Skip navigation.
Adam's picture

Looking for May?

May has moved on to Blogspot. Check it out!

Aang's picture

Happy Birthday Adam

You are old.

Susan's picture

Scott Pilgrim

Has anyone else gone out to see Scott Pilgrim vs. the World yet? Tom & I just got to go see it last night (thanks to my mom being in town to babysit!) and it was super fun. Definitely recommend. Seems like just the sort of thing all ye Sehti-ites would dig.

Grayce's picture


For those of you who played Braid, you may want to consider Limbo. Michael and I finished it last week. I don't like Limbo as much as Braid because I thought it lacked a story and the components of the puzzles became stale after a while. I don't think it deserves the perfect ratings it has been receiving but it's a 4 out of 5.

Aang's picture

Portal for Free

Portal is a free download on Steam right now.

Adam's picture

Linux, six years later

I've recently returned to the linux world. As a brief background, in undergrad I worked primarily in a linux environment, using the red hat distro for about three years. In that time, my workstation was linux, and I either had a dual boot or a separate computer that ran linux in my apartment. I was rather familiar with the flaws and limitations of linux for the standard consumer desktop, and was capable of running my own mail/web/whatever server without much problem.

In graduate school, I spent some time on a linux computer, but ssh-ing to a linux computer from a windows laptop was my primary work mode. I had almost no involvement in the administration or maintenance of the linux servers I worked on, as I had more buffers from that than I did in undergrad.

Fast forward to today. While I've ssh-ed into countless linux servers over the years, my last real experience managing and installing linux was back in 2003/4. My knowledge is, to be generous, rusty. But I find myself needing a linux server to accomplish some programming that I need done for my business, so I'm jumping back into the linux world.

I'll try not to bore you with silly details, but here are some observations I've had after returning to linux after six years.

1) Red hat ruled the roost back in 2003. Now ubuntu is the dominant distro. Back in 2003, I remember it as one of the many random distros available, such as mandrake, debian (of which ubuntu is an offshoot), suse, slackware, etc. Red hat, who focuses on enterprise linux now, released an offshoot called fedora back in 2003 or 2004, which has been in and out of favor over the years.

2) OS installs in general have gotten faster and more automatic. I remember old redhat, fedora, Win 95/98/XP installs that asked many often silly questions, and took over an hour to install. In the mid to late 90's, I believe I had a linux distro (caldera?) that while it was installing let you play a pacman clone because it knew it took so long. Now, both Ubuntu and Windows 7 go about their business installing an operating system quickly and with little need for user input.

3) Ubuntu linux has an awesome windows based installer called wubi. After you download wubi inside windows, you just double click on it to install ubuntu. First, ubuntu is automatically downloaded (~700mb), then it is installed onto your existing hard drive. You specify how much space to give it to operate, and it makes a file that size in windows (e.g. 15GB) that linux sees as a disk. After it is done installing, you have a true dual boot machine, but even better it (a) automatically mounts your windows drive so you can see all your windows files inside ubuntu (under /host), and (b) lets you uninstall ubuntu for whatever reason in the future under windows add/remove programs in the control panel. To be clear, this is a dual boot linux install, not a virtual linux install.

This install is not meant for serious servers, as it is susceptible to being corrupted by an unplanned powering down, but it is a great way to easily set up a linux computer to dink around on. I'm using wubi currently while waiting for my permanent linux server to arrive.

4) More things "just work" now than they did previously. Flash drives are automatically detected. I have a dual monitor setup, and it was really simple to configure in the monitor panel GUI. I haven't had to mess around with any drivers to make an ethernet card or video card work. It has been wonderful.

5) Much of the open source software packages have been greatly improved. Gnome, which is basically the (default) graphical interface for ubuntu, is beautiful now. The interface is sleek and intuitive, and looks professional. All of the "control panel" like settings have a GUI. You no longer need to know anything about the command line to install new packages. As always, firefox and thunderbird work the same in linux as in windows, so I have zero learning curve in that department.

6) Perhaps the second most impressive thing (behind gnome) is how incredible Open Office looks. I used to cringe when using (and StarOffice before it), because the interface looked and felt awkward. It had the basic functionality needed for an office suite, but the GUI was weird and I always felt like I had to struggle to use it. Now, the interfaces seem to be much cleaner, and I am seriously debating whether I need to have a copy of MS Office on all my computers as I currently do.

