Monthly Archives: July 2003

Just the thing!

You know, I wish we had the money right now because I think I found just the thing for Linnaeus‘ birthday present!

Who to choose, though? Todd Bridges? Fred “Rerun” Berry? Lou Ferrigno? The possibilities are endless! Well, not endless, but certainly a wide variety of possibilities…

A handy pointer

It has been suggested by a friend that I post a pointer to a useful utility: HideJournal is a free, Java-based utility that allows you to convert every public entry in your journal to Friends Only with one command. This is useful if you suddenly realize you’ve said a lot more in your journal than you’d meant to, you don’t want your family to discover your secret fetish for quivering monkeypants, or whatever. You can find more info in this discussion, and I can post more user-friendly instructions (courtesy of a certain wolph) if needed.

And we’re back!

Well, after many hours of installing, reinstalling, and re-reinstalling Windows XP, I’ve gotten my laptop back into some semblance of normal. Just a few more programs to install from CD (GPS software, MusicMatch) ad I’ll be fully up to speed. Fortunately, I didn’t lose any important data – I was able to install a bootable version of Windows to my D: drive and get networking running well enough to dump all the important stuff off to another machine. Naturally, the “System Restore” disks that came with my Vaio didn’t work; after running through installing all three of them, the system wouldn’t boot at all. So I got another XP install disk and built the whole thing up from scratch, drivers, applications, and all. The only thing that isn’t quite right is that there’s some unidentified USB doohickey in there somewhere that it can’t find the driver for, but that hasn’t caused any problems in day-to-day operation so I’m quite happy to ignore it.

So, what’s been going on in the meantime? Well, not a heck of a lot. We went to Thomas and Sherry’s for our Mage/Werewolf game on Monday, which was quite entertaining and resulted in us getting left somewhere in the upper troposphere (fortunately it was in the Umbra, so we should be OK). They’re hosting an evening of board gaming tonight; I’m planning on attending, though takaza may pass depending on how tired he’s feeling when he gets home tonight.

On the job front: not a lot going on. I need to do my periodic shotgun-blasting of resumes to various likely job positions this afternoon. The fruit of last week’s volley was a possibility just south of Cleveland, OH – the recruiter shopped my resume by them and told me today he’s still waiting to hear back. He’s confident I should be able to get at least a phone interview out of it. I also have a possibility, although somewhat remote, at a position in Northlake, IL. This would be really ironic, as it’s with the sister company of my employer when I working in Morris, IL. They’re completely independent, so that wouldn’t figure much in of the hiring process, though. There, too, they have my resume and we’re waiting to hear back. Finally, it looks like the job possibility I had in Lafayette, IN is completely dead, or at least will be through the end of the year. I really hope I’m not still available when they open up that position again!

Well, back to the job boards…

Grrrr…

Typing this from my old laptop tonight via web interface. My bright’n’shiny Vaio laptop crapped out this morning and it’s only gotten worse. First Windows Explorer would crash/reopen/crash/reopen/etc., then it just wouldn’t boot at all. I tried a couple fixes and at least moved my data files to the D: drive where they’ll be relatively safe. Tried reinstalling from the recovery CD’s and…no dice. Still won’t boot. I’m going to do a temporary install to D: enough to get networking up so I can move my data files off of it then wipe the who damn drive clean. I have a faint inkling the drive could be dying, but we’ll see what happens after the reformat.

In any case, if I owe you email, be assured I’m working on it and will have it to you in the next few days.

Anthrocon thoughts

First off, I want to say that the Adams Mark Hotel staff was fabulous! Every single one of them was professional and courteous. Our housekeeper even recognized Takaza from last year! We were sure to leave her a $20 tip – four people in one room for three days can get a bit messy.

Suites are niiiiice. We’re definitely getting one again next year, and four people in the suite is just the right size. It’s not too cramped, you still have room to move around, and there’s room to push stuff out of the way when you want to have people in to socialize.

Anthrocon is freakin’ huge! At just a few dozen shy of 2,000 attendees, they are the largest furry convention, period. And you know what? They’re welcome to it! Midwest Furfest topped out at 685 last year, and it is bound to continue to grow at some rate. To those who say we need to grow and grow fast, I give you a hearty “Fuck you!” With more attendees comes more problems, and I saw stuff at Anthrocon that we have yet to deal with: scary stuff, security issues, stuff that requires the police – not through any fault of AC’s, mind you, just that it’s the problems that come with more people. We’ve dodged those bullets so far, but we need to be ready for them should they come up.

The Dorsai Irregulars are an amazing group of people. Every one of them I spoke with was polite and professional, and they are damn good at what they do.

