Things I do, things I think, etc...
Anything that doesn't fit the other categories usually gets thrown in here.
Things I do, things I think, etc...
Anything that doesn't fit the other categories usually gets thrown in here.
Just about 4 more years later, an update! Life has changed dramatically since my last post. There are people here now who weren’t here when the last post was made. It’s incredible how fast time can fly by.
This update is prompted by my move to a new server. The old server was in need of software updates and rather than risk performing a command line update, I opted to create a new machine. This site is the testbed for the copy and reinstall process. Why go through all this trouble to avoid some updates? Since my last post, my app development company has taken off dramatically and I can’t afford for the other server to go down anymore. So rather than risk a botched update erasing everything, I’ll just create a duplicate and switch the DNS over to the new machine. The old server was giving me errors when I tried to post here so, it has a nice side effect of fixing this site; something that I never really had time to do before.
I really do want to write here more and making the first “I’m back” post is hopefully the hardest. The longer you go without posting, the more you have to cover when you come back. I don’t like the missing 4 years of my life on this site so I’ll try to make a post about each year or something.
Well, it’s certainly been a while, hasn’t it? Am I even talking to anyone anymore? My statistics page says 182 days without an update, which means half of a year. :( Terribly sorry. I’ve obviously been busy because when I’m busy, I don’t update. But I can’t really explain most of my time away. My Bidding website certainly takes a lot of credit for my virtual disappearance. It brings in actual money for me each month, so that is where my priority is for now. I’m also creating a new website, CFI-Wiki that will hopefully mature over time and pick up the slack when the bidding website becomes obsolete (new bidding system in the works at the company). Also thinking about a similar program that checks our paysheets. Though the other sites have been using the excuse of “making money” to keep me away from DarkMercury, I like reading through my history and large gaps like this one disappoint me a lot.
So happy new year, and what’s happening with me since Quakecon? Well Alison and I celebrated our first anniversary in October with a trip to Washington DC. We went to DC a few times when we started dating to see the pandas at the zoo. Traveled in our usual style this time though. Flew into DCA and took the subway to the Grand Hyatt downtown. The hotel sits right on top of the Metro Center subway station, making travel across the city pretty easy. Well our hotel experience was not the best, but we were getting by at the employee rate, so I will not complain too much. Worth the price, I guess. We spent a lot of time at the Smithsonian museums, and some at the monuments. I guess there is a Martin Luther King Jr memorial that we missed. They were also digging up the Reflection Pool, which was a bummer. But the Smithsonian is always amazing and I could spend the entirety of any DC trip there. Someday we will get to Puerto Vallarta, I swear! Also, I don’t know why my camera turns into absolute garbage as soon as the sun starts to set.
Christmas was pretty quiet. We spent it in Texas by ourselves. I think we both ended up with the flu. I missed a lot of work because of it and got invited to the chief pilot’s office, but what can you do. I’m almost a year in now on the Embraer 145 aircraft. I noticed I haven’t really made any real post about it. Maybe I will soon, but the ERJ is a good but boring plane. It runs more consistently, which is nice. I get home on time more often. But there aren’t many good stories. It hasn’t tried to kill me a single time, which is good but helps contribute to my lack of posts.
American has declared bankruptcy, which is stopping the upgrades to captain. I was pretty close, actually. Besides getting to be the big boss of the airplane and getting to fly it the way I want to, it comes with quite a pay raise that I want. A few months of captain time looks better on the resume than years and years of FO time. When people ask me what’s going to happen with the bankruptcy, I don’t have much to tell them. They are negotiating with the mainline unions right now. What comes of that will affect whether Eagle grows or shrinks. I’ve spent too much time at Eagle to give up my seniority by leaving, so I’m just going to stay put and see what happens. I don’t think the airline will shrink to the point where I get furloughed or anything. Eagle could end up growing to take over some mainline flying, or we could start competing with other regionals for American flying and shrink. Until the mainline negotiations finish, I just don’t know yet. I’m guessing that, like other legacy carriers, the unions will be stripped of their pay and pensions. This makes the whole pilot gig less appealing in the long run and will hurt the industry. I tell people I’m not afraid of losing my job, I’m afraid of losing my career.
