I started my morning off by procrastinating when the alarm went off. I must have hit snooze four or five times today. I got up around 7:15 or so, pilled Ra and checked about my bedroom. Amazingly my floor was again clear of cat sick, which makes me think that my vet and I met with success in beating the IBD/CP back into dormancy. I just hope as I gradually bring his dosage back down to 1/2 pill a day that he doesn't relapse again. Maybe this was only a temporary thing, although I have a suspicion that it's going to turn out to be seasonal. No matter what the ultimate cycle seems to be I just hope we can keep things under control for another six months at the minimum. I'd like to go that long without him being sick again. I worry about the poor little bugger when he's down and out like that, and have horrible days at work imagining him becoming more and more dehydrated and having to be taken in to the vet again to be treated, or worse.
Sometimes I hate my imagination.
I got in to work and settled down, taking care of a few issues with our Internet router in a (probably vain) attempt to help stabilize some of our outbound bandwidth utilization. I'm curious to see if this will help or hinder things in the long run. What I'd REALLY like to do is bring in a third vendor with two or three more T1s and just let BGP throw packets willy-nilly all over the Internet, but I don't think that my management is particularly keen on having Yet Another Contract to sign. After I dealt with that I shot out e-mails to a number of people involving my big important high-priority project that seems to have stalled under its own weight and importance. I seem to recall writing about it here in the past, although I don't remember if I predicted this particular outcome or not. I shouldn't be claiming victory on that regard yet either, I suppose -- the deadline is the 11th, which is still a few days away. But when that date comes I will probably be vindicated.
The rest of the day was sort of a fast blur. I wrote a terrifying regular expression to perform pattern-matching and variable assignment within OpenView for a log generated by MS SQL Server. It took me a while to get everything set right but once I did I was immensely pleased to see that my evil concoction was matching exactly the way I wanted it to! I RULE!
I had lunch about 45 minutes later than I usually do because I was dealing with a minor problem. I got that squared away, slunk downstairs to make a small plate of salad and tomato slices, then went back upstairs to grab the lunch I'd brought with me -- a few pieces of deli ham, and a few slices of cheddar cheese. We devoured lunch in our usual fashion and spent the rest of the time in the break room arguing if the universe would expand infinitely until it cooled to the point of freezing to death, or if it would eventually collapse on itself and (presumably) restart the cycle. Once it was settled that nobody cared about the ultimate result we moved on to a conversation about black holes and how they have been theorized as the catalyst for the Big Bang in our universe. Just when it got interesting -- we postulated that a Force may have created the black hole somewhere else to build our universe -- we found we had to go back to work. Some of my compatriots in the office are the coolest people on the planet. I challenge you to name another place on the planet where I can go for conversations like this during lunch with my coworkers, and doesn't have "Lab", "University" or "Nuclear Accelerator" somewhere in its name.
After lunch I dealt with one of our campuses, and spent thirty minutes trying to understand what a particular "network specialist" was trying to accomplish. When I discovered the network wasn't working because of a routing issue I had to hold back my tongue. The reason the routing issue on the firewall existed at all was because he'd completely discarded the design he told me he was going to use six months ago and implemented a completely different one. Hello! When you tell me to route everything to for three networks to the IP 10.10.63.254, that's what I do! Routing doesn't just magically change itself to suit your whims when you chuck those plans over the side of the boat and draw up new ones without telling me! I swear, it's like I work with people who enjoy seeing the veins on my forehead pop out even though they're on the other side of the phone, safely out of my blast range. Anybody who tells me that my job isn't 75% customer service doesn't know what the devil they're talking about.
I had to leave work around 1400 (and was I ever glad to leave two hours early... I'd forgotten my SmartGloves at home and my hands were positively screaming in agony) because I wanted to get out to Lake In The Hills before rush hour so that I could get all the paperwork signed and have a place to store things. neowolf2's wife has been agitating for a date when I'll have my possessions out of their basement, and now that I've finally located a place to put it all that's only six miles from his home I think I can provide her with that date. Guess what, gang? If the weather gets better so that it's not raining (or snowing) and it's not ten degrees below freezing before the windchill I'll be spending my weekend moving boxes and furniture! Do I know how to party or WHAT? I'm a little perturbed that individuals I have helped move in the past, repeatedly, will not be available to lend a hand this weekend when I go to war with the storage unit and attempt to cram all my possessions into one 10 foot by 15 foot space. aureth is escaping my wrath on this matter for the most part because he has a valid excuse, and lent a valuable hand in November by driving the truck that I lack the license to drive. The other people, however, are all friends and associates from my past who borrowed my truck and my spine a number of times and now are mysteriously absent.
Want to test a friendship? Move.
On my way out to the storage place I dropped a letter to Discover into the mail. Enclosed in the letter was an order form for a few little odds and ends that they were willing to send me for what amounts to "Free." The first thing I ordered was a Samsonite passport wallet. It's all leather, holds a passport and 10 credit cards. I don't have a passport right now, but I may be getting one later this year. If I do and I get a reason to put it to use, I now have somewhere to store it along with a few of my other things. This makes me happy, because it seems like a an opportunity is opening up before me. At the very least I'll be getting a Samsonite product that retails for over $35... for approximately $4 (the cost of shipping). I also ordered a set of Samsonite mesh netting travel organizers because they'll come in handy when I go on vacation as well as when I travel for business, like I will be in May. I hope they arrive before I depart for my week in California, but you never can tell. "Free gifts" like these tend to be a long time in coming when you're trying to pry them out of the hands of the company that's teasing you with them.
