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2006 Thoughts

1/8/06 - 11:48 pm Its been an awfully long time since I've updated this thing but I just haven't been in the mood for it. Nothing good has happened since my last update, at least not in the way that would make me write about it on here. I had my annual review in mid-December and it went quite well. Unlike the previous years I actually got real numbers to look at and improve for next year. Other good news from work... someone from the Helpdesk finally got promoted and there is a possibility that someone else may be leaving soon. Life outside of work has been bearable at best. Xmas came and went without too many issues and the parents seemed happy with their gifts. I still have one gift to give out yet but I don't know when I'll get to do it... I just talked to its recipient tonight for the first time in weeks. I was worried about her for a while for a variety of reasons but now it looks like she has someone new in her life so I'm a lot less worried. I have another friend that I lost contact with recently, at least I'm fairly certain I have, haven't seen her online since she started seeing her new person. I've gone through this with her before... new man means little or no contact until things start to go wrong. The only problem is that I never get any warning when someone new enters the picture so I never get my chance to say good bye to her... just in case she does find that "happily ever after" thing and I never hear from her again. Speaking of that, things have not been going well for me in that area. There was one I exchanged one email with last month, another one I was hoping to meet, and one I met briefly at a New Years Eve party that seemed nice. Oddly enough, I even had a co-worker ask me if I was seeing anyone just this past week. I was figuring that this was a setup but it was more along the line of "you're a nice guy and I don't know why you don't have someone". I just don't have the stomach to deal with any of it right now... it takes too much courage to try and saps too much strength to fail, both of which I am in fairly short supply. I did do something stupid this past week. I had dinner with my most recent certain someone. It was stupid because I'm worried about giving her any kind of hope and extra stupid because I was thinking of starting things back up. I may end up seeing her again this month to help celebrate her passing some major tests for school, but that's still up in the air. Back to the New Years Eve party I mentioned before... it was the same party I went to last year. I had a good time as usual, met a new person or two, had a bit to drink, and most importantly, wasn't home at midnight. Unfortunately it was the last party at this location for at least the next year since the host and hostess are expecting their first child. I offered my congratulations to the eventual dad but he seemed less than excited about it, which really kind of sucked the happiness out of the room. I'm sure his attitude will improve but it was just a little sad to hear at that particular moment. Not too much else going on around here... just trying to do the house thing and counting the days. Time for bed.

1/16/06 - 12:48 am Holy crap is this weekend ever taking a long time to end!! It isn't a bad weekend or anything but it is a three day weekend and I'm looking forward to Monday and Tuesday so it feels like its going very slowly. The work week itself went pretty quickly and it looks like we're back up to our normal level of business now that everyone has used up all of their vacation time. We had one really interesting ticket this week... well... not really "interesting" but it involves Asshat so that makes it interesting to me :) We got a ticket from someone that we caused some trouble for a couple years ago. Back then he was upgrading his department's computers on the sly because he didn't want to upgrade from Windows 98. He basically gutted the old Gateway systems that the government bought and installed newer motherboards, processors, etc so that they looked old but really weren't. Well, in the process of doing this he had to splice several wires together to make the new boards work with the old cases... which he did with masking tape. We accidentally discovered this while making a repair one day and as a result, yanked all the systems he did this to, probably got him in some trouble, and certainly pissed him off. Well, this week he called in a ticket saying that his computer was smoking. Asshat got the ticket and picked up the system, and sure enough, it was smoking. The only part of this computer that is of any importance is the hard drive, particularly for this customer because it has a database on it that he wrote himself and that is a giant pain in the ass to reinstall... not to mention years of other data. Well, Asshat takes the drive and throws it on the workbench hard enough to damage it. I asked him if he was planning on using it again (I admit that I had a bit of a "tone" in my voice given what I had just seen) and he said "of course" and "don't question [him]". I pretty much shut up at that point figuring that there wasn't much chance of it working now and to just let him deal with it. Later he tries the drive in the new computer and it doesn't work (no surprise) then he asks for my help reinstalling this all-important database. Since the drive is dead I decide to see if I can do anything with it with some of the tools I have. In the middle of working on it, Asshat says "I told you its dead" and "I've already tried that" and a couple other negative things... then a few minutes later asks me to try something that he just said he already tried. Since the drive seems fried I figure I might as well get really daring and actually take it apart, what harm could it do right? Asshat stops me and says that the customer may want it back so they can send it out and have the data recovered (at a cost of many thousands of dollars). I let the drive be until the next day when the broken system is returned to them and the bad drive finds its way into the box for disposal. So here's the happy ending to this story. I get the drive and another exactly like it from the box and start to take them apart. As soon as I start to remove the rubber cover a chip off of the circuit board falls out. So it turns out that Asshat did damage the drive after all, or at least the board that controls it, which would explain why it didn't do anything when we plugged it in. After that I swapped the boards from the bad drive and the other one and magically, everything worked fine. I can't wait until Tuesday when I can tell the customer I got all of his data back after Asshat said it was lost... although I'm still deciding if I want to be a complete ass about it or just just a partial ass ;) Okay, I know that was a long and boring story for you non-technical people but it really made my week :)

1/23/06 - 11:22 pm It was an interesting day. I've been drinking and I have a case of the hiccups from Hell so I'm not into writing a whole lot tonight. Asshat confronted me today about talking behind his back... which was perfectly okay... I do tend to "vent" on the other techs about some things he does that bother me. Since he and I are alone in the same room the vast majority of the day its only natural that I vent on others... I expect he does the same... which is okay with me. I know I have many flaws, one of which is not knowing when to keep things to myself, which today he helped me learn. The only problem is that I don't know what exactly he was talking about. I don't know if he was talking about a routine "I wish he wouldn't" comment, an offhanded joke I was making simply because he wasn't in the room comment, or a real genuine work-related comment I may have made. His personality and mine may not mesh very well but he is a very good technician, which I do say on most occasions when others are against him. Okay, other stuff. Newtech (for lack of a better name) is doing well despite their personal feelings. Newtech has the skills if not the confidence to do the job... they are already ahead of the curve by taking a couple calls solo within the first 14 days. Another tech is worrying me though... Pablo seems to be a bit down on his job. Yeah, this is another fault of mine... I want to help everyone be happy with their job... I'm disturbed... I know... but he was particularly unhappy today. Okay... I have lot more to write but my hiccups are causing me issues so I'm going to end it here.

