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And sometimes you just need to compare yourself…

March 7, 2013
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There are a lot of things going on in my life right now. So many, it seems, that I can’t really get a handle on what to even start with when it comes to restarting this blog.
And then it happened…
Nic and I were at the Sonic drive through tonight to grab a quick dinner while working on one of the many projects that are taking up my time these days. There was a car in front of us that was taking forever to order, and we were kind of joking about how much food they must want.
Once they ordered, the lady behind the register asked them to pull forward and their food would be out shortly. They stopped just a few feet ahead at the trash can, close enough that we couldn’t pull forward yet. They then rolled down their window, and threw out a Chick-fil-A bag.
It was at that point when all I could think was, “You know, I’m going to be okay…”
Yeah.

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Ahhh… Technology

February 21, 2013
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Hello world!
I am aware that I have been extremely remiss in keeping up with this blog. It has been a long couple of (I think) years since you last heard from me. Well… That all might be about to change! Due to some amazing technological advances that I am finally on the bandwagon with, I have now gone mobile in so many ways!
In all seriousness, it has been a VERY interesting break, however I feel that much in my life will be changing soon, and I hope to finally be able to make the effort and make the time to keep up with you here a bit more consistently. Also, then you can get some more detail on the projects I’m working on!
That being said, I am working multiple jobs, so it’s going to be interesting keeping up with this for the next few months. But it is now officially on my to do list.
Thanks for your patience to anyone I may have fallen out of contact with, and we should all talk soon! Know that I miss you!

Cleaning up some thoughts on the 4th dimension

April 12, 2011
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My microwave knows how many seconds are in a minute...

I was at the laundromat a few days ago, and that is when I started to notice that each machine in a laundromat seems to be set to its own special time zone, or perhaps they each exist in their own little universes, each with a slight alteration to the fourth dimension. In some (note: very few) of these little universes there are 60 seconds per minute. In some (note: probably most) of these tiny cosmos there are 45 seconds to a minute. In others (note: this is the bothersome part) there are upwards of 90 seconds in a minute. The problem that I seem to run into everytime I’m at the laundromat is that I somehow always manage to land one of the 90 seconds to a minute machines. Unfortunately this is usually only one out of the three I’m using.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the extra cleaning value, especially when you consider that the laundromat is expensive enough as it is. My problem is mostly mental- that is- the machines that take longer make me feel that I am getting ripped off by the normal machines. Also- I’m not talking about different types of machines here. I realize that the 4 load washer is going to have to run for a longer period of time than the 2 load washer (though I do not understand why it does not actually run for twice as long…). I’m taking about 2 seemingly identical machines sitting right next to each other, costing the same amount of money, started at the exact same time, and one finishes 5 minutes before the other.

I might be able to understand this with the older, analog machines where the wash cycle is displayed on a circluar dial, and the hand ticks around to tell you if you are in wash or spin (as though you couldn’t look into the window and tell…). I have actually assumed for a while that the mechanism in those has gotten older, and they have all fallen out of line a bit, and I am okay with that. My issue is that these were two newer washers with a credit card swiper machine attached and a digital timer that showed how many minutes to the end of the wash cycle. The only way I can see two digital timers started at the same time set to the same number ending at different times is if someone has willfully programmed one to not know the proper length of a minute. I could understand a company doing this to make the minute shorter, as that would save money- no matter how dishonest it seems. My issue is the machines where a minute is longer than 60 seconds- they blow my mind!

And just don’t get me started on the dryers- 25 cents for 6 minutes… First off- Who came up with that? and either way, how can I trust that the dryer knows what a minute is? The washer doesn’t!

And the hits just keep on coming…

March 13, 2011
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Hello to all of you who have been following this blog, and disappointed. I have gotten really bad at updating in the last few months, mostly due to my life exploding in my face. I promise that now that I have a method of doing this that is separate from my computer, I will have for you soon a very fun story, or perhaps rather, saga, of my car. I just need to figure out the ending- so for now you all need to wait in suspense with me. I wish I could say that the other things in my life were going well, and I can see great things around the bend- but I can’t jump on that wagon yet. Right now is time to just keep my head above water and see what we all bring with us. I’ll try to get more details out when I’m not in as crazy a place, and the whole story- once the car is fixed.

