July 2004

30. July, 2004 - that went well, I think

The week, she is nearly finished. The home-stand, not yet. Last night was another Saints game, fourth in the series against the Canaries, and the Saints dropped it. But the company was good, and in spite of “help” from friends, I survived a blind date at the ballpark. I think I scored bonus points for cooking a good dinner (walleye and wild rice) and opening car doors (apparently a lost art). There was a curious moment when Wendy (one of the vendors) informed me that a gal you dated fifteen years ago was here last night but was too embarrassed to come over to say hello. Sad to say, I’m not even certain who that could be. I lost some points for spilling a beer on her purse (I’m not sure if I spilled it or had help, but the purse is washable, and I think I was more upset than she was), being distracted too often by friends at the park, and nearly getting into an accident as we were talking on the way home (I kept looking over as she talked, rather than keeping my eyes on the road). In any case no one was killed, so I’ll call it a success for now.

In other ballpark news, the Right Reverend Randy is back in town, fresh from his internship in the desert of Oregon. He’ll be back in town for at least a year, and it’s good to have him back at the park.

29. July, 2004 - closing in

Yesterday was another good day. I think I get to knock off half of the bugs remaining on my plate this morning (after verifying the fix) and I think I’m now clueful about the remaining bugs. That’s a lot better than when I woke up yesterday, and gives me hope that I’ll finish off the rest of them before the week is done. Then again, I’ve got a lot of non-work stuff to do today (more on that tomorrow, perhaps), so we’ll see how it turns out.

Last night, at the Saints game, Adam Olow hit his first and second dingers of the season. Add in homers from Scott Samuels and Tim Merritt, and the Saints just squeaked past the Canaries. It was a great game, interrupted briefly by a couple showers that scared away about half the crowd, but I just stayed put in my seat, figuring at least I was keeping the seat dry that way. One of the Fraters (Saint Paul?) was there and stopped by to say hello, too. Hello!

28. July, 2004 - sun-baked brain

Yesterday was a lot of fun. The Saints didn’t play great baseball, but they got handed a win in the 9th by the Canaries, and not every win during the season has to be pretty. It almost makes up for the two wins they handed Gary last weekend (well, maybe it half makes up for those two losses).

And it was a beautiful day. Plenty of sunshine, and enough wind to keep it from feeling too hot. I apparently put enough sunblock on, and only got burned in the one location I completely missed (top of my chest, where the V of a v-neck shirt would be — that area’s been covered by a beard for 16 years, and I’m still not used to thinking it might see any sun).

It was nice taking a day off in the middle of the week like that, but today I’ve got to get back to work. Life goes on, and while I can squeeze out a day here or there for a ballgame, I’ve got to keep at the work if I want to be able to pay the bills. The biggest drawback is that today feels like Monday again. I guess there are a lot worse complaints a guy could have.

27. July, 2004 - happier

Yesterday was a good day. The truck just needed a new battery (and got it). The rest of the errands were all attended to before noon, leaving the afternoon for work, and then there was a Saints game that they won, complete with people sitting on the warning track (okay, that part wasn’t the greatest, but it’s apparently the first time it’s happened in St. Paul since 1916).

Today, I start the day with a daytime Saints game, including breakfast in the parking lot, and a bunch of sun-block. I’m expecting it’ll be a pretty fun day, but not the most productive work-day of my career. I guess there’s a chance I’ll come straight home from the game and have a productive evening, but I think work is something I’ll worry about in the latter half of the week. Maybe it’ll be raining then, which should make concentrating on work easier.

In a gardening related note, yesterday I harvested the first of the hot peppers from my garden. There are two more that are almost ripe, and over a dozen that should be ready sometime next week or so. Food is going to be spicier than usual for the next few weeks, I think.

And since I’m talking about upsetting stomachs, how about a day full of politics? It ain’t pretty, but I found myself having to stare, just like gawking at a car-crash on the side of the freeway. This is what happens when I decide that since I’m not getting the links done in time for people to read them before work starts, I’ll put things together before I go to sleep.

