Wire and Paper the New Cat Toys!

Well…having two cats, one who eats paper and the other who prefers wire, I have given up on buying them cat toys. (well, I still do, but the dog plays with them…but that is another story.) I just wanted to share my frustration…it is 4am and I am enjoying the last hour or so of sleep before I have to get up for work but then I hear a crunch, a rip, and a tear. The oldest cat has decided to get attention by eating my bills, magazines, or bookcovers. The youngest cat is sleeping still and looking very cute to my right, but her time will come. Now fast forward to 430pm when I am playing SoCom II with my old clan members. I push the talk button and within a second, Salsa has gone Matrix-slow-motion on me and has bitten through my headset…my second headset. This is headset number two that she has bitten through. The first…ok, I can take that. I let her sit by the wire one day. This time…it was obvious she had been taking notes during the Matrix. PS, she bit through a mouse last week. What is the deal? What happened to playing with little cute soft toys?


Well, after spending the last few days sandbagging and preparing for a record breaking flood, I learned quite a bit.

First and foremost..how to properly sandbag a soon to be flooded area. Second, there are a lot of weird personalities in my community.

We had the “shovenist male”: “I do not mean to be a shovenist, but will you hold the bag while I shovel?” Me: Yes, I do not mind, I have my own system.

We have the “rambler” who rambles about how hard they are working but is not physically working at all, only working at annoying us all by hearing the same stories over and over….and yeah, we know you are not working so shut up.

We have the “engineer” who appears to be working non-stop yet, I do not see any sweat nor any dirt on him. When walking around inspecting my sandbagging technique (which a friend of mine and I researched for a day) which was what was recommended by FEMA…and I made sure to speak slowly. Seems the engineer was not familar with FEMA. Ahh. Then my kick ass side kick Amy put him in his place like she often can with others. We also had the “drunk” who was constantly working under the influence. That was fun to watch.

And let’s not forget the “stealer” who would go around and steal other’s sandbags so they would not have to fill them by himself. We all know who you are…since you have the 6 sandbag barrier in front of your house, yet no one remembers you filling one bag.

I believe my favorite of them all was the “inspector” who commented on our well sandbagged area and made me feel like I had to constantly defend FEMA. Me in my head: “get off your ass and fill sandbags, not comment on others.”

Lastly…”the manager” who had all the answers until the Police came and told them that their wonderful ideas would not work and that they should start doing what the people across the way (us) were doing….imagine that…FEMA might be on to something?

The “manager” was a figure in the community that made you feel like you did when working in McDonalds for that one pain in the ass manager that knew her life sucked and she was going to try bring you down with her less than appealing attitude.

Fun times. So my only question…what do we do with all these damn sandbags now?

River Crests

Well, growing up in a non-flooding (in my lifetime) region, the idea of a river cresting is somewhat like any physics theory for me…very hard to grasp. So as I sit here in my midwestestern suburb, near a flooding river (record flood)…I am forced to wait for this river crest thing to happen in two days. I am just sitting here in shock. So this is where I will end the post. Just trying to imagine this thing called a “river crest.”

Chicago and Hot Dog Stands

I often find myself watching Chicago specials on our local PBS station. The several “Exploring Chicago by the EL” and other Chicago based programs can often be found on my TV late at night or when I cannot find anything else on. I found myself watching a new Chicago show last week that claimed that Chicago has more hot dog stands than area McDonalds, Burger Kings, and Wendys combined. What? Wow! I am from the east coast where you east hotdogs in the summer with hamburgers and when you go to baseball games. When I came out here, I could not believe the number of hotdog stands…come on it is just a hotdog…but Chicagoans are crazy about them. Chicago hotdog=”oiled, pure beef dog served in a steamed poppy seed bun, topped with mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes, a pickle, hot peppers and a dash of celery salt.” Wow, not the NY hotdog I craved as a child. Anyway, I have to say with all these hot dog stands, I have still enver been to one and do not know anyone who goes to them on a regualr basis. So who is eating all these hotdogs?