1/29/06 - 10:08 pm Work was nice and busy last week, just like I like it. I finally made it back to playing racquetball after a long break. I haven't played much with the old gang because of their workout routines but Newtech has started playing. Its probably better this way anyway, get me back on my feet with a relative novice rather than getting my ass kicked immediately. Monday and Tuesday were kind of different, MC was out sick for the first time that I can remember. No one was worried or anything but things just seem different when people are missing. As for me, I've been feeling pretty crappy the last few days with a half-flu like thing. Not coughing or stuffed up but my neck has been killing me and my throat feels weird. Of course both of the parents have already been sick which is most likely where this came from. I'm hoping this week will be a good one, especially with the sickness thing. I just want to be feeling well for the Super Bowl next weekend :)

2/6/06 - 12:55 am Okay... before I get too far into the "soapbox" thing for tonight let me just tell you that I had a great fucking weekend. Friday night was outstanding if a little sad. Someone (specifically an NCO for you military folks) is leaving post. He is going to Egypt for god knows how long and leaving behind many many people that count him as a friend at worst and family at best. We had a going-away thing for him at the bowling alley and a great time was had by all. I started there for about an hour and a half then went out to Hard Times to shoot some pool with a friend. I got my ass handed to me (I really need to play pool more often) and went back to the bowling alley afterwards. We closed down the bowling alley so I went to my Friday night soccer game around midnight (which I never go to anymore). I was pretty drunk by the time my Friday night ended so I ended up falling asleep around 4am. Thanks to the drinking I woke up around 7:30am and laid in bed until 10am. Saturday was a miserable day as far as the weather went but it wasn't going to ruin my day. I ventured to Bel Air to see one of my best friends and deliver her Xmas present. I think I left here at 2pm and got there around 3:30pm which was really good time since the road was full of people that had no idea how to drive in the rain. She liked her present and invited me to stay for dinner but I had a computer to fix at 7pm so I couldn't stay :( I can't tell you how much I wanted to stay for dinner... her and a friend I really really want to meet were going out but I just couldn't stay... I had to get back... it was one of those "professional pride" kind of things. My friend did turn me on to a really good group called Thievery Corporation while I was there so I left pretty happy... eventhough I didn't get to meet who I wanted to. Anyway, I got my 7pm call done here and hit the sack around 1am. I didn't wake up until 1pm Sunday (catching up on sleep) which really put me behind for the day. I finally made it to my friend's house for the Super Bowl thing around 3:15pm (W00T Steelers!!!). We played card until game time (I lost $10 overall) but continued to play non-money cards after the game started. Needless to say, I had entirely too much to drink tonight, thanks largely to a healthy game of Asshole and a few people that have never plated it before. So that brings me to the soapbox. The work week was pretty good as far as my stuff went. I am fairly worried about two people though. I'm not going to mention nicknames because their problems don't really deal with work but they have the potential to so here's what I think. If what's bothering you has nothing to do with work, please feel free to vent on us, or at least me. I may be the only one that feels this way but my co-workers are more than just co-workers. If you chose not to vent then that's fine, just don't let your problems interfere with work. Still... regardless of people's decisions to share or not... I worry. That's it for me... bed time.

2/9/06 - 10:59 pm Today was not a good day at work. One of the two people I was worried about at work no longer works with us. It caught everyone off guard because this person had just started with us and was doing very well. No one knows any details yet, just some general ideas, and I'm sure that we will all be "retrained" to avoid whatever caused this problem, but needless to say it was just a bad day. The other person that I was worried about is doing better. They even apologized for snapping at me last week, although they didn't need to under the circumstances. I have very mixed feelings about work at the moment... I still love my job and am happy to get up every day and go, but lately I've had the feeling that any day could be my last. I have no plans on leaving anytime soon but after today, who knows what can happen. I don't know if we have pissed the wrong government people off but it feels like things are changing for the worse. Its like we are all constantly watching our backs, that any move we make could cost us our jobs, even if we do something well and believe that it is on the level. I'm hoping its al just in my head.

2/21/06 - 12:07 am Well, there hasn't been any fallout from the firings... no further explanations, no retraining, no talk at all really. I did find out that a second person was fired the same day though, and for the same official reason... although that person didn't work directly with us. I haven't heard from our person that got canned, but I wasn't expecting to. I have tried to contact them though for business reasons but the number and address I have were both outdated. Looks they will just have to go without their tax info... not that they care I'm sure given recent events. The work week was very busy it seemed so that kind of distracted me from the previous week's events... except when I went into the tech room and saw the empty desk of course. This weekend was a bit disappointing, not because I had any plans or anything, but because I went to what will probably be one of my last computer shows. The shows have gone down hill in recent years and this show was one of the worst ever. I have about 8 or 9 things to get and only got 2 of them. I wanted memory but wasn't about to pay $70 a piece for stuff I could get online for $43. I saw an adapter there that I got online for $3.50 selling for $15. I had a couple cables to pick up and one guy was selling one particular piece for $12 and another vendor was selling the same thing for $5. There was one vendor that looked like he gutted a bunch of old computers and just dumped the parts on a table and slapped price tags on them. Anyway, looks like I'll be placing an online order tomorrow for the stuff I didn't get at the show. This week should be an okay one... only four days long, hopefully get to play racquetball a couple times, maybe see a friend I haven't seen in months. Other stuff that's coming up... I'll be making my annual St. Patrick's Day pilgrimage to Mo'town and then the weekend after I get back from that I'll be heading to NJ for a couple weeks for work :)

