Summer 2006

Saturday, September 30th

Sorry that it's been a while since I posted. The site overhaul involved some database tables being copied around and continuing to post to the old table was going to cause problems.

However, I've still been keeping busy. Last weekend Sarah and I met up with Mike and Jessica (and Gannon) for camping at Starved Rock. It was our first time camping in Illinois, and other than some rain on Saturday and a lack of water in some of the water falls, it was a lot of fun. We did a lot of hiking, sitting around the camp fire, and even bought some dreadful local wine.

At work things are busy as ever. A last minute rollout of software to Bolingbrook went about as well as a last minute rollout to Accounting. If we just had a little bit of lead time on this stuff, it would be a lot easier in the long run. The project can finally start moving forward since after three months we got the software we've been trying to purchase. Justin is leaving our team, so Amy is taking his place on the project.

Next weekend I'm looking forward to the premier of BSG. We're going up to Mike's and staying over. While the girls are scrapbooking, Mike and I are going to discuss some options for putting the Com back in ComTrad. Or was it the Trad?

Tuesday, September 5th

I'm back at work after Labor Day weekend. Sarah and I went camping at Govenor Dodge State Park in Wisconsin. It was a good trip, aside from the rain we had on Sunday and Monday. We had a backpack site, which meant we had to haul all of our stuff about a half mile uphill, but it was cool to be in a secluded spot by ourselves. The hike to and from the site got old as the weekend wore on, but we still had a fun time hiking, canoeing, and seeing Cave of the Mounds. We were treated to some serious lightning on the drive back, which was made more interesting by the rear window that wouldn't go up.

See, I got my windows tinted about a week and a half ago, and one of the tricks is that you can't roll down your windows for a week or so. Well we were out in nature and so we decided it had been long enough and the windows went down. The passenger back window went down very slowly, and then it wouldn't go back up. So we spent a lot of time trying to coax it up, pull it up and I even made an effort to take the door apart in the parking lot before finally covering it with a garbage bag so the rain wouldn't get in. This morning as I'm explaining this to Steve as we are about to go to lunch, he offers to try to get it up, and on only his second try pulling on it, the window goes up. So at least it's up, and tomorrow morning I have an appointment at Audi to get it fixed.

Otherwise things are normal. As usual I'm trying to get caught up at work, for some reason believing that I won't just get a bunch of new things dumped on me. This week I'm trying to make some progress on the Directory Management project, getting our group consolidation plan together as well as getting our next round of software updates rolling.

Monday, August 28th

It's been busy the past couple weeks. Two weekends ago was Mike's Bachelor party. We had a great time paintballing, eating at Sabor, and going out on Water St, but I crashed early when we got back to the hotel. Then this past weekend was the wedding, which was awesome. The whole thing went off without a hitch, and the only drama was a bit of confusion about the hotel accomodations, both in who was sleeping where the night before, and then in making sure we actually had a room the following night. It was a great ceremony and reception and I had a lot of fun, and I think most everyone else did too. We met back with the newlyweds and the bridal party and family the following day for a gifty opening before heading back for some much-needed down time.

Work was feeling pretty overwhelming, so I made up a list of everything I had going on and started working on it. I was making good progress in getting things done, but new things have kept piling on, so it's feeling pretty hectic again. My cable went out last week because Comcast cut the cable in the basement. I figured that out after a day or so and rigged it back up, but RCN will be out tonight to fix it more permanently. Webmail was down because my IP address changed, but I finally got that fixed. Jeff and Shannon should be down on Wednesday evening, so I'm hoping to do some grilling. Otherwise I'm looking forward to a normal week.

Monday, August 14th

I made it over to Texas de Brazil for the first time on Friday. Usually it's 'Crunch Wrap Fridays' where the team goes to Taco Bell and orders Crunch Wrap Supremes. I gave them a try, but they really don't do it for me. Fortunately one of the Taco Bells has the little side menu of Pizza Hut and I can order personal pizzas and still go with the team. This past Friday, though, on learning that the Service Delivery guys were going to something slightly nicer than Taco Bell, I decided to tag along. It was really good, if a bit salty. I think I like Sal and Carvao better, but trying new things is good.

I'll have another opportunity to broaden my Churrascaria palate next weekend at Mike's Bachelor party. There's a place in Milwaukee that we'll be giving a go after paintball. It's hard to believe that he'll be married in two weeks. I think I've got the bachelor party plans under control aside from buying some alchohol for the hotel. After paintball and dinner we're going to Water St and other Milwaukee clubs and bars. IrishFest is going on, so it should be a blast.

This weekend we went down to meet my Mom and go to the Indiana Dunes. I hadn't been there in a couple years and Sarah hadn't been there before. We wound up walking a lot farther than we'd planned, but the weather was beautiful and we had a great time. Yesterday we went up to her grandmothers for dinner with a whole bunch of her family. We also started watching Shichinin no Samurai, a Samurai film from the fifties. It's good, but I didn't realize it's like four hours long. We're about halfway through. I guess we'll finish it tonight.

