This was an especially frustrating week at work. I believe I told my boss as I left yesterday, "If you're lucky, you'll see me on Monday."
It was really just failure after failure, due to circumstances beyond my control, and then the necessity of having to play "The Game". I hate political bullshit, whether it's on the national scale, or at my small company, so that had me frustrated. I sent an email to the VP of Sales who I work with on sales support and installs, and about 1/3 of the way through, my email turned "blue" and I stopped capitalizing and punctuating properly or consistently.
So rough, in fact, that last night, it was just me and my 5 year old daughter at home. SWMBO was playing Bunco, and the boy was having a sleepover at a buddy's house. We played some Disney Princesses on the Wii, ate junk food, then went up to the master bedroom and watched Willow. I had a glass of wine while we were playing Wii, and poured another before we went upstairs, but only had a sip from it before we both fell asleep. Next thing I knew, it was 0200, my wife was in bed next to me, I was still on top of the covers with my sweatshirt on, and had just had a dream about... work.
I can say, however, that the dream wasn't a bad one... I was configuring an elaborate voice network, and everything was working, but still. It was a dream about work. This morning, I woke up once around 0800, another dream about work, then when I finally got up at 0845, another dream about work (or it could've been a continuation of the previous one, there's no real way of knowing).
I hope that the rest of the weekend, I can avoid getting called, paged, emailed with work related stuff, but we'll see. If I do, I'll take care of it. Now I'm going to watch the girl play Princesses, and finish my coffee.
I am coming to the conclusion, that I've had it really cushy for the past 10 years. I've had positions with different companies and with this company that have been very sedentary in nature, in that I've never been tasked with a lot of travel, and the greatest responsibility has been making sure that all the IT systems were up. Not to say that IT management isn't a challenge, but it certainly hasn't been as gung-ho as the past little bit.
I'm not the customer facing technical guy for most of the installs and demos of our latest and greatest gear, and we've been targeting and getting hits from more and more customers. This means for me, that I've been on the road at least one day out of the past 3 weeks, and will be on the road the next two as well. (Yes, that means the week of Turkey Day, but I'll be back before it's time to loosen my belt)
Add to the mix, that my wife has successfully quit smoking (where I have failed) and successfully embarking on a new diet and outlook (I'm very, very proud of my sweetie!) and you have a Lehi who is very stressed, very busy, never at home, and really would like someone to pay for 2 weeks of him lying on a beach with his wife and drinking.
I've not been able to get much of anything in my personal life done, so it's probably a good thing that I've always been a slacker in that arena to begin with, but now the fact that I've got two Dungeons and Dragons games that I'm committed to every week is even becoming trying. I love playing, and don't want to give it up, but the lack of time is really frustrating. Not to mention all of the TV that I'm missing, even with the technology of DVR's.
The upside is, that this will be great for my company, and I really do love working here. The people are fantastic, the technology is exciting, and it's a good work environment. So I'm looking forward to the time when we really start to pick up and make boatloads of money, and I get a fat raise, and an assistant to take some of my workload off.
Last night, my wife and I went to see Romeo and Juliet at the Sydney Harman Center, as the first play of our season tickets, but first we went back to Jaleo.
I think that it's the steepest bill I've gotten so far there, but all of the food was wonderful, and I've started to gain a taste for aperitifs and post-dinner drinks. I started with a Fino sherry, and my sweetie had the "Aqua Valencia" which was cava, vodka, Cointreau and orange juice (quite tasty). The sherry that I had really did open up the palate and make me a bit hungrier than I already was. Then we ordered several tapas, including a really tasty ‘pintxo’ of anchovies, manzanilla olives and piparra peppers. There were two orders of the bacon wrapped dates (heavenly!), and a bottle of Volvoreta Probus (2005) Tinta de Toro, which was a fantastically complex wine that complimented everything quite well. After dinner we each had a glass of dessert wine, my wife getting Espumoso de Moscatel, which was a delicate and fruity sparkling wine, and I had the Casta Diva Muscat (2003), which was much sweeter, but went very well with the flan.
The production of Romeo and Juliet had a twist, in that they had an all male cast (like in the Olde Times ;-)), and was very well done. I do have to say though... I'm not the biggest fan of Romeo and Juliet, since I've just seen it too many times, and it's not as easy to keep me interested with it as it is with Hamlet, as an example, which I have seen just as many times.
