Journal

Winter 2007

Sunday, March 25th

The last week of work was mostly spent working on the new desktop image. This is one of those tasks that comes around every time we have a new model of hardware to support and invariably requires a frantic push to complete because we can't get the old hardware any more. To be fair, this time I had plenty of advance warning that this was coming, but because of all of the other urgent things going on I didn't get to start on it until it had reached urgent status as well. It's nearly done, which is good, and hopefully the rest of it will go relatively smoothly.

The weekend was mostly restful and spent at home. The weather yesterday was cool and foggy so we stayed in and then went to the mall. The weather today was beautiful so we opened up the house, walked to breakfast, then did some spring cleaning. We cleaned the stove and the grill and we took some time to clean up the back parking lot, since in addition to a winter's worth of blown in garbage (it kind of collects things from the alley) there were a number of broken bottles from one of our neighbors parties a few nights ago that they hadn't taken care of.

So we cleaned up the broken glass and the cigarette butts and the trash, and after working on it for perhaps an hour the lot and even the alley by the garage looked pretty good. Then I left a note by the front door reminding our neighbors to try and keep the noise down during the quiet hours (especially during week nights) and to try to clean up after their guests. A few minutes ago, as one of our neighbors or their friends was leaving, they threw a paper drink cup out of their car window as they drove out of the lot. Whether this was a response to our effort or my note or just a coincidence, it's still kind of infuriating.

Saturday, March 17th

Last night Sarah and I went out with her friend Tina from work and Tina's boyfriend Chris. We went to Grandlux Cafe downtown, which is a really nice place. Afterwards we went to Wrigleyville for some pre-St. Patricks day fun at one of the Irish pubs before coming home. Tonight we're going up to Milwaukee to meet up with Mike, Jessica, and Matt B for some Irish eats and drinks. Sarah has her heart set on a grasshopper, I'm looking forward to another fun night of hanging out with friends. Right now we're taking it easy. We got up late since we went to bed late.

Yesterday was Mark's last day at work. I'm going to miss seeing him around, but I'm sure he'll be better off. Change is the only real constant. We also had Microsoft come in and tell us that the way for us to save millions of dollars wasn't by replacing expensive desktops with cheap, long-lived thin clients but by getting rid of hundreds of phones we already own and buying fancy new PBX integration software from Microsoft. At least they brought in pizza. It bothers me that a company that rich can't be bothered to buy us a decent lunch, but free food is free food.

Tuesday, March 13th

It's another typical day at work. Today I'm working on the new desktop image, since we have a new model of desktop coming out. As I hoped, things have settled down from the craziness of last week, and I'm getting caught up, which is always a good feeling. My list of top priorities is down to five, which believe it or not is an improvement.

On top of that, the weather the past couple days has been beautiful (especially for March). Last night Sarah and I went for a walk and it felt good just to smell the air and be outside without being bundled up. Tonight I'm hoping to open some windows and air out the house. I know it won't last, but I'm enjoying it while it does.

Wednesday, March 7th

I'm working from home today, but it's still managed to be busy. I've been working on updating Sun Java because of the change to Daylight Savings Time that kicks in a few days from now, and lots of other people are running around because of it too. The script I wrote to update Java instances now needs to be run on all of the desktops in the company. We're also getting ready to push out the app I repackaged to everyone, and my project hasn't stopped for any of this. I'm hoping that things will settle down a little bit next week, but it may be the week after that before it really does.

My free time has been dominated as of late with coding the administration page for XeoMage. For some reason I've been on an intense web programming kick and I'm making a ton of progress towards getting it done. It speaks to what a geek I am, but I'm pretty excited about it. It's really cool!

Monday, February 26th

The weekend was great. Saturday we drove up to Madison and went out to dinner before watching Dead Alive. Sunday we had a tasty breakfast, courtesy of Eriq and Mo, then shovelled out the driveway and drove on up to Cascade Mountain. The dump of snow the night before made for some awesome skiing. Unfortunately, Eriq fell and hurt his leg, so he was out for the afternoon. Sarah and I rounded out the day with some tubing and then chilled in the lounge drinking cocoa before driving home.

I'm sitting at work Monday morning, just before lunch. I think I've finally finished repackaging the app I spent last week on. I also made some progress on a script I need to have done shortly, but ran into a dumb problem with it. I'm still feeling sick, and if I didn't need to push out this software I'd probably have stayed home with Sarah, who caught it from me.

