….. Weeeeee!

And so the never ending roller coaster that is my life keeps on rolling along. However, I have some good news to report for a change. I actually had a really good day yesterday. Start to finish. Seems stupid that I’d get so wound up about one good day, but these days I’ll take what I can get.

Starting off, I actually had a good breakfast. 2 pieces of banana bread (no nuts) which I haven’t had in years. Lots of butter. Terrific. Then, I actually had some work to do in the AM… requests were coming in and keeping me busy, which is always good.

For lunch, I was meeting my friend Adam. He wanted to give me a few more pictures to put on his website ( So, we met at Yen Ching downtown for some Chinese. Not only is it good to see a friend you don’t see often and just shoot the shit, but he cut me a check as well. See, he has really wanted to pay me for the development of their website. I told him repeatedly that I would do it as a donation for free. He pretty much insisted that he pay me something, so I finally buckled. I would have done it for a 12-pack of beer and a sandwich, but cash is nice too.

Last week I had emailed him to see if a friend of ours had anyone to setup a website for his new business. I figured he would probably use the same people he used for his old business, but it couldn’t hurt to ask. Well, Adam told me that he showed Barry the AJsAngels website and Barry liked what he saw. He is interested in having me do his new website. Which is very exciting.

When I get back to work, the day is just going well. Obviously. Good food. Friends. Cash. Tough to argue with that. About an hour after I get back from lunch, my boss comes by my desk and hands me an eAward. eAwards are HP’s way of recognizing jobs well done. Apparently one of my customers has been very impressed by my performance and thus the eAward. Granted, its only $50, but hell, that’s better than a stick in the eye. Its always nice to be recognized.

I keep working, just sort of grinning to myself. Finally, a little good fortune. But the day wasn’t over. I get an email from a ex-teammate of mine who had someone ask her if she could do some web development on the side. She was way too busy, but forwarded the person to me saying that I do that kind of thing all the time. They asked me if I could do a realtor website (and emailed a link to an example they liked). Looking at the site, I could probably do that quite easily. So, I may have another website lined up to do.

After work, I was heading to Mom & Dad’s for dinner. Everyone knows you can never go wrong with some home cooking. Folks and my little sis were there and had a great dinner (far better than I would have since in my house right now I have some crackers, microwave popcorn, beer, ketchup, and Pepsi. That’s it. That’s the list.)

After I got home, I talked on the horn with George, and discussed future business plans. That sort of thing has been getting me excited lately. Despite the fact that I have no clue how to run a business, I can almost guarantee at some point, I will.

So, to recap, 3 good meals, talking to a couple friends, recognized at work, cash money in my pocket, possibility of more side work on the horizon… Quite a day. If I were less of a cynic right now, I might think things have turned a corner. Perhaps its all the recent experiences that have seemed to reinforce that sour outlook. Ya think?

All in all, it was really nice to have a whole day with multiple good things happening. It has been a while since I could say that. Of course, blogging about it will probably piss of the good fortune gods who will resume smiting me with gleeful vigor for breach of their confidentiality.

I hope its not starting already. When I got to work this morning, I realized that I forgot my watch. I don’t know if there is anything to put a repeated crimp in your day worse than not having your watch. Every 20-40 minutes I look down at my wrist and silently curse to myself. So, if you have the time, send a few positive thoughts my way. Keep this thing rolling and help me try to ward off the (undoubtedly) returning darkness…

The Office Scourge

Any of you who work in an office environment know what I mean. There is one thing that your co-workers can do that is far worse than anything else. It is so horrible, so distracting and awful, that it can damn near ruin your day.

I’m talking about burning the damn microwave popcorn.

A fellow employee who sits just over the cubical wall from me did this not 30 minutes ago. Is there anything worse than the smell of burnt popcorn? Usually, burning anything smells bad, but burnt hair is a scent not often experienced in a professional setting. There is a specific layer of hell for the popcorn burners.

Now, back when microwave popcorn was the new-fangaled invention, people burned it all the time. Figgerin’ out them fancy mic-er-waves was hard. But c’mon people. Its 2006. Microwave popcorn has been around for what… 15? 20 years? At least? Who doesn’t know how this stuff works by now? Even when the microwave you’re using doesn’t have the specific ‘popcorn’ button (which is really just a crutch for lazy people) it really isn’t that difficult. Insert bag. Cook on High. Remove when popping slows down. Voila.

Of course, there is one other instruction that I’m leaving out: Don’t leave the microwave unattended. Ever. What you think is being gone for 30 seconds, in microwave-popcorn time is 3 minutes. More than enough time to burn the hell out of it.

The only other rule, is more of my own creation: Once you have burned the popcorn, DO NOT take it to your desk and try to salvage any unburned kernels. That just allows the stink to linger and linger (or spread to the people that are fortunate enough to not sit close to the break area). You’re not going to enjoy the popcorn anyway. Just throw that crap away, eat the 75 cents it cost from the vending machine, and move on. You can either buy another bag and try again, or give up. Those are your only 2 options.

Burning popcorn is almost as bad as someone who brings last nights fish as leftovers for lunch, heats it to a vigorous steaming in the microwave, and funkifies the entire office.

Thus endeth the lesson.