7) Installing and configuring many of the common apps that I needed is so much simpler. For example, I wanted an apache web server, with PHP and mysql (LAMP - Linux Apache Mysql PHP). This was done with a single command using apt-get. Many other critical applications, like mod_perl, R or firebird can also be installed with apt-get (I could use the GUI for these too if I wanted). Red hat had the rpm system, but I feel that ubuntu's apt-get (deb) packages overall have had a much higher success rate, and have limited the amount I need to configure things before they work. Again, things "just work" more often!

Anyway, I'm super impressed with the new desktop linux offering. If a few more critical apps would make it to linux (steam, illustrator, publisher/indesign, quickbooks), I would happily make it my primary OS, instead of just my programming OS.

Aang's picture

There's a new Grace on the block

For those of you that aren't my facebook friend, flickr friend, or don't follow my tweets, or haven't found out some other way, Betsey and I welcomed

Grace Kathleen Catchpole

into the world a little bit ago.

We're all doing great.


Aang's picture

Where did it go?

I heard this story on NPR recently.

Guess what it brought to mind?

So where did it go?

Peter's picture

Off to Colorado!

Hey everyone,

Laurie and I got jobs in Fort Collins! We're starting a little vacation road trip down to California at the end of the week and will arrive in Colorado around mid April. I won't be able to make it to game night on Thursday but I'll definitely be back for the wedding-spree this summer.

Aang's picture

iPod and WPA

I had a 63 character password on our router, and the iPod wouldn't connect to it. After exhaustively changing the router password to just the first 8 characters, then just the first 9 characters, just the first 10 characters, and so on, I discovered that the iPod didn't like that my password contained the letter combination "ql" within the string. That's lowercase Q followed by lowercase L. I changed the l to a d and now the iPod connects with the 63 character password without issue.

  • Can someone see if they can reproduce that with their router, iPod, and a similar style password?

I'm wondering if I stumbled onto a very obscure Apple bug.

Adam's picture

House Hunting

Datrick just bought a house, but Nat and I are just starting to look. We are trying to figure out what house we want, and still can't decide what area we want to be in. Here are our conceptual options, with the general characteristics of the regions. What would you pick? How do you value commute time Vs size of yard Vs distance to stuff? In each of these regions, imagine a detached single family home, with 3-4 bedrooms and decent square footage.

1) Close to work (3 minute commute, one way), on the lower end of the budget. Decent sized yard, decent house, nothing architecturally special. Great daily time saver due to short commute, but far from the city and friends.

2) Moderate distance to work (15-20 minute commute, one way), on the middle to upper side of the budget. Nice suburbia neighborhood, nice house, backyard looking on to trees or park. Lots of neighbors around you. Medium distance to friends, close to lots of shopping, medium distance to city.

3) Far from work (30-40 minutes, one way), close to the city on upper end of budget. Location with great view (overlooking river+city, or just forest), or if no view then on a secluded foresty property (between 0.5-1.5 acres). Architecturally interesting house, but would probably need some cosmetic help. Close to city, medium distance to friends.

4) Far from work (30-40 minutes, one way), on upper end of budget. Far from city, far from friends. Lots of LAND (5-70 acres), such as in farm land or forest land. Private secluded house, but 15-20 minutes from the freeway, and then another 15-20 minutes from anything else.

So where do you stand?

Does an almost non-existent commute time trump all because of all the extra time you gain, or is being far from everything else a deal breaker?

Is suburbia a nice middle ground, balancing commute time and distance to stuff? Or would you rather have 40 acres of farmland, or be on the river looking at the city?

Aang's picture

New Gaming Laptop

I need help.

I've become tired of having to go to the office to play PC games when Betsey is watching TV. I want to be next to her, even if we're in completely different worlds. To that end, I'm getting a gaming laptop. So far I've decided on this model:

Qosmio X505-Q870

Talk me out of it, or confirm that it's awesome. I haven't been in the new PC market in a long time.


Adam's picture

Super, super addictive game

Peter's picture

All done :)

Hey everyone, I'm all done with school! I'll be heading to Hawaii for 2 weeks then I'll come back and start looking for jobs :) Corvallis will be my home for only a short time longer. After that...

