October 26, 2005

Four more days and counting until our trip to Walt Disney World!

Well, the SGL Podcast made it back into the top 100 list yesterday sneaking in at #100.

I am very glad to not have anything pressing to do today. I am just doing some work at home until dad comes over this afternoon around 3:30 so that he, Min and I can go up to Rochester to see Wallace and Gromit which we have been waiting many years for. Last night while Dominica and I were watching a little of the 1995 season of Last of the Summer Wine – which is a series that is so immensely slow and boring that we have decided not to watch it anymore and didn’t even bother to complete the episode that we were watching – I noticed that I recognized one of the characters voices: it is Wallace from Wallace and Gromit!

Normally Dominica has to work this evening but she switched with Mary and Mary is working tonight and Min is working for her on Friday. I am going to be out a bit of Friday evening as I am having a mentoring session.

I talked to dad and we decided that we are going to have lunch here in Geneseo instead of going out for dinner tonight and then go do some shopping in Henrietta.

Dad came by at 11:00 and then the three of us went over to the Omega Grill for some lunch. Dad is taking us out today as a kind of anniversary celebration. We had lunch and then we drove up to Henrietta to go to the movie. Normally dad drives but he has diabetes and it has been kind of bad recently and he isn’t feeling the best today. We got there in time to get into the theatre and to relax for a while. We are all very excited about this movie. I have been a huge fan of the Aardman films ever since they did Creature Comforts so many years ago.

Dominica did some shoe shopping after the movie and dad and I went up to Jiffy Lube and got an oil change and wash for my car. Then it was back home. I can’t believe how much we ended up doing today and are back home by 3:30!

Today’s main projects include getting a JAVA programming environment set up for Dominica so that she can start working on stuff for college even though she hasn’t actually applied yet. And getting a good solution for the Castile school to be able to have Internet access by providing a whitelist driven web content filter. I think that I found a solution to that but it will be a little while before I am able to test my theory. I think that SUSE offers squid and squidguard in the list of supported packages and it looks like squidguard will allow me to have a whitelist of sites pretty easily. I have not worked with squidguard before so I don’t know how difficult that it will be to use.

Min has taken to knitting in the office and watching movies on our portable DVD player that we bought off of Andy a few months ago. She wears headphones and is able to be with me in the office but not interrupt what I am working on. It works out pretty well.

Dominica got a call this evening and she has an interview at the same place that I was interviewing at just a few weeks ago. Not for the same position. We are really excited because the company sounded really good and the people there were very nice. Even after not getting the position I was very happy with them and would definitely consider them in the future. They have really good benefits and pay and everything. The position is a bit of a long shot for Dominica since this would be her very first real solid IT position but it is a great opportunity for her and for us. So, once again, we are looking prayer concerning her getting this position. She is interviewing on this coming Friday morning at 10:30 in the morning. It is a ten hour, four day a week position which would be very nice. So we are prematurely excited, as you would guess.

We decided to watch some Keeping Up Appearances this evening to relax. We watched one episode and decided that we wanted to go to Walmart and so some quick shopping. We packed up Oreo and went over to the store. We got some groceries and Min got a pair of sunglasses for our trip to Disney World. I got a new watch. It is just a $10.00 Walmart Faded Glory watch but that is plenty fine for me. I wasn’t going to get one but I had a long time to look at them with nothing else to do while Min was looking at the sunglasses and I found an orange one that I really liked that will go well with the blue polo work shirts that I wear often. Lindsay Lohan’s Herbie Fully Loaded was on sale so we got that as well. It isn’t the greatest Herbie movie but it was okay. It lacked something that the original movies had. We saw it at the drive in over the summer.

On the way home we stopped at the Mobil station to fill up Min’s car so that she doesn’t have to deal with it tomorrow on her way to school. Gas here is down to $2.70/gallon. Boy is that a good feeling. That is another nine cents less than it was this morning. We are extremely close to the pre-Katrina prices.

