing "LOW OIL PRESSURE." My red "OIL" idiot light was on as well.

That's weird, I thought. I hit the gas pedal and pulled away from the stop sign, expecting the light to go off as I the engine revved up a bit. And I was correct, the light went off and I proceeded without further problem.

That is, of course, until I had to come to a stop at St. Mary's Road, which is 3 miles north of town. Bing-bing-bing. Same drill as before. And again when Snake Road crossed Route 130. And again out in the country a mile north of town. And again on North Henson and Front Street. And again when I pulled into the drive. Bing-bing-bing. Okay, car, I get the idea, but that's enough bing-ing.

While this is all a bit sudden, the best guess at this point is that the main bearings are shot. That would also explain why it slowly burns oil. 125,000 miles? Yeah, this isn't going to be good, no matter what the prognosis is.

Now if that's the problem, I can probably keep this thing on life support for a while longer by putting heavier weight oil in the engine, which will increase viscosity but might make it a pain in the neck to start the car in the winter. That's probably going to be the first route taken.

But the next step is that I may need to replace my car. There are several problems with this.

For starters, I'm already into a rather large car payment for my wife's BitTorrent (uh, just made payment number three--thanks!). And all that financial wranging and raises and everything else put us in a really good spot, and I like being in that spot, and don't want another hefty car payment.

And this has also kind of made me nervous because way back when I promised myself a new car when I finished college, and as I've mentioned, that happens at the end of next fall semester, and again, I don't want another hefty car payment at that point.

And since this is what I want, that pipe dream ends rather quickly. (Look mom--it's even a hybrid!)

So it looks like another used car is on my horizon. It would make the most sense for me to find a little Honda or Toyota work car just to get back and forth to work. No big deal--the redhead and I ride together most of the time now anyway. I'd just prefer to put miles on my car and not the brand new BitTorrent.

And while little Hondas and Toyotas make the most sense, unfortunately I'm an ugly American and I like big comfy luxury cars with big engines that go fast when I need to go fast.

The other problem with Hondas and Toyotas is that they hold their value quite well. So for $15,000 I still have to settle for a car (a Camry, for example) that is 5 years old and has 80,000 miles on it. And yes, I fully realize that those cars don't poop out at 125,000 miles like, well, like my car is doing.

I just can't see spending fifteen grand for a car with almost a hundred-thousand miles on it, no matter how well-built it is...

Now I found a 2003 Aurora--the newer version of my car, and also the last year it was made (well, the last year Oldsmobile was around period). 40,000 miles. $14,000. V8, loaded, sunroof--essentially the exact same car I have now but 6 years newer and 80,000 miles fewer. I could get a 4-year loan and pay under $400 a month.

But that's another American car. And I believe I just swore up and down last weekend that I'm never buying another American car.

But I like my V8. I like my sunroof. I like my leather.

I sound like a spoiled brat.

Decisions, decisions....

(But for the record, this isn't casting a cloud of doom and gloom like it would have six months ago--I'm a bit irritated by the timing of all this but I do not feel like the rug has been yanked out, and I'm not depressed about this. I'm mildly bothered that I have to mess with this right now, as I was hoping to put off any further car dealings for a while, but other than that, I'm still happy and content....)

Posted: Saturday, October 21, 2006, 8:02 am
Mood: Mildly Perturbed | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Griffey's Goin' to Grad School

I spoke with an advisor in the Computer Science department yesterday, and it looks like all of this will work out. I'll be in a "terminal" Master's program--that is, I won't have to do a thesis, but I won't be able to enter a Ph.D. program afterwards either.

As if there were any danger of that...

So I'm bald again. Yay! The redhead wasn't thrilled when she finally looked at me long enough this morning to realize what I had done. I hate having hair. Experiment over. Maybe I'll do it again when I turn 40. Maybe not.

I can't believe that I forgot to mention that I've "graduated" from therapy. That's right--no more therapy. And this has been my third attempt at straightening the stuff out since the mid-1980s, and this is the first time where things haven't been left up in the air, where I haven't become disillusioned and mired down and simply quit going. I came to a bunch of good realizations throughout my past few sessions (and a while back I stopped going every week, and went twice a month for a few months, and then once a month for a few months). My therapist thinks I'm in a good place now, and I agree with her. And the roses smell good.