2/22/06 - 2:55 am RAMBLING WARNING!!! There are day/nights when things come flooding back into your head... times when hindsight is beyond 20/20 and you have no idea how you could have missed things or screwed things up so badly. This is the bad time of year for me, has been for a long time... the time between T-day and St Patrick's Day... I know that seems like a lot of time but that's just when things seem to happen for me. Looking back, things could have been so very different just by doing a couple things differently. Okay, yeah, I have a job that I love but that's about it... could've/should've had so much more by now. "More" doesn't mean more money or anything... just more... don't know how to explain it really. Well, I can but I'm not going to... if you know me then you know what I'm missing. So, what happened today. I got some more info about our former employee, most of which was right on track with what I had thought. I also went out with a friend tonight for the first time in a long time. It really doesn't take much to keep me going, like tonight for instance, but it is something that I need... at least right now. Okay, I have to get up in 4 1/2 hours so I'm going to bed.

3/14/06 - 11:21 pm Today was just another day, like any other... except that I was on "vacation." The past several weeks have been pretty busy at work, both for the regular job and the side job. The side job has been more annoying than usual though, but I think its my fault for not going that extra mile for some of my more frequent customers... which results in them calling back almost immediately to have something else fixed. One customer in particular I feel like I completely let down because I built him a completely new system, then he gave it back to me two days later because something didn't work, then again another day later for something else. Yeah, this guy is a living, breathing "Murphy's Law" of computers but I still should have taken more time with his system in the first place. As for the regular job, things have been going okay. New Tech (the one that got fired) did find a new job and started this past week. I haven't talked to her since I found out but I need to call her soon to check in. We haven't replaced her yet but I have seen a few of the people we are interviewing... no strong feelings either way about any of them. We are losing another person from the Helpdesk at the end of the month. I don't think she is being asked to leave but then I didn't think the last person to leave was asked to either and it turns out they were. On the home front, my search for a place to call my own is ongoing. The properties just aren't there in my price range. There are ones available that are lower but not in anyplace that I would want to live. I can afford to take my time because my finances will only improve but I really don't want to... for obvious reasons. Despite being on vacation, the rest of the week will be a busy one... I already had a busy day today... tomorrow will be spent cooking (no beef jerky though, my new dehydrator died already) and Thursday I have an eye appointment. With some luck I'll be in Mo'town by Thursday night, or Friday afternoon at the latest, to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with some friends. Okay, that's it for now.

3/24/06 - 11:47 pm Well, my week off was pretty damn good if I do say so myself. I didn't make it over to Mo'town until Friday afternoon but that was probably better anyway. I dropped off one friend and met up with another at a local watering hole. In all the years that I lived and have visited there, I had never been to this place before despite passing it on most of my trips. The friend I was drinking with knew the owner so it was a pretty friendly place... and after the game ended we pretty much had it to ourselves. The plan was to relax there for a while then the two of us meet up with the friend I brought over with me and drink some more. Well, my friend was a bit tired so she crashed in my hotel room and I ended up meeting up with my friend at 11:30pm. I had a good time with them as usual and ended up leaving the bar around 1:30am when someone woke up and called me wondering where I was. Saturday was spent relaxing and waiting for things to materialize. I did get to have dinner with another friend and she gave me some pretty exciting news... although I can't repeat it just yet ;) After dinner I was hoping to get everyone together to go out but by the time one group was ready it was already 10:30pm and I didn't feel like doing anything. I went back to work Tuesday and had an extremely busy week playing catch up. A lot seems to be happening at work lately, particularly in March and April, and it is proving to be stressful for some co-workers. Anyway, I got some potentially bad news Thursday night, its potentially bad for me but definitely bad for the person that gave it to me. No more details on that for the time being except to say that I will never ever be going back out with the person I was seeing back in September/October. Off to bed...

3/30/06 - 10:47 pm Yup... that's right... it an update while I'm in NJ... that should tell you something. It hasn't been a bad week or anything, just a bit annoying. I've never been to NJ before and after this trip, may I never have to drive through this shithole again. First off... what the fuck is wrong with the drivers and/or road rules in this state? For those of you that have never been here, there are no U-turns and very few left turns. If you want to do either, you have to use the U-turn or left-turn lane that is on the RIGHT side of the road either before or after an intersection (which is up to you to discover). Its basically a mini exit ramp but all of them suck up a lot of space. I was in the state maybe 30 minutes when I pulled off get gas. When I got back on the road I needed to turn around so I made a U-turn at an intersection (there was no 'No U-turn' sign before the intersection) and half way through the intersection saw the "No Turns" sign... which was after the intersection AND very very faded. It just so happened that I made the turn in front of a local cop. This is the bright spot of NJ so far... apparently most cops in NJ understand that their state is clinically retarded when it come to traffic laws (NJ is the ONLY state that has this left turn thing according to anyone I've talked to) that they understand that visitors will be confused. He let me go without any kind of written warning or ticket and even joked with me about my license being suspended (which I fell for and nearly shit my pants). So now I'm semi-educated on the most annoying of traffic laws and continue on my way. This brings me to the politeness of NJ drivers... namely they have none. Because of the U/left turn thing there are a many many more yield signs... and in NJ "yield" apparently means "pull into traffic whenever you want." I have been at a dead stop two feet from the car in front of me and people coming off of a yield will pull into that space forcing me to let them in. And then there is the turn signal... a true mystery to all NJ drivers. No one... and I mean no one, uses a turn signal. Then there is the way they name their roads. A road has ONE name... ONE... NOT TWO OR MORE. "Route 35" should not also be "Smith St", "Jones Rd," "Johnson Blvd," AND "Andrews Ave"!!! This brings me to the street signs in NJ... if they are so faded that you can't read them then they need replaced!!!! I was looking for "Smith St" and drove through it because the sign was so faded that neither myself nor my passenger could read it. The problem is that it isn't just one street, it is most of them... particularly if it is a named street AND a numbered route. Second... "The Garden State"... are you people on crack?!?! The vast majority of "green" space in this state is either nasty weeds, trash, sand, or a mixture of those. My back yard in the middle of winter has more "garden" than NJ does. Okay, on to the reason I am here... my class. My co-worker and I were looking forward to this class, we were both really interested in learning some new material. Well... the first week has been very disappointing. Class runs from 0800 until 1600 with an hour and a half for lunch. We have two instructors that take turns teaching. The first one reads every word, of every page and Powerpoint slide, to the class THEN gives us time to re-read what he just read to us. He is fairly boring, speaks softly, and has a habit of trailing off when finishing sentences. He taught the first day and I though I was going to die of boredom. Then came the second guy. He doesn't "teach" shit. He glosses over every page, every slide, every exercise, without much discussion. When someone asks a question he doesn't even come close to a half-ass answer. In the 6 and a half hours of "instruction" we have on Wednesday, he spoke for a grand total of 25 minutes. The rest of the time was us "reading" or doing exercises... both of which the vast majority of us finished in a quarter of the time he gave us. My co-worker and I like to work so sitting around for about 5 hours doing NOTHING really felt like a waste of our time. Then there are the people in the class... we range from real network administrators to administrative assistants. Most of us know most of the material already in one form or another. A few people in the class just shouldn't be there though. The administrative assistant should not be there... she's a secretary... this class deals with information assurance and security. Another gentleman sounded like he had an impressive resume on the first day but as my co-worker put it, it is "painful" to watch him go through the exercises. What takes most of us 10 minutes to accomplish takes him over an hour (during which the instructors make us all wait). In the end, all of us are going to pass the class... which is downright scary give the abilities this class could grant us. The last thing for me to talk about is something for another post... or most likely a private thing, answered only if asked, since its about a co-worker. That's it for now.

