I'm fighting it. Doing everything I can to stop it. Rub it. Wet it. Stroke it. Pat it. Nothing helps! I can't keep it down. My winter-hat hair is annoying the hell out of me. A nice run through the park today and I come back to be the Bride of Frankenstein. For someone that chose not to have hair for 10 years and now has to deal with it, you might see my frustration.
This has been a really nice quiet week (besides the car crash next door). The weather has held on (except for my ride home in the rain) and people in general are in a good mood (except for that couple I ran over). I've already accomplished a dozen tiny errands and have several larger ones I'm working on right now. And now I just got an email about a staff retreat for the folks on a committee I sit on. Hey hey now. They said my two favorite words, besides "snow day" of course.
Hmm, I need to change the way I think and act. Yesterday during a conversation, someone introduced me in a very odd and rude way. I have the wrong reputation, even if they meant it in an enduring way. Prolly doesn't help that I've been asking everyone about their favorite holiday cookie.
Where the heck did November go?
Link of the Day: 18 Things To Trick Your Body
No fair, you cheated! - 100 things to know, 5 per day
6. For the first 19 years of my life, I couldn't eat or drink anything that someone else has shared. Call me obsessed with germs, but I still get a little squeamish when it comes to putting anything in my mouth that isn't pristine. I did get over it, for the most part, during college when my college roommate insisted on always sharing what I had. ;)
7. My favorite Holiday Cookie is Butterscotch Noodles. And yes, I promise to stop asking you what yours is. I'll wait patiently for the trays of them to pour in the week of Christmas.
8. I have a large scar on my right knee from when I was 6 and tripped and ran into a sharp 2x4. I was in the hen house when I wasn't supposed to, and lied and said I fell on a rock. ;)
9. I lack a true sense of right and wrong. It's not that I am an immoral person (since its in the eye of the beholder), I just don't subscribe to the idea that any person and group of people can decide for everyone what is right and wrong. I tend to think in one idea: Our actions fall into one of two categories; you've said or done something that has either helped or hurt someone. I stick to the "helped" part, even if it's considered "wrong" by someone else.
10. I was voted "Most Studious" in high school, but never studied in high school.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Not only has the snow melted away, but it's been a constant 60 degrees since yesterday morning. It's been steadily rising in temperature all weekend long and now I'm ready to pull out the summer clothes again. While out during lunch taking photos of random outcroppings and bugs, I mistakenly brought my winter coat and felt like the turkey I cooked last week.
My neighbors have obnoxiously put up icicle lights on their front porch, which in and of itself is not a bad idea. However, since my bedroom faces their porch and my 10 foot long window lets plenty of light in, and my blinds are not miracle workers, I have to deal with trying to sleep under runway lights now. Luckily they turned off sometime in the night, but I just couldn't help but laugh. I guess they're just getting back at me since they have a direct line of sight into my bedroom.
Last night we listened to a researcher from Kodak for a couple hours. Our entire class was lethargic, barely keeping our eyes open. I think we're all still jetlagged from vacation. Getting up at 10:30am several days in a row does wonders for your internal clock. This guy spoke about the digital camera revolution and how the CEOs of the camera and film companies didn't really endorse the program switch to digital right away, which may have cost them time and market share. Apparently, there had been THREE failed market launches for digital cameras (1981, 1989, 1993) and the last one in 1997 actually took off. Perhaps due to Generation Y. He showed us a million graphs that looked more like circuit boards than usable data and more than half the class had left before the lecture was over. Nice.
Carrie and I filled up two sheets of paper talking back and forth, and we noticed several other twosomes doing the same throughout the room. I guess its the thing to do, to IM each other with written oneliners. It's middle school again! But she's aiming to buy an elliptical machine and was seeking my advice. She wanted to buy my 2nd one, but I ended up "giving" it to my mother, so she's looking at a $1500 one from the store. Eek. I don't think I'd go that far. But at least I'm working out twice a day again. Now to keep it up. Just in time for all the holiday parties... which are weekly now.
Does anyone wanna go and see Rent with me? Oh, and the Christmas music has started. Avoid me at all costs. ;)
Tag, You're It! - 100 things to know, 5 per day
1. I have an incredible sense of smell. More than likely, I can tell what you smell like, even subtly, when you enter on the opposite side of the room. And oddly enough, I lived with a roommate freshman year of college that smelled like a horse.
2. My favorite food? I would have to say Chinese Dim Sum, but I am awfully fond of anything broccoli, including chinese broccoli and garlic. MmMmm... unfortunately, my favorite restaurant Golden Port burnt down this week. :(
3. My shoe size is 18. Don't freak out, my dress shoes are size 17. ;) But I am 6 foot 3 inches tall, so they don't look odd on me, promise.
4. I am a lover of all things science fiction & fantasy, including but not limited to Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, and now Jake is trying to get me to play Heroquest (at least, thats what I think its called) with him. I'm not so much into the role playing, but I will try anything once.
5. I have been to only three countries: Mexico, Canada and the United States. I plan to visit Europe, but fortunately, I have been in over two dozen states, which is rising every year. Favorite state so far? California, for obvious reasons.
To be continued. :)
Posted by Luke at 10:28 AM
Monday, November 28, 2005
An amazing weekend, I had, indeed. Not that I'll tell you everything about it, but it was nice to have four days to just relax, watch a million movies (which is what this holiday is for, no?), hang out with a lot of cool people, eat at a dozen different restaurants, get a massage and take a hike through the park.
I did as I promised, I did, in fact, return several items on Saturday. But net gain, I still have as much as I did on Friday, if not a little more. I took it to torture myself some more by shopping for five hours on Saturday. I returned a DVD player, bought two more (as gifts, right?) and submitted myself to to the idiocy of the people at Radio Shack. "Can we help you find something?" "Yes. I need X, Y and Z." "Hmm, I don't know. Let me get Stan." "Hi Stan, I need X, Y and Z." "Hmm. I don't know. Let me get the manager." "Hi Manager. Do you sell [fill in a very generic description of X, Y and Z]?" Suffice to say, the answer was I don't know.
The snow is gone and it's actually quite warm out right now. I had the windows open for the majority of the weekend, letting in some of that crisp Rochester air that I've subjected past roommates to all winter long of years past. Something about the cold brings a smile to my face, but so does cuddling up under a mountain of blankets and watching scary Friday night TV.
I am making it my goal to convince Laura and Jake to guest-blog at least once on here. Laura is considering starting her own blog about her experiences as a first year teacher, and Jake won't be outdone by her (and his life is interesting in and of itself), so he'd chime in. I have a hard enough time getting him to sit still long enough to watch Survivor once a month (in a marathon session). Last night at dinner at El Pacifico (notice a trend?) he spilled his beer all over the table purposely, aiming to at least get a mention here. But the kicker was the fight he and his wife had in the car on the way home about the choice of music on the XM radio. It was a battle between Don't Cha by the Pussycat Dolls [listen] and Stain of Mind by Slayer [listen]. I finally left them to battle it out, even though Jake wasn't going to be in the car for her ride home.
And a bit of news that has spike my glee level. I've spoken of it before, namely here, here, here and here. Obsessed much? ;) It's good, and it's now in Rochester. Cold Stone has arrived. I'm not sure we'll be able to go out to eat without also stopping there from now on.
Oh, and we stopped at a giant used books store. (Had to mention why I titled this post that way.)
My sister brought over a young guy on Sunday and introduced him as visiting from Iraq. My place was a mess (I know, didn't take me long, eh?) and I wasn't presentable in the least. And not that Rochester is that exciting anyway, less so than a country such as Mesopotamia. An incredible impression we make, indeed. I'm just glad he didn't have to meet my neighbor. For once, he wasn't making idle conversation on my patio.
Posted by Luke at 10:27 AM
Friday, November 25, 2005
We scored big this morning. Well, excluding the bruises and the yelps and that woman we pushed down. Nah. But we got up at 4:50 this morning and got to the first of the many stores on our list... Wal-Mart. The lines at the two doors were several hundred people long. And by the looks of it, dozens more keeping warm in their vehicles. Nola was astounded, this being her first 5am Black Friday. The lines moved in fast and we pushed our way back into the electronics section. I lost her for several minutes, her cart holding her back. When I found her, and headed for the toaster ovens, I saw her twitching.
