Friday, July 2, 2004

Home for the weekend

I’m back in Brooklyn for the weekend. Depending on my mood and inability to plan more than 24 hours in advance, I’ll likely be back in Chicago again next week for a couple days of estate stuff.

On the plus side we have a buyer for the house and I’m working through that process. On the minus side, I still can’t believe how much stuff is in the house after nearly six months of cleaning, donating, distributing, and throwing stuff away.

I found several more boxes of papers from 1997—1999 which I would like to just throw away but find that I have to go through because they occasionally have an important document or two.

My mom kept everything, every bill, every envelope from every bill, the filler that came with the bill, everything. Relatively neatly filed in folders for each company, organization, or correspondent. Sometimes annotated with the check number or some other correspondence.

It adds up to a lot of stuff to go through.

I have about 10 boxes of geneology records (mostly for my mom’s (Krips, Loftus, Ryan, and Barker) side of the family but also some from my dad’s family. There’s another six boxes of photos, slides, and 8mm movies, even some audio tapes from the late 1960s and early 1970s (not even sure that I can play them without destroying them).

I had an estate sales person come out to the house on Wednesday, no luck there: there’s not enough perceived value in the remaining items to be worth the time for the agent to set up and conduct a sale. I have another lead I’m going to try Tuesday but have already started on Plan B which will amount to a garage/yard sale over two weekends in late July and early August. If I can do that and line up a charity to take some of the other items, and a dumpster for whatever’s left, then I can close up the house and have it ready for an August or early September closing.

In other news...

My brother got a job at Genuine Games (he’d been laid off in April as part of the general LucasArts meltdown) and is moving to LA from Vallejo.

Frisket has spent most of the week on antibiotics and antihistamines. What we’ve thought was ear mites was instead an allergic reaction to something she gets in her ears (her ears which she tends to rub into the ground at frequent intervals). So she’s doped up and even more laconic than usual.

Lisa and I have been trying to find an airfare to Sydney for something under a billion dollars. I briefly tried to use the American Express Platinum Travel Service but their deal isn’t much of a deal. They tout the ability to get a companion ticket for free if you buy a full fare business class ticket, however their airline partners are extremely limited, and the companion ticket ends up having various restrictions placed on it Furthermore, it’s clear that they only get allocated a small number of seats they can sell and those are already gone on most of the trans-pac flights for the dates we want to travel.

So, now we are looking at a couple of options, one is a consolidator which claims to have a $6k fare, the other option is a round-the-world fare or an around-the-pacific-rim fare.

e.p.c. posted this at 23:49 GMT on 2-Jul-2004 .

Saturday, July 3, 2004

The Nakamichi Soundspace 3 terror

We bought a Nakamichi Soundspace 3 several years ago. It looks very elegant, stylish, fitting in with our general tastes. Has a built-in CD player, am-fm radio, plus inputs for audio from various sources.

It replaced a generic, functional Sony alarm clock. One appeal of the SS3 was that it would give us a clock on each nightstand and either of us could turn off the alarm in the morning.

It’s turned into one of the worst pieces of crap I’ve ever owned.

Turns out, pretty much all of the functions require the CD lid to be up. Due to a flaw in the design of the system, a little cheapo switch fails after maybe 100 openings of the lid. This causes the lid to open and close all by itself, because the system can’t tell when it is open or closed.

Initially the problem was infrequent, then sort of humorous as the lid would open by itself at odd moments during the day.

At some point the lid came off whatever track it’s on so it now makes a grinding noise as it attempts to lift itself.

This morning the Soundspace 3 launched a devastating attack on our sleep. I’d forgotten to turn off the alarm clock last night. Normally not a major problem, we tend to sleep through both alarms as one of us blindly whacks the lid to turn off the alarm.

But not this morning.

No, this morning the radio refused to shut off.


Instead it blared out WCBS’ morning newscast while I frantically tried to shut it off. Can’t just pull the plug because it’s plugged in behind the bed.

