Work was what it was. Lunch was had in the office, since nobody has the money to go out and eat again this week, nor much of the inclination. I spent a good portion of the morning on the 27 th floor tearing my back apart by single handedly unpacking and racking the heavy-ass Cisco 4006 we purchased for our edge switch on that floor. Even when I removed all three power supplies and all but one of the blades that sucker must still have weighed over 100 pounds, and it's bulky as all get-out. What do they make the backplane from, pig iron? Eventually I got it into the rack and managed to somehow suspend it an inch or two above the UPS, which was roughly where I wanted it. While keeping it wedged in place with one hand and the cap of my knee I managed to run in a set of bolts with the other, thus securing its place in the relay rack forever (because I sure as heck am not doing this again). Then I got to put the power entry shelf above it, which required more one-handed back-wrenching balancing acts, although this time it was easier because the power entry shelf is nowhere as unwieldy as a Cisco 4006 is (nor is it quite as heavy). Once I had everything racked I spent twenty minutes running cables from the shelf to the Power Entry Module, reinstalling the WS-X4148-RJ45V blades back into the 4006's chassis and trying to keep my vertebrae from leaping out of my spinal column and running into a dark corner to hide. After lunch I brought my laptop upstairs, settled down and plugged into the console. With a click of a button I was off to the races and the next three hours were spent configuring the vlans, ports, gigabit uplinks and other necessities that go with integrating a switch into our network. You would think that with a network that's as (moderately) advanced as ours you'd be able to just plug-it-in-and-forget it, but oh no, that's not the case at all. If you try doing that, without changing certain configurations, you're in for a ride because things like the VTP domain will eat its head and take the entire backbone down.
I also spent some time on the phone today trying to get ahold of somebody at Greatbank of Algonquin, the company that issued the loan for my Camaro back in 1998. I was checking my credit report yesterday and was dismayed to find that Greatbank was listing the loan as Current/Open, with a balance of $2,160. The last time they'd reported on the loan was in March of 2003, and I had paid the balance off and received the title on April 18 th, meaning they'd had three months to notify the credit bureaus of my loan being paid off and the account closed... but they'd never done it. So the various credit reporting agencies think I have a two thousand dollar loan hanging over my head in addition to my revolving debt, when that really isn't the case. I actually got ahold of somebody there during my lunch break, explained my situation and politely asked what could be done to fix it. I was a little unnerved by this (I mean, let's face it... your credit score is your life, and these people influence your life pretty heavily... and they've got butterfingers?! That's not terribly encouraging!) but I caught it well ahead of time. I'd be much more upset if this happened in January when I put in for my mortgage. When I was done speaking with the representative I had a promise from her that she was mailing a letter out today to my current address, and sending a fax to the Big Three credit agencies. The letter would be my official "receipt" from the bank stating the account was paid in full and is now closed and in good standing, while the fax would put the credit bureaus on alert that they have faulty information and should amend it. I'm not sure if all three were wrong or just Experian (Experian was where I pulled the report from) but by having her send it to all three agencies I'm making sure that I'm taking care of that problem once and for all, and well ahead of time.
It's sort of nice to see that my credit score is 734, although I'm a bit miffed that it's gone down 8 points in the last 3 months. I suspect that has something to do with the balances I'm carrying on my cards, which is what I'm working to resolve now. The real pisser of the real is that I would have an almost perfect score (well into the 780s) if I didn't have that 60 day late payment on my record. Oh well, there's not much I can do about that so I'll just have to suck it up. I made a mistake in 1999, I learned from it and I'll make sure I never repeat it again. Hopefully that mistake won't stand between me and my dream house when I go to apply for the mortgage. Mistakes have a way of coming back and haunting you when you least expect them, and since credit history mistakes have a minimum life of seven years its easy for the things you've long since forgotten about to crop up and bite you in the butt. I was young and stupid in 1999. Now I'm older and just a little less stupid.
