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March 31, 2006

cat scan and such

it's a grey day -- grey and gloomy. i went in for a CT scan this morning, which lasted all of 5 minutes, if that, after a half hour of paperwork, which i was told I wouldnt have to do. I shouldnt complain; at least I didnt have to drink any disgusting stuff or get an injection.

so -- in and out. back to work. it's turned gloomy outside, and i'm still trying to get my office in order.

for my friend's going away, they brought in doughnuts, bagels, and coffee. mmm. between that and the retirement party later this afternoon, i will be well fed before hitting the half-price appetizers after work for another post-work going away party.

they have no idea how screwed they are once she's gone.

meanwhile, i'm going to clean my office some more, and HOPE to get this stupid rack-mountable UPS out of here. and put up the art.

March 30, 2006

jcn is crazy

so, those crazy folks at jcn/bobobo (the computer company) duplicated our order for a flippy-flippy pc... not just the pc, but all the associated accoutrements. you know, monitor, external optical drive, docking station, and our chief kept calling them saying "hey, i didnt order these, and i'm not paying double... send me an RMA and take them back"

well, apparently, that's a big deal. for 2 weeks, we tried to get them to take the stuff back. finally, they took only the pc. and, of course, after all that, they left the rest. um. ok. so, the chief called them yet again.

"we cant actually take the stuff once it's been assigned, and (some other bs). find someone there who can use it. on us." they even put it in writing.

uh. wish we'd known that before you took back the pc, guys. at $2k apiece, that would've saved our budget some major change.

nobody called dibs on the accessories yet. (we only have one flippy flippy pc)

bwj sucks.

a certain "food service" vendor, who shall remain nameless, not only has been leaving our vending machines empty, but also now has raised the prices on all items, including coffee. coffee went up 10 cents across the board. snacks went up 5 to 10 cents (mostly 10), and the sandwich/other food machine is only ever half full at most, and seems to stock only expensive items. even so, having only been half filled on tuesdays and thursdays, it sits empty most of the time.

so, of course, today, i forgot my coffee again on the table, so i've been drinking overpriced swill all morning.

but, the sun is shining thru my window, and that makes me smile.

March 29, 2006

keep it down out there!

i dont know how the guys on this side of the building work with all the friggin construction noise outside! must buy new headphones!

pictures coming, I swear.

horrendous, pt 2

i'm always torn whether to do an inline update or to update things in a new entry.

after the weekly staff meeting today, i found out it's not gonna matter how i design the page. apparently the management doesnt want questions answered. they just want it to be done.

and then, of course, to complain when it isnt what they wanted. or what their customers needed/wanted.


i know, i left my site in an unfinished state, and i need to clean that up. but first, i'm going to talk about one of the many tasks at hand here in my workplace: documenting our competition and our peers. holeee crap they suck. that's about all i can say about our peers. and our competetion? well, they arent winning points on their website, that's for certain.

wtf people. you work in printing and yet margins arent consistent? in fact, fonts arent consistent. typesizes, either?

jesus. maybe i shouldnt care as much about sticking to a game plan. as long as we're better than all these guys, nobody's gonna care.

another fine week

it's wednesday. geek day. and i may skip it again this week. our SAN install is this afternoon, and that's one thing. the friend i usually go with will probably be swamped with work (it is "rush" after all)... usually in cases like that, i ask evebird if he wants to go, but i know neither of us needs to be spending the money. still i hunger for the cane's, even though i could make sandwiches at home. so i havent made my decision yet.

every morning this week has been spent straightening my office a bit more, after last week's move. i still need to hang art (which means taking a level and the 2 pieces of art to work), and hang a shelf, and eventually hanging a third marker board. and taking my JLU/Titans figures to work, too.

aside from that, work is good. the timetable for the supersized web project has all but been thrown out... and instead, i have to come up with a half dozen very different designs for the new corporate web page, sans any advice from anyone within the organization, or polls from our users i'm realizing, as i'm typing, that this is NOT the way it was supposed to go, according to my boss. which means, i'll probably be sitting down with him this morning, or later this afternoon, to say "wtf, you said you were going to follow the rules, and instead you threw them out?"

hm. i need coffee. coffee will make it all better.

at least its a chance to be creative again.

sidenote: the job i applied for a few weeks ago? filled with an internal candidate. yay.