Nola: *twitch*Heh. How could the 50 people ripping stuff off the shelves have missed that?
Luke: Hey, what's wrong?
Nola: I smell... money. There.. someone dropped a $20 bill.
Luke: *whistles and walks over and steps on the bill*
The only bad thing about Black Friday, other than waking up at ungodly hours and pushing through crowds to get a tiny reward, is that they never put the merchandise where you want to find it. You'd expect: LCD TV = electronics? No. LCD TV = baby clothes section. How about Mini Game Chairs = Furniture? No. Mini Game Chairs = Milk Area. How about DVD/VCRs = maybe electronics.. maybe an aisle in front of it? No. DVD/VCRs = Pets. Aaarrgh! Unfortunately I didn't get the LCD TV I was hoping for, the one they had advertised.. the one that could be both a monitor and a TV. I'm thinking "hey, this could go on my desk" and I'm all like "this would be cool" but... nope. This won't go on my desk. It's aint cool. Poor Nola was shopping for bandaids to put on that back of her heels from all the carts hitting her.
I did end up getting a couple things, including a cheaper more generic 15" LCD TV, which will do.. I guess. ;) Nola learned the importance of the list I made up.. and we tried to follow it to a T. Sears was great. We apparently lined up at the wrong door, so the gift cards they handed out to the first 200 people were being handed out around the corner. A few small children knocked down and we were able to grab our gift cards just in time, as they ran out right after we got ours. Target.. my nemesis... was hellishly crowded.. as was Best Buy. Speaking of Best Buy, Sam, who works there, sent me this picture of people lined up outside the store last night. A lady went by me going 90mph with a cart full of DVD players, people were buying 2 and even 3 LCD TVs there (perhaps I should have bought mine there?) and the lines were crazy. And everyone was looking at each other going "god, this is crazy.. look at all these people!" Um.. you're part of the problem. Just embrace it. ;)
RadioShack... Eckerds... OfficeMax, CompUSA, OfficeDepot, Big Lots.. Staples.. you name it.. we at least went in... saw the lines and ducked out. Finally, by 8:00.. we were pooped and enjoyed a free (ala free $20 bill) breakfast at Jay's diner. *breathe* It's over. Now.. to return everything tomorrow!
Haha.. my credit card called. "We see some suspicious activity on your account. Shopping at 5am?" Hmm, can I dispute the charges and keep the stuff??
Thursday, November 24, 2005
I had my place cleaned for 5 hours yesterday. It looks great, smells great and feels... pretty great. While she was going at it, Nola and I stopped off at Pelligrinos for some subs and watched The Rock at the movies in Doom. What a fun movie. Alien zombies on Mars? Monsters you can only see in the dark... The Rock turning into the ultimate hell demon? Score. Yes, it was cheesy and typical, but hey, you need to enjoy that kind of thing now and again.
Spent a good several hours at the casino last night with the gang. Fun stuff, especially since overall we came back with $700 more than we went with! A nice present, indeed. Was in too good of a mood, especially since I got a free meal out of it too. Feed me, that's the way to my heart.
Roads are nasty. They also got worse. The better part of the night was filled with snow falling. But I was kept plenty warm, I assure you.
I spent most of today at my grandmother's house enjoying Thanksgiving with the extended family. I brought this overcooked, underappled apple cake (that everyone enjoyed) and the rest of the meal was typical my-family food... e.g... corn casserole, green bean casserole, etc. An array of pies, an array of stuffing options.. a 26 pound! turkey.. you name it, they cooked it. Weird though, since this is the first year in her new house, so coordinating where to serve the food, where to sit, how to buffet, which direction to walk, and where to eat was awkward.
We also have this tradition of getting the 3 major local newspapers and going through all store ads through the afternoon and searching out the deals. Unfortunately this year Black Friday looks very scant. While I have a list of stuff I'm going to go buy, its far less than expected. Nola and I are heading out around 5am tomorrow morning to beat the crowds (or join them?) and buy all the crap we want. She's going for a $150 desktop computer, I'm heading for the 15" LCD flat panel TV for $170 and the queen size air bed for $17. A couple others, but I doubt that its very interesting.
"Are you going to get one of these airbeds?" DebI also managed to piss off each of my aunts, at least in jest. I guess I'm not invited next year. :) I enjoyed it though.
Deb looks horrified, Nola looks upset.
"I am too comforting!" says Nola, mistaking comforting for company. "Aren't I soft??"
Gotta get to bed soon, I have a big morning ahead of me. A freezing cold morning at that. Please stop snowing.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
You guessed it. It snowed last night and its going to be snowing for the next several days. Are you dreaming of a white thanksgiving? I wasn't. I had weird dreams of birds attacking me and eating roasted duck in Paris with Nicole Kidman.
After visiting a blog this morning that I read daily, it makes me reflect over my own blogging habits. He recently moved from London to Los Angeles and has taken up video blogging (vlogging) as a way to still fit in his need to flaunt his daily life and show off his nightly goingons. While awkward, especially since he talks to his camera while walking down the street as people watch, it provides a greater sense of the emotional connection people have with their lives. Especially since he gets over 10,000 visitors a day. The telling of stories is nice and easy to scan through and pick out what you want, but his recent reunion with his friends from his London life this past weekend showed how powerful vlogging can be.
I don't expect to ever go that far, nor even audio blogging where you call up blogger and leave a message that is posted to the blog, but it makes me think of all the conversations I've had with people about blogging, how many of them view it as a weird hobby or when they look at it as something to be proud of, or just a way to read a bit of someone's life, interesting or not. I enjoy the attention it brings and I enjoy sharing the joys and sorrows of an otherwise private existence. A way to keep in touch with friends, family and acquaintances. A way to share and a way to say.. look at me, I exist. Why do you blog?
I've had my fair share of suitors over the years. I remember quite clearly in middle school a certain individual, then in high school, I remember two people in college that pursued me, and then a couple after college. I found it humorous, especially since I held and still hold no interest in those people. It was brought to my attention last night that two other people currently think quite highly of me, at least on the skin level. Some days I wonder, "What the hell picture are they looking at?" It brightens my day, but ultimately, serves me no use.
An interesting story from CNN about John Kerry being on jury duty:
"I just found him to be a knowledgeable, normal person," said Cynthia Lovell, a nurse and registered Republican who says she now regrets voting for President Bush in last year's election. "He kept us focused. He wanted us all to have our own say."I just find it funny that the woman now regrets voting for Bush. Because Kerry was a good jury foreman?
Today is a joke. Most of my office is out on vacation, we're getting out really early in the afternoon and there really isn't much work to be done. Everyone is out, decision makers don't care about current projects and our main customers left days ago for the 4-day weekend. It's nice, but it feels as a waste. Perhaps I should have taken it off.. spent it with my sisters who are here for the holiday. Or perhaps I'll spend it catching up on reading, passing the hours until I go home.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, even if you don't celebrate it. Have a Happy Thursday, then. :)
Link of the Day: Where is the media coverage on this??
Posted by Luke at 10:00 AM
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Maybe I'm just getting old. I just read an article in the Chronicle for Higher Education. Yeah, fun stuff, right? In it, it said that the millenials (those in undergrad college now) do not view email as the "cool" thing to do. They see it as the way to keep in touch with "old people". Hello!? They also see cell phones, IMing over text messages and walkie talkie cell phones as the current hip way to stay in touch. Erm.
