Monthly Archives: October 2003

And on the job front…

After a long, long drought things are finally starting to look up. I had a phone interview with Noveon this morning for a job at their Avon Lake, OH plant. Yeah, I know – directly on the receiving end of lake effect snow. Well, that’s bearable, I think. The position sounds like a good one – extremely similar to my last position except with some different technologies. The phone interview went well, I think – I established a great rapport with the engineer I spoke with, and he seemed to think I’d be a good fit for the job. I should hear in two weeks if they want me to come in to interview. Hmm – I may be flying out for a job interview from Chicago, for the second year in a row. Well, that keeps life interesting.

I also have a line on a job in a much less desirable place. Initially, the job is in Edison, NJ, then after six months moves out to Hackettstown, NJ. The latter is bearable, even pleasant, the former…well, I’d rather not, but it is a job. I kind of doubt I have the background they’re looking for on that one, but it continues to be a possibility.

Takaza went up to Duke Medical Center this morning to get a second opinion on some of the medical issues he’s had lately. No immediate answers there, but I feel a lot better knowing that several people are looking into the problem. Duke has a good reputation, and I’m confident that he’ll get excellent care from there.

Not too much else going on this week. Frantic preparations for MFF continue apace, with lots of editing still to be done for Dan. We’re getting together tonight to carve pumpkins over at me_not_you and wildmouse‘s, then there’s Thomas and Sherry’s Halloween party on Saturday. And yes, Perro and ZenWolph, we’ll see you at the CarolinaFur Halloween party later that night – we may not show until 10 PM or so, though.

And now, I’m heading out to do a bit of grocery shopping, pick up some pumpkins, and maybe even get a hair cut. Ah, the glamour and excitement that is my life!

It’s that time of the year!

Not My LiveJournal Trick-or-Treat Haul
duncandahusky goes trick-or-treating, dressed up as Magellan Meridian GPS Receiver.
aerofox gives you a cute plush foxie!
brophey gives you two passes to see Brother Bear
damnbear tricks you! You get to run MFF Registration for the next three years.
datahawk gives you a hockey stick and a Carbon Leaf bumper sticker.
feren gives you a snarky comment and a bowlful of very spicy stir-fried food.
linnaeus gives you a bottle of exploding root beer.
me_not_you tricks you! You get peanut butter buttcheeks.
partran gives you something that can’t be described in polite company.
rustitobuck gives you a copy of Panther and a Goose Island Orange Cream soda.
takaza tricks you! But he gives you a kiss anyway.
duncandahusky ends up with lots of cool stuff and you didn’t, nyeah nyeah nyeah.
Another fun hijacked meme brought to you by Duncan da Husky.

Laptop update

Well, the good news is that I was able to save all of my data off the drive. The bad news is that after attempting to reinstall with the OEM CD’s several times only to have the laptop shut itself off at random intervals in the middle of the install, it’s abundantly clear that what we have here is a hardware problem.

I’ve faxed in my proof of purchase to Sony, and theoretically, within three days they should ship me a nice empty box. I send that back to them and (again, theoretically), within seven days they send me back my laptop, all fixed and purty. In the meantime, I’ll probably be using my old Windows 98 box that had been exiled to the basement, at least until Dan’s new laptop comes in.

Yes, because Dan has to surrender his laptop come MFF (since it is, after all, property of the convention, and will pass on to the next Publications Director), we need to get a new laptop. After much hemming and hawing, we’re going with an HP Windows laptop instead of getting another iBook. Although the iBook would be preferable, it’s a couple hundred dollars more expensive and we just can’t beat the twelve-months-same-as-cash deal with Best Buy. It’s a shame, because OS X is infinitely more stable than Windows and Dan really prefers it, but when your finances are as ugly as ours right now, well, sacrifices musty be made.

So that’s where things stand right now. By the way, Feren – I did get your email, thanks! I appreciate the offer of assistance but right now it’s in the hands of Sony. With luck we’ll get a quick resolution and life can get back to normal, or as normal as my life gets anyway.

Laptop go down da hoooole

So, I’m typing this up in the basement. I’d like to be upstairs with Takaza but you see, this is where one of the few working computers at my disposal is. I knew that my laptop was in one of those infamous Windows Death Spirals, but I was caught off-guard when I tried to reboot and got “WindowsConfigSyetem is missing or corrupt”. Now it just won’t boot, period, and even when it tries it sometimes shuts off on its own. I have a sneaking suspicion that while there is a problem with the drive there’s also problems elsewhere as well.