My mom dropped the kids off at my office this morning, and my poor wife I'm sure is still upset about having to get up at 0500 with me, but that's the price for getting culture when you live out in the sticks like we do.
Let's see... Wednesday was the demo that I had been working on for the past two weeks, and it went VERY well. Better than I thought I could pull it off even, and I have a very high opinion of myself. The week before that, my wife and I saw Mike Doughty at the Birchmere (on Tuesday the 9th, the day before her birthday) and that was excellent! It had been since about 1996 since I had seen Mike Doughty live, and that was with Soul Coughing.
This past Friday, we went to see the Yard Dogs Road Show with Indigo Belly Dance at the Birchmere, and that was also excellent. Bought several CDs, and was thoroughly entertained.
Yesterday (Saturday) I went to the Maryland Renaissance Festival with my 4 year old daughter (dressed as Princess Fiona) and my niece (dressed as a horny wench). I was their pirate/rogue escort. We had a great time, but goodness, does my daughter wear me out. The final mileage for the day was 252 from Front Royal to Leesburg, to Annapolis and back. Whew!
From what EK told me over and over and over again, she enjoyed the RenFest, so I think she's got the geek genes. As for the other child... He's grounded. He's been lying a lot lately, and not getting house or schoolwork done. So, he's got 2 weeks where the only "fun" he gets to have is baseball, since I'm not going to let his irresponsibility force his team to have to forfeit games.
Tomorrow is Monday, and I'm about ready for bed. As soon as my wife beats the Special Cup in 100cc bikes in Mario Kart Wii.
Good night, internets.
Last night I had a sudden feeling if illness. It hit pretty quickly and I decided I'd take a nap before my scheduled 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons game at 8pm. I ended up passing out in my chair, only to have my wife wake me up at 9pm, at which point I stumbled upstairs, didn't set any alarms, and just crashed. I slept until 0715 this morning, which is 2 hours late for me, but I felt fine. I'm guessing my body was just telling me that I needed sleep.
On my drive into work (in much heavier traffic than normal) I tried to listen to the latest Podcastle, but couldn't get into it, so I told the trusty iPod to "shuffle all". Now, doing that on my iPod can be interesting, since my musical tastes include just about everything... Mozart and Bach, to country, to old school DC Punk, to reggae, to indie, to death metal, to hiphop. This morning though, it gave me a perfect playlist and I didn't have to skip through anything.
1) Operation Ivy - I Got No
2) The Bloodhound Gang - Your Only Friends Are Make Believe
3) Matisyahu - Dispatch the Troops
4) Danzig - How the Gods Kill
5) Prodigy - Serial Thrilla
6) Polecats - My Baby Said #2
7) Incubus - Idiot Box
8) PM Dawn - Intro
9) Paw - Last One
I didn't skip through anything, and when each song came on, it was perfect for the traffic I was in, and the mood I was in. I've never had that happen before, and it worked quite well.
Now I'm at work, and finishing up a database migration that has been giving me grief for quite a while now. I hope to get it done this week.
My son's ninth birthday is coming up at the end of the month, so we got him a present. He had been using my original iPod purchase (4 years ago, a 4GB Mini) and it finally crapped out completely, so I told him that for his ONE present, he could pick the color of a new Nano. He chose PRODUCT(red), which is fine with me. I ordered it at the end of July and had it engraved, and we gave it to him early.
Monday night, I commented to him that he needs to be more careful with it, since it's by far, the most expensive thing he's ever had (noting that the cost was more than the crappy old 13" TV, cheap DVD player and PlaystationOne combined, that he has in his room on weekends) [I think he may be a bit spoiled, now that I type that out]. He HAS been getting a lot of use out of the iPod and he loves it, but he wore out the neoprene case that I got for it, by removing the iPod over and over and over.
I found a different case that was available at the local Target in town, so I recommended to my lovely wife, that she pick that up for him on Tuesday after swimming lessons.
About 1130 on Tuesday, I get a call on my cell. It's my wife, who says, "I'm too upset right now to tell you, so I'll have the boy tell you."
"Okay, put him on." Insert *sigh* here.
Boy: "Hi, Dad."
Me: "What's up, bud?"
Boy: "I had my iPod in my pocket when I went in the pool."
Me: ...long pause... "You're kidding, right?"