Miah's picture

Car Wash from Hell!

Funny as hell though!

Miah's picture

A question for Wiiers

I've been looking at a Wii on and off since they came out, but never really got to the point of really wanting one.

But I'm getting closer - what I really see myself doing is playing the sports games on it, Tennis and Baseball seem like the most obvious candidates. I'm not really interested in other games of theirs right now.

Anyone have any of tennis games? Are they as fun as they look, and do they still provide a challenge after a while, or do they get pretty boring?


Peter's picture

Live Mesh

Has anyone else tried using Live Mesh? A friend recommended it but I haven't tried it yet. It allows you to remote desktop to a computer that has the software installed through a web browser. You can sync folders as well.

Patrick's picture

Why is he climbing the mountain?

Adam's picture


I saw this from a friend online, and couldn't resist posting it here:

It's genetics!

Miah's picture

Rube Goldberg would be proud

Aang's picture

The Geek Hierarchy

Has everyone seen this?


Adam's picture


As a heads up to everyone, Nat and I will be hosting a halloween party again this year. We'll send out an evite soon, but wanted to let everyone know. We can fit a pretty good amount of people in our house, so feel free to invite your friends.

If there is interest, we are also happy to host a pumpkin carving party. We all seemed to have fun with that last year.

Adam's picture

Going to court today

Trying to get my deposit back from my former landlord. Wish me luck!

Miah's picture

Remember Fantastic Contraption? This is Similar

Red Remover

Red Remover Forum for User Levels

Took me 3 lunchs to beat all levels (including the bonus levels) on bonus. Not nearly as interactive as Fantastic Contraption, but still a lot of fun.

Or at least a healthy distraction for Adam.

Adam's picture

Well, crap

There is discussion of a huge upcoming life decision in this post. But first I need a bit of personality back story.

I remember being a sophomore in high school. That was when I got my first hands on experience computer programming. Sure, I'd tweaked around on a commodore 64 when I was younger, but that was primarily just to load whatever game I wanted to play. In 10th grade, we all used graphing calculators (TI-85) in math class, and we were taught how do do simple programs. The entire class was walked through how to write a program that calculates the quadratic equation. I had older friends who did more advanced programming, and I got interested enough to fill up the memory of my calculator with all sorts of random programs I'd written.

And tron of course. I didn't write that program, but we all had tron on our calculators.

When I filled up the memory on my calculator, I would have to delete programs that I no longer wanted. After a while, I reached a point where there was nothing on my calculator that I wanted to delete anymore. So I decided it was time for an upgrade (TI-86 baby!). However, for the price of a TI-86, I could get an old computer that ran DOS or linux. This would give me way more space to program, and would let me do cooler things. And if I spent just a little more money, I could get an even better used computer, that would do even neater stuff. This is how I ended up spending $1,000 (roughly 10x the price of a TI-86) on my first computer, a brand new machine with (if memory serves) a 2GB hard drive, 16MB of RAM, and a pentium 166MHz MMX processor. I think it was a loss leader at Fry's. I remember Goldie was there with me when I got it, and we were creeped out by the salesman.

Recently, I had decided that I needed some software on my home computer. I wanted a newer office, and a newer adobe suite, but I couldn't afford them. Last year, I could purchase them both for about $300 total, while now it would cost me over $2,000! Holy crap! I was really missing the ol' student discount.

So I applied for admission to PCC. I figured I could take a couple accounting classes that I wanted to take anyway, become a student again for a while, and get my software. Win-win. I applied, was accepted, and signed up for an accounting class.

But you need six credits to get a software discount. The second class I wanted wasn't offered at the PCC campus near me, so I started looking around for other classes that may be helpful.

Most of the other accounting classes looked dumb. I debated a video editing class, and a sociology class, but I wasn't sure I would have the time to spend on homework for a video editing class, and the sociology classes didn't interest me.

Then I was like, heck, if I have to take another class, why not take one that could potentially be beneficial? I'll just take something like anatomy and physiology, which is a prereq in case I ever decide to go to pharmacy school. That makes the decision easy.

