Tag Archives: everyday

My weekend adventures…

This weekend has been a good time. Saturday night, I met a girl from Japan, named Metsuko… Dan met her on his trip throughout Europe and Asia. Apparently, she is still travelling and having a good time doing so.

I found out that the way to travel, is to buy an open ended type of ticket. This is where the star alliance, etc comes into play. So, she bought a ticket for around $3000 and that ticket is good for 19 flights. Apparently, she’ll travel to a city, hang out and checkout the city. Then, she’ll decide where she wants to go to next. The only caveat is that she can only travel one direction around the globe. So, she can’t back-track. Anyway… she’s been to more places than I can name. The bonus is that if you can stay with aquaintences along the way, then your room/board is taken care of and all you really need to worry about is paying for food.

Oh, I also verified that the ancient tradition of eating sushi off of a naked virgin is valid. She said that it doesn’t happen much (as far as she is aware), but she has heard of it…

Outside of that, I ended up getting home around 4:00am. This is where it got weird. I went to bed like normal but woke up around 6:30am or so… I looked at the clock and figured that I fucked it up in my sleep and that it was running slow… so, I went back to bed for a nap and woke back up around 9:00 am…. this time, I was still confused and figured that it was really like noon or 1:00pm. I don’t know why, but I felt wide awake. I even checked my cell phone to verify the time. I’m not quite sure why I felt so much awake, but I definitely did and figured it was worth writing down…

By the way… I had a VERY vivid dream right before waking up at 9:00am… it involved hanging out w/ Dave & Trey at a house. I had a roommate (not sure who), that kept inviting people over to marvel at the singers. I remember being irritated that he treated them as circus animals, rather than friends…

Also… one last thing. I’ve been walking around my neighborhood taking some pictures of things that catch my eye. I’ve posted some of them to the gallery, and I’ll post more that I took this weekend when I get time (probably early this week).

Recent dreams about death

Before I forget about these…

Sunday night, I had a dream about a big spider…. It was so big that it was rumored to have killed (and eaten) Reggie, the lovable dog from Sheboygan. Later that night, I found myself in a very confused state. I work up sideways on my current bed (king size inflatable mattress). I was very confused and must have been warm, because I thought that the house was on fire… I got out of bed and hunted around for my clock… After a minute or two of that, I must have woken up enough to decide that the best action was to just get back into bed. Strange…

Last night (Monday), I had another strange dream. I had a dream that my friend from the dorms, Brian, had killed one or two people. I was then caught up in this fiasco where I severely hurt Brian (in defense) and was accused of killing them. Later, I walked through the woods and finished him off, as he attempted to kill again.

With all of these dreams dealing with death, I can’t help but wonder what is going on…. Also, it appears as though I have more active dreams when the weather is warmer. When I slept in Baltimore, the temperature never really got above 70-75 degrees… Now, there is no a/c and the temperature fluctuates quite a bit due to having the windows open in my room, etc. This is definitely something I plan on keeping an eye on.


Not only the name of a great song from Blind Melon, but it is also what is happening around me right now.  Lets see… I went to the eye doctor this morning after some irritation last week.  It turns out that I have an eye infection in both eyes.  So I get to take drops & not wear contacts this week.  Also, I’ve decided to drive back to Milwaukee on Friday, so that should be quite a joy (especially without a car radio). 

Here are some interesting things to note:

·        How to make a bootable usb memory stick

·        SourceSafe power toys

·        BlogWave – Publish Sharepoint lists & libraries as RSS feeds

Other than that, I’ve been working on a Microsoft Outlook add-in.  More information to come, but this is definitely in the works and I’m actually planning out the design before jumping into the code.  Also, I would expect this site to go down towards the end of the week.  If all things go well & work out, it could be up again by the weekend… if not, it could be down for over a month.  Consider this an early warning 🙂


Location, Structure, Mechanicals

I am in the process of buying a house for the first time… There are so many little things to keep in mind, that sometimes I feel like I should have majored in a different field.  So to alleviate some of the headaches, I got myself a real estate agent.  I think it would be a bitch to do this without one.  She put me on a list so that I get emails of houses that just entered the market.  Also, she knows what to look for in a house (good & bad)… Not to mention that she gets paid by the [sellers] listing company, not by me. 

So, I took a short trip to Milwaukee yesterday.  I hopped a flight at 8:00am from Baltimore and made it to Milwaukee by 11:00am CST.  At that point, I was able to call a good friend and he proceeded to cart me around for the rest of the day.  I had a 3:00 appointment with my agent, so we had some time to burn.  Got some lunch and then we went to an open house in the neighborhood that I am interested in.  It was a good measure to see the price range of the neighborhood, as well as get a feel for looking at a house.

