This collection of entries is from February 2004.
Sunday, February 29, 2004
Yes, it's that really odd day - February 29 - that only comes around once in about 4 years (you've got to take into consideration those years ending in 00 unless it's a millennium year...). Have you ever heard of the Honor Society of Leap Day Babies? (It's an online newsletter about Lead Year Day.)
Guess I won't be writing another entry on this date for a while... which feels... weird...
Tonight: The Oscars and our Annual Oscar Party @ B & B's! I'm exhausted and I'm not sure if I'm going to make it tomorrow morning...
Saturday, February 28, 2004
"2004... 2004... 2004..."
A little over 25 years ago, when I joined a company (that I was at for almost 20 years), I met a guy that worked in the data center. Over the years we were coworkers and we even went out of town a few times on business trips. All these years later, we're still friends and we see each other occasionally, mostly when we take a weekend and go up to his house in the middle of Wisconsin, where he hosts "The Away Team" (I have no recollection on why we called ourselves that.
Anyway, for as long as I've known him, he's always talked about 2004. That was his goal - 2004. Through heart attacks and hip replacement, he always focused on 2004. When things weren't going well at work, we could always hear him muttering "2004... 2004... 2004..."
Why? Because he'd turn 65 and be able to retire.
Tonight, all of his friends and family got together and threw him a surprise 65th birthday party. Yes, he was surprised (and you know, when you know a guy has had a few heart attacks in his life, you get a real uneasy feeling yelling Surprise! at a guy as he's walking down some stairs into a dark basement where he thinks there's a flooding problem that he's going to help out with...), and he was doubly surprised since his birthday is actually on March 7.
We got a chance to meet his extended family and friends that we didn't know. What a wonderful group of people.
He's still working at the same company (since 1972), and John tells us that he's thinking of staying around with the company until 2005... and that just seems wrong.
Happy 65th Birthday, John!
Another day downtown
Well, I spent another Saturday downtown, trying to help Gary get his machine back in order. It kept shutting down on some RPC error, only when he was online. Well, I gave up, bought a new modem for him and put it in the machine. Though the modem functioned a hell of a lot better than his old one, still no dice. So I installed a NIC and got his DSL up and running - in 25 minutes. We still had problems, so it was time to get all the Windows Updates applied. That was the trick.
It's a bright sunny day. Temperatures in the 50's. I would have really wanted to do something else today, but I'm helping out a friend, so that's OK. I spent some time out on their balcony, taking in the view and the "warm" weather. I still need to go back and get his account working on XP - he's using the Admin account. At least I got antivirus software on it, so he shouldn't screw it up too badly.
Friday, February 27, 2004
Well, at least I was at work today, earning a paycheck (of sorts). Looks like we'll have enough work for the entire team on Monday. There's no word on anything after that. Working on a lot of data gthering and correlations...
The weather around here has been simply outstanding - Sunny, balmy. Going to be 58º on Sunday. The other day when I was here we went out to Egg Harbor Cafe in Lake Forest for breakfast... or actually lunch since it was 1 in the afternoon. That was wonderful, and now Chrystal has been talking all morning about going back for pancakes. Now, I can only focus on food... and the stomach is growling (always an embarassing situation in a work environment).
Thursday, February 26, 2004
Yep, I'm at home today. No work to do, so we're bringing-in only a few people a day.
Quite frankly, for the sake of the project, they should just shut us down. How can you expect people to stick around if they don't work every day? What happens when they could make more money on unemployment than on this project? If you can't sustain the work, shut it down.
Of course, that's a bit controversial, but it's just the way I feel right now. I think we're doing a disservice to the contract employees.
Again, just my opinion.
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Yes, MT-Blacklist really does work...
I'm getting this overwhelming sensation to cry out "Good, ya bastards!!!!" when I look in my MovableType log and see: 2004.02.25 08:13:38 188.8.131.52 MT-Blacklist comment denial on My Mundane Mid-Life: business-grants.org . MT-Blacklist works!
Well, I'm back in the old staging area again. Was here all day yesterday and will be here today. We sent half the staff home at noon yesterday because there's just no work to do. We gave them all off today as well - same reason. It's nice being back here. I guess it's my "comfort zone" for this job.
I heard on the radio this morning that the word Lent comes from Lengthen, which is supposed to refer to the lengthening of the days (daylight). Doesn't sound right to me.
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Happy Mardi Gras?
Well, here we are at that time of year again... end of Carnivale/Mardi Gras, the beginning of Lent... I've always had this weird feeling that I want to see what Mardi Gras is like in New Orleans and then another part of me eventually kicks in and says "Are you friggin' nuts?!?!?!????"
So, now I need to figure out what to give up for Lent. I'm going to do what I've been doing the last few years - giving up candy. It kills me every year, but I guess that's what it's all about. I even give up chocolate chip cookies because there's chocolate chips in them (OK, it's a stretch for candy, but it made sense to me at the time... hey, I set the rules and I live by them... for 40 lousy days...)
