Good times. Years ago I when I worked second shift, I went into the accounting office and in as good a copy-cat of her own handwriting as I could, I wrote “Don’t forget! $15.79” on a post-it note and put it on the accountant’s file cabinet. I walked by the next day and saw her staring at it. Glorious. Funny to me, at least. Fast forward about 30 years and I wrote myself a note in the last 24 hours. I know I just wrote it because I’m using a notepad that wasn’t out until yesterday. So sometime between yesterday morning and now along with hefty to-do list, I wrote “SQLSED=190” and circled it.
That’s all. Just SQLSED=190…
And circled. I wrote it. I know I wrote it because our offices are locked and there isn’t really anyone here anyway. Plus, my handwriting is absolutely attrocious, so copying it isn’t something you’d want to attempt. No idea what that means.
I also tend to do that thing that Lewis Black said where you walk in a room and have no idea why you just walked into the room. Oh, it was super important a few seconds ago and now… nothing. No idea. Guess I have more of this to look forward to as I get older.
Back at work last week and this week. My office was pretty much untouched for a year. I had a bottle of water still sitting on the desk from what I was here last March. Smelled okay. Didn’t kill me, so must have still been alright. Work is pretty much the same. We are not a very talkative group, so being here or not doesn’t really make much of a difference. You keep to yourself, hold up in your office until time to go home. Usually, I’m the last one out so I lock the door and then hit the road. The only thing different between now and the last year is my commute, which is almost an hour each way. Oh, and my car that’s just been sitting for the most part now has a warning light and a little shimmy. I didn’t look up ABS yet, but I think the translation is $$$. Actually, I have a warranty, so it shouldn’t be horrible. At least it isn’t IBS which would be a lot more dramatic.
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Okay, after a year of working at home, my home office is looking great. I have multiple desks, multiple monitors, a snazzy gaming chair, lights, camera, whiteboard. And now I get an email that we’ll probably be back at work soon.
That was a LONG two weeks.
I’d like to say I took advanage of my year off, and the only way I did was to save on gas money. I say off, but that’s technically not true, I’ve just been doing Zoom meetings instead of actual meetings and instead of using a copier, I bought a ream of copy paper and every few days I throw a handful into the garbage can. I have to do my part. Not much else to report right now, but wanted to say HEY. Hope you all are doing great.
Today’s song is Saladin by Hybrid and don’t forget, it’s Thursday so the Epic game store usually has a free game around 11am for those of you who care. I don’t game all that much, but I like free stuff and once in a while they have a game I might actually play provided I have absolutely nothing else to do.
It’s snowing today. Since I work from home during C19, it doesn’t change anything except I wore boots out to the garage instead of my normal loafers. Brrr. Oh, and watchin Hamilton if you haven’t seen it. I think you can get a free trial of Disney. It’s worth it.
My wife pointed out something I didn’t realize – I tend to joke a lot. It’s not that I don’t take things seriously, but my first comment at the beginning of most conversations is some quip. I think over time this has proven good in that you hear comments like “Wow, you’re really fast!” and that’s good in some cases. In others, not so much, and I never, ever realized it. She pointed out that I’m actually missing out on a lot of what could be meaningful conversations because I play them off or worse, give the person talking the impression that I don’t care about what they are talking about. I didn’t get that until she told me. There are, of course, people I talk to who, when we talk, mostly speak in snippets of comedy sketches, etc. We talk almost in code, quoting movie after movie, but I guess just like all things – there are times when you need to actually be serious. That only means that I have to actually pause and think before speaking. Since she mentioned this, I’ve caught myself a few times. It’s really no different than dieting. With dieting, you take a moment to think about what you are eating before you just shove it in your mouth. With talking, it’s the same idea. I have a friend who never says “Ah” or “Ummm” or any of those ‘connectors’ when he talks. You know the person who starts a phrase and then goes “Ummm” and continues? I have one friend who always adds “and everything”. It kills me a little sometimes. Like you want to make them put a nickle in a jar everytime they say “and everything”. I notice it with reporters too sometimes, but that’s another topic. This one friend who is maybe 70 has never connected his phrase parts. He just stops. It’s weird that someone who DOESN’T use those is the oddity, but he does. What happens is you start talking and then he starts talking over you because you realize he wasn’t done. Or – you try to finish his sentences, but ugh. Nobody wants that either. My point is that he just stops and thinks while he is talking and he’s actually thinking about what he is talking about, not what he is going to have for lunch. You know when you talk to him that he’s paying attention to you. My goal is to not only give people that impression, but actually carry through with it and pay attention. I’ve started. I don’t spout off something now, I wait a few seconds. I listen. I might say “Hmmm”.
