Monday, July 31, 2006

So hot... So sleepy... So little motivation to work today... It's at least 85 degrees (where the thermostat lines stop) in my office, and I didn't sleep hardly at all last night. It's not like I don't have a ton of work to do either, but I just have no motivation whatsoever do get it done. I'm a bad employee... I'm sure tomorrow will be much better when it's hotter outside, and therefore hotter inside as well. Whee! Maybe I'll be "sick" tomorrow. Actually, I just really think I need a vacation. Good thing I only have to make it through this week and next week before I get one!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Too little too late ACC... Oh how naive BC is to think that the problem has been fixed. No no my feathery friends, there will always be some loop hole which gets used to screw someone over. Recently it happens to have been GT, and yes, BC as well on the smurf-turf. But at least you were the newbie team last year, so you don't get to complain about getting screwed in the bowl selection until this season. Whereas we've only played one east coast bowl game in the last 5 years (as a result of UVA bowing out of and Clemson being disqualified from the Tangering Bowl), BC's had 2.5 (Detroit is closer to Boston than Nashville) and a trip to Hawaii. Trust me BC, things are not corrected and someone will get screwed again. This season, probably UNC - I predict a standout season followed by a trip to San Francisco. Oh well, at least they're trying, right?

I just walked past a guy I occasionally work with in the hallway named Peter G. and said "hey Peter" at which point I had to resist every urge in my body to follow it up with "what's happening?" Damn you Office Space... - Chess prodigy death plunge mystery - Jul 28, 2006 I'm glad I'm smart enough to realize that I don't want to be exceptionally smart. All that happens is that you get ostracized from society and your life peaks too soon, just like Bobby Fisher. It's just really depressing when you see supremely talented people burn out. As Lisa puts it: "As intelligence goes up, happiness goes down. See, I made a graph. I make a lot of graphs." Somewhere I think I still have a very similar graph that I made once.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I want to take a nap so badly... It's not like I didn't get a good night's sleep last night either. And I even slept in a little this morning. Maybe I just need another weekend. Good thing tomorrow's Friday already.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I really want some Skittles. I just suddenly got a huge craving for fruit-flavored, chewy, candy-coated deliciousness. Oh how I want to taste the rainbow. Rainbow, where are you?!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

This article just irritates me. And not (just) because it's written by a filthy hippy. Hey, I'm all for a cleaner environment and less dependence on expensive oil. But when was the last time someone had to put water in a car battery? Also, I cannot beleive she expects advances in the internal combustion engine to keep pace with computers. They are two completely different technologies, bound by different laws of physics. That's like saying, "well, we put a man on the moon in 1969 with comptuers as big as a car. Today my cell phone is nearly as powerful as that same computer, why aren't I living on Mars?" Well, duh, idiot. There's a lot of other more complicated factors at work than how many transistors you can cram onto a silicon substrate. Same deal with electric/hybrid vehicles. Why don't you explain to me why I can't run my entire electric vehicle off a watch battery? Why hasn't battery technology evolved as fast as computers? Why do I need a ton of batteries to run my electric car? Also, car manufacturers would LOVE to have electicr cars replace gas ones becasue they require "no maintenance" and I'm sure are easier to assemble. Yes, more expensive, but just adjust the markup accordingly. Finally, don't you think the power companies are going to catch on and start charging more for off-peak when they realize the grid is going nuts because everyone is charging their cars? Oh, and one more thing, sure, you can't get rid of gasoline powered cars, she even says so herself, because you can't drive across country in an electric without stopping every couple hundred miles to recharge it. Stupid tree-huggers and their lack of foresight or reasoning. Electric vehicles are great, in their right place. But they are not a be-all-end-all solution Preachy McGee...

Monday, July 24, 2006

I started working here 2 years ago today. Actually, it was July 26th. But it was also a Monday, so I'm claming today as my two year anniversary. In general, I would say I still like my job, which I suppose it a pretty good sign after two years. There's always something new going on, so even though there are tedious moments, on the whole, my job is pretty interesting. I can't beleive I wore a shirt and tie. Hahaha! Man, I'm glad everyone told me to never do that again. Most days it's khakis and a polo, but sometimes I'm lazy, or it's hot, or, you know, Thursday. Certainly no one would bat an eye if I started wearing jeans everyday (like Dave) as long as they were clean and I still had a work-approriate shirt. Since it's been two years, I feel I've earned the right to be a little less well-kempt around the office. Not that I'm goign to devolve into a slob, but if my shirt happens to come untucked during the day, that's probably how it's going to stay. And if I get tired of de-scuffing my loafers, I'm going to just wear my pair of New Balance instead. Yay! Anyway, when I started, my team consisted of roughly 10 people. Today it's 5. Basically, George handles all the hardware wiring diagrams, Jenny does the Java code, Dave does the C code, and Beth handles the money. That means I do pretty much everything else in between. I guess it's good that my job is so diverse right now, because it's allowing me to pick and choose down the road which things I've been exposed to that I'm really interested in pursuing further, but all within one team, rather than trying a little bit of this and that on several different projects. Anyway, short story long, things are going well at the office. One more year and I'm 100% vested in my company-matched 401k funds! I've gotten good raises the past two years, and I'm up for a promotion (a "long overdue" one at that - yet it still seems to be taking forever to actually get it finalized). At any rate, I'd better get back to the thing I've been talking about so I can keep being a model employee. So far so good. This whole "adult" thing really isn't as terrible as everyone has made it seem.

