Click for the Philips eXpanium info.

Here you will find a repository of useless information about my daily personal life. Anything of general public interest would be found on The main NextTime page.

I'm only writing this because I lack the time, inclination, and probably the social grace to actually talk to people. I am really not as much of loser as that makes me sound, but it's just easier to write these things down when I have the chance instead of trying to tell everyone I know.

01 Feb 01
Well, I haven't sold the Eagle yet, but we're just about ready to pick up the new car. It's a 1999 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport. I guess it was the only logical choice after driving the Eagle for years and years.
So what is it? It's an AWD compact wagon, 2.2L 4cyl boxer engine (oooh), 5 spd manual, 4 wheel ABS disc, cruise, power windows, locks, mirrors, and factory anti-theft. Last I saw it (about three hours ago) it had the ski racks mounted, and the bike racks in a box in the back.
I just handed the dealer the largest amount of money I've ever held in my hands, so I guess it's mine. With any luck, I can go there after work tomorrow and it will be waiting with fresh plates and two sets of keys, ready to drive away...to a nearby inspection station so I can keep my insurance from being cancelled.
26 Jan 01
I hate to say it, but my car is for sale. I'm going to miss it
23 Jan 01
My fate is to be announced late this afternoon. I finally got the semi-official word yesterday that the assignment is to be cancelled. It wasn't quite last minute, they still had nine days to go.
By this evening I shall know what is to become of me. It should be interesting since I also hear the rumors that filter down from the command chain. Appearantly someone is paranoid about my position of relative power over the IT equipment in the offices. I don't know if I should feel honored that my level of access is considered critical enough to be a vulnerability, or be completely crushed by the fact that someone important thinks I would be agressively destructive against the people I work with.
Maybe I should be more worried about the fact that this implies that something bad is about to happen. Maybe I will hear something this afternoon that they expect to drive me to destructive behavior. Hell, maybe they're planning and hoping for it.
Ok, now I'm being paranoid.
We'll see what happens. I doubt their ability to get that far under my skin. What do they think would bring me to damage or destroy that which I have worked so hard to build? I do have some pride in my work, and respect for the people I work with.
16 Jan 01
Well, here I am, mere weeks from my projected departure. With half the base being sent to Korea I'm almost looking forward to it. I still don't have orders, or flight reservations, or even a solid departure date, so it's looking a little hazy at the moment.
It's also looking hazy since I've been waiting almost three weeks for an answer on whether I'm even eligible to move on. My last weigh in didn't go well, in fact it was far worse than I expected. With the holiday parties and the general running around, I would have expected to put on a few pounds. As it was, I did put on a FEW pounds, and also (accoring to the wonderful USAF system) 3% body fat. I would find that surprising in an ideal world, but the simple truth is that I doubt the accuracy of any of the measurements.
No, I'm not saying that I didn't put any weight or fat on, or that the most recent measurement was wrong. Instead I'm saying that the measurements before that may have been too low, and I had never actually lost as much as they thought.
That's unimportant right now. What's important right now is that I'm looking at the lovely chart provided to me when this whole ordeal began. It tells me that for each unsatisfactory progress period, a progressively harsher action should be taken, and that at the fourth and subsequent periods separation is considered.
I'm looking at this and wondering why I haven't heard a decision on my fate yet. If this were the first, or even second unsat, I could understand the deliberation. I could understand the desire of the commanders involved to take the "best" course of action by making a well planned decision. However, it's clear to me at least that the AF has no desire to reassign or even retain people this far along in the program.
I'll go along with whatever happens, but I wish it would happen soon. At this point I don't know If I should be packing my stuff, packing up the whole house, or buying new chevrons with a couple fewer stripes.
What? Cutting someone's pay because they're overweight? Even if they can do any task assigned to them? Isn't that descrimination?
YES
18 Dec 00
Whee! Another night of drunken foolishness. That seems to be about every night I spend at the neighbor's house. At least this time we had an excuse. She is also tagged for a transfer to Korea, so we just HAD to have a going away party. I just have to wonder how much of the 40 gallons of beer is left.
