It’s early-ish on a Sunday morning, and I’ve already been writing for over an hour, so this might not be the most exciting update. Friday we had a beer-bash at work, which was welcome after what felt like a long week back from vacation. Then I spent until midnight at the local watering hole before finally getting home for another three hours of beers and drunken postings on teh intarwebs. I slept much of saturday away, and then it was out to Gasthof for Oktoberfest with the gang from the Saints parking lot. The cute gal I’d invited showed up with some cute friends, but they ditched us almost immediately to go find shots and cute guys. Sometimes it seems no matter how low you set your expectations, they’re not low enough.
Anyway, it was good seeing folks again, since most of us get together only a few times during the off-season. And then this morning, there was thunder and lightning and it’s still raining on and off, so I think it’s going to be a pretty low energy kind of day. I got some of the writing done I wanted to, so that’s something, right?
- I finished writing up Day 2 of my road trip. Sorry for the slow updates, but these things just take time.
- When you post things online Do You Write Like a Terrorist? If so, there are new online text-vacuums that can probably recognize you no matter which of your pseudonyms you use. [boing boing]
- Kim’s got an Equipment Bleg for some air pistols for a couple kids who are aiming for the olympics. Seems like a worthy enough cause. [kim]
Well, it’s just about over, my vacation. I’ve had a week and change off from work, and it’s felt pretty darned good, but it’s about to come to an end. I have to head in to work again tomorrow. And while I’m not especially looking forward to spending the day sorting through email from last week, it shouldn’t be too bad.
Today, I’m planning to finish up a few things I started around home during the past week. No big projects undertaken, but a lot of little things. I managed to finally finish cleaning the bathroom (the ceiling needed washing, and that was just enough of a hassle that I never seemed to get to it), just in time to start filthing it up again. I cleared away three shredders full of old bills and stuff from the dining room table. I flattened and bundled about six months of amazon.com boxes. And I tore out the lumber surrounding my garden and mowed down the weeds (and all of the backyard while I was at it). I’m not sure if I’ll have a vegetable garden next year or not, but I’ve decided that the current location was not where I want it to be if I do decide to plant one.
Today I need to cut that lumber from the garden down into manageable chunks so I can dispose of it. I need to pick up my mail that’s been held at the post office for the past week and sort through it. And I need to catch up on laundry, dishes, trash, and other junk around the house so I’m ready for a work week again tomorrow.
In all, it’s been a pretty enjoyable week. I needed some time away from the job. And while the road trip was fun, I’m also glad I cut it short. It was nice having the time around home, especially since I didn’t have any big projects planned. That meant I didn’t feel the slightest bit guilty about basically being a hermit and working on whatever I wanted, rather than feeling obligated to tackle a big list or go out and “do stuff.”
- I’ve started posting the photos and notes from Dave’s 2007 Road Trip. The photos will continue to trickle in over the next week or two, and I hope to finish the writeups before the end of the month.
- The ACLU has a Surveillance Society Clock. Hmm. I’m not sure what time I think it should be, but I guess I’m not going to argue about it reading just before midnight. [metafilter]
- Interesting: K5 Becomes “Gated Dysfunctional Community”. Rusty’s started charging $5 for a membership, with everyone with an existing account grandfathered in. If someone is abusive or breaks the rules, they’ll get banned (after a warning) and will have to pay $5 to get back in. Sounds like a pretty good idea to me, and maybe it’ll be the thing that gets me reading K5 regularly again.
- In a related note, k5 is alive is an essay talking about how a smaller community is a better thing. The money quote:
All in all, k5 is easily the most intelligent community that I’ve ever found on the internets. Horsecock and all.I’d like to think that the past couple years of experience at k5 would serve as educational for other online communities having troubles, but I suspect I’m the only overlap, and I don’t really want to help dysfunctional online families “fix” themselves.
I know a few of you might be surprised to see an entry today. I was on vacation, one of the ones I’ve been looking forward to for years, driving down US 61 (actually, I followed the Great River Road more closely), stopping and seeing whatever I might find interesting along the way.
I’ll have a more thorough vacation writeup later, along with photos, but the quick update for now is that I got into Southern Iowa and according to the thermometer in my truck, the temperature in the parking lot in which I’d stopped was 95°F. With a forecast for more of the same the rest of the week, and nighttime lows (and thus likely dewpoints) in the high 60s.
And that kind of weather is just too damn hot for me to have any fun, and as I sat in that parking lot outside of Wever, IA, I thought for a few minutes about the previous few stops of the day. At each stop, getting back into the truck meant dripping sweat onto the seat while waiting for the air conditioning to make things bearable again.
After about ten minutes, I realized that I wasn’t having fun anymore, and it was time to call it quits on the plan. Mostly it was due to the heat, but that wasn’t everything. In many of the small towns along the way, I’d looked around in vain for a place to eat, or stop for a drink, or anything and it seemed that in so many small towns, there was nothing left.