3/31/06 - 11:28 pm Well, the first week of training is over and I passed the test... got a 100% as a matter of fact. It really isn't that much of an accomplishment since our "review" basically consisted of the instructor reading us the questions and answers the day before. We had an hour to take a 50 question multiple choice test and 17 of the 18 people finished it in less that 20 minutes. The 18th person (the older gentleman I mentioned in the last update) took 50 minutes to finish the test. Despite taking 50 minutes and going over all his answers at least twice (my partner and I watched him) he still got the lowest score in the class AND got several questions wrong that no one else did. He also managed to get a question wrong that we were all given the answer to when we got the test!!! The instructor said "question 43 is 'C'" and then read us the question and answer and this guy STILL got it wrong. Instead of answering 43, he answered 42 as "C." When we reviewed the test the instructor was even stunned that he got it wrong. When the older guy was asked about it, he knew that in class we talked about the correct answer to 42 (at least 3 times actually) but then said "you said it was 'C'". Basically, this guy just doesn't listen and in my opinion should be tossed out of the class. He slows down every lesson for the rest of us and if you can't even listen to the instructors when they are giving you free answers to a certification test then you really should not be doing the job we are being trained for. Anyway, class ended around 10:15am and I spent the rest of the day relaxing. My co-worker's wife and kids came up for the weekend so they can visit his brother in NYC which means I'll be fending for myself this weekend. I have a couple of things I want to do... namely visit "Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash" in Red Bank. If you don't know who Jay and Silent Bob are then you might want to consider crawling out from under that rock every once and a while. Enough rambling for tonight.

4/23/06 - 3:04 am Okay, I'm back from my class (have been for two weeks) but I don't feel like going into any detail right now. Its been a long but great weekend and I just need to get to bed.

4/23/06 - 10:24 pm Work since I've been back from training has been good, of course that isn't saying much since just about anything is better than being in that class. A new technician started while we were away and he seems to be working out quite well. It took him forever to get all of his paperwork done but that wasn't his fault, it just seems to happen that way for our group. He seems a bit quiet right now but that is probably just the whole newness thing, although he does know his shit so I think he's going to fit in just fine. Speaking of new technicians, I was out last night with our last "new technician," one of her best friends, and two of my friends. It was one of those unplanned kind of things... I had a good day and wanted to go out and she happened to call me on her way out... and we were both heading to the same general area. I met up with my friends at a little bar in Hagerstown and she and her friend showed up a bit later. I don't think the two of us stopped talking at all the entire night. She put my mind at ease about some work-related issues and I hope she felt a little better too. Everyone seemed to have a pretty good time and the only real down part of the evening for me was finding out that someone thought I was gay. I'm fairly sure that she wasn't kidding so I don't really know how she arrived at that conclusion. Anyway, my friends enjoyed hanging out with her and her friend so they invited them to a "Bigger Better Faster More" show in May which I'm sure I'll be at as well. Oh, and a bought a condo yesterday too. Off to bed.

4/26/06 - 10:07 pm Well, my agent said that there was a "99.99% chance that it will be [mine]" and guess what... smart money would have bet on the .01%. The seller is apparently a "little flaky" and has decided that now is not the best time to sell. Its an interesting decision since she is supposedly in such dire financial straits that she wouldn't budge on the sale price even though she had no other offers and needed to close as soon as possible. That was the bad news for the day and it wasn't really "bad" just disappointing. On the brighter side, I did get to chat with the former co-worker I was out with this past weekend briefly. We clarified the whole "gay" thing since it turned out that she was completely kidding and I completely fell for it. Well, I guess that's about it for tonight. I'm looking forward to a nice parent-free weekend, especially since it looks like I'll be here a little while longer.

