Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Gone Wireless

Yup. Finally broke down and got a wireless router. The old laptop upstairs can now play music off of the big hard drive down here over the stereo in the living room -- or ... it can play streaming audio directly from the web.

The Thanksgiving travel is over. Winter is on it's way. Actually, after a week in the 60's, big changes are in store tomorrow night. They're talking about highs around 30 and lows over the weekend from 9-13 degrees. Real live winter.

I have the lights up and ready to go outside. I was going to wait until the weekend to turn them on -- but with snow forecast for Thursday, I probably won't be able to resist turning them on early. Well it WILL be Nov 30.

I'm about to flash my MP3 player up to the latest firmware, but it will wipe out all the music on it, so I have to back it up first. So I need a good 22 GB of free space to do that. But when I'm done no special drivers will be needed for it for XP. Plus there are a couple of little quirks I hope it addresses. I think I'll use MediaMonkey to reorganize the files while they're on the hard drive. Go with a naming convention and all. Yeah....

Lee's got me trying A Soalin' again on the guitar this year. It's kind of a carol. Christmas-esque. It's the most complex piece I've ever attempted. Yeah, I'm still having trouble with it. But it sounds so cool. I'm starting to break out more of the Christmas tunes to practice as well.

Brian & Kevin's grand opening of their new home security& sound business is this weekend -- but I'll be out in Cooper Hill, so Vicki will have to "represent". Going out to Mom & Dad's Saturday to put up some metal siding on the goat milking shed. So it's an excuse to get my rechargable drill battery replaced. It wouldn't hold a charge, and it'll need to on Saturday. Fifty bucks! I'm not sure the drill cost any more than that to begin with.

Oh, we went over to Brian & Kristin's last friday night. Her parents & brother Brian (not to be confused with her husband Brian) had come up for Saturday's football game vs. Kansas. Mizzou won handily -- and they were supposed to lose handily.... so I guess that helped make up for a couple of sloppy losses. They had lost 4 out of their last 5 before that. Anyway, we had a good time just yammering up a storm and watching the end of Shrek II. They're really nice folks (I think I've mentioned that before) and a lot of fun to boot.

Bart continues to behave just barely well enough to survive. I cut a bigger door for him to get to the litter box, and at least while Mom was here he wasn't even pooping at the bottom of the stairs anymore.

But just in case we missed it, he left us a nice present down there when we took her back.

Danged cat. And here he is just purring and looking at me.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

November Business

As in ... "busy"-ness.

Yeah, yeah. It's been a while. So, to catch up -- we spent a weekend with the Groves. Mark and Cami wanted to go to a home show and actually be able to concentrate on looking at home show stuff instead of reining in children. So we went there to stay with the kids during the day while they went.

But Nathanial had a football game.

It turns out Nathanial is the quarterback on his team. He's 6. It is kind of funny to watch 6 year olds play football. Their little attention spans aren't really all up for a game yet. At one point, Nathanial was showing a caterpillar he found in the grass to another player between plays. Everyone else was lining up way down the field. Football game??? I got a bug here!!!!

Anyway, they lost, but Nathanial did well, lobbing some pretty good passes for a 6 year old, including this touchdown pass late in the game.

He also did a decent job blocking for his running backs (that's him in the air between the defender and the running back)

Probably saw a caterpillar in the grass. Effective block, though. The kid scored on what would probably be the 6 year old equivalent of a 70 yard play.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't show you ... the cheerleaders -- little tiny voices, big huge cheers.

We sat and played guitars and cards -- Mark & me more with the guitars, Vicki & Cami more with the cards.

Sunday we went out to their land to scope out the plot for their new house -- couple of years off yet, probably. But we traipsed around the field and woods. Got a couple of butterfly shots out there. It's 10 acres of land several miles east of the airport in Missouri.

Anyway, Vicki's car had been acting up, and it got worse on the way back from KC. The computer said ithat it was misfiring on cylinder 5. I decided to get new plugs and wires for it. Simple enough, right?

