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    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2009
    It better be!

    Seriously, what's up with me? Why haven't I posted here in forever. This place is like, totally dead. And that's all my fault. I've neglected yon forum. Perhaps it's because my life is kinda boring these days. Mildly interesting/funny things from the last few months, in no particular order:

    I went to Toronto in September. Did I mention that? Probably not. I guess this isn't boring... It was for work, so it wasn't that fun, but we did go out a couple nights and there was someone else from my company there with me, so that was cool. Also, by strange coincidence, another coworker was attending a completely different conference that just happened to be in Toronto that same week. We met up and hit a few bars... once we found him. Toronto seems like a really cool town. Things are spread out a bit, and my conference was more outside the city than in it, but it was still easy to get in and hang. Also, beer selection in Toronto is pretty awesome. Every bar had like 5 beers on tap that I never heard of, and none of the typical Bud/Miller/Coors crap. That was pretty awesome, though I don't remember which beers I actually got.

    On the plane ride there and going home, I was reading Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. This was all well and good until about 2/3 of the way through my flight home, when I got to the chapter titled "Chapter 7: The Ethnic History of Plane Crashes". So Outliers would be a pretty good airport/plane book if it weren't for that chapter. It didn't really bother me and I continued reading the chapter, but I thought it was pretty funny.

    In other news, my boss of 9 years quit last week. Technically, I didn't report directly to her for a good portion of that time, but still. I don't think it's fully hit me yet. Big happy hour tomorrow for her, should be a blast.

    Otherwise, yeah, not much going on. Typical movie stuff, plus I'm on a crappy documentary kick lately, thanks to Netflix watch instantly being available on my PS3 now. The process of having to insert a disc anytime I want to watch a streaming vid is kinda awkward, but watching this stuff on my nice HDTV is much better than watching it on my computer monitor.

    As for reading, it's been pretty much nil. I got about 450 pages into Infinite Jest and then just sorta gave up. The book just does not interest me AT ALL. It's very well written, I just don't care about anything that's happening in the book, so it's hard to pry myself away from other distractions. Fleh.

    I almost never give up on a book, but I'm thinking I will with IJ. At least temporarily. I want to read something light and fluffy, so I think I'll hit up a book called John Dies at the End by David Wong. I know that doesn't sound fun at all (I'm pretty sure I know how it ends), but Wong is hysterically funny (He's a head honcho at cracked.com and used to write pointlesswasteoftime.com, which was awesome), so I'm hoping that can spark me reading again.

    Well, that's all for now. I'll try and post some more rambling posts in the future instead of completely neglecting the forum:p

    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2009 edited
    We've been waiting for you!

    Actually, I didn't realise I hadn't visited the forum in a while but since your post is five days old, I guess that would be the case. The blog is much easier to keep up with what with this RSS (Read Some, Sucka!) technology. I haven't been online too much lately at home. I think I'm getting enough Internet at work, even though it's work, and get kinda tired of being bombarded with super monitor ion laser rays of doom, or whatever, but RSS feeds I can keep up with on my phone when I need to kill a few minutes here and there. It's like carrying a magazine or newspaper around except when it plays techno music at me.

    Sounds like you had fun in Toronto. A friend and I were thinking about going up there sometime next year. We know people there (she better than I, but I'm acquainted with them) so it would be pretty fun. We'll see if we actually get around to doing it. I've been majorly slacking on my Netflix consumption lately. I'm just throwing money away (albeit not much) now. Need to watch this stuff. I think it all went downhill when I started adding movies to my queue I didn't care about. (Note to self: Stay off netflix.com after coming home a bar.)

    I've been doing some concert photography for a friend's blog recently (American Indie, if anyone's so inclined) and am actually taking a break from working on my own site right now.

    Hmm, what else is new?

    Oh, I was Abraham Lincoln for Halloween. It was fun. One of my friends went as the most interesting man in the world (from the Dos Equis commercials), which was the best costume I saw. I actually shaved my beard in the Abraham Lincoln style for it, then shaved the whole thing the next day (Lincoln style beards really only work if you're Lincoln) and have been letting it grow back since. It's pretty much back now, just not quite as thick as I'd like yet, but it was kinda fun to be able to nail down a timeline of beard growth.

    Uh, that's it! GO TEAM SOMEONE ELSE!
    • CommentTimeNov 20th 2009
    Yeah, I tend to get caught up in the blog too, and always forget to post here. "Read Some, Sucka!" Heh. That's funny. Anyway, I think the blog is getting a bit too formulaic lately. It seems like every post is a review of something or a random UL of stuff. I shall have to rectify that with a proper essay at some point. Fleh.

