We moved yesterday. We're in the new place now, and have an austere set of things unpacked and ready to use. I promised myself that one of the first things unpacked and ready to use would be my computer, along with the network setup, but there's far too much stuff in the way of where I want things to be. So, once I got my desk put back together(with some much-appreciated help from Jeff), I just grabbed my work laptop and a wireless card. Luckily, and since this is downtown after all, there are many unsecured wireless networks to choose from.
We started moving at about 10am yesterday, and it took until about sunset to finish. The new place is on the first floor, with the high windows level with the sidewalk. This means that the great majority of the startling number of large boxes we packed entered through the screen-less windows, rather than the door.
Even though we had lots of greatly appreciated help from Jeff's parents, Chris, and Cole, it was exhausting in a way that still amazes me. By 5 or 6pm, everybody ached, especially in their legs and feet. Jeff's parents have a trailer that was an absolute lifesaver. But even with that, it still took us at least six trips with it fully loaded down with accumulations of stuff that we didn't know we had.
The weatherman assured us that we'd be moving with torrential rain sopping down everything we own, frantically running back and forth between the back of the trailer and various places. However, the weatherman apparently needed to consult his nexrad doppler radar 7000 a little more closely, because the weather was perfect. The sun was out for a good part of the day, and the temperature hung in the 60s all day. One time, early on, I got a couple sprinkles on my windshield on one of the many trips between the apartment and the condo. But otherwise, the only weather to speak of was wind.
I don't know what time it was when I went to bed last night. I wasn't really paying attention. But I don't think it was any later than 10pm. I stirred at 5am for a call of nature, and found that I was wide awake. I even lay in bed afterward, trying to get back to sleep, but I couldn't keep my eyes closed.
It's all sinking in now, that I'm a homeowner. At the moment though, I own a gigantic mess. We have a lot of work to do today.
Moving: The Continuing Saga
We spent Sunday morning unloading boxes, and making on-the-fly decisions about where certain kitchenwares should go. It's boring, tedious work. After that, we got in Jeff's car and made the long drive out to his parents' house in Blue Springs, where we picked up the trailer with which they helped us move. We then drove it all the way down to near 143rd and Quivira, where we picked up some laundry machines, and brought them back downtown. We hauled them inside, and set them awkwardly just inside the door. Jeff took the trailer back to his parents' house, while I set to the annoying task of setting up the network.
It was a mishmash of moving furniture, locating important items(power and network cables, the router, the cable modem, tools), kneeling and crouching uncomfortably, unscrewing electrical fixtures, getting shocked by said fixtures, gouging holes into said fixtures, threading cable through the wall, and cursing silently. In the end, the "aybabtu" wireless access point came online without any real trouble, and I set to the even more annoying tasks of setting up my PC, linux machine, and stereo.
After a full day working on things, the apartment looks much more like a residence now, and less like a stolen-goods warehouse. We still have a lot of work to do, and with no work tomorrow until 9pm, I have my work cut out for me.
9:53 PM, Apr 2, 2007
For tonight, tomorrow night, and the night after that, I am working from 9pm to 5am. In the world of financial transactions, this period of time is referred to as "Quarter End." Lots of periodical batch processing goes on, and now more than ever, our servers get hit with heavy loads of traffic and activity. As a sign of good will and customer service, our management has promised for us to more important people that we will be bodily in the building, ready to respond to problems at a moment's notice.
Seeing as the time I'm here is quite literally the middle of the night, there's very little to do except keep monitoring screens up, check back on them on occasion, and take over the oncall responsibilities. As incredibly demanding as this sounds, it actually affords me some free time. I have already watched an episode on TNG, in addition to having responded to a handful of actual issues.
I still have six hours left in here. Joy of joys.
2:59 AM, Apr 4, 2007
It's my second night doing the quarter-end monitoring. I managed to get a day's worth of sleep today, thus shifting my agony away for a bit. It's 4:00 in the morning, and I'm sitting quietly in the war room, watching nothing happen. There are three other people in here, and they apparently need noise to stay awake and alert. They are all mainframe people, which means they're old. One could draw the conclusion by going the other way too. They're old, which means they're most likely mainframe people.
