another misAdventure

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

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Gleemax demands pixels

Gleemax has demanded pixels from his minions and I have complied.

Hail Gleemax,

I am pleased to present you with pixels covering two of your categories:
me wearing a hat with ears, and next to a person dressed as a cartoon character.

This is also arguably with a celebrity, but I won't try your patience.

My forum name is "timtjarks". I am the minion on the left in the photo. Alas, I am not sure what the forum name of the person on the right is. Perhaps he has changed to the name "8thdwarf"?

Gleemax also demanded that the pixels be ones that were not previously on the internet. He (?) didn't say they couldn't subsequently be on the internet.

OK, that's enough of the Gleemax stuff for today.

I went with Bob to the Cubs game last night. Unfortunately, it was arguably the worst game they'd played all season. At least to date. Dang.

Bob couldn't remember who the Cubs left fielder was after Moises Alou. I finally remembered Todd Hollandsworth, but couldn't remember the name of the rookie that platooned with Hollandsworth. Thanks to Baseball Reference, I now remember it was Jason Dubois.

Dubois was traded that season to Cleveland. He played 14 games with Cleveland, and then hasn't been in the major leagues since.

The Cubs got Jody Gerut from Cleveland for Dubois. Gerut played a very little while for the Cubs, and then was traded to Pittsburgh. He played four games with Pittsburgh, and then hasn't been in the major leagues since.

The Cubs got Matt Lawton from Pittsburgh for Gerut. Lawton hung around with the hapless 2005 Cubs a bit longer, but was then traded to the Yankees. He also had a bit more success, playing 21 games for the Yankees and then played 11 games for Seattle last year before being released, exactly a year ago yesterday. Again, he then hasn't been in the major leagues since.

The Cubs got Justin Berg from the Yankees for Lawton. At least he's still in the Cubs system, at the AA Tennessee Smokies. He's started 10 games and has a 5.48 ERA.

Just a bit of information, because it's too depressing right now to think about the 2007 Cubs.

Maybe I'll work on more pixels for Gleemax instead.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Kalen and I got back from Iowa yesterday. It was an enjoyable trip, and we had fun at Weekend in Dyvers.

At Weekend in Dyvers, we wound up playing eight of the ten slots we'd signed up for. We ditched Sunday morning (after the interactive ran very late on Saturday night) and Monday morning (after a moderately late night on Sunday, and just wanting to not have to rush out of Missouri Valley). The first module I skipped I didn't really care that much about playing anyway, and the second can be picked up later.

Blaine (my rogue/acrobat character) gained a level, and finally earned enough gold for his item to bump up both strength and constitution. Though because I switched to a different character for one slot (due to mustering considerations -- the split of table levels didn't work out well without me changing), Blaine didn't get that item before the interactive and, worse, he could have purchased it for 1500 gold pieces less. Oh well, that's the breaks.

Sometime while I was gone, I received a small box from Wizards of the Coast. Inside was a small, squishy (foam) brain, with the words "MOCTODSDR AZIWTAXAM EELG" printed across it, and no other explanation. I was going to try to figure it out, but instead I just Googled it. So I followed that up, and we'll see if there's any follow up.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More Experimentation

So, the activity for the late afternoon and evening was trying to impose a little organization on some of the digital pictures I have. I have well over 1000 pictures from Walt Disney World, hundreds from our San Francisco vacation, and then a bunch of miscellaneous pictures.

So, I'm starting with the miscellaneous pictures: learning to use Picasa to add captions to the pictures and how best to share the results. The earlier post this evening was the first attempt. Continue on for more of the experiments, and the rest of my doings the past couple of days:

Yesterday Kalen and I went with mom to Omaha to do some Wal-Mart shopping. Whatever else you or I have to say about Wal-Mart, they are easy for mom to get around and were very helpful in getting set up with the electric cart.

Today I did a batch of errands running around town, and Kalen and I helped get some boxes of fabric moved around for mom to organize. And, I sat with my computer trying to figure out the picture things.

