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July 27, 2005


so, I guess I've decided on purchasing two new (last model) dual 2.5GHz towers for work, much as it pains me to spend more than double what I would normally spend on a desktop. if i could get apple to return my calls, that is. they're kind of losers when it comes to service.

they're being turds.

as are the software companies. aaaaaargh. all i want is a fracking quote.

so anyway... thought i'd let you share in my drama. I've now spent 3 days in hardware/software vendor hell, and another 2 days of it are coming. i've been at work 10 hours all 3 days, and i'm done. DONE I SAY.

so, it's korean for dinner, and then hopefully screwing drywall to a ceiling before bed. movin in the right direction, at the very least.

if only i could convey the insanity at work. hopefully nala will understand.

wtf wednesday

parents, late 60s, christmashow did it get to be Wednesday?


Well, it's my mom's birthday, and she's still (just) under 60.

Nala's got the kitchen mostly done. I started piecing in the last couple slivers of drywall in the back bedroom, and that's taking for EVER. The drill-driver ran out of juice after the first 3 screws, and so it's charging now.

I'm still accepting volunteers who know anything about drywalling to help. Honest to god, I havent been so nervous about fucking something up since moving in with Nala 7.5 years ago. It's seriously making me ill, and it takes ALL of my willpower to do any little thing on this project, because I'm afraid I'll make it all ugly and uneven and just bad.

Sick. Seriously ill. Like wanting to vomit every time I think about it, let alone walk in the room.

Speaking of things to make me ill... I've been marginally involved in responding to an RFP here at work, and let me just say, the folks they've got writing this thing are ill-suited to the task, to say the least. I've never seen a more poorly written RFP, or a more poorly written response. Having worked in E COMMERCE CONSULTING, and written more than one RFP and probably more than a half-dozen responses, I know what they're supposed to look like, and this isn't it. I've had to get up and walk away -- they're working in the office next to mine, and when I overhear something stupid, I have to get away. Hiring a consultant doesnt make it better. Hiring one who seemingly hasnt done it before makes it appear even worse. Hiring one who doesn't know your business... priceless. I respect the man, and thankfully for him, he can walk away when it's all done with a hefty paycheck and not look back.

So, what else is going on? Well, I've been gathering pricing quotes on a lot of new hardware and software. 3 days in, and I still dont have solid quotes, which makes me bitter. And you dont want to be phone sales support with a bitter Giga. I am bound to say things to salespeople that their bosses didnt warn them about. However, I have solidified some good deals on the 2 new macs we're buying, and the software we need... I just need it in writing.

My boss is going on vacation for a week and a half, one week from today.

The "DAWG!" guy has just been called into the RFP group. He's a moron.

I'm also not surprised that I've found (after some research) that the same company to which we farm out our online ordering, has their server tools available for implementation in-house. This is me, banging my head on my desk, because nobody ever explored this option. I found 3 other vendors, none of which had software that more perfectly fit our needs, and then found the one we send everything thru had the tools we needed.


July 20, 2005


This makes it all pretty real.

Coshocton County Veterans Council will perform military honors.

I intentionally went on the newspaper website to find this, and now it's all concrete.


plants on the deck
1) I finally surpassed his number of transformers with my number of posts in this here blog system.

2) I didnt send additional flowers to the funeral home, partly because I didnt know the guy and partly because of the cash.

3) Mrs. B called me last night to let me know they were back from SDCC, and I got my entire wishlist. (Super Grover, Aqua Teens set, and Catwoman in Vault.) I also owe them $5 extra.

4) It's wednesday. Comics day. Looks like only 4 books this week. I hope.

5) The wallpaper border in the kitchen is almost done. 5.5 hours of work last night yielded 16 linear feet cleared. There's about 6 feet left, and I'm hoping to finish that tonight, and then move to another task.

6) Nala hung his great-grandparents' photo and the drapery rods in the stairwell and we got the first look at the Wally-world sheer. It looks... how can I put this best... more like a magazine than our house. We are gaining.

7) Never buy wally-world fabric lint catchers again. I have blisters from MAKING them stretch over the drain. They're super tight, and didnt want to go on. I had to cut the elastic around the top, and then spent 5 minutes and lots of grunting stretching the mesh to very near its breaking point.

8) Kashi Go-Leen Crunch tastes just like regular granola. And as Annalisa said, it makes you poot.

9) The gladiolas beside the house started blooming. I brought the first one in to work today. Having fresh cut flowers makes me happy.

10) My coworker is bringing me a tomato cage for the potted gladiolas.

11) 3 of 8 cannas have sprouted. I'm continuing to be hopeful about the other 5.