This of course, led to a generally unproductive weekend. The down side is that I have now strengthened my theory that procrastination is the best way to get things done. With almost half a semester of projects and a take home final to finish before Monday at 1100, I should NOT have been abusing my liver until 0400 Sunday morning. Somehow though, I've just managed to turn in the final, and my somewhat muddled rendition of the projects, and squeak by with an A. Damn I'm good.
Two down, one to go. A five page PERL final by Saturday night? Why not?
05 Dec 00 (Just Barely)
And what am I going to complain about now?
A quick check has confirmed that the domain 'bitchandmoan.com' is already taken. Damn. That seemed like a perfect place to move this waste dump to.
Why are you reading this, and better yet, why am I writing it? Right now I'm escaping from doing an assignment that's due in approximately 23.5 hours. It's going to be really easy, I just have to actually start it.
I'm considering calling it a night (morning?) and actually waking up at a reasonable time. With all of the ranting I've been doing I can't really concentrate any more. I feel the need to spit 'n' polish my resumé, but the crushing uncertainty of what will happen to me in the next few months is preventing me from justifying the time to do it. Maybe if I knew that some powerful company would sweep in and say, "We want him, and we're taking him." to the AF, I'd go ahead and finish it. Unfortunately so-called 'hardship' separations (where the service lets you go simply because you've found more money) don't really happen any more. I wish they did, since it would be trivial to show that I could be making easily twice what I do now, and possibly more. It's not that I think I'm that good, I'm just that underpaid right now.
Maybe someone knows a secret that I don't? Please, tell me.
04 Dec 00 (Barely)
Yes, I DO have better things to do. Don't you?
Now comes the time when I bitch about the state my life is in. You can tell it's really started to suck since I haven't written anything in quite a while. Sometime on or about 19 Oct I got the honor of signing another assignment notice. Oddly enough this one looked a lot like the last one. 51st Communications Sq., Osan AB, S. Korea. Reporting No Later Than 10 Feb 2001, projected departure 01 Feb 2001. Yippie.
I didn't honestly expect this one to last. With my progress (or lack thereof) in the Weight Management Program I expected to be working for a completely different employer by now. Instead, I've been gathering some interesting research data on the Gulick BFM system and I'm considering writing a paper about it.
It would seem at this point that strength building exercise is the absoloute worst thing one can do when on a monthly monitoring system based on circumference differential. The best course of action, and the one that has led me back to "Air Force standards for men my age" is to eat anything that is available, but no more than is necessary to remain alive and let stress be your only exercise.
These conclusions are based on the facts that: Now, remembering that this is speculation, I have a theory. A great deal of my weight training involves strengthening of the lower torso. I work my abs and lumbar area hard in order to move heavy equipment safely and partcipate in Tae Kwon Do. I do not specifically work my neck muscles. I used to, but I feel that it causes more problems than it solves. This leads to a situation where body fat is burned off, making the overall fat pad thinner, even on the neck. This will reduce the neck measurement for the BFM. The torso strengthening will, in some cases, make up for the difference through enlargement of the muscles at the waist line. The end result is that the difference between the circumferences, which is a linear translation to a body fat level, will stay the same or increase for some time during this type of training.
If the training is suddenly discontinued, the body will begin to redeposit fat as the muscles break down to a less active level. Since the muscles in the neck probably hadn't gained much, they would stay about the same. The abdominal muscles, on the other hand, would likely shrink rapidly upon return to a sedentary lifestyle. The end result is that the neck will become larger, while in the short term the waist will maintain size, at least until the muscles reach a state of equilibrium. This will cause a decrease in the circumference differential, and therefore in measured body fat.
So that's where I stand. I have now backed myself into an even more uncomfortable corner since it's a lose-lose proposition. If I don't resume my exercise routines, my fat gains will eventually catch up to my muscle loss and the measurements will rightfully increase. If I DO begin weight training again, I'll be back where I was this summer with a shrinking neck and growing waist.
However, sense has prevailed and I've realized there is only one option. I'm working out for my own benefit and that's the way it is. I will almost definately fail the next weigh-in, but what will be the response of my superiors? "Stop exercising!" I don't think so. Screw 'em. This is the way I am, and I'm prepared to deal with whatever that gets me.