    Toronto is really spread out. I certainly didn't see much of it, and spent most of my time at the conference, but still, I did have a good time and it did seem like a pretty cool place.

    You have the best costumes! I don't think this one beats the Harvey Birdman boss guy thingy costume you had the other year, but it's damn fine (and much better than my Jason Voorhees)

    • CommentTimeNov 21st 2009
    Well I suck because I've been at 4k more than here, but even now that I don't post as much at 4k, I still don't post here. I've not been in a sharing mood lately. Plus, what do I have to talk about other than my ordinary life? I don't think you guys are interested in my quest to find wall sconces that both my husband and I like. I'm not even interested in that! But, I'll give everyone a review if you really want....heh.

    We did carve pumpkins for the first time as a couple this year. It was fun, and Charles really got into making his pumpkin carving as perfect as possible. We didn't dress up, or go to any parties. Our nieces came over to trick-or-treat in our neighborhood. I made pumpkin pie and spiced hot cider. We only got about 7-10 kids at our door trick-or-treating, so I was a little disappointed. We ended up eating several bags of Halloween candy ourselves. Ugh. Next year I'm just buying one big bag of mixed stuff.

    I've been to lots of events in the past month. I went to a cooking class with my mother-in-law during which I was way overloaded with chocolate, I then took really bad pictures for a wedding later that day. We had our big fundraiser, then there was a baby shower, dinner with coworkers, a fundraiser for another organization, an appreciation party for the first fundraiser, birthday lunch for coworkers, Thanksgiving potluck at work today, a get-together with Charles' family somewhere in there, and then the holidays aren't even here so there's more to come. And amidst all of this I've been getting the house put together. Decorating, organizing, cleaning....I'm feeling worn out.

    I did get a little promotion and raise. I haven't really started with my new duties this week because my boss was busy, and I need her guidance in my new role. There was some major drama at work last week, but that's over now and that's all I care about. Next week is Thanksgiving, so the office will be closed starting noon on Wednesday.
    Thanksgiving will be spent with Charles' family. My family has no interest in the holiday since my mom passed away just 4 days before Thanksgiving in 2007. It was her favorite holiday, and she knew all of her kids and grandkids were going to be with her on that day, but she didn't live to even see that. So we're quite soured on the whole thing.
    Still, I don't think I should just stay home, so I go with my husband. I don't always enjoy these big holiday dinner with his family because so many people are there, and there is always, always talk about "Oh we shouldn't be eating this. / This is so unhealthy. / I'm going to have to go on a diet after this." Yeah, they really know how to bring out the holiday spirit. It can be a toxic environment, but aside from the negativity, that sort of talk gets SO damn boring. Really, do we have to say the same things at every meal, every year?

    Bah, I'm in an extra bad mood about Thanksgiving this time. I'm tired of being around people, but I actually suggested to my MIL the other week that the family could come over to our house for lunch on Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving. Charles' extended family hasn't seen our house yet, so I thought this could be a good opportunity. But that has also meant speeding up on getting the house into a shape that can accommodate lots of people. The three main projects left are: to get the garage clear enough to park both cars inside - it's not that full of junk right now, but I have to rent a truck to haul off some extra closet doors that have been stored in there; get the front bedroom set up, which means buying another desk from IKEA, which we would have done tonight had I not taken a nap; and hanging artwork. Oh, and we should buy some folding chairs probably, or have people bring their own.

    Our backyard is crazy wild, but I just don't have the time to do anything to it. The front yard is in a little need of mowing. There isn't much actual grass, mostly clover and things that stay fairly low to the ground, but it is getting to a stage that will require mowing. I'm just afraid that cutting the top off of this vegetation is going to make the yard look even uglier. And since I'm dead-set on getting a screened porch added to the back of our house, any landscaping to either yard would be pointless right now. Our neighbors are having a huge addition to their house constructed, and the side of the yard that's being used as access to the back is completely ruined, including our portion! They're also having their yard re-landscaped, so it's all torn up. So I'm just going to assume that our yard would get torn up a bit when we get our porch built, even though it's a smaller project.

    Since Thanksgiving is a bust for me, I'm directing my energies toward Christmas, which is funny since I'm an atheist. But you know, we all grow up in that culture. My Jewish coworkers were saying they had "Hanukkah bushes," which were really Christmas trees called something else. It's all from pagan traditions though, so we're all equally inaccurate in some of our festivities.