Of course, that little thought opened the floodgates. I am nothing if not an obsessive compulsive researcher; before doing anything of consequence, I spend tons of time analyzing all my possibilities from every angle. This has sent me on a rampage looking into all things pharmacy school. Luckily, there is a pharmacy school literally across the street from where I work, I know people that work at the school and we currently have a pharmacy student intern. So the resources I have available to me are virtually limitless.

Unfortunately, I managed to bring up for debate an issue I had hoped I could keep dormant for a while longer. And all because I wanted to save some money on software.

Here are the key points:
* Pharmacy school would take me three years to complete. The school I would go to is accelerated, as this normally takes four years.

* The first two years would be classes, with a six week rotation after the first year (likely I would do this at my pharmacy).

* The third year is all rotations. Seven rotations, each six weeks. One would be at my pharmacy.

* School days the first couple years would be roughly 8am-3pm M-F. Every other Thursday I would spend time at an off site pharmacy gaining experience. This "off site" experience would be done at my pharmacy.

* The curriculum is actually very well organized. Information is presented based on topics, so we would spend (e.g.) two weeks on Topic A, then one week on Topic B, etc, instead of having four separate courses going concurrently.

* To get in to pharmacy school, I would need about three terms of prereq classes. Each term would be one evening class (anatomy and physiology), with the possible need for two other classes to be taken depending on how they interpret my transcript.

* If I applied now, I wouldn't begin school until August 2010. That gives me one year to get everything in line (prereqs and business-wise).

Anyway, that is a summary of the program details. But my mind is debating many other things.
1) Am I too burned out to go back to school again? Isn't 24+ years in school with two advanced degrees (I have a masters in addition to my PhD) enough?

2) How would this affect Natalie in the pharmacy? Would it put too much stress on her with me occupied most days in school?

3) Would I even be a good pharmacist? I like big picture things, not small details. I already struggled with this for my PhD.

4) How would the growth of the business suffer without me there daily helping nurture it? How much time could I realistically spend at the business while I'm in school? How much time does the business actually need me to be there?

5) What does this mean for starting a family? I would be 32 when I finish pharmacy school, which was about when we had planned on having kids. But that plan was originally based on the assumption that we would have had four or five years as post-school "real" adults with a "real" income to live a little...

6) Can I handle going through three years of pharmacy school knowing that I already have a pharmacy? I can totally see myself become super condescending and arrogant towards everybody at the school if I start getting burned out in the program. (I'm sure some would argue that I would become *more* condescending and arrogant :)

7) Can I handle being 32 when I finish school?

So what are the benefits of going to school again? If I had a pharmacy degree Natalie and I would have way more flexibility in running the business. Natalie would be able to have way more days off, would have less job stress, and we would be able to save ourselves tons of money (by not having to pay for additional pharmacists except when needed).

Also, if I had stayed in academia, I would have had to do a 3-4 year post-doc. I have lots of friends who are just starting these. I would very likely finish my pharmacy doctorate before they finish their post-doc. Thinking about it that way doesn't make it sounds so bad (except that my friends are actually getting paid, albeit not a whole lot, to do their post-doc).

This is the kind of decision that I basically need to make in the next few weeks. If I wait a year, I will NEVER go to pharmacy school because I'll be even older when I'm done.

Sorry for the length of this post. Much of this is just helping to hash out my own thoughts on the matter, so thanks for letting me ramble for a while. Any opinions on the matter are appreciated.

Patrick's picture

The Legend of Neil

Generally, most video game spoofs are pretty lame. But for some reason, I laughed a lot at this Legend of Zelda spoof (start from Season 1 Episode 1 down at the bottom):

It's a bit not work-safe... so be warned (language and suggestive scenes). There are definitely moments where I laughed out loud. Perhaps it's because I'm so sleep deprived today but I laughed quite a bit. It has Felicia Day too (from the Guild and Dr. Horrible).

Adam's picture

Tuesday reunion review

As per the email I sent the other day, Tuesday this week will be a mini prep course to prepare use for the reunion this Friday. We will have food, but please do let me know if you'll be coming so we know how many people to expect.

Nat's picture

Dumb question

What are girls planning on wearing to the high school reunion? Dress, skirt or jeans? I have absolutely no idea how dressy to be.

Susan's picture

I don't want to like this, but I can't help myself

Yes, it's too long, but it still makes me chuckle.