Working Anthrocon is a lot of fun. I need to work more – if I’m not working, I’m bored! (hint, hint, Giza 😉

A lot of people have commented on how awful Anthrocon was in terms of creepy fanboys and weirdos and people severely lacking in social skills. Y’know, you’re going to get that in whatever fandom you deal with – furry isn’t unique in any way, I assure you! I could let it get me down and wonder why I bother to work to help such a group, but then I remember that there are quality people out there – folks I enjoy spending time with, folks who are 100% With Clue. And the trick is, you find them and you spend time with them. And you remind yourself that these are the people you’re in furry fandom for.

We still need to find a way to streamline Artist Alley checkout. I think a sorting bin with each artist’s name on a separate slot would be useful since the sorting of the receipts at the end of the day was one of the most time-consuming (and frantic) parts of the job. If we could have that done and ready to go, life would be much simpler. We’ll investigate that and present some solutions when we have them. Also, we have some ideas about how to better track the receipt books, which will make life easier if the artist doesn’t put their name on their receipt, or if it’s illegible.

I’m ordering dinner in next year. By far it’s the best way to go, and Pete’s Pizza is mighty tasty. Cheaper than going out, too!

Well, that didn’t take long…

Went to Columbus, interviewed, looked like a good job, nice town, blah blah blah…

Didn’t get the job. They said I had “too much R&D experience.” Well, hell – they knew that from my resume when I went in there, now didn’t they?

Well, at least they didn’t make me wait days or weeks for a decision. I’ve got an outside shot at a position in Northlake, IL, but I don’t consider that a good probability right now. Heck, maybe they’ll prove me wrong. In the meantime, I’m putting the job search on the back burner for the next few days and concentrate on Anthrocon.

Lots of stuff going on today – preparations, packing, shopping to be done, scones to be baked. We drive out of here between 6 and 7 AM tomorrow and we want to get as much into the car as possible tonight (the cooler will have to wait for the morning, though). I reckon we’ll pull into the Adams Mark around 4 PM or so. See y’all there!

Fun in the sun for the canines

We got back from Holden Beach last night at around 8 PM. The watchword for the weekend was “rain” – dodging it and driving in it. When we arrived on Saturday at around 4 PM it was in the midst of a nasty thunderstorm. We waited a few hours and at about 7 PM it miraculously cleared up and we were able to head to the beach (which was right across the street). The combination of high tide and strong surf caused by the storms made for killer waves for boogie boarding. We had a great time and I got the crap beat out of my by the waves. We had a nice dinner in with several bottles of wine, sandwiches, and tasty chocolate cake.

On Sunday morning, we lazed about a good bit (and I read a few hundred pages of Harry Potter). We finally motivated for some swimming, but it was a bit of a disappointment. It was right at low tide, and the waves weren’t quite up to snuff (plus you had to walk a good fifty yards out from the beach to get to them because it was so shallow). I packed it in early, and Takaza and Sherry and I went to a local water slide and they had a good time while I relaxed in the shade. Taki’s not a big fan of ocean swimming, so I was glad he got some good water time in over the weekend.

We headed out not long after that, stopping in the tiny town of Wallace, NC on the way back for dinner. Taki took over driving from there and unfortunately got the treat of driving up I-40 in some awful torrential thunderstorms. I’ve never seen storms so bad around here where the interstate floods! We went through two areas where the drainage ditch on the right side of the road had flooded and the right lane of the interstate had a couple of inches of water covering it. We were able to get by but it was a bit unnerving. We made it home OK, though, and crashed pretty early.

Many, many thanks to me_not_you and wildmouse for having us down for the weekend! We had a fabulous time and I hope they have an equally good time with their family this coming week.

And now, I need to shift gears and get my act together today. After doing a bit of laundry, I need to pack again and head to the airport around 3 PM to fly to Columbus, OH for a job interview. I’ll be back tomorrow at 8:30 PM and then I need to think about Anthrocon, but first things first…

Two Great Tastes That Go Great Together!

This weekend, This American Life meets Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind!

From the This American Life website:
30 Acts in 60 Minutes. Instead of the regular “each week we choose a theme, and bring you three or four stories on that theme” business, this week we throw all that away and bring you thirty stories, yes thirty, in sixty minutes. Or, anyway, that’s our goal. We guarantee at least twenty. David Rakoff, Scott Carrier, The Greatest Dog Name in the World, and more more more. Broadcast the weekend of July 11-13 in most places, or available here next week via RealAudio.

Inspiration for this week’s show came from the Neo-Futurists, whose long-running Chicago show Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind promises 30 Plays in 60 Minutes every single weekend.

Woohoo! Takaza is going to record this one to tape off the air tonight. For those of you wanting to listen to this in the Chicago area, WBEZ broadcasts This American Life Fridays 8-9 PM and Saturdays 2-3 PM. You can also check when it’s on across the world at PublicRadioFan.com and listen in via netcast (PublicRadioFan is da bomb!)