What a day

What an incredibly craptacular day. I get to work this morning and everything is fine. That is until I remember that there is another of those damn ‘product fairs’ or whatever they are in my building about 10 feet from my cube. A couple of hundred people talking loudly, peeping over my wall (I’m the last cube by the entrance), wandering around. Presently, there are some Shakespearean actors doing some sort of deal on a stage. What it is, I can’t hear over the din. They have also co-opted the coffee/break area for this deal. They’ve got refreshments and snacks and whatnot for these people. Apparently, this fair isn’t even for local employees… the signs I’ve seen reference people coming from a local hotel (conference style)… lots of parking signs in the lot outside… Lord knows they wouldn’t spend money on their boring old regular employees. *sigh*

I’m so lucky to sit where I do. There is no one in the entire building closer to this circus than I am.

But that is not the best part of my day. About 10:30 this morning, I get an instant message from another developer wondering if there is something wrong with our server. I was just working on it, so I don’t think so, but I go out and check again. Hmmmm… that website isn’t coming up. Try a different one. Nope… not that one either. Well, hell… something is wrong with the server. Seeing as my entire job consists of creating and editing content on this one server, there is not much I can do. I contact the server admin and he does a quick check. I’m hoping he just has to restart it and we’ll be back in business. Well, he can’t get parts of the server to respond. That is not a good thing. Then he tells me, “ooo… looks like the entire E:\ drive is gone”. Well, that is where all 10 gigabytes of our websites live. He drops everything and goes into the server room. When he gets there, IT is already there working on the problem. Apparently, the disk array in the server failed. Took everything with it.

They give him an ETA of “about an hour, probably”. Well, it is now 4 hours later, and we’re still waiting. The last update I’ve gotten (20 minutes ago), they’ve replaced the failed hardware and are now restoring from a backup. Restoring 10 gigs from backup is going to take a long time. This whole day is shot in the ass.

The best part is that since the server has gone down, I have fielded about instant messages from 25 different people, 9 emails, and 3 phone calls… all asking me the exact same question. “Something wrong with the server?”. I relay to them the same info I’ve gotten. It’s all I can do. So, besides answering the same question over and over, there has been nothing I could do today. Twiddling my thumbs. Bored out of my skull. Can’t escape the throngs and work from home due to the server being down and I have to notify everyone when it comes back up. Just a real banner day all around.

IE Issues

Ok… I’ve just noticed that this site looks all screwed up when viewing in Internet Explorer. I never bothered to look at it in IE since I always use a real browser, Firefox. There is something wrong with the formatting CSS on the right navigation for those headers. So, for everyone who uses Firefox, nevermind. Everyone else… oops.

Why didn’t anyone tell me? Sheesh. I feel like a schmuck. I’m supposed to be a professional web developer for christ sake. In the imortal words of Ron Burgandy, “What is this!? Amateur hour!?”

I shall repair asap. And hopfully recover a little dignity in the process.

It’s Early…

Talk about your bad nights. I spent all night tossing and turning. Here’s what happened. Last evening, I had a few beers with dad, then a full meal at mom and dad’s place. So, when I got home about 8:30, I was tired, full, and ready to go to bed. I watched a little TV until about 10, then hit the rack.

I made the mistake of thinking I was sufficiently tired enough that I didn’t need to take my Ambien to sleep. Apparently, that was a bad idea. I might have dozed off a couple times, but not for more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time. But I laid there for hours. Rolling around… under the covers, out of the covers, etc etc. Horrible.

Finally about 4:30, I decided to turn on the TV. I figured that was a little early to head to work, so I had to kill a little time. Watched for about 45 minutes (holy shit, half of the channels I have are friggin’ infomercials at 4 in the morning… have they no soul?) then decided to get up and head to work. I stopped for a mocha and a muffin on my way in, and was still here before 6.

In a perfect world, I would be able to leave work at 2pm… however, I completely forgot that I have a staff meeting at 2 today. So, there will be no going home early. Not to mention, that I have a meeting after work for my 2nd job. Today is gonna be a tough one.

Well, I’m going to try to not doze off. I think I’m the only one on the entire floor here at work. The lights in the building are all motion sensored to turn on, so the whole building is dark. Almost spooky. Plus, the lights around my desk never seem to turn on when I come in. I don’t know where the sensor is, so I’m standing here waving my arms like a schmuck trying to get some lights on. I managed to get one bank on, but the rest are still out.

Until later.

Like a zoo

The quiet of our office building was shattered in a big way today. Directly across the asile from me they are setting up this big IPG (imaging and printing group) product fair. Anyway they have taken about half the building which before was a Herman Miller parking lot. So, they moved all of that out and today really got full steam into setup. My cube is directly by the entrance of this fiasco.

I’m at work this morning, trying to get anything done, and there is a group of about 50 people getting geared up for this deal. The noise was quite amazing. Apparently, these folks were oblivious that there were people actually trying to work in there.

I had been there about an hour, feebly attempting to concentrate. When these nice folks started setting up something directly on the outside of my cube wall, peering over the top at me, and looking for network and power plug-ins, that was enough to push me over the edge. I came home to work in peace. VPN access to the work network is one of the greatest things ever invented. Especially in times like this. There were some poor bastards on our team that don’t have remote access, and they just had to sit there and take it.

I’m not even going to attempt to go to work tomorrow. That is when this hole shindig actually happens. I guess they’re expecting at least 2500 people to come by this thing during the day. Yeah… uh… I won’t. I’m going to stay at home and get actual work done.

How about that. A whole post with me not mentioning the ‘D’ word even once. I guess it can be done. Who knew?