August 9th, 2003


Up and about...

I was finally forced out of bed by Ra at around 0910 this morning, far earlier than I really wanted to get up. I knew that I had to tend to his wants and needs despite my objections when he started knocking objects off my nightstand and onto my head to protest my laziness. My alarm clock is heavy, gang. Fortunately it missed the spot I'd already banged up on my forehead during the Cisco 4006 debacle (I scraped it quite badly on one of the 66 blocks) and instead landed on my pillow just short of my nose. I had no idea the little black monster had that much strength in him.

Who needs a drill instructor when they can own a cat?

So while I was up I slouched into the kitchen, grabbed a cinnamon bar for breakfast and returned to my bed. I made short work of the breakfast bar and then started my ritualistic worship of the electronic interface by reading the latest entries my friends have made on LJ, checking my e-mail and logging onto IRC. What I really should be doing right now is taking a shower and getting ready for the day ahead of me. I know that I need to go over to Sam's Club, and in last night's entry I made noises about taking the truck over to the car wash but I'm lacking the initiative to take care of that chore. I'm lacking the motivation to do a lot of things that need doing today, actually. My overwhelming desire at this moment is to go back to bed and sleep the day away because for some reason I'm still quite tired despite my ten hours of sleep from last night. To make matters worse I'm frustrated on some fundamental level that I just can't quite put a finger on, and it's coloring my entire outlook on the day.

Something isn't right, and I don't know what it is. I think that the sense of ... lack of direction, the build up of nervous energy that I've had over the last few days has been evidence of this imbalance. What's driving me nuts is that I can't put a finger on what the problem really is, and if I don't know what it is I can't very well fix it, can I? The perfectionist in me is frustrated by this inability to take some sort of corrective action, which sort of feeds the frustration I'm already feeling.
I don't know why I'm feeling like things are off. So much is finally going my way, I should be ecstatic...but I'm not for whatever reason. Every month I'm paying off huge amounts of my revolving debt, and I should derive immense satisfaction from watching my balance drop closer and closer to zero. I just spent three memorable days last week to see a good friend married to a lovely lady and I live with two awesome people whom I am blessed to consider friends. I get paid well to do the things that come naturally to me (I was born to route IP traffic, I swear). I shouldn't be feeling like something is wrong when I have a cat that loves me the way Ra does, a new truck arriving in two to three weeks, awesome music on the way from Amazon and solid plans to finally buy a house after two years of planning, pinching and scraping and making painful choices. The house is an immense thing in my life, a goal that I've had my sights on for so long I almost can't remember a time when I wasn't working towards it. It's the culmination of years of effort and finally I'm going to achieve it... and in less than six months, no less. I'm living the American Dream here.

So why do I feel like I can't wake up?

Bah, enough of this self-pity angstfest. It's time to get into the shower, get dressed and get out to do the things I need to do. See y'all on the flip side.

  • Current Music
    Clint Black - Half Way Up

Saturday part deux...

... and what've I done this far? Well, I took a ride with Roho over to Sam's Club and did my shopping. Surprisingly enough I got out of there for less than $80 today, probably because I didn't buy any DVDs. The only reason I didn't buy any is that there weren't any worth buying there! Pffft, Sam's has let me down for the first time in quite a while. It's gotten so that I was almost predictable in my purchases... water, cheese, DVD or two. This time I only came out with regular groceries, no DVD love for me... ah well, I guess that's okay. The three skids of water, two pounds of sharp cheddar, chicken breasts, deli-sliced turkey, cheddar brats and dozen vanilla Atkins shakes ran me $64 and change after the state of Illinois got done tweaking me for taxes, and that's quite sufficient since I'm in fiscal conservation mode to offset the incredible expenses I incurred during July.

After we unloaded our haul (Roho picked up some industrial-strength Drano, and some detergent for the dish washer so we can continue to be lazy and let machines do our cleaning tasks for us) I sat down at my PC and fired up Quicken. It took me over forty-five minutes, but I brought all my registers current. I continue to thank the genius who decided that putting bank information should be made available online, because it helped save my ass since I no longer receive paper statements from my creditors (I think it's a sin when I have e-mail that I look at far more often than I do snail-mail). When all was said and done I got my balances to agree online with what was recorded in Quicken, and I'm smug as hell. According to Quicken I currently have $5,000 on the dot spread across my Citi, AmEx, MBNA and Discover cards. My checking account is sitting quite pretty at the moment, as is my savings account, and I get paid again on the 22nd. Ah, this will be nice, I'll be completely out of debt before December at this rate.