Anyway, being old, they have daytime obligations like children, large cars, clothes shopping, or something else similarly unlikely that someone young would have. In whatever case, I'm guessing they were only able to get a couple hours' sleep. Therefore, they need things to keep them awake.
I would love to read a bit, or watch some of these TNG episodes I have on my hard drive, but the volume is turned all the way up for a movie that's being played on the big screen.
One hour left.
12:20 PM, Apr 6, 2007
I have some great friends here in Kansas City. I have been talking with a lot of them on the phone, or more often over IM, and everyone seems excited to see the new place. I'm looking forward to having everyone over warm this place. It certainly could use some warming too. We moved in just as the awesome spell of warm weather of late March was ending, and now it's frigging freezing in early April. We're expecting record low temperatures, this weekend. That translates to a very cold apartment with concrete floors, walls, and ceilings. Running the heat to combat the cold does work, but I fear that heating 1460 square feet is going to be pretty expensive.
Anyway, the best facilitator and catalyst for forging and maintaining friendships in Kansas City started up again for the year last night. We had our first kickball game! We moved to the Thursday night league because it was better for people's schedules, and fortunately for us, it's the recreational league. Wednesday night, when we've always played before, is a competitive league. Because of this, we only pulled off one win in both of the seasons we played in it last year.
Last night, we played a team that has never played before, and won! The final score was 2 to 1. They were very good sports, but I think were kind of taken aback by our antics. I guess they weren't expecting silly music to be played as each person walked to the plate. Their catcher asked Erp what company we were with. I suppose Erp surprised her when he said that we're all just a group of friends.
We celebrated the victory with a run down to Grinders, and then Chris(who had joined us by this time) and I went to Harry's for a nightcap. It was an excellent night.
Google Maps Wins . . . again
A couple days ago, Google added a really cool feature to their already peerless maps application. Logged-in users can now create and edit their own maps. When I discovered this new functionality, I promptly made a map of all my favorite bars, the places I've visited, the places where I've worked, and more. It's really fascinating!
Ladies and Lists
Hello. Welcome back. Your Easter went well, I trust? Excellent. I had a chicken-potato-sourcream-cheese burrito for my Easter dinner. It was delectable. Chris and I went to Lowe's(meh) on Saturday and picked up a new toilet for my bathroom. On Sunday, Jeff and I went to Home Depot(meh) and picked up a shelving unit for our makeshift open-air pantry.
Otherwise, my weekend was unremarkable. I completed my first daytime commute to the office from the new place today. As I was closing my door, I heard an errant alarm clock sounding its deathly-annoying beep through my neighbor's door. Without realizing it, I rather conspicuously stuck my head sideways against my next-door neighbor's door. This illicited a chuckle from the direction of the elevator, where an unfairly beautiful woman was standing. I live down one flight of stairs from the door of the building, so I don't usually use the elevator unless I'm carrying something heavy. This however, seemed to be an extenuating circumstance, so I walked to the elevator and had a pleasant yet awkward conversation with the beautiful woman, whose name turned out to be Sarah. It was a nice Monday morning.
I've been able to cross off some items in the list below, and get a bunch of work done on top of that. Also, I gave myself gas today for eating a 10-oz burger at the Flea Market, washing it down with a Bully! Porter.
I did my laundry tonight. The last load is in the dryer now. I'm very happy with the laundry machines I bought through a popular web site for a grand total of $200. Their cabins, or whatever you call the inside of a washing machine or dryer, hold far more contents than any units I have used before. My elation with the deal I got was amplified when Jeff and I were at Home Depot this weekend, when I saw that a smaller, shinier set cost a full $2100 more than what I paid.
Seriously, what possesses people to spend this kind of money on something that in most cases, they don't need at all? Laundry machines are tools- nothing more. It's not a sports car, a diamond necklace, or a big-screen TV. You don't show off your laundry machines to visitors. You keep them in the basement, specifically to keep them out of view. It's like a furnace or a water heater. So facing the fact that they're purely objects of utility, why drop a zillion dollars to replace something that works perfectly well?
