cats, home comments edit

Last night was the second night in a row of cat-cry-free sleep. Love it.

A couple folks asked in comments yesterday why I don’t just let the kitties in the bedroom at night. There are actually several reasons. First and foremost, I am allergic to animal dander. I love my kitties, but I am definitely allergic to them. I tried sleeping out on the couch one night with them (I decided to take a turn shutting them up) and woke up barely able to breathe or open my eyes. Not good. Second, neither cat would actually sleep at night - they’d much rather play on your head or chase each other in circles on the bed. Not too conducive to sleep. Finally, both cats shed pretty well (the tubby Semper cat especially), and I really would like a cat-hair-free zone. The bedroom is said zone.

Our apartment lease is up on February 28 so Jenn and I are investigating our housing options. She’ll be finished with pharmacy school in May (if I remember right) but I don’t remember whether that counted her potentially non-paying externship or not. (Sorry, baby, I can’t keep my own schedule straight; I’m not going to remember yours.) That means that after May our options for housing change from what we’ve currently got because she’ll have actual income. At that point, our Accounts Receivable will hopefully exceed our Accounts Payable and enable us to expand our living quarters.

We have the option right now to renew our lease for six months, nine months, or a year. If we go with nine months or a year, the rent stays the same. If we go six months (or the dreaded month-to-month), rent skyrockets. Since I work on the west side of town and most of the externships and jobs for Jenn seem to be available on the west side, we’re thinking of maybe moving after a short stay at our current place. Ideally we’d be able to get a house with 2000 square feet of livable space and a two-car garage. A decent second choice would be a three-bedroom apartment with more than 1100 square feet and a rent comparable to what we pay now.

Some readers out there know how I despise the west side. I hate it. It reminds me of suburban Los Angeles - you can drive and drive and drive and never get anywhere. It’s a hundred square miles of apartment complex surrounded by a strip mall - a recipe for slum. (Actually, it’s clean and “nice,” but it’s not very fun.) The west side is for people trying to raise a family in the suburbs. If you don’t drive a minivan or an SUV, don’t move there. The problem is, the east side (where I grew up and would love to continue living) has two problems: First, the commute is horrible from the east to the west; second, the cost of living (rent, utilities, etc.) is way higher on the more established east side.

So, west side it is. Now I’m looking at the different apartment for rent sites to find out which complexes offer apartments with our qualifications. I’m also looking at the various “house for sale” sites that list new developments under construction (because a brand new house is way cheaper, it seems, than any existing home we can find) to see what’s out there and for how much. Hopefully we’ll come up with something soon. Either way, we need to figure out what to do about our lease renewal so we can get that squared away.

I probably shouldn’t stress about it. There’s no pressure to move, really; we could stay here for another year and nobody’d be the worse for it. I’m just sick of apartment living - neighbors with stinky cooking and having to watch the volume on my movies and not really being able to redecorate or anything… and above all that, the distinct lack of space we’ve got. I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t wish for a bigger place. Even a bigger apartment would be better than what we’ve got now.

So I’m stressing, trying to figure out just the right amount of time to renew the lease for and still be able to move and afford it. Jenn tells me not to worry about it, but honestly, if I don’t worry about it, who’s going to? These things don’t just solve themselves.

I should get back to work. My queue is so long right now I don’t know what to do.

personal, sharepoint, cats comments edit

After performing some serious research into the matter, I’ve come to the firm conclusion that, yes, SharePoint Portal Server 2001 SP2 does break SharePoint Portal Server.

Thinking about that has me stewing. You see, there are a lot of product fixes in that service pack that I need right now - several problems I have will be solved by it. Unfortunately, it introduces some fairly large problems that are significantly worse than my existing problems, so I can’t use it. For that reason, I am developing a love/hate relationship with Microsoft.

A lot of people really hate Microsoft. I understand that, but I think that many of those folks hate Microsoft for the wrong reasons. “They charge too much for their products” is the wrong reason. You don’t have to buy them. “They make everything proprietary” is the wrong reason. I think we can all agree that Windows is pretty ubiquitous and we should learn to live with it. “When you buy some of their products they don’t work and then they charge you money to fix their products” is the right reason. I hate them for all the right reasons.

