This collection of entries is from October 2006.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
This year's count: 57
We always keep paper and a pen at the door to tally the Trick-or-Treat'ers.
Today, it was sunny, but the temperatures went from 62 degrees down to 44 by the time the kids showed-up. Speaking of which, the first ones came to the door at 4:52, which seemed late to me. It was barely still light out (wonder how the new daylight Saving is going to fix that next year).
I was disappointed... hardly any inspired costumes, just your run-of-the-mill football player (Go Bears!), LaCrosse player (OK, that was a little surprising), cheerleader, princess, and only one Captain Jack Sparrow, that was an older teen-ager.
Today's count: 57
We took count the years before, but never kept the information - 2002 was the first year I had my blog up and running (I know one year was over 100).
Not as impressive as you may think
Saw a photo set at Flickr or the annual ILM-Lucasfilm-LucasArts Halloween Party.
Not as impressive as I would have hoped. Now, don't get me wrong, there are one or two costumes that are pretty inspired... but it just looks like a "normal" (yeah, like there's a normal one) Halloween Party.
But... you have to like the Trojan Rabbit complete with a some Monty Python Holy Grail knights inside (apparently, this won Best Costume of the night). The runner's up, or honerable mention,or.. whatever went to a Marie Antoinette (decked-out in all handmade clothing and wig), a digital camera that took real images (complete with tourist hanging onto the strap) and (you gotta love this) a Wack-A-Mole with companion walking mallet)
(In case you don't look at the photo set, you'll miss not only those costumes, but also Bride of Frankenstein, a Stick Man, the Stephen Colbert Greenscreen Challenge, Britney Spears (which actually looks pretty good/accurate), K-Fed, a cardboard stormtrooper (finally! A Lucas-tie-in), Chinese Take out, a sugar glider (what? You don't listen to Dawn and Drew?), some Katamari Damacy characters, an R2 unit with an oompa loompa, a Deviled Egg, replica ILM Security Badges, the Starbucks mermaid and (yawn) Spiderman, A burrito (looks like Chipotle), characters from Serenity (!), a chef, an attempt at Lucille Ball , A real stormtrooper (as opposed to cardboard), Flavor Flav (oh, God), ... even Borat showed up.)
Monday, October 30, 2006
I love/hate my phone
I bought a new cell phone back on the 11th - a Palm® Treo™ 700wx with Windows Mobile 5.0, not Palm OS. I love this thing. It's come in handy. having access to email, my contacts and calendar, even the Internet.
So, this morning, I noticed that it was acting really sluggish... it would take many seconds to delete an incoming email. Then, I couldn't delete the email before by the time the phone turned off from not being used. Then I couldn't turn the phone off/on. I pulled the battery, and the unit would just boot to the Palm splash screen. I tried hard reset. Nothing. No change.
It had been under 30 days since I purchased it, so I went back to the store tonight. The same guy that sold me the phone waited on me. I went to the store with just the phone, in an attempt to just say "Phone broke - fix", but the "tech" had gone for the day. Will told me if I had the box, they'd just swap the phone.
I left, drove all the way home, gathered the box, cables, software and a receipt and drove back to the store.
Will had already pulled a box from inventory, and we started processing the work order/exchange. that's when we found out that the phone was already on someone's account, as a defective phone, and that was the last phone they had. So, he called another store in the area. They didn't have the phone. He called another store and they had one, so I had to drive a while to get to the store.
So, I have a new phone, now covered under an insurance plan so that I can get a replacement/repair after my 30 days are up. After having the phone die, and going to a store that had another defective phone, I'm not feeling comfortable with the hardware, though I really do like it, so... I might as well be prepared for another excursion in the future.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Last time we save time in October
So, we did the annual Fall Back thing at 2am this morning. We forgot to change any clock in the house before we went to bed.
Now, starting next year, the whole Daylight Saving (yes, it's Saving not Savings) rules change next year.