I was disappointed to find our we had a full 1/2 session last night in class. I was hoping we'd be there just long enough to turn in homework... but noooooo... My team is funny. We're supposed to work on the 10 homework problems as a group, but we split it up and say "check my work" over email.. and nobody ever does. So we just each end up doing 2 problems and rolling the dice on our grades. One of our team members had so many spelling errors, he spelled faucet as "fassett" Heh. He's also the one that types up the entire powerpoint lecture during class. I'm more of the persuasion of showing up late, writing as few notes as possible, gambling with my future and then bribing potential supervisors. :)
Last night's evening with Alison was super productive. She's off to Spain (jerk) for a week of fun in the semi-sun over Thanksgiving. She's on the plane now, in fact, and won't be there until tomorrow (their time). Last night we ended up making ourselves sick by watching Discovery Health Channel and FitTV. Enough lowcarb cooking techniques.. thank you. Slap on the butter.. no worries about fat! Right? Ha. But watching people develop abhorrent diseases in front of our eyes and being born with appendages that never stop growing made me want to throw up... just a little.
Nola is in my office pestering me to go home. Molly is coming in the next hour as well. Perhaps we'll get dinner. Perhaps we'll see a movie. But then.. I have class at 7, unfortunately, and cannot enjoy the joys of a carefree evening. And alas... my birds are still unwanted. The store is having a hard time selling the finches they have, let alone the EIGHT I want to sell to them. Life is rough, I know, but at least vacation is only a day away.
Posted by Luke at 4:33 PM
Monday, November 21, 2005
^^^^^^^^------------ sunset through the trees
Update: Pictures from Carrie's accident are in.
I need a weekend of rest from my weekend of fun. I guess that's what the upcoming 4-day holiday is for. Now just to get through 2 days of shortened classes and 2 1/2 days of work and I'm scott free.
Do you have an iPod? Someone just told me I absolutely MUST get the new video iPod. They're around $300. Dunno. Not sure I'd use it all that much. What do you think?
I went and did a very homely thing yesterday. I stayed in and cooked a gigantic turkey dinner for 5 of us. And seeing how two of my guests are vegetarian and one has religious food restrictions, it was both entertaining and challenging providing enough variety so I could still eat tasty food. The dinner turned out great, I now have a fridge full of leftovers and I feel like I've gained 10 pounds. Rinse and repeat in 3 days, right? Now I've left quite the mess for the cleaner on Tuesday. :)
After spending 3 hours working on homework at Simon, I retreated back home to be mortified at the season finale of Rome. Not only did they kill Caesar (who would have known??) but they did it in such a way to remind me of the videos of beheadings in Iraq. I usually rewind and rewatch the best parts of the show, but I just kept replaying the scene over and over in my head for hours. I know HBO is known for its graphic depictions, but my stomach just turned. The show turned 180o over the course of an hour. Man, oh man.
I am impressed with a service of kinkos I indulged in on Saturday. I took a bunch of my photos from over the past couple weeks and had them blown up to 11x14 in order to frame and hang in my home. They've turned out to be great additions to my already photo-heavy apartment. I am also considering one of their other services for possible Christmas-present ideas. However, I doubt I'll have much use for their "poster size" printups, unless of course I come across the best action shot I've ever taken in my life and want it to cover my entire wall. We'll see.
With newly hatched babies, I intend to sell the other ragged 8 finches tonight. Exciting? No. Noisy? Very.
Link of the Day: The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, Told Entirely in Emoticons
Posted by Luke at 9:00 AM
Sunday, November 20, 2005
A couple corrections from my previous post. Rallycross was really supposed to be Road Rally. Dinner with Alison turned out to be dinner with Alison, Jake and Rachael at El Pacifico, Harry Potter turned into the 9:30 showing at Tinseltown. Even though I was oblivious to what was going on around me, apparently there was a really annoying couple next to us that were practicing good hygiene and reading their Harry Potter books. Erg?
Yesterday was not relaxing. I didn't think it would be, but I was on the run most of the morning buying up enough food since I'm hosting a pre-Thanksgiving dinner here today for several people. I think I was in Henrietta a total of 5 times today, between my initially buying everything to buying vegetarian everythings for the two invitees that don't eat meat. And it turned out we needed to go back there again to buy auto stuff for the road rally.
We ended up heading to Lima around 4:00 and got in and registered. Jake had warned me thoroughly about this Road Rally, aka, near death experiences every 5 minutes. If you've ever seen him drive, you'll understand. The race started at 5:30, and we spent the next 6 hours driving over 300 miles in the roughest, countriest, backroadish, dustiest, cliff-bearing and tree-hugging backwater roads I've ever seen. We went from Lima to Bath and back over the course of about 80 roads. They gave us 20 pages of directions, which included distances, warnings, and diagrams of intersections and sharp turns called Tulips. Suffice to say, my job as navigator was a very trying and challenging experience.
Jake told me when he went last time, he got extremely sick. He played navigator for Corey, a racing buddy of his. As navigator, I needed to calculate times for the upcoming 25 directions. The point of this race was not to beat everyone else in timewise, but to get as close as possible, when coming across a checkpoint, to the time you were supposed to be there. We were in the 40 miles per hour class, which meant there was a specific time we were to cross these points, and our score reflected how far we were off. The problem with going 40 miles per hour? We were on farm roads and roads with giant mud holes as big as the car. We were going around 90 degree angles with cliffs and trees all around, but still keeping speed. It was scary. And nauseating.
They gave us this 'break' at around 8:30, but since we were behind, we actually didn't get there until about 3 minutes after we were supposed to leave. The one thing you'll find when you have these crazy hobbies, is you get to experience some pretty insane stuff. Since there were 16 racers and 2 administrators and about 14 checkpoints, there were a lot of noisy and fast vehicles on these seasonal (rarely used) roads. The locals got really angry and actually started parking their trucks in the middle of the road and screaming at us as we went by them through ditches and fields. They had guns, they were hunting, they were drunk, they were mean. We also got to see a natural gas well catch fire and light of the night sky.
The night ended with a buffet dinner at a diner called "Crossroads" and the awards ceremony was at 2am this morning. Jake and I got first place in our class, which was the entry novice class. I got a great beer mug out of it. It was amazing. And the car is completely coated with a fine layer of mud now. He asked if I'd do it again. With wide eyes and a sense of fear, I told him not this year, especially when there is snow on the road. I can NOT imagine what this will be like in the snow. He jokes that he has enough friends so every one of them can do it once. But he also said the navigator is the most important job. I swear I almost died a dozen times last night.
Posted by Luke at 9:26 AM
Friday, November 18, 2005
I got a startling email from Carrie (from class) on Thursday. Starting out with "I was in a car accident" and "my car was totaled" and "I'm hurt and sore" wasn't exactly the playful back-and-forth we do during the day, but it sufficed. She was hit with an illegal left turn a woman performed into her car in the middle of an intersection. She's lucky it hit her engine block and not her side door. Poor girl, and her car was practically new (well, it smelled new).
Last week our professor warned us we'd be playing the "beer game" in class this week. Expecting an array of beer pong or singing and sports-watching, we were surprised to find out we were going to play "Factory, Distributor, Wholesaler, Retailer" for the beer market. I know, calm down, it's my favorite game too. *eyeroll* I was unfortunate enough to play "Factory" with another classmate that not only SUCKED at business, but kept convincing me to underproduce inventory. After an hour and a half, I had wrangled ourselves back OUT of bankruptcy and back into the black production wise. Sigh, but our team still lost due to our complete lack of predictable estimates. "What the hell did he just say??" you ask. I don't know myself!
I was also informed that one of my 3 team members decided to withdraw from the school, putting my poor factory (which is already lagging behind most of the other groups) in a dire position. Without 3rd shift watching, we're not catching errors quickly enough. Since we're done with this assignment by 6 tonight, at least we won't suffer any longer. But damn, it would have been nice if he had told us he left.
Apparently, even though Rochester only got a tiny dusting of snow yesterday, Buffalo was almost completely shut down by several feet of snow. With my bike on the fritze and it already being freezing cold, I'm not looking forward to truckin' it through snow banks as well this winter.
Update on yesterday's note about taxes. Oops! Made a mistake. I forgot about my FLEX account, which means I am taxed on four grand less, which means I'm right on target for taxes. I had planned for this back in January. Why the imbecilic moment?
And a question to pose to you today: Are you annoyed when someone other than your immediate family comes into your home without knocking? (I'm not, since everyone I know comes and goes through my doors as they please!) Am curious what you think.
