another misAdventure

"We are all of us living in the shadow of Manhattan."

Sunday, June 25, 2006

More progress - Grout!

Grout in the powder room is complete, and seemed to be easier than I had expected. It went up pretty easily and cleaned up nicely. So far, it all looks pretty good.

I also got the floor underlayment in. So, I should be set to get the floor tile installed sometime in the next week.

And that's soaked up a good chunk of the weekend. Nothing else exciting to say right now.

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Another Night Out -- and a Night Up Late

So, yes, we did get out tonight for my birthday (more or less). Ellen and Ryan and I had dinner at Stir Crazy and then went to see "Cars". It was a toss up between that and "A Prairie Home Companion", but "Cars" was slightly more convenient (started shortly after we got to the theater) and I figured I'd rather be sure to see it on the big screen.

More, but no spoilers, after the break:

I'm glad we did see "Cars" tonight, the film was realy quite good -- I think I may even have enjoyed it more than "The Incredibles" (I'll have to re-watch that). I managed to not get much of the film spoiled, so I was surprised at a number of the cameo voices that showed up as well as not exactly figuring out the plot.

So now I'm staying up late to join in a late night conference call for work -- call starts at 1:30am and I'll probably be on for about a hour an a half. I'll probably get stuck doing this from time to time now that I'm working the field support job, since any planned maintenance has to happen in the over-night hours, and this one is a bit worse since the maintenance is on a switch in the Pacific timezone.

Coming up, I'll be making a support trip to Phoenix for about three weeks, starting in ... a bit more than two weeks. So, I need to knuckle down on the powder room this weekend.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Big 3-0

Yep, Thursday, June 22 is my birthday. I hit the big 3-0 ...

... I'm posting this late on Wednesday, while I am still 2F.

There are 2 types of people in the world: those who understand hexadecimal and those who don't.

I guess that only works as a joke in binary, though. (Binary age: 110000)

And yeah, I cheated a couple weeks ago in my anniversary post, since I mixed bases in a single post. I should have said it was our 1B-th anniversary, but then it would screw up the joke today.

Anyway, happy birthday to me. Nothing exciting going on -- an ordinary day at work, no Cubs game to go to (for the second year in a row), and Ellen works tonight. We'll probably hit a movie on Friday.

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The Right Answers to the Blog Quiz

Tony had a link to this quiz on his blog, so I thought I'd give it a shot.
Well, You Know What a Blog Is...

You got 4/8 correct!

But, truthfully, most blogs probably bore you.

I mainly made educated guesses to get half the questions correct, and several were "blogging terms" that I've never heard, so I think they're specific to one service or another.

Anyway, the question then was: what are the real answers? They didn't show which questions I'd gotten wrong.

The answers (determined by trial and error) after the break:

1. Which of these blogging services started first?
=> * LiveJournal
* Blogger
* Myspace
* Diaryland
2. What does RSS stand for?
* Ready Set Syndication
* Really Simple Site
* Rich Site Syndication
=> * Really Simple Syndication
3. If you get "dooced," what happens?
* People out your protected entries in public
* Your significant other finds your blog and
breaks up with you
=> * You get fired from your job because of your blog
* An embarrassing post forces you to shut down your blog
4. Which of the following is not a kind of blog?
* Moblog
* Audioblog
* Splog
=> * Nogblog
5. Which of the following celebrities does not have an
online blog or journal?
* Donald Trump
=> * Kirsten Dunst
* Anna Kournikova
* William Shatner
6. In what year was the word "blog" first used?
* 1998
=> * 1999
* 2000
* 2001
7. In 2005, what percentage of US teens had blogs?
* 10%
* 25%
* 15%
=> * 20%
8. In early 2005, which of the following blogging hosts
had the most blogs?
* LiveJournal
=> * Blogspot
* Typepad
* Xanga

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Pleasant Weekend

I had a nice pleasant weekend, thank you very much. Probably as good as any I could has selected, and I think everyone got to do things they wanted to do.

All four kids were home for the weekend. Matt drove up on Thursday evening, Kathy on Saturday afternoon. Ryan and Kalen were already home.

I went to the Cubs game with my brother Bob on Saturday afternoon. The weather was pretty much perfect, just edging toward hot. Lunch in the stadium club was one of the best Saturday buffets I'd seen there, including home-style meat loaf and fried chicken. Yum. Alas, the Cubs sucked as much on Saturday as they have all week, so the game ended 9-3 (we cut out after the 8th inning, when it was 7-1).