Monday, February 23, 2004
Another day of exhaustion and frustration
I am exhausted. I'm not feeling well at all. There's no machines to deploy, we don't have a full staff (because... there's no machines to deploy...) and we missed a few pieces of important information to make our day go a little better. I'm just too tired to talk... Now that I'm home, I've got to call DirecTV - I had to replace the access cards in all 4 of my receivers and none of them reset correctly...
Sunday, February 22, 2004
International Kennel Club of Chicago
Oh, man, I'm exhausted. I spent all day with my family at the International Kennel Club of Chicago Dog Show at McCormick Place. Not much to talk about. I mean, there were dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs and more dogs. I was heavily medicated due to my alergies, but I survived well. Between the new position at work, all the work I had to do at Gary's yesterday, hockey last night and dogs today, I am friggin' exhausted...
Saturday, February 21, 2004
Wolves 6 - Aeros 3
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UGLY GAME. At 3:12 into the first, the first fight came. It was a doozy, with 3 game misconducts (one of their guys - Jason Marshall - got 2 minutes for Instigating (a popular one tonight), 5 for fighting, 10 minute misconduct (fighting - instigator) and a game misconduct (abuse of Officials). That'll give you the tone of the whole game. The Aeros had 77 minutes of penalties (the Wolves had 35). Yes we dominated, but Houston out-shot us 37-28. Steve Maltais had a Hat Trick, only the second one the team has had this season.
(Boxscore - Gamesheet)
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I hate XP (I Think)
I have spent all day at Janie & Gary's trying to recover Gary's severely crashed machine. It was my first time at their condo downtown (lovely, with a great view) and I had to drive all the way back to Hoffman Estates to get a hard drive to install a new operating system onto without losing Gary's old data that I couldn't get off the machine if my life depended on it (Windows ME sucks). Unfortunately, even the new XP install isn't stable either and the system keeps crashing with a blown RPC call. I hate Microsoft with every fiber of my being...
Friday, February 20, 2004
...<silence>... *tick* *tick* *tick*
That's the sound of my life's clock ticking again.
Pitchers and catchers have reported!!!! Woooo Hoooo!!!!!!
Thursday, February 19, 2004
I am exhausted.
My work-life has been turned on its ear. Yesterday was my last day at my desk. I am now out in the field, on the base, working machine deployments and user orientations.
I miss my desk. I miss my phone. I miss my computer. I miss Chrystal & Juliet & Tom & Dave & Julian...
I'll talk about it sometime, but I'm tired. I did nothing physical today, but I am physically and mentally exhausted from what's coming and what I'll be doing for a few weeks.
Not to mention what to do when this is all over in just a few very short weeks.
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Do you use MovableType? Are you having trouble with trolls using comments for spam?????????? Go and get MT-BlackList now! Keep the bastards out!!!! At least go out and update MovableType to 2.661 - it's nice to see in the log: Throttled comment attempt from 184.108.40.206 !!!
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Damn it! I've got an Earworm! I can't get Fountains of Wayne's Stacey's Mom out of my head right now...
It's really quiet in the old staging room. Really quiet. There's 7 of us in here and we are all busy. No talking, no music - just the muffled sounds of keyboards clattering away. The air handlers even seem to be a little quiet. The room used to be humming with over 20 people and up to 60 machines being staged. Now, the end of the project has kicked-in and it's just too damned quiet...
Monday, February 16, 2004
The "new lid" at "The Cell"
Since I was on the South Side today, I swung by Comiskey (sorry, I will probably always call it Comiskey) to see how the upper deck rennovations were going. The place is a ness. 35th Street is down to two lanes to accomodate the cranes. It's not done and they still have a ways to go. I'm not sure if I like it, but at least it's something to try to fix the park.
The Academy Awards - in Chicago
I saw the Oscars today. All of them.
Huh? The 76th Annual Academy awards are 13 days away. And they're at the Kodak Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in L.A.
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Sunday, February 15, 2004
Well, I'm still working on getting the blog up and running. XML feeds by category aren't working - don't know why yet (doesn't help that I don't remember how I did it in the first place...). MySQL seems faster than the Berkeley DB (yea!), but I can't tell if the performance boost is due to MySQL or the new host (the problem with changing too many things at once).
Saturday, February 14, 2004
B&B came over this evening for dinner. They were hardly in the door when we started talking poilitics. The rest of the evening was talk talk talk - which I love. I love the fact that we can talk about a whole range of subjects, and have a spirited diiscussion and not feel bad if anyone has an opposing stance or position. After Carol's pork tenderloin dinner, we watched the movie that they got for the evening - Whale Rider. OK, yes I agree with the Oscar nom for Keisha Castle-Hughes, and the movie is actually quite touching and moving and, yes, makes you want to go to New Zealand.
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot...
Have a Happy Valentines Day out there everyone!
OH MY GOD, THAT WAS PAINFULL...
