Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
I'm going to be home for at least the next 3 or 4 weeks. I've got a training job with a local set of sites, so I'll be driving up to Allentown instead of down to Hatfield for the next three weeks. Then it's Thanksgiving already.
I am very, very glad to be home for the next several weeks.
Yesterday's flight home was much less interesting than Monday's. The only interesting part was the fact that I was on standby for my last leg since I was coming home a day early. That and Atlanta was backed up as always. It seems that their regional carriers are always backed up for some reason. This time some of it was weather related. I was only about 15 or 20 minutes later than scheduled.
I enjoyed my trip to Alabama. I just wish it hadn't been so grey most of the week. It would have been nice to have a sunny day or two.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
p.s. I can't take credit for today's picture. A friend from a plant out in Colorado took this a few years back on a camping trip. Thanks Joe!
Monday, October 23, 2006
We were supposed to get together around 1 or 2 for the game.
Let's just say that instead of getting a nice long gaming session in, we got a late start and ended early to go to a movie.
We saw The Prestige. It was really quite good. I enjoyed seeing Hugh Jackman as someone other than Wolverene. I mean, there were a few moments when you could see Logan come to the surface, but it took me almsot 10 minutes into the film to figure out who was who. Christian Bale did a fabulous job as well. This movie had great acting, a solid story and wonderful cinematography. It was done all in very muted 'vintage' colors, which set the time frame wonderfully. If you only have 2 of the 3 qualities, the one that is lacking will pull the other two down.
The only real downer (other than paying an arm and a leg to see it) was our one friend over analyzing EVERYTHING! I mean, I'm almost used to him doing it in game. "Ok, make a decision in 5, 4, 3,...." but gah! I was sitting between him and Gak. He did fairly well throughout the movie, but when we were all walking out... grrr. It's a good thing I didn't see it after he did. He'd probably spoil it without trying. Oh well.
Today I leave for Alabama. I'll be there all week. I'll try and post something, maybe even a picture. I still think it's funny I'm going down there when that's where our Werewolf game is set at the moment.
Well, peace to all and have a good week if I don't get a chance to post later.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Friday night I took Meera out for a spin again. She's now level 29. Gak and I went adventuring. Actually, we joined the same two of our 'Fallen Knighthood' friends with their level 33-ish alts. Everyone mentored down to my level and we kicked butts and took names.
We were killing things in Nek for a while. We then decided to go to this dungeon zone off the Commonlands, Fallen Gate. We were quite disappointed at first, even though everything was heroic, it was all very green.
We weren't disappointed for long. We found several named enemies and I think we scored a total of about 4 master chests and some other very nice drops as well.
To make the night even better was the fact that as everyone else was logging, Thorny Butt logged in. He brought is 30-ish Necro on and we went and killed in Nek for a while. It was great to catch up with him. He, Niz and I used to be inseparable. Neither of us have seen Niz in a few months, which is slightly worrying. Although, knowing him, he fried his computer again. I always enjoy hunting with Thorny Butt (Ok, so he doesn't' have Thorncastle anymore, but the nickname stuck...). We end up having good conversation and good hunting. We both missed it. Hopefully we'll both have time online together soon. He's been doing a lot of work and been spending time guiding on a different server. He's enjoying it much to his surprise. Almost as much as I enjoy raiding to my surprise.
Yesterday was pretty good. I started on my grandmother's Christmas present. It's looking really pretty. I'm sure she'll love it. I got all my normal Saturday things done as well.
My parent's framed a large print for Gak and I, that I had ordered, to hang over the sofa (they own a framing gallery), but couldn't fit it in the trunk of their car to bring it to us. That's OK, it gave us an excuse to go have good, or at least better, Chinese food. The places around here are more like 'fast food Chinese' than real sit-down Chinese. So after Gak got done work yesterday we drove down to the mall near us and then wandered over to their shop. The picture turned out great! It's a very large Monet of water lillies. The colors are great for the living room. Now the challenge will be to hang it. Oh well, I'm just going to tell Gak where to put it and then not watch. (I tend to try and 'fix' things he's doing while he's in the middle of it... much easier if I just go away...)
