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Archived Entries from September 2007


Note to Self

The Credit Union doesn't open until 9:00 a.m. on Saturdays. Yes, we're well aware that the bank in Villa Grove is open from 7:00 a.m. until noon on Saturdays.

But the Credit Union (all the way up in Champaign) doesn't open until 9:00.

This is the second time in as many months that I've come to deposit money for the automatic mortgage payment withdrawal and have gotten here before the place opens.

The last time I drove back home because I was an hour early. I'm only about a half-hour early today ("Why is the parking lot so empt--#$%^&# &#*@$%!!") so I figured I'd kill a half hour and wait for it to open rather than drive a half-hour back home, eat breakfast, and turn around and come back.

The thing that stinks, though, is that Illinois plays Penn State at home today and traffic and congestion is starting to pick up, even way over here away from the stadium. Hopefully it won't get much worse in the next 20 minutes....

In other news, Budge flew in (to Bloomington) last night. Molly and Betsy left at 8:15 to go pick him us as his plane from Atlanta arrived at 10:00 or so. They planned to get back around midnight or so and the redhead bet me $100 (yes, a hundred dollars--and we shook on it) that I'd be asleep when she got home.

And while I won (hah!) it is sort of silly to place a bet between two people who technically don't have separate finances. It was the thought that counts, maybe....

Posted: Saturday, September 29, 2007, 1:40 pm
Mood: Half-Irritated | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment
 


Carpooling

So the redhead and I have been doing a very good job lately of bringing our lunches and riding back and forth to work together. Her car has been in the garage all week, which is wonderful. It helps that the temperatures have cooled a bit so I'm not so worried about my beast overheating and having a/c problems, etc.

It definitely looks like it's going to live plenty long enough to warrant another set of tires (and brake pads and new rotors for all four tires...).

Anyway.

So last week we went and ate at the Papa George place (where I had the coupon for a free lunch--actually just $20 off....). It wasn't very good. The service was bad (the redhead thinks that I shouldn't have had the coupon sitting out on the table and that the waiter probably assumed we'd give him a crappy tip so he was purposely bad--which makes it even worse because we tipped him well over 25%....). The food wasn't very good. I ordered lamb chops and she ordered souvlaki that was too salty to eat. And their menu isn't all Greek food--they kept a lot of the menu from the restaurant that was there before (Pickle's) so when we were there the place was full of old people eating chicken strips and club sandwiches. No need to eat there again.

So nobody was up to the task for troubleshooting my "mood" code, eh? The $i++ inside the loop was making it skip every other mood. I probably wrote it as a "while" loop the first time, for whatever reason, and when I changed it to a "for" loop (that has it's own $i++) the second $i++ was fouling things up.

Speaking of computer stuff... I'm really busy with both school and work, but it's a lot of fun. I'm creating some new web sites at work that are going to aggregate stories and information from other sites that I work on and that should be pretty cool when finished. In school I'm taking a class on network security, and we're learning about packets and what's in them, and what hackers do to break into networks, etc. It's really, really interesting.

Ooh--I should probably get a hold of my future grad school advisor again and see if I'm applying to grad school this fall or waiting until the Spring. I've asked him like ten times over the past two years but I keep forgetting.... (It doesn't help that my graduation date has moved forward and back and forward and back and has just now recently been nailed down for May '08...).

I just need to make sure I keep up with my Liberal Studies class about animals and human civilization--how stupid would it be if I aced my computer classes but accidentally got a B in an easy blow-off class because I was lazy and didn't keep up.

I have some ColdFusion work ahead of me at work today--I guess I better be prepared to change hats again for a while.

Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2007, 11:25 am
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


What's Wrong with This Code?

There's a reason why it seemed that only half of my "moods" from the database are appearing on my administrator page when I go to enter a new blog entry.

for ($i = 0; $i < $num; $i++) {
 $moodnext = mysql_result($result,$i,'mood');
 echo "<option value='$moodnext'>$moodnext</option>";
 $i++;
}

Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2007, 4:26 pm
Mood: Amused | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Procrastination

So you know when you're in college, and you skip a class, and then you skip it a second time, and then the next week rolls around and you're sort of embarrassed about having been out for two class periods and feel like the instructor might say something or at least take notice that you were gone so you skip class that week too, and then end up weeks behind and have to end up dropping because you're too embarrassed to go back to class and come up with a reason why you haven't been coming to class?