The best part about all of this is that I'm happy, and content. And the part that nobody but me will understand completely is that I'm no longer waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm not worried about the rug being yanked out from under me. I'm not asking myself "yeah, but what if?" every day.

Life is good. And it is even better, because today is Bamba day! Woo ho!

Posted: Friday, October 20, 2006, 1:32 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


The Morning Commute

So I think someone should do a study on how people drive relative to what time they have to be at work.

Because as of today, I'm pretty sure that the people that have to be at work at 8:00 are, as a whole, the worst of the bunch.

And right now my readership of three are collectively rolling their eyes--"He's griping about the way people drive again...."

Normally I either get to work between 6:00 and 7:00, if I drive by myself, or around 8:30 if I ride in with the redhead. Well, she needed to drive separately today, so I was on my own. I got a bit of a late start (late by my standards, of course, not by "normal" standards) and then figured I'd stick around long enough to get the kids up and going, etc. That gives the redhead a better chance of having a "normal" morning (by her standards). I yanked Al out of bed and set him going on his morning routine and then proceeded to go coax her highness out of bed.

It's kind of funny--Alex is kind of like a satellite that gets put into orbit. Wake him up, give him a nudge, and the rest kind of just happens. With Em it isn't quite that simple. So I went in her room and kissed her and told her how much I loved her and gently suggested that it might be a good idea for her to think about getting out of bed and getting ready for school. She gradually agreed to the idea and I left to go, I don't know, load the dishwasher or something.

I signed assignment books, looked over tests that were brought home, and then wrote a couple of checks for picture day, which is today (as luck would have it).

Then it all went horribly wrong. "You're not wearing a long sleeve shirt and capris today! It's going to be cold out!" Oh boy. Duck, Al.

I go to work every day wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, with a groggy look on my face. Alex goes to school every day wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, with a groggy look on his face.

For the females in the house, it is a bit more complicated than that.

I did my best to avoid the argument over Em's clothes, and eventually announced that I was going to leave for work. Keep your head down, Al, and stay the hell out of the way. Tee hee.

(If Em would just do as she's told, all of our lives would be infinitely easier. Unfortunately, she's a bit strong-willed. And I know where she gets it, so I have to intrinsically be a bit sympathetic with her plight. But yes, Em, mom's right--it is too cold for capris today, and it won't matter if you wear jeans because pictures are only from the waste up...)

So the whole point of this was to complain about the morning drive. Normally I'm not on the road between 7:30 and 8:00, but today I was because I stuck around long enough to get the morning stuff going at home, but ducked out before the kids left for the bus.

As I left Villa Grove I was behind an old woman in a light blue Cadillac. And I try to be patient and calm and not be "angry Mike" behind the wheel anymore. Really. Well, I knew I was going to have to pass her outside of town early on, as she drove through the school zone at 20 mph. And at 7:20 in the morning, there aren't any kids around the school yet. Not for another half hour. So you don't need to drive 20. But whatever--I wasn't in a hurry. So as the speed goes to 45 and then 55 she was still in the 30s. No big deal. There was a bit of oncoming traffic so I just accelerated slowly as well and took it easy. Finally, when we were well out of town she was still driving 50 so I gently passed her, sped up to 63, and set my cruise control.

This really is pathetic that I write about this kind of stuff.

So about halfway to Philo, which is the about-halfway-to-work point, I come up behind a woman that lives a few blocks from us. Her husband used to run the small auto parts store in town until he died a couple of years ago. Their daughter is a senior in high school or she graduated last year--she used to work at the grocery store for a while and is a very pleasant young lady. And Jean (the mom) parks in the same parking garage as I do and works in the same college that I do (a few buildings away). And she's driving more slowly than I was. So I shut off my cruise control and slowed down. Passing people is half-rude as it is, and I wasn't about to put the hammer down and blow the doors off her van. I knew I was going to turn left in Philo and drive through the country and surmised that she would probably continue up Route 130, so I didn't see any need to pass her.

