Category Archives: lists

2013-14, Plan B.


  • Think about whether or not I can or should stay in the apartment where I currently live (certainly could, probably should).
  • Look for a different job in Madison.
  • Look for a different job in Milwaukee.
  • Commit some more time and effort to photography.
  • Finish some actual writing and self-publish it.
  • Get a job (or more than one) as an adjunct instructor somewhere in the area.
  • Choose some schools to apply to for 14-15 much earlier, get applications sent out early in the fall.
  • Plan summer vacations, since I won’t have to worry about relocating in July or August (probably).
  • Plan a spring writing vacation.

Rethinking the Agenda

Had a nice weekend full of baseball, friends, movies, and much-needed housework.  When all was said and (mostly) done, I had a list of about five things that I wanted to accomplish, computer- or website-wise, that were left undone.  I managed to plow through a couple of them (including my first photo uploads to this site in almost a year – check out the Storyhill pics from last Labor Day), but some were only half-finished.  I had to try pretty hard to not be disappointed with myself, even after a nice June weekend.

Clearwater Lake, Deerwood, MN

Not having had a summer like this in over a decade, it’s hard for me to let myself roll with the proverbial punches and take advantage of the nice weather and low-obligation without a plan.  I feel like if I don’t have a list, I’m going to miss out on something I should have been doing.  But, I guess if the last ten years should have taught me anything, it’s that there will always be more time to get your list done.

I took a couple positive steps in the last week that I hope will lead to maximum summer enjoyment: I moved the BryGuy show back to the latest possible part of the evening (we’re starting at 9PM beginning this week), and I set all of the ‘to-do’s’ on my RTM list to be due no earlier than 8PM on any given day.  Moreover, instead of insisting to myself that the tasks on that list get completed on the days I set them due, I opted to be satisfied with a little progress, and a revision of the date and specifics of the goal.

Summer’s too short around here.  I need to make sure I’m enjoying it.

New System

I had an enjoyable weekend in the Greater Twin Cities area, hanging out with Schneider, and taking a morning visit over to the Elko house.

Josh and I had a chance on Saturday night to go see Pirate Radio, which I think both of us enjoyed.  Doesn’t change the fact that I don’t really get to watch a lot of movies anymore, though.

And that’s what my new system is all about.  I have had enough of trying to keep up with what is currently available to see in theaters and trying to shoehorn in an occasion to get there.  No, I will admit that most movies I want to see simply won’t be seen.  That being said, I will now queue them up immediately on Netflix and just hope to get around to them eventually.  Does this system make it more likely that I will see all these movies that I show some passing interest in?  Probably.  Eventually.  The biggest difference is having a convenient place to keep a list.

So how about the Packers yesterday?  While a lot of people in the press around the state seem to be gushing all over themselves, I have to remind people that the game was still extremely sloppy (Packers were lucky they were playing the one team that gets penalized almost as much) and it was 3-0 at halftime.  Am I glad they won?  Of course.  Do I think it means anything in the long run?  Of course not.

How was your weekend?

Basic Installation

One of the little projects I monitored on the computer today while I was doing other things was an install of Windows XP on my desktop computer.  I wanted to be sure that I could do a podcast again some time soon, and I know for sure that the hardware and software support that I need should work with this OS (Windows 7 is kind of wonky with audio mixing on my hardware).

I do have a nice, easy slipstream’d XP-plus-SP3 disc that I can run when I need to do an XP install (used nLite and the tutorial that I read quite some time ago on Lifehacker).  I have it set up so that I don’t have to key in the product key, pick my time zone, tell it who my users are, things like that.  I put in the CD, tell it where to install, and in about 20 minutes it’s pretty much all set.

The only thing lacking is all the other software that you want to have with your “basic” installation.  When I rolled this disc, anyway, there was no means of adding extra (i.e., non-Windows) software to your deployment.  So, I often end up downloading and reinstalling a bunch of stuff anyway.  With that in mind, here is my list of software that I NEED for what I consider “basic functionality” when I do a new Windows installation.

It should be noted that I wrote this with XP in mind, but to my knowledge, nearly all this software works in Win 7, too.

