Suggestions, Anyone?

I have such a long list of things that I should do, but don’t necessarily *have* to do, and I find my mind so often preoccupied with the volume of items on that list, none of them really get knocked off.

I assume this is a problem that a lot of people have (?).

Just for a couple trivial examples: I have loads and loads of music on my server that people have given to me that I’ve never listened to. I have a mess of DVDs that I’ve never watched. I have a mitful of ideas for stories that I’ve never started.

If you care to comment (which you would have to log in to do), I’m curious to hear feedback about how you either:
A) deal with a similar reality in your own life, or
B) have devised a plan of attack for this list.

SIGH. At least I have VNC so I can clean up some files on my laptop at home from work.

Seemingly Unrelated Technologies Will Converge!!!

Read a couple stories this morning via Slashdot, and on the surface, they don’t seem related.

First, there was the tale of Microsoft’s robotics software, and Bill Gates’s assessment that robots would one day be as ubiquitous as personal computers.

Next, I moved on to Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff’s defense of the Real ID Act, from which I gleaned this important paragraph:
Some have argued that the idea of creating more tamperproof IDs is only a marginally better way to screen out those intent on committing terrorist acts because ID cards don’t even begin to tackle a core crime prevention challenge: determining a person’s unspoken intentions.

I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to put the two together– solution to “determining a person’s unspoken intentions”? That’s right: psychic mind-probe robots running Windows Vista Enterprise Edition.

Tick Tick Tick

11 more shopping days until Christmas. If you’re ordering online, you better get done with it immediately.

The holiday shopping season has me a little stressed out this year. I still haven’t bought anything for Michelle, and it took me a while to come up with something for the other people on my list. I also need to come up with the cash to cover my New Year’s party, so there’s another thing that I haven’t even started to worry about yet.

If I didn’t find it so embarrassing, I might show a picture of the shambles which is my apartment right now. I’ve got a lot of cleaning to do over the next couple days; I think Michelle is going to come up for at least a day or two this weekend. And again, there’s the party coming up that’s going to require a thorough house cleaning.

I also looked at my phone the other day and tried to decide for certain if this is the ringer for me for the next two years (at least). I have 15 days from when I activated it to switch to something else, so about 7 or 8 to go. There was another one whose features and benefits I briefly entertained, but I don’t think I switch is likely. Er, well- no. Yeah. Definitely. Probably not.

Hey back on the topic of the New Year for a moment: party is, of course, happening on 12/31, but if you are coming from anywhere out of town for this event (or for something else), I will be around and generally available beginning on Thursday night, 12/28. I have off on Friday (and Saturday, of course). So come on over.

I wonder how class is going this week for the K-Bear? I haven’t heard from him in a while. I should probably give a call. Ditto for the Munsons. All three of ’em.

I have some clocks at my desk that are off by a couple minutes, I think I’ll go synchronize them and then try to finish the shopping…

PS- We won our 2nd basketball game on Monday…

Back on the Wheel

Dance, monkey!! DANCE!!!

I’ve noted the drain in mental capacity just from sitting at this desk in recent days, so the first thing I did when I got to work was make a list of stuff to get done today. Without the list, I can guarantee that the Internets would just devour my day without reason or hesitation. Just so that you’re aware, this blogging IS on the list…

I tried to upgrade my Ubuntu desktop machine last week to the latest version, which turned out to be a critical error. At a certain point, the installation hung, couldn’t recover, and I had to do a clean installation. *shrugs* I guess this was as good a time as any to move some computers around in the house.

Joe had the inside track on some hardware that was being trashed at work, and I actually wound up scavenging a new desktop machine out of the deal. I’ll relegate ol’ Red-Five? to either TV or server duty. Prolly TV. I haven’t decided for sure yet. That thing sure is loud, though. I think it’s probably the gigantic 400-watt power supply. I don’t know what possessed me to get a 400-watt power supply back in Montana. It’s not like I need to run 4 harddrives and dual graphics cards in that thing.

Right, so anyway, I’ve gotta set up that Ubuntu workstation again, and I guess the biggest pain is to re-install all the packages to play DVDs, Flash, java, other proprietary formats, etc. Granted, relative to some other distro’s I’ve worked with, this is SUPER-easy, but it’s just annoying when you had it all done once before, y’know? I should probably image this installation once I get it all finished, so if I break it again, no big deal.

Sorry for the excessive geekitude in this post.

But speaking of that, Joe helped me upgrade tikiwiki (the software that runs this site) over the weekend, too. I’m still messing around w/ the administrator stuff to see what all has changed, but one notable thing that we agreed was pretty sweet: it now has a built-in “mobile version” module. So, y’know, when you’re bored and only have your phone or PDA handy for browsing, you can point it at soloshootsmobile (this link also on the main page).

Other things I did over the weekend:
– went to a birthday party on Friday, I sent a few pics from my phone, so check the Flickr.
– got nearly all my Christmas shopping done from the cozy confines of Nice Ash and the webs.
– watched some of the Packer game. Do not be deceived: the Pack is not back, the San Fran’s were that bad… One fact that you can state about Green Bay, though– they’ve now won more games than last year, so technically I suppose that constitutes “improvement.”