26. July, 2004 - I don’t like Mondays

Update 0945: As it turns out, it was just the battery in the truck. The factory battery was about five years old, and that’s about all they’re good for. But when it went, it went good. Apparently at least one cell was dead-shorted inside the battery. My mechanic was surprised I hadn’t had more problems with it before now. But it’s been replaced and everything is good now.

Well. You’ll forgive me if I sound a bit grumpy. I’m spending Monday morning waiting to hear back from the garage about just what my truck needs in order to be happy again, but it’s either a dead battery, a scrozzed alternator, or something otherwise leaking away the happy electrons when they’re all supposed to be staying put. I’m not sure which, but if I don’t drive it every day, it won’t start. More about that in a bit.

Anyway, to the weekend. Saturday was the big blog party thing at Keegan’s. I didn’t make the One Day In July thing, and I’ll leave coverage of that to Jim or someone else who was actually there. The blog party was okay. I showed about 4:30 and the Fraters and King were there, and by 5:30 the joint was rockin’. Or something. There sure were a lot of geeks. The Fraters and Mitch have reviews. Me, I had an okay time, mostly talking to Chaz, Chuck and Odin. Chaz and I walked down to Pracna for the fireworks and chanced into a table. As an extra bonus, they have the $2 beers from 9-11, which covered the fireworks show pretty nicely.

Sunday, I had planned to make the journey up to Mom’s, then stop at Target on the way home to restock, and then do some laundry. But as I climbed into the truck around 10:30, I discovered that the battery was dead again, and rather than a nice purring from the starter, I just got an annoying clicking sound and a red light on the dash. That pretty much ruined both my plans and my mood for the day, and I spent the day watching stupid things on the television and waiting for it to be Monday so I could have the garage fix my truck. Didn’t get nothin’ done.

23. July, 2004 - a little late

Once again I find myself posting later than I’d like to. I know (from looking at my server logs) that a lot of my regular readers try to catch up on my site in the morning before they start work at 9am Central time, and I’ve been either really close to 9 or just after lately. I’m not sure what the solution is, but this morning I was awake in plenty of time, and was just trying to comment on the stories I found during my usual news-gathering. It look a little longer than usual.

As I say, I’m not sure what the solution is, but so far I’ve just tried to do a little more surfing in the evening before going to sleep to get a jump-start on the morning. That doesn’t really help, since I end up getting to sleep later, which means waking up later. I suppose I could completely turn my schedule around and sleep in the middle of the day, and spend all night awake and working on this for the day, but that seems a little drastic for a project that just barely covers its own hosting costs (the Google ad revenues are now up to the point where they’re paying what I would charge a customer to host a website like this, but that’s about it).

Oh well. I could go on, but that would just make this even later than it already is. I’m sorry if I’m messing up your morning read. I’d rather not, but I need to find some new solution to the problem, and I haven’t yet.

22. July, 2004 - break in the weather

Whew. Things are much more comfortable after last night’s storm. The sky got that ominous yellow color for a little while, and then there was some rain. Today, the dewpoints are supposed to drop into the 50s and that feels a ton better. Just in time for me to need to mow the lawn again this weekend.

Some days I surprise myself. Yesterday was one of those. I expected I’d need to spend all day tracking down a particularly nasty bug, but after a brief flash of inspiration, I looked to see what changes other people had made that might affect things. Bingo! The problem wasn’t mine at all, but rather someone who had clobbered a bug fix I’d put in over six months ago. It would be frustrating if I hadn’t found it as quickly as I did, but that bit of inspiration meant that I was actually ahead of my self-imposed schedule on work, and I took the opportunity for a mid-afternoon nap, and woke up feeling much refreshed. Some last-minute updates to the ADHOC site and I finished the day feeling pretty good, except for a bit of JavaScript that isn’t doing what I think it should.

Today, I think I’m going to try to knock off a few more bugs, do a little noodling on some of my websites (I desperately need to update the Better Nerds site one of these days), and go out grocery shopping so I can restock the pantry. Seems like a pretty good plan for the day to me.

21. July, 2004 - hot!

Got up to 90 yesterday, but the dewpoint was in the 70s all day, and it was pretty darned hot-feeling out there. Hot enough that I waited until 10pm before hauling out the trash so they could pick it up this morning. Hot enough that the low temp this morning was 72. And no real relief in sight for today either. I’m guessing today will be a day spent mostly in the air-conditioned bliss of my house.

