January 26, 2006

After wrapping up my paperwork for Empire State College last night I decided that my database paperwork was too weak and that I needed something to back up my database experience. So I stayed up late taking Brainbench certifications to improve my credibility and my resume. Getting additional certifications is never a bad thing. I stayed up taking two tests: Data Modeling Concepts and ANSI SQL (Structured Query Language). I passed both tests. I have to retake one test that expired last year and one additional database programming test and I will qualify for the larger job role of Database Administrator (DBA). So that is my goal. Only two additional tests to take tomorrow and I will be there. And retaking a test is never as hard as doing it the first time.

While I was up working on the certifications I also managed to scan in tons more slides. All of 1994 is now complete and I have a good head start on 1995. It is really cool going through the pictures in chronological order the way that I am because it is kind of like taking a walk through history. In some ways some of the things in the pictures seem like just yesterday but other things seem to be from so long ago that it is like I was just someone watching a movie of someone else’s life. One of the saddest things is that I have found tons of pictures of my cat from 1995. He was a great cat and was very photogenic as well. But the sad thing is that he has only been gone now for ten or eleven years and I don’t even remember his name! I remember the cat, but I just can’t put a name to him. I am sure that I am the one that named him too. And he wasn’t one of those cats that we had during a time when we had dozens of cats at once. It was just him. Our one lonely cat for a year or two and I can’t recall his name. If I remember correctly, I think that he just wandered off sometime in late 1995 or 1996. He was one of the rare healthy cats that we had. Most likely a neighbour was feeding him instead of expecting him to be a barn cat like we did. And eventually they convinced him to stay. At least I like to think that that is what happened. If so, there is every possibility that he is still alive. He would only be twelve or thirteen now. Not even that venerable for a cat.

I talked to John Stephens – the Surfing IT Wizard – and the plan is that he is going to drive up on next Friday evening and hang out for the weekend. He is bringing the last three seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for Dominica (I won’t watch those shows – they make me very unhappy.) But, more importantly, TSITW is bringing Firefly which I am very anxious to watch. Everyone has said that that is a really amazing show.

I went to bed around 4:30 figuring I would need at least a little sleep before getting up in the morning. My plan is to have lunch with Eric in Rochester in conjunction with taking my cell phone into the Verizon store on Jefferson Road to have the technician check it out. Maybe I will get lucky and they will be able to do something for me.

I slept in a little this morning, as you can imagine, but was up around 10:00 am which isn’t too bad considering when I went to bed. I got up and got onto the computer and scheduled lunch with Eric. Andy is having a super busy day today so he wasn’t able to get lunch with us. I managed to get up to the city to meet Eric at 1:00. In the attempt to get out of the house there was, of course, a million obstacles. From Oreo needing to be played with several times and needing to be taken outside several time all while the phone was ringing and ringing.

Eric wasn’t in the mood for our regular bagel stop so we hit Jay’s Diner. We ended up hanging out for over two hours. Good thing that we have coffee. I took him back to the hospital and then went down to Verizon to get the cell phone looked at. It took Verizon an hour to look at both Dominica and my cell phones. The final verdict was that the issue with my cell phone’s battery dying so quickly is that I am using it full time down in Geneseo where there is no EVDO service and the cell phone is constantly looking for that service. Apparently looking for the EVDO service uses a ton more energy than just getting the service. So my cell phone is running down its battery really quickly and there isn’t anything that we are able to do about that. Bummer.

While Verizon was looking at the phones I drove down to Borders to scan some books. I ended up getting a number of books including “The Visual Quickstart Guide to C++ Programming”, “Linux Server Hacks Volume Two”, “The Perl Pocket Reference” and “Build a Program Now! Microsoft Visual C# 2005 Express Edition”. Quite a load of books but I got really good deals today. While I was there I managed to help a retired pastor who was looking to build his first web site. We talked for probably twenty minutes. I think that I was actually able to help him a bit.

After picking up the cell phones again I had to run up to Greece to drop off Dominica’s cell phone at her office. Then it was time to get back home to Oreo who has been home alone all day long. I talked to Andy on the way home. He is really excited about tomorrow being his final day on his contract. Today was a really busy day as he prepared to be able to leave tomorrow but, most likely, tomorrow will be a pretty slow day for him since it is the final day. Generally that becomes a blow off day.

I got home and Oreo was very happy to see me but there were no signs of him having been upset from me having been gone all day. That is a really good sign that he is starting to become comfortable living here with us. He now must be understanding that we are not going to be leaving him and that we are just out for the day. He was definitely happy when I got home. He seemed to have been in a “wanting to spend the day with my daddy” kind of day even before I left the house this morning. He was so snuggly this morning when I woke up that his head was on my pillow right next to my head. I was only barely able to keep from falling out of bed. Then he followed me around all morning right up until I left to go to Rochester.

I continued working on scanning old slides into the computer today. Only so many more days left of this until it is all completed. Then I can return to scanning negatives and prints again.

The plan tomorrow is to spend the morning and early afternoon down at Castile Christian Academy. I am going to pick up Jeremy a little before 8:00 in the morning and we are going to meet dad down at Lorraine’s for breakfast before going into the school to get as many computers as possible set up and ready to go so that we are able to start classes on Monday. It is rather a tall order but I think that we can get far enough along to be in a position to at least begin limping through classes next week.

I pushed forward on my Brainbench certifications tonight. My first challenge was to take the MySQL Administration certification. I was very happy with the results: Number Seven in the World. Whoo-hoo. After that success I attempted the Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Programming certification and skimmed by – passing by the slimmest margin. But I am fine with that as the knowledge necessary for that certification is completely outside of my usual knowledge domain. Most importantly, though, I have now completed all of the individual certifications necessary for the must larger Brainbench Job Role Certification of Brainbench Certified Database Administrator or BCDBA. That is the goal that I had been working towards.

I wrapped up the last of my certification tests just as Dominica got home from work. I edited my credit by evaluation paperwork for Empire State and resubmitted it. I wanted to make sure that it was as complete as possible.

We popped in Star Trek: The Next Generation and watched an episode before heading off to bed. I have to be up early in the morning to go over to Castile so I want to get a full night’s sleep tonight.

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