  • Audacity
  • AVG anti-virus
  • DisplayFusion
  • Firefox
  • Image Resizer powertoy
  • Flash player
  • Java
  • Launchy
  • OpenOffice
  • Pidgin
  • cleartype tuner powertoy
  • Skype
  • Tomboy notes
  • VLC
  • WinSCP
  • 7-zip

The good news: seems like the audio shat I need is back to functional.  And I am back to making lunch…

Greatest Hits

Nothing in and of itself particularly bloggable today, but I did run across a few interesting tidbits on the tubes today that you might find interesting in case you missed ’em:

  • I was drawn in by the spectre of New Scientist’s title, “Could the Net Become Self-Aware?” but you should also stay tuned for the rest of their 8-part series.  Interesting stuff…
  • Brett’s gonna come back again.  Oh, yes he will.  But I do think he proved last year that 2007 will gone down as his last great season.
  • Tons of kids staying home from school next week in the metro-Milwaukee area, what with the bacon disease.  Hey, remember when we were kids, and there would be a chicken pox outbreak, and if you hadn’t had it yet, your mom would make sure you went to school, with instructions to lick all doorknobs trade pencils all your itchy friends?  Yeah, I remember that, too.
  • Don’t know if they’ve changed much in Amarok 2 since I was last using it a couple months ago, but I will say this: the album shuffle seems to be doing a better job.  I wonder if there’s anything else I can do to optimize the tags on my tunes..?

OK, well, I’m gonna eat some dinner and get ready for a party that Michelle and I are headed to in a couple hours.  Yes, I know it’s already 8:30.  The party goes until 3 AM.  Seriously.

Very Basic Steps

I grant you that I am a coffee snob– not of the highest order by any means, but I have a fairly particular set of criteria that need to be met in order for me to truly enjoy a cup.  I understand that for a LOT of people, drinking coffee is less about the enjoyment of the beverage, and more about getting a fix.  That is to say, they couldn’t give a shit what kind of coffee it is or what it tastes like, as long as it resembles coffee.

I have to take issue with this, for the same reason that I would take issue with someone that insists on drinking the milk after its expired– there is NO JUSTIFIABLE REASON to put yourself through that.  Let me go over just a couple basic steps you can take to improve y0ur coffee experience, all of which require virtually no effort, and none of which I routinely observe people doing:

  1. Wash the carafe on a daily basis. Most folks keep the coffeemaker in the kitchen.  The sink is right there, and there is probably dish soap nearby as well.  For those of you at work, if you have running water (and if you’re making coffee, you probably do), there’s no excuse not to as least wipe that mother out every day before you fill it back up.
  2. Wash your cup on a daily basis. Hey, why not take BOTH to the sink at the same time???
  3. Make an effort to clean the coffeemaker itself every 2 months or so. Do I sense a theme here?  Absolutely!  Yes, drinking the rancid remnants of pots gone by is affecting the taste of your beverage.  Mix up a clear vinegar solution (mostly vinegar), drop an empty filter in the basket, and run the vinegar through on a regular brew cycle.  Follow it up with 2 or 3 rounds of fresh water, just to rinse everything out.  I know that this is the hardest of the three steps, and the one least likely to be taken, but it does make a difference.

All right, then, back to my very mediocre cup of work-brewed coffee…

Present In Absence

I just realized that I haven’t posted in a couple days.  It’s not for lack of work on the site, though.  I’ve been slowly and surely updating some tags and categories on posts that were imported from the old tikiwiki blog (or earlier).  My hope is that those updates will make searching the blog by tag, etc., a little more useful.  Hey, even if it doesn’t end up that way for you, I think it will for me  😛

I am also desperately hoping each day that one of the plugins I use that is holding me back from upgrading to the latest version of WordPress with drop with an update, already.  There are some features in the next iteration that I’m anxious to implement, but it just wouldn’t be senible to do so at this time.  Hence, I check, refresh, check again, and I wait…

Outside of the metablogging, though, what can I tell you about the most recent weekend?  The big BSG finale was on Friday night.  I went over to Jason H’s place to see it with him and Brian.  Jason has the 42″ flatscreen and HD cable, so… it was kind of worth it.  I took a look back at my ‘Final Five Questions‘ from January, and without completely rehashing them, check this out:

  1. Check
  2. Check
  3. Check
  4. Adequate checkitude
  5. Check

I was really satisfied with the finale and didn’t feel like any mysteries were left forgotten or issues left unanswered.  Yes, it is entirely possible that there is something I’m forgetting, but not going to change my mind about the fact that I had a good time with the end of the series.

For those of you that are even kind-of interested in sci-fi and you missed this show, I highly recommend going back to the beginning and checking out the DVDs.  I think you’ll find that it was one of those rare shows that was really solid from top to bottom and start to finish.

The Most Optimistic Brewers Preview You'll Read This Year

Tomorrow is the Brewers’ first spring training game down in Maryvale.  The team looks a bit different than last year, but overall, a lot of familiar faces are back.  Still, the concensus from the national and regional prognosticators is that the Crew will be lucky–very, VERY lucky–to experience the sort of success and playoff run that they had last season.