We were able to procure an IDE/Mini-IDE interface last night and get the drive hooked up to the roommate’s Win2K box. It reads the drive fine, which is cool. I tried to copy over the contents of my My Documents folder and started getting CRC after CRC error. Badness. So, I set it to run Scandisk last night and went to bed. As soon as John is up and I can gain access to the Win2K box I’ll try copying the data over again. I don’t think I’ve lost any recent data, though some random files from the past are toast. Man, this sucks.

Once I can get everything I need to off the drive, I hope to put it back into the laptop, try to reinstall with the OEM CD’s that I know don’t work, call Sony and get replacement CD’s, and then we’ll see what happens after that. I hope I don’t have to pack it up and send it off, but that’s definitely a possibility. The good news is that I bought the thing on October 30 last year, so we’re still (just) inside the 1-year warranty.

Anyway, if you’re trying to reach me, be aware that I don’t quite have the easy net access that I have in the past. I’ll be checking e-mail regularly, though, somehow, and will endeavor to keep up with friends, email, and MFF business (and to not go insane as I try to fix all this).

A scattered update

Pretty quiet week last week – not too much to report. One bit of good news: The unemployment benefits that I thought were pretty much gone for good are suddenly back! With the renewed benefit year (i.e. I’ve been out of work for over a year now), my weekly benefit goes up slightly and I get fourteen weeks of benefits. This is genuinely good news! It means that we’re covered through the middle of January, which is cool, and our savings will hold out that much longer. We’re going into the November-December job drought, and virtually no one is going to be hiring after Halloween. Still, I’ll keep trying. I do get nibbles from recruiters a few times a week still, which is good. We’ll keep hoping something will come of this.

On the downside, jlfranklin, our roommate/landlord, joined the ranks of the unemployed last week. Not sure yet exactly what this might mean. He’s meeting with a realtor this week to discuss his options on the house here, and looking at fixing up his townhouse in Blacksburg, VA, and moving up there. This would leave us in the market for a place to live, and if we have to move I wonder if we’re better off sticking it out around here or just biting the bullet and heading up to Chicago (presupposing takaza could get a job at his company’s HQ in Buffalo Grove). Well, we live in exciting times.

One item of note last week, though: Takaza finally got fed up with the local radio market. We took the plunge and picked up a Sirius satellite radio for the Element. It’s pretty damn cool, I’ve got to say, and is going to be a godsend when we drive up to Chicago. A great selection of music, plus two channels of NPR, one of PRI, and a whole host of other interesting, offbeat stations. I like it!

We spent the weekend hanging out with zenwolph. It was great fun, although we didn’t do too much. Spent some time at the NC State Fair, and we did a little shopping for homebrewing equipment. Yes, after eight years away from the hobby, it looks like I’m getting back into it. I’ll blame Linnaeus for rekindling my interest in it. I’ll probably have some of my first batch available at MFF, assuming everything goes well. More on that later this week.

Midwest Furfest is a little over a month away now. It sounds like we’re going to get a tremendous turnout for Thursday night, so I’m working hard to get staff for that night since most of the people working Registration won’t be in until Friday. Anyone interested in working a few hours on Thursday? It’s good for double gopher hours! It’s also just plain fun, in my opinion. Drop me a line here or at duncan [at] if you’re interested. Otherwise, I’ve been working hard ordering stuff for the con, and generally spending the con’s money (mmm, other people’s money. Always so much fun!) We’re going to have some great stuff for people, though, and I think they’re going to like it. Our guests of honor have really come through with some fabulous artwork for some of the items, and I think everyone is going to be pleased.

On my list of things to do this week is to finish editing down the Restaurant Guide. I’ve gotta say this: if you see Chouette at the convention, be sure to thank her for doing a purely fabulous job on updating the restaurant guide! She contacted every restaurant in there, updated all of their info on hours, addresses, and added other info, plus eliminated the places that are gone and added a good number of new restaurants. She’s done an amazing job and I’m sure everyone is going to like the finished product.

Finally, I’ve committed to finishing all of my classes by the end of the month. It’s going to be a near thing to do it all in the next two weeks, but I think it’s possible. And with that, I’m off to go to work on some classwork now. Have a great day, everyone!

Hey kids! It’s the Friday Five!

1. Do you watch sports? If so, which ones?

College football is a lot of fun. Baseball, though not until about the World Series, and only if there’s a team I give a damn about. I can even watch tennis. Hockey can be fun, too.

2. What/who are your favorite sports teams and/or favorite athletes?
The Clemson Tigers and Virginia Tech Hokies, my two alma maters. I halfheartedly cheer for the New Orleans Saints, in honor of the few years I spent down at Tulane University.

