Well, it's December, and I still haven't paid rent yet. I did, however, have a hell of a time this past weekend. There was a lot of driving, and a lot of drinking. Fortunately, the former and the latter never happened within a discernible amount of time of each other's happening. I went home for a wonderful Thanksgiving(pictures coming), then went up to Waterloo(pronounced waterLOO, not WATerloo, apparently), IA. My good friends Steve and Renae got married, and the pictures are up. Thank God for Image Magick, for helping me resize 88 pictures with one command, without having to go into an image editor, to do each of them by hand. Look in the pics section for the wedding pics.
The Christmas season is upon us, and mozilla just came out(again) with the best browser release ever. In other news, I think I've had it with Roadrunner. They keep changing my IP address, and I'm sure this site is in violation of their terms of service. Also, they just aren't nearly as fast as they were, up to only a few weeks ago. So, I think I will switch to DSL, but am having a little trouble deciding with carrier we want. Southwestern Bell offers DSL, but it doesn't seem quite the deal I want, plus they require the purchase of a $400 router, and a $250 installation fee, so they can set up my DNS. The hell with that. Speakeasy is the coolest one I've seen, but the deal I once saw, that looked really good to me(1.5 down, 768 up, 4 static IP's for $100 a month) doesn't appear to be available where I live. The best I can do with them, for nonsymmetric upload, is 384 kbit. In the face of that, it doesn't appear that I can do any better than 384 K for upload without getting SDSL, and in that case, anything less than 1.5 down is too slow. Quite the conundrum, and it seems that the best deal is currently facilitated by Covad. One thing is certain, however. I need a static IP.
I had a very enjoyable, but very tiring Saturday. Brian and I got up at the usual times, and managed to get out the door by 2, to get down to Waldo, to try to have a haircut party. Unfortunately, the barber shop had been closed for 2 1/2 hours, so the mullets will have to stay for a while longer. We drove on, to OP, to pick up my buddy Matt, who was joining us for yet another wonderful trip to Boulevard, for a tour and high-quality drinking session. I just can't believe how good that Nutcracker Ale tastes, especially on tap. Just before the tour, as the three of us walked into the tasting room, I spotted Mary Frascht, with whom I had a few classes at Loras and have always gotten along. Recently married, she and her husband Bill had come down to KC from their new home in Des Moines, for the Chiefs game today. She found out about Boulevard giving free tours at her job, and made haste in coming to KC for one. We all spent the tasting period talking and hanging out. After the tour was over, I suggested that we all go to the Newsroom, for pitchers of Boulevard Stout. And so we did, and there, over three or four pitchers, I asked Mary and Bill what their plans for dinner were, and stressed the importance of having Fiorella's. So, we all went there, drank some more beer, and enjoyed what Brian and I already knew to be the best sit-down barbecue restaurant in the world. I had the lamb ribs and burnt ends dinner, along with some Abita Turbodog. Nothing burps like Fiorella's. Brian and I went to Guardian Angels this morning, and it looks like he, and maybe I, will be getting involved in their youth group. Despite the amount of activity, it wasn't that expensive a weekend, either. How nice!
Covad is now our ISP, and stability issues should be resolved. We got the care package with the self-install kit yesterday, and after a quick run to Radio Shack for a 50-foot length of phone cable, along with one(knock on wood) final DNS update, we are back up and running. It's a shame, though. Roadrunner was very nice, and the speed was very enjoyable. It's just a shame that it wound up sucking so badly. Now that we have DSL, my next project is getting linux installed on the new Alpha machine. It has an ARC bios, which means that any install routines that have been worked out by anyone have been hacks. It should be interesting, to say the least. Pathetically, the most daunting thing about the whole project is moving the monitor cable from my PC to the Alpha. Sigh. I guess I'll get started.
Tonight is what would be called an activity-light shift, or in layman's terms: a dull-ass night. It has afforded me the chance to do some websurfing, and I have discovered a few things. First, people in Britain like to race cheese. Secondly, the lead singer/guitarist from Stereolab was killed in a cycling accident in London on Monday. I am sad, as I was waiting for them to return to KC for a show. I found a great site for world city populations, and in my search for such a site, I came across this page, by happy accident. It turns out that my ISP, despite how good their service is, is the slowest-growing major ISP in the US. My little secret, I guess. Being a "secret," though, isn't generally a very good way to do business, unless you sell drugs.
Well, my company has announced another, more definitive session of layoffs. This one could possibly hit a little closer to home than previous ones. I will keep both of you posted. In other, less threatening news, I have been working on some feature additions to the site. You may or may not notice the new "Stats" option on the left, but it's there. Help yourself to the raw stats of this, the most incredible webpage in the history of incredibleness. Another feature I am working on is for just the Mozilla/Netscape users. To my great surprise, Opera doesn't support this feature, and of course, MS Internet Explorer doesn't. For a bit of a preview, have a gander at what I've been working on. Not only does it work in Mozilla, but it also looks like I want it. It's totally botched in IE. I have been working at it, and I have come to a preliminary decision: everyone needs to download Mozilla. Then I don't need to scale back my website for the crippled CSS support featured by Internet Explorer.