Never mind. I'm still getting over the great deal I apparently got, though it seems that there are almost always good deals to be had on used laundry machines, since people are constantly replacing them with new ones for jaw-dropping prices. I wouldn't have mine if not for some folks in Overland Park getting that inexplicable impulse to replace that which does not need replacing.
Pictures of the New Place
People have been badgering me for pictures of the place where I just moved. So, I went and took a bunch of pictures. Then, when they were developed, I didn't like how they looked, especially with the lighting. So, unwilling to dig up my tripod, I took a video instead. In so doing, I have joined the 20th century, and then have gone ahead and joined the 21st century too. So, without further ado, I present the first inline video ever on bahua dot com. You can download it too, if you wish, but bear in mind it's over 178MB in size. Note the fully audible breathing, as I hold the camera too close to my allergically stuffed-up face.
Linux and Foos
I got home from work last night after talking with Matt on IM for a good deal of the day. He apparently needed some help with his computer, running a version of GNU/Linux that I used to use. He was a while in being ready, so Jeff and I drank beer and watched two movies: Air Force One and Tron. At around ten or so, Matt arrived, and we gave him the grand tour. Since he's an avid cyclist and proponent of urban living, he almost never drives. But he had just been to the store to stock up on a full carload of stuff, so we drove the quarter mile or so to his place.
I wasn't able to help with his computer, and his ergonomic keyboard was impossible for me to use. I personally have found that with Gentoo in particular, sometimes things just break themselves, and the damage is effectively irreparable, since the system's default package manager seems incapable of fixing the problem. We were drinking beers, and steadily degenerating the evening into just a bunch of websites and videos when there came a knock on the door.
One of Matt's neighbors had imbibed some liquid courage and heard us talking through the walls. So he sauntered over and invited us to come over and hang out. We wound up playing foosball and basketball at his place until almost four in the morning. It was a strange, unexpected night.
A Downtown for Douchebags
I attended a scheduled happy hour last night at Dos Hombres in the River Market. It was arranged by the Downtown Neighborhood Association, with whom my friend Matt is patiently affiliated. I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't what I saw. I got off work, came home, changed out of my work clothes into comfortable clothes, including shorts, and walked the half mile over to the River Market.
The first surprising thing I saw was a shocking abundance of parked cars, many of which were emptying out single passengers bound for Dos Hombres. I didn't even think about walking over. It's just what you do when you live downtown. I leave my car at home almost all the time. Apparently, I was relatively unique in thinking that a 70-degree day would be a popular day for downtown residents to walk over to the River Market. I was unpleasantly surprised when I heard people complaining about the parking.
My surprises didn't end there. I walked into the bar and was so stunned that I bumped into someone's chair. Everyone was not only well-dressed, but beautiful, and apparently successful. Almost everyone was white. I made my way to the back room, and came across two people I knew- Nick and Matt, and engaged in awkward conversation with some strangers.
I usually feel out of place when I go out. I actually like it. But even so, last night was singularly uncomfortable. A guy in a suit, clutching a margarita, stood on a chair to address the assembled crowd. I liked the irony of this very much. I stopped enjoying the situation though, when he started talking. He talked about the billions of dollars that are being invested in downtown, and how the new arena and entertainment district are currently being built in place of what was once an unfavorable area. I definitely agreed with this, but for different reasons than the elaboration he offered.
I always considered it a dead zone because it was filled with a bunch of vacant lots, surface parking lots, a smattering of derelict buildings, and a couple decent bars. The guy elaborated that what was there before the wrecking ball dropped was a couple of strip clubs and seedy bars. I didn't really consider that much of a reason to demolish the amount of space they did, but judging by the nods of assent, chuckles, and outright cheers around me, I was likely alone with this opinion. He went on to talk about how the Downtown Council was working to make downtown a safer place, increasing the police presence, passing useless laws to outlaw pandhandling(an inadvertently outlawing street performance of any kind), and employing more second-chance people in yellow jackets to pick up garbage.