March 27, 2006

open sinuses

so, i went to the specialist today about my seemingly unending sinus infection. he doesnt think i still have an infection, but instead, an irritation. they're going to do a CT scan friday to see what's actually going on inside, and then, go from there. he's reluctant to throw antibiotics at it, which is good. he's also saying things like "aha! that's why your throat is so irritated!" and "hasnt your doctor recommended treatment with irrigation and antihistamines?" making me think this guy knows his stuff.

his predacessor certainly did, and this guy learned from him, apparently. he's now the doc to see.

i wont go into details on what they did to me while in the doc's office, but i'll just say there was a lot of looking around and poking, and that i can breathe better now. AHH! the unfortunate downside to all this is, the resident and her med student shadow were REALLY hot, so here I am with them looking up my nose, in my throat, and in my ears... *sigh* the resident was just my type, too.

emails emails emails...

my aunt is out of the hospital, and with kids checking on her daily, has managed to keep her blood sugar levels < 100. (they were 250 when she went in the hospital for kidney stones, and the docs found all the other crap wrong with her). According to my uncle she's got heart and liver problems, and many other ailments from not taking care of herself.

the grandmother is doing the same as she was a week ago, only now with added mouth infection. the antibiotics are keeping her "comfortable". it's probably just a matter of a week or two.

on the good news side of things, my mom emailed me with some extended family news: my second cousin Kim was in the Iditarod this year. (apparently he may have participated in past years, too). His dad did a website for him: k2racing.org. Kind of interesting. He's a real outdoorsy guy -- climbing Denalii several times, etc.

March 26, 2006

fun with web technologies

as you've probably noticed if you're reading this site traditionally (not thru RSS), i've been mucking about with the css, or as some might say, doing a bit of jiggery-pokery. i'm still not 100% thrilled, and i'm actually considering re-implementing an older design, but with my skills in css rather than the tables i used before.

another thing i realized this week is that i knew diddly about AJAX before Thursday's conference. I knew it was useful, and that I'd probably better see what all the fuss is about. That being said, I like it a lot. However, I have some serious concerns about using it in an environment such as where I work, where accessibility takes a higher priority over ease of use. there are some really good articles out there, and what I've found is basically telling me i should stay away, aside from home use. (we have some serious mandates regarding accessibility, and even our intranet is being redesigned to be more accessible, to meet future, more strict requirements.)

found this week's chili recipe... i think. sometimes i just want MY chili, and screw trying new stuff. but, all in the name of trying new things... i'm gonna go for it. i'm also gonna try making a couple different appetizers, too, just to see what they taste like.

i bought some store brand monterey jack queso dip today -- it's ALMOST "el V" but not quite. maybe if i bought a real brand (but hey, $1 for a 16oz jar?)

more soon.

March 24, 2006

other conferences

apparently there were at least 2 other conferences yesterday, and i kind of feel guilty for thinking the thoughts I had about the attendees of one of them.

at one point during the day, i bumped into about a dozen eastern european college-aged guys. and two very handsome "brown" fellows who were lost. (I say brown only because I'm not certain of their lineage, and my former employees, who were Indian and Sri Lankan, said it was cool to say "brown" -- so DONT be down on me.) And then I found out they were there for some Campus Crusade conference.


That's ok -- I've been to those conferences, and not everyone is so innocent and godly.

shopping after class

after the conference yesterday, i headed to historic(!) uptown to see the sights. well -- I guess i shouldnt be disappointed -- half the places were closed due to Spring Break. It's a WEEK, and you cant keep your restaurant/tchotchki shop open? WTF. Even the record stores were closed. ANNOYING.

