July 8, 2002

Monday. I am working out of the condo today. It is good to have a day to oneself. I was lucky enough to have “As Time Goes By” come on MPT at 2:30 pm. That is my favorite TV show ever.

Flag of BelgiumOur ever popular girl in Belgium returns home today. Anne has been away for so long that is just seems natural to have her living in Europe. Now we only have her for a couple of weeks before she is off to go to school in Wisconsin. What a change from Europe that will be.

I am writing today while waiting for an incredible long download to happen over AOL dial-up which is all I am to use here at the condo. Once we move to the house, we will have high-speed Verizon ADSL service with wireless access from all over the house. That will be such an improvement. I am downloading some tools that I need to do some work for my Systems Analysis and Design class. I have to make some diagrams and they are pretty hard to make if you don’t have the right tools. So, I am downloading some trials of some different tools that will get me through the class. I think that they are going to be fun to work with.

July 7, 2002

Dominica headed back to New York today. It was nice having her come down and visit for four days. She arrived home around 10:00 pm. She listened to Sue Grafton’s “F is for Fugitive” on the way down and “G is for Gumshoe” on the way up. Before she left, we spent most of the day doing some more painting around John’s new house.

July 6, 2002

We spent most of the day painting John’s new house on Deep Creek. After painting all day, John, Michelle, Dominica and I headed out to Copelands for dinner and then went to see Men in Black 2. MIB2 was pretty good but it was really short and it lacked a lot of the involving storyline from the first film. A lot of the plot explanation was breezed over and just commented on. I think that some more development there would have really made for a better film. Only one line of dialogue spoke to the fate of Linda Fiorintino’s character. I was hoping that she would have been a primary character in this one. Lara Flynn Boyle returned from obscurity to play the hot chic in this film. I don’t think that she has done anything good ever and nothing at all recently. The only big movies that I can mention her being in are Threesome with a bunch of other has-been’s or almost-were’s and The Temp starring Timothy Hutton. Who? Exactly. But I own both of them. Sad but true. At least Threesome had an interesting story line.

July 5, 2002

TGIF. I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend of not writing any papers. And also of not needing to work on the truck mounted system. We just got the call from the office saying that the system was working at we had fixed it. That is a big relief. I am tired of problem cropping up with that system. John is happy with the system. Having the computer stolen earlier this week was a real setback but it did result in one big problem being solved so I am sort of happy about that. Of course, Eric is short a computer now and that doesn’t help anything. One thing at a time, I guess.

The weather has finally broken and it is now bearable to go outside. It is still early and it is really warm but it is comfortable and you don’t break out into a sweat just by looking out the window. The air conditioning still can’t keep up but it is a few degrees cooler now than it was last night. Down to a warm, but acceptable, room temperature.

John got his 35th Anniversary Camera SS Convertible out of storage yesterday and has been driving it around. His younger brother Adam was in town and hung out with us for a little while yesterday while we were out looking at John’s new house that he just bought down on the Chesapeake Bay. I am trying to talk him into getting a Conrad-Johnson stereo system with B+W 805 Monitors. I think that that would look and sound good in that house. Nothing like nice, warm tubes.

Dominica fell asleep while watching Evil Dead 2 last night so she is starting to watch it again this morning and is eating cold Dominos Pizza. We always order Domino’s Thin Crust with onion and green peppers and a side of the cinnamon sticks when we are down here.

My favorite line from ED2 is when Bruce Campbell sticks a knife through his own hand and says “That’s right, whose laughing now?” But it really doesn’t compare to some of the great lines that he delivers in ED3:AoD. The “Farewell to Arms” reference is pretty bad, look for it. Ok, Dominica loved ED 1 and 2 so much that she decided to move onto watching Army of Darkness as well. ED3 is definitely the best of the movies. Did anyone notice that Bridget Fonda is in ED3? Just for a minute. I hope that someday, Raimi will take the thee Evil Dead movies and edit them together with a new DTS sound track and make a single awesome movie. Without access to the original sound, it is hard to put them together because in ED3, Campbell talks over a bit of the movie. FYI: The actual title of ED3 is Bruce Campbell vs. The Army of Darkness. They finally put that title on the latest DVD release of the movie.

July 4, 2002

Happy Independance Day!! Dominica went into the office with me today to help me work on our truck mounted system. We were very productive and the system might actually be ready to go. It is still so hot down here, it is late at night and the outside temperature is still in the nineties.