He didn't seem very interested in making downtown a great place to live, work, and play. He seemed much more interested in catering to the folks that want to increase the value of their property. Such goals are dangerous, in my opinion. Working to make a neighborhood exciting(with bars, restaurants, shops, residences, and places of business) is a much better goal, in my opinion, and it'll serve to increase property values anyway. I think working with the singular goal of increasing property values lends itself to encouraging short-term real estate speculators, the bane of long-term neighborhood values, that don't care a whit about downtown. They just want to buy low, get a 5-year ARM, make their money, and increase the lending risk for suckers like me that actually care about downtown, and want to see it become and stay a great neighborhood.
Anyway, the public speaking segment of the event kind of disgusted me. I have recently bought and moved into a downtown condo, so I suppose I'm one of the property owners after whom these people seem to be toading up, but the whole thing made me think that renters probably wouldn't even be welcome, since they're not directly financially invested in downtown. Just before my big purchase, I rented a great place over in Quality Hill for over three years, so I guess the, "renters are people too," rhetoric is still fresh in my mind.
What I heard the speakers saying all seemed to smack of blatant commercial elitism. I'd had enough, and it was a little crowded for my taste too. Nick and I left, and spent the rest of the evening enjoying downtown the way we like: around a table at Grinders, drinking good beer and talking about whatever often banal, seldom intellectual topics might materialize. I didn't see anyone else from Dos Hombres there.
10:47 PM, Apr 20, 2007
In eleven hours, I'll be on a bus heading toward Waldo for the second annual KCATA Pubcrawl. I don't quite know what to expect, since the attendees have been finicky to say the least. I do know that Jeff will be screwing things up, and has persuaded a couple of people to follow him in said screwings, by taking his bike along. This means that as the day wears on, he'll just disappear to go and bike around, again, pulling people with him, away from the crawl. I told him I thought it was a very bad idea, and that I wish he wouldn't do it, but he's not listening, and he's not relenting on pulling people I invited away from the crawl that I arranged. I feel kind of betrayed.
Even with the crawl being divided into two tomorrow(one on buses, and one on fleeting bikes), I'm still very excited about it. Probably more excited than any day yet this year: including the day I became a homeowner. The KCATA Pubcrawl is a brilliant(if I do say so, myself) way to see Kansas City, have fun, and pace out something that would be a huge drunkfest into something in which everyone stays composed enough to really enjoy themselves and remember it. Plus, the forecast calls for a high of 77 degrees tomorrow, and "partly sunny." In KC, that means, "sunny."
Everyone that wants to go will be meeting up at 11am for lunch and round one. I need to think of some locations to stop along the way- locations that'll satisfy the people that came last year, and that'll still be entertaining to the newcomers. I'm charging up my camera, looking for the crawlbook that we kept last year, and wondering just how good this is going to be. See you on the other end. It's now time to shove off for a leisurely, yet full night's sleep.
20 people. 12 Bars. Waldo Pizza, Bobby Baker's Lounge, Sharp's, Jardine's, The Embassy, Bar Natasha, Zoo Bar, 12Baltimore, Cafe Al Dente, Harry's Country Club, The Red Front, and The Stables made up the worthy string of locations over a period of over 14 hours yesterday. I would say the Second Annual KCATA Pubcrawl was a smashing success. Pictures forthcoming.
Where Am I?
I need to change something, but I don't know what it is. My overarching motif lately has been change, perhaps out of a subconscious desire to enact it in my life. I recently have gone through a series of major changes, improvements, and accomplishments. I became a homeowner this month. About six months ago I started a new job that's closer to what I want to do than anything I've done in years. For the first time in my life, I'm actually on top of my finances. I recently decided to stop being a god-damned coward, and started asking women out when I wanted. I'm batting .000 at that so far, but at least I'm trying. I recently vented about fratties and jackasses taking over the world, and received praise from a number of directions. So I know I must be doing something right.