But, thankfully, the store where MBB has her things was open... it's much more of a clothing store (think RagORama) than it was before. Some gorgeous 50s tuxes. But, I wasnt looking to buy. Chatted with the woman behind the counter for a bit, and she pointed me back up another street to a former favourite store which I thought had closed.

In the other store, I found one of my most-coveted cookbooks from the 60s -- The Betty Crocker Casserole Cookbook. 50 cents. No lie. They also had a simple metal bedframe I wanted, but would need to be repainted, sadly. The price was right, tho, just like old times.

From there, I headed back down to the corner (cant remember the name of the store) but it's essentially a jewelry/stoner/hipster clothing shop, and it's going out of business. This is where I found two little Saint statues which I didnt buy, but which struck me as funny -- Saint Martha (which I giggled at), and Saint (Rose?), amongst the other plastic action figures. I didnt end up buying any, but made a mental note to tell MBB about the sculpted Day of the Dead pins they had for 25% off (making them $4.80).

Once I'd had my fill of patchouli (god, I can never spell that right), I headed back down to the bookstore to get a decal for my back window. Of course, all the smaller cheap ones for inside your car were hidden below the GIANT EXPENSIVE ONES which go on the outside of your vehicle. And after that, I decided I'd try to get comics in the crappy comic shop I remembered from 10 years ago.

What a great surprise to find the old comic shop under new ownership and with friendly, helpful, and well-groomed (and bathed) staff. It was a total 180-degree turn from what I remember. Comics and action figures lined the walls in a space twice the size of the old store. AND they had just about any kind of figure you might collect. And, the guys were willing to make a deal to sell em. I got 20% off (same as in my favourite store up here) and ended up with a Promethea/Sophie 2-pack and a Tom Strong/Pneuman 2-pack, totalling $50. I will definitely be going back there in 2 weeks, and taking Nala and Jay. It's the kind of shop to be proud of, AND, they had 2 video games and an old-school pinball game in the back of the store -- 25 cents to play! I couldve wasted hours.

At that point, I knew I was hungry, and since Burger King was no longer uptown, the local restaurants were mostly closed, and I didnt feel like Toxic Hell, I ended up cruising to the end of town to see what fast food was available for drive-thru... forgetting there was a WalMart -- which had an Alt Rollbar, a Dark Crumplezone, and a Cybertron Defense Scattorshot. AND a Spud Trooper.

I snagged a quick burger at BK and headed north towards home, stopping first at WalMart in Logan (nothing) and then taking old 33 into Lancaster to stop at Target. Nothing there, sadly, either. BUT, TJMazx was another story. I ended up buying (yes, sadly) more clothes -- 2 shirts, 4 ties, and some socks. AND found the 4x6 rug we were looking for (I think) for $40.

So, you might say yesterday was a good day. Unless you checked my bank account, which was squeaking by this morning. Ouch.

March 23, 2006

spring >br< conference

got here at 8:30 -- nice drive! the lancaster bypass is completely open!! so, only a half dozen traffic lights or so - once i got out of columbus. so many accidents this morning, slowing things down getting out of the city.

the keynote speaker sounds much like Jon Pertwee.

gonna try to change classes from the Paper Prototyping to the AJAX class... both would be useful at work, but AJAX would be better.

New conference center down here is NICE -- and the new student center, where ACRN will be moving, seems to be built but unfinished. so odd to see a building in what used to be a treed ravine.

hopefully it will warm up a bit at lunchtime. would be nice to eat outside, since, according to my packet, because i didnt pay for lunch, i might not get a seat for the lunchtime presentation.

March 21, 2006



bookshelves are in. markerboard cleaned. floor vacuumed. time for the coworker to start moving. (the evil coworker who didnt move his stuff came over today to see what was left. jerk)

so -- maybe, tonight -- i'll be in a new office. that would, as they say, kick ass.


waiting for coworker to mount his bookshelves on the wall, so that we can start moving his office (and subsequently move mine). apparently the phones are being moved thursday, of course, which means I'll be setting up forwarding on my desk phone to my work cell. so, if you call me before Thursday, know that you'll likely not get me immediately.

it's so nice to be moving. my arms hurt.


it's somebody's birthday today. he mumbled something about being old, and then i told him how good he looked.

