Summer 2005

Tuesday, September 27th

My frogs died. Last year Pam got me a bigger tank with a filter that the frogs were in when I moved and that they stayed in until a few weeks ago when it suddenly developed a crack in the side. So I ordered the "double tube town with filter" from Grow-a-Frog and got them set up in there. They seeme to like it well enough, but the filters it came with kind of sucked, plus it didn't filter ammonia.

So I found an active filter on the Internet that said it was good for turtles, frogs and such, and ordered it. That showed up early last week and I put it in. The water cleared up and all was well, at least briefly. Yesterday when I got to work, Xiang Yao was dead. He has always been the smaller of the two, so I suppose it wasn't all that surprising if something was wrong with the environment. This morning Gong Gong was dead as well. It must be something with the filter or just changing to a new tank, but what I don't know. Either way, I'm kind of bummed about it, and not just because I had just gotten them set up in new digs.

Monday, September 26th

Wow, I just had a great weekend. Friday I met Sarah, not to be confused with Sarah for dinner. We went to Praire Rock out in Schaumburg, followed by The Alumni, and had an awesome time. Saturday I went up to MKE and we watched the season finale (WTF?!) of Battlestar Galactica, followed by recording our second ILH episode. Then we headed back to Lee's Luxury Lounge before I came back home.

The new back door is finally finished, my couches are ready to be delivered, and I'm getting ready to paint. I've been working feverishly to get the new ILH site up and running. Tonight Mike is coming down for work, so we're going to meet up for coffee, and tomorrow I'm going out with Sarah. This weekend I'm looking forward to seeing Serenity, and at work we're running behind on the project and trying to get everything ready by the end of the week. So, I'm keeping pretty busy, but I'm doing pretty well.

Wednesday, September 21st

Well the garage speed bump was fixed, so excepting the occasional problems with the door itself, that's all straightened out. The guy started work on my back door, but it was not the one day process I guess I was expecting. It's coming along though, which is a marked improvement.

We're doing everything we can at work to get the project ready for pilot. I think it may happen, but that will depend on some things coming together. The script still needs a lot of testing, so I'm concerned we may not be ready, but we also got pushed back a couple days for our go/no go decision.

We recorded the first ILH episode. I'm working on the site now, trying to get the whiteboard code ported over to do what we need it to. We'll put up the rss feed as soon as the site is ready. I hope it is received well, and at least received by more than just a couple people.

Wednesday, September 14th

Today I came home early from work to meet the contractor Henry, who has replaced John for the most part. He will hopefully be resolving my garage threshold issue in the next few days or so. Also, the door will be fixed this Saturday morning. So I'm making progress on those fronts. All I need to do now is paint as soon as the door is installed.

I discovered why the comtrad sites were down all day. I had sent an email to the hosting guy asking what was up, but I figured it out myself. Yesterday evening I had deleted an old database that had the wrong name. When that happened, it deleted the user id too, so all of the databases were inaccessible because they were using the same user id to access the database server. Creating a new database with that user id recreated the user account, and everything is back up and working. It makes sense, but it is poor design on the part of Angry. I sent him an email.

There's not a whole lot else going on. Work is going to be tough for the next week or so while I try to get everything ready for the project pilot. I really hope that we're ready in time, since there is still a lot to do.

Friday, September 9th

I'm feeling pretty good at the moment. I feel as though I'm spending more time working on projects and hobbies that interest me, that I'm making progress on them, and work seems more manageable.

I still haven't gotten my back door fixed. I called them and left a message asking why the hell it's taking so long in more friendly terms than that. My garage door is currently working, but I don't have a ton of confidence in it. I still need to fix or get fixed the speed bump at the entrance to it. My Xbox is nearly working. I had it completely functional, but it stopped working when I put the cover back on, because the chip mount is fairly delicate. I need to transfer mail back over to my system, since it is running on Mike's server still.

I've gotten right back in the saddle with Lightwave for our magi|DIGITAL efforts. I'm churning out volumetric textures and have already learned some new tricks. I'm looking forward to Liquiscapes two, so we can try out some new techniques.

Eriq and I went on a roadtrip to visit our old friend Paul, whom neither of us had seen in two years. It was hard to spend so much time in the car, but it was worth it to hang out with someone we've missed since he moved. There's a lot more to the road trip that I may go into some other time, but I'm still processing my thoughts on the experience itself and the events that surrounded it.

Monday, August 29th

This past weekend I went up to Milwaukee again. I went mountain biking with Matt B on Saturday, then got some swimming in with Mike before catching some BSG and heading out to shoot a few games of pool. Sunday we went to breakfast, started the migration of web sites to Angry Hosting which is now nearly complete. This should bring improved stability and speed to all my web sites, while enabling us to do things like magi and our new Podcast which we discussed, but did not do since we need new microphones to make it work and Matt wasn't there.