It used to be the first Sunday of April to the last Sunday of October. Starting next year it's the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.
Of course, this is somehow supposed to save energy. I think it's a conspiracy with the Candy Companies, so there's more light when kids go Trick-or-Treating.
Now, how much software and firmware has to be changed to accommodate this? I know Windows does the adjustment automagically at the correct times, so some fix has to be out in for that change, but what about other things, like VCR's? Automated thermostats? Think about the items that you don't have to touch when the time changes... all of them won't change correctly starting next year...
Saturday, October 28, 2006
W had B&B come out to the house just to hang out... it's been a while since they've been out. It's a windy day outside - High Winds Warning all day, though it's sunny and chilly... we've been averaging about 10 degrees cooler than what the average for the day. Carol cooked a pork roast, that was cooked over a bed of root vegetables, and we had egg noddles and corn... it actually turned out really well. We hung out and checked out a movie that we've never seen before - Inside Man, a better movie than we had thought.
We love having them out here..
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Wolves 3 - Phantoms 2
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Our first home win! woot!
I haven't talked about the games much... probably because I've been really distracted this year by the fans around us. There are people that we knew for the prior years that appear to be gone, giving up their tickets. A few people moved around. Then, there are a few new people that we don't remember seeing before.
I haven't been enjoying the games much... other than the team sucking at home, I'm getting pissed at some of the people around us. You tend to notice things more when there's under 4000 people in the place. I'll have to talk about it sometime... there are just idiots at the game... is it because the sport draws this "type"?
(Game Summary - Gamesheet)
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One year ago today...
What happened a year ago tonight?
The Chicago White Sox won the World Series.
It's now time to crown a new champion... and we become.. nothing. Losers. Not even in the playoffs when we should have been.
I'm rooting for St. Louis.. I don't want want the Detroit Tigers to win... that way, in my twisted head, the White Sox will still be the last American League winner of the World Series...
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Wolves 4 - Moose 7
Monday, October 23, 2006
Taking a header - Part II
Today was the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, and was won by Robert Cheruiyot from Kenya in 2:07:35. It was lousy weather - temperatures hovered around 40 degrees, but the wind gusted to over 20 m.p.h. (so there was a typical Chicago Wind Chill) and it misted on and off...
... affecting the runner's footing.
Sure enough, as Cheruiyot reached the finish line, he thrust out his right arm and briefly wagged a finger signaling that he was No. 1, spread both arms wide and seemed to lean back. His foot stepped on a race decal, skidded and went down on the red finish mat, hitting the asphalt hard while sliding forward across the line. He never broke the tape, but tapes are ceremonial, and his body crossed the line.
So he celebrated in the hospital with minor bleeding on the surface of his brain, and he has also been told to rest for up to three months to give the brain time to heal.
According to a spokesperson, the decal is made of non-skid, non-slip material and is designed specifically for outdoor sports in all-weather conditions.
Ummm.. guess not.
Taking a header - Part I
About 1 o'clock this morning, I woke up, having to go to the bathroom. No big deal, this is what my life has been for the past couple of years.
I rolled out of bed, placed my feet on the floor, and then...
I never had my balance when I rolled out of bed. I was never dizzy, no sense of vertigo. My legs seemed to support me, but I must have planted my feet waaaayyyy off balance...
..and collapsed into my nightstand, tipping it, sending things to the floor, including myself, and along the way scaring the hell out of Carol who was silently asleep (at least, I think she was silent).
I was awake, but I just remember realizing my body isn't in the position that I think it is just before I crashed. So, I wasn't dizzy, but maybe this is vertigo?
I've been unsteady on my feet for the last few years, and, come to think of it, I've had this sensation MANY times before,where I'm not where I think I am. When that happens, I'm not dizzy, it's almost like a type of disconnect when I finally realize "Hey! I'm not supposed to be here!" and then try to compensate.
