Breathing Room

Work finally slowed down this week, and I am catching up on things (at work, I mean) that I had to put on the back burner for a while.

I am simultaenously trying to steel myself for another onslaught that is sure to come.

Haven’t been much with the blog this week, mostly due to visits and TV. I watched the third season of Arrested Development early in the week, and it is really unfortunate that that show was forced off the air. It was brilliantly hilarious, and they succeeded in sewing up all its loose ends down the stretch. If you haven’t seen this show, I definitely encourage you to take a look on DVD…

Michelle came up on Monday night and we watched Garden State. I think it is one of her new favorite movies. We also ordered out for Chinese, and Michelle had such a good time on the phone making the order, they almost hung up on her. You’ll have to ask her about that story.

Wednesday I was down in MKE, hooking up a desktop computer at Michelle’s, since her aging iBook is just not a practical computing solution any longer. I lent her a P-III 733 running Ubuntu. I think she’s going to adapt to this new OS very quickly. Michelle’s computing needs are fairly straightforward, and there doesn’t seem to be anything she does that Linux can’t handle. So it’s all good.

Last night, I hooked up with Devin at Peabody’s to watch the Brewers game. Not sure if it was a great game for the Crew, or a hopelessly shitty game for the Cards, but either way, it was a win. My favorite moment in the game was in (I believe) the 4th inning. Tony Gwynn Jr. hit a grounder to first with 2 outs and nobody on. The St. Louis infield sort of lolly-gagged on the play, fully expecting the inning to be over, but little Tony shot up the line like a rocket and BEAT THE THROW. It was pretty awesome.

Don’t have much happening as far as “plans for the weekend,” so let me know what’s up.

Twin Cities be aware: I will be visiting in 2 weeks…

Soloshootsfirst: despising iTunes and all it stands for since 2003

I really have no idea why I did it, but I downloaded the new version of iTunes on my computer at work today. Honestly, the biggest reason was that I wanted to remind myself why I don’t use iTunes (typically, it’s the memory-sucking, vs. the relatively low consumption of Winamp).

But I loaded the modest collection of music that I’ve compiled on this computer into the ‘Library,’ and promptly didn’t like the way it was indexed (combined with the old list, and some things doubled-up for some reason, etc.). I decided I would flush it out and start over.

Well, I’ll have you know that iTunes 7 is a lying sack of shit. When I selected everything in my ‘Library’ and hit delete, it asked if I wanted to delete the files, noting that this command would only affect those that were in the ‘iTunes Music folder.’ I don’t keep anything in the iTunes music folder, so I said, “yeah, whatever, just empty the damn library.”

Apparently what iTunes considers to be the ‘iTunes music folder’ is ‘every folder on, in, attached to, or nearby this computer,’ because what it did is erase all those files, leaving me only with now-useless .m3u files, like a plate of breadcrumbs on my harddrive.


I might just bring the external hard drive back in to work to replace the items in question. One thing is certain, though: I am not letting iTunes anywhere near my music.

Don't Tell the Landlord

I had a guest this weekend. Michelle’s dog, Snoopy stayed over here while Michelle and her mom are having a weekend ‘vacation’ of sorts here in the Fox Valley…

Last night, I went out to dinner with Joe and April at the Gardenview in Oshkosh. They commented on how none of the other diners were under age 55, and that is certainly true when you visit the Gardenview. But the fish was decent.

After that, I went with them over to Scott and Tracy’s house (friends of theirs) and did a little troubleshooting on Scott’s new router/network. It was hard to do because he’s working with some really old hardware (and software). I don’t really remember how/why Windows 98 works at all… So I gave them an upgrade CD for Windows 2000, at least.

We had to come back to my house to meet Michelle, Mom, and the dog, and then Lorch came over, too. We hung around the house, threw the longest game of darts ever, and played Michelle’s “Table Topics” game. I guess it’s really not so much a game as it is a… what does Amazon call it here? Eh, it’s a set of cards with interesting questions on them, I guess. We had some fun talking about those things. And making fun of some of the questions.

Writing all these sentence fragments is OK, too.

I just got the email that said Milwaukee beat San Fran again, by scoring double-digit runs, again. I am really hoping that Geoff Jenkins has provided some schmuck of another team’s GM with enough of a glimmer of hope that they’d be willing to trade for him this off-season. God, I hope the Crew gets ANYTHING for that guy. It’s sad, but seriously– I’ve had a hard time believing they stuck with him this long.

I don’t remember if I mentioned this earlier in the week or not, but I set up a Linux box for Michelle to use until she can afford to get a new computer in the spring. I dressed it up to look like Mac OS so she would feel right at home. I liked it well enough that I did the same thing on mine.

I also watched Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back this evening– the original cuts, ripped from the laserdiscs. Snoopy enjoyed them as well and has decided to be Yoda for Halloween. I think the picture helped. I might end up getting those damn re-release DVDs, though, if they’ve cleaned up the negative, etc. I would definitely wait for them to go on ‘used’ sale at Hollywood or something.

Some Morning Observations

A couple things from my walk to work this morning:
1. The thing I’m looking forward to about this winter is having my car in a garage.
2. Why would anyone want to live less than 3 blocks from campus with a baby?
3. Dude– it’s not my fault you have to cut the grass when it’s 40 degrees out, so enough with the dirty looks.
4. Young female student gossips about a friend’s wardrobe choices while walking down the sidewalk in her pajamas.
5. Yeah, I sure do hope that WI manages to vote down the Gay Hatred Amendment in November…

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I walked out the building today and I had to cinch up my jacket, what with a stiff breeze blowing across the campus.