But I’m not a sports writer or a broadcaster; I’m a baseball fan, so for people like me, spring is all about optimism, and seeing the silver lining around each CC Sabathia-shaped cloud.  With that in mind, here are the Top Five (Perhaps Overly Optimistic) Reasons the Brewers Will Have a Great Season:

  1. Our young pitchers will each start at least 30 games and win 15 apiece. Yovanni Gallardo is going to come back healthy from his knee troubles in 2008, and it will be shown that he racked up enough bad luck last year to last for a while.  Manny Parra will really come into his own in his second full season in the majors, no longer hampered by the nagging inconsistency that was troublesome at times in 2008.  The young 1-2 combo in Milwaukee will draw comparisons to Ken Macha’s Oakland A’s teams that featured Tim Hudson and Barry Zito early in their careers.  Speaking of which,
  2. A change in managerial demeanor will be reflected throughout the clubhouse. I was never a Ned Yost basher– he guided the team that was a laughable riff-raff at the open of 2003 and helped transform them into serious contenders in 2008.  But you can’t deny that by the end, he was wound a bit too tight and the feeling seemed to be reflected in some of the players.  Ken Macha will be more relaxed, and having two more members of his coaching staff with managerial experience will help, too.
  3. Trevor Hoffman will be a steady, if not spectacular, closer from day one, and the trickle-down will lead to clearly defined roles in the bullpen. The Brewers were scrambling to get all their pitchers into a groove in 2008 after Eric Gagne blew his first save on opening day, Carlos Villanueva’s struggles in the rotation led to McClung bouncing back and forth, and a variety of injuries meant guys had to shift around.  This year, Hoffman will be the one and only closer, Villanueva will be where he belongs (in relief), and the rest of the group will be healthy enough to stay comfortable.
  4. Our big guns (Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder) will continue their meteoric rise. Another year under their belts, both comfortable with multi-year contracts, Prince having taken care of himself a bit better in the off-season, our 3- and 4-hitters will each hit at or near .300, blast 30-40 homeruns, and knock in over 100.
  5. The “other guys” will see a reverse of fortunes, too. Bill Hall’s improved eyesight won’t quite return him to 2006 form, but he will hit for a respectable average from both sides and earn his every-day job back.  Corey Hart will shake his post-all-star mental block and rediscover consistency.  Jason Kendall will get some occasional rest from playing every day, and that will reflect itself in an improved offensive game.  Rickie Weeks will benefit from the tutelage of bench coach Willie Randolph in the field, and hitting coach Dale Sveum at the plate as he becomes one of the top lead-off men in the National League.

So even though we don’t have CC or Ben Sheets, the world is not going to end.  We’ve got an exciting and talented group of players ready for another season.  It’s going to be a good 2009…

Oh, the Frakkin Humanity.

Our office is in the midst of our annual “department training,” where we get together for 3 hours a day, 3 days a week for about a month to receive a daily lecture on ALLL the procedures for every job in the entire office.  Yes, even the ones that you’ll never have to do!  Sometimes, there is really good information shared about a change to a process, or a new program, but a lot of it is the regurgitation of things that we’ve all heard before.  It can get extremely boring.

We have reached that stage for this year.  Today’s training was the dullest yet, and I took the opportunity to compose a List of Countries That I Would Like to Visit, in no particular order (that is, the list is in no particular order; but actually, the sequence in which I visit these countries doesn’t make much different to me, either):

  1. Canada
  2. England
  3. Ireland
  4. Japan
  5. China
  6. Vietnam
  7. Australia
  8. India
  9. Brazil
  10. Cuba
  11. Czech Republic
  12. Poland
  13. Italy
  14. Spain
  15. France
  16. Germany
  17. Belgium
  18. Switzerland
  19. Morocco
  20. Algeria
  21. Greece
  22. Egypt
  23. Tunisia
  24. South Africa
  25. Russia
  26. United Arab Emirates

The Time of Year For Lists

Each December, children are asked to submit their lists for Santa Claus (some of these requests are made in more terrifying fashion than others), media outlets compile lists of just about any inane bit of information you can think of from the prior year, and we blissfully and innocuously debate the merits of each item on those lists.

Sunday night, I was out for dinner with Jen and Joe, and Jen commented that her top three TV shows, EVER– were Friends, Seinfeld, and Heroes. It was an off-the-cuff compilation, and I try never to be so rash in assessing my opinions; that’s part of my frustratingly tedious charm.  Here, submitted for your consideration, is my Top Ten All-Time List of TV Shows.  Period.

  1. Star Trek: The Next Generation
  2. Seinfeld
  3. The X-Files
  4. Star Trek
  5. Arrested Development
  6. The Office
  7. Cheers
  8. Alias
  9. Andy Richter Controls the Universe
  10. Quantum Leap