5/22/06 - 11:52 pm Yeah, its been a while, I know. Not really anything exciting to report or complain about over the past month. Work has been very busy but very good as well. The technician that started back in April seems to be doing quite well and the tech that started two weeks ago did well on her first day of her actual job (she had been at the helpdesk). I think she was a little nervous at first because the computer she had to put together didn't boot when she was done. I still don't know what was wrong with it but I have a feeling that something happened to it while I was taking it apart last week or while it was sitting in pieces on the bench. She did get everything installed following a fairly detailed script that I wrote last week. The script wasn't specifically for her but it was a good test to see how accurate it was. The side job has been a little annoying lately, mostly because of our phone situation. Missed calls, customers that get referred but never called back, co-workers that cannot grasp the concept that I do not call anyone before 6pm... little things like that. As for the housing thing... the search continues. I was in Hagerstown for a friend's birthday in early May and stayed overnight so I could look at some condos up there but once again, REMAX completely screwed me over. It was a REMAX agent that was involved with the last place, and its REMAX that is selling these new condos. They are under construction and the first open house was canceled, and then I was told by two different agents to be there on Saturday starting at 11am because they would have a trailer there for virtual tours and floor plans. I was there, hangover and all, at 11am, but there was no trailer to be found. I called REMAX and spoke to the agent whom I was told would be there (twice) and she says "but the trailer isn't even being delivered until Monday." All that was back on May 6th and they still haven't called me to tell me when someone will be there... not that I care anymore, I really don't think I could handle Hagerstown. Let's see... what else... mother was gone for several days and things were very happy and peaceful in the house the entire time :) Of course she did call and wake me up both Saturday and Sunday morning... which was particularly annoying since it was 5am where she was and had no reason at all to be calling that early. Well, one reason, she wanted to know when the horse race was on Saturday... I won't go into the number of easier ways she could have obtained that information other than calling the east coast to find out when it was on on the west coast. Okay, that's it for the past month. June should be a good month, hopefully the house thing will happen and the parents are going on vacation :) Bed time...

6/8/06 - 12:11 am Much to talk about... let's start with work. Work has been insane lately, at least for the past three weeks. I think we're averaging about 15 new tickets per day which is a lot given that we have two new techs and that its vacation season. Our new techs are doing fine... although I did find out today that one of them has put in their two weeks notice already... they got a too-good-to-pass-up job offer much closer to home, out of the blue, so they had to take it. I'm very sad to see them leave and very worried about their potential replacement since its getting harder and harder to find qualified people to fill this job. The rest of us are managing as well as can be expected. I would like to see some tickets closed a little faster but given the whole "new tech" thing combined with the relative short-staffed thing its easy to see what things have slowed down. June 30th is a big day for us and I expect things to slow down after about July 7th. On the personal front... the house hunt is officially over. I will be closing on a condo on June 30th and moving in sometime in July. The contract has been signed by both parties, I've accepted the HOA rules, and I have no doubt that the property will pass inspection. All that's left is the final financial dealings and the final signatures. I think I'll end this on that happy note :)

6/20/06 - 11:27 pm Okay, news about work first.... its been fucking insane... that's the end of the work news. The house thing is still coming along well. Had a bit of a scare on Friday when I was told that a letter I had been asked to write had been "rejected". The letter basically said that I had been living with the parents rent-free, which is completely true. In the past this kind of letter was accepted in place of canceled rent checks but as of Friday morning it wasn't. That kinda messed with me weekend a little... spent all this time living at home to save money and it ends up biting me in the ass. Monday comes and things are better. They found an email from the guy that declined my letter dated about a year ago that said it was okay to accept that kind of letter, and since they haven't gotten anything to the contrary since then they are going to remind him about his email. If that doesn't fly, then there is another program I can go on that gives me the same payment. The inspection is still on track for Friday and closing is still a go for next Friday. Other stuff... I'm looking forward to going out this Friday evening to see a co-worker's band play downtown at Bushwallers and hopefully see a former co-worker as well. That's it for now.

6/30/06 - 11:47 am Quick update.... its all done... I'm a homeowner. Picture me doing a "happy dance" and that's what I'd be doing now if I wasn't at work. (I didn't get a chance to upload this until after work... so if you checked here before 7pm... sorry).

7/6/06 - 2:42 am Things are going well as far as work and the new home goes. The long packing process has started and in all honesty, I don't think it will be too much of a problem (since I don't really have much to pack). Tonight was a bit of a bittersweet night for me though. My most recent ex (yeah, it was like 2 1/2 years ago) finally got engaged and as much as I have been expecting it for the past year, the news still sucked the wind out of me. I'm a bit too intoxicated to properly express my excited-but-thrilled-but-sad feelings on the whole situation, but the short of it is that I am very certain that this is her "one"... if you know what I mean. Its funny how our friendship has progressed over the past couple years, but I'm fairly confident that its stronger now than it ever has been... at least I'm invited to the wedding :) I am fairly determined not to go to her wedding stag though. I'm already going alone to a wedding in August but am definitely hoping to have a partner to take to her wedding next year. Okay... I swear I had a lot more to write but just can't remember any of it right now...

7/17/06 - 11:38 pm Twelve days folks... just 12 more days. Moving day is on the 29th and I'll finally be free :) Things since the last update have gone quite well, although there really isn't anything to report. The packing process started on June 30th and really hasn't gone too far... I don't have much to pack. There have already been fights about not doing enough to be ready to move on the 29th but then I don't really care. Someone just doesn't grasp that I don't have to be moved out all at once, that if I actually pack much of anything right now, I won't have anything to wear, watch, work on or do until I move and unpack. The funniest thing is that someone wants to clean my room before my friend comes to help me move everything out of it. That means dust everything, right down to the bed rails... seriously... take off the box spring and dust the bed rails... no kidding. And yes, she is someone that would clean the house right before the maid service comes to clean it. Its going to feel so good not to bitch about her anymore, at least not nearly so much. Other stuff, work is good and the personal life is rapidly improving :) I have grown a bit more worried about several friends in the past month though. Can't really go into detail but the short version is that I have started to worry about people that I haven't felt the need to worry about in a long time, if ever. Okay, that's it for now... maybe I'll do more frequent updates until I move... kind of a countdown... a friend said I needed a countdown timer on my page ;)