Even though I am frequently off-kilter, I have never lost my balance and fallen.. up until this morning. But, take it with a grain of salt.. .I had been sleeping, and was barely awake when I rolled out of bed. (It's not like I rolled out of bed onto the floor either... I had swung my legs underneath me... I just never got vertical.
I think I'll partially blame that new 4-inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper... making the bed too tall to easily get in and out of for us Height Challenged individuals.
Gotta blame someone.. or something...
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Another vet visit
We had planned on a quiet day, but wound up having to take chip to the vet.
He wouldn't put any weight on his rear right leg, so... by taking him, it was an emergency visit. Thank god that since the vet moved, they're now also a 24-hour exotic animal emergency hospital.
(I hate to say this, but I love going to our vet. Because they specialize in birds and exotics, you never know what you're going to see in the waiting room).
So, the doctor took some x-rays and as long as he was sedated, clipped his nails) but nothing showed up. Nothing is broken, so may have just wrenched a muscle or tendon.
Well, we readily admit it... he haven't been good bunny parents and have neglected to trim his nails of late. Chip just LOVES to run, so we're not surprised that maybe he caught a toenail and twisted something. So, we have pain medication that we'll give him and keep him confined and see what happens.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Sticking it to Chicago baseball fans
The title refers to the 2006 World Series.
You see, no matter which Chicago baseball team you favor, root for, die for... this year's World Series has to feel painful.
Well, if you follow the White Sox (as I do), then having the Detroit Tigers - the team's nemesis from your own division - as the American League rep, just stings like hell.
Now... if you follow that "other" Chicago baseball team (the Chicago Cubs), then you're in the same situation: the team's nemesis from your own division - the St. Louis Cardinals - as the National League representative.
Both representatives from their Central Division. OUR division.
Ouch.. that hurts... (WE should be there!)
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
OK.. better.. faster...
Got home early to wait for the Tech to show up to fix my cable connection. I start getting automated phone calls from Comcast: "Hello. This is Comcast... we are calling you to confirm your appoint..." *click*... I start to worry.. what happens if I was supposed to reply to something? And if I don't.. to let them know I'm home... will they cancel? After a few of these calls, I call them, and their automated menus tell me that I am scheduled for a service call between 4 and 6pm...
Another phone call comes, this time from a human... and it's the local dispatch telling me that my tech is running late.. and won't be available until 6:45.. I proceed to tell her Thank you... I will wait as long as it takes and then I tell her about the screw-up yesterday.. She apologizes profusely. I hang-up the phone ,only to see my voice mail light start to blink - another call from Comcast came in, this time it's a complete automated call, saying that I had to have somebody home over the age of 18.. OK.. not a problem...
5:45 and there's a Comcast tech at my door - a full hour before dispatch said they'd be there! But then I found out that this isn't the guy assigned to the call.. but he got free and came over to "start" the job. OK, I'm OK with this...
I show him were the modem is.. and the lights are all lit and flashng... crap... But.. after a discussion on IBM ThinkPads, I hook up to the modem... and it doesn't pull an IP address...
and then.. at the door, is a second tech... and we start using another laptop to try (the first tech's), and it fails... by now, a third tech is now in my family room... turns out he's the tech that's assigned.
So 15 minutes, three technicians, and a brand new cable modem later, I am back online.. and it's faster, too! (the old modem couldn't handle the faster delivery speed)
Monday, October 16, 2006
Monday Night Football - the death knell for the Chicago Bears since 1997, their 5-0 unbeaten record on the line.
Halftime - the Bears look awful, and are losing 20-0. No offense (Rex Grossman looks as if his success has been a fluke), the defense looks terrible against the pass. They suck.
All of a sudden, they returned two fumbles for touchdowns. Then Devin Hester returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown with 2:58 remaining to take the lead.
Yep.. they won 24-23. 6-0. Unbeaten.
(NFL.Com Gamecenter Game Stats)
Comcast Service Sucks
Got home.. waited for the tech from Comcast..