Me: "I'm assuming it no longer works. Is that correct?"
Boy: "Yes, sir." and then adds in a WAY too indignant tone, "Well, isn't there a warranty on it?"
Me: somewhat peeved by the attitude, "Now is NOT the time to be asking me about a warranty. Please let me talk to your mother."
So, now it's dead, and I'm going to see if Apple will replace it. The boy and I had a long talk yesterday about carelessness, and whatnot. I'm still not very pleased.
Someone remind me later to properly blog about NYC this past weekend. For now, I'm buried underneath DB migration and bugs.
Last night on my way home, shortly after turning onto VA-234, the passenger rear tire on my trusty Subaru blew out (nothing too violent, but I had to get off the road pretty quick). I made NASCAR like time in changing it (under 10 minutes, judging by the timing of calls to my wife in my call log) and that includes getting the piles of crap out of the cargo area of my car to get AT the spare.
I called SWMBO then, to have her look up a nearby NTB, and thought, "Wait a second! This Garmin Nuvi has information like that in it!" I looked up auto repair near my position, and scrolled down until I found an NTB, and lo-and-behold, one 6 miles, on the same road, in Manassas. I thanked my wife for her valiant efforts, and headed east to get new rubber.
Since we are going to NYC this weekend in the 'ru, and that's gonna be a long trip, I turned down the free "road hazard warranty repair" of plugging the tire, and got two new skins for the rear of the car, and a precision balance (since I'm not a fan of vibration over 70MPH) Within 40 minutes of arriving, I was outta there and on the way home. (The Nuvi did give me some bogus directions that I ignored until it figured it out, but that's okay... I'll forgive poor Karen. She's from the other side of the planet.)
Check out my twitter or brightkite feeds tomorrow to track our progress to the Big Apple ;-)
Two weeks ago, I ordered myself a GPS system. More specifically, I picked the Garmin Nuvi 350, which is NOT a traditional GPS, but a Personal Navigation System. I was mildly disappointed that it did not support the saving or dumping of raw GPS data. After playing with it, and figuring out the basic hacks for it within a few days (I was fully up on it by Thursday, got it on Tuesday) I acquired a "straight GPS" from my buddy Erik. The second device is a Delorme Earthmate USB. This thing is great, and like many devices, has better support in Linux than it does in Windoze.
I got GPSDrive working, talking to gpsd, along with a horribly written BASH script that I fat fingered and failed me this morning. Here's the corrected one:
# author: Me!
# last updated: Mon Jul 07 07:19:56 EDT
# abstract: Polls gpsd and sends results to brightkits
# this script is NOT pretty, but it's commented
# start gpsd as root
sudo gpsd -n /dev/ttyUSB0
# create directory for this run's data and define files
# poll gpsd every $INTERVAL minutes
# my shitty while loop
while [ $X -eq "1" ]
# poll gpsd with netcat and output to the nmea dump file
echo r | nc -i 3 localhost 2947 >> $GPSDUMPFILE
# convert the nmea data to simpler gpsdrive data
gpsbabel -i nmea -f $GPSDUMPFILE -o gpsdrive -F $GPSDRIVEFILE
# sample most recent result
CURRENTRESULT=`tail -1 $GPSDRIVEFILE`
# for debugging, echo the result to the terminal and read the result
# with festival
echo '(SayText "Uploading current location to bright kite dot com '$CURRENTRESULT'")' | festival --pipe
# create the file that will be mailed
echo "@ $CURRENTRESULT" > $RSLTFILE
# mail the file with mutt (keep in mind that your .muttrc will be
# used for this
mutt -b firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com < $RSLTFILE
# i know... bash can do this, but i used bc :-P
sleep `echo "$INTERVAL * 60" | bc -l `
# the script is just killed by a C-c
I know, it's not pretty at all, but it works (I think... I only missed the "@" symbol last night in the $RSLTFILE, but I was tired.
Check my twitter and brightkite feeds around 1600 today, and it should be working :-)
We're in the process of moving our Maryland facilities from one space to another. The phones are moving today, so I'm in Maryland supervising that, and the installation of the Internet connection.
I just watched it take 3 engineers, and 4 others 15 minutes to move an oversized desk through a too small door. Very, very entertaining.
Now, as soon as the Phone Company gets all the lines moved properly, I can start wiring that.
