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(02/28/11 - 7:59 PM)
I had no idea there was video of this, or I would have posted it sooner:
(02/27/11 - 10:48 AM)
I finally broke up the blog by month for the first time since October. It was long overdue, and I'm glad it's done, so I have one less thing niggling at me.
I wrapped up converting the newest additions to the media library this morning, after yet another week of frantic computer-hopping.
I indulged in a couple of bottles of good wine last night, as Wanda was out visiting a friend. I just watched some television from the DVR, and enjoyed the fact that my evening was full of nothing scheduled.
Today, I intend to get back to Tim Dorsey's latest, Electric Barracuda and hopefully finish it because - while awesome - I have other top-notch books I'm dying to feast upon.
(02/26/11 - 4:25 PM)
Went to Madison today to get the oil changed. Apparently, the service manager neglected to put our appointment on the books. Luckily, the guy who helped us has seen us so often we've become aquaintences and he handled the whole thing marvelously.
Since we had a bit more time than usual to wait, Wanda and I decided to walk the half-mile or so to the used book store. What I failed to realize was that it was all of 17° outside. It wouldn't have been so bad, but the wind was up, and I had only worn a windbreaker.
Halfway there, it became clear that it was probably not the best idea, but by that point we were committed to the task.
Let me tell you: a heated store never felt so good.
After poking around for about a half-hour it became disappointingly clear that there was nothing in stock that needed buying, so we walked away empty-handed.
The walk back was far better, as the wind had died down somewhat and, was now at our backs.
We walked into the service bay as our vehicle was being returned, so it timed out perfectly.
We elected to go to lunch at an Italian restaurant in our neck of the woods that we hadn't been to in a while. When we arrived, however, we found that it was no longer in business. Which was shocking, because the food was amazing.
We tried another restaurant we had not been to a short distance from there and - once more - found it closed. Now hungry and frustrated, we found a third restaurant in the same shopping center that had been there forever that we had also not been to before.
Turns out, it was a pretty good lunch in the end. Although, I probably would have eaten a manhole cover I was so hungry.
(02/25/11 - 5:22 PM)
Oh, my gosh, am I happy that it's Friday. This week saw a massive influx of work, which was great. It also saw the departure of two employees - one who was a good guy that just wasn't a good fit who I will miss, and the other who was something of a pain in my rear who I will not.
It also sees the re-hiring of an individual who quit a number of years ago. I was most displeased with the way things went down on that front, but the years have taught me that forgiveness and personal growth can sometimes be just the cure for a situation such as that.
So we now have a top-notch, highly skilled, operator once more in our employ. And I hope that those years apart - for both of us - have been growth opportunities that we can reap the rewards of now.
Time will tell.
Next week looks to hold more of the same, so overtime is - once more - more than likely on my horizon. It's amazing how quickly I re-adapted to the 50+ hour weeks. And more amazing how much I missed them.
I never would have imagined.
(02/24/11 - 6:23 PM)
Someone in our parking lot at work today had left their lights on. I was told by another employee, and set about finding out whose lights had been left in this state.
The only other pieces of information that I had was the color of the vehicle, and the fact that it was a truck.
Being a red truck, I went straight to Mr. Phillips Screwdriver who owns his own fleet of some six vehicles, including a red truck.
I asked him, "Mr. P.S., did you drive your red truck to work today?"
"Why?" was his response.
"There's one in the lot with its lights on, and I thought it might be yours."
Simple enough, right? NOPE! Here's the kicker:
"Well, what year is it?" he asks.
I am stupefied. "Did you, or did you not, drive your red truck to work today?" I ask once more.
"No," comes the response.
Which, ultimately, begs the question: What does the year of the truck, then, have to do with anything? And - AND - how in the hell would I know what year it was?
(02/23/11 - 7:18 PM)
Finished off Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child's latest novel, "Fever Dream", and was... satisfied.
My biggest gripe with this novel was the nearly absurd, fantastical way that the protagonists 'lucked out' when things seemed their bleakest, while other, less important characters just met unfortunate ends.
I kind of felt like they could have backed off on the improbability a little and still written a tight book - perhaps even tighter.
(02/21/11 - 7:20 PM)
The insanity of this just speaks for itself:
(02/20/11 - 9:52 AM)
For those of you paying attention, I've done you a grave injustice: I went more than a week incommunicado. My back this past week was the worst it has been since the inception of everything way back when. I even missed a day of work, which is pretty much unheard of.