Called Comcast. Found out that local dispatch had the tech scheduled from 1-3pm. Sure enough - there's a tag on my door that says "Sorry we missed you..."
This is the SECOND TIME since being with Comcast that this EXACT thing has happened... and no phone call. There is some kind or process break between what Customer Service schedules and what the local dispatch schedules.
So.. new time 4-6pm tomorrow. Another day without internet...
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Off the net
Around 9:30 this morning I noticed my internet connection getting really sluggish. It would respond, but took forever. So, I power-cycled the cable modem... which never connected again.
I have a tech coming out between 5-7pm tomorrow.
Withdrawls?... no.. not too bad... so far...
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Wolves 1 - Admirals 5
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Another season has come, and we're back at the Allstate Arena for some AHL Hockey action. The Wolves have a 2-0 start to the season, and tonight's the home opener. Half the adventure of the first home game is actually just looking around and seeing what people are back in their seats (some people are missing, some people changed seats, some people don't even look the same!)
The other adventure is seeing the team for the first time... a bunch of guys that we just don't know. And, continuing from last year, a disappointing showing. 12,128 show up to see a loss.
And, unlike last year, there's no local post season baseball to fall back on.
Oh.. and the Milwaukee Admirals? New logo. Has NOTHING to do with an Admiral... it's a stylized skull with a pirate hat...
(Game Summary - Gamesheet)
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Friday, October 13, 2006
Friday the 13th.
So far, the world hasn't exploded/imploded, and in general, doesn't seem any stranger today than yesterday.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
White Sox + 7-Eleven = 7:11
Oh, crap... more ways to get corporate sponsorship (and revenue) at a ball game: White Sox enter partnership with 7-Eleven. Now, guess what times Night Games will start at U.S. Cellular Field during the week during 2007?
Yep. 7:11 pm. For the next three years.
Now... how about even more expensive seats at the park? They're MOVING the Press Box behind Home Plate. The old Press Box on the mezzanine level of the ball park is being converted into a new club lounge featuring 220 premium seats, with a lounge and restaurant-type food service. The new seating area will retain the movable windows of the press box. The seats will cost $250 each and will be available only in a full season-ticket plan, and went on sale Monday. The press gets to move to the 400 Level of the stadium along the first-base side.
The team's only other off-season renovation will be the continued replacement of blue seats to green seats throughout the park. About damn time! We'll finally get our new seats... and rumor has it that they will actually be pitched/turned/twisted to face more toward the plate.
Too early for this...
I'm at work. In my cube. yes, actually working.
Pam - my next door cube neighbor - is suddenly hanging over the wall between the cubes, and says "Michael... look".
I stood up... looked out the window across the floor from us... to see...
SNOW. BLOWING SIDEWAYS left to right. I went to the window... looked down and saw the snow accumulating on the grass, the bushes, the trees, lamp posts...
Holy crap, it's actually snowing... sideways....
NOOOOOooooooo!!!!!! I'm not ready for this!!!!!!
Update: O'Hare registered 0.3" of snow - a record earliest snowfall
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
America just seems to be a strange place
Things rush through your head... and then you almost feel your head whip around when you hear another fact...
Initially I had heard about a plane that crashed into a high-rise apartment building in New York. 5 years 1 month away from the Day That Changed America. Your mind starts to wander... terror again? A General Aviation aircraft? Nothing organized... perhaps a radical wanting to make a point, at the most... maybe just a suicide... what are they doing in Manhattan?
Flew around the Statue of Liberty? Flying up the river? This is allowed? Naw...
And then... a strange little piece of information comes out...
The pilot of the plane? Yankee's Pitcher Cory Lidle.
And America suddenly seems such a strange place... or perhaps just stranger...
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Wow.. my past experiences with Dell Hardware Technical Support have been brutal, painful, drawn-out phone calls, lasting hours, with re-calls because of incomplete tasks or dissatisfaction.