That's sort of how I have felt about my blog lately. I keep meaning to post and just don't get around to it, and now it is almost two weeks later...

So let me recap the past two weeks.

I went up to Chicago to visit my dad and to attend a RedHat Linux mini-conference downtown.

I managed to get out of the office earlier than planned so I was running ahead of schedule, so I took a slight detour to the Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside. I don't know how long it had been since I had gone there, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's been more than five or six years. It's a rather large cemetery, and I was semi-surprised that my radar guided me where to go on the first try.

I trimmed by hand as best I could around both my mother's and brother's headstones. I thought to myself that I should have brought a string trimmer along...

After I finished clearing the overgrown grass and weeds I got up and made a hasty retreat toward the car. I stopped myself halfway--I didn't drive there just to trim the grass.

I walked back and looked down and said "Mom, we're doing okay."

And then this skeptic atheist who pretty much believes in nothing that he can't physically touch, well, lost it. It's a good thing I had another 20 minutes to myself in the car before getting to my dad's house.

Dad and I played golf that afternoon at The Village Links in Glen Ellyn. It was very nice.

We played eighteen holes, and then had dinner in their clubhouse. The course was beautiful and the facilities were very, very nice. It was a lot of fun.

The next morning I took the train downtown and attended the RedHat "Value2 Seminar" at the Holiday Inn by the Merchandise Mart. It was somewhat interesting--they talked a lot about server virtualization and some other stuff.

After that ended, I headed to La Bamba on Madison Avenue. I ordered my burrito, got a window seat, and then grabbed my phone so that I could message Jeff and tell him I was having Bamba in Chicago. Yes, I'm a dork. Oh, and the burrito was just as good as they make them in Champaign.

The following weekend my son had his best friend stay the night to celebrate Al's 12th birthday. I can hardly believe it. In one more year that little snot is going to be a teenager. His feet are already bigger than mine and he's almost as tall as I am. I don't know if I should be proud or scared.

Hmm. What else? I've been very busy at work, and have been busy with school as well. Taking two classes isn't actually that bad, but I do feel like I've had to be more lively on my toes this semester. Hopefully things will continue to go well. I have to write a midterm paper for each of my classes, but that should be pretty easy. I'm not eighteen--I can write a five page paper while I sleep.

Anyway.

Last weekend we went Greifenkamping with some friends at Forest Glen.

The weather was perfect. If only we weren't surrounded by the three other groups that were around us. Loud. Obnoxious. Gritballs. One of them backed over one of the two garbage cans and just left the mess. That reminds me--I need to write a letter to ranger(s) there. Hopefully they have the names of those people and will refuse them entrance next time.

Oh well. I guess that's all I know for now....

Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2007, 12:03 pm
Mood: Happy | 2 comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Towels

I think I need to put a lock on the towel closet.

The offspring use far too many towels in a week, and now that the pool is closed, it is even more ridiculous to have to wash, dry, fold, and shelve the number of towels that we use. I've been using the same towel for weeks. The idea is, if you're clean when you get out of the shower, you shouldn't need a new towel every time.

In other news--how about more food for my plate? I had a thought, and wonder if it would be a good idea or a poor idea.

What if I started taking piano lessons again? I know that I swore of the piano more vehemently than I swore off the catholic church. But seriously. I obviously had some talent. It's math and order and timing and right-brained enough that I bet I could pull it off with some lessons.

This would erase my mild case of guilt for cutting Em's piano teacher loose last year when Em got bored and wanted to swim more than she wanted to practice.

Too much more with school? I'm in a good place tonight because I'm caught up with school and actually have completed next week's assignments as well.

When I was younger I hated piano lessons because I had to play Flamenco songs and classical music and that bored me to death--I wanted to play REO Speedwagon and Journey songs.