    Anyway, I bought some stuff to make my own wreath. I don't know exactly why I feel compelled to make a wreath, or why I'm so excited about it. Maybe I haven't been creative enough and need an outlet. I also bought some decorations for a tree, but we'll need lights and a few more ornaments. I want to put up a real tree. Back in '05 and '06, we had a 4' artificial tree. I didn't hate it, but I grew up having real trees, so I miss that. The cats (just three back then, no Sundae) knocked over that fake tree a couple of times, and it was a really lightweight tree, so I'm hoping a real tree would be too heavy to knock over...but then, it's not anchored into the ground so that weight might make it more likely to come down. We just won't know until we try. The cats have messed with ornaments before, so I'll just leave ornaments off the bottom and make the rest cat-safe just in case.

    There is definitely concern about them eating the tree, and the needles are sharp enough to puncture internal organs, aside from making them sick. I grew up with real trees AND cats together, and never had a cat of yesteryear get sick from it. Then again, those past cats weren't as crazy and didn't try to eat everything in sight. They didn't even try to drink the water out of the tree stand, which can also be poisonous. The reason our cats get into everything is that they're indoor-only. The cats I grew up with were all indoor-outdoor. That meant I saw lots of horrible things, gruesome deaths, lots of sick cats...which is why I want our current felines to be indoor-only, but that definitely comes with its own problems.
    So anyway, I'm willing to try buying a real tree. Maybe that's a big mistake, but I just can't go through life completely avoiding it.
    • CommentTimeNov 21st 2009
    2nd part. Oh yeah baby.

    I get lots of time off around Christmas. My work is very generous with vacation and holiday time. We don't work from Christmas Eve to the first working day after New Year's. And I get 48 hours of vacation in addition to that. And sick time. And bonus days. And personal time (8 hours). When I fully realized how much time off I could take, I thought that was pretty crazy. It would feel like I was never at work, and I only work part-time to begin with!
    I used up lots of sick time this year though. My back, migraines, allergies, and anxiety have all been especially bad this year.

    Oh oh oh, I bought the Scooba. Buying the iRobot Roomba was one of the best decisions I've made, so I was more open to the idea of having the Scooba too. I held off though, to wait and see how dirty the floors would get and how difficult they would be to clean with other methods. Well, we have all hardwood floors and tile right? And I keep having episodes of back pain, so I finally decided I was worth it. Why not take advantage of our good financial fortune and modern technology if it means avoiding injury to myself?

    So far, I like it a lot. I once again bought from Hammacher and Schlemmer, simply because my main concern is getting a bad robot and having it die on me right after the 1-year warranty runs out. But as long as the robots work, they're great. The Scooba is more particular than the Roomba though. It doesn't handle bumps at all - it gets automatically stuck. Our uneven tile is fine, but some of our thresholds between rooms have covers, and the Scooba can't get over those.

    Here's a picture to illustrate:

    This entryway tile is lower than the hardwood flooring, so the Scooba can't get to it at all. The Scooba comes with only one Virtual Wall, so I set that in one corner and point it towards one wall, then block off the other side with dining chairs that have their legs just over the threshold. This is the living room and has three other entrances, from the kitchen, the den, and the hallway. Luckily I can use the two other dining chairs and the four dining stools from the other dining area to block off everything.

    With both the Scooba and Roomba, you have to keep your floors picked up. That's never been a problem for me because I'm very tidy. And some people reviewing the Roomba have said it makes them keep their things off the floor and thus neater overall, but I'm sure some people just couldn't do it. I also don't have tons of furniture, like my parents did. I can easily move a few pieces out of the room being cleaned (felt pads on the bottom of everything = easy to slide), or stack them on top of other furniture.
    The robots can't reach everywhere of course. Like behind the toilet and under most furniture. I wish our couches were just another inch or two off the ground. The little side brush on the Roomba is quite amazing though. It does a good job of pulling things out of corners and into the path of the vacuum opening.
    I think both robots are pretty easy to keep clean. I clean the Roomba's brushes after each vacuuming job usually, unless it did a small room. That takes about five minutes maybe, including wiping dust off with a damp paper towel. The Scooba is even easier to clean, even with having to dump out dirty water. It has a clean water tank and a dirty water tank, and it holds enough water to do about 45 minutes of cleaning, but the power can last longer. The Roomba lasts long enough to do at least two large rooms or several small areas. It takes about 2.5 days to get the whole house vacuumed using the Roomba and letting it recharge overnight, and that sounds really long and stupid I'm sure. But it saves me from bending over, twisting, and pushing a vacuum cleaner, plus the Roomba is quieter than all other vacuums I've heard in use. So for me, these were wise purchases, but these robots aren't for everyone. Oh, and I can't say from personal experience how the Roomba does on carpet; other reviewers say it's great.

    That's all. Not much right? HAHA.