Instead of taking part of normal July Fourth festivities, Dominica decided that she wanted to order a pizza and watch The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2. She has seen Army of Darkness (Evil Dead 3) and wanted to see the movies that came before it. She is also a big fan of the new Spiderman film so it is a good time to have a little Sam Raimi festival. Until now, I had always thought of Evil Dead 2 being a rough remake of The Evil Dead but now that I watch them back to back for the first time, I can see that 2 simply restates the original film in the first five and a half minutes and then uses a single camera shot from the original film to take you right into the second film. The thing that makes it so confusing is that the telling of the original tale is just enough different from the way it was first told to make it hard to associate the two. Even the box description misses the story a bit. I am now convinced that I could edit the three ED movies together to make a single film about 4.5 hours in length that would, for the most part, contain the entire story and make sense. Ash would just age way too quickly and that would be a little weird. I think that it would be a lot of fun to watch The Complete Evil Dead as a single film. Maybe I should write a letter to Raimi about it:)

I am still working on that paper that I need to write for my Systems Analysis and Design class. That paper is going to take me forever. I have discovered how easy it can be to make outlines using OpenOffice.org. I never realized how intuitive it was. I always assumed that it was hard to do and never thought of doing it the easy way.

I finally managed to get to bed around 6:00 am this morning but by 8:00 am the phone was ringing with one thing after another so I quickly just gave up on being able to go back to sleep. I am pretty tired by now. After I eat dinner, I will probably be done for the night.

Around 2:00 am this morning, the bat that had decided to take up recidence in John’s room started flying the condo and disappeared shortly thereafter. So we have no idea whether or not the bat is still lurking aroun the condo or not. We have not seen any signs of him all day so we can only assume that he has left.

July 3, 2002

Boy was it a hot one down here in DC. We hit over 100 degrees today and the heat index was supposed to be climbing near 110. Ouch. Just to make everything more enjoyable, the electric company decided to do some work on the condo’s electrical system during the heat of the day and shut the power down for about an hour. The A/C can’t even keep the place cool normally. I was not happy. Something similar happened to Megan and I two years ago. Only that was only 95 degrees but the power was off for four days! I hate power companies in the south. So I have been melting all week down here. Then, this evening, just to top off my day, a bat decides to fly into the condo and take up residence in John’s room. Wonderful. Last I knew, the bat was sleeping peacefully over the top of John’s bed. It isn’t even making an attempt to find its way back out into the great outdoors. It probably decided that it was way too hot outside and it is worth being cooped up and being a little hungry rather than go out and face the heat again. I know I would.

Right now I am at Washington Hospital Center and it is just about 4:00 am. I have been here since just after midnight waiting for the 2:00 am guy to show up so that we can try out the truck system again. Eric had to FedEx his laptop from Rochester down to us so that we would be able to get back to work. So you can imagine that he isn’t all that happy about that. Who knows when I am going to be able to get out of here, the night guy is known for showing up at all different kinds of times. I am really thinking that I would like to be going to bed right about now. I have to sleep at night because it just gets too hot during the day. Even with the little bit of air conditioning that we have. John did just acquire a new residence, though, and he says that the A/C is super powerful over there so hopefully we will be in there soon. I hear that we are having a painting party this coming Saturday.

My Dominica decided that she missed me so she is driving down to DC to spend the weekend with me. I have to call her in about an hour to wake her up so that she can drive herself down here. It is a long trek. I am so glad that she is coming down. We will get to see the fireworks together now (not that I haven’t had enough of fireworks.)

Canadian FlagIn Canadian news, Natalie has left her position and is now back home in Burlington, ON. So for all of those of you who have been waiting to get a hold of her because she has been out of town, you can call and email her now. She might even be able to check out the site again:)

Flag of BelgiumIf I am not mistaken (which I often am,) I believe that Anne will be returning from Belgium this month and preparing to head off to college in Wisconsin in the fall. We haven’t had an Anne update in a while so hopefully she will be catching us up on her adventures soon.

In movie news, I picked up a copy of the Director’s Cut of Legend. It looks pretty exciting since the Director’s Cut has a completely different score than the theatrical cut. Plus additional footage and different editing. It is supposed to be a significantly different movie. So different in fact that they included both versions of the film in the box. I might even get a chance to watch that sometime soon.

I have been working frantically to catch up on all of the school work that I have fallen behind on. Luckily, one of my professors is also way behind so I don’t have very much to do in that class because we are waiting on her. That is important because I have so much that I have to do! And I am going to be spending next week in DC again and then my cousin Gwen will be visiting for a week.