It’s probably just as well the weather is going to keep me close to home today. I’ve got most of the domestic things in order at the moment (aside from a pressing need to do laundry, but that’s a good background task), and need to spend the day concentrating on fixing bugs for a client. I need to earn my keep around here, and I’ve had a reasonably productive week so far, billing hours for four different clients in the past two days, and need to focus on the client with the next looming deadline today. All of the tasks have been achievable, and I’ve been making good progress, and that’s a darned good feeling. If I can maintain that kind of productivity, it’ll make the overworked feelings I’ve had so far in July seem worthwhile.

20. July, 2004 - looking ahead

As I sat here typing this morning, I realized that my schedule is filling up for the rest of July, and most of August already. I was supposed to have lunch with a friend yesterday, but had to beg off due to some work I was doing, and at the rate things are going, we may not be able to reschedule until August. And there are plenty of other things looming on the horizon, too.

For the moment though, I need to concentrate on the shorter-term. I’ve got plenty to do today, and that looks like it’ll be the case for the next couple days. This weekend has already filled up, and it’s a darned good thing the Saints aren’t home, or I’d be complaining about having too much to do again. As it is, there’s plenty on the calendar, but I made sure to leave some time to just putter around the house, too.

There’s also the Northern League All-Star game tonight, but I have no idea if it’s even going to be possible to hear it on the radio. Probably just as well.

19. July, 2004 - overslept

Sometimes a weekend can just be too much fun. This was one of those weekends. I woke up about 6am this morning and was up for an hour, but then went back to sleep, since I was just beat. I’m feeling better after a couple extra hours of sleep, but I suspect it’s still going to be a low-energy day.

The big news of the weekend was that the Saints swept Winnipeg. In the first half of the season, Winnipeg was a tough team, and was contending with the Saints and Fargo for first place. This weekend, they weren’t the same team at all. They had a ton of errors, and while Friday and Sundays games both ended up being close, yesterday was only close because Mark Wells and Eddie Aucoin had a tough outing and gave up six runs in the eighth.

16. July, 2004 - sheesh

I need to work harder on coming home from dinner before midnight. Just sayin’.

15. July, 2004 - grinding along

I always hate it when I have to do any work on Windows. Yesterday and today, I’ve needed to update a MSVC++ project for a client to reflect the changes I made to the CodeWarrior project on the Mac. But first I needed to spend an hour or so in Windows Update so my computer could be connected to the internet without getting infected immediately. Even that, by itself, is a huge disincentive to me to even want to work on Windows. Yeah, I know I have to do software updates on my Mac too, but I’m using my Mac every day, so they’re small updates and don’t bother me. I power on the Windows machine once every couple months, so an update there is an all-morning affair.

Oh well, I guess I shouldn’t gripe too much about it, but it’s a big part of why I do as little work as possible on Windows. Even after I’d done all the Windows Updates, I still needed to do the actual work, then recompile everything, fix my mistakes and generally just spend time living with an environment I don’t especially like. I do end up appreciating my Mac a lot more after one of these forays though.

14. July, 2004 - life goes on

Update 1215: The drier’s connected, and I don’t smell any gas leaks. That took quite a bit longer than I figured, plus I still need someone skinnier than me to help finish duct-taping the vent ducts together, but it ought to at least work. First load of laundry is just about to hit it. Wish me luck.

Light on the notes today. I’m still trying to get some stuff done around the house, and so far I’m batting .000 on finding a handyman who is available and will actually return my phone calls. Suggestions are still welcome.

13. July, 2004 - still tired

I think it’s my lot in life to spend this summer tired. Between trying to make my house my own and trying to keep up the normal routine of going to all the Saints games I possibly can, while still getting some work done during the summer, and trying to have a social life with the folks who don’t go to baseball games, there’s just a lot going on.

That said, I promised something of a recap, so let’s get to it:

Friday night was baseball. I was on my own, sorta, but gave Pete one of my tickets so he could sell both of his, and got a couple beers in exchange. Woo! Fun was had, and I don’t think we scared Angie’s parents too much.