In the beginning of this year, both Alison and I have gotten new cars. It was awesome having her car paid off, but it was starting to get up there in years, and I didn’t want to have her break down when I was away on a trip, so we looked into a new car for her. She wanted a Hyundai Santa Fe, so we found a good used one and traded in the VW Rabbit, plus some cash and got a low payment. I still need to get a picture of her with it.
On Friday, we went down to the VW dealership to look at a new Jetta for me. I’ve been going through cars pretty quickly in the last few years, but I really hope this is the one that sticks for a while. I have good feelings about it. I had a 2010 Jetta Limited Edition, and just traded it for a similar 2010 Jetta Wolfsburg Edition (WE). Over time, the 2.5 engine and the transmission on the old Jetta was starting to bother me. When I accelerated, the engine sounded kind of raspy, and it seemed to run at high RPM. Was it trying to force me to drive slower for more MPG? The actual car itself was very nice. While Alison was looking for her car, we saw a Salsa Red Jetta Wolfsburg in the VW lot. My cars have always been black or silver, but I was very impressed with the color(s). That particular one was an automatic, but I started to casually look at other Wolfsburgs.
A 6-Speed in the right price range finally turned up, looking very cool in the same red color, tinted windows, the rear spoiler lip, and tan interior. The WE has the better, turbocharged engine and it is quite an improvement over the old one. The features of the new car are pretty much the same as my last Jetta. It has the same dashboard and radio, although bluetooth audio finally works! So it’s really an upgrade of style and engine. I wrote in the last Jetta post that part of growing up was realizing your priorities and not necessarily needed the fastest car on the road. So I must be growing younger again, haha. That’s still true though. Alison’s Rabbit had a 2.5 engine with the 5 speed, and I loved that setup, even though it was 20HP less than the Jetta. Had the gearing been set up the same, I would have been happy. But I was just not enjoying the Jetta’s engine the same way as the Rabbit and I couldn’t see myself owning it until it died. Well I really like the new car, just hope that the previous owners were nice to it and it will last a long time.
On the computer front, my awesome 8800GT video card finally died after almost 4 years. I bought an overclocked 560Ti to replace it, and Left 4 Dead 2 looks awesome at 2560x1600 res. Both cards are made by evga and hopefully this one will last just as long. I’d like to further replace the cpu/ram/motherboard before Quakecon time, but I’ll save that for a summer project.
I sold my iPad1 to get some cash for the iPad3, which is coming out soon. I think I’ll dedicate a separate post for that. I also spent $25 and bought two G3 iMacs. The graphite one is pretty decent and I’m going to keep that one. The indigo one is slower, and scratched up so I’m trying to pawn that off on craigslist and make $20 back. I remember middle school when the iMac first came out, and I didn’t like it. I was very anti-Mac back then. However, it did what it set out to do and changed the industry. It was able to win me over eventually, so it is an impressive machine. For $25 (potentially $5), it’s a cool piece of history. It even runs OSX 10.4 Tiger pretty well. You can browse the internet, do email, run some pretty recent software, etc. Not bad for a 15 year old computer.
Hopefully it won’t take me 6 months to do the next one.
Alright! As promised, here are new house pictures. We’ve had about 3 months with the house so far and things are moving quickly. Quite a few of these pictures are already outdated, but if I keep waiting for everything to be perfect, I’ll never get this done. I think it’s cool to see the evolution of the different rooms and you get a better feel of the work we’ve done.
The first project was the kitchen. Having the keys to the house for only a few hours, Alison, her aunt and I started work on painting the kitchen. Looking at the original pictures makes me cringe now. All that wood color….ugh. Well we brightened everything up very well with 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of white paint. From the original picture, you can see the washer and dryer hookups which were flipped around so those could be in the garage. Those things are noisy and they fit perfectly in the garage far away where they won’t bother us. The new refrigerator is nice with ice and water in the doors. We then painted the walls blue. The last pic is already outdated because we’ve removed part of the cabinets and tiled the wall between the cabinets and the counter top.
The living room is challenging because it’s pretty small. Our couch only fits well in one spot, facing the kitchen. We’ve added some little tables behind the couch to push it away from the wall. The TV was kind of pushed in the corner, until it was replaced with a bigger, more elaborate TV center which pushes it out of the corner a little better. It is finally mounted on the wall, cables nicely behind the wall.
