Journal

Fall 2005

Wednesday, December 21st

I haven't posted a Journal entry in a while. Not a whole lot is going on. I'm getting ready for Christmas and doing my typical last-minute gift scramble. Sarah and I will be going up to Minnesota to my sister's for Christmas. The past few weekends have been fairly quiet, with us staying in for the most part, save a shopping trip and some visits to 'Sconsin.

At work the project is going well, if a little slowly. The typical little things have popped up, as I expect they will continue to, but for the most part things are going very smoothly. I'm trying to get caught up on my other outstanding responsibilities before year-end.

I finally got the phone I've been wanting for like a year. I got the Nokia 6255i and have added a couple gigs of memory and a Bluetooth headset to round it out. I need a tape adapter for it so that I can play the mp3s in my car. It's pretty awesome, despite not having voice recognition as good as my LG had.

Thursday, December 1st

Man, high time for a Journal entry! I haven't been keeping up on my webpage very well as of late, with only two Journal entries last month. In any case, let me get you up to speed on what has been happening.

At work, Jeff is leaving. Jeff is a project manager consultant that has been managing my project as well as Steve's Altiris project. Altiris is pretty much done, or as done as it can be. My project is finally green for production, but with Jeff leaving, I'll be taking over the Project Manager responsibilities. So I've had to take a crash course on budget management, staffing plans, and a few more of the specifics that werne't covered by the Project Management training I took a while back. I'm sure I can handle it, but I was kind of hoping work would be getting easier about now.

Outside work I still don't have my car taken care of, but I'm probably just going to pay it. I'd have to figure some way to register the car in Wisconsin for three months to get around the tax, and since I just got my Illinois drivers license, that is a bit more difficult than it would be otherwise. I'm making a few financial adjustments to get myself into a better position next year to have the free cash I need for taking a stab at real estate investment. magi was supposed to launch today, but we never picked it back up after our initial efforts a few months back, but we all had doubts about how viable it was going to be given our energy and time to spend on it.

Sarah and I are entering our third month together, and I went to her family's for Thanksgiving day. My mom came up that Friday for dinner at my house and got to meet her. My cooking skills may be improving, but I still apparently can't tell one end of a cornish hen from the other. It was good though, and we went to Svea's the next morning and then we visited my Aunt Nancy and her side of the family.

ILH has been slow. We only recorded two episodes in November and neither have gone out yet since Mike has been so busy with finishing up his editing project. We're planning to record an intro this weekend. We're trying a new style of recording it that is a little less structured, but hopefully it works well.

Tuesday, November 22nd

So I finally went to the DMV, which in Illinois is called the "Secretary of State: Jessie White", so I'll abbreviate that to 'DMV'. His name and picture are all over the place, even on the drivers licenses. Now, let me back up. I moved to Illinois in January. Due to my own laziness and a desire to maximize the value of my license plate, I did not immediately get an Illinois drivers license and change over my cars title, registration, and plates. The plates expired in September, and as September approached I staretd thinking about doing it.

So I began researching what I would need to take to the DMV. Apparently I would need my birth certificate, along with three other forms of ID. While this shouldn't have been a problem, a thorough search revealed that I didn't know where my birth certificate was. So I needed to get a copy from Lake County, Indiana. My mom lives in Crown Point, so I stopped there on a Saturday, after checking their hours on their website. Well, maybe my reading comprehension isn't so good, because they weren't open. I filed by mail and got my certificate in October.

Now, only certain DMVs in Illinois can do Resgistration and Title, for some reason. Still determined to have everything figured out before I went there, I found the only DMV that did title on weekends was in Waukegan. So I took a half day from work on Monday and went to the nearest one that did it during the week. I realized I didn't have my checkbook, so I stopped at an ATM and took out cash. No way I was going to not get through everything. Two hours later, I had an Illinoi drivers license, but I still needed registration and title. I was late for work already, but this was going to happen, dammit!

I started filling out the forms, and I got to the "Use Tax Transaction Return" form. By filling out the "Figure your tax" section, I arrived at the unexpected ammount of $910.42 that I apparently owe the State of Illinois in sales tax for the car I leased in Wisconsin, used in Wisconsin, and just happened to bring to Illinois. Apparently, because I am still leasing the car, Illinois believes they are entitled to a sizeable chunk of cash from me, due upon registration of the vehicle.

This leaves me with three options. Option one is to pay the cash to Illinois. I could do this, and it is probably the smartest thing to do, but it makes me angry and desire to stab state tax officials. Option two is to buy out my lease, which may not help since I'm already an Illinois resident. Option three, which may have similar consequences, is to return the car early and buy a new car. It looks like I've got some number crunching to do...