12) We need to get the magnolia sprouts in a pot somewhere.

13) I need to thin and then transplant the marigolds.

14) So many more to-do list items, I dare not list them.

July 19, 2005

hungry and generally messed up

sick gigamattthis morning, i could've sworn when I got up, nala was still in bed. but the bedroom door was shut, which i thought was odd. and the faucet was dripping, which i thought was odd. (had he gotten up earlier and gone back to bed?) i showered early, made coffee, ate breakfast, put dishes away, fed the hoont, watched a bit of tv i'd missed, cleared the tivo thru Friday night, and generally worked on schedule.

but the hoont wouldnt poop.

so, at 7, when i finally figured i couldnt wait around any more, i went upstairs to wake nala up and tell him to let the dog out one more time. but he wasn't there.

he wasnt there? sneaky.

my sinuses have been bothering me, along with my jaw, and for whatever reason, that makes me sleep a lot deeper. i obviously missed nala's morning rituals and assumed at 5:00 when my alarm went off that he was still sleeping. and with 3-4 pillows arranged lengthwise on the bed, i think i assumed, in the dark, that there was someone there.


man, I am sick of being hungry. granted, even *I* have lost a little weight due to eating mostly on the run, on my own, and watching my caloric intake. of course, i'm also more active, which is good.

because i'm working on the borders, and because they take so FRIGGIN LONG, i've decided I have to cook dinner right when I get home, or like last night, it'll be past my bedtime and i still won't have eaten. thankfully, i found leftovers last night, which got me through till morning's cup of corn flakes, but it was hardly a filling meal.

or... maybe i'll make my dinner during my lunch hour. that would work, too. it could be all cleaned up, and i could work (mostly) straight thru the evening.

seriously - 3 hours, 6 feet of border... it's taking its toll. but, generally, from all the balancing, my back is feeling more limber.

it's done

dad and his brothers, with trumpetDad called around 6:30 last night while I was up on a ladder scraping away at the wallpaper border. "Just thought you ought to know, your uncle died last night."

Calling hours are today 2-4 and 6-8 and tomorrow. The funeral is tomorrow, but Dad isn't sure where/when. He went ahead and told my grandmother, who, I guess, is taking it ok. She asked him to take her to the funeral home, so they're going together today. Dad says he will try not to linger there, just to keep her from going into a deep depression.

July 18, 2005

for crying out loud

can we do nothing right in my dept?

i'm listening to a painful discussion between the manager of one of our divisions and a consultant brought in to help us respond to a request for proposal. the consultant, hired by the group working with us to reorganize the department, is trying to get information about all of the arms of our business, and sounds as if he's never spoken to anyone here or dealt with anyone here in the past, ever, and is pulling information from this manager, who doesn't know anything either.


i have to keep printing out pages of information and handing them to the manager, because he's friggin lost. and he's been here 47 years.

and i keep getting called in to explain how we do business. WHY? ARGH.

monday blahs, too

ok. i ended up going home Saturday, to get a cap for my truck and fix my dad's computer. um. well, the computer is fixed. the cap didnt work out. wasted several hours and $40 in gas money, and just ARGH.

talked a lot about family. and aging. and death.

my uncles, againdad went to see his brother, and made peace. says he'll go to the funeral if he's invited. lots of realizations by cousins who are now at the age to watch their parents die, and for them to start breaking down. no man in my grandfather's side has apparently lived to 70, so he says start living right, NOW. my grandfather was 69, my uncles have both been 64.

my cousins, all but one older than me, have now been faced with being the age when their bodies start failing. at least 3 are over 45, which is the age when my dad's generation all started having major problems.

bad genes, folks. they're great.

July 15, 2005

bender kicks ass

Originally uploaded by ren119.
enough said. read the description on flickr.

jade and kyle?

Originally uploaded by angryf.
not sure... this sorta looks like the couple who did hawkman/hawkwoman sometime in recent history.

um. helena needs to lay off the doughnuts...

Originally uploaded by angryf.
canary, acceptable.
catwoman, acceptable.
batman, acceptable.

huntress? after being quoted in Birds of Prey as doing "700 situps a day"? nope.

must be polly

Originally uploaded by angryf.
because it aint diana...

Lego R2D2

Lego R2D2
Originally uploaded by CarrieLu.
more legos for sarah.

Star Wars Legos!

Star Wars Legos
Originally uploaded by CarrieLu.
for Sarah.

where's grandma harley?