Buffy wasn’t on last night, which was disappointing. Instead of watching that, I fired up the latest demo disc from Official Playstation Magazine. I was very pleasantly surprised with a game called The Getaway.

The Getaway is like an interactive British gangster movie. They recreated London entirely in virtual data - every street, every building, all exactly where it’s supposed to be. They put actual cars on the streets (not like made-up cars, but actual cars like Mercedes and Lexus). Then they put a great story in it and mixed it together. I played the demo on this thing for probably half an hour (it took me a bit to get used to the controls and such) and was constantly amazed at how cool it is. It’s not like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City the way you might think it is - they really did go for the “interactive movie” experience and I think they acheived it. I’ll probably be picking this up when it comes out.

We’ve had a problem with my little Xev cat (aka “Tiny Tiny”) sitting outside our bedroom door and crying at all hours of the night. She doesn’t give up, either - if you ignore her, she’ll just keep crying. This can go on for half an hour, if not longer. To combat it, Jenn will usually get up (she can’t ignore it or sleep through it) and go out to sleep on the couch with the cats. Not so great, right? I thought of the answer last night.

A while ago we bought this thing called a “Scat Mat” to stop Xev from jumping up on top of the entertainment center and knocking everything down. Basically it’s a pad about five feet long and one foot wide that is pressure sensitive. When the pad feels pressure, it emits this really loud chirping noise. That’s worked like a charm for the entertainment center.

I put the “Scat Mat” outside our bedroom door so the cat couldn’t just sleep right outside the door and cry whenever she felt like it - she’d have to sit back a few feet and cry from the other room. If anything, I figured it would lower the volume of the crying; a few feet away from the door is better than right next to (or under) the door.

Last night was the first night I set the thing out there. She stepped on it exactly twice - once right after we went to bed, then once at about 3:00a at her normal “wake up the humans” time. Never once did the cat cry all night long. I am the smartest man alive.

Now, as long as she doesn’t figure out that she can still cry from the other room, we’re totally in business. She’s a shrewd little beast, though, so we’ll have to see.

personal, movies, tv comments edit

I came in to my blog a couple of minutes ago hoping that there was a new post to read when I realized that it was my blog and there wouldn’t be anything new unless I wrote it.

I think I’m losing it. Maybe I have a memory leak.

I went to get my allergy shot this morning and was the first person there. I’m always the first person there. I get there at like 7:40a and they don’t open until 8:00a, but the door’s open so I just go in and read whatever book I’m reading until I can get my shot. I went in today and it was colder in the doctor’s office than it was outside. How is that even possible? If the heat is off inside and there’s no air conditioning, wouldn’t the inside heat up and cool down at roughly the same temperature as the outside? Not this time.

Went to Amazon today to fill up my pre-order schedule. I like getting prizes in the mail. I ended up buying:

I even still had a $5 promotional gift certificate in my account. How sweet is that? Free shipping, and I’m good to go. I should be getting something fun and new in the mail every, like, week or two between now and April.

Due to my fear of atrophy (and the fact that Jenn and I both have these distinct non-abs where we should see abs), we’ve started another get-in-shape routine. The flavor this month is BalanceBall. We got one of those big yoga exercise ball things and a beginner’s workout DVD because we’re big pussies.

After doing it a couple of times, I’ve had a chance to form an opinion. First, this is definitely my kind of workout. It’s mostly stretching and relaxation, so after I’m done I’m totally chilled out. Second, I’d much rather sit on the ball and bounce like it’s a hippity-hop than actually do any sort of workout. The thing is, bouncing on the ball is also good for you if you do it for like 5 minutes or more. Finally, the chick on the yoga video is one of those fruitcake hippies who tells you to breathe and “create space inside yourself” and “feel the stress flow out of you” and crap like that. The chick bugs me, but the workout’s pretty decent.

The only problem is that because it dedicates itself to showing you relaxation and stretching techniques, there’s no workout to it. That is, I’m not toning up by lounging around. Now that we’ve done this one a few times, I think Jenn’s looking at getting a new one that has a little more work to it.