Called Dell when I got home from work... went right to the Bangalore call center (come on.. you KNOW where they are... and THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL you are going to tell me that the people I talked to are REALLY named Marvin and Jorge).
Marvin actually listened to my description of the problem and transfered me to a special team that just handled my type of hardware (I don't know if I should be pleased that they have a team devoted to this computer, or that perhaps they HAD to build a team because of all of the problems they have had).
One hour and I was all up and running. No explanation, but the USB ports in the box went kaflewie. Device Manager thought they were OK, so the OpSys didn't find any issues... but nothing plugged into the USB ports worked.
What was the fix?
1) Turn off the machine. Disconnect the power cord. Hold down the power-on button for at least 5 seconds.
2) Open-up the case, locate the small, disc lithium battery on the mother board and pull it, wait a few seconds and put it back.
Re-attach the power cord, power it up (you'll get boot errors about the clock not being set and the floppy diskette not working - that would be because the machine doesn't have one - easily fixable) wait for the machine to boot into Windows and ... Ta Da... Everything is back to normal.
Other than trying to get the lithium battery out of the holder on the motherboard... painless.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Damn it.. .no keyboard.. no mouse...
Remmber that computer that I received back in August? What a great machine...
I was in SecondLife when.. all of a sudden.. my keyboard and mouse stop working. Totally.
I've tried other keyboards/mice.
When I reboot, i get to the welcome screen, but I can't pick an ID... because the machine doesn't recognize the keyboard or mouse.. so I can't choose anything.
I can't press F8 during boot, either, to get into Safe Mode.
Rovers from Space
Those little Mars Rovers - the Energizer Bunnies of outer space - are still going and going and going. And now... in what is SOOOOoooo cool, the brand new Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (it just got there in March), just started shooting pictures recently (like, a week or two ago). It flew over Victoria Crater and took a picture of the Opportunity Rover perched on the crater.. it's so good, you can see the shadow of the Camera Mast.. so damn cool...
Saturday, October 07, 2006
The best day outside
Today was the day.
Today was the day where it was warm (70's), sunny, not a cloud in the sky...
... when the leaves have all changed, and they're all still on the trees. Color everywhere. Gorgeous. It'll probably all be gone by the end of the week, so today was the day to be outside and pay attention to the color all around you.
Autumn is here (baseball is over - at least for me - , so I can finally talk about this), and the temperatures haven't plumeted... so today is just a perfect day.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Not a bad season
I just realized tonight, after watching the episode "Toe Tags" of CSI, I realized two things.
One: I've missed some of these shows over the summer. CSI is one, with House and Lost... and as always, The Amazing Race (my favorite reality show) (not Survivor.. I think I'm not as attached to that show as I once was)
Two: I'm not as obsessed in watching other shows as much as I used to be. I am not sure why.
Monday, October 02, 2006
A fall storm?
Huge huge huge thunderstorms going through the area tonight. We had a power blip that wasn't long, but, damn, there was lightning and thunder. It's also pretty warm, so this is like a late summer thunderstorm... in autumn.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Back to civilization
Just got back from our Annual "Away Team" trip to little LaValle, Wisconsin with Barry and Joe to what is now John's permanent home.
Man.. .I guess I'm just a City Boy at heart... that's just WAY too far off the grid for my comfort. I mean, I had no cell service the entire time I was up there... good ol' Spring just didn't have the coverage.
Late yesterday afternoon, we were on the deck, overlooking the lake, eating some salmon fillets that John had smoked... just watching life on the lake pass by.
We did that for two hours. Maybe more. I couldn't tell. I just watched and ate and watched... and time just passed... so relaxing, and yet not boring.
I guess that was the whole weekend... relaxing and not boring. Good to get away every once in a while to do this.
And... I blew the whole "Rabbit, Rabbit" meme thing, along with "White Rabbit" or Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit! today... just too relaxed.. and, being away from home, you kind of forget things...