Chicago Metra Riders In the Summer

Well, it is getting to be that time of the year when kids are out of school and the wonderful stay at home mothers, teachers, and vacationers, as wonderful as they are, decide to bring little Johnny, Judy, and their two strollers downtown to enjoy the city of Chicago. For all of us regular commuters, the summer is hell. Not only do we have to deal with the fact that they are coming downtown to enjoy the day while we are stuck in our dtuffy offices wasting time until 5pm (or whatever your core hours may be), we also have the additional headache of screaming kids, gigantic strollers, wondering kids that want to be on the second level of the Metra, and parents who are not aware of their voice level when talking on cell phones about setting up the next “fun day downtown.” For all of you with kids, please try and have some respect for others when you take the Metra (aka, do not squish two of your small children in with me on my two person seat, and yes I mind being boxed in with your stroller too). Enjoy.

Emailing Pictures

First it is called a server. Second it is called “take five minutes to proportionally decrease the size of your picture”. How many times can that one person who got a digital camera last year for Christmas have to clog my email account with billboard sized pictures of whatever they decided to take a picture of? Just because you have a camera and an internet connection does not mean you need to send everyone really bad, gigantic pictures. Please…there is a little paper thing that came with your camera…and if you passed first grade, do us all a favor and read it so you actually undersand picture size/memory. Not everyone has to suffer because you cannot read. What….what was that? There is no excuse for you. When I am President, that will be a federal offense…and using Dial-up…a definite prison sentence that includes using a 2400 baud modem for…until you go crazy and see the point. Do you see carts in the streets anymore? No? Just cars? Can you make a connection?
PS. The stickers on the camera are meant to come off. If they weren’t…they would not be stickers. Take them off. Please. We do not need to see that “batteries and recharger are included.”
PS. Moving an office is stressful.

Apache Support

After spending the weekend with my parents, proud new owners of a G4 14″ iBook, I realized why I get paid the big bucks for administering computers/servers. The biggest contribution to my wealth: I read manuals. I also frequent application specific support web sites, and I sign up for listervs. I have been working with Apache for four years and have been able to learn a lot about it through all of the usual support mechanisms, but Apache also offers something great for problems that cannot wait: an irc channel with some of the best and brightest Apache developers and users.

I have been in a jam with some SSL problems that needed to be solved within one business day and I would not have been able to do it without the help from the experts at the #apache channel on irc.freenode.net.

So if you ever need some Apache help, or have time to help others, jump on the #apache channel!

New OS, New Community

I have been using Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server since the beginning. Installing Mac OS X Server 1.0 was something of a wake up call with a NeXT looking interface and this group called “wheel” that had me a little concerned because I had no clue why I would have a group called “wheel” for. Shortly after my first NeXT/UNIX experience I began to find that there were great software packages freely available and often well documented and supported that communities of people developed and maintained.
Continue reading New OS, New Community

Black Sneakers Do Not Equal Black Dress Shoes!

Ok, I have put in enough time thinking about how ridiculous people look when they try to pull the “black sneakers=black dress shoes” when they dress themselves in the morning. Men: do not wear sneakers with suits and try to pass them off as shoes just because they do not have logos on them. As Jackie Chiles would say, “they look hideous, ludicrous, and outrageous.” Spend $75.00 and get yourself a nice pair of shoes. Comfort does not have to mean sneakers.

Adult Happy Meal?

Wow, I have seen a lot of stupid things, but nothing could have prepared me to see a steady stream of adults carrying “Adult Happy Meals” out of the McDonalds near my office. A grown person carrying aound a big stupid Happy Meal box…it was just not cool. How did McDonalds create such a nasty looking box? Is the box needed? As I made eye contact with a few men that were carrying these monster boxes out, we exchanged the same thought…”wow this is stupid, but they are including a pedometer as the toy, and that is cool.”
<a href="http://mcdonalds.com/usa/fun/goactivehm.html" Adult Happy Meals