Twenty seven days after what I thought was going to be a painless migration of one server to another, I am up an running on my new host. Wow, that sucked... I got no assist at all whatsoever from my hosting company on trying to get the Berkeley DB installed, so I just went the MySQL route and rebuilt the blog by hand. Things might be a bit "wonky" (as the Brits might say), but at least I'm up, active and posting. I'll try to fix all of my errors as I find them. I did one bad thing - I didn't have any record of my blog config information in MT so I'm winging it. I also had to re-import all of my entries, so if anybody out there linked to any of my old posts, well the links are now all different and God knows where you're pointing...
I'm going to "back-fill" all of the posts I missed (yes, I was actually keeping a file of posts that I wanted to make when I was unable to do so).
Friday, February 13, 2004
We took a late lunch and drove all the way to Vernon Hills just to go to Portillo's for lunch. That wasn't too bad, but then we went to Hawthorn because Chrystal needed to get a J. Crew Gift Certificate for a friend's birhtday. Actually, that wasn't bad either. Juliet, on the other hand, wanted to go to Barnes & Noble and get a book. That took forever. When we got back, no one missed us because, well, no one was there to miss us. Saw a very sad sight at the mall - a empty, closed-down Fannie May. *Sigh* The new company better not screw around with my Meltaways!
Oh crap! It's Friday the 13th again! Heard on the radio this morning that a study in Sweden showed that women have more traffic fatalities on Friday the 13th than men. Go figure. I was alone at work for a few hours this morning, so I started tearing-down the staging area (boxing-up the monitors, breaking-down the tables). Kinda sad tearing it all down. Another piece of strangeness? A Red Bull pickup on the tollway - complete with over-sized can in the back and twin coolers.
Thursday, February 12, 2004
"... and other jobs as required..."
Oh, oh... looks like I'm going onto the Deployment/Orientation teams at work. There are new metrics being pushed onto the site leads and, well, I've always been a "red herring" in the project. I mean, of all the other bases that are being worked for this project, my position is unique to this base. So, to make up the numbers and still keep me around, I'm going to have to go out into the field and do work. Great. Wonder how long that will be for?
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
I had a brief whiff of fried chicken from some restaurant on the way home tonight, which "forced" me to "recommend" that we have KFC for dinner. Look, it's not the greatest, but sometimes when you get a taste for something, you have to have it! It was wonderful tonight, probably the best KFC we've ever had. No idea why. I mean, it's KFC, you know...
I hope the smoke detectors don't go off
The fumes in the hallway at work are much worse today. It's hard to breathe when walking down the hall, and you can actually see the exhaust fumes now. The janitors which work out of an office in that hallway are wearing masks. The staging room seems much emptier today as the staging crew is gone and less and less machines are on the bench. I started sweeping up the room, and started figuring out what to tear-down. In the mean time, I'm still correlating data of what has been staged and deployed on the base. The day flew by, which is always good.
Tuesday, February 10, 2004
Westminster - Day 2
Josh is a great looking dog! Josh (aka "Ch Darbydale's All Rise Pouchcove"), a gorgeous a "Newfie" (a Newfoundland), won Best In Show at the 128th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
When I walked into the building this morning, I noticed that engineers have removed a window into what appears to be a boiler room. Well, that had some pretty significant repercussions, as now there is a breeze coming in that opening and it's pushing what I think is exhaust from the boilers into the first floor of the building. Smells like an oil boiler. *blech* This is going to be a rough day. Well, the staging crew is gone. Staging is over at this base, and we're just slowly cleaning-off what we have on the bench. Feels like the official "beginning of the end".
Monday, February 09, 2004
Westminster Day 1
So, Carol is glued in front of the TV for one of her most favorite events - The 128th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. She loves dogs and just loves this event. She knows breeds on sight and can rattle off all kinds of info about them. She'd make a good judge at these events.
It was 40 Years Ago Today... Ed Sullivan
It was 40 years ago tonight that the Beatles first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. David Letterman is going to show a clip of the appearing - on the very stage in the very theater that Letterman now broadcasts from.
Not as cold in Baghdad
This morning it was 31 degrees when I woke up, but the temperature drops 6 in one hour. Windy as all hell, too. Today is the last day for the staging crew - the last day we will officially stage machines for this project at this base. We've staged almost 2600 machines for this project, and almost all of them are deployed and signed-off. Had a cool thing happen today - our Project Manager was in Yahoo Messenger with his 21 year old nephew who was online in Baghdad. He's an Explosive Ordnance guy with the 1st armored division. So, while the PM was in chat, he called his sister (the soldier's mom) and "added" her to the conversation. Cool.
Sunday, February 08, 2004
The Grammy Awards were tonight. I am soooo disappointed. The "special" openning of the show turned out to be Prince (with Beyonce) which actually made for a good open since we don't see him too often. The rest of the show, in my opinion, sucked. Instead of being in a theater setting like other awards shows, the ceremony is now a show at the Staples Center and is only mainstream. 18 performances and a handful of awards - did you know that there are over 80 awards handed out? You couldn't tell it by watching the show. They don't even acknowledge the other categories anymore. It's as if they don't exist, and that is sooo wrong. Instead, the event showcases pop/rap/hip-hop/R&B and maybe one country performance and that's it. No latin, no classical, no polka...