Eric tried out the free Internet service, Access-4-Free and said that he was very impressed with it. The best things about it are that it is operating system independant so you can use your favorite high performance operating systems like Linux or FreeBSD instead of M$ WinBlows and it is free for the first ten hours of use each month and then only $1 per hour after that up to a max of $10 per month at which point you simply have unlimited access. So it is especially nice for people that have to travel all of the time. But also for those of you who have been stuck using Windows because you are using a dial-up connection – you can now feel the freedom! What a great way to celebrate the Fourth of July.

I did manage to solve some big time stumpers that we have been having with the Waste Watcher Mobility system. That helped save the day from being a total loss. I would be really depressed if I hadn’t managed to do that. I would be happier if the system was on the truck and being used as we speak but since no one is showing up to work, that is a little bit hard to accomplish. I can sense the sun considering how soon before it comes up. I hate driving home in breaking daylight. It reminds of the time just after I dropped out of college and I used to always be driving home to go to bed just as the sun was coming up. Now I like sleeping in the dark. Although it would be nicer sleeping if I knew that a bat wasn’t going to poop on me at any moment. It is a huge bat too. Much larger that Henri, the bat that my roomates and I had living in our house in Flint, Michigan. Henri was very small and lived with us for about a month devouring all of the bugs that were living in our basement. Henri probably got fat living with us. Neela and Mickey (the cats living at the condo with John and I) are very excited about the bat. This is the best thing that we have had living in the condo since the squirrel used to jump onto the balcony and come sit on the couch to beg for peanuts.

If it wasn’t so hot, I would get out and play a round of golf but I don’t think that I could stand up to the strain. It was rough enough playing last week and it was fifteen degrees cooler then. I took some time today and really cleaned up a lot of my email. I have so much email that has been sitting around in my accounts forever. I had more than 1.5 MB of old messages just piled up in my Yahoo! account. Plus tons that I have been trying to clear out from my SheepGuardingLlama mail.

While I have been down here in DC, I have discovered some really cool software available for the Sharp Zaurus. From the great Linux software guys over at The Kompany they have some cool new software like an Ogg Vorbis player so that you can take all of your favorite CD’s and Books on CD with you wherever you go. They also have a Jabber client that allows you to IM with your Zaurus from wherever using the AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, MSN, IRC, ICQ or Jabber. How handy is that. They even have a person finance manager. I have even found a PalmOS emulator that allows you to use all of that Palm software that you want right on the Zaurus. And since the Zaurus is cheaper than the nice Palms, it is a really good deal.

Ok, it is getting REALLY late here and I think that it is pretty much time for me to pack up my stuff and get the heck out of here. It is almost a quarter to five in the morning and I have been awake since 7:00 am so I am pretty much looking forward to bed pretty seriously. I just have to call Dominica and make sure that she is awake and moving before I take off:) Maybe the night guy has the night off because of the holiday?

Ok everyone. I hope that you all enjoy your holiday. Remember me while none of you have to go in to work this morning.

July 2, 2002

What a week this is going to be. I am in DC now, I drove down here yesterday evening and arrived at Washington Hospital Center at 1:15 am. That alone should have been enough to qualify as a rough start to the week. On the ride down, I stopped at the bookstore to pick up a copy of “Just for Fun” the Linus Torvalds autobiography on CD. It is a 5 CD set. I listened to it on the drive down. Two and a half hours into the book, I realized that they had included two copies of the fourth CD and none of the the third so I never got a chance to hear the entire book. So that happened. Then I arrive in DC early in the morning to work on our Waste Watcher Mobility system that is a computer mounted in the cabs of one of our route trucks. I find the door to the truck unlocked and the laptop stolen. So, there wasn’t very much work for me to actually do at that point. Good thing that I drove all of the way down here. Then, to top it all off, I needed to set up a meeting with someone this week and manage to get a hold of him just in time to find out that he is leaving for vacation ten minutes from the time that I am writing this update. So, it is looking like it is going to be a really long week.

The latest version of the Opera web browser is now out. Version 6.04 for Windows. I am in the process of downloading it right now. For those of you who are involved in web design, Opera 6.04 is now going to be the browser used to preview web pages in new versions of Macromedia’s Dreamweaver which is a big improvement over Netscape Navigator 4.x that they have been using up until now. Opera has also been selected as being the browser of choice for Red Flag Linux in China.