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November 28, 2002

Turkey day

Warning: Please forgive the long wordiness tonight.

This morning we woke up at a decent time to drive 3 hours north to an area in Indiana 30 miles outside of Chicago. Yes, the area also has a reputation as the slums of Indiana coupled with having been the area with the city with the highest homicide rate (Gary, Indiana). This is where a lot of Kris's father's family lives. We ate a lot of good food, Kris did her MK thing, and I played some video games with some of her cousins.

I just got word that a good uncle of mine has passed away. As we were getting ready to leave, I got a call from my dad on my cell phone. Initially I silenced the call but did a double-take and answered the phone while thinking to myself that he's either calling to wish me happy thanksgiving (which he has never done) or something is wrong. Well he called to let me know that my uncle who had just undergone a 9 hour bypass surgery 2 weeks ago just passed away. He had put a lot of his brothers either through school or paid for them to come to the states to attend college. Life's tough huh? I really don't know what to say except it brought back a lot of memories about this past year and Kris's mom passing away. I think it's especially tough on my dad because this uncle coupled with my grandfather took a poor Thai family that farmed in Eastern Thailand all the way to a successful family in which all of the children had gone to college and all of them had become doctors, civil engineers, mechanical engineers, or pharmacists.

I guess I'm trying to filter through my thoughts and put the "meat" of them down but it's tough. Maybe tomorrow...

Posted by beamz at 10:56 PM | Comments (1)

November 25, 2002

Kris's Birthday

Since she already technically got a present (a 60hr Series 2 Tivo), tonight we just went out for a nice dinner at The Melting Pot which is a Fondue place. Very nice dinner with four courses. The starter was some cheddar cheese concoction with a whole bunch of spices mixed with some beer which tasted alright. The next were mushroom salads which tasted good as well. The main course was some red wine boulion stuff that had a lot of seasoning which we boiled our lobster tail, chicken, and two kinds of beef in. All topped off with a milk chocolate fondue which we dipped strawberries, pineapple, cheesecake, poundcake and a couple of other things in to. We had a nice bottle of Graff Riesling along with it all.

I also went and bought her flowers. The florist said she had some nice certain type of daisies which were pink and pretty so I got those. I also got her a card with some quote from Maya Angelou which described how she lights up my life and enriches me.

So it was an exciting birthday for her. Tomorrow she'll be doing the MK thing and then on Wednesday we'll go to her parent's house to celebrate her birthday again. It's funny that we still call it her parent's house. We're just not 100% ready to call it her Dad's house yet because to us, her mom is still very much a part of it. It's funny how some places/people completely change but yet they really never do. Maybe we're all like that in a way.

Posted by beamz at 9:23 PM | Comments (1)

November 24, 2002

Bar code scanner + pissing contest

So we went to the mall today to register for stuff for one of her bridal showers. I knew from the start that it was going to be fun but not because of the barcode scanner. Seriously. Anyway so we got into a fight about "discussing" and having an "attitude" about the appliances each of us wanted. In fact it took us 15 minutes to argue about the fact that I think a toaster belongs UNDER the counter and she said appliances belong ON the counter. Well since I want the 4 slice toaster, it's TOO BIG and won't fit ON THE COUNTER.

It got fun. Then it got sad when we didn't know what to register for for our china and she started thinking about her mom and how if she were around she would help out. It's tough as hell not having her around for both of us. When we had questions about simple stuff or wanted an opinion, she was always there for both of us. So we left, went to Ruby Tuesdays to have dinner and drinks and then off to see James Bond.

It was a very nice way to unwind on a Sunday but on the way home Kris started to remember how every birthday she had, her mom would tell her the exact minute she was born and tell her stories about it. Even if she had heard it a million times, she could hear it over and over and not get tired of it. I don't know what to do when times get tough either, I try the normal reassurance stuff but heck, that only goes so far.

What do you do....

Posted by beamz at 10:07 PM | Comments (2)

November 23, 2002

Good people are hard to find

Went to a goodbye party for someone who I've worked closely with in another department. He is one of those people who is extremely talented and sometimes during frustration even has colorful language. Not that colorful language is a bad thing. It's hard though to see one of those people who know their stuff take off to go to some place better. In his exit interview he did say that the place we work at isn't fun anymore. He's right. Even though it's challenging, it's not as much fun as it used to be and I can't pinpoint why.

I also got to see some people who worked in the newsroom that I hadn't seen in awhile. Last night I had a lot to drink and then a steak with some mashed potatoes at the Outback. Kris said her stomach hurt but I was fine for a couple of hours and then I just had horrid pains. Is it safe to eat at The Outback anymore?