All things being equal, I'm glad to tell you that I can now move again as though it had never happened. That's the good news. The bad news is that I have now been referred to a specialist for 'pain management' which, to me, loosely translates to, "Get used to living with this.".
Which pretty much sucks all around.
The new snail is growing as though she's radio-active, and she's moving about as though she owns the place finally. We were all waiting for her to come out of her shell >slap knee<.
Work has been insane with a capital 'I'. We've got so much going on that I dare say that this will be a full-tilt year all around. We've already got orders striped through the year and into December. That's never happened before.
The snow is now all but melted, and I'm finally allowing myself the realization that spring is - in fact - in the air. Now it just needs to get here.
Two books of note are arriving this week, and I'm super-pumped about both of them: Patrick Rothfuss' two-year-overdue sequel to "The Name Of The Wind", "The Wise Man's Fear" has finally arrived and I, for one, can't wait to demolish it.
Also on tap is the latest offering by a writer whom I believe will go down in history as one of the pinnacle greats - among Tolkien, even. Joe Abercrombie's "The Heroes" hit stores, and I was fortunate enough to - once again - get a signed and lined British first to add to my collection (a very valuable collection, it turns out, since I got on the bus with book 1). Another book I cannot wait to savor every page of.
Not to be forgotten is the new offering from one of my top-five favorite authors, Tim Dorsey. His new book, "Electric Barraccuda". Serge Storms (our main protagonist, and antagonist - all in one) is back, and I've got to say the world would be a sadder place without his antics.
So, a big week for new books. I'm still working my way through Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child's recent offering, "Fever Dream" and intend to finish it this afternoon. It's a Pendergast novel, to be sure, and while I wasn't thrilled by the premise, by page 280 I was so sucked in I couldn't put the damn thing down. I should have known better than to doubt them both, as they always surprise and delight. Did I mention that they're also in my top-five authors? I'm pretty sure I did...
Wanda's best friend in high school re-connected with her last night in the flesh for the first time in over a decade. It's amazing to see how much time changes individuals. Specifically, Wanda, who has changed 180° and is such a different person than I remember her being way back then. I'm so damn proud of her. I truly am.
It was nice for her to be there for her friend in her time of need - I won't go into specifics - and it was nice for her to re-kindle old memories and times. They talked for hours while I devoured a book and some good scotch, and a good evening was had by all.
Did I mention I like a small glass of good scotch while reading? It's become something of a little treat to enhance the whole amazing experience. And if you've never considered it, I suggest that you do. Just make sure that it's GOOD scotch: That's important.
I spent a good deal of yesterday morning adding my 'new additions' to the media library. Specifically, I got some great deals on some long-forgotten television series. Suffice it to say, I won't be done with the conversions for about another week, but it's worth it for good television.
The new internet continues to agressively make its' presence known. We can beat it mercilessly, and it still fails to disappoint. I'm so glad that I made the change. It's a 180° from where we were.
The VoIP phones have now been figured out, and the only major complaint that I have is that bilateral communication seemes to have a couple milliseconds of lag, making for some awkward moments of talking over one another. The upside is that I've gotten used to working around it, and I'm still not paying $50.00+ a month for something that I rarely use. So I really can't complain.
Wanda sent me this link the other day: The Oatmeal: Cat Vs. Internet. Amazingly, it summed up purr-fectly most mornings around here for me. Check it out - especially if you have a cat.
Oh! I also saw a commercial for one of the major satellite providers offering, "...more than 6,000 on-demand programs!"
I have more than 8,500. So, I'm even ahead of the national competitors. Suck a lemon, fellas. =P
I watched a great movie while I was laid up called, "The Corporation". It's a Canadian documentary and it's AMAZING. And - AND - It's also FREE to watch at the link I've posted. I STRONGLY urge you to check it out. It's well done, and insightful and interesting. Feel free to browse the rest of the site at The Archive. I've been adding to the media library from the Public Domain films and television, and I've found some old gems there. I love a good old movie - and especially a free one. Check it out - you won't be disapponted!
(02/06/11 - 9:22 AM)
It is done.