Originally uploaded by jumex.
I went to flickr looking for SDCC photos, and this was among the first 10.


can i just start today over?

i yawned, my jaw cracked, my muscles cramped, and now it feels like the whole side of my face is swelling, and my jaw mobility is about 1/4 to 1/3 of what it should be.


this happened a couple months ago, and it went away. i'm sure this will, too.

but damn... this whole week has seemed to be kicking me while i was down.

friday blahs

grandma, grandpa, uncles and dadyep. i've got the friday blahs.

following yesterday's weirdness... which never went away... i'm in a strange funk this morning, and i want to escape. not escape as in run far away... just escape to the arms of someone at home, and not THINK. I'm tired of thinking for a while. I'm tired of not knowing what to think. I'm partly just tired.

i know all families are weird, and mine is no exception. our dealings with extended family are... messed up to say the least.

i got two phone calls from my mom yesterday. in one, she told me they found a truck cap for me for $50. WOOHOO! and that a quilt she was making for me was finished! WOOHOO! and that my dad still hadnt tried to install the modem. *sigh*

well, I got a second call about 10-15 minutes later, if that. my uncle is on his (literal) death bed, and had asked to see my dad. she didnt say if he was going to go. i expect he might, but i say might because to my knowledge he didnt go see my other uncle when he died 2 years ago. (but then again, there was nothing left of him -- a virtual terry schiavo... his body ravaged by strokes and heart disease and (i think) cancer.) this time, it's lung cancer. my uncle has asbestosis. i knew around christmas that he was dying; my dad had told me my uncle was jaundiced and his doctor had also put him on antidepressants to keep him from thinking so much about his impending death.

my uncle asked for my dad. if you knew how odd that sounded. about 30 years ago this summer, they were fighting like cats and dogs, and after that, they never were the same. to say they had a falling out would be a gross underestimation of what took place... I know they physically fought, and my dad won, and then we rarely ever spoke of either uncle, and they rarely ever came to visit my grandmother, and then only if they knew my family wasnt going to be around.

I met this particular uncle TWICE. EVER. Once when I was 8, my grandmother and I ran into him at the fairgrounds, with my cousin in tow. My cousin was 4 years old, youngest of 5. That was the last time I saw him. Then, when I was 26, the weekend before my grandmother went to the nursing home, my uncle, his second wife, and another cousin (a few years older than me) showed up at my grandmother's house while I was taking care of her. That was the first and last time I met that cousin, and the only time I met my uncle as an adult. He and his wife had each had bouts with cancer at the time, and my cousin and I caught up a little on 26 years of not knowing each other.

The rifts in my family will never be healed.

My other uncle, the one who died in Jan 2003, made his peace with my father while his brain was still functioning. I'm not certain this one ever has, really. I hope so. I really hope so. My cousins are all at his bedside.

My real problem is, apparently there's going to be a burial, and a service. They've decided to not tell my grandmother, as it seems she doesn't even remember her other son is dead, despite his memorial card hanging on her bedroom wall. They had the discussion that this uncle has lung cancer, and "you know he won't recover." She's seen my uncle over the last few months, while he was still mobile, jaundiced and frail, when he would come to visit. She's seen her husband, her father, and her grandfather all die of cancer... so she knows what impending death looks like. It's just putting it all together that her brain doesnt seem to do well. She cried a little, mom said, when she realized he wouldn't recover.

My dad's not attending the funeral? Ok. Sure. My dad not telling his mother that his brother died? Kind of sad. Some cousin is going to tell her, I'm sure, even though they've probably all agreed to not tell her. Someone will slip. Hell, maybe I will. I'm horrible at that, and if she asked me, I dont think I could keep it from her. Is it more horrible to not tell her, or to tell her and chance her remembering and the depression it would bring? I don't know. Nobody wants her to give up on living, and if she ever realized 2 sons were dead, she just might.

And then there's the fact that the sons arent living past age 64, and the thought of my mom by herself terrifies me. My grandmothers both in nursing homes, my mom without her husband, and without family anywhere nearby? Yeah. Happy thoughts. I'm digging myself a deeper depression by the minute.

I told Nala I might be going home this weekend, not for a funeral, but to fix my dad's computer and pick up a truck cap. There's $100 I didnt plan on spending, and at least 6 hours worth of wasted house-time.

So, I'm a little out of sorts, and I'd much rather be at home, working on the house, than at work, trying to keep my mind from dwelling on all this death and dying crap.