I'm a consumer. I like to buy stuff. Sometimes, I consume more than I need (okay, I do that a lot). As a consumer, I'm more excited about getting treated well as a customer, than I am on getting that "killer deal".
I ordered three items today from two different merchants, neither of which I had done business with previously. My dad's 79th birthday is Saturday, and a few weeks ago, he mentioned that he has been searching for a while for a long-sleeved guayabera shirt. My dad has been a fan of the guayabera since he first visited the Philippines, and saw them worn at formal events. I gotta say, I'm a big fan of being able to dress comfortably and formally; that's seldom possible in Western culture. So when he mentioned this, I pulled out my laptop, did a google search for "long sleeve guayabera" and immediately found a long-sleeved, linen, guayabera at CubanFoodMarket.com. He was of course very upset that it took me so little time to find it, but then conceded that I do, in fact, have mad google-fu skillz (my words, not his). I placed an order this morning around 0700 EDT for that, and a sweet "leisure" shirt for myself.
You're thinking... slacker! This isn't interesting! When are you going to tell us about the good customer service?! Don't worry, I'm getting to that.
I then realized that I was going to need a good hat for the summer. I have plenty of hats, as my wife will attest to. I may possibly have too many hats, but I don't really think such a thing is possible.
I've always liked flatcaps but there is always the problem of how to search for them, since they go by 30 different names. This took my google-fu to the limit, but I finally found the Cavanaugh/Stetson Plaid Linen Ivy Cap that both my wife and I agreed was a good one. So I placed an order for that.
When I checked my email after lunch, I had received one from Falkoffs.com, from the VP of Internet Sales, no less (I know, it sounds lame, but an actual human wrote to inform me that my order was on it's way, and gave me the tracking number)
Hi Lehi,Thank you for your order. Your Cavanaugh Cap will ship today via FedEx. Your tracking number is xxxxxxxxxxxx. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me via email or phone 800-xxx-xxxx. We appreciate your business and hope to serve you in the future.Thank you,Xxxx Xxxx V.P. Internet Sales
How often do you get an email like that when you order online? So that brightened me up a bit. Then, since I'm a slacker, and waited too long to order my Dad's birthday present (his birthday is Saturday), I had the guayabera and leisure shirt shipped overnight. I sent an email to cubanfoodmarket.com asking if it would ship today, and within 30 minutes got a phone call from Maria letting me know that my shirt out of the order was out of stock in my size. She cheerfully offered another shirt to me (which I think will be a great party shirt) and said the Dad's shirt will ship today and be here tomorrow, my shirt will ship tomorrow (I opted for ground shipping on that, and she threw that in for free) and I'm apparently getting a little something else with my shirt that she assures me I'll like.
THAT is what I'm talking about. The first thing I did after talking to Maria was to tell a co-worker what happened. He's the VP of Sales for my company, and his first comment was, "That's what will make you come back. They treated you right, and the first thing you did was tell someone about it." And now I'm telling the Internet.
Bravo to CubanFoodMarket.com and Falkoffs.com for reinforcing my faith in online retailers!
I think I tried to hard on that subject line.
Anyone who uses twitter knows that they've had technical difficulties lately. This is fine with me, since I don't pay for the service, and I can't even begin to fathom how large their database infrastructure must be to handle the traffic they handle. Anyway, the XMPP/IM service into twitter has been down for a few days, and that was my primary way of using twitter, since I can't keep up on my phone, and don't have the patience for reloading the webpage constantly.
@zen_jewitch recommended that I try twhirl. Officially, Adobe AIR, doesn't have Linux support, but they DO have an alpha release, and it seems to work just fine.
The AIR installation went smoothly on both Fedora 5 and Fedora 8. The thwirl installation was even easier, since AIR handled it, and it also put everything neatly into /opt, which pleases me.
So, what do I think of twhirl? I like it. It's not taking up too many cycles on my old hardware (2x 800Mhz Coppermines on my Fedora 5 workstation), and it's pretty handy as far as organizing twitter information goes. The only g-glitch that I've noticed, is that it picks up my keyboard shortcuts I use to switch from desktop-to-desktop in Gnome. I use C-M-left and C-M-right a lot to get around, and C-left and C-right affect which pane is active in thwirl. If there's a way to disable or configure this, I'd love to know it. ;-)
I have nothing really bad to say about it. I do miss my XMPP connectivity, though.