This afternoon we've got our friends coming over to continue the Werewolf game. I'll let ya know how it goes.
Peace to all, I'm off to steal a little computer time. Enjoy the great fall weather!
Friday, October 20, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I like days like today.
There was a sudden change of plans today.
But this time it works out well.
2:10 pm my cell phone rings. I check the number and Don't recognize it. Hmm... probably something to do with work.
Yep, it is. Hi, this is Andrew in New York, I don't think we'll be able to get anyone together for the training tomorrow. Wow! Ok. No problem, we manage to squeeze them back into the schedule the week after Thanksgiving, since I'm supposed to be in Albany earlier that week anyhow.
Talk about good timing. I was about 5 minutes away from walking out the door and heading up to New York.
I call my boss and let him know, cancel the hotel reservation and let the car people know I'm returning the car tomorrow, not Saturday. Quick check the email, take care of a few things and then I'm off.
And I promptly lock myself out of the apartment.
I decided that since I had time, I'd finally run over to Staples to pick up another network cable for my work laptop and see if I could figure out if my printer isn't working because I tried to use the wrong cartridges. I had the rental car keys, but not my house keys.
Thankfully Gak works right near the Staples. I went to Staples, stopped in to see Gak and his boss and then went to JoAnn's and the grocery store. Amazingly enough I only left JoAnn's with some buttons I needed for a project. There was some yarn I wanted, but couldn't convince myself to part with the cash since I wasn't sure what pattern I was going to use it for.
Yesterday went well in Canada. The hardest part I think was driving back over the bridge. I got to spend some nice quality time in the Detroit airport (early for a change instead of delayed). I managed to almost finish the wrap I was working on (I finished it up quick this morning) while waiting. I'm really happy with it and the trip.
I don't have any pictures from the trip since it was grey and drizzly all day. (That and the whole driving and using the cell camera thing....) Instead I give you a picture of my pet dragon Jorge. He's asleep in my inn room in the sunshine, just like a kitty. I think he's quite cute.
Well, peace to all and hug a loved one. They probably put up with more than you realize from day to day....
Monday, October 16, 2006
Gak actualy had the entire weekend off for a change!
I had Thursday and Friday off, and took major advantage of this. I did a lot of nothing and got some other stuff done as well.
Friday after Gak got off work we drove down to our friend Michelle's. I hate construction! We were only delayed about 30 minutes or so, but it was still annoying.
Saturday Gak, Michelle and I went to the MD Ren Faire with Michelle's aunt and another good friend. A good time was had by all.
Except when we went to leave.
We left about an hour before the end of Faire. I figured that would be enough time. It is at the PA Faire. But for whatever reason, I forgot, yet again, exactly how bad the traffic leaving the MD Faire is. We sat still for about 1.5 hours. It took us 2 hours to get out of the lot. Oh well.
Sunday we had a get-together with family. Well, almost family.
I got to see a lot of people I hadn't in quite a while. It was very good. Gak got to meet the rest of my 'family' on my mom's side. I think he was only a little overwhelmed. We can be a boisterous bunch.
As far as hating construction, we got stuck in it again on the way home, in Maryland and Delaware.
Well, I've got to run. I've got to head to the airport for the first leg of my whirlwind travel week.
Peace to all and safe travels.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
I did get to teach today.
To seven, yes seven, students.
Originally we were supposed to have 70 over the course of two days.
What happened to the other 63 people who were supposed to attend, yo no se.
I do know that the training went smoothly and that my fellow coworker who was my translator helped keep it that way. There weren't a lot of questions. I'm still not sure if they really understand what the software is supposed to do or why they have it. I also know that none of the units are installed yet. This means that there are 7 people for fourteen new sites that might have a clue of something that will be going in over the next few months. Can we say disaster brewing? I know what the results in the states would be, fines, angry customers and me back out to do more training. Here, I'm not so sure. Environmental protection is still a somewhat new concept, at least on an industrial level. And the power industry here is a big monopoly. I get the sinking feeling that what's going to happen is nothing. No one will be checking the software, or the hardware. No one will be doing reports. I don't mean to be superior or whatever because there are plenty of places in the States where the same thing happens all the time. Eventually they are held accountable though.
