Thursday, March 30, 2006


Geez...I hope I survive this week(end).
I spent 22 hours awake yesterday and slept for 4. Had to stay until closing at 12am, then be back for opening at 5:30am. I am sitting in a popular fast-food establishment in California, simply being present in case there is a problem with the software. Well, thankfully, there aren't any problems requiring my attention, but the sitting around is killing me. I have an extremely tenuous wireless connection here, so I can browse and check email as long as I'm patient and the wind is blowing in the right direction. I may take a break when the lunch rush dies down and go to the hotel for a nap, then get back for dinner rush.

5 more days of this to go. One and a half books read. If I can get my mind focused, maybe I'll try my hand at writing some fiction, since Chris got my interest up with his resolution to give it a go. More later.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Going out of town

I'm being sent (along with most of my department) to LA until next Tuesday. I hope to be able to do a little blogging while I'm gone. Poor Bernie! I hate to leave her alone for all that time, but my parents promise to keep her company while I'm gone.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Gross question for my readers

A couple of weeks ago I **twice** stubbed my little toe and split the toenail...vertically (ouch). I have since been using superglue to try to hold it together with mixed results. Today I had to go back to the old bandaid trick, as one side of the nail is snagging on my socks and pulling in the wrong direction.

Is there anything that can be done about this that I haven't tried? Would a pedicurist be able to do anything to help?

One room 90% complete

We finally got the living room within shouting distance of where we want it. Curtains up, entertainment system connected and functioning, furniture in place, etc. Just gotta get pictures hung and cap off the wires for the speakers.

PS: Dear Wife,
You didn't get to hog all the pics for yourself tonight!

Wife stole my thunder again...

Since Bernie posted all the pictures I took yesterday, I yield and simply link to her blog.

Monday, March 20, 2006

We're in!

Finally! We have moved all our stuff over the last 3 weeks, and now we have moved ourselves into the new house. TV, phone, internet, etc is all hooked up and running, and we've slept in the new place for the past two nights.

I had forgotten how disconcerting it is to adjust to a new living configuration. I haven't slept well for these two nights, though the bed is comfy (1200 thread count sheets from our wedding booty). I'm not completely sold on the shower (separate shower stall and tub, and the stall is not roomy enough for my taste, and the water pressure from the shower head I installed isn't as powerful as I'm used to). But overall, it's great.

Another realization that you only make when you move is that you discover how much stuff you have, and I've discovered that while I don't have an amazingly huge load of possessions (despite what my wife says), I do have two things that are hugely out of proportion with my other stuff. 28 boxes of books, for instance. 28!!! I'm floored by that, truly. My plan is to siphon off the ones I like best, and to get rid of most of them. At least half.

The other thing that is out of proportion is my kitchen stuff. I know that my old roomie, Bert, and I were kitchen-crazy, but I apparently have 10 steel mixing bowls, and I don't even bake! Top that off with the set that Bernie and I got when we got married, and something's gotta give. Several chopping gadgets are on their way out as well, as I need the shelf space. I didn't realize that I hadn't left a place for flour, sugar, etc in their respective bins, and now I need a shelf for those. (Grits get a bin, too - this IS the South, you know.)

Of course, some things have just disappeared during the move. I had a board for hanging keychains on - gone. I had a knife magnet - gone. My refrigerator magnets!!! - gone. My marker board for the grocery list - gone. Every tiny piece of computer-related junk that I wish had gotten lost made it through the move, but all my ethernet patch cables? Gone. Sacrifices to the storage deity. I had to go to Wal-Mart at 11pm last night to get Bernie's PC on the internet so she could work from home today.

Anyway, after all the lifting and such, I am sore and tired and here it is Monday again. Work. Ugh. Maybe after I post this, I can wake up fully and start working.

Quick notes:
Elizabeth and Chris delivered their second child this weekend after a grueling 2 whole hours of labor. Congrats to the new second-time parents and newborn Marcus!
Not a good weekend for customer service. Had to cuss out the car dealer for not returning phone calls or sending our tube of touch-up paint as promised, had 2 terrible experiences at restaurants, and the Dish Network guy who was supposed to arrive between 12 and 3 showed up at 7pm, never called, did a crappy job, and whined the whole time about how long a day he had had. My heart bleeds. Really. Not.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Geek heaven

Did it. I've been threatening for a month, but I finally pulled it off. The new house now has in-the-wall wired ethernet. No more slow, insecure, cranky wireless network for me!