Sunday I had been tapped as liturgist at church, so I told the kids we should all plan to go and then go out to lunch afterward. Matt and Kathy claimed that they hadn't brought home clothes for church, so I told everyone that they could opt out if the wanted, but Matt found an outfit he could wear and Kathy's was not bad anyway, so the only one who lazied out of going was Ryan (who really had no excuse :-) ). Oh, he would have gone if I'd made it a bit less optional, but I was cool with him sleeping in and meeting us at the restaurant.

After church, lunch was California Pizza Kitchen. Then a family game of "Settlers of Catan" (which Kathy won, edging Ellen and Matt). I screwed up my first play and also had poor luck, so I never stood a chance in the game myself. My ridiculously bad play I could chalk up to only about the third time I'd played the game, but it was the first time to play for both Kathy and Ellen, and only Matt plays it regularly, so I have no excuse.

We topped off the game afternoon with a game of Hawaiian Rummy (which Ryan won, and Kathy opted out of as always). Before the last hand Narf called to wish me happy father's day (in his batch of calls to his fathers and pseudo-fathers). We put him on speaker phone and finished off the game, and then chatted with him for a loooong time -- Matt said the phone read 203 minutes at the end. Good thing Narf has roll-over minutes on his cell. :-)

Finally, I grilled some burgers for Matt, Ryan and I while Ellen and the girls finished leftovers from their lunches. Matt took off for Urbana in mid-evening, and the girls left for Normal this morning, so those three are back in class for the rest of their summer terms.

Next weekend -- nothing scheduled, so that will be grout time.

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Welcome Class of '76 -- If Any!

Tomorrow (well, actually today now) is my 30th year high school reunion. In the class booklet page I submitted, I put in a link to this blog. SO, if you wandered in via that path, welcome. Leave me a comment to let me know you were here. Because I'm certainly not there ...

... I'm going to guess that there won't be much traffic generated by that link.

Tomorrow I will be having a reunion with a member of the class of '77 in section 228 of Wrigley Field. But then, I just saw my brother there on Tuesday night, so it's not like it's been that long.

And, a member of the class of '75 just got home from work and she's telling me about her day.

I did go to my 10th year reunion, and we went to Ellen's 10th reunion the year before, but neither one of us has been much interested in doing it again. Maybe it would have been better this year because my class wasn't going to the dinner with all the other classes, so the number of boring speeches would have been far fewer.

When/if I get the class book, if anyone else has put in a web link I'll promise to follow that. Virtual/electronic reunions are just fine by me.

As it is, all the kids are home for the weekend so we can do something on Sunday for Father's Day.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Down to Zero

The countdown is complete: all the wall tiles are up in the powder room.

Next step: wall grout

Then: subfloor, and then I can start the countdown on the floor tile. Fortunately, the floor tiles are larger and cover much less surface, so I think the count starts at 18, or maybe 21.

OK, some lessons have been learned, I could have done more tiling at any one time had I realized that the thinset mortar doesn't set in the tray quite as quickly as I'd originally thought -- I could have mixed the mortar, set a majority of tiles, and had time to cut edge pieces and set them in place as well. Conversely, the mortar sets quickly once it it on the wall and the tile set -- because it's a thinner coat and probably the ceramic tile starts sucking out the moisture once it is set. Thus, in areas where I thought the tile needed to be well set before I started mucking about measuring for an edge on the perpendicular wall -- the time needed to allow for that would have only been 15 minutes or so. I could probably have done everything above the leveling line (the temporary wood rail) in one if I'd known these things and had set aside enough time then. I also know more about prep, so the next time I do this is should go smoother.

I'm sure the grouting will provide a new set of lessons.

On other weekend items: Ellen and I did get out to celebrate our anniversary on Friday, one day late. Ellen was in the mood for steak, and since our previous favorite steak place had closed I had to find an alternative. We wound up at Foxfire in Geneva. A very nice place, though a bit too pricy to fit into our normal rotation -- nice for occasions. Part of that was that we each had a glass of wine with dinner. I think I'm going to have to give up on the idea of wine with dinner, though. It doesn't excite me, doesn't add to the experience, and I know squat about it. I should have done what I heard another table do (after we'd ordered) and found out what beers they had on draft. A good beer I can appreciate.