I guess I feel like nothing's going to happen here because of what it looks like down here. Where the hotel is it is a nice area. It's not much different or dirtier than most cities I've been to. Just a lot more congested and chaotic. (I thought NYC or LA traffic was crazy... boy was I wrong!) Where the training center is it is not so nice. You can tell it is in a much poorer part of the city. It looks and feels much dirtier, poorer and congested. The training center itself is very old and while pretty, seems to have an air of decrepitude (is that an actual word??) about it.
Another reason is a conversation we were having at break. Or, more precisely my coworker was having at break. He said that the guy he was talking to said their limit was 25ppm of NOx and that the turbines that are going in will never get that high unless there's a major problem. This seems to imply "why should I bother when I know I'll never hit it".
I hope I'm wrong.
I did go over to the company office for a bit this afternoon to drop off some things and so my coworker could have a meeting. I finally got to meet two of the other people I've been dealing with for this trip. That was a bonus.
I have to leave the hotel by 11 to get to the airport by noon for my 2pm flight. I have no idea what I'm doing in the morning, other than getting some sleep.
Tonight my schedule includes surfing the web, reading a bit and just taking it easy.
Peace to all and safe travels.
Monday, October 09, 2006
My flights last night went well. There was a minor delay in Houston, but nothing major. There was someone waiting for me, from my company, at the airport. Getting through customs was a breeze! I wasn't sure of the hotel we were staying in and my cell doesn't work down here (don't have a plan that covers Mexico...) so I couldn't call Juan before going through customs. I put down the site address for where I was going. I'm not even sure the lady looked at it, other than to make sure that there was something filled in!
Last night getting to the hotel was OK. There wasn't much traffic on the roads at 11:30pm so it was quick. This morning however, was a different story. I now know why I will never drive here. I thought Philly or NYC traffic could be bad. Nope, here it is much worse. The streets are older, or at least seem more like European city streets that are narrow. They are jammed with cars and turn signals and stop signs seem optional. If you drive here you need fast reflexes, a small car and great breaks! I'll let other people drive, thanks.
The training is taking place at the LyF training facility. It is an old school on the edge of the city that has been turned into a training center. It is very pretty. You don't realize exactly how many people are just around the corner while you were there. I should say that's where it will take place. Tomorrow.
The company made a mistake and didn't send the right people in today. It looks like there aren't going to be 70, but more like 20 people. That will be a much easier number to work with. So, Juan and I sat around the training room we're to use from about 8:00 until about 10:30 or 11:00 when everything got sorted out as to why there weren't any people in our room. And yes, I will still be coming home Wednesday.
We took a cab back (no, this is not recommended, but Juan lived in this city for about 4 years and knows which cabs to take and which to avoid like the plague) to the hotel. We then had a 'brunch' since it was right when the hotel restaurant was changing from breakfast to lunch. I essentially had breakfast nachos. Tortilla chips with salsa verde, chicken, creme and queso blanco. It was very good.
I have the afternoon free, or what's left of it at any rate. I came back upstairs to my room around 1:00 and took a nap. It's now 3:00 and I've got email to check before I can go anywhere. Unfortunately, the zoo (which is nearby) and several of the other museums I wouldn't mind going to, are closed on Mondays. *Sigh*
Well, peace to all and be safe.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Ok. As of Tuesday I thought I was off the hook for next week.
There were two things scheduled but a field service guy was doing one and my former boss the other.
3:00pm today I got shanghied.
Or at least that's how it feels.
More precisely, Gak got shafted out of his rescheduled Birthday Dinner.
IM from field service schedule lady: Is Dave doing training in Mexico?
Start cringing here. To make a long, painful story short, I'm going to Mexico next week. I'm looking forward to it about as much as I'd look forward to a root canal. It's not that I don't want to go to Mexico. I'm sure it's a lovely country. The problem is, that the training is on Monday and Tuesday and that means I have to leave here Sunday.
