February 6, 2006

I got up this morning and was just about to leave to go down to Castile when dad popped up on instant messenger to tell me that all of the schools in Wyoming County had been cancelled for the day. The snow was bad here and really bad, as it always is, over at dad’s place. So I ended up getting a day at home that I hadn’t been expecting. It looks like I will be at home tomorrow as well since there is very little chance that class will be held then. There have been no snow days all year so far so everyone has them saved up and is using them now.

Winter is definitely here now. There is a lot of snow coming down outside and it is bitterly cold. Taking Oreo for walks has gone from “needing to seriously consider a sweatshirt” on Friday to “wishing I had woolen cap, earmuffs and mittens” last night. Hard to believe that it was feeling totally like mid-Spring just seventy two hours ago. Boy is it cold now. The last thing that I want to do is to leave the house. Hopefully this will not last for long. According to the Weather Channel it is going to be getting worse for the next ten days. That is as far as their forecast goes out. That is not a good sign. I sure hope that it is warmer than this by the time Dominica and I are in Chicago. We were planning on walking around the city while we were there. If it is anything like this that will be totally awful.

I got a note from one of our biggest clients today saying that they want me to schedule a trip down to visit with them because they want to talk about our services. Now there is a way to make me really nervous. We are definitely not in any type of position to be losing one of our main clients right now and having us drive six hours to talk about it does not bode well. Of course, Eric and dad both agreed that it seems unlikely that they would want us to go all that way just so they could cancel our service. But it is a distinct possibility. That will mean major hardship for us all (as if times weren’t hard enough.) We are hopeful that they are just looking to find out about our current innovation and maybe they are interested in expanding what we do down at their facilities. One can hope. I tried to get a hold of just about anyone down there today but was unable to get through. Not to managers or even secretaries. Maybe the weather was really awful and no one came into work today but then, how did they email me? So, bottom line, we are all pretty nervous but realize that there is a really good possibility here as well. We are going to be praying hard over the next few weeks before we go down there and would really appreciate if everyone would add this to their prayer request lists – both that God would watch over us as we do need clients to be able to keep eating as well as peace for us that we won’t worry about this unnecessarily.

I spent a lot of the morning getting caught up on out of date SGL dailies. With John here all weekend I didn’t have much time to keep up with them. That kept me pretty much busy up until lunch time. Dominica and Oreo decided that today was going to be a sleep in really, really late day so I had to go and get them up around 11:30!

Dad came over at 12:30 so that we could get some lunch at the Omega. The weather was awful and he was barely able to get out of his driveway but he had the new soup signs for the Omega that he wanted to get hung up so he drove on over. We had two soup sign advertisements up there before but they ended up getting the crap beaten out of them and they don’t have the company name on them anymore so we had to get them replaced. The new signs have our advertising put onto them with a magnet so they will, hopefully, hold up a whole lot better than the old ones.

While we were at lunch dad gave me a Bible that used to belong to his father’s mother – Lydia Anne Miller. At the time she lived in Hartville, Ohio. It even has her rural route and box in the front cover. This Bible was printed in Arthur, Illinois in 1928 by the Amish Mennonite Congregation Press. It is a tiny little Bible, not much larger than the pocket NIV that I keep in the car. The binding is in rough shape and it is extremely delicate. It is really cool. I also have a very old, leather bound complete works of Shakespeare that used to belong to, I believe, my dad’s mother’s father. All of this is confusing, isn’t it? That one was printed, if I remember correctly, in the late 1910’s.

For those of you who would like to see a German Bible but who aren’t allowed to touch mine (that would be all of you) then you can check out this cool German-English Parallel Bible online. Neat, huh?

Dad also delivered my new blood pressure monitor today. It has been on order for weeks. I have been supposed to have had one ever since I last went to see my doctor. I am supposed to be watching my pressure on a daily basis to make sure that it isn’t getting high. My pressure is not that bad but it was a lot higher this last checkup than it has been previously so they want to watch me to be sure that I am not getting hypertension. Hopefully with some weightloss I will be right back down to where I was. Traditionally my heart rate and blood pressure have always been pretty good.