Adam's picture

Poor Oliver

We have a stray cat that lives in the parking lot at the pharmacy. He is a straggly looking black and brown haired cat that looks like he has had a tough life. His hair is always pointing in multiple directions, he has a notch in his ear and a scar on his head from a fight, and he always looks dirty. He was the sort of cat that nobody really likes, because he looks dirty and sketchy, but I always really liked him because I felt so sorry for the poor guy. The other stray that lived in the parking lot was cute, but I always liked the black straggly guy better because I figured he never got any attention and needed it more than the cute cat.

He never would let anyone touch him. Over the past couple months, whenever I saw him I would try to get him to let me pet him. He would walk within five feet of me, meow a lot, then walk away. If I came towards him, he would run away. I keep thinking that I should bring some food with me in the mornings and try to bribe him into letting me pet him. I always forget, because there seems to always be something that is more important at the time.

This morning, when we arrived at work, the black cat was sitting on the far side of the parking lot, unmoving with his head down. Nat said he was probably sick, as one of the techs at work had told her that he had looked sick the previous day. We walked up to him, and instead of running away like he normally did, he just slowly tried to lift his head to look at us, and then made a few pathetic meows. He was obviously very sick, and was too weak to even move. He looked like he was in really rough shape.

We set up an appointment at a local vet, and I took him in. The vet said that his best case scenario was that he may *possibly* get better after about a two week hospital stay and a bunch of tests and treatment. She said that likely he has a parasite, and that since he has a parasite he likely also has other very bad things that have allowed him to get the parasite. She said he was in kidney failure, and was anemic. When they weighed him, he was only five pounds (should have been about 10), and was too weak to even sit up without fighting for his balance.

Saddest of all, he was so afraid of being touched by the employees at the vet that he had a few anxiety attacks, where he was really struggling to breath. The poor guy had probably gone the last few years without any human interaction, and now he had a ton of it forced on him, but he was too weak to do anything about it. He seemed to respond ok to me, so I pet him as much as I could. A couple times when I rubbed his neck, he tilted his head into it like he was enjoying it. I couldn't really tell, but I thought he may have purred a bit, though his breathing was rather loud so it was difficult to know for sure. When I was rubbing his back, one of his paws did a little kneading motion twice, which I hoped meant he was at least a little happy. He was so weak though, that I may have just been reading into his slight motions what I wanted to see.

The only real option we had was to put him to sleep. The vet said he would live for a few more days if we didn't do anything, but that things would get worse and they would be absolutely miserable days. I couldn't let the poor guy suffer like that any longer. He already had a really tough life, he didn't deserve to have it end with even more pain.

The lab decided to name him Oliver today, because he was a lonely orphan boy.

I wished he had let me be his friend a few weeks ago, so that we could have been buddies while he was healthy. I wish I had remembered one of the mornings to bring him some food as a treat. I wish I had thought to take a picture of him before he was gone. It's only been a half a day now, but I miss seeing him wander around the parking lot.

Miah's picture

It just reminds me of Syphilis

SciFi Channel becomes Stupid

Basically, SciFi is now SyFy... WTF?!?! Who are the numbnuts in charge there? They still want people to pronounce it SciFi, but now it just makes me think of a VD. Seriously... If you want people to pronounce it correctly, try something more grammatically correct... maybe CyFi? Of course that's just as inane.

Also, memo to the morons at the top... You don't have a brand, you only have a collection of genre-centric crap. All weekend are crappy B-rated movies (at best) and you continuously kill your popular shows rather than ride them threw the weaker times to create a better product for re-runs, which is 95% of your lineup anyway.

You tried to kill B5, you did kill it's sequal, Crusade. You've killed SG: Atlantis. Sanctuary might actually be good, but instead you're showing reruns of crappy 2 season series instead of reruns of Sancuatry to build a fanbase. I'm almost hoping you sell Eureka! so a channel with a brain can keep it from dying.

Now you're hyping Warehouse 13, which looks like the sci-fi version of The Librarian, which, note to you, sucked. You're also not very original, instead importing half your 'original' lineup from England (Dr. Who, though it seems gone, Primeval, and that Dr. Who spin off whatever it was).