I don't know. My parents tried to take lessons before I was taking them as a kid, and both of them quit because they never improved--they were "too old" and couldn't grasp what was going on. But I was young and malleable. (Did I seriously just use the word "malleable" in my blog?)

I need to be removing stuff from my plate, not adding more.

Part of me is swearing to finish my current degree, start and complete grad school, earn my RHCE along the way, remodel the basement (including the downstairs bathroom), finish my project with the playhouse renovation, etc., etc., etc.

The other part of me wants to sit back, have a Piña Colada (a lie--I'd never drink that crap), and enjoy how far we've come. This has been hard work.

Do I rest on my laurels (nice cliché) or drive forward?

"...getting caught in the rain. If you're not into tofu. If you have half a brain..."

Great. Glad I picked that foofy drink as an example....

Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2007, 1:14 am
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Heh

So I didn't end up playing golf this morning--I got up and came to work instead.

Well, on the way to work I was flipping channels on the radio...

Okay, a little background. The radio in my car has 5 buttons that can be set, as well as a button that switches between one set of stations and a second set, for 10 stations total. Well, I have mine programmed for "morning ride stations" and "afternoon ride stations." Three of the five stations are the same. However, two of the stations on my first group have morning show "personalities" that I can't stand to listen to. Like not even for two or three words. So in the morning I have two substitute stations.

As I was exiting the garage today, one of the annoying guys came on the radio so I quickly hit the button to switch me to "FM2." I flipped channels around and listened to various different songs as I made my way to work. As I slowed down to enter Philo the song "Rosanna" by Toto was playing on one of my "substitute" stations. They play okay music sometimes, don't have annoying "personalities," but, well, sometimes they play songs like "Rosanna" by Toto. The song was almost over and I was driving through a town so I paid more attention to what I was doing and stopped flipping channels (even though I have a button right on my steering wheel so I don't even need to look up).

Anyway, the DJ comes on the air and says that their morning whatever-it's-called quiz is regarding that song. And this is no joke--before she even said the question I thought "..it's about Rosanna Arquette." Well she started to list what the prize was going to be, which normally are like two movie tickets or something. She said something about a four-pack of tickets to some theme park in Indiana, yada yada, and two tickets for lunch at Papa George's, a new greek restaurant in town that the redhead has been bugging me about going to. So my ears perked up and I grabbed my cell phone. Sure enough, they wanted to know who the song was about.

Duh.

So I called and it answered right away--so fast that I expected it to be an "all lines are full" message. But it was the DJ, and she asked me my name and what I thought the answer was.

Obviously I was correct, or I wouldn't be wasting my time writing this right now. Being the responsible person I am, I had pulled off the highway and parked at a park in Philo while I talked to the woman on the phone. After I got off the phone I called home because I figured the kids hadn't left for the bus. I told them to hurry and go listen to the radio and told them what I won and apparently Em has heard of this Holiday World theme park before.

How funny is that?

Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2007, 1:08 pm
Mood: Amused | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment
 


Histamines

Hmm. So the "mood thing" isn't working properly--it's not just my imagination. I could have sworn I had "tired" in the list already (even though technically "tired" isn't really a mood) but it wasn't in the list yesterday morning so I added it as a new mood, and it's not appearing in the list right now either. It can't be a "LIMIT" issue with my database query because moods appear that are alphabetically after "tired." Maybe I'll look at that this weekend.

I'm still not giving in and eating in the middle of the night, although 5:00 a.m. is hardly the middle of the night. I still don't understand why I'm awake.

I came home and mowed the front yard and parts of the back yard, and boy did I stir up the bugs and pollen and stuff. I'm still coughing and wheezing and dealing with a runny nose. Before I went to bed last night (and I stayed up semi-late watching football) I took a couple of allergy pills (generic Claritin)--it said to only take one because it would make you sleepy, so of course I took two. And now I'm wide awake.

I'm having that overwhelmed feeling again, and I can't possibly be. School has only just started, and while I can see that I might be concerned that I'm taking two classes, I really shouldn't be. One of them is a computer class, but the other one is a liberal studies class dealing with how animals have been portrayed by civilized societies throughout history. And even my computer class seems like more fun than work. So I don't think it is school.