OK, on to more experimentation results: The attempt to post to Blogger from Picasa left a lot to be desired, as you saw. I also uploaded some pictures to the Picasa Web Albums, with a bit more success, but I'm still not pleased with that format. Check out the four pictures from my adventures in Tivo surgery at this link. The kitchen remodelling pictures are also on the Picasa Web Albums here. The upload to Blogger actually landed there, again only the first four pictures, but at least the captions are intact.

More successful was saving the Picasa album as HTML, and then uploading that to my Earthlink web page. You can see those same kitchen remodelling pictures there, but all 14 pictures are included, with the captions, and in a bit better presentation.

In another example, there are the pictures from Ryan's high school graduation (two years ago). However, there's a bug in Picasa as it screwed up the second and third pictures in that series. On Picasa they look fine, but the exported version has the right captions by the wrong pictures (repeated from later, and distorted).

I'm still not 100% pleased with the web pages that Picasa generated, but it's better. I see that Picasa can also export as XML, so I might play with style sheets to get a better look to the pictures.

Now the other thing I need to check is how much bandwidth I have from Earthlink for the web pages, and whether by posting these I'll exceed a quota.

More experimentation results another time. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe not.

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An Experiment in Picasa

This is an experiment in posting photos from Picasa (yet another Google™ tool). I'm not sure this has worked like I want, though. These are old pictures, with captions that I've added with Picasa (though I don't know if the captions will show up here).

Posted by Picasa

And the answer is: it only uploaded four of the 14 pictures, and none of the captions. I'll have another posting in a while with another experiment.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Sprint Across that Stage!

Sunday I returned to my old high school for the graduation of my niece, Rachel Briggs. The ceremony was quick: almost exactly 30 minutes, and started spot on time as well. The only thing that could have made the ceremony any shorter is if the grads all sprinted across the stage.

I'm sure her brother's graduation (5 years ago) was longer, and for a smaller class (Rachel's class was about 46 if I counted right, Brian's was somewhere in the 30's).

A bit different from my kids' graduations. Kalen's class was about 500, and it just went up from there (Ryan's class pushing 900).

Anyway, the rest of Sunday was Rachel's graduation party, which was much, much better attended than she expected/feared. Turned out that a lot of folks ... turned out.

Today, Ellen headed home, leaving me here in Missouri Valley with Kalen and my mom. So, we're trying to get a few things done around here for mom for the next few days, then Weekend in Dyvers/CavalierCon for the rest of the weekend.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Grand Slam!

Cubs won today, with four insurance runs scored on a grand slam in the 8th inning, when the Cubs took the lead. That is, the Cubs scored a run to tie the game, the a run to take the lead, and then the grand slam was on top of all that to seal the deal. Anyway -- Yay!

That happened while I was still a bit less than an hour from Missouri Valley, and at least I was able to listen to the whole game while driving over.

Since much of my day was taken up driving, there's not much else to say. I managed to walk out of the house without picking up the dress shirt I had hung up, so I stopped along the way to pick up a new shirt, tie, and tie tack. I could use all that anyway, so that worked fine.

And, other than that, I have to mess around with my laptop tomorrow because it's not picking up the wireless network here, although it's working fine on my work laptop (from which I'm posting now). My laptop isn't picking up any network, though this laptop shows four networks in range, so it may the network card worked it's way loose, or something else is blocking it.

Tomorrow: Rachel's graduation.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

BBQ Nachos and Fielders Choices

Hey who knew that BBQ Nachos even exist?

The things you learn when you don't have a stadium club reservation. Matt and I went to the Cubs game today and had a concession stand lunch, and discovered BBQ Nachos. Nacho chips, cheese sause, BBQ sauce, pulled pork, and (optional) jalepeños.

Cubs won. It was a good, fun game. The White Sox will be ready to kill the reliever who struck out two in 2/3rds of an inning, but also have up five hits, 3 runs and allowed 2 inherited runners to score, allowing the score to go from 3-1 Sox to 6-3 Cubs. The final two runs scored on two fielders choice plays in the 8th inning (only one of which resulted in an out).

On our way home from the game I asked Matt if he wanted to grab dinner with Ryan and Kathy before he headed back to Urbana. He suggested Chinese buffet, so that's what we did.

