General Ramblings comments edit

What is it about developers that requires them to practice poor hygiene? I went to a Microsoft developer event and the sour body odor stink was nigh unto overwhelming. Besides that, I think it’s mandatory to have some sort of respiratory issue requiring you huff and puff like you’re working out the largest crap of your life.

This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed this phenomenon, and I think it’s high time someone did something about it. Maybe that’s why they hand out t-shirts - as a subtle hint to folks that they need to change clothes sometimes. If that’s the case, I suggest the hint is too subtle. Perhaps it’s time for “Microsoft soap-on-a-rope” or “Deodorant 2003.”

(My suspicions were confirmed on this point when I more closely investigated the tag on the shirt I got from the event. See for yourself.)

Change your

Oh, and I don’t claim to be a fashion guru, but I’m pretty sure the Hawaiian shirt, khaki pants, and Birkenstocks-with-no-socks combo does not fall under “haute couture.” (There were two of those there.)

I went to Mr. Bill’s Trivia again last night with Andrew and Susan and crew. Always a good time. Andrew laid off the beer a bit this time so he didn’t go shouting the answers to the questions for the world to hear, but Susan spilled her drink in her lap after getting worked up about one of the questions so I almost had to cut her off.

It was confirmed once again last night that Jenn and I think pretty much the same thought process entirely. It began with a conversation Andrew and I had about reality TV:

Andrew: Do you watch reality TV? Travis: Yeah, Survivor and sometimes American Idol. You? A: Both of those. Oh, and Average Joe. T: Is that the one where the guys wear the masks? A: No, it’s the one where the lady has to choose between a group of average guys and a group of models. T: Who’d she choose last season? A: The model. T: Of course she did. Was there ever any doubt?

*** Time passes… conversations change, the trivia game continues, and somehow someone starts talking about reality TV again… ***

Jenn: So you like reality TV? A: I watch a couple of shows. Average JoeJ: Is that the one where the guys wear the masks?

I think you see where that’s going.

I ended up eating way too much - a huge nacho, an order of cheese sticks, an order of potato skins, and three iced teas - and this morning I can still taste the potato skins. I really need to just cut back when I’m there.

Anyway, that was a good time. It’s always fun to hang out with those guys. Plus, Andrew finally won something at the trivia game ($1 off his meal), so his bad luck streak is broken.

Super Diamond is coming Saturday, March 13, to the Crystal Ballroom and both Jenn and I are thinking this group needs to go experience the Surreal Neil. Andrew’s firmly against it, which will make it all that much more fun. Doesn’t look like we have a hockey game that night (is the season over already?) so it’d be cool.

In entirely other news, it turns out Hasbro is releasing (or re-releasing?) the “original trilogy” line of Star Wars action figures. I never got a Millennium Falcon and I’ve always wanted one. I don’t know what I’d do with it, but I want it. Maybe I’ll have to get one now.

Original Millennium

home comments edit

I called my mortgage broker who said it was no issue to raise my budget for houses, so I’m doing just that. I found a good rule of thumb is for every $1000 extra you want to spend, it’s an additional $6 monthly payment.

I told my realtor that and got back a listing of 81 possibilities. 81! Looks like opening up the budget has opened the door to more possibilities. And these are actually decent ones, too. It’s almost like there are “tiers” in the housing market - sort of like tax brackets. Certain types of houses will be found at certain price levels. I think I’ve found the price level I was meant to be looking in to begin with. Lots more that look good to me here.

Jenn and I went over the list of 81 last night and whittled them down to 21 that we want to see more information on. Not sure how much further down we can cut the list, but that does mean a full day this weekend driving around looking at places. Maybe this weekend will be the one?

personal comments edit

I’ve realized for quite some time that I just have too much stuff to remember so things end up falling through the cracks. The latest issue I’ve run into is the fact that so many things out there require so many different passwords that I can’t keep them all straight. Either you end up using the same password for everything or you start forgetting what all the passwords are that you’ve registered places.

To that end, I started investigating different options. At first I liked the idea of this hardware keychain you can get from Mandylion Labs where you just cart the keychain around and look things up on it that way. There were only two problems: first, it only holds 20 passwords and I need it to hold more than that; second, it’s like $65, and I don’t feel like investing that much.

I decided the best way to go was a password management program, but then you run into the problem that you can’t cart your computer all over the place, so you need the thing to be self-contained either on your handheld computer or on a USB keychain drive. Since the keychain drive is more portable (and I happen to have one), I went with that.

What I came up with was Password Manager XP from You can install it on your local machine and then store the database on your USB keychain, or you can create a local copy of the program itself right on the keychain. In my case, I did both - that way, regardless of where I run it from (my computer or the keychain), it’ll connect to the password database.

It also has features like the ability to right-click a password field on a web page and insert your password directly from the database (and then copy your username to the clipboard so you can paste that in, too).

And it only costs $20. Which is just about right for my pocketbook. Er, wallet. Whatever.

I’m digging it. Now I can actually change all of the passwords I have everywhere and not have to worry about forgetting - I’ll just look them up.

