another misAdventure

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

Sunday, September 24, 2006

No Monsoon

It's been a busy weekend, and I'm capping it by recapping from here in St.Louis ...

First, yes, I'm in St.Louis. I don't remember whether I mentioned it here (oh, yeah, I did), but I'm here for three weeks. Sort of. Since it's close enough to home, I'm going to be doing some driving back and forth. More on that as the week progresses.

Anyway, I worked from home on Friday so that I could do laundry before having to take off for the weekend. I went in for a little while on Friday afternoon so I could pass off the hotline phone (yay, I got rid of it!). I did a little planning with the people from my team who are to be here in St.Louis with me (Carlos and Ming), and then left again about 4pm. Before heading home I needed to stop at Ace Hardware in Warrrenville to get the screwdriver I was going to need for the evening's activity (more on that shortly): a #10 Torx screwdriver (hex/star head). Anyway, they didn't have one, at least an individual one. The clerk said someone had been by earlier and bought abunch of Torx screwdrivers - they had ONE left on the whole rack: the wrong size of course.

But, as I started to leave, I noticed a screwdriver set. 21 screwdrivers, including a Torx #10. Well, since I either needed to get one or abandon the job-that-hasn't-been-mentioned-yet, and I didn't want to drive 20 minutes south to the other nearest hardware stores, I bought the whole set. I guess I could use some fresh phillips drivers anyway.

As I left the hardware store, I looked west and noticed the gathering clouds were pretty dark. I looked north/north west and the clouds were .... BLACK. Really, really, reallyx5, black. Slightly south-of-west (i.e., towards home), the clouds weren't bad at all. I got in the car and started driving home, and heard about the tornado warning. They'd spotted a funnel cloud just north of I-88 at Kirk Road -- i.e. 1 mile straight west of my house. The whole thing was moving northwest, and by the time I was listening to the radio, the worst of it was -- straight north of me by a mile or so. Since I was driving south and then east, and there didn't seem to be activity that direction, I drove home regardless, and all was fine. Though the rain started in earnest just after I got home. That meant no chance to mow before I left (Hey, Tony -- go talk to Ellen and I'll hire you to mow the lawn).

Anyway, I got home and started that yet-unnamed task: Tivo surgery. Earlier last week we had a strong lightning strike not horribly far from the house. That caused a brief power outage, a couple seconds at most. At that time I was upstairs and had the TV&Tivo on in our bedroom, and I noticed that Tivo reboot. Well, I think that it must have caused at least a minor head crash on the Tivo disk, because a bit after that Ellen noticed that the Tivo picture was stuttering, pausing, and pixellating. We googled the symptoms and found that the likely explanation was the hard drive going bad.

So, with Torx #10 in hand, I opened the Tivo and extracted the harddrive. I plugged it into Kalen old desktop, and also plugged in a new 160 gig drive, and booted it from a CD image I found on a Tivo how-to website (by this time, the really severe weather seemed to have passed, so no lightning surge likely). Two hours later, the disk copy completed and we had the old image on the fresh new drive, and the problems had resolved (as well as having at least twice the recording capacity).

Anyway, that took a good chunk of Friday night, though while the disk was copying I could gather and pack clothes for the trip.

Saturday morning, bright and early, I set off for Normal. There I picked up Kalen and we drove to Urbana to Matt's apartment. From there, we went over to park near Matt's old dorm, and walk to the stadium for the Iowa/Illinois football game. We got there WAY too early -- an hour before, which I didn't really think would be way too early, but the crowd was late arriving due to threatening weather and a sucky Illinois team. I told Matt and Kalen that Illinois' best chance at a win would be if a monsoon hit during the game. Unfortunately for Illinois, though good for us, the weather held off despite being cloudy and windy. Iowa beat Illinois fairly soundly, 24-7. A happy result for Kalen (and me, I was sort-of neutral, sort-of for Iowa), and Matt held no illusions of adequacy for the Illinois team (he'll just wait for basketball season for a decent team to cheer).

After the game, we drove back to Normal, me in my car and Matt and Kalen in his. We met Ellen, Kathy, and Ryan at our hotel-for-the-night, chilled out for a while, then went to dinner. We then waited interminably (at least an hour and a half, though the reported expected wait was 35-45 minutes) for a table at Outback. The food was good, except they failed to actually fix a meatless dish for Kathy. In fact, Kathy and Ellen suspect they just tried to take the meat off the top of her pasta dish, hoping she wouldn't notice the pieces of chicken an ham that were deeper in the dish. So, it'll be a while (read: millenium) before I decided to go back to that Outback, maybe any Outback.

We then went to the girl's apartment to chill out a bit before Kalen and Ellen both started getting sleepy, so we left Kalen and Kathy, took Ryan to his dorm, and Ellen and Matt and I retired to the hotel.

We slept in a bit on Sunday, then went back to the girls' apartment before going to a later breakfast, early lunch at IHOP. Then it was time for the girls to report for their concert, while the rest of us went to check out Ryan dorm room. I like the way he got it set up, though it is a single guy's dorm room (i.e. kind of messy). We relaxed there for a while then went to the girls' choir concert. The girls choir was good, and I enjoyed much of the concert (though I started drifting off toward the end, where the concert choir was doing some more classical pieces. One group sang "Begin the Beguine", which reminded me to pull out Michael Nesmith's "... tropical campfire's ..." album (yes, he does that sond on the album).

Anyway, from there we all split our separate ways ... Matt to Urbana, Ellen home to Aurora, and me to St. Louis.

I got to the hotel a bit less than three hours later. I checked in, and then set off to find something to eat and scout a bit of the area that I'll be driving to-and-from the Lucent office. I found a grocery store to get some Diet Mountain Dew and crackers, found a Subway for a sandwich for dinner (kind of a default choice .. that or McDonald's), and then got lost on the way back to the hotel. You have to do some weird turns to get around this area. Anyway, after a half hour lost I got back to the hotel, got everything out of the car, unpacked, and sat down to right this. The end. Until later, anyway.


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