And that brings us (or me, at least) back to Korea. Shortly after the assignment was handed to me, it was changed ever so slightly. Now it appears that I'm expected to serve in the 607th Combat Communications Sq at an Army installation just outside of Seoul. It's somewhat ironic that my physical conditioning may cause me to be disqualified from this assignment based on my physical condition.
Have I mentioned that I think it's time for the AF to look for a different BFM system?
04 Dec 00
It's not that nothing's going on in my life, I'm just really lazy.
Right now I'm taking a bit of a break from not doing the latest PERL assignment, or not working on the Shell Scripting final, to once again spout useless info in the direction of anyone who might care to hear.
First, while cursing my own laziness for not having a log analyzer installed, I'm going to see if ANYONE reads this drivel...
Hmmm, working backwards I see:
  1. One hit from the Caribbean after performing a Google search for 'expanium'. Wow, keywords do work. I guess that also means I'll see hits from Google's spider.
  2. Here's another Google/eXpanium hit from snet.
  3. Neat! Someone came here from a Google search for "life is pointless". That may or may not be true, but that just made my day. That's worth something, isn't it?
  4. A hit from an AltaVista machine with no refURL and an agent id of "TV35_Mercator_7-1.0". Must be a spider.
  5. Someone from Japan is looking to buy an eXpanium, and he/she is using Google as well.
  6. Another one from Japan. No refURL on this one. Did someone visit earlier and actually BOOKMARK this page?!
  7. A visitor from U. Calgary dropped in from my main page.
  8. Ah, it was most recently on 23 Nov that Googlebot stopped by.
  9. Webtop? That's one I hadn't heard of.
  10. Another eXpanium search. Maybe I should write a full review and put up some ad banners or something. I'm getting like, one or two hits a week on that thing.
  11. A MindSpring dialup. I think I KNOW who that was. I won't tell, though.
  12. Here's an AOLer browsing in from the main site.
  13. Someone on ResNet at GA Tech is looking for an eXpanium.
  14. Yet another eXpanium hit. This one through Metacrawler from the UK.
  15. Heh. A search FOR pointless crap, and it found me.
  16. Northern Light spidered me.
  17. Two more Google searches for the eXpanium.
Since my eyes are starting to hurt, I'll stop there. It would seem that my most common hit is on the eXpanium, followed distantly by idle curiosity. I'll throw some more useful eXpanium content at the top for those who are searching for it.
20 Sep 00
Rant, rant, rant. Maybe some day I'll say something nice.
This one just pissed me off. I was headed home for lunch and ended up behind someone who just couldn't interrupt his phone call to drive the five minutes or less from his office to his house. That's kind of a pet peeve for me. I try to avoid using the phone while driving, and when I do I use a headset. People around here are crazy enough as it is without further distractions. Besides, it's illegal to use a cell phone while driving on base.
That's not the point, though. As we approached housing, I noticed some kids crossing the street right behind me. Judging by the nasty look from the guy waiting in the other lane, I had driven right by them while they were waiting at the crosswalk. The base is the kind of place where pedestrians rule and you generally let someone cross unless you're driving an ambulance or fire truck. Besides, again, it's the law around here. I truly felt bad about it.
It occured to me that the car in front of me (Mr. I'm an officer and my business it too important to end this phone call and keep my eyes on the road) must have done the same thing. That fact was confirmed at the next intersection. At that point we're in the housing area with a 15 MPH speed limit and kids all over the place. I'm the third car at a stop sign and I can see a small group starting to cross on the other side of the intersection. Then I hear a horn from the car in front of me. With my window open I could also hear the guy yell something. The best part was this shithead leaning out of his window to yell and gesture at the car in front of him. At that point it all made sense. By getting half of his upper body out of the window everyone could see the shiny silver eagle on his shoulder.
Yup, this was one of Hanscom's finest, a Colonel. This is someone who might be in charge of a high profile program or in command of an entire unit. This bonehead is one step away from General. This is someone who obviously is too important to spare 30 seconds to let some kids cross a street safely, yet probably has several children of his own. This is a leader, a mentor, and a role model. This is the reason I want so much to have nothing more to do with these people.