Work is kind of overwhelming at the moment. I am trying to get caught up but there's a lot to do. I'm excited about some of my projects with Mike and Eriq, but the price of gas isn't making the trip any easier, and I still want to meet some more people down here. My Xbox is close to being up to speed, it just has a couple more bugs to get ironed out and then I think at least that will be back to normal. The door still hasn't been replaced, and my garage door has issues with being cheap and cheaply installed. I hope to tackle that this weekend, or possibly sooner, since it is really annoying to have to close it manually.

Not too much else to report. I need to get to work on painting my living room before my couches show up, so perhaps posting about it will give me some impetus. Also, I really need to go to the dentist and get my wisdom teeth pulled before my teeth are completely crooked.

Friday, August 12th

On the off chance that you can get to my site, don't refresh, because you might not be able to get back! Last Friday my DSL connection suddenly went down. Not having their number handy, I called Speakeasy when I got to work. Because I wasn't home, they wouldn't escalate the issue, even though it briefly came up the moment he checked it, and then went down again. When I got home that evening the connection was working fine again.

It proceeded to work fine for a bit, until Tuesday when it didn't work all day, but worked when I got home in the evening, albeit very slowly. Because it had come back, I let it be. But it went down again the next day, and I called from home and they started working on it. The issue was "resolved" and I left for work. When I got to work, it was already down again. I called them back and they "escalated" the issue. Apparently escalation means that Covad will update the ticket again by tomorrow. So that means yesterday and today it was down for nearly the entire day. I have no idea why it comes back up in the evening, unless someone put the telco side of the DSL line on a light switch.

In other fun news, my back door is "on order" and hasn't been replaced yet. My garage was supposed to be completed, but isn't, of course, and my grill was stolen off the balcony yesterday. It's been a bit of a crappy week, overall. Work has been fairly frustrating too, as I got to spend all of my time on Mobilis repackaging instead of working on the migration script. I'm pretty sure I've got that done, but who knows, it could rear it's head on Monday.

I had a long talk with Mark at work this evening before coming home. We agree on a lot of what needs to be done to make the environment better, and there's some individuals that just seem to not even care or not think through their plan when they really should. It's really frustrating, but also good to know I'm not alone in seeing where things should be moving and understanding why.

Monday, August 8th

Yesterday was pretty productive. I discovered that the second TV wall mount I purchased was a universal adapter, meaning that it mounted to the television just fine, but was not intended to be mounted to the wall. Unwilling to accept this, I decided to mount it to the wall directly. The problem came in when I discovered the wall studs to be 26" apart (?). After a number of hours and actually cutting notches from the rails so that I could get the brackets on, the TV was attached to the wall. I also hooked up my flat speaker wire and put down the new rug over it.

I still have a lot to do, mostly throwing away boxes from the recent deliveries and continuing the replacement of light switches. My efforts to wire the fan separately from the light in the living room met with failure since there aren't any other wires going to the fan. I'd have to rip up the ceiling to fix it. Otherwise things are getting more into order.

Monday, August 1st

My place is a disaster currently. I finished putting up the last of the closet organizers, but didn't clean up the mess. The office is all rearranged from moving the futon in but the boxes are still in here, resulting in a significant loss of space. Then there is general clutter from dishes and food consumed whilst playing Half Life 2 (good game, by the way).

The bedroom is a mass of clothes on the floor since I need to do laundry, and the Flor area rug showed up today, so I set it up but didn't actually stick it down since I need flat speaker wire first. The kitchen is a similar mess of clean dishes in the dishwasher and dirty dishes in the sink. So I have a lot of work to do. I bought some tupperware-esque organizer boxes for crap in the office and need to make several trips to the dumpster.

This weekend was spent in Indiana visiting my mom, installing a new range hood and helping her shop for a refridgerator. I also went to breakfast with my grandmother. I'm hoping to get the larger portion of this mess cleaned up tonight, but that means not playing more Half Life, which may be difficult.

Wednesday, July 27th

This past weekend I spent in MKE, not seeing Jeff who was in town but tied up with family. I watched Appleseed and Steamboy with some good peeps at Eric's East Side pad, caught the latest BSG, and while I didn't get any mountain biking in and didn't see Jeff, it was still a fairly good weekend.

Monday night it rained, and I took a walk since it was hot out. I watched the lightning over the lake while I walked the sidewalk along Loyola Beach. It was a pleasant departure from my regular evening and a good time for reflection.

