Category Archives: Moving

Things seem to be slowing down here.

Today at work I’m spending a lot of time updating scripts and testing said scripts.  The scripts take several minutes to run in between fixes, so my day has been a cycle of fixing a script, waiting three or four minutes for the script to complete, making another change, then testing the script again.  And sure I could be doing something useful during those three or four minute stretches of time when the script is running, like writing up my Summary of Accomplishments (which is apparently due tomorrow); however, I have only had one cup of coffee today, so my brain is insufficiently lubricated to pull that off, so I’m taking those stretches of time and doing other, less productive things.

For example, I’ve been watching this movie trailer over and over:

As movie trailers go, it’s pretty awesome.  There’s no official title for the film, but the code name or working title is apparently Cloverfield.  Lots of secrecy has surrounded the film, and for most people, this trailer was the first indication that J. J. Abrams was working on anything at all besides his Star Trek project.  Rumors and theories about (you can find some really interesting and loopy ideas in the Talk Back sections of AintItCoolNews.com); the most intriguing has it that Abrams has finally set about to bring Cthulhu to the big screen, and the most frightening has it that this is going to be a live action Voltron film.  There are mysterious websites attached to this film, such as this one and this one, as well as others that were originally thought to be attached to it but which may, in fact, not be after all, such as this one and this one.  The most reputable-sounding note I’ve seen, though, says it’s a giant monster flick with a monster that is tentatively being called "Parasite", filmed in a hand-held video cam style, sort of Blair Witch meets Godzilla.  I’m hoping for a Cthulhu film, though; it’s about time Squidhead got his due on the silver screen.

Of course, the Law of Inverse Trailers may apply here; the trailer is great, so the film, when it finally is released, may suck.

In honor of the possibility that Abrams is bringing Cthulhu to the main screen, I’ve switched my home page back to the Cthulhu theme.  And this time I’ve added dripping blood to the menu bar, because I can.  Sure it’s cheesy and tacky, but I’m in a cheesy and tacky mood today.  And at least the menu bar is still readable.

In other news, the move continues to be traumatic and stressful and annoying.  We love our new house, though it’s taking us longer than we’d hoped to finish laying the laminate flooring.  Part of that, I’m sure, is due to the fact that Jennifer and I both come at home at night, look at the pile of laminate still to lay and the large swaths of concrete that are still the only floor we have in our bathroom and guestroom and hall, and go, "Ah, crap," and we look for other things to do.  There is a smell to the laminate — it may be the glue which binds the padding to the engineered wood — which I’m sick of, and since I spend so much time cutting apart pieces of laminate with the table saw, I get to smell a lot of it.  Last night we also attempted to install a couple of the door strips that go between the rooms that have the flooring, but that means drilling directly into the concrete, and there’s something about drilling directly into the concrete which I am apparently missing.  I have my 12-volt drill.  I have my masonry bit.  I have my bicep muscles.  I have the concrete.  So why can’t I make a hole in it?  Seriously, I sat there last night with the drill pointed directly down (clever drill has a little LED that lights up steadily when the device is properly vertical) and the masonry bit spinning and my muscles quivering.  No progress at all.  Oh, I may have gone 1/8 inch into the concrete, but it just refused to go further.  It’s like someone lined the underside of our house with titanium, which seems profoundly inefficient to me.

We’ve had an electrician coming in just about every night this week, updating much of the wiring in the attic and installing a pair of dedicated circuits in our office.  This means that we can’t yet use the attic for storage (and with evidence of rats in the attic, I’m not sure I ever want to anyway), and with the downstairs guest room still incomplete, many of our boxes of books and other belongings are piled in great big stacks throughout the house.  Our living room is mostly livable, but our dining room still looks like a self storage company has been subleasing from us.  We can’t set up our office yet because the electrician is still working in there, though hopefully he’ll be finished in there tonight.