Big plans this weekend. Not only did I have a great Mexican lunch with the guys today, but I'm having dinner with Alison, Harry Potter with Jake, Rach and Liz, and then Rallycrossing tomorrow afternoon with Jake. Should make for a long and painfully tiring weekend.
Posted by Luke at 1:58 PM
Thursday, November 17, 2005
If you hear vomiting or thrashing coming from my office between 10am and noon, feel free to call someone for help. I just got my flu shot for the first time and they warn ya how you may react. They also made me sign away my life in case I do die from it. Man. But I guess the risks are appropriate. Last year I was sick for an entire week, which sucked royally. Can't do that again.
We made our presence felt last night on East Ave at Golden Port for Dim Sum and Java's for chocolate chip cookies. Wayne's was busy as ever, but being the celebrity that I am, was seated promptly. The waitress kept making mistakes throughout the evening and it would still taste better than anything else in the city. Wayne came over, quietly discounted my meal, scooted off and Nola and I spent the next 30 minutes lounging around on Gibb's Street. We watched as this guy parallel parked his car and bumped into both adjacent vehicles. It was all we could do to not stand there and stare with our mouths open. *bump* forward *bump* reverse *bump* Ahh.. perfect.
If it's not one thing it's another. I just realized (after doing a tax calculation) that I'll be $900 short on my tax commitment to the government. So I've had to increase the amount taken out for taxes. Shucks. Well, there goes the benefit of not paying the loans for 2 months. :)
I got this fascinating advertisement in my email this morning for William Shatner's New DVD Club. While it immediately peaked my interest, since I'm an avid fan of all things scifi, fantasy and horror, I'm a little afraid that they won't tell you what movies you'll be getting. I have horrid thoughts of the $5 bin at Walmart, with crazy sweatpants-wearing hobos pawing through movies that nobody should ever see. Dunno if I'll sign up, but $4 a movie that Shatner considers quality might be worth it.
You know there isn't enough work for us to do when 2 coworkers are putting together a jigsaw puzzle, one is reading CNN, two are reading the school paper and the rest talking in a circle. And of course, me blogging. Oh, and its the little things in life that bring us happiness. I'm bringing my minifridge in to my office.
A bunch of us are going to go and watch The Nutcracker at the Eastman Theatre next week on Friday. I've never actually seen a live show, and between its location and the RPO playing the music, I'm sure it's going to be a fantastic time. Tomorrow is Harry Potter, a week left until Thanksgiving... and then the craziness of shopping on Friday. Is this week over yet?
Lunch today, class tonight, and a big hooplah after. Join in on the celebration, come over and bring some alcohol.
Posted by Luke at 10:21 AM
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Hmm... someone from FEMA just visited the blog.
I am mister know it all today. Everyone is asking me my expert opinion on everything ranging from DNA cell biology to programming in C (which I don't even do). And to top it off, some coworkers are teasing me about yesterday's incident by telling me to "Rip it all up!" whenever I try to give them some paperwork. Heh. Funny people. At least Kim thinks I'm the smartest person she knows. ;)
I think with no student loans (due to this new deferment) and a lack of medical expenses (ala my braces being paid for as of Dec. 31st) I think my new goal will be to pay off my car. It's almost paid off, but it would be nice to get it over and done with. That chunk of change would be a welcome gift to myself to not have to pay every month. JB and Mike were teasing me Monday about how I can afford to live alone. I can only imagine what it looks like for someone as young as I am to be able to own a new car, a new computer, my own apartment, student loans and shelling out thousands for braces. But I do live extremely frugally day-to-day so I can do the things I want and have the things I need.
I've been thinking of my options when it comes to spicing up and giving a theme to a couple weeks worth of posts. Last year I did a segment devoted to each of my friends. I thought it rather successful (especially since everyone involved enjoyed reading it) and would like to duplicate it, but with a different theme. Some options would be to highlight and dedicate a week to the best memories of my life with a story linked to each, my favorite jokes, the best places I've ever been, or a week of information about each state I've traveled to, or perhaps maybe the things I'm most thankful for, with a story attach to each. Dunno. It's something I'm toying with, which may perhaps give you insight into the things I've done and the things I plan to do. Post your thoughts or ideas!
I'm quite excited about a local development project. Donna and I take a walk almost every day during lunch, many times along the Genesee River, which takes up almost an hour. Well, they're doing some development work and have closed down the main road. Apparently, they are going to build several new businesses, a hotel, restaurants, a coffee shop and develop the park area and even more. Being a former (and current) student at UR, this is not only exciting to me, but long overdue for everyone. It's going to be very interesting to watch its develop during 2006 and I'll be sure to post some pictures once the groundbreaking begins.
I hope you're enjoying all the pictures. Click on them to see a larger version that you can save and print out. If you want the original (1.1megs), drop me an email. Even though several people have told me I should get them displayed in a gallery, I am happy just plastering them on the blog and my fridge.
Posted by Luke at 2:48 PM
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
I've got a headache. I was just yelled at by a flippant supervisor in another department. The issue was her fault, but she's too proud and incompetent to know of her own mistakes, so she took it out on her own peons and then finally me. I never thought the words "Rip it up!" would be yelled at my face, but apparently, it is so. I am the next in line in a long list of people she's been insolent to, so I guess I should be honored I lasted this long. And since nobody can go to her directly with issues, it has to work its way up the chain of command to finally end up squarely in her lap. Fun stuff!
I demoed a project I've been working on for a month now *cough super secret major search engine cough* to 3 deans and my boss. I always find it gelastic whenever decision-makers (versus us peons) get together to make policy. Half the time we spend talking about how bad the current situation is, a quarter of the time we talk about how hard it will be to change the current situation and then most of the time left is filled with talk of how busy we are. About 1% of the total time (while people are walking out of the room) I'm given direction and an inkling of what I need to go on. But the good part is I report to one person and she has enough guidance ready and waiting.
I love the dollar store. Yeah yeah, roll your eyes. Some of them are damned good. This one I stop in, ever so often (which always carries what I need), recently got a shipment of Peanut Butter Toast Crunch. And by shipment, I mean like 600 boxes. Of course I bought mucho cereal, and have been proudly chomping down deliciousness for the past 2 days. Who says you need 5 A Day? I say, eat enough milk & cereal and you'll be fine.
Class last night, you ask? Oh, you didn't ask. Well, I didn't ask for class either. I fell asleep about 29 times during the 4 hours. We had this woman from a pharmaceutical company come and talk to us about her job and the drug product process and how it takes a billion dollars and up to 15 years for a single drug to make it to market. Blah blah.. sleeping. *thwap* and Carrie hits me. But I returned the favor when she fell asleep. We must have looked great in row 3 aisle 5.. both of us snoozing away. Oh well, it's far too warm and completely too boring to be alert and attentive at 8 at night.
This morning I had my orthodontic appointment for November. Otherwise known as 'take all freakin morning but its gets me out of work' doctor visit. "Doctor, you chained him last month, did you want to do something about that now?" "Oh, you have nice teeth. Still -1, maybe near 0. We will fix that." and "Oops, did that go down your throat?" I've got 3 more wires on the bottom and then I'm rocking. But it may be another year with 'em on. Fun stuff, especially now that my teeth ache. But at least I've only got 3 more pay periods until my FLEX spending drops and my paycheck returns to its normal bloated underpaid self.
P.S. I love Firefox.
Posted by Luke at 4:19 PM
Monday, November 14, 2005
"Make me cookies, bitch!" - JakeFor those of you that enjoyed my conference blogging last week (here, here and here), you'll be pleased to know I will be attending a 4-day conference in February, complete with air travel, hotel accommodations and 3-square meals a day. And by then, the new business cards I just had ordered should be ready and waiting for me to pass out. ;) However, since I'm not taking any vacation between now and then, it should be hohum blog-wise in the meantime.