Thursday, November 10th

Well, quite a bit has been going on with me. Nothing too unusual, though. Sarah and I went to Mike and Jessica's Halloween party. I didn't throw it this year because I'm down in Chicago. Next year, though, it'll be back on. It was a great party and a lot of fun. I also finished up the ILH website, at least for a while. We recorded our sixth episode at my place a few weeks ago, then we recorded episode seven at the Halloween party, which was cool, if a little dizzying.

This past weekend I took Sarah to a play for her birthday. We saw Once Upon a Mattress at the Drury Lane Theater. Sunday we went to DePaul for an orientation and open house, since she is looking to transfer there. I started working on making her a website, though it has a ways to go.

At work the project is finally nearing production. My work is mostly done, though I need to assist in a couple other areas to get them wrapped up as well. Once we go into prtoductuion, my hope is that I'll have a bit more time to get to all of the other nagging things that have been slipping these past few months. I like to think I'm good at multitasking, but I have to multitask just to stay on top of the project, so I'm not left with a lot of other time.

magi continues to idle, and I don't know what to do about it. I haven't even heard from Sean in quite a while. I really want it to succeed, but the more we let it sit, the less likely that seems. I certainly have plenty to keep me busy without trying to take it on, and I know that everyone else is in the same boat, but the only way that will get better is if we work towards something better. Sigh, too much to do.

Monday, October 17th

This week went by quickly. The weather turned cold and it was as if Autumn had rushed in all at once. I went down to Indiana this weekend to help my Mom with her house. My sister Jessica and her husband Steve were there as well and we accomplished quite a bit. I rained destruction down on her back flower bed which had gotten overgrown over the summer. Between the weedwhacker and the hedge clippers it was mostly leveled.

I didn't get to see Sarah, though, since she was helping her family with their property up in Wisconsin. Hopefully that will be remedied tomorrow. I have a condo association meeting, where we'll be going over some things ahead of the turnover, but that hopefully won't take too long. I'm looking forward to the turnover and not having to deal with Moran and Associates (the developer) but the association dues will start up, and that is going to be an additional expense. How much remains to be seen. There are some lofty ideas floating around at the moment.

Nothing particularly new is happening at work. The pilot is dragging out while we try to resolve issues and the scheduling happens. On the one hand most of it is working really well, on the other a couple of things are still festering that really should have been resolved by now. We'll get there, but Jeff is getting loopy and my enthusiasm has tapered off precipitously. I'm still really excited about how much better things will be when we have it all in place and working, but getting there is a series of frustrations.

The ILH site is nearly finished, save a few things that need to be done before we can go live with the latest dev changes. I'm happy with the site, but I'll be happier when I can work on some other things, like magi|DIGITAL.

Monday, October 10th

Work seems more and more like a series of interruptions of the rest of my life. I don't know what that means, really, except that I really wish my project were in implementation and that I didn't have so much to do. Steve is out sick today so it's kind of quiet without the two of us bitching sarcastically about Altiris. Maybe I'll go talk to Mark for a while.

This weekend was busy with Insert Logic Here, breakfast at Svea's, shopping at Trader Joes, a walk around Evanston's old mansions, including a tour of the Charles Gates Dawes house, as well as a party at Sarah's friend Sen's. Sarah had only seen some bits and pieces of BSG so we started watching. Hopefully we can get all caught up before the next half of the season starts in January.

Magi has been idling for a bit now, and we need to get that back in gear. I've been spending my free time on ILH, but hopefully I'm close to done and can get back to some other things on my plate. I know Eriq has been wanting me to get on the pennypixel form.

Monday, October 3rd

I'm pretty exhausted at the moment. Work seemed to go on for too long and other than the project pilot being approved, not too much happened. The pilot should go well, provided Altiris gets its act together. Also, the migration script is currently limping, and needs to get up to speed very quickly. It does everything, but we need to resolve some more errors before I can call it baked.

Following work I spend an hour and a half futzing with the garage door. I'd like to think I made progress, but it still doesn't work properly, and I think it is because there is too much tension on the tensioner. That sucks because if that is the case it is a pain in the ass to fix. I walked to the hardware store only to find it had closed.

More positively, this weekend was awesome. Friday Sarah and I saw Serenity, which was excellent. Saturday it was on to ILH followed by going to Landmark for some food and drinks with Mike, Jessica, and Matt B. Then Sunday, Sarah and I went to Michigan Avenue and did a little shopping, followed by dinner at home and watching Unleashed. Note: streaming full DVD rips to the Xbox over 802.11g does not work flawlessly.

I'm really excited about the next few weeks. A few key things are coming together, and I think I'm in a really good place overall. There was an article on Slashdot about how we tend to focus on solving problems and tend not to notice when things are basically good. I'm making an effort to notice that things are basically good, and will be working to keep them improving.