There’s also a strong possibility that our DSL will actually be active tonight.  We have word from our ISP, Sonic.net, that they’re moving forward with it, but there’s still the possibility that AT&T will put up more roadblocks, because AT&T is run by evil robots.

On the writing front… Well, I haven’t gotten any writing done for a couple of weeks now.  Part of the problem is the lack of office space at our new house, but that’s only part of it.  I’ve also just been lazy; instead of writing, I’ve been re-reading all of the Harry Potter books in anticipation of the release of the last book in the series.  Last year, you see, I decided on the very day that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came out that I wanted to re-read all of the previous books, which earned me great grief from Jennifer, who read HBP on the day it came out and had to wait until I was finished before she could talk about it with me.  I have learned from my mistakes.  So for the next week or so, Harry Potter trumps the writing, though when I get our home office set up I’ll probably start shifting my priorities back appropriately.

Anyway, that’s about it.  And if anyone has any idea what I’m doing wrong with regards to the door strips, I’d really appreciate a word of advice.

Will be kind of quiet this week…

This is our moving week, and we’re going to be crazy with last minute packing, finishing up the floors at the new house, meeting with handymen and electricians, and more.  So if you don’t hear from me this week, that’s why.

DSL Update

Thanks to everyone who replied with regards to my DSL woes.  I apparently had a brain tumor for breakfast yesterday morning because when I was checking with various providers, I kept giving them the phone number of our new house.  Said phone number is not yet active.  So, of course, no server reported DSL as available to that number.

Turns out, though, our new house is only 5,500 feet away from the CO (I’m not entirely sure what that is), so services are VERY available to that location.  After looking at various recommendations and checking out reviews, I’ve decided to go with Sonic.net.  They can provide the services I want at cheaper than AT&T (though more expensive than our current plan).  I like the fact that they’re a locally-owned business, and I really like the fact that they understand Linux and won’t constantly be asking me what version of Windows I’m running when I have questions.  Seriously.  It got to the point where if I had tech support issues with AT&T, I would just answer "Windows XP" when they asked what OS I was running.  And then when they said, "Open up your connection manager", I would just use VI to open up /etc/network/ifconfig.  It was always frustrating, knowing more about networking than their techs.

It was hard to choose between Sonic and OmSoft.  Both have great reviews on dslreports.net and both come highly recommended from friends of mine in the area who would know.  I chose Sonic because they were slightly cheaper for the services I wanted.

So, thanks again to all who gave me their suggestions.

The Joy of Moving

Escrow closed yesterday, and now the house in downtown Sacramento is officially ours now.  There’s still some paperwork to fill out and stuff to sign and inspections to complete and an old house to pack up and everything else, but we have keys and the house is officially ours.

Can I get a Woo Hoo?

I’m looking forward to the new house.  We had the final walk through yesterday, and noted a few minor issues; what Jennifer’s mother described as "character".  Things like how the kitchen cupboards have been painted so many times over the years that they no longer close properly (which is okay because we’re going to be remodeling the kitchen anyway), and how the carriage house in the back is essentially held together by cobwebs and prayer.  And how the peach tree in the side yard doesn’t grow peaches so much as something that’s about the size of an apricot and with fuzz that calls for one of those new razors from Gillette, the one with four blades.  And they’re overly squishy.  I wasn’t reminded of a produce stand with these peaches as I was a story from Lovecraft.  The lemons on the lemon tree, though, are rich and plump and the size of grapefruits; I’m sure we’ll find a use for them.

Of course, part of moving involves transferring over our phone line, our DSL account, and all that.  Now, we’ve had the same DSL account for years; Jennifer actually got it when she was still living in Woodland, and the company that offered it then — PacBell, which no longer exists — was giving out static IP addresses like they were candy.  A static IP address is a Good Thing; if you run a web server from your house, which we do, you want a static IP address.  Trust me on this if you don’t know what one is.  When we moved to Dixon, we were able to have that feature of the DSL account grandfathered to our new address.  Unfortunately, no matter how much I fussed with AT&T (which now owns the defunct PacBell), we can’t get a static IP address.  We can get an account with five static IP addresses, for a mere $20 extra, but I can’t imagine why I’d need five static IP addresses.  The conversation I had went something like this:

ME:  Hi, I’d like the same rock I had before, please.