On Saturday Kalen, Ryan and I did something I've been meaning to do for a while: we took an inventory of all the electrical circuits in the house so that I now have a list of what outlets and fixtures are on each circuit. Of course, I only think about doing this when I have some electrical work to do and need to find what circuit is involved by trial-and-error. Now we have a complete list, but for two outlets. The reason I don't have those -- and the reason we set about this task in the first place -- is that the wall outlets in the garage got shorted or something, and now don't work at all. The outlet in the backyard is also not working, and I need to figure out if that is also related or that's a separate outage. At any rate, I'm a bit puzzled as to what is going on on those and I'm afraid that I may have to get an actual electrician to sort it out, rather than being able to handle it with my amateur standing.

And, while we were messing with the electricity, I also wired a new branch of the phone line and relocated the DSL modem and wireless LAN router to the entertainment center in the living room rather than have it down in the basement.

Tonight, I'll take another stab at the garage outlets.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Tile Quest

I got the final tile piece I needed. Here it is:

Getting it was a bit more of a chore than I expected:

I went back to The Tile Store where I'd ordered the tile last Thursday (6/1). At that time they'd told me that they'd have the tile on Monday (6/5).

On Monday they said that it probably didn't get ordered in time for Monday's truck, but it would be in on Thursday (6/8).

The Tile Store is in the same center as Graham Crackers Comics, so I ususally wasn't going out of my way to get there. I just pushed my comic pick-up to Thursday this week rather than the usual Wednesday.

But when I went in on Thursday evening, they said it wasn't in, and it would probably take another two to three weeks. At that point, my patience is thin but, no, I don't blow up at the clerk (different from the other two times). She offers to call another store, which I of course agree to. She calls Schaumburg, and they had one. So, she asked that they tag it for her, and then she tells me they'll call me when it gets in to Naperville.

"Wait ... I'll just go pick it up. Tell them to hold it for me."

She's surprised I'm willing to go to the bother when they would get it for me (eventually), but calls Schaumburg back and tells them I'm coming.

Another minute of negotiating as we (or, "I") decide it would be easier if she refunds my money and I just buy the tile again in Schaumburg. She warns me that the sales tax may be a little higher there.

Um ... I'm going to drive over 20 miles north, burn a couple gallons of gas as well as pay a couple of tolls. I don't think I'm worried if the tax runs a few more pennies.

So I drive to Schaumburg and can't find the store where she said it was, on Golf and Meachem. A quick call to Kalen and a quick Google search by her tells me the store is at Higgins and Meachem, a bit more than a mile back south. OK, store located, tile found and in hand.

So, it took an extra 1.5 hours and probably an extra $7-8, but I have the tile rather than wait for weeks, so the tiling can progress this weekend.

So, here are a couple pictures of the tiling in progress, so you can get some idea of what I'm doing and how it will look. Be aware that there's no grouting done yet and some cleanup of the tiles that are in place, so the impression you'll get is only approximate. In the first one you can see where the two tiles came loose (as mentioned in a previous post).

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Happy Anniversary to Us

Today, June 8, is our anniversary. 27 years, which is odd because I'll be turning 30 in just two weeks.

Not doing anything today with that, since Ellen has to work this evening. So I talked to her for maybe 15 seconds last night when she came to bed after work (~2am) and again this morning for maybe 15 seconds this morning before I left for work (~8am). This is the odd day, though, that she works two days in a row not on a weekend. Maybe/Probably tomorrow night we'll do something.

Ellen or I (or both) should have pictures up by tomorrow of the new additions to the landscaping, and a couple pictures of the stalled bathroom tiling. The stall should be fixed by tonight though, as the missing tile should be available at the Tile Store now. The pictures are taken, but (aargh!) I can't find the USB cable to connect camera to laptop.

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Arbor Day

Got the arbor install on the side of the house as the entrance to the backyard (where the gate used to be). There's still some work to do that I need to work through, as the side pieces (fence pieces) need to be attached. It's just that the anchors that came with them won't quite work to put right next to the arbor. The flair of the spikes prevent then from going in abutted to the arbor and in straight -- which I learned trying to put in the first one. I'll mess with that another day, later in the week.