Tonight -- I should be packing, but I'm tired so I'll put that off until tomorrow morning. So I may not leave too early for Missouri Valley, but I'll be able to pretty much drive straight through.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

And, two other points

One note I found odd at the University of Illinois graduation. The new Ph.D.s all got their names called and walked across the stage. But no such love for the new JDs and DVMs. I figured all doctor's level degrees would get the same treatment, but no. There must have been a separate ceremony because I see almost a full page of JDs in the booklet, but only two (2!) came to the same ceremony as Matt.

Secondly, I would abstain from comment, but Mark Evanier had the most fitting comment on recent news.

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Eve of Distraction

The days escape me. I knew I'd skipped one day of posting, but I guess I missed two.

Long night monitoring on Tuesday. I did two shifts: 1pm-5pm and then 9pm - 1am. I thought that would be fine with a four hour break. Unfortunatly, the break all but evaporated due to a problem that came up near the end of my first shift. I did get an hour to grab some dinner, though, and the late shift was no problem.

And last night ... well, I just lazied out of posting. I was tired.

The best thing -- as of tomorrow I'm on vacation until after Memorial Day!

Vacation plan: relax.

Matt's home tonight and he and I are going to the Cubs game tomorrow afternoon. Then he'll head back to Urbana and I'll come home to pack.

Saturday I'll drive to Iowa. Sunday is Rachel's graduation (Hi Rachel!). Monday through Thursday I plan to chill, and do whatever is on my mom's to-do list for me (Hi Mom!).

Friday through Monday is CavalierCon/"Weekend in Dyvers" for Kalen and I. Gaming convention -- 10 slots of Living Greyhawk.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

A Cup's Life

OK, let's say you're a cup.

Well, actually, you're dressed as a cup, and standing by the road waving to draw attention to the Quizno's.

So if that's not bad enough, the costume is kind of like a sail, and it's gusty out.

I don't know that the poor guy/gal was concentrating much on waving. I think they mainly were trying to avoid being blown over and into the road.

And that's about all the excitement from here today.

Well, no. I did come home and decided to ask each of my (admittedly adult) children if they were productive today. And they all had good stories to tell me, so I was pleased.

I suppose I could have called Matt and asked the same thing, but I'll trust he's taking care of himself.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Congratulations, Matt!

Congratulations to Matt on his graduation from the University of Illinois. His next plans are on his blog.

Yay! One complete through college!
And, it's not every class that gets a commencement address from someone who graduated from the same school just three years earlier (YouTube founder Jawed Karim).

We got down to Matt's apartment this morning and were happily surprised that Tony had come down as well. Went to the graduation ceremony, got some pictures (not yet uploaded), then we all went out to lunch. Then we drove back, called my mom to wish her a happy Mother's Day, and ... that was about it.

And, considering I keep falling asleep at the computer, I think I should head to bed now.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

The Rest of the Stuff

I took the day off from work today to help Ryan, Kalen, and Kathy move back home from school. As you may remember from last week, we got part of the stuff packed up last week. For Ryan that made today easy -- it took us 15 minutes to get the rest of his stuff out of his dorm. He just had to borrow the broom from the girls' apartment to sweep out his room before checking out.

Matt came over from Urbana, because I figured we'd never get Kathy's TV into any car other than his wagon, and I think that was true for her TV stand too. He and I swapped cars for a couple days so I could take the TV, etc, home and he could drive back to Urbana. Some of the stuff had to get packed in may car anyway, but it won't hinder him and the stuff in there shouldn't be missed for those days.

It took us about 3 hours to get all the stuff packed up (while the girls were also cleaning), and it took pretty much all the space in Kalen, Kathy, and Matt's cars plus most of my trunk and a good chunk of my back seat. But it's done now. Yay.

And Kalen and Kathy apparently cleaned well, as their check-out inspection passed with flying colors.

Still have to figure out what to do with it for the next several months, or year or so, but that's a problem for another day.

Came home, unloaded the car, and I mowed the lawn. Time to grab something to eat, shower, and get to bed. Because I'm beat.

Tomorrow morning -- monitoring. Sunday -- Matt's graduation.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007



I'm monitoring 9pm - 1am. After monitoring 9am - 1pm this morning. No one to blame but myself, as I wanted to be sure to have Friday and Sunday off.