July 14, 2005

*shudder* it's just a weird week

dad and his older brothersi feel like i need to go home.

sure, i think i'm just a little manic depressive, but i really got hit hard today on top of worries about the house and such. and some of it is stuff that's better off ignored. and some of it is totally in my mind. but some of it is very very real. and, today, it's my family that has put me teetering ever closer to the edge of sanity.

i cant fix it. i have to accept it and do nothing, but in my head, i keep thinking i'm like that robot in everyone's script: "does not compute. does not compute."

i dont think i can stay here the rest of the day. i just need to get away and rest for a bit. i let things get to me. i let the stress build and build, and dont get rid of it quick enough.

i've got a meeting on campus in a bit. maybe after that i can chill.

July 13, 2005

get well soon, mama pickles

i got a crazy email from mr. pickles today that said janie was in the hospital, post surgery, and doing ok.

so, get well soon, janie. expect to be dragged to another movie someday soon.

the wayback machine

no, not the radio show... the internet site.

(via slashdot)

"The Internet archive, which has been storing snapshots of millions of webpages since 1996 has been sued by the firm Harding Earley Follmer & Frailey, Philadelphia. The firm was defending Health Advocate, a company in suburban Philadelphia that helps patients resolve health care and insurance disputes, against a trademark action brought by a similarly named competitor. In preparing the case, representatives of Earley Follmer used the Wayback Machine to turn up old Web pages - some dating to 1999 - originally posted by the plaintiff, Healthcare Advocates of Philadelphia. Last week Healthcare Advocates sued both the Harding Earley firm and the Internet Archive, saying the access to its old Web pages, stored in the Internet Archive's database, was unauthorized and illegal.

Um. I'm of two minds over this... the stronger part of me says "you put this out on the Internet, it's now public record (because were foolish enough not to put a robots.txt or other hinderances to spidering in front of it) and the web archive is doing exactly what it was designed to do as a service to society, much like museums, etc" and the other (softer) part of me says "my content is my own"

but if i'm not smart enough or too lazy to implement strategies to keep my documents from being searched, cached, or archived, it's really my fault. next some bastard will sue google for caching copies of their web pages.

July 12, 2005

travel plans? free gas.

from the AP:

PORTLAND, Maine ó Resort towns worried that high gas prices will keep visitors away are offering an incentive from Maine to California: a free tank of gas.
The towns are tapping into motoristsí angst over high gas prices during the summer tourism season to offer encouragement to drive a little farther.
In Maine, Bethelís "Tanks for the Memories" promotion gives travelers $20 cash for gas for staying with participating innkeepers.
Robin Zinchuk of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce said thereís more to the town than Maineís Sunday River ski resort.
The gas promotion was designed to grab the attention of travelers headed to Maineís rocky coast and give them a nudge to drive inland, she said. The money provides for enough gas for a round trip from New Englandís population centers.
"Itís a gimmick. It really is," Zinchuk said. "But itís the truth: Weíll give people $20 for their gas."

This makes me very happy, because I'm looking into travelling to Bethel this August. Probably won't happen, but it's nice to see that I might be able to save some cash. Rates on hotels (local inns) up there are pretty cheap in the summer anyway, and saving $20 on gas is an added bonus.

And, it's pretty central to everywhere I need to visit, aside from Boston, and some of the inns are near Sunday River, which my family helped build. It's also convenient to Newry, Andover, Paris, and Norway. And Errol, if I choose to go there again.

appropriate quote

"We have only two modes - complacency and panic."
- JAMES R. SCHLESINGER, the first energy secretary, in 1977, on the country's
approach to energy. (via NYT)

July 11, 2005

to do this week (7/11-7/16)

in kitchen:
0) remove border

in new office space:
1) move excess wood to basement
2) cut drywall pieces and fit in corners.
3) move drywall and 1/4" ply to basement
4) spackle remaining holes
5) first wave of sanding.
6) replace drywall screws which arent flush
7) second wave of mudding
8) second wave of sanding
9) coat of primer on ceiling
10) attempt to steam off remaining scraps of superhero wallpaper
11) coat of primer on walls
12) paint trim
12) coat of ceiling paint
13) coat of wall paint
14) add light fixture
15) replace outlets/switchplates
16) scrub floor
17) assemble desk
18) move bookcases
19) move extra chair
20) move file cabinet

Old nursery:
20.5) keep bagging/binning items till room is clear.
21) bins to office
22) misc furniture to center of room
23) paint ceiling
24) prime walls
25) paint walls
26) prime/paint trim
27) move bins back into guest room

From dining room:
28) need to move the sewing machine to guest room
29) move one small table to guest room
30) move ficus to guest room
31) remove upholstered chairs/accessories so area can be painted.
32) jay's recliner and boxes delivered to him

For porch/deck/outside:
33) remove deck rail nearest windows so repairs can be made
34) need to look at polyurethane for bench to make sure rated for high-moisture/outside use.