3. Are there any sports you hate?
Golf, without question. The culture around it, playing it, golf shows on television – all of these annoy me.

4. Have you ever been to a sports event?
Oh yes, many. Numerous high school and college football games, a minor league baseball game (Greenville [SC] Braves), a couple of minor league hockey games (Chicago Wolves), and some college soccer games.

My most interesting sporting events story was getting to cover a Tulane University football game at the Super Dome with the student television production group. It was homecoming and The Beach Boys and Jan & Dean were playing. We had the run of the field (and the press box – mmm, free food!), and spent the time during the concerts at the foot of the stage, in the center of the field. Getting the inside look at all the backstage areas of the Super Dome was very, very cool.

5. Do/did you play any sports (in school or other)? How long did you play?
I used to play tennis and even did a little horseback riding. Nowadays, my life is regrettably sedentary. Extremely rarely I’ll play tennis, and I always enjoy a good hike in the woods. That’s about it.

I Oughta Be In Pictures

It’s a gray, cloudy day here. 80% chance of rain all day, so it certainly won’t improve. It’s almost like typical autumn weather in the Carolinas, except that it’s hovering right around 70 degrees F – oddly warm for this time of year.

Not a whole lot going on this week, and that’s kind of nice. Got my first class project turned in yesterday (a week early, thankyouverymuch!), and I’m going to start on my first project for another class today – it’s due next Wednesday. No worries.

So. Let me tell y’all a little story.

Many years ago (OK, twenty years ago. Good gods, it’s been that long!), I was in high school in Anderson, South Carolina. Thomas Lucas Hanna High School, to be exact. Among my few extra-curricular activities (besides quiz bowl team) was acting as video manager for the football team. Yeah, I was the geek with the video camera set up on top of the press boxes of high school football stadiums all across northwestern South Carolina in all kinds of weather. As an extra bonus, I sometimes got to mix up the Gatorade for the football team on practice days and generally hang around. Hell, for a repressed, non-social high school student, I was doing pretty good. But enough about me.

One of the interesting things about the football team was that they had a guy who hung out with them a lot. He wasn’t a student – he was in his 30’s, actually. In fact I’m not sure he had ever been a student at Hanna. He was a black guy who was rather mentally challenged. I think his name was James, but I’m not sure – his nickname was Radio, after the radio he always carried with him. Radio was a pretty cool guy and the team usually (note that’s usually) treated him with respect. The coach, Harold Jones, took him under his wing and allowed him to help out the football team – as manager, as cheerleader, or whatever role he wanted. I never really talked to him much, but he was an amusing part of the scenery and added a little personality to the team.

I graduated from high school and pretty much forgot all about Hanna and Radio. Until I heard some interesting news last year. Apparently some people thought that the story of Radio and Coach Jones was a pretty inspirational one. Radio was featured in a spot on ESPN2, and on Harry Smith’s former CBS show, “Travels With Harry.” And lo and behold, now we have this: Radio, starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Ed Harris, Debra Winger, and Alfre Woodard. Good grief. Hollywood comes to my hometown. The movie premieres in the next few weeks, and I’ve been seeing previews on network TV (though from the scenes I’ve seen, they didn’t actually shoot the football practice scenes on the Hanna practice football field. It’s not particularly photogenic, I guess). Looks to be a pretty big deal, though.

According to this article, it’s going to be set in the 1980’s. Hey, that was right when I was there – I graduated in 1986. I wonder who they’re going to get to play the deeply closeted gay video manager who liked to sneak peeks at the football players in the showers 🙂 I suppose I’ll see this movie at some point, if only to see what little bit they did film in Anderson. It looks like they also shot some of the movie further south, in Walterboro, SC.

Wow. I hung out with Radio, who was played by Cuba Gooding Jr., who was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon. I have a Bacon Number of 3!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

So, when last we left our intrepid heroes they were doing…well, not much.

Last week was pretty quiet, which was nice. On Friday night we drove down to visit my parents in the teeming metropolis of Anderson, South Carolina. It was a fun visit, and as usual we ate well and enjoyed their company. On the way back home on Sunday we made a brief stop at Concord Mills and picked up some Bounty candy bars. I was disappointed, though – they taste pretty much like Mounds bars, not like the gelato flavor I’m used to. It turns out that the European version of Bounty has hazelnuts in them, which makes all the difference. Oh well.