To complicate matters, there is a difference between how men and women speak. Women like to talk over their problems and have you as a soundboard. Guys like to, unfortunately, give tips. Lots of tips. Tips that start coming out when the woman starts talking. Women don’t want tips. They don’t want your help. If they want help, they will ask for it. When guys talk, we are all about solutions. “Here’s what you need to do”. Women hate that!
Since working at home, I’ve been listening to some YouTube recordings about how to speak to women. The grandaddy of them all is probably Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, which explained a lot of this to me, although, he didn’t give me any tips yet (see – I’m a guy and I need tips). I feel weird saying “Awww” and “I hope that works out”. Instead I want to help make positive changes. Meanwhile, I found one guy who said “Here’s how to talk to women” and then about 3 minutes in he said “And remember, guys, that once you start talking to her properly, her legs will open right up.” *COUGH* I lost all respect for him right after he said that and stopped watching. That’s the wrong goal, at least for what I’m trying to accomplish.
So, think about how you talk. Do you listen like it’s the last time you might see or hear that person? Because people die every day and once they go, that’s it.
Happy Tuesday. I’m going to try and post more often. I used to post daily on the Vox platform, which was fantastic for blogging until they were bought out. Now there is a new Vox, but nothing like the old Vox. I started hanging out on Facebook around 2006, but only to play Mob Wars. I purchased some scripts to help play and they would run for hours and hours and get my points up and then eventually, they changed the game so much that the scripts wouldn’t work and then the game went away (as far as I know). I might have lost interest. Now I’ve pretty much lost interest in Facebook again. Election years help to push me away from it. I’ll say something like “I sure like candidate X” and then I’ll get 50 comments about why candidate X is a child killing anti-christ loving robber – or something similar. I used to care and I’d rebut my point, but now I just don’t give a shit. Whatever. My wife found something on Reddit called insane people of Facebook and… wow. Just wow.
So I’m out in my home-office working and decided to take a minute to say “Hey”. I’m listening to one of my albums that I haven’t heard in years and forgot I had. It’s called Unearthed by E.S. Posthumus. Just smooth instrumentals and a few choruses added in here and there. Good for working. I need to relax a little. I’m stressed out a bit since there some some things up in there air – some of which I have little or no direct ability to control and letting go isn’t always easy. I mean, if you car breaks down and you don’t know how to fix cars – you’re going to stress – but in that case, you might stress for the upcoming payment or how you are going to get to the store. I stress a little that I can’t fix it myself (that’s only a bad example – my car isn’t broken and I can work on cars, but I don’t want to).
Good news – I did get the other computer working in Windows 10. Took about 30 minutes of tinkering with it. I opened up task manager and watched it while the system booted up and after about a minute, it would always hard-stop. I noticed a few things popping up in the task manager right at that moment. It’s some old Dell utility to check the system. It was called PC-Doctor, which sounded virusy at first, but it’s real. I found it in the startup and disabled it and now the system is working and I can breathe again and let go of some of that stress. Stress. Of a machine that won’t run that never – absolutely never gets used. Oh, well. Now it’s a Plex server and I can take the laptop away from in front of the TV (yes, the laptop I just recently fixed and set up as Plex server).
Still losing weight. About a pound a day. “Oh, that’s unhealthy!” Well, I’ve got news for you boopsy – so is being overweight (especially with Covid floating around). And let’s be realistic – if it’s okay to eat General Tso chicken on Saturday and gain 10 (yes, TEN pounds by Monday), then I can freaking take a few weeks of a pound a day. As of today, I’m probabably the lowest I’ve been in 40 years. I’m starting to like seeing the scale go down everyday and it’s helping motivate me not to eat so much. I’m mixing intermittent fasting with eating less and eating more protein. Lunch is turkey hotdogs with eggs and some salsa most days and then dinner is whatever we have. Chicken last night. No breakfast, just hot tea with honey.
