Release 1 of the death-march project I was working on was completed yesterday, so now I’m taking a little time to recoup and finally put things away in my cubicle since the move (right in the middle of that project, everyone in my department shifted cubicles around and I basically chucked all of my stuff in boxes and kept working… up until yesterday it was all a huge chaotic mess).

This coming Monday is the project post-mortem, so we’ll go over the things that worked, the things that didn’t work, and decide where we want to go from here. There’s still a lot to do on that project, so I don’t anticipate I’ve seen the end of it. That said, I feel a sick sort of ownership for it now that I’ve spent all this hard time with it. It’d be a little difficult to just give it away cold turkey; I’d like to see it grow. (I just don’t want to spend what’s left of my sanity and patience on it, is all. If we can come up with a reasonable schedule and some reasonable expectations, I’m all over it. That’ll never happen, though, so I’m in a quandary.)

I’m studying for my last Micrososft certification exam now, which will make me a Microsoft Certified Database Administrator. Then I’ll have both my “Solutions Developer” and “Database Admin” certifications, and I think I’ll call it good. It’s been a long road to get here and I’m glad to be close to the end of it. You’re supposed to “renew” your certifications whenever new versions of the products come out… I don’t know. I mean, I like to keep current and all, but it’s a lot of work to get a piece of paper, and studying for tests is nothing like actually doing the work on a day to day basis. Nothing substitutes for experience.

Seems that lots of folks are excited for the next installation of Harry Potter, including Jenn, who says we’re definitely seeing it this weekend. I dunno. I’ve loved the last two, but I need to maintain a clean slate when it comes to being excited and/or having expectations for movies. All too often I go in expecting a great show and it turns out to be just “pretty good.” We shall see.

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With the help of Toiletology 101, I fixed my toilet on Friday - no more leak! Turns out the flapper wasn’t making a good connection with the flush valve. All better now.

I’m feeling a little feisty today. A cross between restless and irritated with a hint of hyperactivity. One of those moods where you need to fidget and can’t focus. Big surprise there.

The weekend: I fixed my toilet Friday… rented a couple of movies Saturday (nothing to write home about)… played some Prince of Persia on Sunday… hung out with my parents on Monday… that’s about it.

Listening to the iPod this morning on the way to the eye doctor I started thinking about all the different songs that have meaning in my life. Listening to the different stuff on the iPod I can tell you where I was in my life when a given song came out or a particular event that happened when that song was playing. It’s almost better than a journal; it’s like reliving the past in the present.

I happened to hear a cut by Pop Will Eat Itself and it reminded me of high school. Mom got on sort of a “wholesome” kick and decided that PWEI was “devil music” (yes, the words “devil music” were actually used to describe it) so she confiscated all of my PWEI tapes and CDs. At the time, it seemed that use of the word “fuck” in music pretty much qualified it immediately as “devil music.”

We had a discussion - nay, a heated argument - about what constitutes “devil music” that went something like this:

Mom: The music you’re listening to is devil music! Trav: What makes it devil music? Mom: Every generation has its own new music, designed to push boundaries. This is no different. It’s made to corrupt your mind. It’s trash! Trav: So every generation has devil music. Mom: Yeah. Trav: And the new music in each generation is usually it. Mom: Yeah. Trav: And the new music in your generation was The Beatles. Mom: So? Trav: So by your logic, The Beatles is also devil music. Mom: Go to your room!

Yeah, I thought it was crap, too. I mean, if you don’t like the language, I guess that’s one thing, but don’t accuse me of listening to devil music unless you have a strong case. Anyway, my PWEI CDs got confiscated, which was an extraordinary inconvenience because at the time they had gone out of print. In particular, the Cure For Sanity disc was hard to find, and that was problematic because that was my favorite CD of the time. (For the record, she was also pissed off about my Nine Inch Nails CD, but I don’t recall her taking that one.)

Anyway, it took me a couple of weeks to scour the downtown Portland area and find a small dance record store who happened to have the last copy of Cure For Sanity. I still have that CD to this day and it’s still one of my favorites. (Mom’s probably going to be pissed when she reads this one, but this was like 13 years ago, and I’m a little older now, so I’m sure she’ll cope. I’m also still a NIN fan, but I think Pretty Hate Machine was the best album Reznor’s put out to date.)

Ah, memories. I’m sure you all have those music memories. Maybe one of these days I’ll put out a few more of them on the site, so they might not be forever lost.

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I have learned far more about toilets than in the past 24 hours than any programmer should ever know.

I went to the Toiletology 101 site to see how to determine which part in the toilet is leaking and how to fix it. I figured out that it’s the flush valve, usually the fault of the flapper/tank-ball thing.

I investigated the existing flapper and didn’t see anything wrong with it, but I was sure it was just making a bad seal or something, so I went to the store and picked up a new one.

Installed the new one, tested again. The leak is still there, but a lot slower now (about half a centimeter of water drains from the tank every hour; before it was doing that in about 15 minutes). I think I’m on the right track, but I think the seal still isn’t the greatest.

I went this morning to Home Depot and picked up a Flusher Fixer Kit. That fixes the seal that the flapper connects to, which I think is also part of the problem. I drained the tank and dried it out this morning in anticipation of that project tonight.

If that doesn’t fix it, then it’s the gasket beneath the flush valve, which means I need to take the tank off the back of the toilet. At that point, I’m going to have to debate with myself whether it might be an idea to actually call a plumber. After reading the box on the replacement flush valve products at Home Depot, it sounds easy enough, but there are reasons that professional plumbers exist. If it was so easy everyone could do it, we wouldn’t need them, would we?

Oh, and a follow-up on my dishwasher issues: After removing the rubber band and the broken glass from the mechanism in the bottom of the dishwasher, it seems to work slightly better. It actually washes all the soap out now (where before it left soap everywhere) and the dishes look reasonably clean. That said, it’s still not as good as the dishwasher we had in the apartment, so while I may have staved off the need to buy a new dishwasher, the idea that we need an upgrade has not left my head. According to Greg, a dishwasher is one of those things that you go “all-out” on. Get the top of the line. I couldn’t agree more.

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Turns out I don’t have a head cold, I have hay fever unlike anything I’ve had in a long time. Jenn’s got the same thing. She went to her doctor for a cold treatment and got told it was allergies. My allergy shot clinic confirmed that a lot of folks have gotten hit in the last week. I have since upped my antihistamine dosage.

I got a new cable box today. This will be the third one we’ve had since we moved in. The first one had crackly sound, this last one decided it would turn itself off and reset itself every time you change the channel. The one I got today seems to work OK; let’s hope it stays that way.

While waiting for the cable guy, I decided to test the toilet in the downstairs bathroom for leaking (I can hear it run very slightly every so often). I dropped some food coloring in the tank and, sure enough, found it in the bowl very shortly after. Guess I’ve gotta look at that when I get home. It’s always something.