Hey, man, anything’s better than sit-ups.

personal comments edit

I finally got in contact with Dave, the facilities guy, regarding my lost Tron figure. He made it sound like he had some sort of grabbing or reaching device I could borrow, and that got my hopes up.

He had a broom.

Had I known I was waiting for the opportunity to borrow a broom, I probably would have continued my pen-taping efforts. But I didn’t, so I didn’t.

The broom worked pretty well. I taped a couple of paper clips to the end to form a reasonably stable hook and after a couple minutes of fishing, I was set to go. I fished the figure out of the depths and it emerged wearing a small coat made out of dust bunny fur. Apparently it had been down there longer than I realized.

The Tron populace reunited, I moved them to a more secure location where they won’t fall back behind there. Should that happen, I will probably make the suggested trip to Home Depot to fashion a more stable fishing mechanism.

In other news, the weekend came and went uneventfully. I bought Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby at the local Wherehouse and am reasonably pleased with the purchase. I am trying to conserve funds now that I’ve gotten my Visa bills from the holiday season, so I admit to having my fair share of buyer’s remorse over the $8 purchase. I’m enjoying the music, though, so I can’t be too hard on myself.

Speaking of buyer’s remorse, Jenn and I went to the new Whole Foods store in downtown Portland and both of us were quite impressed. They offer a wide array of very interesting and uncommon foods there that were fun to look at, though the pricing on them made it unreasonable to shop there on a regular basis. In order to get our parking validated we had to buy something, so I bought a jar of mango salsa and a macadamia nut candy bar. The candy bar, we knew, was $2, but it was something new to try so we ignored the ridiculous cost for an item probably 2”x1”x1” in size. The mango salsa was another story.

We tried a sample of the stuff and fell in love with it so we had to pick up a jar… but there was no price on it. I’m normally smart enough to know the “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” rule, but I was blinded by flavor. (Figure that one out!) At checkout, I found the jar of salsa cost me $6! Holy shit!

So we left the store with our candy bar and our salsa, $8 lighter but with validated parking. All in all, a rather successful trip. I still can’t believe it was $6 for that salsa, though.

personal comments edit

I have a lot of toys in my cubicle. I won’t lie to you. They’re everywhere. The thing is, I know where every single one of them is, and I know what I have. If you take something, I may not notice the very instant that it’s gone, but I will notice that it’s gone.

I was sitting today and noticed that one of my Tron figures is missing.

My first thought was, “Those scheming rat-bastard cleaning motherfuckers stole my figure!” Then I remembered that I have been monitoring them with my surveillance camera nightly and have not seen them take anything. They’d either have to be really slick or totally innocent.

Then I thought maybe it had fallen under my desk. My file cabinets are all on wheels (they slide under the desk; the desk is attached to the cube walls), so I slid the closest one out. It wasn’t there. It was then that I figured out where the figure went.

I sit next to a large, unopenable window. Now, keeping in mind that my desk attaches to the cube walls, obviously you realize it can’t attach to the window, right? Which means that there is a cube wall that runs at waist height along the window, just underneath it, that the desk can attach to. This further means that there is probably a one or two inch gap between the window/wall and the cube wall.

Guess where the figure went.

The problem now was how to get it out. I tried fishing it out with the retractable string attached to my work badge and a paperclip, but that wasn’t long enough to reach down there. I opened the Venetian blinds on the window and tried using the blind cord (the window’s probably six feet tall if it’s an inch), and that was long enough but made me realize that “fishing” wasn’t too accurate or easy.

The next train of thought led me to believe that if I could stick a pole or something down there with a hook on it, that would be good. Or the pole could have something sticky on the end that I could stick to the figure. Either way, right? Well, nothing around here is long enough, so I started taping pens together to make a stick with. After about ten pens, I found that it was going to take me a good 30 pens to reach where I needed to get to. So that plan went out the door.

The last thought I had was that I could remove the panel from the bottom of the cube wall that the power and phone cords run through and then I could reach under and get it… but I can’t figure out how to get the panel off without destroying it, so that didn’t work.

I’ve given up. On my limited resources, I can’t get it out of there without spending some serious time on it. I ended up contacting Dave the facilities guy (nice guy, too) to help me get it out. He’s coming up tomorrow morning.

What an ordeal.