Archive for November, 2005

The important utilities

Posted: November 28, 2005 in General, House

Friday Cara had to work, but I didn’t so I finally got the entertainment center and internet up and running.

Comcast had come out last Sunday and hooked everything up, but I didn’t have the cable modem or any of the TVs easily available (having just moved everything in the day before). Tuesday evening I hooked in the old satellite runs that the previous owner had in place so we could set up the smaller TV in the kitchen (mostly to verify that we actually do have cable). I also uncovered the cable modem and attempted to get the internet up and running with Cara’s new iBook.



Posted: November 21, 2005 in General, House

We moved most of our belongings on Saturday, we enlisted the help of friends and family which (obviously) made the job a lot easier. Cara and I had never actually moved all of our stuff at once, this was the first time. There was a lot of stuff (not that it’s surprising, and I’m sure there are many people with more stuff than us).

We also arranged to have our bedroom furniture as well as the washer and dryer delivered on Saturday. Neither of which went smoothly. They couldn’t seem to get the dressers into the bedroom (although we didn’t have too much of a problem when we tried), and the room where the washer and dryer sit is just a little too small. They were able to get the dryer in, but couldn’t get the washer in. We had to pull apart part of the door frame, and get four guys to lift it up into the room.

I spent most of the day Sunday trying to get the dryer hooked up. Because of the setup of the room, the dryer could only be pushed about a foot from the wall, and the washer about 18 inches, barely enough room to get behind them and attempt to get them hooked up. Four runs to the hardware store, and three drier ducts later I was finally able to get everything in place… however again due to the setup of the room, we could only push the drier back eight inches or so. The drier door barely opens far enough to get clothing inside. At least the washer door opens (as long as you close the door to the room first).

Other than that things went well over the weekend. Cara unpacked most of the kitchen through Sunday, and we got the bathroom set up so we can shower (always a good thing). The guys from Comcast cable came out and got the cable hooked up (although I don’t know if everything is working yet because I don’t have a computer or a TV set up yet). We have a lot of work still to do, but maybe by the end of next weekend things will be closer to livable.

Wacom tablet

Posted: November 16, 2005 in General

I have a huge 9×12 (I know there are bigger) Wacom Graphire3 Intous2 at home. I don’t use it that often, and to be honest it’s larger than I really need (or larger than what seems to be manageable). It’s one of those tools that I don’t use much, but makes life much easier from time to time. With that in mind I purchased a new Wacom tablet at work. I opted for the 6×8 tablet. Wacom just upgraded their product line from the Graphire3 to Graphire4, and I have to admit that I like what I see.

A couple of nice upgrades. Fist, the overall design is more minimalist than earlier designs. They don’t really mirror any of Apple’s designs, but their product does look very natural next to my G5.

Rather than a flexible plastic overlay that you can slip photos or whatever under (like all the previous tablets from them), the Graphire4 has a solid plastic casing that surrounds the pad (and releases with four sliding switches on the bottom). This same casing includes an indentation that you can snap the stylus into. This casing gives the whole unit a very solid feel, and helps to overcome one of my fears about tablets which is scratching or marring the surface.

At the top of the new pad is a scroll wheel and two physical buttons (other Wacom tablets have virtual buttons), which provide the ability for someone using the stylus to scroll, as well as give them some additional capabilities (the stylus has had two buttons for a while, but they always seem to get in the way, and I tend to turn them off).

It happened that my old Logitech two button mouse decided (probably in anger) that it wasn’t going to respond to left clicks anymore, so I decided to try using the Wacom tablet as a mouse and mouse pad. So far I would say that the results are mixed. It’s nice to be freed from the cord (I’ve tried wireless solutions before that I thought had too much lag), however the mouse won’t respond when you move outside the active area of the pad (obviously) which tends to bump up my frustration level just a bit.

I may try using the stylus as a controller for a while and see how that goes. In the mean time, kudos to Wacom for really thinking about this design and coming up with something better than before. Now if only the Wacom software would allow me to set up profiles on a per-application basis.

Bush is in the shitter

Posted: November 16, 2005 in General

I’m happy and sad that Bush’s approval rating is in the shitter. I’m happy because I’m glad to see more and more people share my thoughts (I knew I was right). I’m sad because it’s a case of closing the barn door after the horse has escaped. Bush has set certain things in motion that we need to ride out (at least until the next election).

I’m sad because I didn’t want to speak my mind when we attacked Afghanistan and more importantly Iraq. I’m sad that more Americans didn’t question what we were doing, and the future that the US was building. I’m sad that the government has done more damage to civil rights and our freedoms than Bin Laden did. I’m sad that we’ve accepted things like “Homeland Security” and the laws that surround it.

Do I hate terrorists? Of course. Do I want to protect our country? Hell yes. Do I want to do whatever we can to make sure something like 9/11 never happens again? Within reason, yes. Was Sadam a bad guy? Of course. Do I want the US to roll into a country and force democracy on them? Hell no.

We need to keep our hands to ourselves. I’m happy that my fellow countrymen are finally seeing the light that we aren’t on the right path, and that staying the path Isn’t doing our country any favors. I’m sad that the damage has already been done and there is a lot of pain and suffering yet to endure (both here and abroad).

It's official

Posted: November 15, 2005 in General

Things went pretty smoothly yesterday. We did a quick walkthrough before we drove to the lawyer’s office, and we signed our life away for the next thirty years.

An interesting thing of note is that an empty house shows all of it’s blemishes and issues (there are probably a dozen additional items for our “to-do” lists). Not a big deal, but I am defiantly feeling anxious trying to keep track of “things to buy”, “things we need to do”, “things we should do” and the like (as well as schedules, finances, moving, etc.) I know everything will get done, and I know that everyone goes through some of this when they buy a house, I’m just a house buying virgin.

Poker winnings

Posted: November 13, 2005 in General

I’m not a poker player. I barely understand the game, or at least I don’t have any experience playing the game. Sure I’ve dabbled a little online, but never really had the experience of a group of guys sitting around playing cards.

Saturday a Mike, Ben, Brian, Matt and Todd played tournament texas holdem at the Hartford Club (complements of Mike). Tournament rules mean that you play until you’re out, so it’s an all or nothing fight.

Our first game started at 6PM and lasted quite a while. I discovered that I had certain teflon abilities as I was “all in” (all my chips were in play), on the verge of being knocked out of the game, 5-6 times. I was able to pull back from the brink and win the first round, with Mike taking second place.

We were down to five players as the second round began. The cards and bets fell easier this time and I shot to a fairly easy victory and Ben came in second place.

The third round ended with Ben putting me out on the last hand, but who was I to complain about a second place finish.

One more of our group sat out on the fourth round as I (again) was the last man standing.

How did I walk away with most of the winnings? I don’t know. I certainly don’t believe that I am any more skilled than anyone else at the table (in fact, I know there are those with more experience than me). Maybe part of it is skill, but I’m going to chalk it up to dumb luck, but who am I to complain?

I'm going to be poor

Posted: November 10, 2005 in General, House

Cara and I are going to be poor after buying this house. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, I’m sure most people find their wallets rather light after purchasing a house. I thought we were better prepared though.

The closing on our house is drawing near (i.e. next Monday) and the dust is beginning to settle (at least in regards to purchasing the house). I had a discussion with the lawyer about closing and received the official “cheat sheet” telling us how much cash we have to come up with. The bottom line is… “a lot”, which is slightly less than “all of it”, but still a significant sum.

It’s fine though… it’s only money right? You won’t see me crying (or if you do, at least it will me in the new house, or perhaps the garage).