another misAdventure

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

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Counting the stack of comics, pre- and post-, it looks like we gave out 65 comics tonight. And so also 130 little boxes of candy. So, 65 kids, more or less.

I've got 25 comics left in the Halloween stash, so I'll have to be sure to restock at the comicon again this year.

It seemed like the costumes were a lot less elaborate this year. Like, several kids (I'd say, mostly the 11-year-old boys) were mostly just in their regular clothes and jackets, with maybe a slight nod to being "bums" or skaters or something like that. There's always a few like that, it just seemed more prevalent this year. I don't really care, it just was something I noticed and seemed a bit off.

More update after the break.

Work has been pretty busy. I stayed late (like 10:30) last night and once last week. Today I worked from home so that I could also take care of a couple of little errands, like getting the glass pumpkin yard stakes/candle holders (click there for a picture of exactly the things) ready and put up along the walkway, getting the other pumpkin decorations plugged in (nope, no hollowed out gourds this year - just the polyethyline equivalent). I wound up busy doing stuff for work, and almost didn't get out to get any candy or candles (for the yard stakes).

Other than that, I've also played quite a bit of D&D as zeroes for Stuffed COWS, coming up Thanksgiving weekend. I'm going to take the rest of the week off from any of that, though. Get some other stuff done, as well as catch up on other work that's been kind of back burnered while other high-priority stuff got worked.

Anyway, I think that's the update for now. It won't be a week until the next one, but at least a couple of days.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Orange You Glad ....

I've been seeing orange cars lately.

You know there's more ...

Several years ago (8 or 10 years now), Ryan, Matt, and I were driving from Aurora to Lake Okoboji to spend a week with my mom at her timeshare. Ellen and the girls were in Colorado with Girl Scouts, so this one was a trip for the guys.

To kill time on the long drive through Wisconsin and Minnesota (before dipping back into Iowa) we decided to play one of those car games. So, I said we should spot and count orange cars, see who spotted the most. We started this game in Madison, WI, and immediately Ryan asked, "Does that one count?".

We were driving by a car wash. With a big sign "CAR WASH". In orange letters. So, Ryan got the point. Good out-of-the-box thinking.

I think we all finished the trip with one point. No actual automobiles, though in the distance a number of red cars look pretty orange. I think we probably found a train car and a ride car at Arnold's Park.

Anyway, I blog this now because in the past week I've seen 4 or 5 orange cars, including an orange Corvette convertible this morning. That's not including the orange Hummer I saw yesterday (because that's an orange truck abomination, not a car). All were this burnt orange/sunset orange metallic color, which I guess must be this year's new hot car color.

And actually, it is a pretty nice looking color. Maybe my next car ....

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

You Take the Good, You Take the Meh

OK, the good news today: I don't think I need to go to Redmond, WA.

The better news: I don't need to carry the hotline phone on Thanksgiving, even though I offered.

The decent news: I got my work laptop "refreshed" today.

The "meh" news: That new laptop isn't working.

The other "meh" news: It's been more than a week since I blogged. I hate that!

Elaboration follows:

OK, elaboration, in order: I don't think I'm going to Redmond, WA in a couple weeks (October 30 - November 10) as I thought I was going to. The purpose of the trip was to be training, for a job I've been doing. Well, when we talked about it today (at a group meeting), my boss was checking who still needed to go. I said I was scheduled, but she wasn't sure that it was necessary since I'd been in the field twice now. I said I'd still be happy to go since it would mean some dedicated training time. Ah, not so fast: it turns out that's not the case. It would be more-or-less on the job training and almost identical to what I have indeed been doing! There wouldn't really be dedicated time with the folks who are the real experts. So, given that, I was more than willing to say, nope, don't need more of that. So, it looks like I'll be at home to pass out comics on Halloween night!

The hotline phone: I had offered to carry the hotline phone on Thanksgiving day, and the week leading up to it, if someone else covered the weekend after Thanksgiving so I'd be free to play/judge at StuffedCOWS. No one took me up on it. But because no one took me up on it, and I'd volunteered for the previous week, someone else got outright assigned to carry the phone, I don't need to do it Thanksgiving week at all! I'd made a similar offer for Christmas Day, since Ellen works then, but again no one took me up on that. I wanted to ensure that I had the days immediately following Christmas off. The best way to guarantee that I won't have the hotline for a specific week is to volunteer for the week immediately preceeding. Since they won't assign it two weeks in a row, they'll look to someone else on the week I want to be sure I'm free!

Laptop: I got my work laptop "refreshed" today. That is, I traded in my old slow laptop for a new one that is at least on the right side of "mediocre". A bit better than that actually, it seemed OK so far, but it's also far from the cutting edge. More like a fresh economy model.

Anyway, I was getting it all up-to-speed with how I want things set up. That included getting Firefox and Thunderbird installed and getting settings on other programs put right. Well, I went to check if the VPN tunnel software was installed, so I could login from home later. It didn't look like it was, though I knew it was supposed to be. So I downloaded a fresh copy and installed. OOOPS, big mistake, apparently. The install failed, then no more LAN connection! Then the uninstall failed, then the call to the help desk, then the driver update failed, then the driver uninstall failed, then the help desk call failed. Well, at least they determined that I couldn't actually do anything with the system as mucked up as it was, so I had to return it to the service center for them to fix, maybe by re-imaging. They knew it was a problem when I said what I was installing. It's even our company's internal product, but the installer apparently is terrible and causes many issues, especially when the software is already installed. If it was there, I couldn't find it anywhere, so they need to also fix where it shows up in the Start menu and warn people not to install it, even if they think it's not there. Hopefully I'll have it back in my hands by tomorrow morning.