During this time we were both passed by a bunch of NASCAR types driving between 70 and 80 mph. The difference between this and an hour earlier is that the NASCAR drivers recklessly passing everyone between 6:00 and 7:00 are all in big pickup trucks, and all the Dale-Junior-wannabees between 7:00 and 8:00 are driving little Ford Focus-type cars. Whatever.

As we approach Philo, a few miles later, here comes this little old lady and her light blue Cadillac. She starts tailgating me and pulling halfway out into the other lane acting like she is going to pass. Yeah, yeah, yeah--I know. I passed you earlier so now I'm expected to be going lots faster. You were the one driving way under the speed limit. Oh for crying out loud. I'm still not going to whip around my neighbor, and Philo is less than a mile away, so cool your jets, lady.

As expected, my neighbor went straight, and I turned left. Yay for me. After a couple of miles I made my right turn to start the country road part of my trek to work. And shortly thereafter I had a neat little black Ford Focus-type car riding my rear bumper. Go ahead, try and pass me on this barely-two-lane tar and chip road in your little 800 pound car and see if you don't end up in a corn field. I fully admit that sometimes, moreso in the past, I find myself driving more aggressively than I should when I'm in my big black car, but I assure you, if I were in a Ford Focus, I wouldn't be driving like that.

And here, my dear readers, is precisely the point of all of this.

Black Ford Focus (it wasn't a Ford Focus, actually--I think it was a Toyota maybe?) is from Villa Grove as well. And they also work in my college. And also park in my parking garage. And we pulled into the parking garage one after another--black Ford Focus, me, and my neighbor in her white van. Now I was ahead of my neighbor only by virtue of us having taken a different second-half route, not because I flung around her, peeled around a couple of corners, and then rolled a stop sign to "be first." Ahem. And the whole reason that I don't drive that way in the morning is because I know that the person in front of me is going the same place I am and wouldn't I feel stupid being all aggressive and tailgating them and then whipping around them in a 30 mph zone all to be one car ahead of them as we entered the same parking garage. And had to get out of our cars at the same time.

Anyway. What a worthless story that was. If anybody wants a refund for wasting the last 10 minutes of their life reading that, just let me know.

In other news, I meet with an advisor today (who happens to also be an acquaintance of mine) to talk about grad school. Yikes!

Posted: Thursday, October 19, 2006, 1:34 pm
Mood: Anxious | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Grad School

I wrote about this last night, I thought, but there must still be some sillyness going on from this whole move to a new server. Or something.

I quit watching the darn Bears game in the first half after they were down by 17 points. And then the ended up coming back and winning, apparently. I would have had a coronary if I would have sit through any more of it than I did. I'm glad they won, at least.

So I talked to my advisor yesterday. Get this--I'm going to graduate (uh, again) at the end of the Fall 2007 semester. Yeah, that's like 14 months from now. Two classes next semester, one over the summer (and eight hours of credit for working in the IT field, or some such) and two classes in the fall. And then I'm done.

Oh boy. And guess what that means?

Yep--grad school.

I didn't think it was going to happen this fast. I figured I'd get my second bachelor's degree by the time I turned 40. I thought this was going to take years longer than it is.

So I need to get an A in every class that I'm taking now (which I'm guessing will happen). And even then, I think getting into the program at UIUC won't be easy. They get 600 applicants every year for their Master's program in computer science. And they accept 60. And I think I can be one of those 60? These are going to be kids (yes, "kids") who just graduated near the top of their class from MIT and CalTech, and somehow I'm going to get a spot? As they say in sports (and really, I'm a nerd--I'm not some guy that is obsessed with sports...) in order for me to make the playoffs I'm going to need to win the rest of the games and then I'll still need "a little help."