I also got good news with regards to my American Express. You see, I had tucked all the expenses for the trip to NJ onto the AmEx because of the power it gives me over the airlines and car rental agencies -- most of them fall down and worship you if you have an AmEx because they know you have practically no credit limit and thus are to be pampered. The downside of this feature is that the terms of the card are "net 30," meaning when they send me the statement at the end of the month whatever is on the total line is what they're expecting me to pay them. There's no "minimum payment," it's all due in full by the day they specify or they get medieval on your ass. So since the plane tickets were $241 and the car rental was $281 and my other expenses went onto the card I was expecting a rather nasty figure to appear when my statement was e-mailed to me. Fortunately for me my billing period ended right after I purchased the tickets and made the car reservation, so essentially my costs are split, with half being due this month (already paid) and the other half due at the end of August. This was an unexpected surprise and certainly is a most welcome one.

After I got Quicken squared out and my account information safely backed up I retreated from my bedroom, sprawled out on the futon and dropped in my second Netflix rental for watching. Since Kestral had to work today I decided this afternoon would be best spent watching the 70's classic "The Exorcist." All I have to say about that movie is this: holy crispy crap is this film creepy! Apparently I got the uncut version, with the hyper-unsettling parts that the general audience just weren't ready for. I don't know if I was ready for it, and I believe Roho's exact phrase was "I can do without ever seeing that again, 'kay thanks." All in all it was an utterly amazing film and I'm going to have to go acquire it for my own collection.

After we'd finished the movie and had a few minutes to sort ourselves out (I think we were both stunned by the acting and special effects, something neither of us predicted for a film from 1973) I went out and got the mail from the mailbox. Today was a good day for me: I got a Crutchfield catalog, which is always tons of fun to sift through to see what the latest electronic toys are. I also received my letter from Greatbank, confirming the completion and subsequent satisfactory closure of my auto loan with them. Score one for the good guy, because this is the receipt I'll need to have in case the credit unions are still reporting erroneous information in January (I really hope they will be current at that point). You can believe I tucked that little letter into my safe for, er, safekeeping.

With luck when Kestral gets home we'll be off to The Onion, the new pub that James is working at. We attempted to go there yesterday evening but the parking lot was absolutely overflowing with cars that had personalized plates and brand names like BMW and Lexus. The sheer number of SUVs was staggering. I think we found the yuppy watering hole of choice in Barrington, and I really hope that it'll be slightly more sane tonight because I would like to see James again, shake his hand and buy him a round without getting jostled from all sides by twenty-somethings with $2,500 wardrobes who want their Long Islands right now. Yes, I know I fall firmly into that category because of my taste in clothing, my income and my soon-to-be-arriving SUV, but at least I'm not as pretentious as some of these jerkwads.

Currently I'm battling Sendmail and DNS in an attempt to make the two services agree that I am, in fact, only acting as a relay for masem's domain, and that it should in fact attempt to deliver to his server the mail that's in the queue right now since his server is up again. Man, I'm getting tired of this. We live in the year 2003, and SMTP went to RFC in 1982 (as RFC #821, if you actually care). It's 21 years later, can we have something better now plz k thx.

Sometimes I think the devil has got me by the sleeve
  • Current Music
    Bob Seger - Like a Rock

Repent, for it is the second coming of SMTP!

I finally got named and Sendmail to agree that I'm just a relay for the domain, and I forced the queue to process all of Masem's mail.

557 letters are currently shoving themselves down my line to his server, and it's a real riot to watch Sendmail try to keep me up-to-date since I told it to process the queue in verbose mode. I've also got snoop running to track all the traffic on TCP port 25, and another window running with a tail on /var/log/maillog, where I have all my mail.* syslog entries going to. It's a riot to watch them scroll as if there's no tomorrow.

Hmm, been running for about three minutes now and we're only up to sequence 221 of the 557 in the queue. I bet panther will be glad to have these out of the spool.

Now that I've fixed this problem I can go meet with Roho and Kes and try to make dinner plans for tonight. It sounds like we're thinking of hitting BDs, but I'm not entirely sure yet.

. o O o .

Addendum: It's official, the queue ran from 17:39 to 17:53, a full 14 minutes to clean itself out.

Workin' at a desk with a dumb little placard
  • Current Music
    Blues Traveler - Look Around