Without the ability to watch TV via the Xbox, I've been playing video games on the computer, mostly Half Life 2, but also some Battlefield 2. Those are pretty entertaining, though efforts yesterday to get a network game going with Steve from work and some friends of his met with complications and I went back to Half Life after an hour or so of frustration.

The door has not yet been replaced, and it remains barricaded. Two people have come out from the contractor to look at it, and I received an estimate in the mail. I am now awaiting another call about scheduling the actual work.

The ebb and flow of life is a constant marvel to me. As I come to accept things in my life that are not as I would have them, I am often in turn pleased by fortunate turns. A bit less than a year ago I filed a claim to the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) after I refinanced the duplex (not realizing I would be selling it in less than six months). The claim involved refunding the remainder of my mortgage insurance. They stated it would take perhaps three months to be reimbursed. After that period went by I made a couple of visits to their web site attempting to figure out how to contact them as to the status of the claim.

Today in the mail, roughly a week and a half after the break-in prepared me to pay out my insurance deductible and the cost difference between my old door and new door, I finally received my check from HUD, which will more than compensate for the unexpected costs. while it would have been nice to get this much sooner, it is good timing regardless.

Wednesday, July 20th

Well things are back in order at home for the most part. The guy came out yesterday to look at the door and he'll have an estimate soon. For the time being the deadbolt is locked, though it isn't especially secure. I barricaded the door as an extra precaution, which means I have to go out through the basement door, which incidentally has about the crapiest door handle I have ever seen.

Work is going fine. There isn't too much to report there. My project is progressing and I think it may start to come together in the next couple weeks. This past weekend Erin and I went up to MKE to watch BSG, followed by hanging out with Mike, Matt B, and Eriq at Rock Bottom. Monday Erin and I saw The Wedding Crashers; expect a review shortly. Otherwise there isn't too much else going on. This weekend Jeff will be in Milwaukee, so I'll be heading up again, hopefully I'll catch some biking and anime as well.

Wednesday, July 13th

Today when I got home from work I came in through the front door since I checked my mail first. The developer neglected to put in mail locks on the doors, so whether or not we will even get mail is currently up in the air. I opened the front door and noticed the speaker was loose on the stand, followed by noticing the stereo console was pulled out from the wall. Thoughts of the contractors doing something were dismissed as I remembered they didn't have a key. Looking at the back door revealed it was still open, having been forced, splitting the frame by the latch.

As the reality of being burglarized sunk in, I took stock of what had been taken. The TV was still there, the most obvious target for thieves. The stereo was there, the center channel was pulled out but there, there were doors open everywhere, my clothes were on the floor. The office had been entered since the closet door was open, but everything was there, including the monitor, which I didn't expect to be there, and my work laptop, which is astonishing since it was out in the open sitting on the floor.

The end tally was the Xbox, the DVD player, the remote for the Xbox, my one Xbox game, the brand new programmable LCD-equipped universal remote that got here from Newegg yesterday, and the spare change from the top of my dresser. So, on the scale of one to ten, one being nothing and ten being the walls, this was about a two or three. It being a modded Xbox, and the entire media hub of my entertainment center, I'm very unhappy about that, plus the remote that I had just gotten. But overall it could have been much worse.

The cops came, dusted for prints, told me to replace the outside doors and door frames with steel and always use my deadbolt. My back door is now dead bolted, but the frame appears to be attached to drywall and the swarm of gnats outside it has returned, as has the large spider that is doing his part to control the gnat population, but is also making it difficult to use the door what with the webs.
I'm kind of puzzled by my own lack of strong reaction. I'm supposed to feel violated or something, but I'm just kind of pissed off and relieved they didn't take anything else. Erin came over and brought food and we went out to meet her friend and her fiancé for a drink. I keep thinking how terrible it would have been if they had taken the computer or server, since they have all of my stuff on them. All I can do now is better secure my possessions and call up my insurance company.

Sunday, July 10th

Well I've been keeping busy. Last week for the Fourth I went up to MKE to attend a very cool party at Eric's 28th floor apartment (not to be confused with Eriq). We watched the fireworks from the balcony and had a good time trying to remember what text-based online game Paul played back in the day, among other things (answer: Mutants). Then, on the Fourth itself I went to a party held by Brian, my director at work.

This past week was short but didn't really seem like it. I've continued to shop for a new sofa unsuccessfully. Then yesterday I went to a LAN Gaming party held by Steve from work. We had a lot of fun, though my lack of playing much over the last year was very evident. We played a number of games that I hadn't tried before that were pretty cool, like Call of Duty and Rise of Nations. I got back early this morning and slept in. This evening I'm headed back to MKE for Summerfest with Erin, her friend and her friend's boyfriend. Mike and Jessica may be joining us as well. So, for the most part I've been having a lot of fun!