The redhead always talks about how great her bosses are (and they are pretty cool, for the record) but after my discussion with my boss yesterday, I think he takes the prize for best boss. I asked him if we were still on the same page as far as me going to grad school and he was more than encouraging. To the point where he told me that I need to do that for my family, that the University encourages that kind of "growth," and that if I get a Master's degree in however-many years and find a better job, that he'd think that was great. Really? I assured him that I wasn't doing this to try to find a better job, and that I was hoping to have my butt firmly planted in the chair that it is now at least until my kids finish college. And then with them out of the house, and maybe a few CS degrees later, maybe then the redhead and I will look at relocating or at least I might then look for another job.

But that's a ways off, of course. I still can't believe that he's so supportive of my going to school as long as I want to.

Just don't tell Uncle Bill....

Posted: Tuesday, October 17, 2006, 2:06 pm
Mood: Happy | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment
 


Gas Prices

Really? Forty-two percent? I had heard of this whole conspiracy sillyness, and was even highly amused when some ding-a-ling in Urbana actually wrote a serious letter-to-the-editor of the News-Gazette about it. And I don't mean this as a political commentary, but more of a commentary about the stuff that people on either side of the fence will believe. Sheesh. Anyway.

Apparently "The Nerdrium" was moved to a new server last week. This morning I noticed that my last few blog posts were missing. I went and checked the web site of my hosting provider (which I hardly ever do) and it's a good thing that I did. The "old" stuff was only available until today--fortunately I had enough time to download a back-up of the old db tables and upload them to the new server (uh, like why didn't they run a quick script before switching over??). Yeah, yeah, they had to wait for a DNS change to go through, but still--that never takes 3 days.

I had a pretty good weekend. The redhead went out with some of the girls she graduated high school with, and Darren (who also happens to be the husband of one of those in the aforementioned group) and Jeff came over and we drank some brews and played some three-handed Euchre. It was a fun night but I think we all stayed up a bit too late.

Okay, back to work.

Posted: Monday, October 16, 2006, 7:32 pm
Mood: Curious | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Finally Friday

For not having worked a full week, it sure seemed like Friday took forever to get here!

I've actually been quite busy this week--lots of PHP programming, and Linux administration type stuff. Fun!

And my uber-busy time is just starting up. Let's just say I'm looking forward to the arrival of February. Well, and I'm looking forward to next Friday so I can shave this stupid hair back off. It's itchy and fuzzy and did I mention that I really, really don't like having hair?

I guess I don't really have anything exciting to post about. It's a good thing I don't charge admission or I'd be needing to issue some refunds. Eh, not funny.

Okay, I've had enough of work for the week--I'm outta here.

Posted: Friday, October 13, 2006, 9:10 pm
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Doldrums

Heck, I'm half not in the mood to even write this post.

I'm at the point in the semester where the idea of school no longer seems like a good thing. I feel overwhelmed. Two classes, two semester projects--too much to do.

So now I'm back to not being able to sleep through the night. Weird dreams. Too much stress to just lay there and keep the eyes closed for eight hours straight. Heck, I'd be happy with six or seven.

Technically I'm not behind in either of my classes, but I'm starting to be "late for being early," if that makes sense. And that feeling is growing like a tumor. Nobody but me was in the office today--a perfect opportunity to get everything all caught up. But I wasn't in the mood, so I spent the day working on a bunch of stuff that could have waited until tomorrow, or next week, or next month.

I can't believe Red Dawn only got one star.... (Thank goodness for cable TV).

Posted: Wednesday, October 11, 2006, 9:18 am
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Ugh, Hair...

Has it even been a week yet? For some reason I think that I still have a couple of days before week one with hair is out of the way.

I'm not going to make it too much longer. Quite simply, I don't like it. Whether or not it makes me look younger (which was never the point, it was just mentioned that I look younger with hair than I do without hair) or that the kids haven't ever seen me with hair--and don't get me wrong, it isn't like someone put a gun to my head and told me to grow hair. I'm just as interested in this as the rest of the family is. I think I'm just going to grow impatient more quickly than any of the rest of them. Of course, I imagine that if I told my son to stick a spike through his arm he'd probably grow impatient faster than the rest of us. Well, no. The redhead and I would knock each other over trying to get the spike out, and even if that didn't happen, he'd probably think it was just weird enough to be cool or something. Bad example.