My drive home from the All Safe Storage was surprisingly quick. I was pleased to see that I could get 87-octane gasoline for $1.41 a gallon, which is about fifteen cents per gallon cheaper than I can buy it in this area. So in addition to the $295 I dropped with the storage people I also put down $45 for thirty-one gallons of gasoline in my truck. I love having a dual-tank pickup sometimes, like when I'm on long trips and don't have to stop for over seven hours to get fuel. The unfortunate side-effect of that immense capacity is that I have to pay to fill it up, and the pickup doesn't get the greatest gas mileage anymore because of aerodynamics (no tonneau cover) as well as the fact it's getting on in miles (older vehicles get worse gas mileage as the engine components wear out). I think I'm also being penalized by the fact that my O2 sensors are original equipment and have 176,000 miles on them. They're probably misleading the PCM and causing the fuel/air mixture ration to be cockeyed. I really need to get that fixed....
The other surprise about the drive home was that I was exactly on the money. When filling out my paperwork I was asked how far away I lived from the storage facility. I guessed that I lived 36 miles from there... and my odometer says I was right on the money with 35.6 miles. I'm kind of scared that I was able to estimate that well. Can you tell I've been doing some travelling these last few years, and have sort of gotten a feel for highway distances? Ay-yi-yi.
When I got home I only marginally managed to arrive before enveri and subsequently roho. Kestral had messaged my SideKick via AIM on my drive home, letting me know she intended to cook and asking me to take out one of the chicken breasts from the freezer to thaw. I plopped it in a baggie, filled a bowl with hot water and dropped the soon-to-be-tasty piece of meat in so that it could defrost. Kestral picked up the mail when she arrived and to my surprise almost all of it was for me. I had two DVDs from my order with the good folks at North American DVD arrive today, unfortunately neither of them were the Red Dwarf discs I ordered. What I did get was good, though! I received
The Abyss in wide screen special edition as well as the classic Dead Poets Society. I love Dead Poets Society because of the powerful message and the superb acting. Robin Williams is an amazingly versatile actor and brought an energy all his own to the role of John Keating.
Before dinner both Kes and Roho made use of the treadmill while I chattered away online and watched a bit of TV. When I logged on to Furry I was surprised to find a very eager pair of individuals awaiting my arrival. I was soon shown why they'd been waiting for me -- I got to see an illustration that startled me quite a bit. I certainly hadn't been expecting to come home to something like that, but it seems other people had different plans in mind and wanted to see if they could make me blush. I think my reaction pleased them, because it took me two minutes or so to write out a four-line response, and I suspect I stammered. It was quite superb, and I'm really thrilled about the picture on two fronts. One, I'm pleased that my friend drew it, because it really is sweet even if it is overwhelmingly mischievous. Second, I'm honored that I was one of the privileged few to be allowed to see it. I won't say anything else about it beyond the fact that it wasn't for general consumption.
After Kestral made a delicious low-carb dinner for the both of us (she prepared her tasty roasted peppers with cheese and a side serving of chicken with salsa... I've made her promise to share the recipe so that I can post it here as well as in [Unknown LJ tag]) we sat down and put Dead Poets Society in. It's been a long, long time since I've been so moved by a film. I suppose it's partly because I've been so long remiss in seeing it (I know I haven't seen it in at least four years, probably more), or maybe it's just a testimony to how powerful the movie is... but it left me feeling very emotionally fragile. I listened to the music playing as the credits rolled, and then quickly retreated to my bedroom, securing Ra with me for his evening feeding. I enjoy the company of my roommates very much, because they're completely awesome people and I'm lucky to have them in my life. But I wanted some downtime after the movie, as well as a chance to be away from other so that I didn't have to worry about letting my emotions get the better part of me. I sat down in front of my PC in the bedroom, turned on some quiet music (Don Williams was tonight's choice) and lit the candle that I have sitting on the corner of my desk. I closed my eyes and just let the music wash over me for a while, letting the dark surround me while the candlelight danced and threw shadows on the wall. Eventually I felt a little more grounded and my mood stabilized, but it took some time for me to get the final scene out of my head. That's some of the most powerful cinematography that I've ever seen. I suppose my father would have some dry comment about "tugging at heartstrings" or how it had been "designed to be a tearjerker," but that's him. Me... I appreciate the raw emotion at the end. I've thought about taking a screen capture and turning it into an icon for LJ, but I don't think that tiny little icon space could do it justice.
I've been working on writing this entry for over an hour now, going in fits and starts as I either attend to other distractions or find myself needing to take a break so that I can find my center again. I've been a little off-balance again this week, and sometimes my mood can veer off in strange directions for no apparent reason. Since I'm well past my self-appointed time for bed I should just close this entry, post it and leave the humorous observation I had been planning for today's entry for some other time.
Well you know I'm not much good at writing letters