Tried to use the remote but it failed to work either.

None of the controls on the unit would work.

Finally Lisa whacked the unit on her side of the bed (it’s just a clock, speaker, with a snooze/alarm shut off button). After a couple of whacks the stupid thing shut off.

We will be buying a cheap, functional alarm clock later today.

Not from Nakamichi.

e.p.c. posted this at 11:31 GMT on 3-Jul-2004 .

Rock, Paper, Saddam!

Rock Paper Saddam

e.p.c. posted this at 16:02 GMT on 3-Jul-2004 .

Sunday, July 4, 2004

Happy 4th

Hey, it’s Alister’s birthday today.

Lisa, Frisket and I walked from home to the W Hotel Union Square, I’m guessing about 2-3 miles (the Brooklyn Bridge alone is a mile). We’re staying here for the night to get Frisket away from the fireworks (and to a lesser extent, us away from the hordes about to descend upon the Promenade for the fireworks display). We’ll stay here overnight and then walk back home tomorrow.

I’m considering whether or not to return to Chicago this week for more estate management fun. If I don’t return this week then the next opportunity will be the last week of July/early August.

I’m debating whether or not I should attend Preventing the Internet Meltdown, a conference at the end of July. It’s called by Peter Denning of the RISKS Digest and several others. Could be fun to be back in a technical conference again, on the other hand it’s on the left coast and I’m not sure I should be flitting around to conferences.

e.p.c. posted this at 15:34 GMT on 4-Jul-2004 .

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Always Have a Plan B

Having a Backup Career Plan (Jeremy Zawodny's blog): It’s odd. I don't know if it’s the field of work I’m in or not, but a high percentage of folks that I know reasonably well all seem to have what I call a backup career plan in mind.

e.p.c. posted this at 12:16 GMT on 7-Jul-2004 .

Friday, July 9, 2004

Well that was a fast week

This week seemed to fly by, though I managed to avoid a return trip to Chicago.

Frisket managed to survive the fireworks on Sunday night. They were still loud in the hotel room but she didn't have the terrors she gets at home. More importantly she didn't injure either me or Lisa (last year she sort of clawed away at me as the fireworks exploded about 1000 feet west of the house).

I walked Frisket home on Monday. About 30 minutes into the walk, halfway home, we got caught in the worst rainstorm I've managed to be outside in in years. Totally, 100% drenched. And yet it was still incredibly muggy. We dragged ourselves over the Brooklyn Bridge and got home around 4 (about two hours' walking).

I don't remember much of Tuesday other than it ended with me fixing someone's WiFi router in return for a delicious dinner. Oh, Frisket and I got pestered on the Promenade by some missionaries. This is sort of unusual in this neighborhood given the overwhelming presence of the Jehovah's Witnesses in the neighborhood.

On Wednesday, Mike Cabana, a friend from high school, dropped by to see the house and meet Frisket and Lisa. We caught dinner at Iron Chef and caused a minor kerfluffle as Mike needed the actual written receipt so he could get reimbursed.

I don't remember much of yesterday, I worked out and retrieved yet another boxload of mail from the PO Box where I've directed all of the estate-related mail.

And today...I've spent most of today cleaning my office in a desperate attempt to avoid dealing with stuff I should be dealing with (filing tax returns for myself and my mother for 2003, writing out various notes to people who keep sending mail to my mother and father, figuring out what happened to my Quicken files when I switched computers in May, etc.).

But I'm finishing the week well: I have a festering head cold which I can feel migrating down into my throat. Should make the weekend enjoyable.

A poll:
For anyone reading this who's planning to attend the wedding: we're not planning on specifically having dancing. Neither of us dance (unless some piece of clothing is on fire). You can dance if you want to, you'll still be friends of ours. We just don't plan to dance ourselves. So, the poll is: is this a horrid mistake or will people be ok with no formal dancing?

You can answer in email or in the comments, or at the wedding blog (which I'm not linking to here on the public site).

e.p.c. posted this at 18:36 GMT on 9-Jul-2004 .