I spent a tremedous amount of time working on setting up my first Asterisk server tonight and finally got two softphones in the house to be able to call each other. Okay, I know that that sounds like hardly anything but it was an awful lot of work on my end here! Learn a little about VoIP at Wikipedia. After finally learning how to get Asterisk working to a minimal level (enough to use it as a complicated network based intercom system) I decided to download the newest version of the Asterisk package that I have been working on and try the whole thing all over again with the latest code. Yup, one glutten right here. But this is how learning happens. One painful step at a time. I have never done much of anything with IP Telephony on my own up until now and there is a pretty steep learning curve. Sure I use Vonage at home but that is just a device that you plug in and everything is set up for you. Almost no configuration at all. It’s great but nothing like what I am trying to do now. Now I really need to know what is going on. It is a lot of work but the payoff should be pretty good. Not just will this be a majorly awesome internal service but it will also be a really good skillset to have on my resume.

Dominica spent most of the afternoon working on her A+ studies. She still hasn’t taken that test and it is really important that she take it soon so that all of the class work that she did doesn’t fall out of her head before she goes for the certification. She had originally been scheduled to have to go into work late tonight (read: 2 am tomorrow morning) but her manager called this afternoon to let her know that they didn’t go ahead with the project that she was going to have to come in for so she is back on her regular schedule for the week. That is good. We didn’t really want her to have to go to work tonight – especially with how bad the roads have been today.

Dominica cooked dinner, BBQ Quorn Fake Chicken, around 9:45 and we sat down to watch a little Star Trek: The Next Generation while we ate and while a major software installation was taking place on my desktop.

I was doing some research on Amazon tonight and discovered that the amazing band “Boy Meets Girl” that did songs like “Waiting for a Star to Fall” back in the late 1980’s and who wrote hits for others like “I Wanna Dance With Somebody Who Loves Me” by Whitney Houston have recently released an album that they recorded in 1990 and a new one from 2003. I will be getting those very soon. I had been looking to try to find an album with a recording of “Holiday Road” by Lindsay Buckingham that was made famous by the movie National Lampoon’s Vacation but it is nowhere to be found. That soundtrack was only released in a special limited edition with only 2,000 copies having been pressed. I found where I could buy a used copy for around $90 but that was a little much to get a single song that I wanted. There must be a better way to get that one song. I tried lookin on some music download services and wasn’t able to find it. One would think that in this modern age of the Internet that if someone honestly wanted to purchase a really well known song for a dollar or two that some service would offer a simple and convenient way to do that. I guess we still have a long way to go. Sometimes I forget that the world has always been so organized and connected and that there are still a lot of things that haven’t caught up with the mainstream yet.

After watching an episode of TNG Dominica returned to studying for her A+ and I kept working on installing my second Asterisk server. While that was busy doing its own thing I began the long and arduest task of creating the new Niagara Technology Group website (there is no link because we don’t have a site yet.)

I have been kicking around the idea of phasing out IthacaPortal.com. I need to look into its logs and see whether or not anyone is still using that site. Since I am not in Ithaca anymore it isn’t really up to date and I think that it has lost its momentum. That is sad, really, because it was such a neat idea. But there are other services that are starting to compete with it and it just isn’t as cool as it once was. It would be neat to discover that it was being used on a regular basis, but I find that to be rather unlikely. Hopefully I will have a chance tomorrow to dig through the logs to see what the traffic has been like on IthacaPortal the last few years. Believe it or not I have not even looked at the logs in probably two years or more. It just hasn’t been a priority.

I ended up staying up quite late working tonight. It has been a very productive day. I needed to feel productive today. I always feel better when I have managed to get a lot done. Even if it is nothing more than getting a lot of SGL updates taken care of but I got a lot more than that done today. While working late tonight I always was able to get some seminar listening in as well. I am really close to getting caught up with my backlog of stuff to listen to.

Both Dominica and I ended up staying up until after four in the morning. She watched a bunch of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that John Stephens had dropped off for her. She studied and watched the show at the same time in our bedroom with Oreo snuggled up on the bed. I worked in the office listening to IT Conversations podcasts while doing web site design. I am pretty happy with the progress that I made tonight. Hopefully I will have something to show to everyone in a day of two.

It was about five o’clock when I decided that it was finally time for bed. I can’t believe that I stayed up so late. But I just wasn’t tired until then and even then I wasn’t all that tired. Isn’t it weird how one day you will be so exhausted and the next you will be just fine. It isn’t like I slept in late or did anything weird yesterday. Hmmm…

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