AT&T: Oh, we no longer offer that rock.  But here, for just an additional twenty dollars a month, you can have this bag with five rocks!

ME:  Why on earth would I want five rocks?  I only need one.

AT&T:  Well, we’re not sure why you’d want five, but I can’t give you just one.

ME:  You can’t just give me one?  I’d be willing to pay an extra five dollars a month for it, really, but I don’t want five.

AT&T:  Nope.  It’s five rocks or none.

Yeah, we went around like that several times.  At one point, I even pointed out that if I only took one IP address, then that was four additional IP addresses that they could give to other customers that needed static IP addresses.

AT&T:  Oh, that’s not an issue.  We’ll never run out of static IP addresses for our customers.

ME:  Then why are static IP addresses so much more expensive?

The guy I was talking to had no answer for that one.  Unfortunately, logic doesn’t win with these guys, so it’s still five static IP addresses or none.

I spent a few hours yesterday looking around for another DSL provider in the area who could provide the service I needed at a reasonable price.  If I can avoid giving money to AT&T — whose slogan "Your world, delivered" has the unstated addendum, "…right into the hands of the government in violation of federal law" — that would make me happy.  Unfortunately, there are no other providers in the area.  For now we’re stuck.  I finally agreed to take a cheaper service from AT&T, without a static IP address, on a month to month service term so that I can cancel as soon as another provider is able to service our area.

Moving our Dish satellite service is pretty straightforward, but also involves its own share of absurdity.  Apparently, with Dish, from the time we request a work order to the time the work order is executed, local channels would be disabled on our account.

ME:  WTF?

THEM:  Yep.

ME:  So if I placed a work order today to request our service be transfered in two weeks, we would get no local channels at either house for two weeks?

THEM:  That’s it exactly.

I had to get this person to clarify this for me, three different times, using three different wordings.  When I asked why this was, the guy I spoke to said he didn’t know, that no one in his office knows, that he asked the very same question during training and his trainers couldn’t provide an answer either.  I suspect someone somewhere got something wrong, because this is just too absurd for words, but I decided to let it go and just wait until next week to place the work order.

Still, overall, I’m very happy about the move, even if AT&T is a confederacy of clowns and we’re stuck with them for some services.  The coolest part, I think, is that our new house is just about two miles away from my office, and each day on the way to and from work I get to pass by an historical old cemetery in the heart of Sacramento.  That’s the part, I know, that you are most jealous of.

Hoofing it

On Saturday, Jennifer and I went on a "garden tour" in Sacramento, in the area near where our new house is located.  Some of the houses in the area are in part of Sacramento called "The Fabulous Forties", and it’s where the politicians and lawyers and other assorted scum live, but it’s a nice area anyway.  Some of the gardens were really nice (others were quite bland).  We looked at them and tried to come up with some ideas for the garden in the surprisingly spacious back yard of our new home.

ME:  I’ve got an idea for our back yard.

SHE: Oh?  What?

ME:  Pirates!  Pirates of the Caribbean!

SHE (after a momentary blank stare): Um.  No.

ME: Why not? Pirates are cool!  We could design the carriage house like the front of a ship, with a figure head and a mast and everything, and put up skeletons and treasure chests.  And have a Jolly Roger!

SHE (predictably): No.

ME: Come on, Jennifer!  Zombie pirates!

SHE: I said no.  No pirates in our garden!

ME: Not even just a little?

SHE: No, no pirates!

ME: Just a Jolly Roger, then?

SHE (after a few moments of thought): Fine.  A small one.  Hidden away.  In a corner.  Maybe.