March 20, 2006

just another monday on the edge of hell

still spinning from the news yesterday about my grandmother (congestive heart failure, pneumonia, antibiotics, morphine for pain)... need to make sure i have a black suit cleaned and ready to go. need to start a budget for the trip (airfare, hotel, rental car). stuff i shoulda taken care of 2 years ago when she began this decline.

my aunt supposedly isnt much better -- been neglecting her health and lying about it to her family. her prescription plan dropped her in january, and rather than make the calls to fix it, she simply quit buying meds. needless to say, her kids are pissed. not sure what my uncle has to say, but if it were me, i'd be pissed, too. she's had a brain anyeurism and a heart attack in the past which shouldve made her quit smoking and eat healthy, but she hasnt done either. i love her so much -- she's the only one who ever seemed down to earth. I'd hate to see her go out so soon in live, just because she's lazy. of course, it could be said she just wanted to enjoy life to the end, too. but, it's her choice.

thursday i'm supposed to be in athens for a conference. i'm trying now to get mileage and meals reimbursed. so far, it looks good. I should get $100 back for gas and expenses.

i've spent nearly all day helping a coworker do work that another of our coworkers supposedly did on friday. needless to say we were both pissed, considering he was sitting on his ass across the river. it's all prepping for moving into my 4th office in 6 years. i'm tired. my arms hurt (showing just how out of shape i am) and i'm in the mood to crawl into bed and curl up in a ball. more of the same tomorrow and wednesday.

also just found out today one of my favourite coworkers put in her 2 weeks notice. she's leaving to go be a creative coordinator for an ad agency, something she was qualified to do, but hasnt done in years. she's been answering phones for the last 4 (and much more than that, due to staffing issues). it's good to see her moving on and up, although it leaves a huge gap.

what a long day.

March 16, 2006

movin' right along...

you may remember back when the some of our offices at work shuffled around a couple months ago. i got a pat on the back for not making a fuss when a recent hire got moved into a window office. (it seemed reasonable to me that he got the bigger office anyway because of his storage needs, but i looked good for "giving it up" to him anyway..)

well, now, just a couple months later, we're starting to shuffle again. i now get the window office.

it's bigger, too. my current space is about 8x10, and the new space is about 11x12. but, it's not about floor space... it's about wallspace. right now, i've never been able to find the right space for both markerboards and art, and in the new space, there's plenty for both.

sure beats the 6x12 hotbox I was in before. or the cubby at the end of the hall.

I'll try to get a pic of my current digs before i move next week.

back to reality...

got a call from a friend over in our other building...
there are two people staffed there. two. during their rush period. and they're the two who don't get along.
and it's the one person's fault there are only two people scheduled.

here in my building, among the "office" personnel, we're down almost 70% between various trainings, moving, vacations, and illness. it's quite insane, really.

ought to be even more fun tomorrow, when the other building is down one of the two.

all i've gotta say is...

one love, baby. always fresh, never frozen, 24-hour marinated chicken strips. real, brewed sweet tea. grilled, garlic-buttered texas toast. crinkle cut fries and the special sauce... including time in line, i made it back to work in 10 minutes.

i tell ya... nala, dont get rid of those fat pants yet. i might need em.

March 14, 2006

this is how we do...

thanks to Courtney, I realized many folks don't know what I do for money. (shut it, Jay).

what my mom tells people is: "he works with computers. i'm not sure exactly, but it has something to do with the Internet." (which is great, because then, her friends ask me for more details...)

what it says on my business card is: (i actually had to look this up... I havent ordered cards in so long, and I wasnt sure what they said then) systems develop'r. yeah. that's actually surprisingly accurate at this point, since what I was hired to do and what I actually do are now two very different things.