Saturday — Went to mom’s for lunch, but she’d forgotten I was coming up, and was in town shopping, so I sat for an hour keeping her dog company until she got home. Then we had a hurried lunch, a bit of conversation, and I was headed back for the Saturday evening Saints game. Nothing too exciting, and I was at the game solo, and mostly sat by myself, mostly enjoying it.

After getting home and going to sleep, I got woke up in the middle of the night by a couple minutes of near-continuous thunder and lightning. I thought about getting up to close some windows, but the breeze coming in was cool enough that I figured I’d deal with any wetness in the morning. Turns out there was just a little puddle in the bedroom I’m still working on, but since it’s mostly empty, that was just a few seconds work to deal with. I worried about Sunday’s game a bit, but that was a problem for the morning, too.

Sunday, as I mentioned, I went to the ballgame. Scott & Kat had invited Odin to the game. Interesting to meet the man behind the infowaif, and we had a generally pleasant conversation. I don’t expect we’ll be bestest buddies, but I avoided the urge to bop him in the nose.

After the game, I hung out in the parking lot for a while. All of our regular tailgating crowd was gone, so it was quiet time mostly, as Brian & I had been baking in the sun all afternoon. There were a group of folks next to us who had been in the Windsor clubhouse, and apparently had consumed plenty of beer. At one point, they asked me to come over and take a group photo of them, but after we’d all assembled, someone pointed out that one of the gals was missing. Oh well, take the photo anyway. A cute blonde made the 1-800-BABE comment as I was walking back to my chair. When the missing gal had returned, I got asked over to take another photo, and after that was done, it was suggested that they needed a picture of the photographer — With all the girls! The cute blonde came running over and leapt into my arm (my left hand was holding a beer or something), and I managed not to drop her (or the beer) while a couple photos were snapped. The rest of the gals didn’t join in. Drat.

Maybe I missed an opportunity, but I’d noticed that between the two sets of photos, one of the guys there had been putting his arm around her protectively, and was glaring at me during the second set of pictures. No point it pushing the issue, I figure.

After returning home and unpacking the cooler, I took a nap. Between the sun and the beer, I was happily tired and loving the cool air in my conditioned bedroom. When I woke up about 7pm, I noticed Spencer had called, leaving a message about a gathering that evening, so I headed out to meet him and a few other friends for dinner and a beer. Good times, and more compliments on the short hair. Dang! I wasn’t really looking for that sort of reaction, but it makes me happy to get it.

Yesterday was hot. I got most of the backlog handled in the morning while the house wasn’t unbearably hot, and then spent the afternoon napping in my air-conditioned bedroom while waiting for the handyman I’d contacted to call back. He never did. Come evening, I’d had enough and decided to install the new air conditioner in the living room window myself and worry about whether the weight of the thing would warp the vinyl window to the point that it won’t close come winter sometime later. Like maybe winter. By the time I was ready to go to bed, the living room (and more importantly the corner of it that makes up my office) was cool enough where I didn’t break out in a sweat just sitting down. Ahh, bliss.

Well, that’s the update. Long enough to satisfy those who don’t bother clicking through on the links, I hope.

12. July, 2004 - another work week

Lots happened over the weekend. I’d like to go into details about it, but I’m pressed for time, since I couldn’t get to sleep last night and tossed and turned until about 2am. Thus I overslept. And there’s a ton to get done this morning before the day heats up, so I’m going to have to put off the weekend update until later in the week.

Well, maybe a short teaser. Baseball. Mom forgetting I was coming for lunch on Saturday. More baseball. Lightning, thunder and rain. Baseball with “Layne.” Having a cute gal jump on me in the parking lot (after she asked if my phone number was 1-800-BABE). Nap. Dinner and drinks with friends I haven’t seen for a while. And that brings us to the tossing and turning.

9. July, 2004 - lateness

Yesterday went much better than Wednesday. The furnace-duct-cleaning guys showed up earlier than expected, and were done by noon. I spent the afternoon working on my writeup of this year’s WWDC and then went out for beers in the evening, first with Bill & Mark, and then later with Scott & Kat who’d left a message on my phone. Fun all around, but it slowed me down this morning. Oops.