The drive in to work today presented me with an interesting image that my brain tried desperately to cope with, and eventually it opted out and took a short cut. They're tearing up the Westbound side of I-290 now between I-90 and Thorndale, having shifted the traffic flow onto the Eastbound lanes, doing lane-splitting with K-rails. The new lanes are pretty nice, being slipform-paved concrete and all. I hope that the weather here lets the nice smooth ride last longer than 18 months, which is about the longest I've seen a road survive in Illinois before taking on potholes and cracks. Anyway, as I was driving along I happened to look over at the Westbound lanes, and noticed they've managed to do quite a lot of demolition in the last week or so. Most of the asphalt and concrete has been broken up, and they have large excavators with pincer attachments in place of the bucket to move the old and rusted rebar around. One worker was using the pincers to nudge the pile of rebar about, occasionally lifting the "arm" of the excavator, placing the pinchers on a particularly recalcitrant place on the pile, then pushing down. For whatever reason my brain instantly made a connection, saying "Oh, look at that ugly yellow stork building its nest!" I'm not entirely certain why my brain decided that a Komatsu excavator was a big yellow stork, nor why my grey meat thought that the pile of bent, rusted rebar was a nest that needed building, but there you have it. I grew up around these things, and still I find my brain trying to relate them to other things in an attempt to cope with the world around me.
The drive home this evening was frustrating because of the heavy rains. As soon as I got to the highway traffic came to a dead crawl because everyone had to stop and stare up at the sky, apparently lost and confused by the concept of water falling from clouds. Its times like this that I don't envy commercial truck drivers, they must get caught in this sort of traffic jam quite often. Eventually the rain stopped and traffic lightened up a bit, so I made it home in an acceptable amount of time. When I arrived neither roho nor enveri were home, so I puttered around, made some dinner for myself (two cheddar bratwurst, some beef sticks and a vanilla shake) and then tried to settle down in front of the TV for a while. I had started watching John Carpenter's "The Thing" yesterday but couldn't focus, and I found I was having a lot of the same problem again today. I was edgy and restless, I wanted to be up and moving around. If I wasn't moving around I found myself craving something to drink and snack on, which isn't the greatest feeling in the world since I thought I had kicked that habit back in March when I went on the Atkins plan. After about fifteen minutes of the movie I turned off the player, went into my bedroom, shucked my clothes and put on my robe so I could go take a shower. I spent some time in the bathroom letting the scalding water pour over me while Orbital pounded out of my PC's speakers in my bedroom. That helped me get a few of my thoughts back together but I still felt like I had a great deal of nervous energy to dispose of. I was about to get on the treadmill when Roho and Kestral came home and asked me to go for a ride with them. It seems Kestral's truck is giving up the ghost and she's considering trading it in for a new car. I of course accepted the offer, went for a bit of a cruise with them and then hung out at the dealership for ten minutes or so. The dealership was not the place I wanted to be -- I was surrounded by 2002 F-bodys, 2004 50 th Anniversary Corvettes and a fully-restored 1967 Camaro convertible with a really wicked paint job and a pretty fair sticker price ($34,000). I knew the moment I thought that $34,000 for a car was "fair" that I had to get out of there, so I asked Roho to drive me home. Once dropped off at the apartment I again found myself feeling distracted and prone to fidgeting, so I pulled my bass guitar out and tuned it up. I cannot believe how badly out of tune it was, but I guess that it did get knocked around quite a bit when I rearranged the furniture. After I got back in tune I located one of my guitar picks and tried my hand at the old standby I learned, Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl." I wasn't terribly good, which I guess shouldn't be surprising since it's been almost a month since I've played if not more. At least I could remember most of the fingering and, with a little practice, I warmed up to the point that I could play most of the way through without making hideous noises like a troll with indigestion. It was a good outlet for me, and gave me something to focus on again. I need to get back in the habit of practicing every night even if it's only for 30 minutes. It's not like I've got a lot of other things demanding my attention right now...
