May 28, 2006

I got my six hours of sleep in last night and then it was time to get up and get back to work. The apartment was very warm today and I am not very happy that I have no air conditioning.

I worked for a few hours today getting things wrapped up from yesterday as best as possible. What a way to spend the weekend. A long three day weekend with nothing planned at all and I end up working until midnight on Friday, putting in a full day on Saturday and then having to work some on Sunday too. We will see how tomorrow goes but since I support the UK and since they do not have a holiday tomorrow there is a really good chance that I will be working at least a little tomorrow too.

I didn’t bother to go out for food today at all. I just ate whatever was in the house which amounted to pretty much just Slim Fast, PB&J and chips. There has been so much going on to keep me busy that I just haven’t wanted to go anywhere. I should probably go to the Omega tomorrow and get some real food. My last real meal was my lunch there on Friday.

I had to spend a lot of time sitting in the yard today using the cell phone because it doesn’t work from inside of the apartment. That was really annoying. At one point when I was coming back into the house to use my email a pack of small boys (in the four or five year old range) who were playing in front of the apartment barged in as I came in. It took me completely by surprise. I think that they are so used to just going into any of their neighours’ houses (they were all kids from different neighbours) that they didn’t know that they couldn’t just do that. They had been coming up to me and talking to me when I was on the cell in the yard too. They came in and starting asking for juice and complaining that the living room was messy. One kid grabbed Oreo’s half dead stuffed monkey and took it. I said that he couldn’t have it and he turned around on the sidewalk in front of the apartment and gave me the “boo boo kitty” face and I said that he could keep it. But then fifteen minutes later he brought it back complaining that it was all ripped up. I am not sure if that was why he brought it back or if that was the excuse after his parents realized that he had come home with a strange stuffed animal and sent him back with it. It was all quite surreal. I couldn’t believe that any of it happened. I was so in shock I didn’t know what to do.

My Internet connection cut out at 2:00 leaving me with no way to do anything. My lifestyle is very Internet oriented and having no Internet connection leaves me with very little that I can do. There is little as awful as being an IT professional without an Internet connection. To make matters worse my cell and my Blackberry died around the same time. So I really lost my ability to communicate. I hate that.

It was another really warm day today and I was too busy working all day to be able to worry about the air conditioning although I am sweating horribly. I had to spend a lot of the day sitting in the yard trying to talk on the cell. There just isn’t any reception on the cell when I am in the apartment so the only way to carry on any kind of reasonable telephone call is to go outside. At least there is a shade tree right in front of the apartment that I can sit under and keep myself cool.

I watched some of Magnum P.I. Season One today. I love the first season. It is really good. And I also watched Ranma 1/2 the movie. That wasn’t so good. I don’t think that it lived up to the series and a movie should be better than the regular television episodes in my opinion. That was all that I watched today. I restrained myself considerably.

I ran out to Walmart early this evening and did some quick shopping. There are no new DVDs out that I am interested in except maybe for Disney’s made for television musical High School Musical. I thought about getting that but decided against it. At least not today. It seems like it will be the kind of thing that will be available dirt cheap in a few months. The real reason that I was at Walmart was because I was pretty sure that they would have a low cost copy of the video game “Elder Scrolls III” and I was right. They had the Game of the Year edition which game with the original game “Morrowind” and the two expansion packs as well. It was only $20 for the box so I splurged. I really don’t need a new video game but I haven’t gotten a nice RPG in a long time and every so often when I have lots of time to myself I like to sit down and play one. I decided that I needed to have a single player game like “Elder Scrolls III” today when my Internet access went out and I was left with no connection to the outside world. I needed some to do while it was out and that seemed like the way to go.

I installed “Elder Scrolls III” on Dominica’s desktop when I got back to the apartment as her desktop is the only one with any kind of serious 3D acceleration. Fortunately the game is a few years old at this point and her machine is able to handle it just fine. The only monitor setting that we have is 1600×1200 and that pushes the graphics cards pretty hard still. It installed fine and I played it for an hour or maybe two at the most. I managed to get a decent way into the game – enough to be into the real gameplay and not in the “learning” stages anymore. The graphics and sound are good and the game seems like it is going to be fun. I am happy with it so far. I would really like to the play the sequel but I am going to wait for that to come down in price. “Elder Scrolls IV” is currently $40 on sale and $50 regular. That is too rich for my blood.

At 10:00 I took a short walk and called Dominica to see how she was doing in Frankfort. She is having fun with her family and Oreo is having a blast having Dexter to play with all day long. It is good that he has friends to play with. He is a very social dog and needs a lot of interaction.

I finally got around to actually firing up the D325 desktop (my own Windows XP machine – not Min’s) since I added the additional 512MB of memory. It seems to run a lot faster now (the upgrade not only doubled the memory on the machine but it also upgraded it from a single memory channel to dual so that it is a lot of performance gain.) I got my new Sandisk C150 MP3 player installed onto that machine and working with Audible. In order to use the Sandisk Sansa player I needed to download the latest version of the Audible Manager which is in the 5.x series. I have only used the 4.x series previously. I am hoping that 5.x will still allow the conversion to MP3 from the AA format. It will probably be a while before I actually check. It is very important to me to be able to convert because I am spending a lot of money on these files and I want to be able to maintain an archival copy even though I much prefer using the AA (Audible Audio) format because the quality and features are awesome.

Once I got my Sandisk Sansa C150 setup and connected to Audible I set to downloading tons of stuff to put onto it. That is the whole idea behind having such a big, dedicated Audible device. Tons of books ready to go at any time. Hopefully tomorrow I will have a chance to get enough downloaded to at least fill the device. I have learned that it is important to always have enough books handy that you should be able to read as much as you want at any time without ever having to worry about having to go and buy one. There should always be a buffer. I have learned this from many times traveling and needing to have a book for the journey. This device should solve that issue for me. That and my subscription to Audible being an annual subscription that I pay for up front so my entire year’s worth of reading is made available to me on the first day of my annual cycle.

One book that I am particularly excited about listening to on my new MP3 player is Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Men”. “Little Men” is one of those works of literature that really made reading come alive for me when I was a child. I don’t remember how old I was when I read it but I have only ever read it once and I was quite young. At the time I didn’t know that it was the sequel to “Little Women” and was a little confused by the way that the story picked up without a lot of introduction. But still the book’s title still conjures up vivid images from its pages now probably more than twenty years later. I am really looking forward to being able to go back and enjoy it all over again as an adult. I am sad, though, that Audible does not have an unabridged reading of “Little Women” as well. They have a dramatization of it but that is not the same. Some people enjoy those but I do not. I prefer to hear the author coming through and not the director. I didn’t read “Little Women” until I was probably in my twenties or near to it and so that book is a lot more vivid to me.

I was in a book kind of mood so I did a little online shopping and got myself four new Garrison Keillor novels as well as a recently discovered Mark Twain novel from 1876 – “A Murder, a Mystery and a Marriage”.

I managed to get myself to bed before midnight tonight. I need to get ready because tonight is the last night before I have to start being at the office at 4:00 in the morning. That will require some preparation.

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