ME: Fine.  Hmph.

So we trudged on for another half block or so, looked at another couple of gardens.  Then I had another idea:

ME: How about ninjas?

SHE: No.

ME: Robots? Aliens?

SHE (lovingly): What the hell is wrong with you?

Should have seen that one coming.

We also went to the new house, just to scope out the neighborhood (walking distance from Trader Joes: check) and happened to meet a couple of our neighbors to be.  One of them breeds show pigeons; I had no idea there was such a hobby.  His wife is a gardener and says she knows everything there is to know about shade plants.  This is good, because I know nothing about them, even if they’re growing in pots of dubloons.

I think the new house is going to work out well, even if the pirates are banned from our garden.

In other news, I went to the Whole Earth Festival at UC Davis yesterday.  I’ve gone to just about every WEF for the past twenty years (missed last year’s because we were in Ireland), and after awhile you get used to sights like the skinny man in the unflattering fur loincloth toting the recycling bin (the guy dressed as a Borg and riding a penny-farthing bicycle that I saw a few years ago still stands out as unusual, though, even by WEF standards).  I was taken aback by the older woman with the nice gray hair and surprisingly youthful figure who also sported an immaculately groomed goatee.  I was kind of disappointed in the dearth of politics-related booths though.  The anarchists were there with their well organized booth, as were the Green Party and two (count ’em, two) Barack Obama booths.  But that was it.  In the past, there were so many more.  And there were no booths from religious groups at all, which surprised me: no Baha’i’s, no Jews for Jesus, no Christian Apologeticists, nothing.  I did see a group of Hare Krishnas (reformed, I guess, since they were not wearing robes and they had hair) chanting.  And while I saw dozens of environmentalist booths, I saw few political action booths: nothing about Darfur or Somalia or Armenia or the Basque.  Not even a single booth dedicated to the plight of Iraqi civilians.  I was actually really looking forward to seeing some of these booths and learning about the issues.

Perhaps the organizers of the Whole Earth Festival are engaged in a process of removing everything that might possibly be offensive to someone?  I don’t know.  It was disappointing.

Good music, though.  As always.

In, out, in, out…

Today we’re cleaning up the house, getting it ready to show to prospective buyers.  Our office has been purged of about six years’ worth of detritus, and all my cool toys have been packed away as well as about nine linear feet of bookshelf space and eleven or so linear feet of books.

It just doesn’t feel like home anymore.  It’s too… clean.

Moved lots of stuff to the garage, which is going to be our staging area for the move, of course.  At some point we’ll fill up our garage to the point where we can no longer park both cars in it, but that’s okay.  My car’s pretty trashed anyway.  It can live outside.

So, getting a lot of stuff moved out of the office and computer room and library, ready to move in to a new house (here’s hoping).

In the meantime, in spite of all the moving around and the lifting and the shifting and all the resultant dust and airborne debris, you know what I haven’t had to use?  Neither my nebulizer nor my inhaler.  That’s what.  Air’s moving in and out pretty freely today.  There’s a very slight twinge and tickle deep in my bronchial tubes when I inhale very deeply, but nothing that’s threatening to turn into a wheeze or a hacking cough.

This is a weird feeling.

Oh, in other news

We made an offer on the house that we fell in love with in Sacramento.  We’ve spoken with our realtor and with a financial guy we know through church, both of whom have outstanding reputations in our community, and we don’t think this is premature.  So, let’s hope that this all gets done quickly.

Also, it appears that the most recent round of steroids and antibiotics are actually starting to have an effect on my lungs.  I woke up this morning with a strange feeling; it took a few moments to realize that it was the feeling of air moving in and out of my lungs with scarcely a sound.  No wheezing.  And while I’m still short of breath, having walked all the way from my car to my desk (less than a hundred yards at best — is that not pathetic?), I’m not coughing up my entire respiratory system, and my lungs don’t hurt nearly as much as they have been. Spiffy!