July 27, 2007: Day Three at Home

I had to be up at three again this morning. I am starting to be rather tired and getting up is tough but people really needed me to work this morning so there wasn’t any extra napping for me even though it is a Friday.

Washington Monument

This mornnig Sheep Guarding Llama’s datacenter in Scranton had electrical maintenance done and the site was unavailable from 7:30 until about 11:20.

I worked all morning and babysat Oreo. I was home with him until around eleven and then I drove into the office. My office is being relocated today and I wanted to be in the office during the move to make sure that things went smoothly.

I managed to get in just before noon with just ten minutes to go before my workstation had to be powered down and packed up. It was quite a rush as I needed to log in and do some work and pack a few things before the last moment arrived.

Once the packing was done there really wasn’t anything to do. There was some “hotel” space so that a little work could be done but all of that was in use for emergencies so I just used my BlackBerry and Treo to keep up with what was going on and relaxed for a little bit waiting for lunch. Luckily having my Treo meant that I could surf the web, check my email and log into the admin server in Scranton to check up on the progress of the electric so I knew that things were coming back online.

Everyone at work was quite busy so I took the opportunity of having nothing at all to do and ran down to Beach Camera on Route 22 and bought myself a Nikon SpeedLight SB600 flash for my Nikon D50 dSLR. I have never owned a really nice flash before so I am really looking forward to trying it out. This is a really awesome flash unit and Beach had it for a really great price so I am extra happy. It was a big purchase but I have been working really hard this week and feel that I earned it.

I got back to the office just in time to be caught in a fire drill. (Everyone says that it was a real fire but the “drill” people were there making sure that people didn’t leave and they wouldn’t have been there all set up for a drill had it been a real fire.) It was very hot out today so I started sweating as I stood outside in the muggy heat. Since there was so much going on at the office (so much being a relative term as the real issue was lack of workstations) we decided to order in and eat at work. Lunch arrived during the drill so we had to walk across campus to another building (now I am really warm) and ate there.

Once lunch was done we walked back and got our cars and drove over to the new office building to check out the progress as it had now been a few hours and our workstations were expected to be back on any minute. I arrived just in time to be approaching the office door when that office had a fire drill! So more standing outside sweating.

We finally got up to our offices but apparently the moving crew had gotten caught by both fire drills and nothing was even close to being ready for us.  I was totally exhausted by this point between the long days, the early mornings and the hours outside in the heat.  I was ready to drop.  There wasn’t going to be a workstation set up for me until after the end of the day so I left for home around three thirty – which was over twelve hours into my day as it was.

I got home to my lonely apartment.  Dominica and Oreo had left around three and it was now four thirty.  Min won’t be back for over a week!  I was tired but not ready for bed yet.  I watched a little Full House and made myself some pistachio pudding.  I have discovered that now that I am an adult I actually like pudding (yes plain old Jello instant pudding) more now than I did as a kid.

I had to run out to meet Jeffrey tonight to help out with something.  On the way back I decided to stop at Food for Life and grab a sandwich (Tuna BLT Wrap.)  Before I could make it the fifty feet from the door of FFL to my front door TWO people managed to grab me and it took me a good thirty to forty minutes to finally make it home.  This is one thing that I hate about living in Newark – there are just so many people looking to talk to me or need me to do something that are always waiting just outside the doors of the apartment that I can never walk anywhere.  I literally order in food half of the time just because I don’t want to put up with the hassle of stepping outside.  People really don’t think about the fact that I have other things in my life that I have to do – like work, sleep or see my family.

I finally got back home and got to eat my now soggy wrap.  After eating I went back to reading “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”  I read until after two in the morning and made it over five hundred pages through the book.  I hope to finish it tomorrow so that I can discuss the book with Dominica.  She has been waiting for someone to finish reading it as she is just dying to talk about it.

July 26, 2007: Day Two At Home

My alarm went off this morning at 2:45 am. This is going to take some getting used to for sure. Luckily no one was already looking for me today so I was up in plenty of time. In fact, I even got a chance to do some napping throughout the morning. I have mastered the art of the ten to fifteen minute nap. Somehow I am able to consistently do that and wake myself back up to work when I need to.

Scott and Dominica's Wedding Reception

Today was not nearly as busy as yesterday was. That was awesome because I was pretty tired today. I can only get up this early for so long before it starts to take its toll on me and apparenlty my limit is about two days.

I got a chance throughout the day to get tons more images geotagged, cleaned up and scanned in to Flickr. I can’t believe how many photographs I keep discovering that have not been scanned in previously. I had thought that everything was in there until recently. Dominica and I also discovered hundreds of our wedding photos which were not developed until late December, 2003 which have never been digitized!