Well... not really. In order to get to the back three cylinders you have to remove the air intake manifold which is connected to all kinds of things that don't just snap off (or at least they shouldn't). Fortunately, cylinder 5 was in front, and replacing that one did fix the problem. Still, I need to replace the rest of them just for "balance". I wanted to get it done before I went to Chicago for Cognos SDK training.

Which leads into the next topic -- I went to Chicago for Cognos SDK training. A three day course in Schaumburg, IL. They keep you busy during the day, and I being married and over 40 and, well, actually serious about the training -- had no desire to go see the Chicago night life. Hooters with Terry from class was as close as I got. He is from Minnesota. Neither of us had ever been to one.

And pretty much it was over priced food with over priced beer and questionable marketing practices (you want fries with that? ... well, not really, I'm not that hungry. You want fries. As if they come with the sandwich anyway. They don't. $4.00). So -- you get to eat bad expensive bar food & $4 beers while watching girls in skimpy orange shorts and t-shirts and very thick tights serve it to you. I could have had better beer and food and watched womens' figure skating for a lot less. I probably won't be back. Neither will Terry. But we've been now, so we know.

On the other hand, Aneta at the Big Horn Brewery remembered me from 7 months ago. She's about as good a waitress as you'll run across -- and I remembered that from last time. Pretty young woman, too -- so I was happy she was working and apparently in charge of my area (which was the coctail bar looking over the kitchen). Got to watch them cook my food. And everyone else's. I still hate eating by myself. Being away and alone makes you appreciate your wife and family and friends more, I decided. For the record, it was WAY better than Hooters and not much more expensive (I had a very good ribeye, fresh cooked broccoli, and fries that weren't cold or soggy (or $4). Oh... and of course, a local microbrew beer. Which kicked the pants off of any beer they had at Hooters. When in Shaumburg, go to the RAM. Great food. And I've always had great service. But then again, I've always been served by Aneta. :-)

Took off from Schamburg Friday evening to go to Fort Wayne to get Mom for Thanksgiving. We switched her to DSL from MSN dialup. And Verizon DSL has a partnership with MSN so she got to keep her MSN email and MSN explorer -- no new interface for her to learn.

Well, I'm glad I was there to do it. Couldn't get it to work. Called tech support and got some Indian dude who said they could send a tech out in the morning (Saturday!) as early as 8:00. I said 8:00 was fine. I got up and was ready. He also said that if they were able to fix it from the phone company they wouldn't call. If a tech had to come out they would. So around 10:00 I called since they hadn't just to make sure they didn't think it was fixed. We needed to leave in the morning and nobody would be there this week to straighten it out. Got another Indian dude who said no, man, nobody could come out until Monday. Well 30 seconds after I hung up with him, a local guy (not Indian) called and said he was sending a tech out. A couple hours later a tech came out. Turns out they gave him the wrong circuit. So he went back to the phone company and had it fixed in half an hour. But there were a few more calls to a few more Indians (but I think they were Canadian -- one of them said he went to Goshen college up by South Bend) to get her dialup account transferred to a Verizon DSL account. So it was all done by evening.

Aaaand we had a fairly uneventful trip back here.

We went to Kristin's basketball game last night -- she's coaching again this year. It was probably the best game we've seen them play. They won 36-33, and played hard to do it. (here she is, coaching).

We met Brian at the door by chance, so it was a family affair.

And not that anyone cares, but I just updated the firmware on my camera. Supposedly now I can use the new SD HC cards. And maybe gained some speed in autofocusing. Hopfully they addressed some battery meter issues as well.

Brian and Kristin and Kevin will be over for Thanksgiving... a holiday I like about as much as I like Christmas (which is quite a bit) and it's always better with people around. Sam's invited, too -- but we'll probably have to twist his arm.

And with that, I'll sign off. I'll try to be better in the coming weeks about regular postings.