We did make one discovery on the trip home: our new Honda Element is a fabulous car for road trips. Why? Well, here’s a good picture why. Yes, the front passenger seat leans back and meets the rear seat, which also leans back. The net result is that you have something that, while not necessarily a bed, at least something in which you can comfortably stretch out fully and snooze. With the other rear seat folded up against the side as shown in that photo, I’m hoping that we’ll have enough room for all the crap we have to haul up to MFF in November and still have room to sack out between driving shifts. I’m really liking this car, and I think we made an excellent choice. Oh, and one other nice thing: on the trip down to SC, we averaged about 28-30 MPG. That’s about equivalent to what I get with my Alero on the highway. Can’t complain about that!

So, this week I have two projects to work on for my classes, both due October 15. I sat down yesterday and spent a few hours really working and damned if I didn’t get it finished. I need to do a little editing yet, but after that it’s done and ready to hand in. I’ll probably start on the other project tomorrow, then get back to regular classwork Thursday and Friday.

Not much going on this coming weekend, though we wanted to hit the Dream Home Tour. It’s been a few years since we went on one of them and it’s always good for a laugh ($800,000 houses on quarter-acre lots. Still, lots of neat features inside).

The weekend after that is the opening of the State Fair. zenwolph, you mentioned coming down. You still in? And hey, vt_komainu – any chance you could get the time off work to join us? I heard rumors of a couple of folks north of us looking at super-saver fares as well. Keep us up-to-date so we know if we need to make airport runs 🙂

Answers, Round One

ferenWhat one possession (hubby excluded, as he’s inherently obvious) would you take with you to the basement, if you knew a tornado were going to level your home and leave nothing salvageable?

That’s actually a pretty tough question. I realized a few months back that while it’s nice to have stuff, it isn’t the stuff that’s important in life – it’s the people. Family and friends. Losing your stuff is unpleasant and inconvenient, but in the grand scheme of things it’s a surmountable obstacle. That having been said, I would take something that would be of most help in rebuilding assuming we lost everything, and that would probably be my laptop, since it has stuff like insurance policy numbers, contact info for friends, etc. on it.

camstoneIf I was on a train traveling 60 mph east from DC to Chicago, and you were on a train traveling west from Chicago to DC at 60mph… then how much would my registration be for me at MFF?

Leaving out the fact that the trains would be on a very long trip (I also somehow think that they don’t have transatlantic and transpacific railways just yet), this is actually an easy question to answer: $100, because you’re buying a sponsorship, of course! 🙂

street22what is the black market value of a kidney, or a spleen….I’m trying to afford college here. On that note, do you happen to have a spare liver?

Well, let’s see – not sure about the black market, but on the Internet market kidney seem to run about $5.50 per pound and spleen would appear to be $10.86. I seem to be using my liver right now (and you don’t want mine anyway), but you can always pick one up for about $5.99 per pound. (Besides, one should always keep one’s organs about them should they become necessary for other reasons)

snapcatIf you had to choose between 20 pounds of foam and 20 pounds of gravel, which would you choose and what would you do with it?

Well, given that we hauled around about that much foam for about three years with the intention of eventually making a fursuit head out of it (I think it got thrown away in the last move, though) I’d say it’s been proven that twenty pounds of gravel would be more useful 🙂 Maybe for some landscaping, maybe to keep in the trunk of the car to provide traction when needed….

kestralHow did you and Takaza meet? 🙂

Well, we first met back in 1998, at Duckon. I attended the Spirituality panel that Takaza was hosting. It was a great panel, and I found a lot that interested me, but we were both in “con-mode” – he was busy helping Robert King with the Furry Track, and I was dazzled by being at my first convention ever – and we really only briefly exchanged pleasantries. I met him again at a Christmas gathering later that year hosted by wyldekyttin and crim_ferret and that was when the sparks flew. After an amusing few months of is-he-interested? (on both our parts), we finally went out on a date on February 26, 1999 (we went and saw Payback – how’s that for a messed-up date movie?) and we’ve been together ever since.

datahawkDo you remember the first time we met? 🙂

I believe it was at a Western Suburbs Dinner in 1998 – I thought it might have been at the at the (now closed) KC Masterpiece, but maybe it was at Buca di Beppo’s. I seem to recall one of your first questions to me was whether I was gay or straight 🙂

kehfIf you could have any job, what would it be?

Another tough question. For all that I’ve blown many years of my life in getting a masters in Chemical Engineering, I can honestly say it’s not my ideal job. I enjoy cooking a lot, but the long hours and low pay associated with being a professional cook aren’t attractive. I enjoy setting up events and entertaining, so possibly a party planning/catering gig would be a lot of fun. Ask me again in a year and I expect my answer will be totally different 🙂

Well, that’s round one. I’m open to more questions – ask away!