Anyway. I don't like not being bald. "I don't wike it!"

So I feel like kind of a good dad tonight. We have however-many odd channels of digital cable and you know what we watched? Nova. A story about the "Vinland Map" and whether or not it was a hoax. I never had any idea. And while I thrive on crap like that, I totally appreciate that the kids get enthralled as well.

For some reason I thought I more of a point to all of this before I started, but I guess not. Hrm.

Posted: Wednesday, October 11, 2006, 1:25 am
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Dang Batteries

Phew.

We loaded up the Torrent early Saturday and headed over to Forest Glen about midday. The weather was absolutely beautiful. After pitching our tents, I, uh.... Hmmm.... How do you say that you arranged the wood and kindling to build a fire but didn't light it yet? Well, that's what I did. The kids had (our two plus Steve's daughter) had already disappeared off into the woods. When they finally returned we all ended up going for a nice hike. Everything was just perfect, except for the dead deer on the ridge below our camp site. Every now and then the wind would blow just right... Let's just say that even a day later I can still "remember" that smell. Gross.

So we had our fire, and cooked weenies, and drank beer. Well, the kids drank juice boxes and such, of course. Susan had even brought a bottle of Pinot Noir, which was nice, even if we drank it out of plastic cups.

Of course, I didn't sleep well at all. The weather, as I mentioned, was perfect--it got nice and cold at night (just the way I like it). However, the ground was nice and hard, and as soon as I was awakened the first time by raccoons trying to get into the bag of garbage, I was unable to get back to sleep. (Hey, stupid raccoons? That bag has pretty much nothing but empty beer cans in it--there isn't any food. Now go away...) I ended up getting up at one point and putting the bag of garbage by the fire, hoping that would make them leave it alone.

Yesterday morning the redhead and I were up early and we took a walk together. It was really nice. I love spending time with just her, even if it was only for a little while. It's easy to get caught up in being a parent, and an employee, and a provider, and half of a partner in this "business" venture (in that we take care of a house, and deal with the yard, and do dishes and laundry, etc.). Sometimes we need to spend a few minutes alone and realize again why it is that we're on this adventure together. On our walk we saw three deer cross the road ahead of us in the mist, which was pretty cool (even if we aren't "city folk" and pretty much see deer all the time around here). We saw some interesting birds, and some very pretty trees. One little bird, about the size of a sparrow but with some blue coloring on its chest, kept chirping "cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger, please?" We got a chuckle out of that.

After we got back to the camp site we made some sausage links over the fire, and the kids had donut holes and muffins as well. We took down the tent and loading everything up and headed back home. The redhead didn't sleep well either, and both of us were torn between our need for food and our need for sleep.

Well we got back home and I ran to the store and got some fresh hamburger and kaiser rolls and cooked us huge cheeseburgers on the grill (thanks for the idea, little bird). I mean, these burgers were monstrous. And they were so, so good. The redhead and I took a nap soon afterwards--I fell to sleep almost instantly (don't get me wrong--I like camping, but nothing compares with a nice comfy bed) and we slept for a couple of hours. When she finally got up I could have gone back to sleep for another two or three hours, but I got up as well.

I watched the end of the Bears game (yeah, it looks like I need to stick with the Bears this season and forget about that whole college thing, what with that total and complete frustrating mess that took place on Saturday...) and then watched most of the Dallas/Philadelphia game, which ended up being pretty good. By the time dinner rolled around I was still stuffed from that burger so while the kids ate I enjoyed another cup of water (you know, I love sitting around a fire and all, but I still don't feel like I'm fully hydrated again yet).

We managed to keep our eyes open long enough to watch "The Amazing Race" after dinner, but soon afterwards we were all ready for bed.

Of course, thanks to that nap yesterday, it's now 1:00 a.m. and I'm wide awake. Fortunately I have the day off today (no school for the kids).

Whew. Oh well. Maybe Sportscenter is on or something. Not like I haven't already seen all the highlights from yesterday. Maybe X-Files is on, or some mindless movie of interest on one of the movie channels.