Saturday, February 24th

We had a fine time on our visit to Fort Wayne. The trip included some snow, but it wasn't unmanageable. The hotel was fine, but the highlight was seeing family that I haven't seen in about two years, especially my grandma. My sisters and their families made it too, so it was a great chance to see everyone, and Sarah hadn't met that side of my family before, so it was an all around good time.

We came back Sunday evening and somehow I made it through this week of work. I fought and continue to fight a stupid repackaging job that has an urgent priority, but for some reason keeps having issues. Better to catch them in testing, of course, but it's still frustrating, especially when my boss checks in at least a couple times a day to see how it's coming. On top of that there was another software rollout that I pushed that they ran into problems with, my never-ending project is still waiting on the network guys to cable the server, and I had my annual performance review, which sucked something awful. So not only was I frustrated, but the second half of the week I was also pissed off; seldom a good combination.

Today we're going up to Mike and Jessica's to go skiing tomorrow with them as well as Eriq and Mo, and Michelle. I'm really looking forward to trying to relax and have fun, but I have a sore throat, a cough, and my nose is running. Better times I've known.

Saturday, February 10th

It's a quiet Saturday in Chi-town. The El trains are screeching and rumbling past outside in the bitter February cold, but it's warm in here and I'm sipping on my tea. The agenda for today is pretty mundane. I'm going to try once again to get effective weather stripping in place on the back door, install a switch in the intercom so that we can turn it off at night when our neighbors are having people over that press all of the buttons until someone lets them in. We have some picking up and cleaning to do, and that's about it.

Work this week has been busy, but mostly productive. There's been a lot of software repackaging, some project work on Active Directory access templates, and I finally put my scheduled defrag job into production. I'm feeling like there's a whole lot of stuff that needs to be done, but I think I'm doing all right at keeping up with it. The forecast isn't looking any lighter (far from it), so it's good that I'm not overwhelmed yet.

Tomorrow we're going up to see Sarah's family at a Boy Scouts event, next week it's heading down to Fort Wayne for my Grandma's 85th birthday celebration. The week after that is skiing with friends, so today being a quiet Saturday at home is just fine with me.

Saturday, February 3rd

I got the car fixed on Wednesday. They gave me a loaner, which was a new A4. I liked some aspects of it, but others not so much. The ride was great, and they fixed a couple of annoyances in the interior (the glove box closes on the first try, for example). Unfortunately the steering wheel controls were really irritating, there was no clear way to change the trip computer, and my first experience with the tiptronic shifting was worse than I expected. It's basically worthless and you need to leave it in automatic. I was happy to have my precious clutch back. I'm actually ok with not getting the new model and just staying with what I have for the foreseeable future.

Last night Sarah and I watched The Departed which was really good. This morning we went to a new place for breakfast on Clark by Belmont called Orange. We had to wait a bit to get seated, but the food was really good, though a bit sweet. We did a spot of shopping in Andersonville and swung by the hardware store for some better weatherproofing for the back door (third try's a charm?). I also PhotoChopped a couple pictures of the living room to see what they would look like if we painted. It was a lot better than taping the color swatches to the wall, but we still haven't quite decided. I'm leaning towards blue (big surprise).

Tomorrow we're heading up to Eriq's for some quality chilling with friends. There hasn't been enough of that as of late.

Monday, January 29th

Yesterday on the way back from my sister's, the right front wheel of the car abruptly started making some odd noises. I should ammend abruptly, since the car has been making progressively more insistent noises from the right front wheel since Thanksgiving, but it abruptly went from 'I should get that looked at' to 'I need to stop driving the car'. We made it home, but I decided to work from home today. The dealer can't see me until Wednesday, but fortunately I can get a loaner, so it isn't the worst thing in the world. It's the wheel bearing, and I'm not entirely sure what they're going to take me for.

The trip was otherwise good. Sarah and I stopped on the way down for lunch and to shop in Hobart (Merrillville?) before driving the rest of the way down to Lafayette. Then I managed to turn onto Hwy 26 instead of 25 and we went several miles out of our way, but we made it eventually. We celebrated my mom's birthday with my sister Jessica and her husband Steve, and spent the night down there. We got back yestersday evening and got some BSG goodness in.

Thursday, January 25th

There's not too much to report, which is partially why I haven't posted. Work is busy, as usual. I'm trying to develop a script that will update Microsoft Office to SP2, which sounds really simple, but there are all kinds of complications. The script has to contend with all sorts of variables like the local installation source, "not uninstallable" patches, converting an administrative install to a compressed CD install, changing the source path to the DFS share, and more. At the same time I'm working on the XP SP2 update, an upcoming desktop image revision, a rollout of Remedy, as well as the Directory Management and the Wintel Image Management Projects.