Work is chugging along. I moved one of our larger web sites to the new server yesterday afternoon. I'm still waiting on the DNS change to trickle down. Probably good that it will hopefully happen during the day today and didn't happen in those few short hours of sleep, even though I'm 99% certain that I've crossed my t's and dotted my i's and there shouldn't be any issues. "Shouldn't be any issues" are famous last words if there ever were any.

I was hoping to play golf yesterday afternoon but that never materialized. I mowed the yard when I got home from work instead (as I already mentioned, *sniffle*), cooked burgers and dogs on the grill for dinner, and after the proceedings to prepare the snot-rockets for bed we sat down to watch one of the final Pirate Master episodes that we haven't seen. Four more to go before we've seen the rest of them. Who has the time for television shows? (Especially ones that are cancelled and you have to get the episodes off the 'net....)

I think this morning I might try to sneak nine holes in before heading to the office. The Weather Channel says sunrise is at 6:29 this morning--the days are sure getting shorter fast. (The good news--it's going to be in the 70s tomorrow and Thursday, with evening lows in the 40s--how wonderful!) If I can get to the course by 6:30 I should be home in an hour, probably in time to see the kids off to the bus.

I sure wish I could get another hour of sleep in between now and then, though. I guess I'll fill up my cup of water and give it the old college try...

Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2007, 10:04 am
Mood: Restless | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Food

Once again here I am awake at 4:00 a.m. I've fallen back into my old bad habit of waking up and eating in the middle of the night. And I need to stop doing that. I may not be motivated to start jogging or working out again, but the least I can do is quit eating when I'm bored or can't sleep or whatever. I'm not hungry. There's no need to eat (and it doesn't help that what I tend to eat in the middle of the night isn't an apple or anything like that...).

I'll have a glass of ice water. No calories in that, right?

What a fabulous weekend for sports, eh? And yeah, I'm not crazy--I realize both the Bears and the White Sox lost yesterday. I could almost care less (and hey, the Sox no longer have the worst record in baseball, so we've got something going for us, at least).

Unlike the Cubs, who are petering out like they are wont to do, at just the right time. Ah, the Cubs, whose fans continue to make fun of me and give me grief when I wear my bright green St. Patrick's Day White Sox t-shirt. What is it that Earl says about karma? No, once again, this isn't your year. Not only aren't you going to win the World Series, but you aren't even going to win your division. And since the NL Central is the weakest division in baseball, you don't even have a shot at the wild card.

And yeah, I think it's only fair to spread the wealth around. We got our first World Series win in 100 years a couple of years ago, and it's only fair that the Cubs fans get the same. In the words of Han Solo, "great kid--don't get cocky..."

Speaking of cocky fans, Michigan lost again. Sorry, let me say that correctly--Michigan got killed. Humiliated. Couldn't happen to a nicer group of folks. Keep that karma coming, Earl.

And what fans are almost as irritating as Michigan fans? That's right--Notre Dame fans. Oh, wait, they lost on Saturday too. Michigan and Notre Dame, with a combined record of 0-4 on the season. How wonderful.

Illinois, on the other hand, won their game on Saturday. Well, we "won." Beating WIU 21-0 almost doesn't count. It should have been 63-0. I think we're in for another long year... (Please let's do better than 1-11 though--please?)

Heh--and next week Michigan and Notre Dame play each other. And while it is unfortunate that that means one of them will win their first game of the year, it also means that one of them will lose their third in a row. How cool is that?

Okay, I need to go back to bed....

Posted: Monday, September 10, 2007, 8:53 am
Mood: Tired | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Closing the Pool

I tried to prolong the use of the pool as long as I could. The weather has been crappy. It's actually been getting cool at night, which makes the temperature of the water plummet. The kids are back in school. They don't want to swim after we get home. The water is too cold.

So I'm finally taking the plunge (heh) and closing the pool for the year.

And this always makes me half-depressed. But why does it? It was used regularly this year, but there comes a time when it must be closed for the season. This happens every year. We'll reopen it next year.