"You just missed them, I took them to work this morning." - me
"Aaarrgghh.. why do I always choose the wrong days to come over??" - Jake
For a change of pace, I am going to reflect over a couple news stories I've run across during my lunch:
You can catch a cold if you don't bundleup, apparently. Japan lost its baby space probe. Sorry. New York is suing Sony for hacking our computers and being the morons they are. (Stop buying music, people.) The right-wingers are really angry about ANWR and the fact that people would rather find other solutions to oil problems. This guy started with a red paperclip and is moving up in the world. Maybe to a stapler? Or maybe that 47 percent of Americans believe you can get bird flu from eating chicken. Alito is anti-abortion, as if we thought any different. Why is he adjusting to life as a murderer? And why do we care? Wal-mart is on its way to becoming the world's next country... think about it. Guns+Ammo+Toilet Paper = Libya. Who actually watches this trash? And last but not least.. eat up those donuts.. there's a one-day fix for you, no more personal responsibility for you!
I've hired two people to clean my apartment. One is going to come twice a month and the other once a month, hopefully not on the same weekend. Now that I've made the decision, I'm looking forward to coming home and having things done.. like the dust removed, the counters wiped down, the fridge hoed out, the stove sparkle, the dishes put away, the bed made, the birds cleaned, a floor without catfood and a rug without cat hair. Oh, blessed be.
And props go out to blogger for making their blogging service even better. Every time I log in, it seems a new feature has been rolled into production. They've taken the best pieces of a dozen blogging services and rolled them into one. I haven't taken advantage of the cell phone or email blogging feature, but perhaps it will become useful eventually.
Did you know there were rules to Black Friday? My family will never let go of the fact that my first shopping Black Friday (at 5am baby!) I shopped all for myself. In fact, the last 2 additional black fridays I have shopped mostly for myself. Hey, good deals can't always be spoiled on other people. Besides, when I'm happy, you're happy.. right?
Tonight I have class from 5 until forever, so don't expect much. While I enjoy the 'passing notes to each other' thing Carrie and I do to pass the time, this guy, while at times funny, can be a drag after 4 hours. Luckily, I am good at daydreaming. Of who and what, you'll just have to guess.
Posted by Luke at 2:56 PM
Sunday, November 13, 2005
This post has been updated 4 additional times today.
Factory life is going well. We are making about $60,000 every day, which isn't bad considering we were making -$9,000 a day at the start. My team is a little slow on the upkeep, but they're coming around.
I am well away from my home at the moment, in cold and smelly Seneca County. Today I'm being put to work moving heavy objects, cleaning up some leaves and running errands to the local town for soda and food items But as soon as we watch the movie, I'm back to the city.
Last night's outing at the Comedy Playhouse was a lot of fun. Whenever Sorah invites me to a comedy club, it more than likely means she has a free ticket for me. Tonight was no exception, except, somehow we got lumped in with a friend of a friend of a friend's birthday party. And I sat next to Mike, the birthday boy (who was 30). They had the tables filled with appetizers, cheeses, pizza, wings and birthday cake. We filled ourselves up silly and I never actually introduced myself to Mike. He was a little intoxicated anyway.
The comics were very funny. We had a warm-up comic that joked about his height, his medical issues, his erections, his feet, his blindness.. yeah, it was fun making fun of a man with physical disabilities. But the headline comic was Skye Sands, a very neurotic ADD man who is acclaimed as a comic, magician and origami artist. Ok, so one website said it. Fine. But he was great and had a lot of jokes (talking at 135 words per minute) about relationships, bathroom pranks, magical tricks and lots of short jokes (about a range of topics).
Deb's dog MollyA was scared half to death when I arrived at midnight, refused absolutely (upside down being dragged across the blacktop) to go to the bathroom, and poor Deb is sick, but damnit, we're still seeing Chicken Little today at 1:15. Come hell or high water. But first, gonna take pictures (as I promised), pick up some soda (cause I'm thirsty), and picking up the cousins (since I'm 24 and going alone to Chicken Little is a little predatorial).
Update #1: Well, it seems I'm re-cheapening. I was just at the grocery store and looking around at the soda prices (or as they say in Rochacha.. pop..) and ugh.. a guy walked up to me (presumably that works there) and asked me if he could help me find anything.. I told him lower prices.
Update #2: Okay, I almost died and took my two cousins with me. A maniac driver rounded a corner on Deb's road and ended up in MY lane for about 4 seconds. I narrowly missed him by swerving into the shoulder.. which is amazing since the road doesn't HAVE a shoulder to drive on. It took me about 30 minutes to stop shaking.
Update #3: The movie was great. I, of course, was the loudest and most obnoxious laughing fool in the theatre.. but who cares! I loved it. Though they sure were rough on 'Runt' who listens to Liza Minelli and Barbara Streisand throughout the movie.
Update #4: I took about 2 dozen pictures and have uploaded them to the blog to use over the next couple of weeks. You're in for a treat.. WOW.. is it beautiful out here during the sunsets this time of year.
Posted by Luke at 11:35 AM
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Bah. The only problem with running your own factory on your free time is.. I'm running a freakin' factory on my free time! We spent FIVE hours on this project last night, and that was just to wrap our heads around the concepts. We have to log into this website to see how our factory is doing in comparison to the others in the class and make executive decisions like buying/selling machines, contract types, reorder points, lot sizes and crud. You can follow our progress here. It is boring, but you'll see us fill this website up with our comments all week long.
Some of you may roll your eyes when I reveal this next thought process, and if so, ok, since I myself find it funny and silly, but hey, its my topic. I've started the process of writing down every little thing I would want done if I hired a maid to clean up my filth. I've had THREE people offer to clean my apartment on a routine basis and I think I'm going to take one of them up on it.
I had asked Alison what she thought of this idea (thinking maybe she'd shoot it down just like everything else I say to her) and she was like "yeah, we have a maid..." While I don't mind cleaning, I am really really busy, either with working the 3 jobs I have or going to school for 15 hours a week. It's funny the little things you find that you'd want a maid to do but wouldn't do yourself. But yes, I have 3 rooms I live in, but hey, most people only live in 3 rooms of their house as well. So far, I'm up to 13 tasks I'd want done in 2 hours each week.
I've gotten Molly into the idea of geocaching, which is great. Maybe next time she comes to Rochester we can go out and find some caches.
I just got paperwork from my student loan companies saying I can defer my payments again. Apparently going to school part-time lets you do that. I can defer them up to 2010, which hey, that works, but I haven't decided if I want to do that. It would be nice not to pay that chunk of change, but paying every month does reduce the balance. But then again, after I graduate (again) I should have a better paying job and pay them off all the faster, right?
Oh, I and love the fact that there are pirates attacking cruise ships off the coast of Somalia. Can you imagine? Luckily, a billion dollar cruise ship can outrun a tugboat about 10 to 1, but still, that must have been interesting:
Ship: *boom*Bah. Bobby Jon was kicked off Survivor this week. He was one of my favorites.
Man eating shrimp at buffet: Honey, did you just hear something?
Wife: *mumble mumble stuffing food into mouth*
Man: Eh.. pass me the pork roast if you could.
Pirate: Aaarrrrrrr.. matey.
Posted by Luke at 11:47 AM
Friday, November 11, 2005
I have to apologize for the crappy images as of late. Without the entire image collection, on slow picture days, it's hard to find something decent to put up. I plan to take a million pictures this weekend (beware!) and will have some new stuff for the next week of posts.
Speaking of eggs... nobody wants my finches. I have 8 full grown babies now, excluding the 2 parents, and the apartment has never been more loud. Robin's pet Corner has been pushing back the date they can take them for about 2 months. "Next week" "Try next week" "Come back next week" Uhhh, I have no more room for these kids.
So yeah, class. Some days I feel like I'm wasting my time. Luckily not my money. We had this 'pizza social break' right after work and before class began, and several of my classmates agreed that the material moves too slow and the time is filled with fluff. They're disgruntled because they actually pay the $4,500 a course. But we're beginning this online experiment where we run our own factory (in a team) with all its ups and downs. We have to manage workflow and make executive decisions about reorder dates and whatnot. Apparently, it'll all make sense once we begin tonight.