Home is a bit more relaxed. We haven't done a whole lot this week. Mike was down for work on Tuesday and we went out for coffee and dinner. We've been keeping up with the workout, and we're making progress on Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex, Red Dwarf, Golden Boy, and of course the first new episode of Battlestar in a while. This weekend we're going down to my sisters for my Mom's birthday.

Wednesday, January 17th

This week at work has been busy with catching up from being out. Among my list of to-dos was to add a defrag job to all the desktops, per the request of one of the desktop supervisors. So I submitted the paperwork to get the change approved and found myself in a rather drawn out email chain from other supervisors and managers wanting to know why this was happening, who it was happening to, what the "impact" was going to be, what the risks were, and a litany of other questions and concerns. I was scheduled to make the change at noon today but finally got an answer by going over to a meeting the managers were having and asking. In the end, we're going to do more testing to make sure that there aren't any issues and that it works as expected before I can roll it out. On the plus side I don't need to anything but wait, but it seems like a lot of hassle for something that's really very trivial, and not really important enough to me to warrant the amount of explanation I've been doing.

Otherwise things are going well enough. We had a fun time at Steve's LAN party, got the Internet connection fixed Monday, got back to the workout yesterday, and tonight we're taking it easy and I'm doing some web development while Sarah does school work.

Saturday, January 13th

I'm back in Chicago and we're over at Steve's for another one of his awesome LAN parties. We're getting games installed and our computers ready for a long night of Unreal Tournament, Battlefield 2, and Command and Conquer: Generals. Our Internet access is out at home, though the cable TV is working so hopefully RCN can get it fixed on Monday when they come out, but unfortunately I'll be out of touch tomorrow. That sucks because I was planning on working on web stuff while Sarah goes to an expo with her sister.

Training went well and we learned a lot about the products. We're hoping our server hardware comes in soon so that we can get going on rolling it all out and getting it working. We went to Ruth's Chris on Thursday night for steaks, and I have to say I wasn't impressed. Their deal is cooking the steaks in butter and after half my t-bone I was starting to feel it. I've never had a problem finishing a steak before but this one had me feeling ill at the last couple bites. For the rest of the evening the word 'butter' was taboo, and we referred to it as the 'B' word.

Tuesday, January 9th

I started writing a Journal post yesterday but wound up not finishing it. I'm currently in Southern California, attending training on InTrust and ActiveRoles Server at Quest. I haven't been out in these parts since I was 19.

Something about the place still doesn't sit well with me, even though the weather is nice and the area I'm in is clean, new, and very landscaped. It's like they don't believe in urban planning or something the way subdivisions, business parks, and strip malls spread interminably in all directions along wide curvy roads. It's hard to get your bearings and harder still to tell one recently built nondescript office building from another or one Spanish Colonial Revival house from all the others.

The flight out was a cake walk. I got to the airport early after having lunch with Sarah, got through security in ten minutes, spent some time doodling about web stuff and then bought a book. I got extra legroom via "economy plus" and apparently no one else did since I had the row to myself. I managed to nearly finish the book, Old Man's War, then did before bed at the hotel. I'm out here until Friday with Amy from my team, with Jon and Johnny from the server team joining us on Thursday.

Tuesday, January 2nd

I'm back from visting my mom's for our late Christmas, and Mike and Jessica's for New Years. We decided this year to do Christmas later to give everyone a chance to spend the day with the other side of their respective families. We came down Thursday evening after Sarah got off work, getting to Valporaiso in time for dinner.

The next couple days we mostly took it easy, eating a lot of wonderful home cooked food, drinking a lot of wine, and talking. I made good headway on the book I got from Sarah's dad, and we even got in some bowling and a trip to the beach since the temperature was in the fifties. Sunday we headed up to Madison to ring in the new year with friends. We had a lot of fun, I drank to much, and the next day was spent coming home and resting from the long weekend and over-indulgence. I've come to the long-overdue realization that when partying I need to cut myself off even if I'm not driving, because I don't feel nearly as drunk as the next morning reminds me. Maybe it's just that I don't drink all that often, but it has hit me pretty hard the last few parties we've been to.

Today I was back at work, trying to figure out the mess that is our server hardware order, still trying to finish Tony's rubiks cube, and brewing some tea in my new, bigger teapot. Now I'm at home with a tasty meal in my belly looking to dive into some web programming. I hope you had a wonderful holiday, and the very best for 2007.