It's been a busy weekend! I got a call last week from Mr. Webb with some exciting news. He and Shannon are having twin boys, due around December 1st! They're also moving into their own place in Alexandria at the end of August, but for now they're in (relatively) nearby Springfield, so we went to go visit and hang out. Everyone seems convinced that "uncles" Adam and Tommy and going to completely corrupt the children. I suppose this depends on your definition of corrupt... Just cause I think they should be able to quote Monty Python and the Holy Grail by the time they start kindergarten and be familiar with Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Metallica's entire catalogs before they're allowed their first Raffi tape, not to mention that I'm going to try my hardest to make sure their first words are "in your face space coyote", you want to say I'm corrupting them... Hog wash!
In other news, Ben purchased the 96 Accord stick shift that we looked at a while back. I had to drive it home for him though. And he still seems really reluctant to drive it. I know that my parents need a second car (when they come back in the next month), so buying this one should have been done anyway. But it doesn't seem to have helped Ben all that much, so I'm still his main source of transportation, which always seems to be someplace far away and which eats up 2.5+ hours of my life and a chunk of my gas tank every time he needs a ride. I'm such a good big brother.
I had more I wanted to say when I opened this post at 9:15 this morning, but now that I'm finally getting around to finishing it at 2:45 pm, I've totally forgotten what else was going on that I wanted to talk about. Oh well. Maybe I'll remember again 5.5 hours from now.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I read something recently which cited automotive sales records. I wish I could find this document to link, but for the moment, take my word that I didn't conjure these statistics out of thin air merely for your amusement. Apparently, in the first half of 2006, Toyota has sold more of its Prius model than Mercedes or Cadillac have sold cars. I'm sure that has a lot to do with the fact that Toyota outsells both companies on a regular basis anyway. But to sell more hybrids than they have cars is interesting. Some will say this indicates the public's acceptance of the hybrid concept. I disagree. I think it is a direct correlation to the rise in gas prices. What people have failed to consider is that maintenance on a hybrid is going to be expensive down the road and that it's goign to take many years for the gas savings to actually add up to a substantial number. Sure, the Prius starts at about $22K, 10 grand less than the cheapest brand new Benz, but it's still the most expensive Totya sedan offering outside of the flagship Avalon. *shrug* Seems like a big investment in an unproven (in the long-term) technology to me. But since when do consumers, especially Americans, think long term? ;) Sure, I can afford a $650K house, and a $25K car on my $95k a year income. "Just open up another line of high-interst credit my good man." Don't worry, by the time you're hauled off to debtor's prison, the next-generation hybrid vehicles will be available and the squad car you get transported in will get 250 mpg. Wow, that post sure changed directions quickly...

Monday, July 17, 2006

According to the thermostat in my office that isn't near teh heat of my computers and monitors or the heat radiating from the southern exposure of my windows, it is creeping past 85 degrees right now. I meant to bring in a fan today, but I just plum forgot. I'm sending myself an email right now so I don't forget again tomorrow. Last week wasn't so bad because it rained most afternoons which helped keep it cooled off. What I really should do is coat the outside of my window shades with aluminum foil to reflect the heat away from my office and back out the window.

Here is a picture of our "french" bread. It was actually some leftover Italian garlic bread that we froze last week, but for Bastille day, it donned a beret.

And this is Emily with a blue crab made from various bits and pieces of broken blue things. I'm not sure this was teh safest of class projects for 5th graders, but it certainly looks cool. This was actually from our last trip to Baltimore, but I don't think I ever posted it, and now all the various crabs have gone missing.

And here's a couple pictures from Westminster Hall and the accompanying cemetary.

Here's Male Grammar School No. 1

The Hippodrome (performing arts center):

The Bromo Seltzer clock tower which is now the Baltimore Arts something or other. I can only assume it is an art gallery inside.

