Life gone into turbo speed... cannot shift down... clutch is stuck...
Halloween came and went. I wished I had more time to enjoy it. I have been working a lot of 12-hour days in the past few weeks, and I am
pooped. I finally decided to take a vacation in the middle of it all. So I am writing this part of my online exploits while listening to German techno (Blümchen), Goth (Type O Negative and Rob Zombie), with interruptions of some old piano (Liberace). If spring has sprung, then fall has fallen? Leaves are starting to change color. Some punks are now sporting earth-toned hair, and the Goths are re-tinting the summer-faded black. You see more of them now because the summer heat isn't baking them alive in their leather jackets. Nights are getting longer, and the rave scene sports the black-clad youth like the human equivalent of autumn crows. Trees lose their leaves, looking enthrallingly barren, like the end of a super-great party. This is a good time of year, the celebration of the Harvest. We celebrate with Halloween and Thanksgiving, and end it with Christmas.
Well, we decorated the lawn in out usual graveyard manner, which attracted some positive comments from the *scant* trick-or-treaters out
there. This neighborhood is *full* of children, and we had no idea where they went. Christine stayed behind in the cold to keep an eye out for the kids who tipped over the gravestones, while Ahfu went with CR and myself. We were led by one of the neighborhood kids, who also wondered where everyone was. We wore Ahfu's his little legs out wandering around.
Christine started her new job in September, working as a sysadmin and personnel manager for a small but busy shipping company with several
offices about the Eastern and Southern Coast. The pay is better than her last job, and the atmosphere is a lot more casual. Plus, and this is one of the perks, she gets to telecommute all but two days a week.
I am now a classic suburbanite. I spent part of an hour worrying about my lawn care. I replanted seed, and now it is growing like crazy in some spots, not at all in others. Sadly, it is a different green than the rest of the grass, so it's fairly obvious.
A mew member of our household is settling in. Her name is "Thisby," and she's a Siamese kitten. Things haven't gone well for her. When she came to us, she had fleas, an eye infection, and something wrong with her nose which the vet called, "an infection," but didn't know what it was. Her original owners sent her to us via plane, which traumatized the kitten to no end. We had to bathe her, which was even more traumatic. Then we had to give her medicine twice a day. Thisby has attached herself to Oreo, the only cat who didn't hiss at her, and we have to bribe *him* to bribe *her* and... man, Oreo must think he's in heaven. Thisby hates me, thinks I am evil incarnate, and she is spooked by everything. She spends most of her time hiding under our bed, where I see her from time to time as a poofy brown tail fleeing from her latest scare. She is quite pretty, from the occasional sightings we have of her, which are about as rare as Bigfoot sightings. Our friends think we're making her up, because all the proof we have are fuzzy photos that really could be anything, even Ahfu in a bad Siamese suit.
Out of all the pets we have, Ahfu has taken the move the best. He loves having a yard! He loves the walks (although not as interesting as the Reston forests, a lot more safe). He loves all the people that come in and out so he can bark at them! Heck, he just loves to bark! He loves it so much, Artoo told him to shut up by gashing his eye. Aren't pets fun...? Artoo likes the new house. Oreo and Storm have gotten used to it, and Storm has suddenly become a LOT more sociable (she used to hide all the time, you could go weeks without seeing her). As I said before, Oreo now has the dubious honor of being Thisby's best friend, which means Thisby thinks Oreo is her personal fun thing to play with, and because Oreo is so... Rubenesque ... Thisby sadly thinks he might lactate at any moment, and tries to suckle on him despite the fact he's a sterile male.