I’m in a weird mood today. More space cadet like. If you know anything about assembly language programming, you would know something about pushing and popping. You didn’t used to set variables in machine language. Instead, you would push values on a “stack” (register) and then when you wanted to get the item back, you’d issue a pop command. Push and Pop. It’s all very real. My issue today is that I keep pushing things on my stack and since my stack is in my head, I basically need to keep track of all of it. I have two notepads handy and I’ve been scribbling down to-do’s and notes. Some of the stuff I’m keeping track of though is useless. For instance. I was on a software demo Zoom meeting this morning and the guy showing the software was whipping through various pages of dialog and I caught a spelling error. It just stuck right out. “Answerd”. I even looked it up because I was like – huh. Answered is correct. Answerd is wrong. I took note of his name and the other lady on the call. There were about eight of us. I planned my email to her, typing it in my head “Hey, we were on a demo and I caught a spelling error.” I mostly catch these and feel the need to report them because I, too, am a programmer and I’d hate my programs to have spelling errors. I thought about it and thought about it. Finally, I had to just let it go. No, I’m not the grammar police. No, I don’t need to report spelling errors for the planet. That’s not my job. I pushed and popped this a few times and then finally, unwillingly, discarded it. They’ll find it or someone else will point it out. Not my responsibility – and I don’t say that in a bad way – just a fact – it’s not my responsibility, and I have enough other stuff going on that I don’t need to concern myself with this.
Friday was hectic. I had a long to-do list and I finished most of it. A good day. Weekend went okay. I managed to get Windows 10 installed on an old machine that kept not allowing it for some odd reason. I found out you can still do the Windows 10 upgrade, so I’ve been upgrading all of my systems. This was one of the last ones. It’s not working right yet. Keeps stalling/locking up, but it’s also not critical and it’s hard for me to just leave it alone, but I can certainly do that until I have some more time to put into it. I’ll check the drive and the logs and figure it out, but I have to just let it go for now. Not a current priority. Probably some old software that’s loading up in the background and locking it up.
Letting go isn’t always easy. I find myself doing ridiculous tasks that really have no need to be done. For instance, ripping DVD’s into files so we can play them on Plex. It’s for the greater good, right? But honestly, I haven’t watched a DVD in a year. I just don’t do it. I’m thinking that having them on Plex might make it easier to where I could just watch it, and admittedly, I have watched a few parts of movies and even two whole movies since doing it, but it’s not really going to accomplish anything besides making me feel better about having quick access to my movie collection. You also have to fret over which ones to do. Do you copy all of your DVD’s? Honestly – I’m never, ever, ever going to watch Lion King 1.5. Just not going to happen. Also, all of those *extras* second disk – no. I’ve been putting those in a stack of not going to happen. I could always put it in the DVD if I wanted to watch it, which I won’t. I have Aladdin and I’ve never even watched the DVD. Why load it into Plex?
Nothing else to report except that I woke up at 4am and thought how glorious it was that today was Saturday and how I could sleep in and then I realized it was Monday…
I’ve come up with a fairly simple formula for stress.
First, take [What You Want To Do] and then subtract [What You Have To Do]. Since time is a constant in most equations, that means that you are going to find that you aren’t always going to get to actually DO what you Want To Do. And I think that causes stress.
I see this personally whenever I have some task to do that I really don’t want to do – say “accounting” stuff. I find myself randomly doing other non-accounting stuff instead.
“Honey, can you clean that frying pan with the burned on crud?”
“Honey, can you do that accounting we need to get done?”
and viola – I’m scraping crud for two hours off of an old iron frying pan. You’d think something like accounting might be fun, and I suppose for an accountant, it is. But it’s not something I seek to work on. Of course, this post isn’t about accounting. It’s really about buckling down and doing things you HAVE to get done on a daily basis. In most cases, it’s work – and working for someone else. It could be something you NEED to do around the house – like maybe the toilet is clogged. You don’t want to rent a snake and clean out the sewer, but you have to. It’s going to cost money – sorry. If you don’t want to go to the bathroom at the Gas’n Sip for the next month, your gonna have to do it. This is all heavy and stressful. I find myself talking to my heaviness. “Hello Heaviness!” it always answers me back with some snide remark “Hello friend. You’re going to be drinking early today.”
