June 1, 2004

OUR JUNE 2004 LLAMA OF THE MONTH IS NATHAN PARKER!!

Nate is getting married this month and is one of our original llamas so he earns the semi-regular honor of being our LOTM!

Another month already. Is it possible that there are only twenty days left in Spring? It doesn’t seem possible. This year is just flying by.

I am loving working on my new laptop. It isn’t so much new as new to me. But it is barely used and I think will suit me well for a while. I haven’t heard from Min how she is liking her laptop but I am guessing that she is very happy. She is using my old one now. My new one is an HP Pavilion (yes, yes, I know, NEVER buy a Pavilion – but beggar’s can’t be choosers) with an AMD Athlon XP 2200+ and 256MB of memory. It is bigger than the Compaq Evo that I have had, the screen is bigger and brighter and I like the keyboard action better, I think. I really like that the USB are exposed and I don’t have to open a flap to get to them. I have been using this laptop for almost a week now and am pretty happy. I am planning on getting another 512MB for it to really make it usable for me. It is less noisy than the Evo and that is really nice.

In case anyone needs to track me down, I am back in Bowie and I am staying in room 315. I am trying my best to keep the cell phone on but I don’t always manage to. I only have one battery with me (I think) so it is a struggle to keep the phone charged.

I decided that I had waited too long before moving updates out to the archives so I caught up with that this morning. I need to make sure that we aren’t getting too long in the loading here.

I spent the morning hanging out in the hotel. I only got a few hours of sleep because I was up working last night and then the hospital woke me up really early this morning. If they had called when they were supposed to, they would have caught me before I went to bed. But instead they waited until the next shift and woke me up. So I plan on making it a short day today.

I ended up working all afternoon and didn’t get back to the hotel until 5:30. I took a short nap, maybe an hour. Then I showered to get the sleep out of my eyes and I drove over and fueled the car, picked up dinner at McDonald’s and off I went back to the hospital. It was light when I left but dark when I arrived. I worked at the hospital until about 9:30.

When I got back to Bowie, I parked at the hotel and walked over to Borders because Min said that the third season of Coupling had released today. I figured it was a long shot but I didn’t have a lot of other stimulating things to do so I used it as an excuse to take a walk. Much to my surprise, they actually had it!

I am back in the hotel now, in for the evening. As I strolled back from my late night shopping I began thinking about the secret lives of travelling consultants. So many people think of travelling for work to be glamorous and exciting. But the reality it is exceptionally lonely. Lonely dinners at odd hours, a quiet hotel room to return to. Shopping for things not needed just to fill time. Walkingd the quiet parking lot of the Borders/Target shopping center here in Bowie takes me back to living in the Extended Stay America in Alexandria, Virginia when John and I were first getting Washington up and running. I remember walking over to the CompUSA, Bennigans, ChiChis or the mall for something to do. Walking the streets of sprawling suburbia late at night when all of the regulars have gone off to bed. Now, sitting alone in my hotel room, talking to you in my head as if you are really listening as I sit at my laptop. Behind the laptop is a mirror. The room is dark and my face is lit up eerily in the mirror from the light of the laptop. It is strange to work at night with me looking over my own shoulder.

It is June, that means that I have now been working for Nicklin Associates for five years. It doesn’t seem possible. Back in those days all there was was our account at the University of Rochester. John was living out of the Wellesley Inn Rochester South. That was before Andy and I moved to Ithaca and then on to Pittsburgh. In some ways it seems so long ago. In other ways, just like it was yesterday. Man, how time passes. It is nights like tonight that make me feel old.

I keep meaning to mention on here about how to find free Anti-Virus solutions for home users. As everyone knows, it is vitally important that everyone have a good, up to date Anti-Virus solution on their computers. It isn’t just important for protecting yourself but by protecting your own machine you are helping to prevent outbreaks. I know of two solutions. One is Free-AV which I, Min, Eric, Andy and many other people have been using for some time. It is a good package but it does require manually updating the package everyday. So it is important to be diligent with your updates if you are using it and if you leave you computer on for weeks at a time when you are not around then it is not a good solution for you. The other option is AVG by Grisoft which Cory turned me on to just recently. This one has a much more complicated intall and registration process but it has automatic updates which makes it really nice. So, everyone get out there and try one out and help defeat viruses!

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