I was hired to make (and support) websites. i did that for a few years, but also did some desktop user support. then, as sites got more interactive, i built content management systems, and other back-end databases. then, i built internal (intranet) sites with even more databases. eventually, 80% of what I built were databases which happened to have web front-ends. functional, not pretty.

i still do a lot more desktop support than you might think. we've got something like 100 desktops - all windows, and around 30 servers, of which i can do support for about a dozen, maybe. i'm also the "mac guy," by default -- we have a dozen macs, too. i've been using OSX since it came out, and some of our macs arent even migrated over yet, 5 years later.

i'm also the only guy who can troubleshoot most graphics-program or printing issues (outside of our prepress dept.)

there are 5 guys in our IT department. One splits his time between managing our cash register system and distributed software license sales, and all the reporting that entails. He's also learning how to support our printer mgt system. Another guy manages that system, and also supports our document mgt system, and will be learning our new integrated production sys. Then there's a primary guy for the doc mgt system, who also knows the print mgt system. Then there's our hardware and network guy, who does most of the desktop support. And then there's me... the integrator and "competent generalist." You need something done in a database, you come to me. You need a web front end (or Access), you come to me. Your mac won't print, you come to me.

Right now, I'm in the middle of no less than 4 major projects. Possibly 8, depending on what you count as major. Today is a slow day, so far, but probably will break loose in < 1 hr.

So what am I doing today? Building a custom portal for a doc mgt project. Planning integration of 4 trouble-ticket systems. Building a custom CMS which will manage content for our new website (rolling 7 sites into one). Building our new Intranet portal page (and adding functions to it).

That's the short list, folks. Boring stuff.

March 10, 2006

because even neekole did it...


1. Web and SQL developer, systems integrator, general Systems guy (think Nick Burns)
2. Typesetter and design lackey
3. Inventory manager at a chocolatier
4. Computer lab manager

Movies I’d watch again:

1. This one is hard. I'd watch just about anything if I didnt have to change the channel.

Places I’ve lived:

1. Cowtown, Ohio, USA
2. Athens, Ohio, USA
3. Lesser Cowsville, Ohio, USA
4. St. Cowsville, Ohio, USA

TV Shows:

1. Battlestar Galactica
2. Good Eats
3. Doctor Who
4. Boston Legal (I'm the only one I know who watches it!)

Places I’ve gone on vacation:

1. St. Louis
2. Washington DC
3. San Francisco
4. Boston

Bonus: Orlando, Daytona Beach, Panama City (FL), Portland (ME), Chicago, NYC, Williamsburg.


1. Sondubu Bekban
2. Tommy's Pizza (followed by Rotolo's, Hound Dog's, and Biff's)
3. Club Sandwich at GVKH.
4. Burger at Thurman's.

Websites I frequent:

1. GMail
2. Flickr
3. ACRNalumni
4. Websudoku

Places I’d rather be:
1. With friends and family. No matter the location.

March 9, 2006

stop running your political office from work!

today, i decided to try to tally the time my coworker spends on the phone, relating to his school board office.

so far, he's been on the phone 25 minutes. har de har har, oh yes, blah blah, high school, tomorrow, blah blah blah.

starting off bad...

first, i left my coffee at home. on the living room floor.

when i realized it, i had to decide if the hoont (or die katze) would knock it over, leaving it to seep into the rug and hardwood. i decided i didnt want to chance it.

halfway home, i ran out of gas. my truck is not getting as good mileage as it should. close, i suppose, but not as good. so, i decided to call roadside assistance. "they can be there in one hour." i couldve walked home, gotten a gas can, filled it, walked to the truck, and been back in an hour... so, i decided to walk to the closest gas station.

$9 for a gas can. $2.50 for a gallon of gas. WHICH by the way I spilled a lot of because the can was poorly designed, and the nozzle had to be pushed into the hole in the tank to open the spout, but was too short. now, having gasoline spilled on me, being all sweaty, i still had to go home and check on teh coffee. which wasnt spilled. instead, i had to waste more time changing clothes and washing up to try to get the gas smell off me. ended up taking a damn hour, total, which wasnt too bad, but i still didnt have coffee.

is it friday yet?