I think I'm almost completely sold on Firefox. After this week's conference, I've begun to realize how useful it is for the stuff I do on the web. It's also filled with features and extensions that just make browsing a better experience. I just have to fix all my pages so they come up to standard and look better in the browser. If you don't have it yet, try it. Click the link at the bottom of the right hand column.
I've got a couple nice plans for the weekend. Saturday evening I'm headed to the Comedy Playhouse in Geneva, then spending some time with Deb, then on Sunday, a bunch of us are headed to Chicken Little. Not too exciting, but one can never do it all when there is much else to be done, like reading and homework.
Unfortunately, tonight, I have to head to Simon to do work with my group on this new factory project that started. But on the brighter side, Em Dash is playing tonight in the library around 8:30p, so I'll try to stop on by and see what's what.
And don't eat the food I brought in today to work. While tasty, I am a little suspicious of the quality of the eggs I used.
9:04a "Oh, there he goes again with presentation." - DonnaBah, I need groceries.
9:10a "These are the best brownies I've ever had." - Joan
9:45a "Wow, Luke. Thank you so much." - Steve
10:31a "These are perfect." - Cheryl
11:32a "I tasted your brownies and your cookies..could I have the recipe?" - Crystal
12:57p "Luke, good baking!" - Ovide
Posted by Luke at 11:02 AM
Thursday, November 10, 2005
There are things I can deal with, and those that I cannot. One that floats to the top above all others is waking up to my cat chewing on my expensive electronic equipment wires. It must have been too cold for her, so not only was she sitting on my warm laptop, but casually chewing on my 100 foot s-video & audio cable that runs out of the computer and into my TV setup in the other room. It's not that its terribly upsetting, because it's not, but it's so disappointing, especially since she has so many toys of her own to chew on and destroy.
I suppose I should stop giving her so much catnip. It might explain the wide eyes, the death-like stare and the insatiable appetite.
Is it odd to dream of an operation/procedure? Who in their right mind would want it, is beyond me, but to dream about it? I certainly don't want it and won't have it done on my children, but perhaps my subconscious is telling me something.
I surprised most everybody by going into work yesterday afternoon. My boss had asked me to come in for a meeting in the early afternoon, but everyone else had assumed I would blow off the rest of the day. Perhaps I should have, ya know, so I don't win employee of the year. ;)
"Probably why your performance evaluation was so high..."It started to hail around 4 and the sky got extremely dark. Our meeting was held halfway across campus and I had to fight the wind and rain to get there in one piece. Productive, yes. Fun, super so. Figured out several large bugs and are going to submit them to headquarters to see what they have to say. Boring, yes.
I need to stop talking about programming. Sorry.
Today a bunch of us went out to lunch and had the "Campi's Experience" as it has so fondly become to be known to the four of us. (P.S. - that picture is of all my coworkers, not just the 4 of us) And yes, I got a bomber. Not only does the interior atmosphere remind you of banjo-playing hillbillies, but the food is greasy, full of fat and terribly delicious. Ending it with a trip next door to the ghetto "Sunshine" minimart to see the hyper-dog and be thanked profusely, we escaped Brooke's Landing without being shot. Well, three of us did. We may have left Mike to die.
Winter is here. Get out your jackets. It's been snowing today. I guess it's time.
Posted by Luke at 2:26 PM
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
And on we go... but only for a half day.. since I have meetings this afternoon...
7:24am - Last day I have to get up this damn early. While the conference is/was very enjoyable, the 7am starting bells have worn me out.
8:19am - Sitting with a couple new people talking about last night's excursion to the Eastman House. Awards are about to start.
8:33am - We're going through the "best of the best" sessions for 2 hours this morning. I'm going to re-watch the one I liked the most about CSS and take copious notes, and try a new one next.
9:37am - Took a ton of notes and also scored another accessilibility book for my boss. Going to a session with a topic of "dealing with deans, managers, staffers and students and still getting your job done." Sounds like we're all in the same boat.
10:00am - So far, so good. This presentation recommends 12 positions per web team, including copy editors and information architects. Also recommended the book Now, Discover Your Strengths.
10:12am - Learning of professional development. One thing this web team has learned is that you spend more time with your coworkers than you do your spouse. So if you're miserable at work.. you're more than likely miserable in life.
10:32am - Off to the final stretch.. including awards and door prizes. Lunch at noon, off to work shortly after.
10:52am - I learned an invaluable lesson. I do indeed participate in the Wally Reflector technique. And that I am the WOO of "Deliberative" or "Woo" or "Context" in strength finding.
11:48am - Okay, I didn't win a door prize or any of the SEVEN iPODs they gave out. I guess its not meant to be. Heh.
12:33pm - It has come to an end. With a full belly and a head full of knowledge, I am off to a fun afternoon of meetings and programming.
Thanks everyone for tuning it. Yesterday was a record day with 69 unique visitors. Mostly due to my infamous display on the projector screen.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Hey hey now. Not only did I get an A on a homework (above the average), I also got an A on my midtern exam from two weeks ago. So screw studying, I do well enough without it. ;) Carrie made mention last night that she's been slacking too. I told her I've been slacking since high school.
And a quick update from yesterday.. they also gave us a fleece vest with the development logo on it. How much does that rock? Last night's dinner was great, but I sat at "Database Driven Websites" which might as well've been "I beat my wife" I finally took the sign off the table so that someone would sit down.
Also wanted to make mention and say hello to two new readers... Dave from Rochester and Kate from New York City. I appreciate your patronage. ;)
6:35am - I'm looking forward to sleeping in again.
7:10am - I guess they don't trust us with the unlimited drinks bin this time. We're being dished out like a dining center. At least we have protein today.
8:11am - I'm networking with a couple interesting people at my breakfast table (no topic!). Dan from Southern Illinois who works for ResLife.. Stephanie from Rochester who is a recent hire at UR.. and Camille from the University of Utah. Having a very interesting conversation about web registration (for classes and housing).
8:31am - Note to self: get business cards. They're giving away an iPOD nano if you drop your card into the jar. ;)
9:46am - Met a guy at the corporate sponsors booths. Talked to him for about 10 minutes about his calendar system. He was really interested in what we're doing at UR for our calendar. Got a free book out of it.
10:26am - I'm in a 2 hour session about blogs, RSS feeds, wikis and podcasting. "How many people read blogs?" and everyone raises their hands. "How many people have a blog?" and most everyone raised their hands. Nice.
10:50am - I guess I had it coming. They put my blog up on the screen. There's 110 people in this room. I think I turned beat red. Hits to the site also jumped.
11:20am - They showed us an interesting example about how one college is using blogs and podcasts to entice prospective students.
12:49pm - Sitting during lunch talking about the blogging experience with a couple people at my table. They thought it neat to sit with me, the blog from the previous session. Also had a great conversation with a couple people about degree auditing and solo web management. I got a business card from a guy who would like my help since we go through a lot of the same stuff. Also, first time a web professional has ever asked me: "What's the name of your blog again, so I can write it down?" Ha.
1:15pm - Indeed, after explaining to her everything I do in my job:
Ann: Which session are you doing next?2:20pm - I enjoyed the session on student event calendars. It's what we went through a couple years ago when we developed the CCC at UR... except ours lets student groups go above and beyond just listing events. Had a couple people introduce themselves to me after reading the blog. I guess some good came out of being embarrassed.
Me: Student Events, I also do work in Student Activities.
Ann: *perplexed look* You sure are busy.
3:45pm - I just went through a presentation by the webmaster at UR. He demoed our super-secure deploying platform, he even used me in the presentation (in a very very minor role as a reference point) to get across his point.
4:13pm - I was just pointed out as "the blogger" by another presenter. My fame is growing, well, to us technogeeks. ;) All's good.
4:51pm - A really engaging poster session on topics ranging from web registration systems, to paying using credit cards over the web, and even a "setting up your website" tutorial. I was able to answer a couple questions about blogger and blogging. Then again, they're also giving me a hard time ;)
Joe: So when are you holding a session on your blogging success?5:49pm - I'm ending for the day. Jake and Rach are at pizza hut and everyone else is headed to the Eastman House. I'm tired. See you tomorrow, bright and early.