I went and saw Nemesis on Friday night with Joel and Susie, and I, despite Joel's numerous scruples with the film, was very satisfied. So satisfied was I that Brian and I went today. He liked it a lot, too. We woke up at about noon(I love weekends), and had some pizza. We went down to Brookside and Waldo, to finish our Christmas shopping. After that, we went to 75th St Brewery, for wonderful food and beer. Immediately following a very leisurely and luxurious dinner, Brian and I went to the Plaza Cinemark, and purchased tickets to Nemesis. As we walked to our theater, to sit and wait, we spotted the "VIP Room," and decided to check it out. We were pleasantly surprised to see that it was a fully functional bar, in the middle of a movie theater. It even turned out that it contained a small theater of its own, complete with a small table for each of the giant leather seats. As we ambled in, with 25 minutes until our movie was to start, Analyze That was just starting. What a pleasure! Following our movie, we grabbed some beer at Gomer's, and called it a day. Another very successful Saturday!
Brian and I went to a Christmas/dinner party tonight, hosted by a John Kelley, who is a parishioner at Guardian Angels. A good number of very pleasant people were there, and we had a very nice time, sitting, talking, eating, drinking wine, and getting to know new people. I look forward to staying up as late as I can, tonight, and getting a good bit of the second Harry Potter book read. I have a short week, as I am leaving town on Friday for Peoria. The Two Towers comes out on Wednesday, and will be attended by Brian and me on Thursday morning. With no more shopping to do(and no more money to do it with), I have the next few days cut out for me.
We see The Two Towers today. It will be cool, allegedly. I will also drop about eight pounds of hair, as I "demullify" my head. This weekend will be great, but I stil have to wait for my dumb brother to work another shift. Tomorrow's payday, so merry Christmas, VISA.
I was pretty disappointed with The Two Towers. Bear in mind, I thought it was a fantastic movie, I was utterly amazed with it, I will see it again, buy it, and probably consider it the best movie of 2002, but it disappointed me how liberally they embellished the story, in addition to taking other important parts out. This is not meant to be a spoiler post, so I will stop my criticism there. Brian and I went to Peoria over the weekend, and "had our Christmas." I got a tent from my Dad, a few books, a beard trimmer, a small electric beverage cooler, and a wonderful couple of evenings with the family. I decided to sell the Alpha box, and get a digital camera with the profit. Depending on how much it is, I will decide what to get. I found a great website that indexes cameras, which will help immensely. At the moment, though, I am leaning toward the Olympus D-550, but if the auction goes especially well, I might spring for one of these little babies.
I have almost completed a week of working during Christmas. It was very slow, and fortunately, more relaxed than most weeks. The Alpha machine has about 7 hours left on ebay, and still hasn't received any bids. People want under the table deals, which I suppose is fine, but it usually means that people will pay less than I'm asking for it. When I was bidding for an alpha machine, only a few weeks ago, I was unable to get ahold of anything for less than $300. Times change, I guess. I'm just surprised at how quickly they do, considering that this is a very good machine. Maybe I'm just a poor salesman. I actually have no doubt of that, but I just thought this machine would go quickly. Oh well. T minus 42 days until the big Ireland trip!
Carl is coming down today, to visit his very sick uncle. He will be staying with me, as far as I know, and we will spend this evening drinking tasty local beers, and talking about what things we'll be doing in Ireland, come February. Unfortunately, he doesn't forecast his coming until about 8PM, after spending a day with his family, and his ailing uncle. I am in the mood for some Fiorella's, 75th Street, Boulevard, or a little of all. If he stay around longer, I think I'll take him to Baja 600. All remains to be seen, though.
In direct response to Christmas, and a number of particularly heavy bills due at around the same time, I am completely broke, and I still have two more nights of freedom before I return to work. Unfortunately, with no money, I have literally nothng to do, except clean the apartment and fold my laundry. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow. I have decided on a camera, though. With a website recommended by a friend, I decided on this one. It costs about $100 more than the d-550, but it doesn't require that the user continue to pump it up with AA batteries, like my old camera, and the d-550 I was looking at. I will also drop about $75 on 256 MB of Compactflash memory for it, and when all is said and done, I will have spent exactly a lot of money. Interestingly enough, though, I am still quite able to budget $1000 for Ireland, and also budget all my bills, and this camera with them. I expect a good deal of cash for my income tax refund, which I might possibly be able to get before the trip, too. Immediately following the trip, I will get my company bonus. The beginning of the year, for different reasons than last year, looks like it'll be something of a season of plenty for me.