Oh well... I'll DVR Eureka and Santcuary until you kill those off too with your inept management.


P.S. Ghost Hunters lost me after about 10 seconds. If I wanted to watch original Ghostbusters props being used in the original Blair Witch movie... well actually... I never would want to watch it.

Nat's picture

Board Game Night 6/30?

Between being deathly ill last week and the ownership transfer, our house has fallen into a deep pit of filth. Plus, we need to start conducting interviews on Tuesday night. As such, we were wondering if anyone else would like to host board game night. At a minimum, we can't provide food or a clean house. Let us know what you think.

Adam's picture

Busy Week

Things have been busy for me recently, and I haven't made a real post on the blog in quite a while. Unfortunately I wasn't able to make the movie night at May's last night; I didn't get home from work until a little after 6, and then had to pick up a friend at the airport at 7:30, so I would have only been able to stop by for a couple minutes. But Happy (Belated) Birthday to Heidi!

One of my Boston friends is in town this week for a conference. He is sort of from my mold, where he has a PhD in Bioinformatics, but is also an entrepreneur and is interested in business. He also managed to snag himself a new iPhone last Friday, so we got to compare notes.

Speaking of the iPhone, I've really enjoyed it so far. My biggest complaint is battery life. Since I got it on Friday, I've had to re-charge the battery once each day. Hopefully this doesn't keep up, as during the work week I'm not using it nearly as often as I had.

Nat and I have new phone numbers too, so I'll be sending out an email to update everyone what it is. We'll keep our old numbers for a while, as part of a transition, but we figured we'd been in Oregon for a year already, it was time for an Oregon area code. That being said, aren't area code's kind of obsolete now? Why should anyone ever have to change their number? We did so for business reasons, but I know people who still have area codes from other parts of the country even though they haven't lived there for 5 or more years.

Anyway, I'm unsure as to the status of board game night next week. That will be Day 2 of our ownership, so I'm not sure how we'll feel.

Adam's picture

Board Game Night 6/16

Board game night is on this week, though as a heads up we will likely be canceling next week. We will have burritos for food.

Miah's picture

Anyone else watch the premier of Hank on USA?

I thought it was pretty good, but...

I don't see how it can be anything repetition from here. How many hot women can you have suffer from insanely rare problems inside of a week in a small population?

Here's hoping...

Miah's picture

I thought this was awesome

I found this on of all places

Nat's picture

Board Game Night 6/9 CANCELED

We are going to have a stressful day at work tomorrow so we decided it's best to just cancel tomorrow night since we will be so cranky. But hopefully we'll see everyone next week! I think Adam will send out an email for those who don't read the blog, but please help spread the word.

Patrick's picture

A Fun Little Word Puzzle

Check out the fun puzzle here:

I think I have it figured out, but wanted to let you guys look at it first before I posted it. I'll post in comments what I think the answer is and why.

Patrick's picture

Rock Band & Monkey Island!

Rock Band Party - June 20th
For those who read the blog, we are having a Rock Band party the 20th of this month. Like the last 2, it will be held at my co-worker Sara's house.

We will have a costume contest again. The costume can impersonate a famous musician or you can make your own unique costume. I will be sending out the official Socializr invite sometime in the next week or so when we have the details figured out.

For those of you in the Portland area that didn't get an invite the last 2 parties, just let me know at ophidiann At gmail d0t com. :)

Monkey Island
Two awesome announcements regarding Monkey Island have been made! First, they are bringing the first Monkey Island game to the PC and 360 back with updated graphics.

Then, Telltale games (who have been doing the Sam & Max games, the new Wallace and Gromit games, and StrongBad adventure games) are doing a new series of Monkey Island games!

I've always loved the Monkey Island series and I believe Telltale has done a good job with the Sam & Max games (which I have). There are so few companies that do good adventure games nowadays... that it's always fun to see the old Lucasart adventure games comeback. Now they need to start a new set of Space Quest games!

Adam's picture

Some new auto-tunes

About a month ago I posted some videos from the auto tune the news people. They had just started doing these videos, and at the time there were only two of them out. Since then, they've released three more, which I've posted below. I think they are hilarious, but have two general complaints: 1) often it is really hard to understand them the first time you hear the video. Only #2 and #4 have been rather easy to understand the first time, which may be why they are my favorites. I generally have to listen to them a couple times in a row. That being said, once I know what they are saying the videos are really funny (they post the lyrics on the sidebar of the youtube video page). 2) In most videos there is one part that is just really dumb. Except #4, which I like all of.