I just got news from Roho that Ra managed to consume about 1/3 of a tub of fake Taco Bell nacho cheese. I expect the little black putz will be throwing up all night and probably part of tomorrow thanks to that little maneuver. Truly I am amazed at how persistent he can be when he thinks he wants something. Why he wanted Taco Bell nacho cheese is anybody's guess, but now he's got it and I'll be paying the price, I'm sure.
Speaking of paying a price I managed to get ahold of my dad last night. The Expedition has been registered with the state of Minnesota and is now driving on temporary plates while they wait for the permanent ones to arrive. It's also been insured as of today, which means it meets the other major legal requirement to be considered "road-ready" by the Minnesota state government. The originally projected date of delivery (the 9 th, this Saturday) had to be scrapped because my mother didn't know Dad wanted to drive down here to drop the truck off, so she accepted a pet-sitting job for my uncle. By accepting Thor, my uncle's black lab, she thus tied both of them to the house until the 17 th when my uncle returns from his trip to Arizona. So, because of that little miscommunication it sounds like I'll be getting the truck delivered to me in about three weeks, sometime around the 27 th of this month. That's actually quite fine by me, as my pickup will be able to hold out that long and I'll have a bit more time to get organized and shuffle some of this computer gear out of the apartment (must... get... DLT changer... installed!). My father sees a silver lining to this cloud as well, he's announced that he wants to drive it back and forth from work for about a week and make sure that any kinks are worked out. I think he's a little edgy about the transmission, because it's a used unit. I suspect he's also pondering a few of the products I e-mailed him about for boosting the performance of the engine, namely the S&PE Airmax spiral flow intake and the Helix Power Tower throttle body spacer. I figure if I drop those two intake mods to help the Triton breathe a little easier and add a decent cat-back system to help the exhaust flow I should see a small increase in mileage as well as overall power, and that's always a good thing. I really, really want to put a Powerdyne 6psi supercharger in there, but that's pretty expensive (looking at around $2,900 when installation is taken into account) and I really don't need the amount of power a blower would give me on top of the stock engine. I mean, let's face it, the stock 5.4L Triton V8 engine puts out 235 HP on its own. Adding a supercharger would give it more power than what my Camaro had stock from the factory, and I certainly don't think I'll be running the Expedition down the quarter-mile dragstrip any time soon.
Good news from the Netflix front, my three trial DVDs have shipped and should be arriving here on Friday. So this weekend I'll be able to watch "Cast Away," "A Beautiful Mind" and "The Exorcist." I think of the three I'm looking forward to "Exorcist" the most, because that's the one that helped set the standard for horror back in the 70s (it appeared in 1973). Since I'm on the topic of DVDs I would just like to have it noted for the record that once again DVDPriceSearch.com rocks my world, having helped me find an outrageously low price on the boxed set of Babylon 5: Season 3. If previous experiences are any indicator I think I can expect my copy to show up on my doorstep the day before it's due to be released in stores. I know Kestral is really looking forwards to this next season, as Roho and I have quite firmly hooked her on the series. It's always fun to bring another convert into the flock.... muhahahahaha.
And now I'm going to sign off, and give my wrists a rest since they're tingling. I still feel like I should be out and doing something, but I haven't the faintest idea what it is I should be doing. I guess I can try to watch the next third of "The Thing," but.... argh, I simply cannot focus, even on classic horror starring the imitable Kurt Russell. I suppose I could try to kill a few minutes of my time by planning how I'm going to upgrade my PC's ventilation system so that it's not always running on the bleeding edge of overheating. 55 degrees C is simply not acceptable to me in terms of thermal performance. I suspect my "whisper silent" Vantec Stealth fans are partially to blame for that since they only move 27 cfm. I suppose it's time for me to consider the pros and cons of the situation, and most of all I need to decide if I really want to go stone deaf in order to keep my PC cool. The Tornado seems like the way to go for cooling my system case because it can push out 84 CFM, but it's going to generate over 55 dB of noise while doing it! Why can't there be a decent compromise between noise and airflow?!?
Only if she was lyin' by me