March 7, 2006

in which i gripe about lack of coffee

so, i get up earlier every day just to iron my shirt and make coffee. i usually make a half pot, which is enough for me to down one cup (at least) and take a 12-14oz travel mug with me to work. then, about 8:30-9:00am I grab another coffee from the machine. yeah, it's mostly crap, but i get the "french vanilla" and it's drinkable.

when the machine isnt broken, which lately is at least twice per week. i'm really getting sick of it, as are others. in fact I never realized how many of us drink from the shitty coffee machine until it broke.

and of course, our backup is the cheapest ($12?) Mr. Coffee machine in our conference room. ARGH! At least two of us agreed we should get a bigger better machine...

March 6, 2006

nursing homes dont completely suck, i suppose...

i just got email from my aunt regarding my grandmother's nursing home's latest service:

Send email to your family member (thru the staff) with a letter (and photos). They will print the email and photos, and, if your family member is incapable of reading it themselves, they will read your letter to them.

how cool is that? now, instead of taking over a week to get a letter to them, you can get it sent instantaneously.

March 5, 2006

talk about a way to wake up...

nala was flipping thru the channels this morning and hit the Today show where their newsman was recounting the tale of an explosion and fire at a power plant in West Virginia.

normally, i wouldnt pay much attention, but, i used to work at a power plant in West Virginia.

then they said "Moundsville, West Virginia". and of course, I used to work at a power plant in Moundsville. (there are three).

And then they showed video taken from a helicopter above the plant, and I knew it was the one where both my father and I (and many of his friends) worked or still work.

I havent been able to reach my dad on the phone today, but when I've been scouring the web news, they seem to refer to the two plants I worked at as one entity, although they are split by a distance. In the news, they share a hyphenated name.

From the video, I can guess which it was. While I was watching, I kept thinking "I used to walk right there! They used to take us up in the stack to get a view of the valley."

My dad's friend Tom was quoted in the CNN article. I still havent seen the name of the missing man anywhere, so they must not have been able to find his remains yet. I'm hoping I didnt know him. (Probability is slim, but you never know).

I'm still a little shaken by it -- but for no real reason.

[update 3/6/2006 10:30am] I got ahold of my dad on the phone. He'd heard nothing, because he and my mom had been at the beach all day watching dolphins and having a picnic. The plant was the newer, cleaner of the two (which I had guessed from helicopter photos), and had a new stack which apparently had been under construction for some time, being as how the plant was still operational while they were installing scrubbers. He told me he'd give me an update once he'd talked to someone there. And, according to the local newspaper, I didn't know any of the 4 men involved, which is good news. I did see, however, that they had at least one boiler in outage and some other work being done -- for which the workers were told not to report back to work until Wednesday.

March 2, 2006

what a weekend

friday night, the sis dropped by (from Indiana) for a few minutes after her conference let out. Then on Saturday night, we got to spend an hour together with the ever-farting hoont and nala while her husband found food, all before they had to be at a fraternity meeting. Later that night (coincidentally my dad's birthday) we went to another friend's fabulous February Holiday party. And then, Sunday, we got to hang out with three of the Power Pack -- Max, B, and P (and of course Nth Power and P's girlfriend whose name escapes me), an evening complete with burgers on the grill, onion rings, homemade slaw and cheesy potatoes, celebrating B Power's return to the States (at least for a while).

heres hoping for a quieter weekend this week, with lots of working on the house.

March 1, 2006

bn vs am@z0n

ok, monday, i found some kick-ass books at the "brick and mortar" b@rnes and n0ble. i bought those books, and brought them home. i browsed them, and decided i had made good purchases.

however, today, i found them for a grand total of $35 cheaper at @mazoo. And, I got free shipping. And, I was able to cover the entire cost with my free gift certificate for filling out a health survey at work.

so, back the books go to BN. mucho money saved. money that can be used to buy Doctor Who episodes on DVD (which have all come down in price in my saved shopping cart.)