feren: I AM THE MAN (Default)
I don't think [livejournal.com profile] twanfox is going to have a problem with electricity at his wedding to [livejournal.com profile] cabbitattack tomorrow... at least not with [livejournal.com profile] justincheetah, myself and a few other select people on the case. Here's photographic proof that MORE POWER is a good thing.

The Geeked Gangstas of the Generators

Picture by [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon, taken on a camera phone. I promise there will be better ones to come.

What you can't tell is that this genset is on a trailer, and the trailer is hooked to my Expedition -- the bloody thing is so large that it's completely obscuring my green beast! At 60kVA I don't think we're going to be wanting for power at all tomorrow. When we fired it up this evening for a test-run even the Curmudgeon was impressed. I'm gonna have to snap a few more photos before I take it back to the yard.

It's electric!
feren: I AM THE MAN (ashryn-enthusiastic)
My coworker just gave me an image as a gift, after catching me on IM. I was curious but hesitant, because it opened with "I did something terrible to your lavalamp picture ... it just looked so content sitting there in the window. It inspired me."

When engineers get inspired, things like this happen.... )

feren: I AM THE MAN (contemplative)
Long story short:

  • [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon arrived Friday night. She had quite the drive and adventure getting down to the house, ending up somewhere in Downtown Chicago before I was able to correct her course. We had dinner at Cheddar's, then retired back to Z'ha'dum for the evening.
  • Friday night was bad for my GI tract, so on Saturday morning I slept late because I didn't feel well -- I had been up six or seven times during the night. Sometime in the afternoon I was able to get up and sort of fake being a functional human being. While I was up I dug around online and turned up some information to finish my taxes with (I had stock in a company that failed miserably and took me for a $600 loss, so I had to write it off). In the late afternoon I was feeling better, so I played some more with my new phone -- I downloaded pictures from the camera and posted them to the entry previous to this. I also customized the background image on the main screen and updated the general ring tones as well as the ones for certain folks. Apparently I warrant my own ringtones, too. Yes, I know most phones have these features now and that it's nothing all that remarkable, but you must remember I've had a v60 from Motorola for the last two years -- all these features are strange to me, Outlander. I wallow in their awesomeness and the speed of my new toy. Now I am pondering the nXZEN Plus versus the Plantronics Discovery for my first BlueTooth headset.
  • For those of you with Sprint phones, take a good long look at http://www.dbringers.info/ for customization of your screens and ringtones. SO MUCH AWESOME can be had here!
  • Saturday afternoon found us at PetSmart to do some shopping because [livejournal.com profile] ra_kitty was low on food. We procured some chow and toys for him, then got some subs for ourselves. We retired back to Z'ha'dum and watched "Kill Bill (Vol 1)" until around 2030 that night. You see, late on Saturday evening both Curmudgeon and myself joined my friends Heather and Garry for a trip to a local theater to catch the new flick Ice Age 2: The Meltdown. Going to see an animated "kids" flick at 2200 hours is a great way to avoid most of the kids and have a majority of the theater to yourself. We all thoroughly enjoyed the movie and were probably the single most disruptive group in the entire theater -- the film kept us laughing and giggling the whole way through. I'm going to buy it on DVD for sure.
  • Today was spent being lazy, with a trip to Meijer (Curmudgeon had never been to one) and Red Robin for lunch (ditto). Afterward I performed a bit of routine maintenance on her car and let the folks at Lube Pros handle an oil change. Then we finished up the movie, watched a bit of random TV, surfed the Internet and enjoyed some quite time before the current storm front moved into my area. I did get a call at around 2200 tonight that Curmudgeon had arrived home safely, so I'm glad for that.

Tomorrow I'm back to the grind at the office. The funniest thing is that with Daylight Savings kicking in my body thinks it's 2238 hours even though my clock says it's 2348. What a strange cognitive dissonance this creates.
feren: I AM THE MAN (ashryn-enthusiastic)
Here are the pictures of my lava lamp in action yesterday. No, this is not an April Fool's prank!

Lava Lamp 1
Lava Lamp 1

The lava lamp I rescued from the thrift store, in bubbly glory.
Lava Lamp 2
Lava Lamp 2

Another shot of the lava lamp I rescued from the thrift store by my workplace and installed in my office, blooping away.

These images courtesy of the powers of USB, my new Samsung A900 phone and LiveJournal's scrapbook system.
feren: I AM THE MAN (ashryn-enthusiastic)
My Verizon contract ended ten days ago, much to my surprise -- I thought it was supposed to end today. With the contractual obligation being lifted it was time for me to make my move to a new carrier and a whole new phone. So, once again, during lunch today I dragged my coworkers out for shopping! Luckily the Sprint store is not far from the office, so we were there in no time. I walked in, was greated by a pleasant young man who asked how he might help me today. I think I surprised him with just how readily I trotted out my answer that "he could help me by setting up a Sammy A900 for me, porting my old number over to the new phone and adding a belt clip to the deal." Before long I was walking out the door with a shiny new phone on my belt. You read that right: I have traded in my old, tired Motorol v60 for a sleek new Samsung A900 (AKA "Blade") from Sprint. I've only had it for about two hours and already I love this phone infinitely more than I did my old Moto, which is kinda disheartening because I used to be a big Motorola fanatic. But in this case Motorola dropped the ball... while the RAZR got the form factor right, the features and the UI were horrible. You could say that Samsung's Blade is a clone, and for all intents and purposes you'd be right... but everything Motorola did wrong Samsung got right.