I think that it is more than just a metaphor for summer ending for me. It's physical. The bright blue sparkling pool, the bubbling of the jets--it all just fits with the back yard of summer. And this isn't the slow and pretty turning of the leaves of autumn. This is a knife stuck into summer. The pump will need to empty about another 10,000 gallons or so out into the ditch by the road and then I'll cover it up and that will be the end.

And I love autumn. I look forward to it. Sweatshirts. Weenie roasts. Chili. Football. I couldn't stand to live in an area of the world that didn't experience the changes in the seasons that we do.

I get to shut the pool pump off in a few hours. The same pump that pumps hundreds of gallons of water per hour, constantly. The pump that doesn't give the wheel in the electric meter a break for a whole four months.

Our last electric bill was almost $400. That will drop to $100 next month, especially once we're finished running the air conditioner for the year. That's certainly nothing to be depressed about.

So here I sit on the concrete deck, with my feet gently resting on the top step in the cool water. The crickets are buzzing and the birds are chirping away. The pool is quiet, the water calm. And all the while the water level is quietly dropping, and soon I won't be able to soak my feet any longer.

And the Illini had better beat WIU this evening or I'll be even more depressed. Of course, I have to figure out where we can go to watch the game because it won't be on television at our house. Thanks Big Greed, I mean Big Ten Network.

Posted: Saturday, September 08, 2007, 1:27 pm
Mood: Sad | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Of Course It Is Going to Rain Today...

I was planning on taking a half-day today and coming home in the afternoon to play golf with a work acquaintance. He does the design of most of our web site stuff, and is working on several projects for me right now. Unlike many people like me on campus, I never once professed to know thing one about graphic design. Just because I can write HTML by hand doesn't mean I'm all of a sudden a graphic designer. Those people have a talent, and I do not. So when we have a new web project I'm more than happy to get a hold of Chuck and hire him to create a design for us.

Well, we got on the subject of golf (imagine that, right?) the last time he was over meeting with me in my office and we set today as a tentative date for maybe playing 18 holes.

Oh well.

I suppose it is just as well. I need to move our IPM web site off the old IPM Center server and make it the first of many future tenants on our new huge Extension server, to finally split the two up and leave the Center on its server all by itself.

Yesterday I got MySQL set up and running on the new server. Well, it was always running, I just created user passwords and did all of the permissions baloney and such. Today is a Bulletin day, so I don't know that today will be the best day to move things over. Well, I guess it doesn't matter. I just need to post the new Bulletin first, then copy the databases, then copy the web sites, then request a DNS change from campus, and when it happens, it happens. Once I post the Bulletin there shouldn't be any other database changes, unless someone signs up for notification, but that could happen any time and moving a few stray e-mail addresses isn't a big deal. Okay, enough rambling about very boring monotonous work stuff.

I guess I should get in the shower and go to work. Too bad about golf....

Posted: Thursday, September 06, 2007, 11:03 am
Mood: Fair | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Nice Weekend

Saturday morning after I had fixed breakfast for the K-Farts I informed them that we'd be spending the rest of the morning picking tomatoes. We gathered up a half-dozen buckets and off to the farm we went . Holy moley were there lots of 'maters.

We didn't have that many peppers thanks to the stupid dog, but managed to gather enough to make some salsa. I think I made a dozen pints or so of salsa and then canned about a dozen quarts of just tomatoes. I've kind of felt bad this year that I didn't do more with the garden, but I've been busy. Canning on Saturday made me feel somewhat better.

Saturday evening, well, I'm not sure what we did Saturday evening.

On Sunday we had a couple of friends from the neighborhood over for a final swim of the year. We had a few beers and I cooked a few burgers--no big deal, but we had fun.

Yesterday morning I went and played nine holes with Alexander's best friend's dad. I didn't shoot very well but I kept reminding myself aloud that we could both be at work instead.

I canned up the remainder of the tomatoes yesterday afternoon. In the evening Em and I headed back to the club and I played a few more holes and she hit a couple of shots.

And how nice--it's the start of the week and it's already Tuesday...

Posted: Tuesday, September 04, 2007, 11:11 am
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


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