I called a structured wiring company and the guy came out and put in an OnQ cabinet, which basically pulls the outside wires for phone, cable, etc inside the house. Then I had Time Warner hook me up with Road Runner (no television - I'm getting satellite TV. 100% of my cable bandwidth is dedicated to internet this way) and mounted the cable modem in the OnQ cabinet. I bought a fast router and mounted it in the cabinet, then tonight I took the Cat-5e that was supposed to be for my phone jacks (I'm using VoIP and cordless phones, so no need for them) and re-terminated both ends for ethernet and plugged it into the router. Presto! 100Mbps in the wall!

The bonus was that one of the outlets upstairs had two sets of Cat-5, so if I go wireless later, I can put the wireless router upstairs and get better coverage.

Eat your hearts out, folks. Geeks rule.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Religion of Peace

OK, I'm not getting many comments lately, so I'm going to post on something topical and controversial just to stir things up.

Late last week, a perfectly nice, normal guy from South Charlotte, who recently graduated from UNC, decided to go berzerk and try to kill a bunch of kids at random with his SUV. He drove into the Pit, which is a gathering place on campus at UNC, and swerved and managed to hit 9 people. Luckily, he didn't manage to run anyone over or cause serious injuries. He got back on the road, and pulled over and called police to come and get him.

Oh, did I forget to mention he's a Muslim and claims he did this to get revenge on the US Government?

What makes people do things like this?

It's easy to say that it's Islam as a religion, since most of the violence that concerns us in the USA lately is at the hands of Middle Eastern Muslim terrorists. But I've visited Malaysia, which is an Islamic state, and this crap doesn't happen over there. Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Christians seem to actually get along there.

I'd like to say that it's the combo of Islam and oppressive governments, but this kid was raised in the USA all his life, though he was born in Iran.

I'd like to blame this on the brainwashing and programming by radical Islamic clerics, but this kid apparently studied the Koran on his own. Maybe future investigation will prove this assumption wrong, but the available evidence indicates that he worked alone.

Therefore, none of the conventional wisdom and rhetoric seem to apply to this case. This kid has been meek, quiet, and respectful during his time in court, although he is unapologetic for his actions. He has not displayed a load of anger and hatred in his demeanor at all.

For those of my friends and family in Malaysia, I'd like to try to explain how I think most Americans feel about Muslims at the moment. We know that our American culture is under attack by a lot of people who hate us, for no reason other than their religious leaders say that they should. These attackers have little or no regard for human life, which is something we can't comprehend in our society, as we have been taught that there is nothing more precious. These attackers claim they are Muslims and call for all Muslims to join their jihad. This makes us look on other Muslims with a slightly suspicious eye. After all, we were attacked and hurt by people that came to the US posing as students, taking advantage of our education system, under the guise of friendship, and betrayed our trust in the goodness of human nature. I think it's understandable that we are a little more wary since then.

I'd like to apologize to the millions of peaceful Muslims in America and the rest of the world for this behavior. However, I hope you are reasonable enough to understand that those of us who don't share your religion might not be as easy to get along with as we once were. You could help the situation yourselves quite a bit, you know, if you would speak up about how the actions of Al-Qaida, Hamas, etc are in conflict with Islam and show a little outrage towards them sometimes. Excommunicating them or something would go a long way, really it would. We'd certainly feel a bit more trusting if you were to do that. And by the way, your reaction to the cartoon thing? Not really helpful. Jesus taught his followers to "turn the other cheek", and most of the time, it remains good advice. Just shake it off - it was in bad taste, yes, but it was a tiny little newspaper from a country that doesn't have much in the way of entertainment. (Incidentally, the USA had nothing to do with it. Please address your complaints to Europe.)

Anyway, I've rambled on long enough about this subject. Hopefully, I've explained my perspective and we can have a nice discussion in the comments.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Catching up on things

Here's the wife with her new car. We washed it today for the first time.

I've been very slack on posting pics, and Bernie beat me to the punch and used all of todays pics in her blog. Therefore, I'm being lazy and linking directly to her post.

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