It’s been a while

February 23, 2011
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I know it has been a while. I’m still alive. Barely really.

I’ll try to get back on this when work and my stomach calm down a bit.

It’s that time of year again…

November 23, 2010
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Actually- it’s been that time of the year for a few months now…

You know… the one where everything gets crazier and crazier until there is no time left in the day.  I just opened A New Pink and A Few Good Men at the same time and then as they closed went immediately into Christmas Carol load in.

So, hopefully I will have time to write a few posts soon, but right now I’m on my first day off in about 2 weeks, and I need to get over this cold.

Hurricane Earl a Category 3 Drizzle- Norfolk, VA

September 3, 2010

Well, you will all be happy to know that I am alive and well after our tremendous hurricane these past two days. Actually, the only thing damaged is my sense of trust in forecasts. You see, we didn’t just not get a Category 3 hurricane… we didn’t even get a small thunderstorm. For the amount of talk that has been spewing about covering windows in plywood, all that would have gotten you in Norfolk over the last two days was a dark house. Perhaps saved a bit on your cooling bill (but unfortunately spent it all on lumber you didn’t need)?

You see, people in Norfolk take their hurricanes seriously.  Well… somewhat seriously.  There is at least one co-worker who could not get enough of the make like a hurricane and blow me jokes (you know who you are, and yes- they are funny).  But otherwise around town when they call for something as serious as a hurricane things start moving.  They test the floodgates on the tunnels.  The Navy tends to send their fleet out to sea (less damage happens in open water during a storm than in harbor).  Just like when they are calling for a blizzard in PA, people flock to the grocery store.  It gets hard to find things like bread, gallons of water, canned food, etc.

There are some weird things to get used to down here that we don’t have to worry as much about.  For example, I don’t have to turn off a well pump during a storm.  No one I have spoken to yet can remember a time when water went out here.  Yes, there is a risk of flood water contaminating the water supply, or the treatment plant not being able to treat it, but apparently it is very rare that the water actually stops flowing out of the tap.  This is good news for the toilet.  I just don’t want to see what happens if the flooding ever backed up the sewers.  Also, we have a gas stove and oven.  Which means that if the power should go out, there is a very good chance we can still cook.  Indoor cooking during a storm- not on a tiny propane camping grill.  That would be weird for me.  Lastly- we are pretty sure the apartment we have rented may be on the hospital grid.  Last time everyone else was out of power for 2-4 days, we had ours back in 12 seconds.  I counted.  Now all this just leaves the plywood on the windows.  I don’t know if you are supposed to do that with a rented apartment, especially since we wouldn’t be able to reach them all the way up on our floor anyway.  I had a roll of duct tape just in case we needed to make X’s on the windows like they taught us in school.  But I can’t really remember which natural disaster that was a precaution against.  I also found my crank radio- it isn’t a weather radio, and it only has a scan button for the FM dial, but it runs by cranking it up, and it doubles as a flashlight and alarm (not an alarm clock, just a loud sound maker).  Oh- and it has a compass, so there’s no way I would walk into the ocean in the middle of the storm.  Luckily, we didn’t need any of it.

