I flew into Cleveland on Tuesday, in an attempt to avoid the weather that was forecasted for Wednesday. It came on Tuesday, after all, and got sunny and beautiful from Wednesday on. Go figure.
Julia, Rachel, and I spent a nice couple of days in Cleveland, enjoying the diversions available there. We went to the Great Lakes Science Museum, and the Case Western Reserve Neighborhood. We drove the two hours into Pittsburgh yesterday, and met up with everyone before, during, and after the rehearsal, last night.
The result of the "after," part was that we all drank a little too much, including a patented Kelly Family hotel party that didn't end until an angry call came from the front desk.
My brother gets married today, and I'm trying to get him out of his hangover enough to treat him to a last meal. We'll see.
What with Hurricane Katrina completely devastating the gulf coast, the 35th ID(the unit I support at work) has been activated and sent down there, at least until the end of the year. The folks down there need all the help they can get, but this means that I will have basically nothing to do, for work, for a long long time. With this in mind, I have been programming my fingers off, culminating in the signing off by the higher-ups of an application I wrote, for general use within the program.
I am really glad that I have plenty of programming work to do, because I don't know what I'd be doing, otherwise. One good side of this, however, is that I can do pretty much everything from home. Indeed, programming web applications over the internet is much easier to do from home than from the National Guard-restricted and slowed office connection I have at work. With gas prices tickling three dollars a gallon, I have no problem with removing a 70-mile round-trip commute from my day, either.
This is actually a very nice situation for the oncoming beer season, with some of the tastiest seasonals of the year, and easily the nicest weather of the year. Bob's '47 is on tap at a couple places in town now. Yum!
I spotted this on Ars today.
That, however, is about where my enthusiasm for Windows Vista ends. The more I hear about it, the less I like what I hear. One central facet of the upcoming release is the incorporation of Digital Rights Management, or DRM, into almost all of the "media"-centric programs. I think that's awful, but it exists today, in hugely popular programs like Windows Media Player and iTunes. However, today, users can use use any media software they want to use.
The difference with Vista, I fear, is that in the name of DRM, the use of other applications will be made very difficult, maybe even impossible. This, I predict(and I sorely hope I'm wrong), will come with an admonition from Microsoft, backed by assurance and funding from the MPAA and the RIAA, saying that DRM(They won't say DRM. They'll call it "Certified Computing" or something similarly fuzzy.) is for your protection, as "untrusted" files(viral programs like- GASP -alternatives to system-installed media programs) are generally dangerous and made by people that are out to get you.
The truth is that said "untrusted" files, by getting people to stop using Microsoft's preinstalled programs, are against Microsoft's best interest, not yours. A captive audience is the best kind, and hundreds of millions around the world are captives of Microsoft's operating systems, by way of making their own programs integral to everyday use. It's easy to change to better alternatives, but that doesn't occur to most people. I predict that with Vista, they will take it one step further, and eliminate the user's ability to avoid Microsoft software, all in the feigned name of safety, and to the unprecedented benefit of Microsoft.
I predict that the underlying code of Windows Vista will eliminate competition against itself, except in a few cases, in which deals are made with other large software companies.
I know it sounds bleak, but that is the future we are crafting for ourselves, by allowing- indeed encouraging -our freedom to be sucked away, and whisked up by large companies that have filled out the forms correctly.
I still haven't found a roommate, and had to pay for September's rent in full, myself, and also won't have anyone with whom to split this month's utility bills. I've entered all this stuff into my ledger, and I can afford it, but not a whole lot else. At least not for a while. It will take until early next month for my paychecks to outrun my expenses, under my "no-roommate" setup. I will experience immediate relief, however, if/when I find someone with whom to split expenses and rent.
I'm surprised that people aren't more excited about getting into a place like this. It's a fantastic apartment, in a great location, and I'm super-cool. It just doesn't make any sense.
It's also kind of depressing to live alone. It reminds me too much of my lonely first year in KC.
Kickball for this week, predictably, was cancelled due to torrential rain, the previous night. Through an email tete-a-tete, a group of ballers got together at the field to play anyway, unofficially. We assembled at 6:30, but never quite got past sitting around drinking beer on the bleachers. It seemed that cancelling kickball was a good idea, as there were numerous pools of rank standing water, throughout the pitted infield. Eight of us stood around until after sunset, drinking beer, and basically being inconsiderate.
After that, we headed to the Quaff(my favorite!) for drinks and foosball. Carrie, happy with being able to pee in a building, as opposed to the plastic thrones at the ballfield, assisted me in ruining Eric and Erp at foos.
It was a fun evening.
Also, the new Franz Ferdinand album rocks me violently. Go and get thee some.
Upon my recent discovery of a really cool web technology called Citadel, I have decided that instead of doing anything useful or noble with it, I could just put together an open forum for anyone who pleases to come and waste time. This is particluarly applicable during the workday.
You may find the site linked from the left menu, or you may enter it yourself, at bitch.bahua.com.
I went to Peoria, this past weekend, for the "at-home" wedding reception for Brian and Kathleen. It was lovely. I played bartender for about an hour and a half, and knocked 'em dead. I took the train out of KC on Friday morning, and enjoyed a time savings of two hours by doing so, instead of driving. While onboard, to busied myself napping, listening to music, reading, and staring at the rising and falling power lines, as they streaked past at 90 MPH.
I got back to KC last night, and to get home from Union Station, rode the MAX for the first time. It was much faster than I thought it'd be, but then again, it was 11pm on a Sunday. Equipped, I think, with a more powerful engine that its normal-bus counterparts, the bus powered ahead of what little traffic there was, with acceleration greater than my old Galant. That's not really a fair comparison, because that car wasn't excellent.
I am working from home again, this week, working, as ever, on perl-based web applications.
Besides there being new episodes on Bittorrent for Lost, Arrested Development, and the Family Guy, this week also brought into the world another win for my illustrious kickball team, the Misfotunate Stain. I know it's a dumb name. I voted against it. I scored a run by sliding into home, and taking a thrown kickball to the face, which, since it's above the shoulders, doesn't count as an out. Since it was a late game, we wound up just going home afterwards, eschewing the irresponsible night on the town that we used to get down on.
As work is concerned, it's still very slow, and I have been doing whatever I can to get ready for the upcoming conference in Orlando, working to get the monthly report application I'm writing completely converted to perl. I'd also like to get some more feature improvements that have been rattling around in my head working, too. I hope I have time.
Last night, I went to Lawrence with Geoff and Erp, to see Franz Ferdinand play their instruments, and basically put on an old-fashioned rock show. It was incredible. The lead guitarist was the cockiest looking guy I have ever seen on stage. What a bunch of rockers.