I have a physical this week. So, every year my doctor sends me in for a blood test beforehand so when I get there, we can discuss it. I went to a different place this year because my insurance said they “like it better”. Saturday morning, I get up and go over there. About twenty people were waiting and after 15 minutes, they called me in. She hands me a cup and says, “You’ll need to pee in this for me.” Well, that’s just great. I went to the bathroom right before I went over there. It didn’t say “Blood and Urine” test. It just said blood test. I told her I didn’t think it was going to happen. She took my blood and said that she had to get the urine at the same time. She told me to try. I tried. No luck. She gave me some water and told me to wait in the waiting room. She said if I didn’t, she’d have to scrap the whole blood test and wait until I could do it all at once. Ugh. I sat there. They close at noon and it was 11. At 11:50, she asked me to try again and I gave it the team effort, but no avail. I wanted to say “I only pee at night” which is true. I’d say somewhere after 50 my body decided that going to the bathroom every two-four hours at night is much more fun. During the day – not so much. It also didn’t help that I hadn’t had anything to drink that morning. She said she didn’t know what to do and that I should talk to the lady at the front desk. The lady at the desk didn’t sound like it was any problem at all. “We’ll just take that off of the test”. Ah, thanks. That works. She said the doctor can always get one while I’m there, so I’ll make sure not to pee this week. While I was waiting, a lady showed up with about a gallon of pee. She was carrying it in a gallon container that said “Biological Sample” or something like that on it and it was in a red tinted bag. She slapped it up on the counter and said “Who do I give this to?” The lady behind the counter asked her for paperwork and she didn’t have any. “My doctor said to take this to any LabCorp and drop it off.” The conversation didn’t go well after that. There was yelling from both people. Finally, the pee lady said she wasn’t going to continue talking to the person behind the counter and needed another person to come assist her. Hmmppff! The second lady was able to disarm the situation. She shuffled through a bunch of papers and said “We don’t have any information on this or you, but all you have to do is put this in the fridge and then call your doctor on Monday and he can fax over the paperwork.” She wasn’t happy, but she left. Before that, there was talk of pouring it out in the front garbage can, so I’m glad she calmed down. Right when I left, after my second failed attempt, another lady walked in with a gallon of pee. It said “24 hour sample” on it. These ladies are hard core and know how to pee. I think they were secretly and unknowingly mocking me. I hope she had paperwork, but I didn’t stick around to find out.
Friday! Another week. I think I started and ended on a work high-note with some meandering in the middle. I really worked hard Monday on email requests and today was very similar – just non stop emails. I have about 900 unread right now. That sounds like a lot, but many of those are system notices about tasks completed by various automated programs and/or spam. I’d say about 10% are actual requests. I’m not super worried, since they are old – from early December. Most have been taken care of other ways by now. If something truly wasn’t working, I’d get a call.
My new chair is working out good. New monitor is fine. What’s wrong, you ask? Two things: (1) There is this fly in my office that won’t leave me alone. It’s like 40 degrees outside. Why are flies even out and about? It’s relentless. It’s jumping back and forth from my head to my monitor. I finally helped it meet it’s demise today, but that’s after three days of mayhem. (2) My laptop screen is flickering. I know why. It has a loose connection. I know this because it happened a few weeks ago and I re-seated the connector and it took care of it. So I have to do that again. I know there are people who don’t have flies or flickering monitors, so I can’t fret too much about it, only a little.
The week was pretty normal otherwise. I cleaned up my area a little and that always makes me feel better. I still blame Animal Crossing, since I can experiment with “stuff” in the game and decide how much I like a minimal area and then I can just re-create it. I’ve managed to do dishes every night before bed. I usually do them in the morning, but what I’ve found is that if I do them at night, I can unload the dishwasher in the morning and then you can put dishes in all day. So you avoid the mess and the full sink.
I’m beat. I’m also surprised that it’s Wednesday. In fact, Wednesday is almost over. It was just last Wednesday. I know because we have meetings every Wednesday to talk about what happened in the last week and I can’t believe… well, you get the idea. I didn’t sleep great last night. I was cold, which is usually great. I don’t like to sleep hot, but apparently I don’t like to sleep cold either. I like when it’s just right. Then when you don’t sleep good, you don’t feel great the next day (today). The last week hasn’t been terrible. Those two SSD drives showed up and I put them in and they are working great. Both laptops are running much faster. My chair finally showed up today and I put it together. Now I have to get used to it. I think having a chair with wheels is going to quickly become something I’ll like since right now when I work between laptops on different desks, I have to reach over unnaturally and do something and then lean back and work on the other one. Now I’ll be able to roll back and forth and turn around, etc. On Monday, I decided I wanted another monitor for the laptop, but monitors are expensive. Geeze. I mean, they aren’t monumentally expensive, but I didn’t want to put anything into it. Instead, I went on OfferUp and found a 32″ HDMI TV for $35. Yes, it’s huge, but I sit it off to the back of my desk. Connected to the laptop, it gives me a giant screen for gaming and I can always watch Hulu on it. Bonus! $35 – ridiculous.