If you’re interested in attending a Saints game this evening or tomorrow evening with me, I’ve got a spare ticket. Preference given to those who haven’t been to a game with me yet, since I know of at least a couple readers who fit that category. Note that it might rain, which means we might get wet. If that sounds good to you, Give me a shout.

8. July, 2004 - furnace cleaning day

Yesterday… Where to start? In the morning, I guess. I started the day with a bit of work, then headed outside about 10am to get the garden weeded and the lawn mowed. I wanted to do that before the day warmed up (it got up to around 70, but 60 is a pretty comfortable lawn-mowing temperature for me) and before the delivery men showed up with my new drier and air-conditioner at 2 in the afternoon. All went well, and by noon, I was somewhat tired and ready for lunch. The garden isn’t perfectly weeded, but you can at least see all the plants that belong there now, and the lawn is all the same length again.

So it was a good morning. Productive and satisfying. The afternoon? Not so much. Rather than diving into lunch right away, I started out trying to plug a security hole I’d been warned about, figuring it would only take a few minutes. After an hour of fumbling about on my own, and an hour on the phone with tech support, all I succeeded in doing was taking down my DSL connection. So I took a break for a late lunch while waiting for the delivery men.

Once the appliances were dropped off (but not installed — Minneapolis doesn’t allow the delivery men to connect up driers), I headed over to my ISP to get the problems with my DSL connection sorted out. Shortly after 4pm, everything was working again, and I’d had quite enough for the day. I plowed through the email, responded where I’d needed to, and realized I’d screwed up one employee’s check in the monthly payroll that had run late because I was out of town on the first. It’s nothing I can’t correct next month once I’ve figured out where I went wrong, but it served as a pretty fine capper for the afternoon.

Today, sometime around noon, Minnegasco is going to send over some people to clean the ducts of my furnace (it’s a gravity system and there are no records of the last time the ducts were cleaned — I can see the dust in them, though) so it’ll be ready for next winter. I booked this appointment in May, so today it shall be, lest I incur the wrath of the scheduling gnomes and get rescheduled for next February.

But between the new drier sitting forlornly in the basement, waiting for a piece of gas flex, and all the other projects around the house that need to be done, I’m thinking of hiring a handyman to help me make some progress on them. Do any of my readers know of a good handyman? Lileks pointed to one a while back, but that website didn’t have contact information earlier this week (or was hitting an error trying to display it), and I suspect they’re probably getting plenty of business anyhow.

A little short on links today, too. Funny how that follows from not having a network all afternoon yesterday.

7. July, 2004 - settling back in

I spent yesterday pretty much as expected – catching up after having been out of town for a week, followed by a weekend of Saints games. There were bills to be paid, invoices to be submitted, and clients to update. I also surprised myself a bit when I called up Marcy and made an appointment to get my hair cut again. As it turned out, she had an opening yesterday afternoon, so I got on the bus and headed down there, then stopped off for some happy hour at Keegan’s on the way home to spend the evening watching TV.

It’s an exciting life I lead, isn’t it? But hey, today I get a new drier and if the weather holds decent, get to weed the garden and mow the lawn. The excitement just keeps on rolling.

6. July, 2004 - back to work

The long weekend following a week out of town at a conference is over. It’s time to get back to work for the first time in almost two weeks (I took a couple days off before the conference to get ready to leave town), and I’m trying to struggle back into the groove that’s required to get work done. It helps a big that the Saints are mostly in town on weekends this month, so I won’t have too many distractions during the week, but I’ve got (once again) a backlog of stuff to deal with this morning. Guess there’s nothing for it but to dive in.

5. July, 2004 - holiday

I wasn’t planning on posting at all today, but this is so typical of the way things work that I had to mention it. This morning, I started doing all the laundry I had from the week out of town. When I put the first load in the drier and hit the “start” button, the clothes started going around again, but the fire wouldn’t light, so it was just cold air going over the clothes.