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Magnetic Fields at Zankel Hall Nov 18 2004

While browsing some odd web site or another I noticed that The Magnetic Fields are playing in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall on November 18, 2004.

I didn't stop at go, I didn't wait around to check dates, I impulsively bought four tickets (tickets tend to go quickly for TMF). We have three tickets accounted for, the fourth is presently up for grabs.

Zankel Hall is a new hall carved out of the bedrock under Carnegie Hall. This is the first event held there I've been interested in seeing/listening to.

e.p.c. posted this at 14:51 GMT on 11-Jul-2004 .

Monday, July 12, 2004

We Have a Policy That These Will be the Best Olympic Games Evar

Riffing on I have a policy that this will be the best weblog post ever ( Athens organizers better adopt this policy now, before they lose power again during the Olympic Games.

See, traditionally, the head of the IOC makes a pronouncement at the end of the Games which amounts to I declare the insert name of host city Olympic Games the Best Games Ever. After the disaster in Atlanta there was much kerfluffle in the TOC because Samaranch didn't declare the Atlanta Games to be the best games ever. A slap in the face one in particular but primarily IBM and the folks at ACOG. Nagano and Sydney were declared best-games-evar (though I missed the declaration in Nagano as I was catching up on much needed sleep).

I stopped paying attention after we shut down the Sydney ITCC so I don't know if Salt Lake was declared to be a best games ever.

I'm sure the Athens Olympic Games will go well, I wouldn't want to wish any harm on any of the athletes, spectators, or staff. I reserve the right to laugh my ass off if there is the slightest problem with technology though.

e.p.c. posted this at 17:33 GMT on 12-Jul-2004 .

Friday, July 16, 2004

On vacation

Lisa, Frisket and I are spending the coming week in Provincetown, MA. I believe we will have no internet connectivity and our cell phones may be accidentally turned off for the duration of the trip.

e.p.c. posted this at 14:05 GMT on 16-Jul-2004 . Source,

Sunday, July 25, 2004

No Sleep Till Brooklyn

We're back from the week in Provincetown, MA and evening in Cambridge, MA. Accomplished very little, which was the point of the exercise.

Frisket enjoyed the trip and has made it clear that we should return next year. Actually, she wants to return next year and could care less whether we accompany her or not.

We stayed at Labrador Landing, which is in the West End section of p-town. The cottage is right on the beach, which enabled Frisket to run out for her morning chase of the outgoing tide.

Enjoyed some delightful dinners at Edwige at Night and Clem and Ursies.

We took in a dune tour and made a couple of drives down the cape (er, up the cape) to Wellfleet and Truro, but generally stayed close to the cottage.

I managed to read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl and started into both The Wall of the Sky, The Wall of the Eye by Jonathan Lethem and Land's End: A Walk Through Provincetown by Michael Cunningham. At the rate I finish books I'm sure I'll finish these off by the end of the year. Maybe next year.

We wrapped up our stay in Provincetown with dinner at Lagniappe and people-watching on Commercial St.

We drove to Cambridge on Saturday and stayed at the Hotel Marlowe. Our goofy GPS navigator doesn't have the updated roadmap for Boston yet and got very confused when we descended under the city into the new tunnels.

Caught a delicious home made Indian dinenr with Samuel and Anne last night, and brunched with Alister, Abigail and Hetty this morning before heading back to NYC. We are escaping NYC for the RNC in August and had no desire to be in Boston during the DNC this week.

The coming weeks will be hectic as we get ready for the wedding. Complicating things are my need to return to Chicago to close otu the estate, and a likely consulting gig in Seattle (a good complication!) for four to six weeks in August and September.

e.p.c. posted this at 19:05 GMT on 25-Jul-2004 .

Slightly acerbic and eccentric dog walker who masquerades as a web developer and occasional CTO.

Spent five years running the technology side of the circus known as

More about me here.