As we were leaving the gas station we noticed a movie rental place in the Dollar General plaza that we had never noticed before. We decided that since it was early and we shouldn’t have businesses in town that we don’t know about we decided to stop in. It is called Movie Gallery and it is pretty nice. The best part is that they have a pretty decent selection of previously viewed movies for sale and currently they have them on sale for buy two, get two free. That sounded pretty good so we took a look at what they had. I asked the person working there and she said that they guarantee their movies for life. That is what Hollywood Video used to do and it caused us to buy from them all of the time because we always felt safe doing it. But then Hollywood changed their policy to only one month and that wasn’t enough for us to feel confident buying there so we almost never do. So we are really excited to have a rental place with a good sales policy walking distance from the house. And they are open until ten or eleven most nights. That is really handy. Boy do I love living in Geneseo. There can’t be anyplace that is as handy as this place is. So we looked around for a while and decided to pick up The Longest Yard, Ice Princess, Miss Congeniality 2 and Finding Neverland with Johnny Depp. Not a bad selection. There were some other movies there that we were interested in as well but we partially made our selection based on which movies were the same price so that we would be able to take maximum benefit of their sale. That is the trick to those sales. Normally you end up getting movies of mixed prices and only the two lesser expensive items end up being half price and you don’t get the value out of the sale that you think that you are going to get.

We came back home and it was only 9:00. We decided to watch Miss Congeniality 2 which neither of us have seen yet. It definitely does not live up to the first movie. And the first movie was only so good. It was definitely a stretch to attempt to make a sequel to that movie and they really didn’t have any material to work with. Sandra Bullock does a really poor performance which is probably a result of her being embarrassed about the plot and the writing of the movie. The first movie was a really bizarre fantasy look at the FBI but this movie takes it even farther and to new levels of dumb and ridiculous. The whole movie is flat, dumb and boring. Is it the worst thing ever? No. It isn’t the worst thing ever. If you get it cheap or get stuck having to watch it you might enjoy it a little. Deidrich Bader is awesome as always but is not in the film nearly enough to save it. If you can avoid watching this movie I think that I would have to say that that is the way to go. Maybe the best part of this movie is that it clearly marks the end of what little career Sandra Bullock ever had. This is one of those movies that has an important underlying moral. And that moral appears to be: it is okay for girls to want to be professionals and have careers as long as they keep their hair in place and do their makeup carefully. Oh yes, and they also demonstrated that the girl who slept with her boss worked her way to the top. I think that women’s advocacy groups everywhere should be up in arms about this movie. I am a man and I am offended by the portrayal of female FBI agents in the film. I guess this is what happens when Sandra Bullock and HER SISTER get to produce a movie. How did her sister get to be a film producer? Must be nice ot just “be a producer”. It isn’t like you audition for a position like that. You just have a connection and people give you money. Its kind of pathetic.

The movie was bad enough that Dominica agreed to let me watch The Longest Yard to help make up for it. She didn’t agree that it was all that bad but she didn’t try to tell me that it was very good either. The Longest Yard is a departure from the style of films that Sandler normally does. I am not sure what I thought of the movie. Overall I liked it. I think that it had decent character development and was decently entertaining. As many movies today do it portrays the inmates of a West Texas prison as being the good guys and the prison guards and warden as being the bad guys. It goes pretty over the top in this regard, I think. Having never been in prison I don’t really know and I am sure that they vary significantly from prison to prison. And I am painfully aware that the US has abandoned its policy of jury trials, no one being held without trial and innocent until proven guilty and now, with the patriot act, many people are instantly under gag order if a federal overstepping is in progress – many people are denied the option of lawyers under the Patriot Act barring them from even having council to tell them what they can and cannot do. But in general I think that this movie takes it a bit far and really makes you hate the prison system a bit more than was necessary. But that isn’t to say that it was a bad movie. I really am proud of what they did with the ending. I think that a lot of people will be expecting something quite different from what they end of getting. But that isn’t bad. Hollywood is far too formula these days and it is nice to have even a little variation from a full budget American film.