I have, over the past 2 1/2 years, been converting our entire DVD library to iPod™ format. Yesterday, I finished the last episode, on the last disc, of the last season. Literally thousands of hours have been spent in this insane endeavor. I have no Earthly idea why I committed so much time to such a project. In hindsight, I never dreamed it would take this long, or become so engrained in my day to day life.
For example: in between doing day to day things, I would pop back into the office to get the next episode converting. It became an inherent part of my day to day, multi-tasking, life. So much so that I found myself last night, on numerous occasions, making my way to the office as I went about my evening, only to have to remind myself that I don't need to do that anymore.
The payoff, in the end, is astounding: 1,017 movies and more than 6,600 television episodes all cataloged, tagged, and stored redundantly, available for immediate playback anywhere in my home at any time thanks to the network I have in place.
It's... astounding. I'm really not going to play down the awesomeness of the result. It's phenomenal.
So, what do I have to look forward to now? Now, I intend to go back to reading voraciously, blogging more dilligently, and working on my writing much, much more.
I look forward to it, and yet - on some bizarre levels - I feel like I'm parting ways with an old friend. I've still got work to do in the library - specifically on the older albums from the original rips some 12 years ago - but it certainly won't be the same.
This week, we had a new internet provider do an install. We now have VOIP phones, and blazing fast internet. All with a cumulative bill that is half of what we were paying for both services separately. I'm sure we'll find something to do with that $1,080.00 a year savings.
Wednesday marked a lovely blizzard, but it also marked the first time I could REALLY put the new snowblower to the test. And it was AWESOME. And I don't use that word lightly.
It did not stop. It did not slow. Even when it was carving through snow that was six inches higher than the top of itself, it just burrowed in and kept throwing.
It took me twenty-seven minutes to clear the whole mess from my driveway - including the over-plow from the street. I didn't think too much of it until my father, who has a two-stage, said his driveway (of the same size) took more than 90 minutes.
I watched as my neighbor's snow blower died more than it worked, no match for the heavy, deep, snow. I went over to help him out, and in the end he just got out of the way and let me finish when his blower made it clear that it just couldn't handle the load.
I only mention this because this old gentleman was dumbfounded, with a look of child-like whimsy, by the performance of this machine. He was literally fascinated. It was the final testament to the quality of the machine that I had purchased to save my back from just such a snowfall as this.
Even my Dad ordered one the next day, and I suspect that my neighbor either did - or is going to - based on his pumping me for information.
So, the word AWESOME definately applies in this case. Want one? Here's the link: Toro™ PowerClear™ 221QE.
When I finally arrived at work, there were only two other intrepid souls there. One being my Boss, who wouldn't miss coming to work even if he was dead. The roads, in places, were up to the bumper of the Subaru™, which made it a little slow going. But, as per usual, my car performed like a champ. This is only one of the reasons I am such a staunch supporter of the product put out by the good folks at Subaru™.
Buy one. Seriously.
As mentioned before, my Boss was back in the shop this week. And, God love him, wasted no time disturbing my calm waters of managerial flow. It's become clear that my management, when uninhibited, gets the job done with lots of learning on the fly. Conversely, when he's there, it becomes irritating and convoluted. I don't mean to say that he's that way, I'm speaking directly to my managerial flow of decisions and input. It's just harder when he's there hours that I am not, or sees things I've already got in the works, and intercedes when I was not prepared for anyone to do so based on the course of action I already had in place.
I haven't decided what I'm going to do today just yet. I really want to write, but I think I may postpone that until Saturday, given the amount of time it will take me to re-absorb five threads of story in their current state. That's the only bad part about writing threads that bind together at the end - it can be confusing.
My back has been acting up quite a lot this week. As time progresses, I am beginning to think that I have not one - but two - distinct problems. Specifically, I have a weak right-lumbar region, AND something is wrong in my hip area. The back is on and off, but the hip area is a constant. I never would have known, initially, if my back hadn't gotten progressively better (and I use that term loosely.)
We'll see what happens.
Yesterday also marked another 'ending' of note around here, in that Wanda and I finished the last episode of the 9 seasons of "The X-Files". And say what you will, but that show was one of the single best pieces of television - start to finish - that I have EVER seen. It held your interest, varied all over the place, and kept you coming back for more. It's taken nearly three months to watch it, and yet I still crave more. That's good television.
Oh, and it's also SuperBowl Sunday. Pffft. Don't care either? Click HERE.
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