Ah, Daynotes. Sometimes catharsis; occasionally a vent; maybe a story and quite often a recap. No catharsis needed here; I'm burnt out. ...but a recap of the weekend is in order before I start in on the work week.
After the yard sale wound to a close, I hauled Bradley off to a friend's house and attacked the last stretch of the drain line on the north side of the house. Man, I just hate working in hardpan. It's only one step up from breaking up concrete. Short version: after way too much physical labor, the drain lines are in; the electrical on that side of the house is finished; what landscaping I can do at this juncture is in; and the only things left are to relocate one hose bib and level the grade toward the drain line. ...and that took care of Saturday. ...and the balance due on that account will take care of my next full weekend off.
...which will not occur for a few weeks as I start teaching the Emergency Medical Technician course once again this Saturday. My, how time does fly.
Sunday ended up being a rest day. Regardless of how much Shelley would have liked to tidy up the yard sale stuff or how much I would have liked to continue with the outside projects, we were just way too tired.
So, I fired up the barbecue and grilled some meat while Shelley buzzed off to the store for additional provisions. We ended up with one of Daniel's friends joining us for dinner and the kids toasting marshmallows over the grill for dessert.
...and so went the weekend. Now it's Un-Miller time as I wrestle with conflicting multiple demands from impatient, stressed-out staffers who all want it done Right Now. Sure...
Well, not quite. But last night, as the conflicting multiple demands spilled over into the evening, I'd finally had it. It was late; some things I'd wanted to do were it direct opposition to each other; and I decided a paradigm shift was in order. So I double-clutched the late evening into gear; I didn't even hear a "click" as I dropped it into compound low and worked my way back up to speed.
The evening had more or less gone south even before I got home. Seems the two junior birdmen had royally yanked their mother's chain all day long. She needed out and they weren't invited. ...and they were grounded off the TV and away from their friends. It was looking like fried gruel for dinner.
Fortunately for them, there were still ribs left from Saturday. NP, that'll do for their dinner; I'll have to survive on chips and jalapeño dip. Actually, that was a nice side to some leftover dead cow from the grill...
Hmmm, what about entertainment? Their usual response to this type of evening would be wrestling. ...and not the TV variety; the living room floor variety. Then I noticed that A&E was presenting Willie Nelson live with phone in requests... Well, maybe. I turned it on, tuned in (remember actually tuning things in?) and dropped into a chair (close one there). ...and miracle of miracles: they both stopped the WWF imitation and sat down and watched. ...and listened. I literally didn't know what to do. ...except enjoy.
The show was excellent; the repeat is taping as I type; he saved Whiskey River for the end; his sister is still playing piano; the show was great; they alternated blues with country; the show was wonderful; and if you have a moment on Saturday evening, check your local listings for the next repeat. ...but only if you like good music.
A few X-10 notes for those just getting into working with carrier current devices: The Firecracker transmitter and the receiver unit need to be relatively close to one another; the same room is usually fine. YMMV depending on how your house is built. ...and the receiver and any remotes that you want to control by "repeating" commands through it may work best if they are on the same side of the 220 split. Translation: your typical power feed to houses and apartments in North America is 220 volts AC; this is split into two "legs" at the breaker panel. For a signal to reach from a line transmitter/transceiver to the other leg, it usually has to pass through the power company's transformer located on a utility pole or in an underground vault. The newer X-10 receivers activate on about half the signal the older versions needed; but it can still be a bit of a stretch (local signal bridges are available). In the applications we're speaking of, this should not be a problem as we are only using the radio control portion of the system. I do mention it as some of the experimenters out there will see the immediate benefits of controlling all sorts of stuff from the comfort of their keyboards...
It took a day (to remember about it), but part of Brian's response on Monday to Holden Aust:
"I suggested to Bob that if he goes for ease of use on his first distro, that we tie his hands behind his back, and throw him into a Debian install (not the fancy Corel version, but Debian 2.1, eh?). He graciously ignored me, probably thinking that he can bring in a Kerrier from the blind side while Malcolm reads a couple of HOWTO documents, then builds a running firewall box out of two discarded toilet paper rolls, a broken lightbulb and some tin foil, three bits of string and a NiCad battery, running FreeBSD."
reminded me of MacGyver's Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe as posted on one of Bo's Wiki sites. It takes a minute or two to read, but if you haven't heard how to make chocolate chip cookies using your frequent flier miles...
My thanks to Jay Ranger for that post. Jay, if you're still with us, please drop me a line.
Work continues to be an overload pit. There's just a little too much going on to even be able to catch my breath. If I was doing just the purchasing stuff, life would still be full; add in the overflow from IT, and my cup runneth over. My issue is that IT today does not deal with some types of communications equipment directly any more; issues that involve modems linking mountain top repeaters through microwave links get a "huh" from today's IT crowd. Back when we rode horses to work (yes, uphill both ways), modems hanging off of leased lines were just one more thing to deal with. So, I guess I'll deal with it!