7/23/06 - 11:53 pm Six days left... just six more days. Yesterday was hopefully the last Saturday I'll ever have to spend in this house... at least as a resident. Today I picked up my keys and moved a couple loads of my stuff into my new home :) I actually giggled a bit after the seller had left and I was walking around looking at the stuff I needed to do. I got yet another couple surprises when I went to do the final walkthrough... namely the seller had painted all of the light blue walls a nice color of tan which saves me from having to do it, and I found out that she was replacing the vanities in the bathrooms as well to match the cabinets that are already installed. The vanities will be installed when the counter top is finally put in this Wednesday. The parents were gone this weekend which really helped the packing and moving thing :) They were visiting one of my aunts to show their support since she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Before anyone gets all weepy and "I'm sorry to hear that" let me just tell you that it was caught very early, in stage 1, and the outlook is very good. Now the bad news, this is the aunt that is so incredibly negative about everything that if attitude has anything to do with healing ones self, she is totally fucked. She is already planning on taking a sabbatical from teaching and going on half-pay because the three day a week chemo is going to make her too sick to work. First off, the three day a week chemo is the "worst case" according to her doctors and would only happen if nothing else worked and every test had the worst possible result. Second, the family cannot afford to live as it is. They are over their heads in debt. My aunt hates my uncle and my uncle does the best he can given the situation. The oldest daughter has an 18 month old son, lives at home, goes to school, and works a crappy job (I think). The other daughter is 18, is just starting college (which they have yet to figure out how to pay for the first semester) and refuses to have anything to do with her nephew (I don't blame her). If my aunt goes on half-pay, my uncle knows that they will not be able to pay the bills... but she's not going to listen to him. None of this surprises me of course, and none of it phases me in the least, but here's where I get pissed off. My parents may have to drive 4 hours back to PA on Tuesday to watch the baby between 11am and 4pm because my aunt has a doctors appointment, my uncle is having eye surgery, the cousin with the baby has class she can't miss, and her sister either refuses to watch him, or isn't going to be around. Oh, and my aunt and uncle have other family that live a lot closer than my parents... namely another one of my aunts, my uncle's parents, and at least two other cousins! The punch line is this, my dad and I are supposed to go see a baseball game Tuesday night. The last game we were supposed to go to was a Yankees game on Father's Day but dad decided that he couldn't miss church two weeks in a row (they were going on vacation the following week) so I ended up going by myself. So now I could potentially miss this game with him because my aunt needs a babysitter. I know that family is family and that it should come before a baseball game, but not when two people have to spend 8 hours driving to babysit for five hours for a family that has no concept of "family" in the first place. Despite all that... I'm still totally happy since I'll be out of here in six days :) {insert mental picture of Wells doing a happy dance here}

7/28/06 - 1:33 pm This is it, my last night in this house :) I'm home for lunch to move a heavy box and thought I'd do my last update from here, since I'll be taking down my computer right after I get home tonight. My dad and I did end up going to the baseball game on Tuesday and had a good time watching the Nats beat the Giants and listening to all of the fans that hate Barry Bonds. Wednesday was a bit of a trial for me. My countertop was supposed to be installed, the water was supposed to be hooked back up for the sink and the dishwasher, a new water line was supposed to be run for the ice maker, and my bathroom vanities and cabinets were supposed to be replaced... all between 9am and noon. My agent was kind enough to be there at 9am to wait and watch over the process until I took over at 11:30am. The countertop guys got there early and were done by 10:30 or so. The contractor that was supposed to do the water lines and vanities never showed. I arrived at 11:30am, left at 12:30... no sign of the contractor. My agent called them, I called them, left messages, etc... nothing. Thursday morning rolls around and my agent calls me to give me the cell for the contractor and tells me that the seller was told that the water lines could not be installed the same day because the silicon in the countertop needed 24 hours to set up... but she never bothered to tell us. So I talk to the contractor and we meet at my place to finish the job. They arrive and immediately things head south. The only thing that they were obligated to do was reconnect the faucet in the kitchen. In the middle of doing that, they noticed that all of the appliances were different. It turns out that eventhough these were the same guys that installed the kitchen cabinets several weeks earlier, the seller never bothered to mention the new appliances to them. This meant that they reconnected the water to old dishwasher before (and fulfilled that part of the contract) and that they didn't know that they needed to run a water line for the ice maker (since the old fridge didn't have an ice maker). They were nice enough to connect the new dishwasher for me but they could not do the water line for the ice maker because it was something that should have been done before the new cabinets were installed. Now they have to drill holes through my nice new cabinets to get the line to the fridge, and besides the fact that it wasn't in the contract, they aren't allowed to do that anyway. And the last bit of news from them... they had no idea what I was talking about when it came to installing the vanities. They said that the seller bought new vanities after signing the contract and was told on the day the cabinets were going in that they would not install them AND that the ones she bought would not work anyway. The vanities that are sitting in my living room are the ones she bought after returning the first set and are still wrong according to the contractor. So now I have vanities that I can't use, that no one is contracted to install, to replace vanities that would be fine if the seller had not gotten paint all over them. I talked to my agent and we are going to try to return these vanities for store credit, buy ones that fit, and use the seller's deposit to have them installed. The bottom line to all this is that the seller was less than honest about the remodeling she was doing. She told us that things were being delayed because of Lowes when in fact they were delayed because she would never return a phone call to set up appointments. We were told that the contractors would do things that they were never supposed to do, nor knew anything about. My agent always had a funny feeling about her but I was too excited about getting all new everything to care. I know it will get done, one way or another, and not at my expense. So all that takes me up to last night when the parents get to see the place for the first time. First off, I have not asked them for any help moving or packing. If mother wants to clean, and pack, and buy me new shit, I'm not going to stop her... but I did not "ask" them for anything. They wanted to see the place so I said "sure" and almost immediately they started packing up my dad's car with boxes of stuff. It didn't take long for them to get pissy because I wasn't helping them... never mind that I was busy loading my own car AND wasn't planning on them moving anything on this trip anyway. After much grumbling and impatients on their part, we head off. They do like my new place but it only took about 30 seconds for mother to start finding faults. Almost immediately after getting everything moved in from the cars, mother asks for a key. Had she not asked within the first 20 minutes of setting foot in the place I may have given them one, but she had the audacity to ask. I say "no" and she goes into how they would never violate my privacy, which is hysterical since "violating my privacy" is the reason I have a safe, a padlock on my footlocker, and lock my bedroom door any time I'm in my room. I repeat my "no" and she launches into "[w]ell you had better not do porn in here. If I see your name in the paper for doing something like that you're done." She almost got thrown out right then and there. I haven't got a clue where the hell that came from. It doesn't surprise me since I was told many years ago that if I was ever arrested for killing someone that she would not support or help me and I'd basically be "done" as far as she was concerned. Not convicted or charged mind you, just arrested. Anyway, they aren't getting a key, unless I find that I keep locking myself out... and even then, I think I'd entrust the key to someone else. Okay... if all goes as planned, I should be back online Saturday night... but since I'm relying on Adelphia... I'll probably be back on next week sometime. That's it... the last update from Hollow Reed Ct.