And heres a few from teh Orioles game. We were sitting just to the first base side of home plate, about halfway up in the upper deck, so I think these came out pretty well for being that far away from the action and for trying to take them over the fattest, most-ADD, spastic super-fan I've ever seen.

And finally, our view from the pier as we ate our Chocolate Oreo Mudslide Cheesecake.

It's been a busy past week! We moved our lab and office downstairs finally. Everything is mostly setup now and it's not quite as thrown together as it once was. 5 years of cableing and decableing things tends to create quite a rats nest of wires. In any case, I have a swanky new window office (which is meant for 3 people) all to myself. It's going to be sad when we hire someone new and I have to share again. Other than moving, work was just super busy last week. Lots of things needing to get done by certain deadlines and not very much time to do them. We celebrated Bastille Day on Friday with a roasted chicken, "french" bread, and salad topped with apples, raspberries, and warm brie. It was pretty yummy. Then there was chocolate mouse and some other chocolate cakey thing for dessert. Thanks Wegmans! Especially since I didn't have to go there. ;) We didn't eat until super late, but it was like having a long spread out 3 course meal, so it's all good.
Saturday it was off to Baltimore! We ran into construction traffic around the Legion bridge which delayed us about 30 minutes, but wasn't all that bad, especially since Emily was driving instead of me. Nothing sucks more than stop-and-go with a manual tranmission. At any rated, we arrived at the Inner Harbor and met up with Ruff for lunch at Phillips seafood. He lives just outside the city now and seems to be doing well, though we don't think he's changed at all in 2.5 years, except for getting his ears pierced last month for some unknown reason. It was good to see him again and find out what he's been up to though. Then it was off to see Westminster Hall and Poe's gravesite. The church is pretty cool because it's built on stilts over a pre-existing graveyard. So I had in mind this tiny little thing, but it's actually a pretty massive brick structure. Apart from teh numerous graves external to the church, there are hundreds you can only get to by going inside and then down into teh catacombs, btu teh church was locked, so no dice on that one. We also wanted to go see Poe's house, but it was just too far a walk in the blistering heat (I didn't get burned though! Yay for SPF 30!), so we swung by the Hippodrome and the Lexington Market, where you can get any food you could possibly want and be made to feel very much out of place if you're not black. There was a guy outside trying to play his sax, but he looked like he just didn't have any energy in the heat. Then, at last, it was on to the Orioles game! It started off with an O's run in first on an outifeld error, then a 1-5-1 run combo in the middle innings to put the O's on top with no hope for the Rangers. They ran out of sausage dogs, but Emily was very nice to let me have one while she ate a regular hot dog. I offered to split mine and we could each have half of each, but no dice. We've still got two beer brats in the freezer if we really need another fix sometime soon. After the game we had our traditional cheesecake on the pier and then headed home.
Sunday we were very lazy. Watched some TV (me Formula 1 and Emily Project Runway) and tried to recover from the previous day a little bit. Eventually, we headed down to Adam's Morgan to meet up with Kayre and Jake who were in town for the weekend and had an early dinner at a sushi place. Not such a fan of raw fish myself, I opted for chicken teriyaki which was super good and I think required abotu 6 chickens to make the portion they brought me. I ate almost all of it though. Which brings me to my next point. Emily has decided go start working out again, and I'm going to do my best to join her. I really need someone besides myself to make me keep up a routine. I'm not in it to lose weight or get in shape or whatever (though are just byproducts), mostly I'm in it because it's healthy and really the only way I get any exercise anymore. So we'll see how that goes for the next month or so. We were doing really well when Emily first moved up here, so maybe we can get back in the habit again. I'm also trying to break my habit of having a snack before bed. I know I shouldn't do it, and I don't really need it, but I do it anyway. So starting today, I'm going to try to break a few bad habits and start a few good habits. Right after I get back from my lunch at Wendy's. ;)
Pictures from the weekend to come this evening hopefully.

Monday, July 10, 2006

I got a letter from a woman at Weichart Realtors over the weekend that just made me laugh out loud in anger. For privacy's sake, let's call her A. Shah. No, that's too obvious, let's call her Aarti S. Here are some excerpts that I particularly enjoyed:
"You might think that you can get more house from a rent payment than you could if you were buying. That may not be true! If you can afford to rent, you can probably afford to buy."
"The general rule is that you can afford a house that costs 1.5 to 2.5 times your annual (gross) income."
"Your monthly mortgage shouldn't exceed 28% of your gross monthly income."