I don’t know if it’s just the warm memories from college days past or what, but on days like this, the first couple that really feel like fall, I tend to want to be in our state’s capital, milling around state street and the surrounding territory.

I wonder if I could still get away with parking in the lot on Gorham…

The Bastards, and The Grinding and Whatnot

It seems to me that one of the things that makes this job so frustrating is that you try your best to explain things to people, to sincerely help folks out, and for whatever reason, despite your best efforts, they still just don’t get it.

You begin to doubt yourself on some level, because you try and try, but it still feels like you’re pounding your head against a brick wall. You start to look inward for your own failings, because theirs seem so complete and universal.

As a consequence, little victories (like a student successfully following your instructions on the first try) end up feeling like reason enough to pop open the champagne.

  • sighs*

Back to it…

Senator Coffee (?)

… I was trying to think of a title better than “Mr.” for Mr. Coffee. I was going to go with “Dr.”, but that seemed too easy.

I got a new coffeemaker yesterday. It’s pretty sweet. I decided I wanted to start over in my coffee life with something that was clean, neat, and in which I would only use filtered water.

Oh yeah, I got one of them water filter pitchers, too. I was actually kinda surprised how much better it makes the Oshkosh water taste. So like I was saying, this is my new plan. Better tasting water, better tasting coffee, carafe that I can’t possibly break, but which could conceivably break Wordy’s skull (if you hit him hard enough). And it’s definitely working so far…

My working Friday was decent, btw. Had some time to get things done besides see or call students back, so it was a nice reprieve.

In the evening on Friday, I was going to do some laundry, but I got started on that pretty late, and I wound up just sorting, going on a little shopping trip, talking to Josh on the phone, and doing dishes. Helluva start to the weekend.

Speaking of Josh, he predicts a larger number of the NFL games each Thursday. But me, I’m still only concerned about the Packers (and just mildly so), so that’s the only predicition you’re going to get. I say it’s going to be Green Bay 10, New Orleans 17.

Back to this surprisingly good-tasting coffee…


Today was a very fast day at work. That suited me just fine. I worked straight through lunch without even really noticing. We had a sort of “day off” from the kids coming in, seeing as there was a bunch of money to disburse.

Holy living balls my job is boring. I can’t believe I started this post with that many words about it.

Yesterday, I attended a meeting for the English master’s students. It was an orientation of sorts, and I found it fairly useful, since there were topics brought up that I hadn’t thought about before. It made me really want to get started on getting done with school. By the evening, though, I was a little worn out, and stopped thinking of it very much.

One thing that I think is funny about being a grad program coordinator– apparently, your first act in that position has to be to go on sabattical for a year. The program coordinator at MSU did it, Jeannie Grant-Moore? did it, and now Margaret Hostetler. I don’t really hold it against any of them, I just think it’s funny. “Hi, I’m the new program coordinator. No, I won’t be here this year, you’ll need to talk to this other person…”

So whatever.

I’m working on getting a new Linux desktop system working here at home. I will say this about it to start: easiest one that I’ve worked with so far, and my computer actually seems to be running a little faster. That may just be me imagining things, but whatever…

My three leading problems that I need to work on with it:
– Get networking to work the way I want it to. (I would like my server shares permanently mounted at login)
– Get the damn network printer to work (this is apparently “a snap” for most people, but for me it’s a problem)
– Get all the various media filetypes to work (your .mov’s, .wmv’s, .ra’s, etc.)

I came across a thread in a support forum where someone got on and said, “Eh, Linux sucks. I have Windows, what do I need this for?” And I think there’s an extent to which he has a point. For average users, Windows has everything, it’s exceedingly easy, and pretty much available.

My issue is that Vista will be making XP obsolete within the next year, and I do not have plans to really ever buy another system with Windows pre-installed, if I can avoid it. I figure that if I learn enough about Linux, I will come to prefer it. The switch is hard, though. I’ve had a lot of starts and stops, usually predecated by something really basic that I absolutely need to do becoming difficult in Linux for no apparent reason (like losing the ability to write to a server share, for example). I’ve avoided that thus far with Ubuntu, so this seems to be a good candidate…

I think I’m going to call Michelle. You have a good evening/day. Whenever you read this.

And We're Off Again

Went to a meeting this afternoon for the Wisconsin Review. I was adequately satisfied with the way the magazine turned out during the brief time that I was one of its two heads. I think that the newly reigning editors will do better work just because, unlike Marie and I, they do not have full-time jobs competing with their time. Granted, they have more classwork, but…

Today was considerably slower at work than last week. I had time to breathe between students, and even got some shit cleaned up on my desk. I did, however, get more voicemails from unhappy people. Money is a pisser. That’s all I can say about that.

Let me see, how ’bout a summary of the past weekend? It was fine, all around. Had a good time at Joey & April’s “reception-sort-of-party-deal.” There was good food, good people, and karaoke. How can you go wrong?

I did have an experience, though, that makes me think the odds of attending my high school reunion next year are dropping– I saw Luke Schulta for the first time since… probably graduation, but it was a little awkward to say the least. Maybe I just need to figure out how to talk to people that I used to know but just never see any more. I asked how things in his life were, and they seem fairly normal. I guess everyone does it without thinking about it, but you ask these questions more out of curiosity than sincere interest, y’know? Speaking of the reunion, I think I could just get a written update on all those people, and that would more than suffice for me. I’m just not that interested in seeing or talking with them. I don’t expect them to be that interested in me, either.

For some reason, I have a real problem typing “interested” instead of “interesting.” I don’t know why that is, but I had to backspace over the -ing every time in that last paragraph.

Meanwhile, I think I want a little TV in my bedroom. Is that sick, or what?