9/4/06 - 11:33 pm Yikes... I didn't update this thing for an entire month... that's never happened before. Let's see, life in the new home is going very very well. It's still a but too sparsely decorated (meaning tv's and electronics, not "crap" like at the parents') but paying other bills and getting the necessities is more important at the moment. The vanities still are not installed but at least the correct ones have been delivered. I had a hell of a time returning the old ones to Lowes, which wasn't their fault. I had no receipt, no idea when they were purchased or delivered, and no idea how they were purchased. Basically, Lowes couldn't do anything for me but give me store credit, which doesn't work for me since the money isn't really mine. Anyway, that saga is ongoing. I have seen only a little of the parents since moving in and they have only been here a couple days, both the weekend I moved in. They still do not have a key and are currently waiting on being invited back over. Unfortunately for them, every time they ask about coming over, the invitation gets delayed a week... every time mother mentions getting a key, the invitation gets pushed off another month. Sadly for them, they have seven weeks to work off. Work is going well as usual although its been mighty busy lately. We've had two new people come on board since the last update I think and both are working out well. I've been over to Mo'town twice in the past three weeks, and I'll be over again this coming weekend and the following Thursday as well. My first trip was to go to the wedding of one of my close friends from school. The ceremony was one of my favorites (because it was so short) but I wasn't really into the reception... I never really like the receptions. This past weekend's visit was for the first home football game. It was a state mandated game (not kidding) against some unimportant college in WV. It was a blowout, probably like the next 6 games we have to play against this team will be. Besides the game, this weekend was one of the best weekends I've had in a long time. Two friends from here went with me to the game and had a good time. I got to see two other good friends Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday... which never happens. I got to spend a little time Saturday night with the friend that got married three weeks ago and she seemed to really like the two friends I brought over. The totally unexpectedly good thing that happened was a friend introducing me to one of her friends Friday night. I had been hearing about this person for a while and was hoping to meet her but not really expecting it. I think the meeting went well and I'm hoping to talk to her again soon. Of course other friends in Mo'town know this person too, which is going to have an impact on things, and probably not a good one. The big disappointment of the weekend was finding out that the friend that got me my season tickets didn't get one for herself. For months I had figured on going to most of the games with her but Friday night I found out differently. We'll make sure things are different next season. Okay, off to bed for the start of a short work week.

10/16/06 - 10:40 pm Another three home games down... three more to go. Its been a long and ridiculously busy five weeks since my last update. Work has gone insane with end-of-year stuff, an annoying task that involves find "lost" equipment, and a huge project to upgrade all of the remaining Windows 2000 systems to Windows XP by December 1st. The upgrade project is necessary but it would have been nice to have more time to do it.... like when the order was first issued in July... rather then when we were officially told to do it in September. The "lost" equipment task is an absolute joke and a gigantic waste of time. I cannot tell you how many times I have signed for the same pieces of equipment, all but one of which are sitting at my desk every day, but yet most of those pieces still show up on the "lost" equipment list. The vast majority of the equipment isn't lost, someone, somewhere along the line, didn't file the right piece of paper and the equipment just isn't where it is "supposed" to be. On to other stuff. I was back in Mo'town this weekend for Homecoming and a game against Syracuse. Overall, the weekend was okay but not nearly as good as the other home games. I was hoping to have company for the ride over but that didn't happen. I was hoping to go out on Friday or Saturday night with a friend and someone else, but that didn't happen. I go home and discovered that a long time friend will be leaving Mo'town for good in two weeks and I didn't get to see her. And then there was the fact that the parents went to the game and stayed over night with me Saturday. I always thought that I packed a lot for my two night stays but I really don't not compared to mother. It took her an hour to unpack... which is pretty ridiculous since they spent a total of about 4 hours awake in the room Saturday night and were gone by 8:30am Sunday. The funny part was when they quickly left the room when I told them a friend was coming over before we went to dinner... a married friend. Doesn't matter that she's married, as long as she has a vagina that's all that initially matters to mother. She always holds out hope that one of those married female friends I have will get divorced so I'll have a shot. I did have a really good time with that married friend though. I was in a pretty unhappy place until she showed up and we had some good conversations over dinner that made things better. Okay, I guess that's it for tonight. Next home game is November 11th but I hope to do an update before then... work and sanity permitting.

10/22/06 - 1:48 pm Oh no... what's wrong... a second update in a month... and in the middle of the day too!! First off, the parents are about to arrive to assist in the hanging of curtains. I can rewire all of the fixtures in the house but putting holes into my drywall... I'm not so comfortable with that... had to call in the experts. And believe me, if there is anyone on this planet that knows how to poke holes in the wall to hang drapes, pictures, decorative plates, wooden ducks, etc... its my parents. Secondly, I just got an email from one of my friends to announce her second engagement. I've never met her fiancee but I saw this one coming. I have to say that I'm a little jealous this time... one marriage I can deal with, but two... before I even get married... that just drives me nuts. Fuck... parents are here... more later if I'm sober enough to write something.