Hilarious! First off, most people rent because they either aren't in a position to buy (life/job unstable), or don't have enough saved up for a down payment. Yes, a down payment is necessary. Even last summer when interest rates were at record lows, financing 100% is still going to cost an arm and a leg because your second trust for anything above the 80% covered by the initial mortgage is going to be a much higher interest rate. And for what I'm paying in rent, which is exorbitant, I doubt very much that I could find even a comparably sized condo that has a mortgage payment equal to my monthly rent, even if I had the capital to put a full 20% down. Let's assume for a minute that the "rule of thumb" is remotely accurate. I wonder what kind of place I could buy for between $91,000 and $152,500. In northern Virginia, certainly not anyplace as nice as where I live now, if anything at all. Maybe a garage... And with my monthly mortage, let's see now, my rent is just under that 28% reccomendation. Perfect! I'd like very much to see what kind of place I could afford under these guidelines in this area. Oh wait, I can! My search on HomesDatabase turned up one result in the prescribed price range. Too bad I have to be a senior citizen first. Maybe Aarti Shah knows something I don't, but I very much doubt that. Her letter just made me so irritated that she would send something like this out. "Hey renter, you can afford to buy! But not really because there's nothing you can afford here! Hahahaha! Sucker." Basically, according to her logic, I need a household income of at least $120K (Emily and I combined don't even make that) to barely be able to afford a crappy 3-bedroom townhouse in a crummy neighborhood. Rock on. And my favorite part about the whole letter is that she actually uses a person with an income of $50K as an example. What the hell kind of place is this person making $50K a year going to buy? Are you insane?? I should call her and tell her I make that much and ask her what I can buy, then chew her out for giving me a glimmer of hope, then crushing my dreams of homeownership. Sweet. Take that Aarti Shah at 571-331-6781

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Go insomnia go! I'm so tired, but I can't seem to fall asleep. I've been in bed for nearly 3 hours, and I'm so restless now. I can't concentrate on anything, so it's not like I can read a book or do a crossword or something. I just have no energy left. Is it possible to not have enough strength to go to sleep? How dumb does that sound? I dunno, at 3 am when I'm this tired, anything sounds reasonable.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Billy Bob Thornton's "Hobo" (as performed on the Henry Rollins show) is the best song I've ever heard. Best song I've ever heard. Best song I've ever heard. Give it a listen and try to tell me it doesn't remind you of "Wheels on the Bus". And then he has the balls to wonder why actors aren't taken seriously as musicians. Here's the thing, if William Shatter didn't ruin it for everyone, David Hasselhoff certainly should have (except with those wacky Germans for some reason). I'm not saying that actors can't also be musicians, it just seems that, well, they can't. Especially when singing a song about "street people" that sounds like it was written in crayon on construction paper by a kindergartener.

Monday, July 03, 2006

I was such a good employee today. I was the last one to leave and locked up teh lab at 4:15. I never did my lab cleaning, but I did take care of a bundh of GP identification that I wanted to do before things get lost in the shuffle of moving to the 5th floor. Supposedly it's happening this week and I'll be getting a window office all to myself. I still don't really believe we're finally moving downstairs, but supposedly it's happening on Thursday. *shrug* Also, I really want a donut. I'm not sure why either. But I'm already home and with the heat and humidity outside, I have no real desire to venture back out again, even for a donut.

Looks like I'm the only one left in the lab. Whee!! Time to crank up the Run DMC and clean the lab until I get bored, then go home. It's sad too that if I took my shoes off, I could count the number of people who were here today (based on cars in the parking lot). I think at this point, I could probably count them all on one hand. Maybe I'll forgo cleaning up and just go see what Sonja and Zoey are up to.

This is kind of neat. I'd love to know how well it works and how quickly it can track a moving object. I mean, sure neutralizing a stationary source after identification is a good start, but if I move 3 feet to the left, how quick is it going to figure that out and disable my camera again. Certainly some cool technology even if it has a long way to go before it becomes a commercially viable product.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The new Transformers movie trailer is up. Spielberg is the executive producer, and Michael Bay (Bad Boys, The Rock, Armageddon) is directing. I'm not sure what to expect. It's live action, so that's strike one. And it's got Tyrese Gibson, strike 2. But it's also got some guys I like - Michael Clarke Duncan, John Turturro (NFWTJ!!!), Zack Ward, and Jon Voight. Too bad the trailer seems to indicate that they're on Mars instead of Cybertron, that's a foul ball at the very least if not a strike out. And too bad I have to wait a year (release slated for 7/4/07) to see how it's going to turn out. I swear, if you ruin any of my favorites, there'll be hell to pay. Namely, Optimus Prime, Soundwave, Jazz, Grimlock, and Hound, in that order. X-men 3 already ruined my favorite storyline with their dumb Phoenix explanation, so this movie had better not wreck Transformers for me. At least I know I'll always have a good animated Transformers movie sitting on my DVD shelf to fall back on.

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  • I'm Rev. Adam
  • From Oakton, Virginia, United States
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