And when I got into bigger cities, I was faced with more traffic than I liked, especially when I was trying to navigate with AAA maps that were ill-suited for anything other than cruising along on the interstate. I wasn’t as prepared as I’d thought, and I’m pretty sure that at least part of what I was looking for on this trip just doesn’t exist anymore.
So I sat in that roadside park north of Wever, next to a little stream feeding the Mississippi, and thought a bit. It was a few minutes before 3pm. Doing a little math in my head got me the answer that, if I took the shortest route, and hurried a bit, I could be home, in my own bed that very evening, rather than having another unsatisfying sleep in some hotel (more on that in the full writeup, I’m sure) followed by another day of sweating, and that sounded pretty damned good to me.
As I was headed home, there was a voice in my head asking
What are ya, some kind of quitter? and let me tell you, I thought about that for quite a while. But the answer I came up with is that sometimes quitting is the right thing, and a vacation is supposed to be fun. I’d quit having fun sometime around noon when the temperature hit 85 in downtown Moline, IL.
And so here I am back at home, writing this after a night of sleeping in my own bed, comfortable and happy. As I said, I’ll fill in the details, but now I’ve got most of a week in front of me, with no responsibilities to speak of, and that sounds like a damned good (if less vicariously exciting for you) plan for a vacation, too.
A couple days ago, jr got cranky about Morale And Lack There Of. I’ve got kind of a similar mood going on in the workplace at the moment. In a meeting yesterday, my manager updated folks on our progress, noting that I was moving forward, but there was only one of me, so we wouldn’t be seeing a ton of new features, rather a continuation of some architectural cleanup. One of my cow-orkers made a comment along the lines of
He’s had two years.
The thing that really bugged me about this is that this is one of the cow-orkers who’s written exactly the kind of unmaintainable crap code I’ve spent most of the past two years trying to hammer into submission (not that it’s solely his fault — he’s had plenty of help, and he didn’t actually touch any of the mess I’m trying to sort out). I didn’t say anything, since others came to my defence, but let me tell you, a graph of my productivity before and after the meeting yesterday would have looked plenty familiar to anyone who held stock in dot com companies in 2000.
All of which, I guess, is a long-winded explanation of why I’m sitting at home updating this rather than being in at work already. The handful of you who read regularly can thank my cow-orker.
- I’m not sure why, but when I get back from lunch, and back to work, often I notice that the time displayed on my computer is 13:37 and I get a tiny little geeky thrill and say “\/\/007” to myself, not unlike seing a decent poker hand on my odometer. Am I the only one?
- Dan’s thinking about some flutterby changes, mostly to add threaded comments. As another one of those folks who’ve built up a homebrew content management system, I feel his pain. It’s probably simpler in the long run to just scrap it and move to some more standard bit of software, but that’s a big decision to make. Not saying there are going to be changes around here soon, but it’s always possible… [flutterby]
The Saints lost Game 5 of the Championship Series yesterday to Fort Worth, ending the season. It coincided with a weekend when the temperature around here dropped quite a bit, putting a definite feel of fall in the air. Yep, it’s the end of summer. Which isn’t all bad at this point. I’ve spent a bunch of time getting reacquainted with my couch, and that’s been a good thing.
In other news, I can finally see the light at the end of my long quest for built-in bookcases in the room that was supposed to be finished by Memorial Day. I’ve got a new contractor on the job, and the theory is that I’ll actually be able to start shelving my books before the snow flies. I might not finish until next spring, but at least I’ll be able to get started soon. Knock on wood.
I think that’s going to do it for today. You probably shouldn’t expect real frequent updates around here this month. I’ve got a pretty long list of things I wanted to “finish up before the snow flies” and with baseball season done, and the possibility of snow fast approaching, it’s time to tackle at least a few of them. Not that you’ve been getting frequent updates anyhow, but it will probably be at least another month before I get back to updating a couple times a week again.
- I installed my Katz Eye Focusing Screen for the Nikon D200 on Friday. Kinda scary the first time, and the screen is a little off-center and has a tiny bit of dust on it. I don’t know if I’m going to bother trying to fix it or not. But I highly recommend the new focusing screen. It makes me much happier when I’m using manual-focus lenses.
- Seam Carving has been all the rage around work lately — this Seam Carving Demo lets you play with the technology in a little flash applet. [nack]
- The Digital Journalist presents The Bizarre Story of Joe O’Donnell, a photographer who seems to have taken an awful lot of photos of events he wasn’t present at. An interesting read. [top]
- Here’s a cool method for How to perfectly focus a self-portrait every time. Neat! [strobist]
- These fun color games test your color perception. I nailed the first two sets right off, and will be coming back for the third set. Plan on spending at least 15 minutes, even if you’re quick. [top]