Monday, August 7th

This weekend Sarah's brother Will came down and we went to Steve's LAN party. The games were UT 2004, Battlefield 2, and Rise of Nations. Other than the time spent transferring Sarah's computer to a new hard drive and then fixing a botched system restore, it went fairly smoothly. We got back Sunday morning around 6am and went to bed. The weekend seemed to go by quickly as a result, but it was a good time.

Work has been feeling hectic recently. I need to draw up a list of everything I'm working on, not just tasks, but projects and responsibilities, come up with a plan for working on it, and hopefully get a better sense of where I am with everything. It's feeling unweildy and I don't want stuff to fall by the wayside.

Mike, Eriq, and I have been talking about buying a place up north, or an investment property, but I think the easiest thing to tackle will be another stab at making magI|DIGITAL work. I say easier because I had the lightbulb idea of making it web-based, without shipping DVD's, without writing software, without finding distributers, without a lot of the hassle. I bought a couple books on marketing and publicity, and I'm reading those. I don't expect we'll get started on it until after some other things settle down, probably in another month or so. However, just having some basic idea and plan in place, however rudimentary, is helpful in keeping me motivated.

I've also continued work on the refresh. Graphics are troublesome because I want the design to scale, and there are some challenges with the novel, scriptless solution to dynamic element positioning, but I'm getting there. I expect to have it finalized in the next couple weeks, and then switching it over will require some more work. Some of it will be rather monotonous, but I'll get there.

Monday, July 31st

Sarah and I drove up to Cottage Grove, WI to share 'First Coke' with friends at Mike and Jessica's new house. It took longer than I thought to get up there, about two and half hours, but we still had fun and enjoyed the first Coke of the new house tradition that has been loosely followed since we started moving out. Their new place is cool, with a home theater downstairs and lots of space.

Unfortunately the drive really sucks. It didn't take much less time to get home, and while we can spend the night when we go up or they come down, the distance does suck. The drive to Milwaukee was a pain, but I did it fairly regularly for BSG, ILH, just to hang out, and occasionally just for coffee. I can't do that anymore unless Mike is driving in too and we're meeting somewhere else, and that really makes me reminisce about being able to walk across the street to go swimming in the pool when we lived in neighboring apartment complexes. Now we've both moved away and it seems like what was just hanging out is going to be replaced by pre-planned events that fill up a weekend.

What really needs to happen is we need to figure out what we're going to do to get out of working for the man. Increasing comfort and responsibilities have made that more challening in the past couple years, and it's only likely to get more so. I feel like we're going to get trapped in this typical American life if we aren't already.

Friday, July 21st

"Plans" for a camping trip this weekend were sabotaged by a lack of planning. Originally we were going to go to the Indiana Dunes, but we were mistaken about the reservability of sites and it was booked. Then we scrambled to find another place, like Starved Rock, Wildcat Mountain, Apple Rock Canyon, and some others, but it just didn't work out.

This week at work brought the All IS (and now Engineering) meeting, which last year was pretty fun, but this year was spent entirely on the trying to distill our entire corporate experience into a few buzz words for the purpose of self-congratulation. The opportunity to see and talk to people from all over the company was limited and unfortunately I couldn't stay late to socialize because I had to get Sarah from the train, since we forgot to drive separately.

Otherwise it's been fairly uneventful. I sent out the invite for Mike's bachelor party. I'm looking forward to that; hopefully I won't screw up the coordination and planning. I don't think I mentioned it when it happened, but Mike asked me to be his best man, so I'm doing my best not to procrastinate with things.

Tuesday, July 18th

We've been to a few festivals around town, both downtown and in Chinatown. This past weekend Sarah and I went down to my sisters in Lafayette for a belated birthday celebration. The weekend previous Eriq and Mo came down for some Star Trek movie watching. The girls hadn't yet experienced the Search for Spock or The Voyage Home, so we had to remedy that.

I've been loving the hot weather recently. It's been in the nineties at least and I can't get enough of it, though I wish there was a pool nearby. There's one at Bally, but it's indoors which kind of defeats the purpose. Of course the lake is only a few blocks from home, but pools are still nice.

Monday, July 3rd

We got back yesterday from visting Sarah's parents' property in Necedah, WI. We went up Thursday night and got there fairly late. Friday we went to Noah's Ark, which was a lot of fun. I hadn't been there, despite going to the Dells and driving past numerous times. Then Saturday we spent some time working on the siding on the garage they've been building before taking the boat out on Lake Petenwell. We went tubing and meandered around looking at houses along the lake, since Sarah's parents are building a log cabin. Before coming back we went climbing on some rocks along Castle Rock Lake. We had a great time.

There's not too much else new going on. My boss got promoted and I'm scrambling to finish some things for quarter end. Theoretically the quarter is over, but I may be able to wrap some things up before we review. Tonight is the fireworks and tomorrow Sarah and I are going to check out the insanity of the Taste.