As for the last bit, the update, well I've taken care of it now. Though I need a time machine to fix the "more than a week" part.

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Quick update

It's happened to everyone, and it just happened to me. I lost a post that I'd started to a computer crash, and I don't feel like reproducing it in its entirety. So, instead, I'll recap the recap.

Last Tuesday: spent the evening with John and Leah Gerdes. A fun and relaxing evening of chat. And, of course, their kids are growings and are wonderful.

The work week: busy. Got busier as the week went along. There have been some frustrations that I won't talk about here (too public, but most things are going OK. Today wasn't as hectic because there wasn't much going on on the weekend, so there wasn't a backlog for us. I've got four more days down here in St.Louis.

I drove home for the weekend. Left work just after 7pm, got back home right at the stroke of midnight. Got up too early the next morning to take Ellen to the train to go to her conference (get her to talk about that on her blog). Went back to sleep for a while. Caught up on some TV from the Tivo and did my laundry. Then drove into Chicago to pick up Ellen and go to dinner and ComedySportz (improv "competition", ever so slightly more serious on the points than "Whose Line ....").

Sunday: mowed the lawn. Went to lunch at Fuddruckers. Went phone shopping for Ellen , Matt, and Kalen, mainly because Matt wrecked his phone. Got Ellen a Treo and Matt and Kalen phones that have cool features and should be more Matt-proof (that was the prime decision maker, and I told Matt later than I'm sending the wrong message -- getting him a better phone because he screwed up the last one). Got my comics for two weeks. Drove to Normal. Had dinner with all four kids and delivered new phones where appropriate (as well has some other stuff to each kid). Drove the rest of the way to St. Louis.

That's the quick update. I may elaborate later. But then again, I may not.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Continuing the birthday posts, today is my mom's (Edna Tjarks) birthday.

Happy birthday, Mom!

If she had a blog, I'd link to it. But no.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

14 Hours at Home

14 hours is the amount of time I've spent at home in the past 10 days. And that includes sleep and mowing the lawn.

It's been busy at work here in St. Louis. The good thing about that is that the time has been flying. The downside is that we got out of there about 8:30 this evening. We then made a quick stop at the grocery store and back to the hotel to chill. The really good thing is that I'm now staying at a Residence Inn, so there's essentially a full kitchen here (full-size refrigerator, electric range, microwave, sink, dishwasher). I won't use much of it, but I did use the microwave tonight and my Diet Mountain Dew is chilling.

Anyway it's time for "Weekend Recap": I left work early on Friday, about 3:20, in plenty of time to make it to Bloomington by 6:30. I got my badge, said "hi" to Phil Thompson (every con report must have a Phil Thompson reference, right?), then went back to the car to get my D&D stuff. Kalen and Kathy were coming in just as I was going back to the car, so they went on to get their badges. We met back inside to chill before slot 1. We went our separate ways during mustering as I was planning to play a little higher level than they were, but they would up back at the same table as I was (there were too many at the lower table, so they shuffled up to what turned out to be an APL 8 table -- just as I'd wanted. We played VTF 6-04 (or whatever) Faire Trade, and it was a lot of fun and made us sweat just a little. After playing, we went back to the girls' apartment to crash for the night. It was at this point (just after 11pm Friday), that I knew I wouldn't be able to start driving home to Aurora at the same time the next night, so I told the girls I would skip the third slot on Saturday and head home then.

Nothing else too exciting to report. On Saturday we played the VTF interactive "Fair Compensation" and my character ("Joe", my 9th level Ranger/Scout) won the knowledge competition. I claim I got second in the Haiku competition, even though only first prize was awarded or announced. :-) And I came close to killing another player's character (not my fault!), and then was pounded on by the attacking monsters (they were attacking me in preference to any of my party mates). Good thing I had lots of healing available to me. Then in the second slot Kathy and I played "A Long Way for a Little Knowledge", and were almost done in by a misworded riddle (the module writer doesn't know the diffeerence between a number and a digit) and a horribly broken encounter that is avoided by the riddle.

Then the girls and I had dinner at Subway and I headed home. I got back to Aurora and did my laundry, watched some stored TV on the Tivo, and finally got to see Ellen when she got home from work.

Sunday morning I mowed the lawn, then went to the final Cubs game of the year. The Cubs won (yay), coming from behind by scoring three runs in both the 7th and 8th innings. I had a good lunch with Bob at the club and made a point of watching the "W" flag raised to cap a bad year. The crowd that was there were pretty amazing, though, cheering on the win and giving a good ovation at the end, all eager to have something positive to end the year (and now Dusty Baker is gone -- good riddance).

From the game I drove straight back to St. Louis. Driving back I talked on the cell phone to Matt for quite a while, then Ellen for a bit, then my mom, then Ryan, then Kalen (and Kathy, through Kalen). That killed much of a couple of hours of driving, and for the rest of it I had the Bears game to listen to (a surprising blowout by the Bears).

And, that's it for now. Tomorrow night I'll meet John and Leah Gerdes (and some number of small Gerdeses) for dinner.

Now, EVERYONE in my family owes an update -- everyone's most recent post is a bit ancient.

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