Monday, November 07, 2005
In true geeky blogging form, I will be tuning back as often as I can to edit this post and update you on the progress of the development conference I am attending at the moment.
6:08am - God, who gets up this early? Oh, my neighbor. He's on my patio. I should have went to bed earlier, I'm going to be tired all day.
7:02am - I just checked in. Apparently, this year they've upgraded the gifts they give to us. Last year we got this executive zipup leather binder with some neat smaller items. This year, they've given us all a laptop backpack (nice!) with this really cool notes-binder. I want ten of them. I wonder if they have extras.
7:45am - I'm sitting with a bunch of people from all over the country over breakfast. It's so funny to be around people just like me. Everyone has their laptops. Everyone is reading their email and surfing their home institution websites. I am probably the only one blogging. ;)
9:29am - We just got out of the keynote speach by Steve Krug, who is author of Don't Make Me Think. A very interesting talk. He spoke of how he doesn't envy the web developers of education institutions. "What is expected of you.. is corporate level production on a shoe-string non-profit budget with trustee quality expectations." Exactly right.
10:48am - I just got out of one of the first sessions at the conference. An interesting talk by an IT manager at Ohio State University. On my way to talk about the newest version of the language I use to write. Wireless 'net isn't available in the conference rooms. Shucks.
11:45am - It seems this joint is Pepsi-only, much to my dismay. Conference is going well. Learning lots of stuff I need to know for the coming years. Fun stuff.
12:12pm - Off to lunch. Big buffet, including grilled steak and italian desserts. I'm eyeing the pasta dishes.
1:15pm - I was seated at a table titled 'Student Management' and sat alone for about 25 minutes. Apparently, nobody wanted to talk about student management. Finally, a couple people walked by skeptical about the title and I promised them I wouldn't make them talk about student management. Soon enough, the table filled up.
1:45pm - This demo on CSS makes me feel inept. I have a lot to learn.
2:16pm - Okay, I'm an expert at CSS now. See, not so inept afterall. Nah, but it's definitely something I need to sit down and learn. I've been avoiding it for years. The next session starts in 45 minutes, so I think I'll take a nap on the couch in the lobby. ;)
2:37pm - Interesting. Another food break. I think they're spoiling us. I just sat down and met a guy named Luke.
- Me: *extends hand* Luke.
Luke: Yep. And your name?
Me: Luke. *puzzled look*
Luke: No kidding!
2:52pm - Could they pack us into these conference rooms a little tighter? No... that's MY leg. Grrr.
3:35pm - This kid from RIT just demonstrated AJAX XML to a very packed room of web geeks. VERY cool stuff. Now I wanna go home and retrofit everything I've ever written to include dynamic autoupdates without page refreshes. Hmp.
4:00pm - Hmp. I just found out DarylD quit his job at UR. Funny, we were talking about him at my conference last week. He presented here last year. Sad.
4:32pm - I think I've figured out why they've made the urinals tippy-toe high, the lines to the bathroom 10 people deep and the handtowels 'one-ply-per-person'.. it's all a ploy to get us to.. wait, there is no reason. It's just inconvenient.
4:40pm - So we're in the final stretch for the day. We're in the midst of mini-sessions, aka "let's jam 60 minutes of material into 30 minutes and hope it goes well." At least they're good for a laugh.
4:51pm - They just offered us alcohol if we would stay for the entire presentation. I'm not holding my breathe.
6:02pm - I think I'm going to end for the night. They're about to serve dinner and then I have to head to class. I want to be there by 7:10. Gotta eat and run. Bright and early tomorrow, promise.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
I got blown today. In Rochester. Leaving Rochester. In Waterloo. Coming back on the thruway... all over the road. This wind is unbelievable. The storm came out of nowhere and lasted for several hours, tearing down branches, removing every leaf from the trees, causing the car to roll back and forth on the highway.. ruining several blinds in my apartment... scaring the new dog at Deb's... making mom's new project (hot tub with deck and privacy fence) that much more difficult. But other than that, fun day!
Stumbling home at 9am, working out for an hour, showering and rushing 60 miles out into the sticks.. my family held a giant birthday party for all the November birthdays. (side note.. glad I was not born in November) I made a giant cheesecake earlier that morning and not only did it arrive in one piece (even though I drive like a maniac on caffeine) but it was hot damn good.
I think my family thinks I'm a bit more naive and reserved than I really am. I guess that's only right, since I still act as prim and proper around them, basically so they can still accept me for who they believe I am. But I made a couple comments tonight that not only were hilarious (well, to me at least) but actually shocked and received a round of laughter. "What ever happened to our sweet little Luke?" asked my grandmother. They've nicknamed me "liberal luke" for all the comments I make... and refer to the influences of "the big city" even though Rochester is pale in comparison to any real city. "Who used to pick flowers in the outfield of his little league games?" Well, he's still here, he just doesn't go to baseball games anymore. Heh.
We had an engaging conversation about flippant and annoying coworkers around the dinner table. Not only is Deb dealing with some pretty scary and annoying crap at her job as a nurse, but as in my mother with her petty, disgusting right-wing nutjob coworkers. I kept mostly to myself and the issues I've had with my coworkers, especially since I see it as a side-annoyance of an overall excellent position. While they both had very valid points about being treated unfairly, there being petty backstabbing gossip-sessions in the office, and to the point of possibly losing one's position since the office has organized against you. Man. While nothing to that extreme, there are days which I wonder what goes through the heads of some people I see day in and day out.
Deb adopted a new dog 'Molly' which is ever too confusing to the REAL Molly. We've decided to rename the REAL Molly to 'MollyK' and the dog to 'MollyA' and hope that helps... but it prolly won't. But the dog has been through enough with her owner dying and all, and peeing all over the floor whenever someone new walks through the door. Beware.
I had a chance to talk to Molly and Nola about their opinions of my daily dribble here, and they both provided interesting insight into what brings them here every day. While Nola just likes seeing the pictures (possibly not reading the text) and especially the ones that I am in personally, Molly will judge the post ON the picture, and actually NOT read it if the picture sucks. I guess I'll have to keep that in mind when selecting a title picture. Ooopphh.
For the next three days, I am going to be at a web conference here in Rochester, NY. Technically, I will be engaged in 6 single-hour presentations with 3 deliciously catered meals per day. I will have my laptop, and do my best to entertain myself when specific boring topics come to pass. Perhaps I'll even blog during the days, and deliver to you insights into the world of professional web development.
Maybe. Sorry if I do. ;)
Posted by Luke at 10:22 PM
Saturday, November 05, 2005
What an amazing day. I can't (or at least shouldn't) go into all the details, but suffice to say I'm happy and content with where things lie in my life right now. It's a wonderful feeling to surround oneself with people he can absolutely trust.
I spent the better part of the day helping out a buddy with miscellaneous errands and the moving of furniture, having a spontaneous and outrageous lunch in highland park and then ending the afternoon (after being brushed aside by the lovely alison) listening to great music, watching funny movies and enjoying the weather while it lasts. I'm not sure how much longer I can be outside and not wishing to be inside.. but I know one thing is for sure.. I love this season.
I've learned a couple lessons over the past couple days...
- that you can only be as happy as you let yourself be
- that the people you surround yourself with can and should define you
- that its not what you say, but what you do, that matters in the end
- that you can't let the moronic or ignorant lay a path for you to follow
- "The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract." - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
Got some fun plans for tonight, that is, after hopping through a bar or two. No, I'm not driving, but I'll be sure to take advantage of my options. ;) Does this mean I can't come home tonight?
Posted by Luke at 6:00 PM
Friday, November 04, 2005
How did I happen to find myself watching Ellen on OxygenTV you may ask? Don't ask. But I did, and I am.. and these girls show up to give their impression of the GoldBill bird from Australia. How can two so very hot looking girls be so so very weird? Heh.