Our sunroom is one of the nicest rooms we have, with its big windows and nice view of the yard and all the trees we have around us. It doubles as our dining room. There is also a little sitting area just through the door with a nice view. When there is company the chairs can be pulled into the living room for extra seating.
Not much special about the bedroom. I complained about the lack of doors to the bathroom a lot when showing the initial pictures, but with so much to do it’s been pushed to the bottom of the list. It sounds like such a huge project and the spare bathroom has been working fine for us so far. It’s one of the few rooms lucky enough to get some paint. I like the white color, but Alison wants something more colorful. Anything is better than the tan that’s everywhere else.
Finally, my favorite room (of course) is the computer room. It has presented great challenges to my setup, which are overcome as I get new furniture and computer hardware. I was originally forced to put my desk in front of the window. There is only one outlet in the back (pic #1) and only half of it works. I could fix it probably, but I’m so lazy. That’s not enough for my setup, so I had to start off on the other side of the room. I set it up just as it was before we left the apartment with the two monitors taking up basically the whole desk. The room is pretty large and with only our two desks in it, it was very empty. So off I went to finally get the large desk I’ve always wanted. I got an ikea galant desk with a few extensions. Putting my old desk drawers by it lets it fill up the entire wall side of the back of the room, and it’s long enough to reach the other power outlet so I can run power along the entire desk discretely. I could finally split up the computers, which were originally 90 degrees apart, but now the gaming computer is in the corner.
New additions to the setup, thanks to tax returns are a 16gb wifi ipad and a like-new 30” Cinema display off of craigslist. The 30” is awesome and actually makes my old monitor look small. Games are amazing with it. Text is a little small. I wanted the 30” because I’m not a fan of multiple monitor setups, and it would give me the most desktop space. I could sell the 23” to make up some of the cost, but they look so good together right now! The third picture is a photoshop of the color I want to paint the room sometime.
My setup acts as two workstations in one. Typically, the power-hungry gaming computer stays off, and I use the black workstation. While it appears to be a hackintosh desktop, the black computer is the NAS file server, and the display comes from the macbook pro laptop running to its left. This setup is great because it’s whisper quiet, wakes quickly from sleep, and still usable for almost everything I do. To the far left are the routers for U-Verse and the internal network. The black monitor is also an HDTV with U-verse setup on it. The iPad is great to pick up and use around the house so I don’t have to unplug the laptop very often.
When I plan on spending more time in the computer room or playing some games, I can turn on the silver desktop and take advantage of the great screens with more screen space than I know what to deal with. The black station can run aim or web browsing while I play games, or I can watch TV off to the side while I use the other one. The oldest part of my setup is my awesome lava lamp on the right. Probably one of the things I’ve owned for the longest amount of time, the lava lamp is on a timer and comes on automatically and is always fun to watch and relax. My desk backlighting is along the back wall between the black and silver stations. I had to get some extension cables and move the silver desktop from the corner because I kept kicking it. I’ve moved the small black table away from under the desk and moved the computer there. It’s currently torn apart while I install a blu ray disc drive.
Alison gets my old desk, and the tiny one she had was sold. She likes the bigger desk and I really like my new setup as well. I just need some more posters and art up, as well as some bookcases and other little peices of furniture to fill up the space and make it look really nice.
Lastly, some other random pictures include the deck in the back of the house which was been stained and now has a wonderful dark brown wood color. Alison has been doing lots of landscape work and as long as the Texas sun doesn’t kill all the plants it will look great. We pulled up an old monster truck tire and replaced it with a white birdbath and feeder that are attracting cool birds like cardinals and blue jays. Alison’s parents brought some old furniture down from Cleveland and we have a classic theme going on in our guestroom featuring a queen size bed. That combined with the queen pullout sofa bed makes a lot of room for guests to come down during quakecon. :D And lastly, here’s some pics of the garage. Featuring the new Jetta and the washer and dryer. Plenty of room for the washer and dryer…why would you put these inside the kitchen? But also why would you not have doors on the bathroom…
Phew! Got that post out of the way.