Yet none of it seems to be enough. It doesn't matter what steps I take to make myself happier, or at least content, I still feel the same. I'm excited by everything around me, and I love keeping things exciting, but it all feels fleeting. Like I imagine it must be like to be a chemical dependent, except that nothing I do really does anything for me. I don't feel especially compelled to keep doing anything. Don't get me wrong- I don't feel sad. I just feel like there's something I should be doing. Like there's something I'm missing.
I can't really explain it. It feels to me like everyone else is content with their goals and wants, or at least content enough in their pursuit. But something inside me furiously says that these people are idiots, that their goals are lame and unexciting. Or maybe it's just me feeling jealous of their content routines. Jealous of their contentment. Jealous of their complacency. I talk to my friends, and find their stories boring, and find my responses even more boring. I feel exhausted, but I'm not exerting myself.
I feel restless. I feel like dropping everything and leaving, to nowhere in particular. I feel like saying all the things I've always wanted to say to all the women to whom I've been afraid to say it. I feel like being totally honest in every situation, and laying myself bare to people's judgement, if for no other reason but to feel the sting of their disapproval, or the warmth of their acceptance. Maybe I need Jesus, maybe I need elocution lessons, maybe I need to be more articulate, and say the brilliant things I occasionally think. I need something.
In any case, I'm going for a run tonight, rain or shine.
Talking vs. Thinking
I talk to myself all the time. Especially while I'm getting ready in the morning.
"I'm not getting up yet."
"Nice work, you boob. Try getting some more water on the floor."
"I have time."
"This shower is over!"
"I wore that yesterday."
"I need to fold my laundry."
"Watch, wallet, phone, badge, keys."
And so on. Until recently, I considered this, left unchecked, prelude to schizophrenia- something to avoid. Now I'm not so sure. This morning, I woke up for a call of nature twenty minutes before my alarm went off, and sat there resolutely keeping my mouth closed. The thing is, I still have the same conversations with myself without vocalizing them. So it seems to me that the only reason I have to keep from talking to myself is to avoid freaking out my roommate. And I think it's probably too late to avoid that now, anyway.
I personally think that I talk to myself because I'm just thinking out loud, and out of a desire for interaction, I want to hear a voice, even my own. Or maybe I'm just insane. That's cool too.
1:23 PM, Apr 26, 2007
My mom died nine years ago today. I had a dream last night about a high school reunion where everybody still treated me like crap, as if we were all still 15 years old. I don't know if either thing has anything to do the other. Mom died at about 1:30am, so ever since, I've usually been asleep at the time of the passage of the anniversary. Last year, I reached over and ripped a bunch of pages out of a book on my nightstand, presumably some time close to 1:30am. I have no memory of it though.
1:29 PM, Apr 27, 2007
Pubcrawl Pictures from 2007
I have finished transferring, renaming, resizing, rotating, uploading, extracting, linking, and captioning the latest set of pictures. The following link feature, when clicked, will change your web-browser's view to that of a display page for the aforementioned set of photographic stills: splorf! Here is an assortment of them:
I just did a minor code update to the backend of the site. The flat files that store the witty, well-timed captions to all my pictures were previously in a colon-delimited format. That means that on each line in each file, the text would read, "PICTURE:CAPTION." One unfortunate thing about that setup was that any captions that had colons in them would be all screwed up. For example, if the caption I originally entered was "Caution: I have a massive motorcycle." it would read, "Caution" on the page when the picture is loaded. It was a frustrating limit that I had been meaning to getting around to fixing, but got around in the meantime by just avoiding using colons in the captions.
I'm about 36 hours into my first week of being on-call at the "new" job, and as such, I need to stay within arm's length of my computer. I was bored this evening, so I decided to convert my content files to a null character-delimited configuration, and after finishing with the work, it would appear now that what I did inadvertently served to fix my biggest complaint about bahua dot com. The pictures load quickly now! I'm not exactly sure what happened, but switching to a null character configuration appears to have eliminated all the slowness.