I'm also working on relearning java. I did some stuff about 4 years ago with it but wanted to get into some of the newer stuff so we'll see where that takes me.

Oh and tomorrow we are going to go do the bridal registry stuff and go play with the laser scan guns. It should be FUN.

Posted by beamz at 10:16 PM | Comments (3)

November 22, 2002

Guilty until proven innocent

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (CNN) -- President Bush on Friday hailed the capture of a man U.S. officials describe as a high-ranking al Qaeda leader, saying authorities had brought to justice a "killer."

Not another boring rant about politics but something that irks me just the same. Remember how we pride ourselves in a justice system that says "innocent until proven guilty"? Well in my own personal opinion, the individual just caught could very well be an Al-Qaeda member guilty of being the mastermind behind the USS Cole bombing but.... How can you bring a killer to justice without a trial? How can you be sure the killer indeed played the role you suspect he did?

Blah. A president who has no clue about rights combined with sensationalism just plain sucks. And exactly who is the killer Dubya? One who masterminds the bombing of the USS Cole or one who masterminds the starvation of Afghans by not delivering aid promised? So much for the war on terror.

Posted by beamz at 2:42 PM | Comments (0)

End of the week

Well it's the end of the week. Things have been alright, I've recovered from some serious drain that happened last week. Still pretty busy at work. Started a Human Resources Management class and Cluetrain immediately started to come to mind. In particular, the way companies treat their employees.

If any of you are unfamiliar with Cluetrain, go check out the cluetrain manifesto.

Here's item 11 from the manifesto: People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products.

One of the best things I think Cluetrain does is help people realize that you can't BS forever. In fact people/companies etc who don't BS will have the upper hand in everything because human's desire genuine interaction, not fluffed-PR-fake-warm-fuzzy speak.

During the evenings, I either listen to music in the bedroom, work on the computer and listen to trance or just plain work. The trance music is definately relaxing and not distracting. I love listening to Ani Difranco, Dave Matthews, Linkin Park, or Thai rock music but it's not something to listen to if you have to concentrate on something else.

Last night in class we did some pretty interesting things. If you want to try one of them, take a piece of paper and draw on it a circle, triangle and 2 squares. Divide the circle in half, divide the triangle into 3 equal pieces, divide the first square into four equal pieces. Now on the last square, split it into 5 parts.

If you want to see something interesting, stop here and go do the exercise. When you're done come back.

Ok well if you did or didn't do it, what I noticed is that on the last square, we tend to pause and scratch our heads. The reason is because we're using to things that revolve around the center of something and the simple lesson is: Keep an open mind, you never know what situations you'll encounter on a given day which can easily be solved just as long as you keep an open mind.

Posted by beamz at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2002

exhausted.

I'm just run down a bit. Extremly tired. I did some cleaning yesterday of the loft area to straighten things up and Kris was a big help in getting things organized but we're only 20% done.

I feel like I've been working at the speed of light in spurts. Tried to solve a problem at work, made it worse, then made it better again. There is much that needs to be done there.

Met with a lady tonight who will be a possible DJ at our wedding. She's the same age as Kris (1 day younger, weird huh?), knows someone I work with with, and likes Mary Kay products. It's funny sometimes how small this world is. Anyway tonight I must sleep good.

Posted by beamz at 10:03 PM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2002

When it rains it pours

This time it wasn't water, it was just problems at work in general. On Friday I had a very nice dinner and around 9pm when we got home as I was winding down (not capable of driving yet), work called about problems they were having with the newsprint storage cranes. I ended up driving in around 11pm and battled inventory/roll induction/crane issues until about 5:30am. I left work, came home, and crawled into bed.

Yesterday we took some engagement pictures and I'm hoping they come out very nice. Overall even though I've been so stressed/busy with work, it's been very gratifying. Life just seems to not "go" when you're not doing anything.

Today my time will be spent relaxing, getting backups in order, getting quicken in order etc.

I got an interesting call this morning from my mother's boyfriend. I haven't spoken to him in almost a year and he called to say thanks for the birthday card + gift certificate we sent him. We talked for awhile and it was good. They'll be visiting on Thanksgiving weekend which also should be nice.

Posted by beamz at 1:38 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2002

Finally

Over the last couple of days, I've been insanely busy. It doesn't look like it's going to let up anytime soon either but the good news is that tonight I took my final for my english lit class. It took over 2 hours to finish and I don't remember the last time I had to work so hard in school. Oh well it's over now.

As an aside, I have so many things I need to do and I also start another class next week. Work is going very well, I'm getting a lot done even though there is a lot more that needs to get accomplished. The good part is I'm loving what I'm doing.