This has happened before, and I’ve had Minnegasco out twice to fix the drier. They’re stumped, since it usually works fine when a repairman is here, and only fails on weekends and holidays. In any case, I’d had enough. Rather than the more satisfying approach of using the drier for target practice, I headed over to Warners’ Stellian to order a new one. Almost $500 later, a new drier will be delivered to me on Wednesday, but I’ll either have to hook it up myself or pay someone around another $100 to connect it. Whatever. I’ll have a drier that should always work, and that’s worth quite a bit to me.

But here’s the kicker. When I got home and tried the drier one last time, it fired up on the first try. Works flawlessly now. If anyone wants a gas drier that’s inhabited by gremlins, it’s yours for picking it up. Just let me know before 8am on Wednesday, or I’ll let them haul it away.

And since I had to write this up, I figure what the heck, I’ll post some links for the day, too. Enjoy.

2. July, 2004 - Gerry!

Yesterday was some day. There was conference during the day, including plenty of visiting around, and then the Apple Beer Bash in the evening. I still don’t understand why they even bother to pay for a band there, since the goal of the thing is ostensibly to let developers talk to Apple engineers (like Keith, who Explained a number of things), but the volume from the band prevents any sort of normal conversation.

After getting my fill of beer at Apple, I got on the bus and headed back to The City. After arriving, I stopped at the 4th St. Bar & Deli to use their facilities and then get a shot. There was a toilet on the bus, but I seem to have problems peeing when being slammed around a room smaller than the inside of a Miata.

Once that shot was finished, I stumbled back to the Powell and made for bed. But as I was walking through the lobby, I saw the clerk who I liked so much last year and the year before working the desk. Turns out his name is Gerry, and he’s been transferred to the graveyard shift this year, which is why I hadn’t seen him so far. He’s doing well, and we chatted for about ten minutes, catching up on each others’ lives. It pretty much made my week, since I’d had a sort of low-level worry that something had happened to him, but seeing him again made all well with the world again. Gerry, if you happen to read this, once again, you’re a big part of what makes the Powell my hotel of choice in San Francisco.

Well, once again, I find myself verging on the maudlin, so I guess it’s time to get to the links…

1. July, 2004 - geek central (aka Macs Needs Women)

WWDC continues to plow along. Yesterday was a fairly slow day. I only went to one of the five possible sessions during the day. It wasn’t that there weren’t any interesting sessions, but more that I’ve reached saturation already, and have started being a lot more picky about what I’m going to attend. Usually this happens about Thursday during the week, but this week it came early. Then again, I think maybe it was Wednesday when I hit the wall last year, too.

There are other things I’ve been thinking about too. While all the new technology is interesting, I’ve been noticing (and I’m far from alone in this) the lack of gals at the conference. On Tuesday night, during “Stump the Experts”, the show was running behind, and there were too many prizes to be given away in the remaining time. Someone in the audience suggested giving a prize to every woman in the room. While there weren’t quite that many extra prizes, it was a close enough thing that Fred and Mark actually thought about it for a bit. That’s a fairly depressing comment on the state of the geek community. And yeah, some of the women were offended by it. It’s tough to be a gal in the geek world, I guess.

That’s not to say there are no women around here, but many of the ones who are here during the day haven’t been going to the “geekier” sessions or sticking around for traditions like “Stump”. I don’t know what to do about it, but it seems that there are more younger women than older, and I fear it’s a matter of women leaving the field as they get older. It doesn’t seem right to me, but I have been encouraged the past couple years to see more college-age women attending WWDC.

Enough philosophical rambling for now. The other thing that happened yesterday was a busy evening. I had drinks with Dan Lyke after I was done with the conference for the day, and Ingrid stopped by with a couple of her developers. It was a great evening, especially Zebulon, the bar that Dan took us to, and while it wasn’t that late of an evening, I find myself thinking that just about the time I finish adpating to left-coast time, it’ll be time to head home. I’m not relishing it, but I figure the fact that I’m taking the red-eye home will do a pretty thorough job of resetting my body-clock anyhow.

In any case, if you’re wondering if Dan is a real person, I can verify that he is, and he’s a heckuva guy to boot. We had some geektastic conversation, plus some more real-world talks, and I’m pretty happy to call him a new friend.

Well, that’s the update from me. Thanks again to Dan for the swell conversation and for being a great native guide to San Francisco, but now it’s time for some links, eh?

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Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 13:57:12.