Oh, and wouldn't you know it, now we're changing the specs on the pen-based machines for the crews... So, I get to redo the drawing from last week. At least I have a game plan for that one.
I called a big "Whoa" to life last night when I got home from work. I had a list a mile long to contend with and I'd just finished another intense day at the salt mines: during a staff meeting, I found out the ambulances we'd ordered are now due in two weeks earlier than projected. That means the radios, GPS and other sundries needed for installation upon the vehicle's arrival needed to be ordered last week and not next week as planned. As Tom would say, "Dance, dance, dance..."
...and some other departments were a bit put out when I advised them their pet projects were now back burner material for a day or two.
Then the radio vendor called back with the info that one (and perhaps) two of the radios currently in use were being discontinued...
So I went home at the eight hour mark under the "It'll still be there in the morning" rule. Daniel was off to a party and Shelley was going shopping after she dropped him off. That left Bradley and me. So I could let him entertain himself while I attended to the list of things that I needed to do, or we could open a jar of jalapeño dip... Ba-ba-Boom! <g>
One bag of chips and one jar of dip later (the little guy can hold his own!), we were ready for tuna sandwiches. Not exactly a "mother approved" dinner, but one of those "It doesn't get much better than this" times for a six-year old. ...especially with the can of root beer thrown in for good measure.
After that, I was pretty much disinclined to do any meaningful work; he showed me how the Pokemon Stadium game works and we adjourned from that to the last hour of Star Trek IV ("It's the one with the whales, Dad") until the rest of the family came home.
So I didn't get much done on my "Linux on the Laptop" project and the class prep is way behind, but Bradley is one happy camper and my blood pressure is lower than it could be.
Have you ever looked at a document on the screen, shook your head, then printed it out to read? ...and felt better about reading the hard copy? I mean better as in, "Oh, yeah; that makes sense. I wonder why I didn't see that before?" ...or you just felt like looking at that entire table at a glance rather than scrolling up and down? The answer may be in this news release from Ohio State University. Go ahead; it's a quick read.
I wonder if Jakob Nielsen will have anything to say about this? I know I personally like to print out hard copy to read, either at my leisure or to just spread the pages out across a desk. I also file some of that hard copy for backup; but usually, once I've read the information and let it soak in, I'll likely trash the print version and rely on the electronically stored copy for reference.
Which brings me to the retrieval of that information. ...and things like Bo's Wikis... I'm absolutely great at filing things away; it's in the data recovery that I fall over. If I can be allowed storage in a random fashion (more or less how my brain seems to function anyway), and if I have a data retrieval system that will allow linking and a search on multiple indices, then I can be a real happy camper. That book cannot be published quickly enough for me...
Enough. That's too much thinking for a Friday. Let's try something lighter: If you didn't catch Dan Seto's Good News Story from his Thursday post, take a moment. Then take another moment. I'd say Theresa Paddock is a very lucky woman.
...and another summer bites the dust. ...at least figuratively. Today starts another semester at the local JC's extension division. I've been teaching for this outfit in one incarnation or another since 1982. I used to take on the computer class overflow, but that's ground to a halt since we added more staff. Now all I have to deal with is my main focus, the training of new minds to deal with life on the streets as Emergency Medical Technicians.
...and I just love spreading the infection we call "intensity" around a little. I figure if I can get them started with the correct mindset, they can carry it throughout their careers. I know we can teach the skill set; we have quite a group of successful students in various career paths who've come through our program. No, it's the mindset I think can make the difference between a career and just working for a living.
This morning I'll wander into the classroom and see what I have to work with this year. It varies so. Sometimes I have the professional career track people who are there to tread this particular step on their personal ladder. Other times it's students sampling a potential job path. Some will show up because they're just curious about the program and some are there because someone else paid for the class...
So I'll wipe up the drool from the wannabes who watched a little too much Emergency over the summer and calm down the ones who freak out when they discover that I actually expect them to show up every week and study. ...and I'll likely find a gem or two in the group who will turn out to have the talent in place to do the job.
Hey! Hi there. Happy Sunday! Waddayamean the horse I rode in on? What did the horse ever do to you? Well, other than that mess on your front lawn. ...and I really don't think he ate all those flowers. Ah well; on with it...
Class turned out okay. I have eighteen students; that's a small enough group to allow a little more interaction than the usual full class. ...and these guys seem to want to learn. Next week will be a little more telling as we find out how good their study skills are. Still, a promising start.
Short shrift mode as venerable Mom has consented to visit the homestead. She hasn't been over since the pool went in, so we'll catch the first service this morning and I'll head over to pick her up. ...after we scramble to put the house in order. It'll be fun to watch her grandkids show off for her in the pool.
...and hey, we might be once again graced by the Warlock's presence! JHR wrote in to say "... I'll be rejoining the fray with a post for Monday, 08/21. This whole Linux/"Windoze"/etc. thing needs a bit of dissent." Hmmm, I can't countenance the "chicken at midnight" ritual that he normally uses. Perhaps some chicken on the grill at high noon will smoke him out...
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