Also my brother sent along some Thai music I liked when I was there so I need to go pick it up at the post office. I need to get a birthday gift for Kris too, I don't know what to get yet. Any ideas? I bought her a Tivo but that was a pre-birthday birthday present and I'm wondering about something small I can get to give her on the day of.

Tomorrow is going to be more work, shopping with Kris for an outfit for her for our engagement pictures on Saturday. Will the madness ever stop?!#@

Posted by beamz at 11:58 PM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2002

exciting times at work

Right as I was getting ready to leave work today, I was returning my 2 way radio and all of the sudden someone said "Do you know there is water pouring down into the newsprint storage area". Of course in disbelief, I said "Yeah right, that would never happen. It's not even raining outside." So I went to go see for myself and shockingly, water was pouring over rolls of valuable unused newsprint. It got even better, there was water in a 480 volt press drive cabinet. Right above it, the nice 3/8ths of an inch diameter high press water line that fed the humidity control system. For the whipped-cream-on-top effect, it dripped through the flooring and onto the newsprint rolls as well as the 480 volt high voltage rail that feeds 2 robots (the ones I've talked about before).

So I spent much time with a wet dry vac, running around with people manually moving a robot without power to it (so nobody would get electrocuted and die), and other system software tasks. The major tasks revolved around getting the newsprint robots back up so they could feed the press paper. I stayed a few more hours after everything was running. It's nice to be an asset.

That semi-bright-spot in my day however means that I didn't get to work on any of my class work for this Thursday. Which means I'll end up taking this Thursday off probably.

Woot.

Posted by beamz at 11:44 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2002

tired... kids...

Spent most of the day busy with work stuff. Random issues keep popping up like those games in the arcades where you smash down the gophers with the two big "boppers".

Spent most of the evening working with my study group preparing for a final exam in a lit class. While we were at one of my group member's house, we had the privledge of watching her daughter be defiant and act like a "grown adult". Kids that push the envelope all the time make you wonder what's going through their head. But then again, I did it when I was kid.

An uninteresting day for the most part.

Posted by beamz at 11:39 PM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2002

crap...

Forgot to mention this but about a year ago, my previous boss went on a trip to Germany and entrusted an Oracle upgrade on a test server to me. Well, as simple as this whole task was going to be, somehow through miscommunication, "Ed lost the cds". Yep that's right, I don't ever remember recieving them but somehow I lost them. I don't know if it was a bad week for her but someway, somehow no one ever talked to me about it until a week after she got back and that was to "write me up". I was shocked as hell and refute everything, not to mention the ridiculousness of no one ever asking me my side of the story. Well she's gone, got a promotion, is working at corporate and my current boss who got her desk... Well he found 2 Oracle 8.1.5 Solaris cds either in the back of a desk drawer or behind the desk itself. Life's not all bad I suppose.

Today was filled with a lot of, well... crap.

I got called at 6:45am by some sysadmins doing maintenance letting me know a developer couldn't get her app running after they rebooted the box. Of course they did not check to see if apache was running. Ran a start script and boom, everything is fine. Oh and a cluster patch couldn't be applied because of lack of space in /var on the same box.

I have been woken up 3 mornings in a row by someone at work between 6-7am, even on the weekend. Very, very, very annoying.

This afternoon a nice lightning storm screwed something up somewhere causing a cable outtage which was quite mysterious. The modem had a link but I couldn't pass any traffic nor could I reboot and get dhcp to do anything. Of course the tech support lady said my network card was "fried". Of course me being so intelligent can't fathom it being "fried" because I didn't lose power. Of course I was too frustrated to deal with it so I swapped network cards.

While I'm complaining about technology related stuff, getting print sharing working through Samba is idiotic. I gave up after trying to get the native drivers to install and not being successful. Dragging a cable just became more enticing.

I'm drained. Have too much to do. Tomorrow could be hell at work considering all the crap that happened over the weekend.

Posted by beamz at 10:25 PM | Comments (1)

November 9, 2002

Kindness and Giving

I got up this morning to go get a birthday card for my mom and her boyfriend. Let me just say that she's had this boyfriend for 15 years. Anyway I don't care too much for him but I sat there and debated about getting him a card since I was sending her stuff.

Even though I have a strong dislike for him, does that make him any less deserving? If you would like someone to change, does it do you any good to be less than kind to them? No. So in the spirit of being positive I got him a gift card to blockbuster since he likes to watch movies and a birthday card.

Last night during dinner I had a couple of beers. I started telling Kris about how I miss my mom and it's ridiculous that I haven't seen her in 8-9 months. I'm thinking being around someone I don't like is better than not seeing my mom.

That's all for now.

Posted by beamz at 12:24 PM | Comments (1)

November 7, 2002

Where did the time go?