When dry outside:
35) need to polyurethane bench.
36) need to apply Preen.
37) need to weed-n-feed lawn again.
38) need to buy/apply fungicide outside.
39) need to apply insecticide.

40) need to get firebricks to fix grill.
41) install curtain rods, find/buy drapes and hang.
42) clean out closets again
43) purchase and install new outlet for nook.
44) look for switchplates/outlet covers for every room.

to do list for this week/weekend (7/9-7/10)

Notes for Nala first:

1) the landing still needs a second coat, too, so I can move some stuff from the living room to the landing (new table, a couple decor things).
2) I thought about the color for the trim in the bathroom, but we really need to talk about it in person.
3) i need to buy some more Dif.
4) need to pack up some more stuff in the baby room so i can move the bookshelves and finish the 6' of border left in there.
5) need to pack up the ebay stuff that didnt sell, to clear the dining room.
6) need to move the sewing machine to the baby room.
7) need to dismantle the two small tables in the dining room.
8) need to move upholstered chairs to the baby room.
9) need to bring jay's recliner downstairs.
10) need to file all my paperwork from living room.
11) need to look at polyurethane for bench to make sure rated for high-moisture/outside use.
12) need to polyurethane bench.
13) need to finish transplanting stuff(done for now...)
14) need to start seeds and last of bulbs.
15) need to apply Preen.
16) need to label unmarked plants.
17) need to weed-n-feed lawn again.
18) need to buy/apply fungicide outside.
19) need to apply insecticide.
20) need to get firebricks to fix grill.
21) once landing is painted, move table and radio, install curtain rods, find/buy drapes and hang.
22) find lamp for landing next to radio
23) clean out closets again
24) purchase and install new outlet for nook.
25) look for switchplates for living room.
26) get black box covers for floors in dining room and living room.
27) look for white register grate for bathroom.
28) purchase short pine board for bottom of "medicine cabinet".
29) oh, isnt that enough for now? jeez.

July 7, 2005

grandma and grandpa

I had a big, sappy blog post here, but all I really wanted to say is I put some more old family photos up.

under construction

back when I was going by "Matrix" (between 1993 and 1999), I created this placeholder "under construction" graphic from the panel of a Birds of Prey comic. it came out surprisingly well.

this was from one of the first Birds books I read, which had me hooked almost immediately. Canary has always been one of my favorite characters (since I was about 4 years old), and add a former Batgirl-turned-cybergeek, and I was instantly in love. Of course, this was the origin of Canary's blue/black/yellow armored bodysuit (no fishnets), and Dinah was still wearing a wig instead of bleaching her hair.

July 5, 2005


ok, i am going thru some Internet withdrawl. seriously.

however, i am trying to make the best of it. for instance, this afternoon, after clearing out tivo and making dinner, i will attempt to spend a couple hours finishing up the packing of crap from the "baby room," along with repacking crap which didnt sell on ebay.

yep. time to suck it up and get things packed.

DAMMIT. I knew I was forgetting to ask my parents something. I wanted to borrow their rasp to remove a bit from the top of the closet door so it would close properly. dumb. and i forgot to ask if they still had my old twin headboard. probably not, but it would be worth it to ask, as i still havent seen one in the alley.

the parents visited me at work today at lunchtime, bringing 3 Blackandecker books on home improvements my dad thought I should read. Including one on plumbing. And they brought another 10 plant pots. I traded them 2 modems, a cd filled with drivers, a folding chair, and $52 (for a baby quilt and the plant pots). Hopefully, my dad will be able to change his modem himself, but i do expect at least one phone call.

i'm glad i got a lot of work done outside this weekend while it was cooler (asa made a joke about my redneck past showing...), but i'm left with a few nightly tasks to perform as the sun goes down, including weed-n-feeding the back yard, adding preen to the flowerbeds, and insecticide to protect my investments in greenery.

oh, and aside from that, i've made some wonderfully cheap purchases which will help our house look more... homey. An all-wooden park bench for the front porch which only cost $20 and will definitely go with us wherever and whenever we move, and a lovely console table(?) which was the proper height, depth and width to not only stand under the photograph of Nala's great grandparents, but also hold his great-grandfather's radio and a lamp, for $34. Real hardwood with mahogany stain. If I make a trip to the suburbs, I may be tempted to get a matching one or two tables to replace the crap $3 tables in our dining room. (The store near us was sold out.)

I've almost convinced myself that staying put for an indefinite period wouldn't be so bad. Almost. We'll see how I feel in August... if we're ready. And, if we're not, then we'll see what's up in the spring, I suppose.