14 Sep 00
Customer service?
That's three times today that I've been simply astonished by the level of service one can get these days. The first one was a friendly call to New England Telephone/Nynex/Bell Atlantic/Verizon. More than a month ago I requested to have the primary number on a two line account disconnected and the second number billed separately. The reason is a long story, but that's the way it had to be. Well, last month I got not one, but TWO bills from BA. One was for the old primary, with the second number having been pulled off a day after I called. The other was for the old second line as a "new" account. That was fine, and I figured that the bill for the old number would be the last I saw, and I'd just continue getting the bills for the remaining line. WRONG. I got another pair of bills this month, charging me for BOTH lines.
So I call and explain to the semi-automated attendant (sometimes it's hard to tell) that I wanted the primary number DISCONNECTED, not just split back onto a separate bill. His response was to tell me that there was no note about that in the account, and that they can't have gone into the account without leaving a note. He would be happy to disconnect the line now and stop the billing as of the last statement. Well, since I had already PAID for a month of unused service (and unusable, seeing as I pulled the jack for that line out a month ago), that wouldn't cut it. After going over my entire account history and convincing him that at least I thought I said disconnected the first time, he got me a refund for the previous month also. Yet, even as he was thanking me for being a Verizon customer (like I have a REAL choice) I could hear the tone in his voice that said, "Liar, liar!"
Shortly after, that is after stepping out of my office for about twenty minutes, I found that our bottled water had been delivered. That's good, since the empties had been piling pretty deep. However, one might assume that with two coolers in separate rooms, each with its own stock of full bottles and herd of spend ones, that one would replace the empties in each room with an equal number of full ones. One MIGHT assume that. Or one might assume that you'd take all but one of the empty bottles and leave an equal number of full ones in the room closest the door.
Now, this room is big, but it's also FULL of equipment, and is set up to nicely store about five water bottles, total, along the side of the cooler. I was not happy to ONCE AGAIN find eight full bottles in the middle of the floor, in addition the the two still in their proper spots. Especially since they weigh about forty pounds each, and can only be carried one at a time through our wonderful doorways. Oh well, it's not a gym day for me, so I've got to get the exercise somehow.
And then, (I said three times, remember?) there was the little trip to a well known coffee chain. Let's call them...Dunkin' Nasty Grease Bombs, just to avoid pointing fingers. I had that craving, so I decided to treat myself, badly. I wait for my turn, step to the counter, and say, like a mantra, "Large iced hazelnut. Cream and sugar." The giggle factory behind the counter sets to locating a large cup, while chatting to a coworker in a language that I might have understood had I not dropped out of my fifth year of high school spanish. She then turns to me with, "Cream and sugar?" My answer was appropriately something affirmative as she began the process of filling the bottom quarter of the cup with a nice cream/sugar paste, again while going on about what I'm sure was anything but the item in her hand. The next question was just as predictable. "What flavor?" I controlled myself and simply restated my preference. At least it came out well, and I can honestly believe that she had no IDEA why I might have been upset. Maybe NextTime I'll just go in, grunt in the direction of the iced coffee dispenser, and wait for the cheerful voice prompts to make my selection.
12 Sep 00
And another thing... (I'm just being prolific today, aren't I?)
I'm now one week away from another poking and prodding to see if I'm conforming nicely to the mold the AF wants me in. If I fail this one, chances are I get to find a new job AND a new home in the generous time span of two weeks. Now that's two weeks of work, mind you. It's not like I get any time off to try to find an apartment for under $1500/mo AND a job to pay for it.
I think in the long run I'd be better off getting the hell out. As it is I'm coming home every day to do not a whole lot of anything. If this keeps up I'll be comatose by mid-fall. It would seem strange to call it job related, but I'm ususally cheerful and productive when work is going well. Maybe I need to find a job where there's actually a separation between work and home. Something where I'm NOT more likely to run into my supervisor in my front yard than at work.

12 Sep 00
Bored, bored, bored. Actually, I don't know if it's boredom or depression. It's such a fine line. I'm just having one of those months where I wouldn't even bother going to work if the penalty wasn't swift arrest and incarceration. That's sad. Some people actually get to enjoy their jobs.