CNN.com - Man freed by DNA test after 20 years - Nov. 7, 2002

"Where the hell did my life go?", is probably what this person was thinking. Unfortunately he's not entitled to any compensation for the 20 years he spent locked away. I wonder how much 1/3rd of the judge's life or the prosecutor's life is worth to them. Apparently freedom has no value.

If you've ever read Philip Roth's "Defender of the Faith", you'll know the basic premise of the story is that a guy uses his religion in an attempt to get extra favors. A professor of mine asked the question about minorities in general "milking the system" or trying to get something for nothing. He asked this to a class half full of minorities... perhaps I was thinking in my mind that it was a horribly broad stereotype but it's a sad fact that some do.

Of course
Freedom's Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Choose
says a lot of what I've been thinking about.

I also love that the top story on CNN, "Sources: Summit plotted attacks on U.S." is followed by "Homeland security tops Bush agenda."

Blogs are giving us all a way to speak out about things and replacing the typical personal web site. It also means a few metric tons more worth of crap to wade through. Either way it's better than no crap.

Posted by beamz at 11:17 PM | Comments (0)

November 6, 2002

The Next Adventure.

Stayed up late last night reading "A Man Who Was Almost a Man" by Richard Wright as well as a story by James Baldwin called "Sonny's Blues". The first one centered around a kid who wanted a gun. He convinced his mother to give him $2 to buy it "for his dad". Everything was good until he snuck out early in the morning with the gun, shot it, and killed a mule who belonged to his employer. His heart must've sank as he panicked.

I think mine did too when I woke up this morning to the news that we have a GOP controlled sentate and house now. It may be good though, I really want to see what happens. I want to see if the sh*t really hits the fan now.

The second is about a school teacher and his brother who is a junkie.

Posted by beamz at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

November 4, 2002

Playing with robots

I spent a good portion of the day playing with 2 robots that can move 1 ton objects 15ft per second and lift them up 4 stories high. If you're curious, they're Automated Storage and Retrieval robots that grab rolls of newsprint and move them to bays on a printing press.

Very exciting to see them float around. Playing manual traffic cop with 2 of them is near impossible. Good thing they have anti-collision sensors.

Aside for my distaste in the local politicians pissing eachother off, things haven't been too annoying in the news. The whole politics/voting stuff is pissing me off, of course it probably has a lot of people over the past hundred or two hundred years.

Posted by beamz at 11:15 PM | Comments (0)

November 3, 2002

Decisions, Decisions.

2 hour naps are nice when you wake up at 5:30am and can't go back to sleep.

John Robb's Radio Weblog "This is a depressing situation. The SEC is AWOL, the DOJ has abdicated its responsibilities in favor of security, the courts are in confusion, our President is obsessed with war, our economy is teetering near the edge of oblivion, and our opposition parties are in disarray. This is not the end of the world, but it does mean that we are in a protracted low point for the US. We just need to wait this out. Nothing else to do. Unfortunately, that may take a decade. Hopefully less." , is how John Robb sums up the current state of affairs which Doc Searls said he agreed with.

Today I picked up a voters guide from church. Yes, I said it, "church". The guide to the candidates rated them on a number of issues but here are a couple:

Required filtering of internet pornagraphy on library computers, Opposes further government regulation of businesses.

When I started hearing those I just started to get a little vocal about some of those issues. Of course it's not all bad is it? "Supports freedom for private & home schools"

The guide doesn't have the peoples parties listed next to them but almost all of the entries have checks all throughout the 10 issues rated, or no checks at all.

Good to know how people will be making good unbiased decisions in a couple of days. Also nice to know that we've elected the moronic infrastructure that is hell-bent on running it into the ground flames burning. Let me just say that I don't know if the alternative would've been better.

Posted by beamz at 3:59 PM | Comments (0)

November 2, 2002

A nice Saturday...

The day was spent mostly surfing and rebuilding our firewall/gateway with a new freshly released OpenBSD 3.2 which is a lovely lightweight and secure operating system on a new machine I picked up off of ebay. For some reason I've had quite fascination with the corporate workstations HP builds known as HP Kayaks. They're quite tough machines with a neat LCD status display that indicates via smiley face if all the hardware is A-OK. Picked it up for $100 shipped (PII 400mhz, 32mb ram, 3gb hd). Quite a deal considering the hardware is rather robust.

Went out and bought some clothes from the usual stores and had a nice meal at a resturant as well as Amber Bock. It was quite tasty even though the waitress ended up overcharging us a dollar, we were feeling quite nice and decided to let things slide.

In the quest to take things more at ease, I've been doing well. Things on the homefront have been good and other than that, I can't complain.

Posted by beamz at 9:58 PM | Comments (0)