Today is Dominica’s last full day of work at her current job. Tomorrow she will be working a partial day and then leaving, with Oreo, for North Carolina’s Topsail Island. When she gets back in a week she will be starting at a new position with a new firm but still on the same corporate campus. So she is probably pretty excited today. Tomorrow Oreo will be staying home with me until I got to the office partway through the day and then Min will be picking him up early in the afternoon. She will be driving down to Virginia tomorrow night and then driving with her dad from there to Topsail on Saturday.

I worked another very long day today and did manage to squeeze in just a little housework. We watched some Full House and ordered in some Chinese from Golden City. It was a lazy night but I never really got to move away from my workstation.

At ten I went to bed and ready the latest Harry Potter while I waited for Dominica to finish packing so that we could turn off the lights and get a few winks. It was well after eleven before she was ready for bed. So much for getting four hours of sleep!

Mood: Exhausted

Weight Lost So Far: 30 lbs

July 25, 2007: Working from Home

I didn’t have too bad of a time getting up when my alarm went off at three o’clock this morning but it sure did feel early. Today begins both my extreme early shifts as well as my working from home. The plan is that I am now working from home indefinitely. Originally it was going to start on Monday but since I am doing these extreme early mornings we moved it forward so that I could actually handle getting up so early.

Sara Richardson on Sofa

I worked until just after seven when I had to take the BMW up to Spring Valley in New York to get it inspected. The drive took just about an hour even in heavy traffic which wasn’t so bad. I got up to the dealer and waited there while they took a look at the car. The inspection went fine but they noticed that the front bumper had pulled away from the frame (bumper cover – the safety portion of the bumper is just fine this is an aesthetic thing) and a few of the clips are broken. I didn’t have time to have that taken care of today as I am waiting for the car and have to get back down to Newark so that I can work again but it will need to be taken care of soon.

The car took about ninety minutes as there were lots of people waiting for their cars as well. I took the chance to take a look at the large selection of Ferraris and Maseratis that they have on their lot. Very impressive indeed. I tried to talk dad into a used 1999 Ferrari two seat targa instead of a convertible but he felt that even with the heavy used car discount that it was a little too much for a two seater. Personally, I thought that it was a bargain at $107,000 😉

I got back to the apartment at 1180 and spent the rest of the day working. It was a pretty busy day. When I could, in between normal tasks or while I was “thinking” I continued to work on geotagging my Flickr images and cleaning up the regular tags, dates, descriptions, etc. It is amazing how much work it takes to manage that many images effectively. But they are going to be extremely useful for many years to come because of this work so I don’t mind.

I managed to more or less wrap up with the office around four in the afternoon at which point I remained online but started doing housework. I cleaned the kitchen including the mountain of dishes that accumulated last week with me not working from home at all. I cleaned the hall table which was a disaster. I cleaned in the living room. I cleaned in the bathroom. I cleaned in the bedroom. I made pudding so that it would be ready later when Dominica and I want some after dinner. Maybe I need to rethink this working from home situation…

Dominica got home and we watch some Full House and ordered in from Papa John’s (Spinach Alfredo pizza) and did our best to relax.  I kept working on my pictures and stayed connected to the office.  Dominica managed to finished reading “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” this afternoon at work so tonight I got to start reading it.  I will not be reading it at the same break-neck pace that Min did (she only bought it yesterday afternoon meaning that she completed it in just under twenty-four hours) but I will see what I can do.  We ordered the book on CD but Amazon has not yet shipped it to us even though we could get it for the same price sitting on the Target shelves 🙁  We have no idea what is going on there.  We have had it pre-ordered for some time but apparently Amazon isn’t giving in to the “getting it there the day of release” craze and is just going to ship it when they get around to it.

I wanted to go to bed early but my body just isn’t ready to switch schedules yet so I ended up going to bed just before eleven this evening.  I have to be up tomorrow at a quarter till three in the morning.

July 24, 2007: Geotagging

I woke up on my own around five this morning. It uncanny how I do that.

Beach at Island Beach State Park

The sun was out today and you can barely tell that it rained for the entire day yesterday although the air is clearer than it has been and it isn’t so warm today.

Wikipedia has a very lengthy page detailing corrections that Wikipedia has made to Encyclopedia Britannica. Interesting indeed.

In our continuing look at cute pet pigs you have to check out the tiny Royal Dandies.

So my big personal project for the day is geotagging my Flickr images. Now that I have it working I am really excited about geotagging. Geotagging involves specifying the location where a photograph was taken. A few modern cameras are using GPS systems so that the cameras can record the geographic information right at the time that the image is originally taken much like they are recording lens, aperture, shutter, ISO, date, time and other settings now. But for my catelogue of thousands of existing images and for the foreseeable future I will need to encode my images geographically by hand.

By geotagging my photos you will be able to go through the gallery and instantly see where any photo was taken or you can search by the map to find photos taken at a particular spot. It is a great concept and is really making picture taking much more useful.