These two complaints do not prevent me from enjoying the videos. Right now, given my busy schedule, these are the only videos that I actively check for updates.

Anyway, here are the new videos:

Auto-tune the news: Obama Flashback

Auto-tune the news #3: Ron Paul

Auto-tune the news #4: Supreme court, spas and Biden. Probably my favorite overall right now.

Patrick's picture

Brain Slowly Decomposing

I just need a place to vent and I don't want to make this sound like a "poor me" post because overall I do know that I'm a very lucky guy.

Work has just been crap the last 6 months or so. I can never seem to get close to catching up. As soon as I feel like I'm turning the corner and heading into a somewhat maintainable schedule some new emergency crops up that sucks up all my productive hours for the next few weeks and puts me further behind. I don't think I would mind as much if I knew that I could come in at a certain time and just leave at a certain time. But my schedule fluctuates from day to day. And it has been this way for the last 6 months. I feel like I can't really take a real vacation because it would just put be behind even more. I purposely try to cut myself off on the weekends but even then don't succeed.

The hard thing is, I know compared to what many people are going through right now in this economy I should feel lucky to be employed, to have a decent wage, to have mostly decent co-workers, and to be happy that I'm not shoveling crap. And despite this logical bit of information, I'm just sick of so many things:

- Big company politics
- Unnecessary and wasteful processes
- The pervasive attitude that IT can do nothing right
- The few morons that make life difficult for everyone
- Constrained resources to do everything that we were doing before and more
- The boring culture that comes with an engineering company

I think another major issue is, I just know I'm not passionate about most of the stuff I'm working on. I'm fine doing it, it's better than a LOT of jobs out there but it doesn't excite me. So generally, I just tell myself to shut up and just do it. At least I'm not doing tech support work. Or many other "office" jobs that would suck the living soul from me.

What makes it worse is that Jen is kind of going through the same thing right now. Her work is hard to predict with her schedule as well. And we both come home exhausted and never knowing if our weekends will involve us having to work or not. And we're both questioning what it is we really want to do professionally. Planning for the wedding is fun but also just another big thing on our plates to work through on top of the never-predictable onslaught of work.

I don't know what is right for Jen or myself. And given the economy, I'm very hesitant to move into anything new as my job is fairly secure. Same with Jen. But realistically speaking, I know I just need to sit down and figure it out. I think consulting or owning my own business sounds interesting but both of those have several big drawbacks. How does one figure what they want to do? I'm 28. Shouldn't I know my goals by now? I'm wasting valuable time not answering these questions sooner than later.

When I think about these things, and then eventually having kids and all, it makes me question myself too. If I can't handle the pressures of work now, what happens when I have work and kids? It is very strange because I think about all the good things going for me and I can't seem to get my mind to stop focusing on what I perceive as the crappy portions of work.

I don't want to make it sound like I'm depressed all the time or unhappy all the time. Overall, I'm happy. I just wish I could really figure out what to do about work. What to do about my future life and work. What to do about the crap that comes with every job. Perhaps I just need a new challenge... and I'm just bored with the same crap. Perhaps I am at the wrong company. Perhaps I'm in the wrong field completely. Perhaps... just perhaps... I should look into other career choices... like construction worker. Fuckin A!

Adam's picture

Board Game night, 5/26/2009

Tuesday snuck up on me. Board game night is on tonight, please let me know if you plan on attending. We have stuff to make sandwiches again. I was going to cook the ham Goldie gave us for New Years, but the internet told me it was probably a bad idea and it looked a bit freezer burned. So sandwiches it is.

Adam's picture

Duckie is for sale again

Here he is: Duckie. The person who bought him has fixed the head gasket and put him up for sale again. Ironically, Duckie is being sold for the exact same price that Nat and I paid 1.5 years and 20k miles ago.

