Archive for August, 2008


My First Day

August 27, 2008

At George Mason.  It went well.

Of course, it started the night before, really.  I double-checked which courses I had, when they were, and what building they were going to be in.  I went to bed at 9:30 because I needed to be up at 5:30 in order to get to school early.  I slept great…  Until I woke up at 1:30.  From then on, I could not get to sleep.  I read.  I watched TV.  I bopped around the Internet.  Nothing helped.

I ended up leaving for school even earlier than I had planned because I got bored sitting around the house.  The drive there was easy, even though I went a slightly different way than I have ever gone.  There were plenty of parking spaces free, not every surprising for 6:45 in the morning.

On my way to the building my first class is in, I realized I had not looked up what rooms my classes were in!  So, I headed over to the library, found out that it was not open yet.  I did not have to hunt very long to find a new computer, and the crisis was averted.

I killed some time reading the paper and wandering around campus scoping out the buildings I had classes in that day.  Finally it was time for class.  I will not review my professors or classes yet.  (Which you should all be thankful for, because this post would be WAY to long.)  However, I do not think I will have troubles with any of the teachers, judgment on the actual classes will have to wait until I start getting assignments.

One thing I am proud of myself for is spending the four hour layover I had between classes to update my Google calendar and my Remember The Milk account with all the info from my syllabi.  Hopefully I will continue to be so organized.

The second day was less eventful and much slower.


Mom Watch 2008

August 25, 2008

Well, I am back from my trip to the Blessed Land of Iowa.  I went to visit my mom and help out around the house.  The thing is, there was not a whole lot to do, what with my mom being a lot more mobile and active than I imagined she would be.  I know this trip boosted her spirits, but seeing her doing so well really boosted mine as well.

She still has a large incision, but the wound-vacuum-pump-thing they are using on her is doing a great job of helping it heal.  (If you are of weak stomach, the above link may not be for you.)  Given the size of the incision, things are healing amazingly fast.  Go science!

She should be back to work full-time in four to six weeks.  And with a whole new liver, since they regenerate so quickly.


Happiness Is…

August 20, 2008

… watching Olympic gymnastics with a bottle and a quarter of wine in your stomach while two of your favorite dogs in the world lick your feet.


How Nerdy Am I?

August 17, 2008

With my wife in Ethiopia, we needed a cheap way to talk to each other, voice to voice.  Enter Skype.  It is a handy little program that looks a lot like any other instant messenger program, except it also lets you make voice calls.  Voice calls from one computer running Skype to another are free, so we decided to try it while my wife is in Ethiopia.

There were some complications, though.  Nothing technical, other than my wife getting an echo of her voice, like you would on a bad cell connection.  The complications came in time differences and sleep schedules.  My wife was not certain when she would wake up, since she had just arrived in Ethiopia.  Add in a seven hour time difference, and… well… Things get complicated.

So, what was my uber-nerdy solution?  Easy:  hook the computer up to the stereo so I can hear the computer “ring” when my wife calls on Skype.  Then, I slept on the couch with the headset next to the computer.  So, when my wife called, the stereo woke me, I groped my way over to the computer, plugged in the headset, put it on, and talked to my wife at 5 in the morning.

All of that so we did not have to pay international calling rates.  Worth it?  I think so.


Not The Best Buy

August 11, 2008

Last night I took all the Best Buy gift cards I got for my birthday and a RewardZone rewards certificate to buy a file server.  I was looking for something with modest specs but as large of a hard drive as I could find.  I settled on a clearenced eMachine.  When I asked the associate for the computer, he gave me the wrong one.  I noticed it right before I got into line to buy it.  I brought it back, and after some hemming and hawwing, it was decided that all that was left was the floor model.

Since it was the floor model, I got a discount.  So, we had to wait for a manager to show up and modify the price.  That is standard operating procedure.  However, I do not think it is SOP to have to wait 5-10 minutes for a manager to show up to modify the price.

The computer is now purchased.  Now, since it is the floor model, the demo software needs to be removed and the “normal” operating system installed.  Basically, it needs to be re-imaged.  I was told it would take 15-20 minutes.  That sounds reasonable.  I’ve re-imaged computers before, but those were XP installs from a single CD.  This was a Vista install, and I am sure it came on a DVD or it was on a recovery partition.

My wife and I ran off to a Borders Books across the street to kill time.  We returned almost a half hour later, and from the sheepish look the Geek Squad guy had when the associate asked him where my computer was, the re-image had not been started.  This was 5 minutes before closing.  I am told it is taking longer than expected, which is highly unlikely.

I would have picked the computer up the next day, but I was scheduled to be at work the entire time the store was open.  So, I stood around and waited until almost a half-hour after closing for the Geek Squad to work their “magic.”

I then took it home and installed Linux on it.  (I thought I would give OpenSUSE a chance, but I may switch over to Ubuntu.)

It will take quite a bit to make me want to go back to that store.


Apparently I Live In A Dream World

August 10, 2008

Today I got to deal with another problem-customer.  This one found a sign a few days ago that listed a wine $5 less than its actual price.  So, we gave her that price that day.  Supposedly the manager that modified the price told the customer the $5 less price was the real price.  It is not.

So, when the customer came back today to buy the wine again, she was expecting to get the wine at the cheaper price.  However, the sign was not up this time, so we would not give her the cheaper price.

When I told her that the manager probably checked the price after she left and found out the price it rings up as is the real price and got rid of the sign, the customer’s response was, “You’d like to think that, wouldn’t you?”  So, apparently I live in this fantasy world where the prices in the computer are the real prices, not the prices that managers tell customers, like in the real world.  Oh, and apparently in this fantasy world I live in, prices do not stay the same forever, like they do in the real world.  Also, in my fantasy world, if someone tries to get something $5 cheaper than they should, they are ripping me off for $5, unlike in the real world it is not.


Project Rantway

August 8, 2008

A new season of Project Runway means new contestants to love and hate.  Let me give you the rundown on my thoughts so far.

  • Suede.  Suede talks about Suede in the third person.  Suede is a whack-a-doodle.  Suede needs medication.
  • Kenley.  She looks like Bettie Paige, but she sounds like Fran Drescher.
  • Blayne.  Blayne has to tan.  If he does not tan, he loses his super-designing-lisciousness.
  • Stella.  Stella loves leather.  Everything she makes has leather in it.  I keep waiting for her to skin Blayne and make a bustier out of him or a nice pair of pants.

I do not have a favorite designer yet, though.  I will let you know.