It was 2:00 by the time we were done watching the movies. There is always so much to do around the house and we never end up being tired when it is finally time for bed so I came up to the office and got to work on the updates for SGL and Min started doing more laundry and dishes. Oreo, of course, was determined to get to bed so he layed down by the desk in my office and relaxed in protest. Min has a long day tomorrow so she really does need to get to sleep. She has her class in Canandaigua in the morning (although it is her last class for a week since we will be in Florida all next week) and then she has to work from 3:00 until 11:00 tomorrow night. I also have to do some hamster care before heading off to bed. That hamster manages to make such an unbelievable mess around and within his cage every few days. I can’t believe that so much mess can come from such a small rodent. I swear that he has gotten drastically worse in his old age. Old meaning that he is older than they thought hamster could live just ten years ago. Today he is a middle ages hamster moving into the Autumn of his life. He sleeps more, plays less and makes bigger messes for me to clean up more often. Dad is going to have fun watching over him next week. He will probably end up having to clean the cage at least twice before the end of the week. Fun, fun, fun.

I almost forgot, on October 12 Niagara Telecom, Inc. officially became the Niagara Technology Group, Inc. So if anybody wonders who it is that I work for, now you know officially. It took almost the entire year to get the name change to go through just from the standpoint of the official channels. We started the process internally of trying to change the name a full year ago. It has been a long wait and a stressful one for us as many things have had to be put on hold during that time. So it is a huge relief to have this weight lifted off of all of us and nice to really know what the company is going to be known as. I even got a chance to send out a general email announcement about the change this evening. That felt really nice.

I am planning on being in the office all day tomorrow. I might have to run Oreo over to the vet tomorrow because he needs some shots and we are going to be away next week so that pretty much only leaves tomorrow to squeeze him into the vet or maybe Friday if we have to. Eric is planning on coming over and working out of the office here tomorrow but we will see if that really happens or not. He says that he is going to do that everyday and I am lucky if I see him once a week. Dad and I have a dinner meeting tomorrow evening. I am not sure what time that will be but as you can imagine we will be going over to the Omega. Friday I am at home most of the day but will be mentoring in the evening for several hours. Saturday Min and I will be using as our one chance to prepare for the trip to Disney. We will have to be all packed and ready to go before we go to bed on Saturday or there just won’t be any other chance. Sunday is our usual schedule. Andy is planning on coming down on Sunday afternoon so that we can work. This will actually be the first time that I have seen him for more than five minutes, literally, since he moved out almost two months ago! Boy that has been weird.

Dominica and I got the opportunity to completely pay off one of her long standing college loans today. Boy did that feel good. We are still a long ways from being debt free but that was one big chunk that it was nice to see go bye-bye. One less payment that we have to make month after month. What a relief that was.

For those of you who tried reading Its Me Or Is It and gave up because Jeremy vanished forever, he appears to be blogging again. So I guess it might be safe to go back in the water. Or, just add his feed to your feed reader and see how often he really manages to blog. The Urinal Cakes show is still missing in action, however.

I got a chance to work on episode ten of the SGL Podcast this evening. I am very excited as this is the very first time that we have had an audio comment to add to the show and I think that that is just so cool. The show tonight is the longest one yet going almost a full fifty minutes. I hope that it isn’t too long for everyone. I kind of got carried away. There is some really good stuff in there including the post from Bob but also some more poetry and news and what not. So be sure to log on and check out the show. I am really exited to have a tenth episode done and posted. It is a lot of work and time to keep a podcast up to date. It is tough but I really enjoy it. I am hoping to get one final show done and posted prior to Monday. Then it is the Disney week show.

It is 4:00 in the morning and I really need to get to bed so that I am able to function tomorrow. Doing the podcast always keeps me up super late. Unfortunately after spending over and hour and a half preparing the new podcast the hosting service, podOmatic, was down and not functioning in any way so I was not able to post. I am hopeful that nothing bad has happened and that they are simply offline for a little while. It is the middle of the night and they might be doing maintenance. They have been down for about an hour, though, that I am aware of and could have been down much longer. So I will try to post again first thing in the morning. If they are not up by then then I will have to start looking for a new hosting provider for the podcast. I am just having too much fun making the show to not keep doing it. Good night everyone.

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