As if the uncertainty of not knowing whether I'll be around in a month isn't bad enough, I just don't have any direction right now. Sure, there's work to be done. There's LOTS of work to be done. I just don't know who to work for at the moment. I've got my original job of maintaining the Sun systems, but that's gotten pretty pointless since all but three people stopped using them. I mean, there's plenty I can do on that front, but to what end? I could work one of the projects in the Intrusion Detection lab, but these people were never in charge of me, so I can't count on getting credit for working there. I'm not too sure what the point is of doing any work here is anyway. I can't even tell if we're doing any work with the test network any more.
Then there's my "official" job. Offically I should be sitting in the same building as my assigned supervisor. That's great, except that the computer they provided me there is just about fast enough to read a single e-mail every 2-3 minutes. I'm simply amazed at how the boneheaded mandates from above can take something as simple as reading mail and make it require more processing power than my server at home has.
It's not just the computer though. It's also the fact that most of that job is sitting around waiting for "permission" to go to my REAL office and do the work I've been doing all along. So my dilemma is whether I should kill a couple of hours each day making my superiors happy, spend the extra few hours working to make my coworkers happy, or just spend a few extra hours in bed since it's all wasted effort anyway.
And that's just about the point I'm at right now. Like I said, if I didn't KNOW it would be ugly, I'd just skip it entirely. I work on salary, which means I get paid with job satisfaction. Looks like I'm not getting a bonus this year.
23 Aug 00
Ooooh! Another toy!
It's here! It's here! I was poking around on a few websites last night and came across the fact that the Philips eXpanium is finally in stores. I've been waiting for something like this for almost two years now. Of course I ran out to the nearest Circuit City that had them and bought one...at about nine last night.
In case you don't know and don't want to visit their site, the eXpanium is a CD-based MP3 player. I never bought into those cheezy flash memory portables since all of my music (and I mean every disc I own plus about 1GB of downloaded stuff) is at 128kbps+. The 32MB that most of the RAM players have just doesn't cut it compared to the 650MB+ that a CD holds. That, and I don't have to resample stuff to play it on the eXpanium. I just dump as much as I can on a CDRW and the unit understands it.
As opposed to the other MP3-CD players I've seen, this one will read CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, multisession, unclosed discs. It supports Joliet extensions for long file names, multiple directory levels, and (I think) up to 1000 tracks per disc. It can deal with VBR, which is good since that's what I've encoded my discs with.
Basically, I have one complaint. It doesn't read ID3 tags. The EXP103 and 101 have just a basic portable CD player display showing track and time. At least it separates MP3 tracks into "Albums" based on the directory structure of the disc. A text display with album and track titles would make it just about perfect, but I haven't seen anyone get it all right yet.
20 Aug 00
I made the monthly journey to Cambridge for the MIT SwapFest today. There, as usualy, was all sorts of interesting stuff. I managed to control myself and buy only a little more than I went there for, which was another IBM TrackPoint keyboard. I just couldn't pass up a pair of Sun Type 5 keyboards and mice that were FAR cheaper than they should have been, so those came home as well.
On the way out I happened to glance into a free box at one of the tables. That's when I heard probably the oddest thing I'll ever hear. "You want a 486 for a dollar?" I looked at the thing, and debated its utility, as it was a 486SLC, 25MHz, 200MB HD, and 8MB RAM. Why would I want another boat anchor cluttering the basement? Then I noticed that it's a standard AT style case and it suddenly looked more promising.
So now, of course, I have another boat anchor cluttering the basement. At least I can rip out the 486 board and drop in one of the spare Socket7 sets I have. But now I need more memory for it. It's a vicious cycle, it really is.
18 Aug 00
Still going...
I passed this month's weigh in by about a quarter pound. That doesn't mean that I'm back in standards, just that I'm losing the weight/fat fast enough to make the AF happy. If I'd known I had a chance of actually making the weight portion I probably would have skipped breakfast and made it with room to spare.
Now this is a relief, but I don't like what it really implies. I was sick for almost a week right before the weigh in. If I actually did lose five pounds, I don't think it was body fat. A week of doing nothing and eating soft foods can't be the ideal diet for achieving ideal body mass.