Rainy this morning. I had to juggle my umbrella, laptop case, and cup of hot tea to get to my makeshift garage office. Success! Some rain got in my tea, but I need more acid in my diet.
Speaking of diets. Well, I don’t like to use that word. I just like to think that I’m eating and eating smarter. Whether you call it diet or something else – it takes a little effort to eat right. So you avoid cookies and candy that you might have normally eaten. You also start eating things like nuts (in moderation) and in my case, drinking hot tea which with a little honey seems to take away any urges I have to eat. I do really well with intermittent fasting, so that’s kindof what I’m doing. I only eat between noon and 8pm and I don’t go crazy, I just eat until I’m full. That’s technically wrong as my wife would point out – you shouldn’t eat until you are full, you should eat until you aren’t hungry. And while I do encourage that idea and strive for it, I don’t always stop when I’m no longer hungry. I think partially because I don’t get all that hungry.
Oh, my garage office. I haven’t really mentioned that. When we bought our house, we had a glorious detached garage. It can hold two cars front to back (not side to side), and it has an apartment upstairs where my wife keeps her sewing stuff and I have a large… umm, well, I don’t know what you’d call it. When we had a pool, we called it a pool room, but it’s just a large room on the side of the garage. Years ago, one of the skylights started leaking – a small drip and after 10 years, there was a massive whole in the roof of the “studio”. I’d say about 6′ by 6′. Terrible. Made it unusable for anything since it was always wet and just blech. I finally had it re-roofed (is that even a word) last year and now it’s spectacular spectacular again. It even has electric heat, so I’m not freezing myself silly – if you call 40 degrees cold (and I DO!).
Yesterday I ordered a new desk chair since my wife was showing me all the ones her embroidery friends are buying. She bought a nice one for her area and said I needed one. While I was poking around on the Amazon site, I wandered into the laptop upgrades and realized that SSD’s are ridiculously cheap now. I ordered a 500 gig drive for like 40 some dollars. I remember when these were CRAZY expensive. They also were not supposed to be as reliable as they are. I have a couple that have been in use for over 10 years and they are still going strong. They make a huge difference when you use them for your operating system drive. Anyway, if you recall, yesterday or so I mentioned that I have a Plex server setup now and I’m ripping in all of my DVD’s (well, the ones I’d actually watch and enjoy) to the hard drive so I can just select them in Plex and watch them. I *almost* bought a 1 TB SSD just for this laptop, but I’m also… what you might say – cheap. I don’t like to spend money. I went through the whole “the one who dies with the most toys wins” years ago and it wasn’t particulary pretty. So I hovered over the “add to cart” button for a long time and didn’t make the jump. My reasoning is that (1) I didn’t have a Plex server last week, so I certainly don’t need to upgrade it right now and (2) DVD images just sit there. They are like stockpiled junk. They don’t need quick access, so while an SSD “seems” good for keeping and indexing them, it’s an incredible waste. Plus, I’d want to back them up a real hard drive every week or so just in case the SSD blows up. Still (3) the OS drive in the laptop is horribly slow so I thought – instead of a 1 TB drive, how about a 256gig drive just for the OS? Right now, it only has a 128 gig old HD, so a 256 SSD would be a giant boost. Plus, it would help with maintaining the Plex indexes and I wouldn’t be wasting all that space for DVD images. So I looked up 256gig SSD’s. Would you believe they only cost around $25? I think I opted for one that was $29. Twenty-Nine dollars. My first SSD was a 128gig purchased years ago and I think we paid $300 for it. I can stomache $29, but not the $89 for the TB. $29 is less than Chinese food for the family. I can have spaghetti one night and in return, I’ll have a speedier laptop. I can go for that.
If you haven’t upgraded to SSD yet, do it. It’s easy and cheaper than you might think.