My new phone even let me take a picture of my lava lamp. I'll post it sometime this weekend if I find the time.

Too far gone
feren: I AM THE MAN (Default)
I just wrapped up an intensely amusing conversation with a coworker ("K") at one of our remote sites. He and I were discussing the optical-wax bloopy love that is my thrift store lava lamp, which is cool because he has one as well on his office desk. Several of my coworkers in the local office have expressed desire to get lavalamps as well, making us some sort of molten-wax Mafia, I guess. When I passed this wry observation on to K, he wrote an impromptu song...

(04:17:12 PM) camaroferen: We're making a Lava Cult here.
(04:18:23 PM) k: ohh I love that
(04:18:26 PM) k: cult away
(04:18:34 PM) k: should write a song about it
(04:18:39 PM) k: me and my lava cult
(04:19:12 PM) k: Bought a bottle of oil and goo
(04:19:23 PM) k: thought it might be cool
(04:19:30 PM) k: but did not know what to do
(04:19:41 PM) k: so I added some wire and a bulb
(04:20:01 PM) k: damn think sparked and sizzled aloud
(04:21:51 PM) k: The wax began ro raise
(04:22:04 PM) k: A trinkle came over my eyes
(04:22:19 PM) k: I saw my reflection
(04:22:25 PM) k: such perfection
(04:24:05 PM) k: may be warped guy
(04:24:12 PM) k: but so to is working for $employer

We have some great people in this company.
feren: I AM THE MAN (chilly-smiling-feren)
I believe that I mentioned in an entry from earlier this week that during a lunch break my coworkers and I took a trip to the local Salvation Army thrift store. While I was there I rescued a purple-and-red lava lamp from their "brik-a-brak" shelf for an absolute song. The problem with buying second-hand from a thrift store is that sometimes you don't get a complete package. In this case my awesome toy was lacking a bulb, so I couldn't get bubbly lava love.

Until today! After stuffing ourselves with a nice lunch at the chinese buffet place a few miles from the office the coworkers and I took a field trip to Home Depot. There we were able to locate a bulb of the appropriate size, wattage, shape and base type for this lamp. A few moments ago I screwed the bulb into the base, put the glass "bottle" back into place and plugged the cord into the outlet. Happily the lamp works like a champ and the wax is currently being warmed to its appropriate operating temperature for gloopy, bubbly lava action.

With the celebratory lighting of the lava lamp my desk has just moved up a whole rung on the ladder of awesome.

Back to my home town
feren: I AM THE MAN (ashryn-blue-contemplative)
My contract is up with my current provider in about two months and I want a new phone. While I have been mostly happy with the service I've received with my current carrier the phone has failed to impress me on a number of fronts -- namely it isn't slim enough and it doesn't support Bluetooth. Once my contract expires I'm looking at taking my money to one of two different carriers. Each of them offers a product that meets my requirements and has a service plan I'm comfortable with. However, each one trades off against the other for some features and the choice has left me scratching my head. Since it's mostly a toss-up between the two I figured I'd sample the public at large and see what my friends are using. If one carrier is more heavily favored over the other I'll probably let that be the deciding factor.

  • I realize that some of us have multiple devices/phones with multiple carriers due to work, PDAs and such. When I ask who your provider is, I'm asking as it applies to your personal phone that you utilize for voice communications.
  • I realize that Sprint and Nextel have merged, but right now Sprint phones don't run off iDEN technology so I consider them to still be separate.
  • For PTT: if you subscribe to the service I'm going to assume you're carrying a phone that supports it.

[Poll #664525]
feren: I AM THE MAN (ashryn-enthusiastic)
I mentioned in an earlier entry that DSL at Z'ha'dum was acting naughty and thus I had limited to no Internet access at home. The thrilling conclusion (I hope) to that saga has been achieved: After a bunch of troubleshooting on Sunday and Monday with the remarkably helpful techs from SpeakEasy, it started to look like my lack of connectivity was not due to a wiring issue. Moving the DSL modem (it's a bridge but I won't go into that now) from the Blue Room of Death to the NID didn't bring any improvement to the situation, so we were fairly certain inside wiring wasn't at fault. After I rewired the NID to completely remove my house alarm a couple of MLT were run and no problems were found on the loop from the CO to Z'ha'dum. So it wasn't really as if the snow was causing a problem with the phone line. A bit of poking at some of the statistics on the DSLAM revealed there were no training-starts showing up even though the copper to my house was fine and I had power-cycled the modem numerous times.

So, if the copper from the CO is okay and the inside wiring is fine, but the DSL modem won't sync even when it's directly connected to the NID... what's left that could be at fault? That's right, the DSL modem itself. I pushed a little on the subject and the tech ordered a replacement for me. Happily the unit was under warranty so it was a free replacement. Overnight shipping was paid courtesy of SpeakEasy, which impressed me a great deal.