Posted by Luke at 5:47 PM
I spent the better part of an hour with a coworker walking around our work campus taking fall pictures of different buildings at different angles. This was all very much work related, though, as we publish these photos in several publications, including our website. Now, at the least, I have pictures for the blog for the next week. But we got some neat pictures of everything from the nipple of knowledge (pictured above) to students catapulting pumpkins onto the residential quad. I avoided said fruit as best I could. I did spend the next two hours in my office hearing: *thump* *applause*
Alison was kind enough to take me out to lunch today [Pellegrino's], which we ran into several former classmates, coworkers, college-mates and even instructors. That place is a haven for UR affiliated people. Busy too, but we managed to sit outside in the warm sun at the "we're worried someone will steal our tables, so we'll padlock them all to each other" patio. Her and I are going to try to catch a movie this weekend, or least pretend we are since we never actually do any of the things we plan to do.
Jake spent the better part of last night at my place. I think my neighbor, and his friends, raise their eyebrow every time I bring someone home. Whether it be any number of men or women, there is a constant stream of people coming through my backdoor. It doesn't help that the first thing Jake said when I shut the door was "Do you mind if I take off my pants?" and "Luke, your penis is huge!" (with some other more colorful phrases throughout the evening.) He was doing it for the benefit of the people on my patio, to my dismay. I'll never live this down.
I had the weirdest dream last night, and by weird, I mean.. I usually don't have panic attacks awake or sleeping. Perhaps the alcohol in my system had something to do with it. But I heard a rustling at my door and my warped mind made up this story about "burglars" and feelings of being at the mercy of crazed fiends. What they wanted and how they wanted it left me in a panic attack. My heart started to race and my breathing became more shallow. I'm not sure that makes much sense, but somehow I worked up enough courage and ended the dream by facing my fears and embracing the situation. I woke up, nervous and alert. It took me about 20 minutes to calm down. What it means, I guess I'll have to work through.
Posted by Luke at 4:54 PM
Thursday, November 03, 2005
I get to meet so many fascinating types of people at my job. Lately, its mostly been managers and deans, but I also, on a regular basis, interact with administrators, students and alumni.. each with their quirks and funny moments. Yesterday afternoon I was in a very interesting meeting to begin a project that we hope to have completed next year. It is supposedly supposed to interact with a half dozen systems we have already built, future systems we write and a system I am working on right now. We have so many competing technologies that keeping everything together is a difficult job, all in itself.
Unfortunately, the people in this meeting were trying to speak outside their scope (as usual).. trying to talk down the ideas... trying to use outdated technology... trying to talk concept and work flow when it really wasn't their place. These are folks that tend to put their hands in other people's work even if it has nothing to do with them. Luckily, we stayed on track long enough to get a few things rolling. My boss does an excellent job of keeping people in check.
I spent the better part of the evening last night... all the way up until midnight and then again early this morning.. all the way until 9am.. finishing my presentation for my boss. I demonstrated the efficiencies of the database schema and how the code is flexible enough we can roll two competing systems right into this project come early next year. She was mightily impressed, and rightly so. My education doesn't just include a piece of paper. But the extreme 15 hour work day came with a price.. I am dead tired.
All day Monday there was this Xena marathon that I DVRed, and am now finished with. I remember the series from the 90s. In fact, my best friend from middle school, Sorah, was (or maybe still is) a fanatic. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the show, and its amazing how few episodes I've actually seen. I have this fascination with ancient Roman and Greek cultures. I've read historical novels, plays, papers and have watched countless specials on the topic. I've role-played it, visited reenactment and aim to go to the Renaissance Festival up near Oswego eventually. Looking back, it's inspiring to have been around during it all, but to live through it must have been hell.
I added a bunch of new sites to the right side of my blogbar. Check them out, especially JB's band's Em Dash which he showed to me today..
Posted by Luke at 6:35 PM
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
fall in rochester
I went to a web conference this morning at MCC on web accessibility and usability. It was quite interesting and a rehash of everything else that has been hammered into my head these last few years. I saw a table of UR IT folks, but since I couldn't find the conference area on time, I ended up sitting up front right in front of the projector screen.
During the first break a couple people came up to me to say hello and shake my hand. Quite interestingly, my high school mathematics teacher came up to me and said hello. The funny thing is.. I never got along with him in high school. He was a new teacher (10 years ago) and made a lot of mistakes with me. I didn't say much more than hello and then move on to the next in line. I ended up having a long conversation on accessibility (woo... what a topic *eyeroll*) with the university webmaster here at UR. He had quite a bit to say to me on certain areas under my purview and the fact that he isn't ever included in on the discussions. Heh.
The morning was filled with powerpoint lectures.. and such fun topics as page readers, head and mouth sticks (to use on a keyboard if you are parapalegic), and Braille websites. Also, some 10% of the male population is color blind, so stop being stupid and making your pages color reliant. This was the message given to us. The presenters were from the state and federal government, and they are bound by law to be compliant. Luckily, for now, the private sector has some time to catch up on web standards, but by the looks of it, it will soon be against the law to not close your html tags. ;)
They provided us a great lunch and I ended up relenting and sitting with the fellow UR folks. I'm on a first name basis with most of them (or they've heard of me and my web exploits here) and enjoyed contributing my opinions on the latest web interests of our great institution. And since I'm on a couple steering committees and development core groups, I even had a leg up on a couple of them. (This is why the guy from earlier was upset.. since he isn't kept in the loop.. ;) ) UR isn't a small web community. We have something like 500,000 webpages with several large web programs that cost over $300,000 or more. And apparently, you'll see after reading the next paragraph, these programs are tugging at the abilities of our systems.
It's also interesting to hear the politics of business in this core group. These folks are from several key areas of the University's IT departments, and each have gripes about funding, technology needs and mistakes made by managers not knowing what they're doing. I had no opinion on any of it and really found the whole topic boring. I guess every work environment has to have their own office politics... I try to avoid it at all costs, especially since any participation even in the slightest has backfired on me horribly.
Meetings for the rest of the day, and a couple small errands tonight (hair cut, groceries, bird selling??!, elliptical fixing...).. blah. At least its warm out and the leaves smell great.
Posted by Luke at 2:10 PM
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
I could bore you with tales of how my elliptical machine broke again (other side this time), or the fact that my class feels like a waste of time and a drain on resources, or how I am immensely busy with everything at work, to the fact that I have a stomach ache from all the candy I've eaten or maybe even that the only trick or treaters I saw last night were 18 year olds that were not dressed up and wished me 'happy birthday' when they saw me. But I won't.
Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are fast approaching (can you believe its November already) and I don't plan to take any extra time off. Thanksgiving already gives us 2 days off, Christmas is on a Sunday this year and so is New Years, so we have a non-holiday Monday off. What would be the reason to take extra time off? Family? Fun? Nah. You can spend only so much time with the people you love. Give us 3 days and we'll all be ready to tear each other's hair out.
So there are three people that visit this here blog a couple times a week and I have absolutely no idea who they are (plus the 2 other dozen that read). I don't even know if I ever knew them in real life. It'd be great if they left a comment and said hello. I don't bite, and I'd love to know who you are, even if you would prefer not. One person from Terre Haute, Indiana. Someone from Toronto, Ontario using Sympatico. And finally someone from the Bronx, New York on dsl.net. Who are you? Do I know you? Leave a comment and say hi.
Carrie is possibly looking for a new job. She asked me if my office was hiring (we're not) but I told her that our sister office might be hiring soon. While I know she wouldn't want to work in that office and the pay is below what she already makes, she would be able to sit next to Katie. ;) They get along, and Carrie isn't loud and obnoxious. Speaking of class.. none the rest of this week due to break. I can go home and not think about homework, or reading, or studying, or anything. Bliss. What? 2 more years of this you say? Bah.
The weather is acting really weird these last couple weeks. I suppose its fall and everything that comes with it, but after a week of rain last week, to a beautiful and warm weekend, to a freezing friggid Friday night, to it being warm at 9am this morning and cold and rainy by 9:10am, I just don't know. Our walk today to GVP wasn't pleasant, as it started out warm and turned cold and rainy within 30 minutes. Seeing how it snowed last week in PA just a couple hours from here, maybe winter is closer than we all think.
My personal todo list is empty. Time for another crisis to happen.
Posted by Luke at 4:00 PM