Heh--I just looked up at the title. The whole point of that was that we brought the digital camera and four extra batteries, took three pictures of me setting up the tent, and then the batteries in the camera died, and apparently none of the four I brought were any good, so we didn't take any more pictures of our camping trip, which stinks. Oh well.

Posted: Monday, October 09, 2006, 5:54 am
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Homecoming

For someone that spent half the night running to the bathroom I'm in a surprisingly very good mood this morning. Our stupid town has had a boil order since Wednesday and I can't for the life of me see that I managed to ingest any "rotten" water (and I'm sure that a few hours after the order was issued that the water was fine and that they were just keeping the order for a few days as a precaution) but I don't have any other explanation. Sure, last night we had "fend for yourself" dinner, which meant that I cooked up some choriso for me and mixed in some of the rotisserie chicken that my mother-in-law brought over, along with, ahem, a cut up habanero and two cut up cayenne peppers, and yes, it was hotter than the surface of the sun (I only finished about 3/4 of my burrito because I was hopping around the house it was so damn hot...), but SURELY that didn't upset my stomach. Right?

Anyway. I don't feel so hot right now--I'm not sure I'll end up being here the whole day. I'm glad we took separate cars today. Blech.

So I turn 37 years old in a couple of days. Man, that's getting old. The redhead has been telling me that I'm "almost 40" since I was about 33, but now I really am almost 40. Hard to believe.

Well, I decided last night that to celebrate, I'm going to grow hair again. I know that sounds totally silly, but I've been bald now for, well, as long as the kids can remember--they've never seen me with hair. Perhaps this will also shut up some of my friends that claim that I shave my head because my hairline is receding. No, you trolls, you guys may have receding hairlines, but I do not. No male pattern baldness (not that I'd care, really, because I do keep myself totally bald anyway). I'm 100% bald by choice. And to prove it, I'm not shaving for a while. Not my head, and not my face. We'll see how long I can go before I get totally sick of having hair again.

Of course, during the week you can always check my "progress" here. Tee hee.

Hey, homecoming is this weekend at my old alma mater. Good weekend to stay the hell away from Champaign-Urbana. We're actually leaving tomorrow morning and going camping at Forest Glen. I'd be looking forward to it more than I am if I didn't feel like absolute death right now. Blech.

Okay, I don't feel like typing any more right now....

Posted: Friday, October 06, 2006, 1:21 pm
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Wednesday Already?

Thank goodness that I don't have a huge readership that expects this thing to be updated every day. How is it Wednesday already? I mean, I know I've been slacking off from blogging on the weekends lately (because I pretty much leave the 'puters alone on the weekends now) but have I really been that busy the past two days?

Anyway.

Monday I had a project due in my class. Basically we had to read five "cards" (suit and rank) in from a text file and then sort them from highest value to lowest value. It was somewhat confusing because the instructor kept talking about methods "returning" things when I think he meant for stuff to be displayed on a screen. While a non-geek might see "return the hand of cards" as meaning about the same thing as "display the hand of cards," it isn't the same thing. "Return" means something else. "Return" means that you call a function (called a "method") and the function does some things, and then it passes something back to the other function that called it originally. I guess I'm just being overly picky or something.

At least it is finished. I took a quiz yesterday and got a question wrong and was "one of those students" and e-mailed the instructor about it. I tried to make it clear up front that I was in no way trying to have my grade changed or anything like that, but I just wanted to voice my opinion. (While a sequential search algorithm will work on a sorted list, saying "which of these search algorithms is appropriate for a sorted list" should not include sequential search--if you know that the list is already sorted, there are far better algorithms to use than sequential--that's like looking for Stephanie Zimbalist in the phone book by starting at page one and then turning to page two, and then turning to page three, until you finally find her name....) As it turns out, he agreed, and even gave me the point back on the quiz (so now I'm half-embarrassed about bringing it up...).

Hey, I just found the redhead's phone. I did have it apparently. (It was in my desk drawer--oops!)

Okay, enough babbling.

Posted: Wednesday, October 04, 2006, 1:32 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


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