16 Aug 00
After five years I've finally made the leap and bought new sunglasses. Anyone who knows me would second the fact that I'm never outside in daylight without a pair of shades. For the last half-decade it's been a pair of SunClouds. This was a relatively popular and much imitated model with rose tint lenses and gradient mirrors. The glass lenses were a bit heavy, but stood up to years of abuse without a scratch...until a few months ago. I finally ended up with a gouge in the middle of the lower left mirror that I couldn't live with.
So, after much shopping and debating, I picked out a pair of Maui Jim Rose Typhoons. It's not a huge leap from the SC45's, which I probably would have simply replaced if SunCloud was still in business. The Typhoon is a somewhat sleeker design that sits closer to my eyes and has spring temples. The rose tint isn't as strong as the SC's, but I'm starting to like it that way. These things are polarized too, which must be a good thing even if I really can't tell the difference.
17 Jul 00
I am now still beyond the standards of weight and body fat for "men my age," according to the Air Force. I can't believe this shit. I mean, I can understand that I'm outside of the neat little box they want me in, but now I'm not getting back into that box fast enough. I hate second-guessing other people's jobs (it just makes more work for me, really), but in the period between 19 Jun and 10 Jul my waist and neck measurements stayed exactly the same to the nearest quarter inch, at least by the official tape. That's just plain bizzare. In that time I was just starting back into a serious weight training program. I don't see how it's physically possible the measurements wouldn't change AT ALL after a month of heavy lifting, mountain biking, and martial arts.
So, it's more administrative dicipline for me. What really sucks is that if this keeps up it could affect not only my job, but also my home. If I get booted from the service over this, I'll have about two weeks to find not only a new job, but housing suitable for my wife and I based on a salary which I won't even have started collecting.
My options? I could keep up what I've been doing. That is, eating sensibly while still taking in enough calories to function at work all day, and working out more than probably 90% of the people stationed here do. I could eat less and work out more, but that would involve sacrificing sleeping, working, and probably require finding a source of methamphetamines within a week. I could also stop working out and go on a starvation diet. That way I'd lose enough weight just from muscle atrophy to get within standards.
I like the first option. It just doesn't appear to be working, or at least not on the AF's quantitative scales. Every day when I look in the mirror I see it working, but that doesn't matter. The second option would work, I'm sure, but between the damage I'd do to my body, and the fact that illicit drugs are just a little beyond what I'm willing to do, I'll pass on that one. The third option would be my best bet at this point. I mean, they only test fitness once a year, but weight and body fat are monthly. I'm sure I could get back into shape in time for next year's test. ...But wait, I actually enjoy working out and being able to move heavy objects around. I guess option three is out.
So it's back to what I'm already doing. I guess it's my way of saying, "This is how I've been for years. This is how I am. This is how I'm going to be. Take it or leave it since I've tried everything else."
19 Jun 00
Well, that bird is finally gone. We had a bit of a scare when I DID need something from that shelf, but she came back and took care of the kids. They did their necessary growing up and fled the nest like any normal children. I almost miss the company when I'm in the garage now. I just wish I had taken pictures.
31 May 00
"Pop!
"Did you hear that? That was the sound of your head extracting itself from your ass."
--Robert Merkle, The Ultimate Internet Terrorist
This is the sort of thing we are encouraged, nay, required to read as part of a Computer Security class at a well known nearby college. The class is decent, but this book is a joke. It's kind of funny, really. I recommend it if you're into computer security and want to see how much more than you this guy thinks he knows.
But that's not my point. My point relates to this same nameless school that offers web-based courses. They have mailing lists for each course, and a general one for announcements and discussions about the lists and the chat rooms. This list is the past day has been innundated with induhviduals who just realized that, "Hey, that last message didn't interest me. I don't want this list." This has prompted a barrage of "Remove me from your list" and "I don't want this mail" and "Me too!!!!!!!!!" messages. These people seem to have forgotten two things:
  1. Everything they send goes to the whole list, not just the maintainer
  2. Their misplaced requests, including quoting the original offending message and EVERY removal request up to that point, has generated approximately 200 times the traffic of the original posts, in everyone's mailboxes.