It was a bad day earlier. Things blowing up on my shift, so I didn't actually get out of the war room until almost 4pm.

Then I got my comics, got dinner, washed some dishes, watched some Daily Show on the Tivo and some of the Cubs game. Then came in to work.


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Monday, May 07, 2007

Low Energy Day

I got done in Schaumburg last night about 3:30am. Got home sometime after 4am, then finally went to bed at 5am after winding down a bit.

So, much of the rest of the day was spent sleeping.

I did get up around noon. That was about the time Matt called to ask me about some Gencon scheduling stuff, and ask me if I could grab a few tickets for him since he would be busy when the event registration opened up. But, I was waking up right about then anyway.

Gencon event registration, when it first opened up, was the usual pain. I did get most of the tickets I needed into my shopping cart (but for one of Matt's that I had to get for a day later than he'd plannned). Then, I went to checkout. And I went to checkout. And I went to checkout. Over and over again. I don't know how many times I had to reload the page to get anywhere, but it took me an hour. Finally I got to the page that had me enter my credit card number, got that in, and hit the "submit". And hoped that actually went through, because the button specifically said "do not press more than once". It eventually took the "submit" and took me to a new page, but the new page was blank. And, there was no confirmation e-mail, but my shopping cart was now empty.

I retried getting the tickets for the one event Matt and I were both doing, but the system wouldn't let me because it said I was already registered. Thus, I decided, things probably worked the first time, and I gave up for the time being, trusting that things were right.

I checked in with Kathy later to see what the plan was for buying True Dungeon tickets. She and I coordinated when those tickets went on sale (at 6pm CDT), and I managed to get right in and purchase a set of seven tickets for one of our top choice time slots: 7:36pm on Thursday. I could have also gotten the 9:36pm slot as well, but released those in favor of the others. Kathy couldn't get the tickets she tried for, but as long as one of us got through we were fine. This time, I managed to get checked out with a minimum of fuss, and it even gave me the purchase confirmation web page and confirmation e-mail. AND, with Ryan's help, I was able to confirm that I'd gotten the other tickets earlier in the day, so all is well!

Other than that, I was lazy much of the day just getting some of my energy back. I didn't get into work until 8:30pm, just before my monitoring shift (9pm - 1am). That's where I am now. This shift has been eventful enough, but with a little down time to make this entry. But, now, back to the fun of watching call completion statistics!

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

It's a Minor Update !

Monitoring this morning - nothing special. Came home, mowed and trimmed the lawn. Went to our Seis de Mayo dinner. Came home. Watched TV.

And for my late night, see after the break:

I need to be in Schaumburg at 11:30pm for a special monitoring shift, which may only last an hour, may last until 4am (or potentially later, but unlikely). We have to go to a different site because they will be working on the network the monitors would normally use. So, I'll probably be home early in the morning. Fortunately, I was signed up for a 9pm - 1am monitoring shift on Monday night, so it works out to come home and sleep much of the day, then also sleep late on Tuesday.

So, I probably won't necessarily have much of an update tomorrow.

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Día de los Libros Cómicos Gratis

It's Cinco de Mayo. It's Free Comic Book Day.

I got some of both.

Cubs game today, with some special Mexican additions to the stadium club buffet: shredded pork tacos, breakfast burritos (early game, so breakfast was still appropriate), nachos. Well, and a margerita bar, but I didn't partake.

Cubs win! Cubs win! A solid 5-3 victory.

On the way back home, I had just enough time to get to Graham Crackers Comics to participate in Free Comic Book day by picking up my free books. Well, I bought something as well: I found that there were two Y: The Last Man trades that I hadn't picked up yet. As for the free comics, I went specifically for the Nexus Special. I also picked up the Bongo Comics Free-For-All and Comics 101 from TwoMorrows.

Later in the evening, we decided to try going to Cozymel's for a Cinco de Mayo dinner. However, by the time we got there it was an hour and a half wait. The rest of us were OK with the wait, but Kathy was hungry and so we decided to go with her suggestion, because it was simple: CiCi's Pizza. It's a buffet, and the pizza is pretty good (and plenty of variety), and it's cheap. The atmosphere leaves a bit to be desired -- poor man's Chuck E. Cheese's -- but for the price I'd rather sacrifice atmosphere rather than food quality (or cleanliness -- I didn't see problems there).