Adam's picture

Shiny new computer

A week ago I was talking about debugging my new motherboard, which was to be used in the building of a new computer to replace my dead computer. Turned out the motherboard was DOA. So I mailed it back to New Egg (they were really great about the return, btw, and gave me free shipping and no re-stocking fee) and bought a new motherboard at ENU. I would have just had the motherboard replaced, but it would have been two weeks before I would get the replacement, so I opted for a faster turnaround at a local business, even though it cost a few bucks more. As recommended by Goldie, ENU is off Cornelius Pass, out near Hillsboro.

Anyway, building the computer was MUCH easier with a working motherboard. Got everything put together and installed software today. I must say that it is absolutely wonderful to not only be using my giant widescreen monitor again, but have a dual monitor setup. I was feeling very claustrophobic on the laptop. The only disappointing thing about my replacement motherboard was that it didn't have any firewire ports. Not that I have any firewire devices, but a man can dream. Also, my microphone doesn't work very well in the new computer, so I haven't been able to use skype. It worked flawlessly in the old computer.

I have a dual core processor and 4GB of RAM, but I haven't really noticed any speed improvements yet. Granted, I'm primarily just using a browser and office right now, but think I expected things to be more zippy.

Adam's picture

Board game night, 5/19/2009

Game night is on this week. We will have sandwiches.

Adam's picture

Big meeting

Big meeting Monday night. Wish us luck.

Adam's picture

PCI Video Card

Anyone have a PCI video card I could borrow? I think my new motherboard defaulted to PCI video input, but all I have is PCI 2.0 x16 card (I have a geforce 8800 GT) and AGP cards. Unfortunately my motherboard only has slots for PCI and PCIe (those tiny little slots), but none for AGP.

I guess it could also be that my video card is dead, so it may be helpful to test a second PCIe 2.0 x16 video card too. Anyone have one of those lying around too?

Either my problem is a video card/video card setting, or my motherboard is DOA. Fun times!

Adam's picture

Goodbye, Duckie

I sold Duckie in 5 hours on craigslist. May he be successfully repaired and find a new forever home.

Adam's picture

Board game night, 5/14/2009

As a reminder, board game night is on Thursday this week. I've gotten a request to play Battlestar Galactica again, so it looks like we will play that again. It's a great game, and should go much faster now that we know what the heck we are doing...

Adam's picture

Arg, what a month

Throughout grad school, it was a running joke with Natalie and me that while we owned three or four computers, only two were ever working at a given time. During our four years in Boston, the following events occured (in roughly chronological order):

- My laptop broke (one of my Best Buy "repair" stories. After a couple months trying to "repair" it, they gave me a new laptop.)
- Natalie's desktop broke (fatal, unfixable).
- My MythTV box broke (fatal)
- New Shuttle MythTV box broke (turned into a desktop... I think the TV tuner died)
- Shuttle dies (fatal... used hard drive as part of a new desktop build)
- Big laptop (the Best Buy replacement) dies (had to put in a new inverter)
- Little laptop dies (hard drive death... rebuilt with new hard drive)

Since moving to Portland last year:In the last month:
- Little laptop dies again (can't power anymore, AC input dead)
- Big laptop dies last week (fatal software failure? No more internet, had to re-install windows)

And then, this morning, I wake up to discover that my DESKTOP is now dead. I push power and NOTHING comes up on the screen. After debugging, it looks like the motherboard is fried. So now I get to build a new computer (again)!

Also, I own two cars (one with 228k miles, the other with 145k). Last month I had to spend $400 to repair my (228k) minivan, which had a broken radiator fan. And then last week, our commuter car completely dies. So in the last month, I've had two major car failures, and two three major computer failures!

I'm not trying to be a drama queen or anything, it's just odd how these things are all happening at the same time. It is partly explainable, as in order to save money Nat and I use things until they are absolutely dead. This results in our stuff being much older and generally more likely to break down. Why buy a new car when the duct tapped one still runs? Why buy a new computer when you can use scavenged parts to make one? This philosophy has generally worked out for us, as while I've had the many computer failures listed above, when the problems have been fixable I've often been able to do it rather cheaply (e.g. the inverter was like $25, a new hard drive was $100, etc, which is much cheaper than buying two new laptops).

But tonight I'll be buying parts on New Egg to build a new computer which will use a scavenged hard drive, video card and DVD player from my now dead computer. I guess it's time for me to enter the multi-core era of desktop computing.