I’m gonna go VNC into my computer @ home now (snort-snort).

Nearly a Wrap

Harry, you should’ve stayed late to get that shot! It’s only the second day of filming, and we’re already two weeks behind!

Another week nearly down, and the shopping season is now in full swing. I am going to try to knock all the shopping out over the weekend. Most of mine will occur on the Internets (i.e., the man’s way to shop), and the rest can probably be accomplished in or around Milwaukee.

I’m headed down tonight after work to meet Michelle and then go to a birthday shindig @ Sarah & Brian’s apartment. It occurs to me that I know a LOT of people who were born in Decmember… or maybe that’s just one of those things where you notice that everyone else on the road is driving your car (?). Not sure.

Joe’s gonna do some computer/server crap with me on Saturday, but I have to be careful not to monopolize too much of his time, cuz he’s got a lot of writing to do.

I should do some writing. Christ.

Last night, I watched Lucky Number Slevin while I was doing some work on a laptop for somebody at work. Dell told her that changing out a hard drive would fix a clearly broken LCD panel. So I changed the drive, anyway, but after she called the support folks back again today, they said they would send someone over to actually fix the mother.

Oh, and that ‘Slevin’ flick wasn’t bad. It was sort of Get Shorty meets Payback on the set of a less complicated Usual Suspects. I think I would have liked it better if they would’ve stuck with the funny and Bruce Willis’s character was more believable. But Josh Hartnett was a smartass, and I laughed. Lucy Liu was cute. I don’t think she can help it.

Oh, then I also wanted to try out the webs via phone, OK? Previous phones that I’ve had weren’t really conducive to the web browsing, but the marketing that all the cell phone companies have on for buying their extra services are working on me, I guess. I wanted to play with some of the Google mobile toys, too.

Well, don’t be fooled, it’s pretty much useless. The Google Maps thing was kind of cool, but I don’t see it being useful enough to justify blowing 5 bucks a month. I guess the nice thing is, if you ever had some sort of dire emergency where you absolutely needed a map immediately and no one could help you over the phone or in person, and you had a digital signal on your phone (this scenario seems extremely unlikely), you can ‘subscribe’ at any time from the handset.

But I paid the 5 bucks so I’ll at least try it out for a month.

Yep.

I started writing this at 9 this morning, and now it’s ten after 4. I guess I had “things going on” today.

Have a good weekend if I don’t see ya. Watch my Flickr link for pics from party, etc., if you’re interested…

And Before All That, There Was a Weekend

Just realized that I never blogged anything on Monday about the weekend…

Michelle came up early(er) on Friday, because she had half a snow day @ work. At this point, I could rant about people getting over anxious about the first major snowfall of the season (roads were clear, and so was the sky by Friday afternoon, but whatever).

I had to go to the doctor on Friday at 3, so I left work a little early, too. We talked about the results of my blood work from earlier in the week. Blood glucose? Goooood. Kidneys? Goooood. Liver? Gooood. Pretty much everything he said was “really great” with the exception of cholesterol, where my total was a bit high (246). My good cholesterol was through the roof, though, I guess – 71 (?). The bad was something like “borderline high” or whatever.

So the doc wants me to watch what I’m eating, exercise more, and come back for blood work again in 4 months. At my request, he also wrote me a prescription for zyrtec.

So after I got back from the doctor, we contemplated going out or something, but we wound up just staying in and actually did some cleaning around the house and stuff. I wasn’t anticipating that Michelle would be in Oshkosh as early as she was, so I had some messes around the place. She also got a call from her friend, Mihn, who is teaching in Japan right now.

On Saturday, I made waffles for breakfast, and we got set to decorate the house. Michelle also had a hair appointment in the afternoon, so while she did that, I went to the laundromat. I ended up saying to myself once again, “dammit, I hate going to the laundromat, but the clothes sure get clean fast…” I did 8 loads of wash (I had let it go for a while) and still got out in 90 minutes.

Our tree dec’ing didn’t go off without a *single* hitch– we were short on lights (one usually ends up being down a string or two a year), so I said we should just head over to Family Dollar on our way to Pick n Save, grab an extra set or 3. I was dismayed to find that the selection of decorations at the ol’ Family buck store this year was shoddy at best. They had oodles and oodles of strings of 20 lights. Who the hell is going to use only 20 lights, anywhere?

We ended up trekking out to Wally World instead, which I dislike just in general. But we did get the grocery shopping done at the same time, so I guess that was a good thing.

Back home, we started on the lights again, and got the three new strings strung, plugged ’em in and one of them didn’t work. Well, it only worked halfway. So we changed the fuse, and that didn’t help, and we changed the other one, still nothing, and I was sort of pissed, since we just bought these, and decided we would need to take them all back in the morning.

In the meantime, the lights still weren’t finished, so we went to Fleet Farm instead.