I ended up putting in a full ten hour day at the office today. The original plan was for me to do the semi-early shift this week starting just after seven all week. Then the plan was for me to do the real early shift at six thirty all week. But today that changed again and now I am working on Bahrain hours which means that I will be starting my days at three in the morning all week! Tomorrow I have to start early and then drive to Spring Valley for a car appointment at eight fifteen. It is going to be a very long morning.

I got home at five and worked on some geotagging before Dominica got home at six fifteen. She did some shopping today and picked up the seventh “Harry Potter” book. She had meant to buy Guitar Hero 80’s Encore Edition but was so excited about the HP No. 7 that she forgot about it.

Dominica cooked a pizza for dinner (with a whole wheat crust) and I watched Full House while working on my picture and Dominica read “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” in which she is totally engrossed and doesn’t even know that I am here.

I wasn’t able to go to bed nearly as early as I would have like to have as I just wasn’t tired.  But at least I am not staying up late.  I have to be up at three in the morning but I expect there to be nearly nothing to do so I am hopeful that I will get tons of awesome geotagging done in the morning!  I am having a blast.  I love maps.  And I love photographs.  And I love web 2.0 mashups.  This is just all kinds of awesomey goodness!

July 23, 2007: Another Rainy Monday

I woke up plenty early this morning all on my own which is surprising considering how tired Dominica and I (and Oreo) have been the last few nights. It has been a long and exhausting week for us. Lots of overtime and “up in the air” stuff and just things going on. We were really happy to just get some time to just relax and drive with Oreo in the BMW yesterday.

Island Beach State Park (Trail A13)

I got a couple of good pictures from our trip yesterday. It was really bright while we were out so it was tough. We sent a copy of one of the pictures of Oreo hanging out in the back of the convertible to the Doggle company to show them how happy Oreo is wearing his Doggles.

It is raining in the city again today. Tons of rain. I am sure that it will be flooding again. My friend on Long Island say that it is really coming down hard out there as well.

Dad called to let me know that there was a problem with a part that we had gotten for the RX7 so the car is not going to be ready as soon as we had hoped. It could easily be several weeks before we are able to even make an attempt at putting it onto the road.

Today was so busy all morning that it was one in the afternoon before I even realized that time was passing. I got a lot done though. I like days when I am busy but not because I am thrashing but when I am able to really be productive and get lots of good work done.

This is a little old but in Australia the fastest Morse Code operator vs. the fastest mobile “texter” went head to head with the ninety year old Morse Code operator winning! This really goes to show what a pathetic interface to text messages the mobile phone keypad is. What is really dumb, though, is that people like me have TXT interfaces with full thumb keypads on my mobile device and regular keyboards from my computer so using the numerical keypad is an artificial limitation that doesn’t really have any application.

I am going to be working the very early hours on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday this week. That is, going in to the office at six thirty or so in the morning. I know that it is impossible to keep track of when I am working and when I am home. On Wednesday I will be taking Dominica’s car up to Spring Valley, NY to get its inspection taken care of and then I plan to work from home for the rest of that day.

It ended up raining all day. It was raining early this morning before I left for work and maybe all night for all that I know. It rained hard for what seemed like all day. The forecast says rain until midnight! That is a lot of water coming down out there. I can only imagine that we are going to be flooding horribly again and traffic tonight will be awful.

Summer Rain in the Netherlands on Flickr

Rain, rain, rain. I grabbed you a pic of rain from Flickr.

I was all ready to go home when I found out that one of my teams needed me to stay late. So much for the plan of coming in early and leaving early. All last week it turned into me having to work extra hours and that is continuing into today.

I was hoping to have been able to have escaped early today just to beat the worst of the flood traffic but that was not to be. Jersey is so bad in the rain. Everyone drives like idiots. Actually, that happens even without the rain. But the rain exacerbates the problem. And then a lot of the roads actually are under water which really makes it all a disaster.

I got to leave work at six thirty which was only eleven hours and not nearly as bad as it seemed.  The drive home was quite good as well.  I guess everyone left work early to avoid the traffic leaving the roads clear by the time that I headed home just a little bit on the late side.

Dominica did some grocery shopping on her way home and was just unloading her car when I pulled up to 1180.  So I helped her carry up the groceries and then we walked right over to Food for Life to get ourselves some dinner.

We came home and I spent the evening either doing dishes and cleaning in the kitchen or scanning more old photographs in for my Flickr feed.  I have uploaded a set of the York Central School Swim Team from the winter of 1993.  I have tons more scanned but I upload them in groups to make the tagging process easier so the 1996 York Central School vs. Perry Central School Girls Soccer pictures will be coming in a few days.

We watched more Full House while I worked and Dominica relaxed with Oreo.  Oreo is still quite exhausted from his fun trip to the beach this weekend.

It was off to bed early as I need to be up just a little after five tomorrow morning.