On the road

Greetings once again from Anderson, South Carolina! I’m visiting my parents as well as my sister and nephews here. It’s been a good visit, pretty low stress, and the change of scenery is welcome. Right now my dad and I are negotiating about whether or not they need a new computer (their PIII – 650 MHz is showing its five years, and Windows 98 is growing increasingly less stable by the day). We’ll see if he decides to make the trek to Beast Buy today or not.

Last night was a lot of fun – my sister found out that the local Animal Shelter has a program where, every Tuesday, volunteers come and walk some of the dogs there at a local park. It was heartbreaking trying to decide which dog to walk – they all looked like they wanted to go for a nice run. There were a couple of very friendly huskies, but in the end I chose a 1-year old border collie mix who, after observing her enthusiasm and lack of coordination, I immediately nicknamed “Spaz”. Ruth (my sister) chose a 6-7 year old chocolate lab mix named “Miss Mocha,” who was a much better choice with her 6 and 8 year old sons. The group of us took the dogs over to the park and wolked around the lake, and generally made sure they had some good socialization time. My mom and I took a bunch of pictures and I’ve posted them in our gallery. I’ll see about adding some captions when I get a chance, but for now I’m getting pulled away to deal with the new computer stuff. Laters!

Busy busy busy

Well, that was pretty much the lowest-key Fourth of July I’ve had in years. We didn’t go to any fireworks displays (didn’t want to fight the crowds, the bugs, and the unremitting heat). We went to one party, though we didn’t really stay very long (I wasn’t feeling too sociable). Otherwise, we pretty much lazed around most of the weekend. Last night we had friends over for dinner and Sherry made some delicious enchiladas. I made a variation on a caramel apple pie using puff pastry instead of a pie crust. It was delicious, though there are a few more changes I’d like to make (I think a red wine caramel sauce is gilding the lily – a plain caramel sauce is quite sufficient). We wrapped up moderately early but still didn’t get to bed until late. due to noodling on the computer and such.

Tomorrow will find me on my way down to visit my parents. My sister and nephews (boys, age 6 & 8) are visiting as well, so it should be a fun visit. I’ll be there Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Saturday and Sunday, we’ll be lounging around on the beach, lodging kindly provided by me_not_you and wildmouse – I’m really looking forward to the trip. Should be a nice, mellow weekend, though I hope we have better luck finding restaurants than our previous beach forays.

Following that, I’ll be flying out to Columbus, Ohio, probably on Monday for an interview on Tuesday, then back to RDU on Tuesday night. Then it’s driving off to Philadelphia on Thursday. Whee!

Hmm, things are getting uncomfortably warm upstairs – the thermostat is set at 76 and the temperature is 82. I’m going to run the fan for a bit to see if the coils have frozen up again (it’s happened before), otherwise it’s time to call in the professionals (or rather, have our roommate/landlord call in the professionals…)

And speaking of blasts from the past…

Blame zenwolph for this one. His post reminded me of what was going on five years ago. I checked my archives and found this rather amusing post to alt.lifestyle.furry. It’s nice to see that all of the friends mentioned are still folks I’m reasonably close to, plus a brief mention of a certain wolf who would later become a wonderful part of my life.

Duncan discovers the joy of conventions

Well, won’t that be an interesting week

I just got a call from the recruiter – the company I interviewed with yesterday and they want me to fly up to Columbus for an interview on Tuesday, July 15. I’m guessing that means I’ll be flying out that Monday, interviewing Tuesday, flying back Tuesday night, packing Wednesday, and we drive to Anthrocon on Thursday. Woo!

Hope Springs Eternal

Well, it’s not Chicago, but it’s closer than NC (and it’s definitely not Kansas City!). I had a phone interview with a company in Columbus, OH this morning – things seem pretty good, at least I think I’m through into the next stage of interviewing. Still have a call in to the recruiter for the Lafayette job to see what the heck they’re up to, but she’s out all week and I probably won’t hear back until Monday.

And so we slide into the holiday weekend with nothing much to show, but at least I’ll have my wuff with me. I’m really looking forward to Anthrocon – it will be a welcome change of pace. We won’t have much money to spend, but half the fun is finding creative ways to keep costs down. OK, we’ll splurge on the two cases of Starbucks Doubleshots, though…

Oh, and as Takaza mentioned, we’re looking for crash space just for the night somewhere between Richmond and DC the Wednesday before Anthrocon so we don’t have to get up waaaay too early Thursday and drive it in a straight shot. Also, if anyone’s interested in doing dinner on Thursday night at con, let us know!