The offending posts consisted of a, "Does this feature work this way?" followed by a, "Yes, use it like this: (two lines of example code)" I'd unsubscribe myself, but I think I can handle the one or two messages a week of normal traffic on the list.
30 May 00
We now have a mourning dove nesting in our garage. I was taking my bike out to go to class and looked up on a shelf for the lock. Up there, nestled in with the zip ties, wire loom, and shrink tubing, was a bird sitting completely still in a nice cozy nest. I'd get it out of there, but I can only assume that she's sitting on a bunch of eggs right now. I guess I'll have to wait until they're ready to leave on their own, or I'd be a really mean person. I just hope I don't need anything from that shelf for a while.
12 May 00
Why is it that people completely forget rules of punctuation and grammar when writing e-mail? Why do people feel that things like spelling and capitalization are unimportant in a medium composed solely of the written word? Maybe it's just the abundant overuse and misuse of the exclamation point that gets me. A mass message I recently received from someone important enough to remain nameless was titled something like, "Volunteers Needed !!!!!" and contained the gibberish:
"What about buying tickets...has anyone bought their tickets yet!"
Ugh. It's odd, when talking to this person IN person, they don't end every question by yelling at me. They also don't, as I'm about to leave, scream:
"Call me if you want to know more about it!!"
Nitpicking? Probably. Maybe I'm just never THAT excited!!!!!!!!!
7 May 2000
With the power outage this evening came and interesting discovery. While I was in the basement unplugging things (having eight computers turn on at once is not good for the wiring) I saw something move just outside the basement window. This is a little odd since the windows are below ground and have those steel wells with the plastic covers around them. I thought maybe a mouse or a bird or something when I saw one of the local baby rabbits trying to hop up the side of the well.
The the power out and nothing else to do I decided to give nature a hand and get the little guy out of there. Heather and I grabbed a flashlight, a bucket, the cordless drill, and some gloves and headed out. We got the cover off and found the hole in it that was just about the size of a small bunny. Looking into the well found us the culprit looking bewildered and trying to hide from us.
Heather's quick work with the bucket got him out and redeposited in the yard near their nest. At the same time I borrowed a new plastic cover from the neighbors and closed the well back up.
It's interesting though, that I wouldn't have been in the basement that night were it not for the power going out, and I doubt baby rabbits stuck in window wells is something that happens all of the time.
6 May 2000
We've been robbed!
It's petty and rediculous, but someone has stolen parts of our garden hose assembly. They came, took the sprayer nozzle, the splitter, the quick-connect, and the hose hanger. The strange thing is that they left the hose itself, and the screws the held the hanger to the front of the house.
Normally I'd write this off as "One of those things," but this IS a military base, and that quick-connect was brand new and had NEVER been used. So, a police report has been filed. I don't expect any real action when the investigator sees that the total value of everything missing is about $25, but I feel better for having "done the right thing."
2 May 2000
Yet another two hours of our lives wasted in a pointless meeting. That's right, another "Workforce Call" at the lab. I'm sure this information was important and useful to someone, but not the majority who were there in mandatory attendence. I can see gathering everyone up for the awards and the "What we're doing is useful and important" stuff, but let us out before you go into budget projections and quality indicators. Let the lowly techs get some work done and free up seats for the management types that care about that stuff.
So the morning was a waste, but now I'm back into my comfy battle pajamas and ready for the heavy lifting and crawling around that's part of every real network administrator's job. A little real accomplishment should make me feel better.
And the NIN concert will make me feel FAR worse tomorrow morning.
1 May 2000
Yay! I'm still physically fit enough to be in the Air Force! I'm so excited. My activity level lately had led me to believe that I might not make it. Either the test scale is very small, or I've never been in very good shape. I think I scored two points lower than last year when I was actually working out about 15 hours a week.
24 Apr 2000
I started my new job today. In actuality I started working in a different office, for a different person, with a different office symbol (mail stop), but doing really the same job I've been doing for years. Goodbye flexible hours and contribution to a product. Hello rigid schedules, paperwork, and classification as a "support" person. This should be fun.

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