We also got the yard all groomed again - Ryan mowed (and dug holes where the arbor went in), I trimmed the edges and stuff swept up. Kalen weeeded all the flower beds, and Ellen's been getting the mulch in the beds refreshed. This was all pretty easy today since the weather is just perfect.

The weather was similarly perfect for the trip to St. Louis yesterday. We left plenty early in the morning, dropped Kalen off at her apartment in Normal, then drove to St.Louis and got to the part about 12:45, about 20 minutes before the gates opened. We then explored the stadium a bit (and it's very nicely set up - nice job St.Louis), and got to our seats -- the second to the last row in the upper deck - straight back behind home plate. And we enjoyed the game much more than the Cardinals fans around us did, since the Cubs jumped out to at a 6-1 lead in the 4th and finished with the score 8-5.

We got back to Normal about 8:30, picked up Kalen and Kathy so we could all have dinner at Olive Garden, and got back to Aurora well before midnight. All in all and nice little trip.

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Twenty-six or Forty

Twenty-six = the number of years I have worked at Bell Labs/AT&T/Lucent, as of today.

Forty = the number of tiles still to be stuck up on the powder room wall.

The number of tiles was down to 38 left, but raised to 40 because two tiles were wedged a bit with the board supporting the first row of tiles I put in, and those two came off when I pried off the board. No big deal. Slowing things a bit more has been that one of the decorative trim tiles broke in the wrong spot while I was cutting it, and I had no spares of that particular tile. I went to get another tile to replace it ... and they are out of stock until Monday. I ordered the tile so I'd be sure to get it when they came in. I'm hesitant to mix a batch of the thinset mortar before I know I can finish everything, but I may go ahead on Sunday anyway. However, with the known delay in the tiling the first priority for Sunday will be to install the arbor on the side of the house.

The priority for tomorrow (Saturday, 6/3), is to go to St. Louis to see the Cubs play the Cardinals. It's my brother's birthday, so he and I are driving down for the game tomorrow, leaving early in the morning and returning late in the evening. Kalen is catching a ride with us as far as Normal so she can spend the day working on her research project.

Last weekend Ellen, Kalen, and I went back to Iowa for an extended Memorial Day weekend. Kalen and I went to CavalierCon in Council Bluffs all day Friday and much of Saturday. I played five slots of year-5 Dyvers mods, rarely with people actually from the Dyvers area. I played four slots with my rogue Blaine and got him leveled up to level 6 (Rogue 5/Thief-Acrobat 1). The remaining slot I played as my ranger/scout Joe, playing the mod at APL 10. The interesting part of that module was that we had to go retrieve people from several regions surrounding Dyvers. We had to retreive folks from Furyondy, the County of Urnst, Verbobonc, and elsewhere in Dyvers. And the players (and characters) that played the module were from ... Furyondy, the County of Urnst, Verbobonc, and Dyvers. We broke one bit of boxed text in the module because the Furyondy native was able to warn folks of a barrier that the text assumed we hit. I was also able to identify a tribe native to the Gnarley in Verbobonc (which we could then kill on sight). The main accomplishment with Joe was to gain enough gold to get within one APL 8 module of being able to pay for the Holy enhancement on his +2 Adamantine Longsword. (OK, this sounds sooooo geeky!) He's still a long way from leveling up and getting his 4th level of Scout (and with it, Spring Attack).

Then we spent the rest of the weekend (Sunday and Monday) hanging out in Missouri Valley. I got a ceiling fan hung in my mom's living room and took care of a couple other minor things. Monday we went over to sister-in-law Beth's house for a cookout with Ellen's family, got in a game of Hawaiian Rummy, saw the house that Brian (nephew) and Nicole just moved into, and then checked out the house that Lyle (brother-in-law) bought to renovate and flip.

Tuesday, we drove back. Nothing particularly exciting there.

And aside from that, things have been pretty staid and normal. When everyone was home for a short time a couple weeks ago we got in a family game of Hawaiian Rummy which was the closest I've seen -- Ellen and I were tied going into the last hand with Ryan 120 points behind. At the finish I beat Ryan by only 5 points, with Ellen 15 points further back. Then that weekend (after Matt had going back to Urbana), the rest of us went out to dinner and a movie, with the only thing were were much interested in seeing being "Thank You For Smoking" (which was pretty funny, worth catching on video).

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