The new unit arrived today. Since I'm sick at home for the second day in a row I was able to unpack it immediately upon delivery. I called up the tech line again and, to the surprise of all involved, as soon as I was picked up from the hold queue I got the same fellow I've been working with for the past few days. I plugged the modem in at the NID and got signal, though the poor tech couldn't pull any stats from the DSLAM due to an internal issue -- frustrating, but something we could deal with. I moved the modem into my computer room, plugged everything back in and was pleased to see the DSL light start flashing as the modem trained with the DSLAM. A minute later it was passing traffic and I could ping sites on the Internet once more.

So, for the last two hours and forty-seven minutes I've been online from home. I think replacing the modem may have actually been the fix for the issue (all signs pointed to it being at fault but I still had nightmarish visions of needing a truck roll from the ILEC so I could get somebody with an Agilent DSL test unit on the premises to confirm good signal). To be on the safe side I'm going to shake the circuit down for the next day by punishing it as much as I can -- streaming audio, a bunch of downloads, you name it. If it stays up and functional I'll ship back the old modem and gradually re-add devices (TiVo, cordless phone, 2600 sets) to make sure I can accurately pin any problems down should a new issue arise.

With that solved I can now move onto the next big annoyance: USB 2.0 on my machine. Expect a Lazyweb post about it.

You fight the sunday crawling
feren: I AM THE MAN (Default)
First off, it's important to understand I've been running a dual-head display system on my PC for the last sixteen months or so. With that knowledge, you'll better understand how this avalanche got started and lead to the final result.

On Thursday night I found that Dell was having another sale on their wonderful UltraSharp 2005 FPW monitor. I had picked up one of these a few weeks ago to replace the giant 21" Sun CRT that was sitting on my desk and I've loved every minute since. The panel is bright, it's widescreen, it's sharp as heck and I have space available on my desk again. I decided to buy this second one because my old Sony Trinitron Multiscan 200sx has been feeling its age lately. When I wake the monitors up from standby the LCD snaps to life (given its digital nature this is expected) and the Trinitron ... well, it doesn't. What it will do is take 30 seconds to warm up and, once glowing, spend a minute or two flickering, buzzing and rolling like an old TV before it stabilizes. I take that as a sign, so I ordered the second 2005FPW on Thursday night with the intent of using it to replace the Trinitron.

All seemed well until.... )

So there you have it, step by sickening step: that's how the purchase of a $410 monitor spurs me into building a whole new PC from the ground-up that's almost three times the cost of the instigating part.

Grab that cash
feren: I AM THE MAN (ashryn-bester)
First, I'd like to say "Thanks" to everyone who expressed their sympathies for Scratch's passing, either here on LJ or in person. I know it seems almost psychotic to be talking so much about a common freshwater fish, but he was a lot like Jerk (my original Gourami) -- something of the star of the tank and instantly recognizable. So, while I can't say that I treasured Scratch as much as I love Ra, I'm going to miss him when I look into the tank none the less.

So, about the weekend....

The original plan called for [livejournal.com profile] roho, [livejournal.com profile] genet and their big fluffy dog to arrive at Z'ha'dum on Friday night. I was a bit late getting home Friday night because I lent a hand ordering automotive parts for my coworker. JD has a 1998 Nissan Maxima that is in need of some serious restorative work -- he has rough idle, problematic brakes, old belts and a host of other "older car" woes that can creep in if proper attention to maintenance is not paid. On the carpool home Friday he lamented how much the work would cost if he took it to the dealer, so I told him to stop at the local auto parts store. I walked him through the basics of where I thought he needed to start, then helped him pick up a Chilton manual and some belts. We'd have gotten some new plugs for it too (they're the original plugs, I have no doubt) but the store didn't have enough of them in stock to do both banks of the engine.

When I got home that evening, I did some chores around the house (threw out some trash, sifted the recycling, did a load of laundry and then a load of dishes) before I collapsed into bed. Being the interim manager for the last week and change at the office has run me completely into the ground (and I do mean I am utterly exhausted by it... being senior engineer is tough, as is being a manager. Being both at once is a sure way to an early grave). All the classic signs are there: I'm irritable (well, more irritable than usual), I'm depressed, I'm sore, I'm antisocial and I'm making poor judgement calls. In light of that I decided an early night in bed wouldn't hurt me and I asked if Roho and Genet could put off their trip down until Saturday. They understood and aborted their escape from the Antioch area. I spent a bit of time that night talking over AIM to [livejournal.com profile] yotogi about different things. The clock showed 2200 before I knew it and it was around that point I collapsed in bed.

Saturday morning I got up late (around 10:30 or so in the morning) and took care of the morning chores (shower, feeding Ra, etc) before I got down to business. I'd planned to have an enjoyable Labor Day Weekend with my friends, but I was in for a surprise: I had an enoyable, expensive and somewhat eventful few days ahead of me.

My home was invaded, I bought a huge new television, I bowled a lot and then cooked meat. )

i'm doing the best i ever did


feren: I AM THE MAN (Default)

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