The Fleety lights worked a lot better, and I think Michelle has been shown the glory of the double-F’s– she said (I swear to God she said this) that she wants to come back and look at clothes at Fleet Farm.* I love her a lot.

We watched White Christmas while hanging the ornaments, as is the tradition. It was a pretty nice little Saturday.

Sunday included less chasing-around drama, but it was also a nice day… Michelle got all sorts of baking done, and I think one thing in particular that was awesome was how we got stuff done during the day, ate dinner at a regular-ish sort of time, and still had the energy and initiative to watch a movie afterwards.**

Look in the ‘Day-to-Day Digital’ in the next 6-12 hours for pictures of our tree (although we won’t be standing next to it; I couldn’t find my camera sitting in plain sight on Sunday). I’m looking forward to the rest of the holiday season, and I’m really glad Michelle and I have each other to do the fun stuff (or even not-as-fun stuff) with…

* – In case you’re not logged in, please note Michelle’s comment: I said I wanted to look at COATS at F&F not Clothes….I did not say clothes! I don’t want people thinking that I am interested in wearing blaze orange for heaven’s sakes!!! -jb

** – We watched Meet Me in St. Louis, which, while entertaining, didn’t seem to have much of a point. So, they don’t wanna move to New York? And then… they don’t? OK, whatever. Judy Garland had funny-looking bangs. But she must’ve been hot back in the day. Can you imagine Judy Garland, circa 1941, comes to the present dressed like Lindsay Lohan? Oh, she’d get work, make no mistake…

I'm 15 All Over Again (but it hurts more)

Last night was my first day played basketball in a Fond du Lac rec league. Kevin asked me to be on a team a few months ago, and I thought it might be fun to play an organized sport again.

Our game was at 7:30 at Theisen Middle School. We got in there and the last game was close to over. It was between a team of 20-somethings (or so) and a team of 40-somethings (or so). The younger men were up by almost 30 points.

I leaned over to Kevin and said, “I just hope we don’t lose by 30.” He shrugged and said, “We might.”

The rest of our team arrived shortly, and we moved over to the opposite end of the bench to get ready. The gym reminded me a lot of my own middle school gym—the building was about 35 years old. When I was a freshman in high school (the last time I played an organized game of basketball), the middle school was our home floor (this was because the JV team played at the same time over at the high school).

Our uniforms wouldn’t be ready until next week, so Kevin brought some black masking tape to paste numbers on. It’s funny because you end up with the easy numbers: 1. 11. 7. 17. I was 9. I almost asked to be 5, just to be an ass.

Our opponent for the evening apparently had a number of Kevin and Dan’s (another teammate) former students on the team. That put their ages anywhere from 10-18 years younger than all of us. (At one point late in the game, I pointed at my shirt and said to Amanda, “‘Nelson Hall, 98-99.’ Most of these kids were in grade school in 98-99…”) I figured it would make for an interesting contest.

My team had never played together before, and a number of us had never met. Well, at least *I* had never met any of them besides Kevin. We definitely hadn’t played together before, and for the most part, it showed. I could tell that we have a number of guys who are smart and know how to play, but it’s a matter of getting in a rhythm and learning how to use each other’s skills.

We wisely played a 2-3 zone defense throughout the game. The kids were a lot quicker than us, but they could not shoot from outside the lane. In the first half, we got beat off the dribble a lot, but down the stretch we settled in on defense, and continued to chip away at the lead early in the second. I think we got it down to six at one point, with about 10 or 12 minutes to go.

Yeah, I guess I could offer my prescriptions for future success. Naturally, we all need to be in better shape. As the game wore on, we wore down and got sloppy at the offensive end. The kids never hit a single outside shot, so I think we held our own defensively. I think that for next week, we need to be able to draw up some simple plays, get into an offensive set, and try our best to execute. We’re gonna have to try to space the floor and give out big guys some room to work around the basket. We’ve got a number of players that are smaller guys and can probably shoot it OK, so just getting a plan together at the offensive end is going to make a big difference.

Individually, I thought I played a pretty poor game. I saved a ball on its way out of bounds at one point, and that was probably my biggest highlight. I did foul a guy on his way to the hoop off a break, but the damn thing went in anyway. I didn’t take a shot, and I had an in-bound pass picked off (although I didn’t let the thief score).

I played around 10 or 12 minutes in the first half, and 6 or so in the second. By the end of the night, I was sucking wind. I came out with around 6 minutes or so to go, and didn’t get back in. It got down to “garbage time” pretty quickly there, and no one needed to come out. I had started, but again, only because we were so disorganized out of the gate.

That reminded me a lot of high school. I started the majority of the games for my freshman team, but really only because Schenkenburg dogged it every day in practice. Then I got sick for a week during the season, and I was pretty much relegated to the bench after that…

And I know it’s just a rec league for old(er) guys, but in your mind you can’t help but make the comparisons to when you were young. I’m going to try to keep the things in mind that completely evaded me when I was in high school: I signed up to do this; it is, after all, a game; and I’ve just got to have fun and do my best. *Shrugs* It’s a long season. We’ll see how it goes.