11/12/06 - 9:45 pm The short version... work is going very well, extremely busy but very well. I went to another WVU game this weekend and had a great time while I was with the people I wanted to be with. Unfortunately, I never get to spend enough time with any of the people I want to be with and entirely too much time with the one person I don't want to be with (that would be me). Time by myself leads to far too much thinking and worrying about people, especially when I don't have any computers to work on to distract me. Game day itself was pretty good but very very long, and very very rainy. I ended up with an extra ticket because someone completely flaked on me. I was looking forward to seeing this person again but after Saturday there just isn't any point to it. The drive home felt like it took 5 hours, thanks to ugly weather and more thinking/worrying. I usually listen to something on the way but I think I was over half way home before I even realized that I didn't have anything playing. The next game is the weekend after T-day and I hope its a good weekend. A friend is supposed to ride over with me and hopefully go to the game, and I bought three extra tickets that I'm hoping will get used by people I know. The long version of this is much more interesting (at least to me) but its just too difficult to write about everything and be ambiguous about it.

11/23/06 - 11:02 pm Well, another Thanksgiving is over with. It was a really really long day, spent most of it working on one computer... scanning, fixing, scanning again, fixing some more... wasn't so bad really. T-day dinner was not so hot though. Went to Gladchuk Brothers' with the parents like I've done before. The food was excellent as always, but the conversation was painful. Tonight's topics included: my mother's new "grandson" (my cousin's/"brother's" new baby)... whose name is Equinox Solitaire (not kidding... couldn't make that up if I tried), a couple failed attempts at college football, how well that former aid (the one I was dating briefly) at her school is doing with her baby, how smart my friend's baby is and how much mother would like to see her again, how wonderful one of her co-workers (and my friend) is and how she'd like to have her as a daughter, how wonderful their church is and what a great Xmas present it would be if I would go, and a thankfully brief foray into stem-cell research. I survived it but I was wishing I could have had another T-day like I did last year... driving in the snow to get to a WVU football game and trying to get my friend to her family in time for dinner. I made it through dinner without tearing into anyone and went home to continue work on that computer. I wasn't home very long when the friend that was supposed to go over to Mo'town with me this weekend called... she wasn't going to be able to make it. After last weekend, I was expecting this, although now I have three extra tickets for the game. I need this weekend to be a good one, and it still can be of course, but this isn't a great start. On a happier note, I had my annual review this week and the company, and my boss, are very happy with me. I don't require much praise at work, a "thank you" here and an "I know I can count on you" there are about all I need, but for some reason meeting or exceeding my boss' expectations (eventhough I never know what they are) really means something. I put everything I am into my job and while I doubt anyone envies me, I envy all of them, even the one(s) that hate me. Besides the company/boss being happy with me, I got a pretty nice raise, although that annoyed me a little. The raise itself didn't annoy me, its that some of my co-workers will never be shown the kind of appreciation that I am because they work for a different company. Next October we have to go through the bidding process again for our contract and while I'm confident about our chances, I wouldn't mind if the other company on our contract wasn't a part of it. All other little stories aside, the defining story about the other company is this... every year at Xmas my company give us a bonus check... not much mind you, but its cash, its usable, and its appreciated... the other company gives out less cash (at best and months later), jackets, awards, or nothing. Okay... this T-day is over... which is what I am giving thanks for... off to bed.

12/20/06 - 12:22 am Not too much has happened in the past month. Work was mighty busy for most of the past month with only a few slow days here and there. We did finish a big project on time that few outside our ranks thought we could finish, but that achievement is sort of turning out to the bittersweet because a certain government person is having us replace systems that we just busted our asses to upgrade. At least three times so far I've found myself a bit pissed off that someone is completely replacing a system that took me several days to upgrade less than a month ago.... and half-assing it at that. Speaking of half-assing things... we had our company Xmas party last Thursday. As always, my company did right by me and my co-workers. We got an Xmas bonus and some sincere words from the company president and that was more than enough. The other company on my contract got t-shirts and some meaningless awards. My company was well represented... the other company literally had to beg and/or order people to go. Other stuff...my dreams have been mighty vivid lately. My nightmare continues as always but I've finally seen the "girl of my dreams" so to speak. She's never had a face before in any of my dreams, just a general sense of what she looks like and occasionally an associated scent, but never a face before. Seeing her face was kind of an epiphany... sort of like knowing exactly who she is but not remembering when you actually saw her. Anyway, Xmas and New Years are coming up and I'm not really looking forward to either. Mother is still bugging me about going to church with them on Xmas Eve as her "present"... which ain't going to happen. Okay... off to bed.

12/25/06 - 11:00 pm Well, I survived my first Xmas in my own home... granted I didn't actually spend much time in it today. I've seen my parents for a good part of each of the last three days and I'm looking forward to not having any holidays or events for a while that require me to see them. Ever since they joined this church downtown, my visits with them have become pretty much unbearable. It was bad enough before, but now every conversation seems like it has a religious overtone to it. In addition to the usual "girlfriend" and "grandchildren" related conversations, I now have to contend with being invited to go to church every time I visit. I have asked mother to stop inviting me and to respect my decision not to go but she just thinks I'm being childish. Of course I don't think me being brutally honest would help the situation either. Unfortunately, the "good" that church is supposed to do for you is entirely lost on my mother. Comments like "I can't believe you didn't put up any Christmas decorations, you must be part Jewish," "her boyfriend is a business major but I don't think he's Jewish, at least if he is she's hiding it" and "he can't handle his alcohol because he's part Native American" have become more commonplace since starting church. Anyway, Xmas is over with and now I look forward to a good New Years Eve. There is a slight possibility that I'll have some company for NYE, which would pretty much make my year, but like I said, its only a slight possibility. Okat, that'll do it for my 32nd Xmas... hitting the sack now.

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