A big thing in our section of Norfolk is where to put your car in a hurricane.  With most of the city below sea level (and apparently sinking according to various news sources), we flood really easily.  Add to all that the age of most of the infrastructure, and you soon find that a regular rain caused by your average cold front meets warm front, cold front and warm front do not get along very well, cold front and warm front fight, into the world is introduced a thunderstorm can put a good portion of the downtown and surrounding areas under a few feet of water.  Just a few weeks ago I had a quite nerve-wracking drive home due to a heavy rain storm.  It is very normal to drive through 6″-9″ of water on the roads here if it is raining, because otherwise you will not get anywhere.  If you should feel, however, the water starting to rise underneath your car, as I did, apparently immediately speeding up and getting the hell out of there, though stupid, occasionally actually works.  When there is a hurricane, nor’easter, or for that matter any other large weather system that can be predicted in advance, some of the local parking garages open and offer free parking to those who live in flood prone areas.  So Thursday after work, a few of us left our cars in one of these downtown parking lots, on an upper floor, and walked home. Tangent:  Now, living in Norfolk is not like living in your average big city.  There is a decent population here, but everything is spread out enough that you really need a car (even if you do not live my semi-nomadic lifestyle).  And public transportation is pretty much non-existent.  They are in the process of installing a light-rail train (which will take up a full traffic lane on the downtown roads, blocking a few of them completely, and dropping a few from two lane roads to one lane roads).  It has been full of scandal and issues along its way (it was also the main cause of the sewage geyser of 2009).  Either way, it is not working yet, and we have no idea how much it will cost once it does open to try to pay for the cost, which last I heard was twice the budget estimate and counting.  I could not tell you where the nearest bus stop to my apartment is, nor if there is a bus that goes anywhere near my workplace (they moved a good portion of the downtown stops farther away when they started working on the train).  Even if I could find a bus stop, I don’t honestly know if I would take the bus here.  Not that I have heard anything bad about them, but I haven’t heard raving reviews either.  Actually, the last thing I heard about the HRT buses had something to do with a few people getting fired for embezzling thousands of dollars in bus fare… yup… quarters.  Maybe they had a lot of laundry to do.  Sometime I’ll try to look up more about that- or maybe you can do that for me.  Let’s see- there are taxis in Norfolk, but you have to call them (as in, know the phone number of the cab company), not just hail them on the street.  Sometimes you can find them in front of the mall, but I’ve never seen anyone get into a cab in front of the mall, I’m pretty sure they all just hang out there waiting to get calls.  End tangent.  The point of the tangent being that, although I live what is considered “very close to work”, it was still a 45 minute walk home, down some streets which did not have proper sidewalks.  You wind up crossing the road more often than you should need to that way.  Or just walking on lawns and through parking lots.  And all so that my car would not be sitting in a few feet of floodwater that never actually showed up.

So, my car is stowed in the garage, I’ve walked home with a couple friends, we’re back at the apartment watching the weather.  We got to see a really cool effect where the clouds were blowing in one direction and the wind down by us was blowing the exact opposite way.  That was neat.  But otherwise most people I know spent Thursday sitting on their porches and fire escapes waiting for Earl to come visit.  But, he didn’t.  I’ve heard a few stories from friends so far.  Some made a huge family trip to the ABC store (which was about as swamped as the grocery apparently).  Some tried new types of alcohol with friends.  At our place, we went to the 7-11 and got beer and chips.  Either way, Norfolk was prepared (in its own odd way) for our Category 3 tropical storm.  Or whatever they were trying to say it was.  Point being- it barely rained.  I walked to a friend’s apartment to hop a ride to work this morning (a 10 minute walk) and I was barely wet when I got in their car.  Unfortunately, all that meant was that we had to be in to work this morning.  They didn’t even get the chance to close a bridge or a tunnel.  The most exciting part of the traffic report this morning was something like “Level 1 restrictions at the MMBT” or something like that.  It meant they had dropped the speed limit from 55mph to 45mph due to wind.  I didn’t even hear anything about the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.  All in all, Hurricane Earl was a big disappointment.  I really wanted a snow day, or whatever you would call that down here…

A few of the plus sides to this non-hurricane (besides the obvious, we didn’t get hit by a category 3- people died in Norfolk during Isabel, and she only hit as a category 1…):
1.  Today was payday.  So we went to work, but we got our checks, and the bank was open to cash them.
2.  Fridays we get free lunch at work, and this week’s theme was “lunch box”, so there was some pretty amazing sandwich fixings, and string cheese!
3.  A 45 minute walk home, as unnecessary as it may have been, is great exercise (and I wasn’t even winded, so I must be in pretty good shape)!
4. Now we can do things like run errands this weekend, as we do not have to worry about being home before high tide.
5. There is a fresh case of beer in my fridge.

And for those who were wondering- the weather as I type this is beautiful, and they think it should stay in the low to mid 80’s for the rest of the week, which is a great switch from high 90’s we had been dealing with since I got back!