The hotline rang once late in the evening, but it was just one of my colleagues looking for advise, and handled within a couple minutes. Tomorrow I have a monitoring shift in the morning, the hotline through the rest of the day, and apparently I have to go to Schaumburg to do some special monitoring late tomorrow (really early Monday). So, a bit busy. I better come home in the afternoon and take a nap.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

All The Stuff

We got most of Ryan's stuff moved out of his dorm room today. And I dropped off some additional boxes and bins at Kalen and Kathy's apartment, and help her move out some stuff. Those three are home for the weekend, until they return for their finals and finish moving out next week.

Now the next question (and one they can work on this weekend): where to put all their stuff? Need to find space for everything, and a spot to store some of the stuff Kathy will be taking back for her dorm room in the fall.

No issues with my dental appointment today -- got the old filling drilled out, got the new filling put in. It was entirely routine and about as quick as could be expected. The numbness finally cleared up about 2 hours later, as I was most of the way to Normal.

I listened to the Cubs game on the way down, took about 30 minutes to get Ryan's stuff, went to meet Kalen again (and watched the last inning of the Cubs game), and then took off for home again.

Tomorrow, Cubs game and Cinco de Mayo, the celebration of Mexican mayonnaise.

Hey look, I managed a blog post a day for more than a week!

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Dental Flaws

Tomorrow I'm going to go to Normal and help Ryan move some of his stuff out of the dorm, so it's not so onerous later. I'll probably go over to help Kalen and Kathy a bit as well, if they want.

I won't be going down there quite as early as planned, though; I forgot I had a dental appointment to replace an ancient filling.

Nothing too exciting again today. Once again, the hotline did not ring. I've got to forward it to Carlos tomorrow as he and I had switched Fridays. Then Juan is covering Saturday while I'm at the Cubs game, so I only still have to cover Saturday night and Sunday. So far - painless.

The key to decoding yesterday's post is 52. But if you didn't know that already, you won't care.

And, the thing I was reminding myself on Tuesday is taken care of. OK Mom?

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

S = 5, X = 10

I'll start out cryptic today. I thought using 10 for X was an excellent and elegant choice. 5 for S was a reasonable hack, though 5 had already been used in a non-canon source. 17 was recognizable and had been named such before. 22 is a new name. 2, 3, and 4 were no-brainers, of course. But I don't recognize 50. And is the final result a new 1, or is it 52??

Hah, few of my readers will even recognize what I'm talking about (Ryan. Any of the old Legends crew that might look in).

Hotline rang once today, tying me up for a couple hours, but it wasn't really a call worthy of the hotline. And I was also tied up with another conference call earlier today for a couple hours. So, I wasn't as productive as I would like to have been, but it was OK.

And other than that, and the stuff of the first paragraph, this wasn't a particularly exciting day. Just normal. Tomorrow morning: monitoring shift.

I do enjoy being cryptic, though. Enjoy, Ryan.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007


No need for me to call for help today. Though I also didn't give any baskets of candy, or parade any military equipment, or even take the day off.

But, it was a pretty decent day.

  • Monitoring duty this morning: a quiet shift, no significant problems to try to figure out, let alone try to correct. And, we came to some meeting of the minds among those of us there to get some of the folks out of the monitoring and doing something more productive. Not me, but at least it's a step back toward normalcy.

  • At the group meeting today, everyone was cool with a suggestion to change the way we schedule monitoring shifts, and I started implementing that.

  • Not only that, but several other ideas I mentioned were met with enthusiasm, and I took a step toward working my way into a job I'd rather be doing.

  • The hotline phone hasn't rung (except when I called it to test reception). Knock on simulated wood veneer.

  • Tomorrow is new comics day. And, I don't have any monitoring shifts tomorrow. So, I should have time to start implementing some of today's ideas, and still get my comics (assuming the hotline still doesn't ring).

Now if I can remember what else I'm supposed to do tomorrow. Oh, yeah, this is in here to remind me!

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