How about us, though? We love the new house, too! We think it's great. It's calm and quiet, but that won't last for long. In less than a week, we get our new 61" projection screen TV. Our pool table came in right after. Wow, is all I can say. I mean, I am a bit jaded because my friend Bruce has a 100" projection screen TV, but it needs its own screen and cannot be seen under anything but total darkness (as grimaced by his wife, Cheryl). This TV is very nice, it's a Toshiba, and it has a very clear screen. I have been watching old shows like SNL and Kids in the Hall, and thinking, "Wow, the band has some nice artwork behind it," and "Gee, Dave doesn't make a good woman after all." In South Park, the kids are life-sized. If you watch a film about something where they strap a camera on something moving very fast (in this case, a roller coaster), you actually get motion sickness. I had to stare at a wall for a few seconds to assure my mind that I wasn't really on some ride from hell. The pool table is a nice Olhausen solid wood 6 foot table in light maple with cadet-blue felt. Top of the line, and it's worth every penny. Real slate, too, which came in three massive 250lb 1" thick slabs of solid black Italian slate that had to be bolted together. This table isn't moving anywhere, it weighs a little over half a ton, and it took two men five hours to put it together. I mean, they made it from several dozen parts right in front of me, and I could immediately see that there was no scrimping on quality, even the parts you couldn't see when it's put together.
On the same day, I got my first DVD player and VCR (not combo) from Overstock.com. My two models were factory refurbished, and you couldn't
even tell. They had full warrantees, no marks or scratches, all their parts, and they worked wonderfully! And I brutally tested them on my new 61" Projection TV, did I mention that TV enough? :) Now all I need is a surround-sound theater system, and I am all set. My first video was "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace," and the first DVD I played was "Kentucky Fried Movie." Then I watched "The Avengers" movie, and was
My friend Bruce just passed his qualifying CCIE pre-exam. Last year, he couldn't spell CCIE, and now he might be one in December :). He left his company after some political mess, but it's given him incentive and time to push ahead and study. I am very proud of Bruce, he's truly a self-made person.
I also spent half a week recovering from a migraine attack, which in all honesty wasn't so bad. I mean, it was painful and put me out of work for two days, but I haven't had one that bad for a long time, which means that they are decreasing in frequency. I started having them in 1991, and have been taking medication for it since 1993. I think it was stress-related, because work has been ... well, packed with things to do. I have had to learn Visual Basic via reverse-engineering, without a compiler, so I have to do all my programs in Excel ... okay, that's technical enough for most people before they start nodding off. You didn't get this newsletter to listen to me whine! Okay, maybe you did, but onwards... now I have to learn LINUX. This has truly been a intense last few months. I am hoping to get some time during my vacation to study for my CCNA exam, which keeps getting put off.
I went to wild, woolly, West Virginia so that we could see Keyser High School humiliate the [something] School Trojans. Ever since 1994,
Christine and I had been planning to go to West Virginia, back to her hometown of Keyser to see the homecoming game. The comparison between my high school and hers ... no comparison. Mine was a school full of apathetic demi-rich kids who in their mind had already graduated and
gone to college. Hers was the typical American high school like the ones sung about by John Cougar Mellencamp. I was in the front of the
bleachers at probably one of Keyser's biggest social events. When we left at 3rd quarter, it was something like 900 to 0. No, it was 27 to 6, but close enough. We also visited my sister-in-law and several of Christine's old friends.
We came home to find that we had a leak in our upstairs bathroom, and now a downstairs bathroom had no ceiling (just a pile of wet mush that used to be drywall). Luckily, we had someone house-sitting, and she was able to stop it before it became a full-fledged flood. Now I have the dubious thrill of repairing a lot of drywall. We spent most of the week cleaning up until an old friend from the Prune Bran days, Tracie Maier (now Hershey) flew in from Texas to visit.
We also had our housewarming. About half of the people we invited showed up, and that was still a lot! We served cheese, meatballs, and little cheesecakes. It was great to see all my friends, and we gave them all tours around the house. Most of them were suitably impressed. Okay, and someone sent me a housewarming gift. I want to thank them. But they forgot to sign the card. All I know is that I got a large yellow Bigens Ball and pump to replace the one I lost earlier this year. It was sent to my new address care of "Punkadyne Labs." The invoice inside didn't say who it was from (other than the athletic supply company it shipped from), but had a note that said, "Punkie, we know things will get better, cheer up. Your friends care about you." Can the sender come up and claim credit so I can thank them? I blew up the ball, it's great, and now the 34" diameter ball is rolling about my new large rec room.
Don't even ask about the book. Not that my illustrator's ready yet anyway, but even if she was ... don't even ask.