Just Tuesday night I talked to my mom and we decided we'd get together for dinner and Birthday Cake for Gak on Sunday.
I tried to get out of it. The other field guy we normal would have wanted to use is ours through an agency and we can't use him for 60 days for some stupid reason. Mike can't go because of his schedule (he'd be willing to go if it was far off enough he and his wife could coordinate schedules). Don, the engineer who would love to go can't because he's on vacation. (Stupid cruise!) That leaves me.
That leaves me trying to explain both to Gak and my mom what the deal is and how much I really hate the fact. It's not so much that it's last minute. These things happen. (A little too often at times...) So Sunday, we're heading down to Mom and Dad's after breakfast, instead of after lunch. We're having a nice lunch and birthday cake. We're going to (maybe) pick up a TV for them and bring it into the house and install it. Then around 3:00 Dad and Gak will take me to the airport. Then Gak gets to drive home alone. And I get to fly into Mexico at 11:00 pm.
11:00pm in a foreign country where I can understand a few words but can't communicate in the native language. A foreign country where I really wouldn't want to be alone at night. Luckily the site is a corporate site and other people from the company are arranging my transportation and hotel arrangements. There will be other English speakers around. I wish it wasn't last minute and I could afford to bring Michelle with me. She speaks the language (used to teach it actually) and is someone I enjoy hanging out with. Oh well... maybe some other time I'll get to take her somewhere with me. (I'd love to bring Gak, but we can't afford it and he can't get off work anyhow....)
Well, enough jumbled cranky writing from me.
Peace to all and may there be few nasty surprises in your lives.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Ok. So it looks like I won't have to travel next week! And there was much rejoicing!
It turns out that I just need to help put together and print the training materials. Like I said, it's not in my area of expertise. I'm more than willing to learn what needs to be taught, but at this point, I'd only be following a script and not very useful when answering questions. I know the theory of some of this, but since I've never worked with it "hands-on" I feel very clueless.
The problem is that it is my former boss who's going. This is going to make life fun and tricky. Since I started the training job, he has found countless reasons and times to pretty much say I'm useless and that I'm not doing my job. This hurts. I mean, he does this to lots of people, and I know this. Why it hurts is that when I was in his department, I was one of his top people and we actually got along!
Oh well. I'll live.
I realize it's been quite some time since I've posted anything about my game life. I'm not sure why. Since getting the new computer, Gak and I have spent many hours online together with our friends. It is very nice to be able to have both of us on at the same time. I'm nearly up to level 70.
Raiding continues with our guild. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to make many of them in recent weeks. Partially due to work, partially due to being sick, partially due to the fact that I'm tired of only being able to make the same event all the time and partially because we've been starting later and later. When we don't even decide where we're going until 8:30 and maybe zone into the event by 9, I've only got about 1 hour of productive time. It stinks. I actually enjoy raiding. I never thought I would, but I do. Hopefully I'll be able to join in more in the future. We'll see.
Well, I've got things to do and manuals to make sure are updated on the servers. Peace to all and may you have a good day.
Monday, October 02, 2006
I feel kinda like the frog on this bench from the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Just sort of set and content to watch the world go by, not really up to doing much. Maybe it's this hacking cough I still have. Maybe it's the fact I'm feeling a little burnt out from the running around these last few weeks. Maybe It's just a Monday. Who knows?!
I have gotten a few things done. I have an almost final head-count for my November training sessions. I've confirmed a few other things, but none of this has really required much effort on my part. I ran out for lunch (read: I was too tired and lazy and not feeling good this morning to make a healthy lunch...) and get a voice mail from my boss.
It's about training next week. Something that I thought I'd passed off to a field guy because it was supposed to be PLC and more CEMS oriented. *Sigh* Technically I'm here. But I'm still waiting to hear from a site about next week as well. I guess I should go see what he needs. I was looking forward to another week at home, preferably a healthy week. Oh well... at least the site is somewhere pretty.