Christine's completed her last classes for her MCSE. Yay Christine! Now all she has to do is take the tests, and she'll be all certified. I also want to congratulate my good friend Brad, former Silverdragon server owner and current member of Strange Tea, on his promotion. He was promoted to manager position of the Network Control Center for his company. This was a payoff of 60+ hour weeks for the last two years, and he now makes a grossly indecent sum of money. I am not at liberty to say what he makes, but let me put it to you this way, just five years ago, he got laid off as an assistant manager of a record store. He probably now makes more than the combined salaries of all the employees that used to work there (it has since closed down, I believe). How's that for sweet revenge? Yay, Brad! And now good friend Jason got a great job. I have known Jason since my first astrophysics course, "Astrophysics with Ray Chandler and Rob Fields." We watched our teacher get into enraged debates with another student. He'd get so furious, he'd often throw him out of field trips. Jason and I bonded on that astrophysics level, and now has a 3 year position at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge! Woo-hoo! Way to go, Jason! Now at least he will be closer to me in Boston rather than Arizona.
We are also settling on a house <http://web.archive.org/web/20001213184000/http://www.punkwalrus.com/house.html> after a long and exhausting search. Man, there are some bad houses out there. I think people who design some of the newer floor plans should be required to live, work, and function a small family in such spaces for at least two years. Then they will see how easy it is to decorate rec rooms shaped like a triangle, or put a bed *and* a dresser in a 10 x 10 "bedroom." And where I live, they have this new design called "big house, tiny yard" because I guess no one wants to mow anything larger than an area rug. And you pay about 50% for more for them than an older house just across the street that recalls a time when kids got fresh air and people knew how to plant flowers.
Some homeowners associations are insane. "Oh, I am sorry, the Homeowners Association doesn't allow trees, children, or darkies... oh my, did I just say that? Oopsie! Scratch that last one..." You pay like $120/month to have some nosy busybody come onto your property and fine you $600 because your paint is the wrong shade of eggshell, your bushes are at least 2 square inches off center, and by snooping in your garbage they found you bought the wrong brand of margarine.
We were looking at one that has a lot of character. That's putting it mildly. In its favor, it had about an acre of property, a huge entertainment area, a stonework front, and some of the most beautiful ancient trees I have ever seen. But it required a ton of upgrades to bring it to code, and its layout design is a bit lopsided. It's a 1950s house with a 1990s addition that doubled the square footage. But it doesn't match the rest of the house. The realtor wouldn't sell it to us. It had three bids in the last year, all which backed out for unknown reasons. We think there was something going on behind the scenes, like he hated our buyer's agent.
Well, as you know, the technical industry has a lot of change. And I have changed jobs again. I am still working at the ISP that made Virginia proud, but they decided that they didn't need a my department anymore, and so dissolved it our from under us. A lot of us scrambled for jobs, and I found they wanted me to continue my job description and do roughly the same thing for the same pay as an International advisor. So there was a lot of panic, and I ended up ending up pretty much back where I was.
Some were not so lucky.
Imaginecon is having... issues. That's putting it mildy. When they approached me last year, Kathy Eggers and John Prescott seemed to be really eager for me to be a guest. Thay had all kinds of guests lined up. Now, about a year later, not so many guests, and I am beginning to see why. My first clue was several months of non-contact. Then a short note that they weren't going to pay me, but I could have all the food in the green room I wanted. How nice. Well, any publicity is better than none, but their lack of communication was... well, let's let Ray Park (Darth Maul) explain it in his own words <http://web.archive.org/web/20001213184000/http://www.raypark.com/appearances/imaginecon.html>. I feel kind of weird that Ray and I are in the same boat. Add to that the mail I have been getting about the programming. I won't go into detail here, but right now we just got booted from the hotel because of "hotel management issues." Oooh... this should be fun. Actually, I am travelling down with my friends Sean and Louann, and a LOT of my Southern VA friends will be there, so even if the con goes down in flames, I will still have a good time.
In other news, Jesse Reklaw, artist and co-writer for "Slow Wave" published one of my dreams online. You can see it here at:
Jesse's comic strip takes real people's dreams, and makes cartoons out of them. Some of them are surreal, while others are meaningful. Most are very silly. You should read more than just mine.