General Ramblings comments edit

My weekend, albeit three days long, was like something out of a certain Judith Viorst book. Where do I even start?

Saturday morning Jenn and I woke up at around 5:30a. Not of our own volition, mind you, but because the neighbor’s alarm clock is pressed up against our common wall and went off at 5:30a. It turns out the neighbor didn’t want to get up at 5:30a, either, so he hit the snooze button. Again. And again. The alarm went off every nine minutes for two and a half hours.

We took the day to drive around to the nine or so different properties that our realtor had sent us so we could weed out the ones we just weren’t interested in. You know, to save time on Sunday actually walking through these things. We whittled them down to two houses, one of which we loved in the pictures.

Saw a sign on our travels at a jewelry/pawn shop that said: “Stay out of the doghouse wit bling.” Is that even English? What is the world coming to?

Sunday we went out with the realtor, who is not our usual realtor, but his partner, and she had come up with another house for us to visit, which was good because one of the two houses we liked had an offer on it so we couldn’t go in.

We went to the other house we had looked at on Saturday and, while we liked it on the outside, the inside would need some serious work to bring it up to our standards. No, thanks. Not for that price, anyway. Plus, the floor plan just wasn’t what we were hoping for. Usable space wasn’t so prominent… lots of “walkways” and things.

We started off toward the house that the realtor had found, but not only was it pretty far out from where we wanted to be, but it was right by train tracks, which is not something I need to be a part of. So the search continues.

Looking at the real estate listings, it seems that I’m going to have to raise my spending limit for houses. The stuff we’ve been looking at doesn’t fill our requirements, but the stuff that fills our requirements is just slightly outside our price range. So ramen noodles may become a staple at our house, but it will be our house, so I guess that’s the price you pay.

We figured we should enjoy eating out while we could still afford it, so we went to the mall and ate in the food court. Yeah, it’s not high class, but it’s reasonable. Plus, I love the Cajun Grill. (I also picked up a couple of cheap PS2 games - Space Channel 5 Special Edition and Beyond Good and Evil. Both are pretty cool, but I have to admit I’m entranced by Beyond Good and Evil. I can’t not play.)

When we got home from house hunting there was a message on the phone. It was for Jenn, from the bus driver who would be the only witness to the front-ender Jenn got into (thus, would be the person who could vindicate Jenn and bring out the truth that it wasn’t her fault): He doesn’t remember anything.

That’s not going to be so helpful, methinks.

Monday we figured we’d paid our dues, so we decided to return a couple of movies we had rented, drop some stuff off at our storage unit, and then come home and relax.

We went into the kitchen to get some breakfast and were greeted with a huge puddle of yellowish liquid in the middle of our stove range. The vent over the stove somehow gets water in it when it rains and it runs down the pipe, collecting grease, and deposits itself on the range. We filed a maintenance ticket for that, but apparently that never got fixed. Mental note: go to the office.

We sat down to eat breakfast in the living room and discovered that our friend the woodpecker is back enjoying himself with our chimney, happily pecking out his machine-gun rhythm for all to hear. Mental note: while at the office complaining about the stove pipe, complain about the woodpecker.

Finishing breakfast, we left to go down to the storage unit and drop off some stuff. We got there to discover that someone broke into it and thrashed everything. Stuff that was nicely stacked was out of order; things that were in boxes weren’t anymore… it was insanity. No actual sign of break-in, so they must have jimmied the lock or something. And what did they take? One (1) glass top to a hurricane lamp (not the bottom, mind you, just the top); two (2) Santa Claus candle holders Jenn got from her parents at Christmas (I wasn’t too fond of these, so I don’t miss them, but the principle of the thing still holds). That’s it. They might have gotten some McDonald’s Happy Meal toys I had stashed in a box, but I’m thinking I moved that stuff to a box in our apartment, so maybe not. Even if they did, the total they took was less than $200 worth of stuff. Oh, they did manage to break one of our Rubbermaid storage boxes, so we had to replace that. More of an inconvenience than anything, but give me a break already.

Got home from the storage unit (and grocery shopping, and replacing the Rubbermaid storage container) to find the cat had knocked all of the clean clothes out of the basket on top of the washer and into her water bowl. More clothes to re-wash.

Went down to the office and found out they looked at the leaking stove vent and there’s “nothing they can do about it” - that’s just the way the vent works. Million-dollar idea: Come up with a stove vent cap that’s wind/water-proof but not airtight. You’d think they’d have thought of that by now, but apparently not.

Got home again and realized I forgot to mention the woodpecker.

Now it’s this morning and I went to cut up one of the apples that I bought at the store - I found some awesome, huge Fuji apples that I liked the look of - and it turns out they’re too big for my apple cutter so I have to cut them up with a plastic butter knife.

Oh, and my back hurts really bad because of the lifting and moving of huge boxes of books yesterday in the storage closet, so I think I’m going to have to load up on the Advil.

Things just keep getting better.

I think I’m going to move to Australia.