We then met the agent at the house and she proceeded to lead the way.  One side note, she mentioned that it is illegal to enter a property without the representing agent.  Found this out because we got to the house a little sooner than she did and were invited in by the owner. 

My realtor mentioned the three major things that she looks for in a house.  The location, structure, and mechanicals… Meaning that you should keep the location in mind; when the time comes to sell the house, the location doesn’t really change, so the next buyer will factor that in also.  The overall structure of the house is important.  Is the room layout what you want?  Finally mechanicals like circuit breakers, heat/air, appliances, etc.

Other than that, these are the major things that were pointed out right away at each house:

  • The roof:  How many layers does it have?  Noticeable bows/bends? 
  • Gutters: Are they new? Do they have plants growing out of them? 
  • Siding: Material used/Type of siding… Did the builder do it correctly or was it quickly done? (Caulk between the separation gaps)
  • Windows: Old/New?
  • Basement: Does it smell of water?  Water stains?  Inspect water heater(s) and furnace(s).  Solid foundation, bowed walls, cracks/patches

As far as financing is concerned… It was brought to my attention that there are distinct differences between being pre-qualified and pre-approved.  Being pre-qualified basically means that the lender has looked over the numbers and suggested an amount that you can afford.  This is basically an educated guess, as the numbers have not been verified.  Pre-approved is a bit better, as the lender basically verifies the information provided on the application.  Including how much you earn, what you owe, and your credit rating/score.   A letter of pre-approval is furnished to you, and in turn will be given to the real estate agent to be included with offers.  Ideally, you want to be pre-approved before making an offer, so that you’re not scrambling to get financing.


Outside of the mortgage, it is common to include earnest money with the offer.  This is basically an up-front cash deposit that shows the seller that you are interested.  If the offer is accepted, the earnest money is applied directly to the mortgage.  It is recommended that the earnest money should be less than 2% of the cost of the house, for various reasons…


This is all for now.  If I think of more, I’ll make sure to say something…

Creating panoramic images

I’ve been playing around with my camera since recently buying it.  I must say that I really enjoy taking pictures… but some things have come up.  The first is that I now desire a couple extra lenses… but that might be worked on around Christmas time 😉  The other main thing that has been on my mind is to create a nice panoramic picture.  I took a bunch of shots of the Baltimore skyline the other day, and I want to stitch them together to make one big picture.  So… in an effort to research how this is done, I came across this site.  The Panorama Tools Assistant (PTAssembler) tool seems to do everything (and probably more) that I need. 

Also, an important tidbit to note is that the process of combining the images into one large image is referred to as stitching.

Some Notes:

The computed horizontal field of view (FOV) for my lens is: 67.423.  This was computed by the focal length: (18mm * 1.5 = 27mm)  The 27mm is the 35mm equivalent. 

Camera shipped…

Just because I’m sitting here eagerly anticipating the arrival of my new camera (thanks for the recommendation John!), I was thinking that it would be cool to have a short-term notification service.  Something that sits in the taskbar (or whatever) and aggregates rss feeds for short periods of time.  To compliment this, for example, shipping companies would offer an rss feed for a tracking number.  The program would then aggregate that feed for the next 14 days or however long you specify.  When a change is detected, it would update the status and you could view the status at a click of the button. 


Yep, I’m just describing my utter laziness of not wanting to go to a website and enter the tracking number periodically.  I like the idea of entering it once and visually being notified by a program keeping tabs on when the status changes.  Sort of like those weather programs that sit in the taskbar. 


Changing times…

I’m changing my life again… I have decided to move out of Baltimore and head back to the Milwaukee area.  This is mainly due to my unhappiness with Baltimore and being slightly homesick for family & friends.  The time away has been great, and I want to thank e.magination for providing a living for me and allowing my skills to grow.  I’ve met some cool people there and will attempt to stay in contact.  Even if that means that I just bug them on IM 🙂  The other major factor in me moving is my current living situation. 


I’m feeling like I’ve been crowding Rob & Rachel somewhat, and I don’t want to be a burden to their future plans.  Couple that with my desire to gain some equity, and I figure that I might as well live where I generally feel the best.  The time in Baltimore has been nice, though.  It has slowed me down a little (something I had wanted to do), and I’ve had the chance to re-evaluate what I’m looking for out of life.  I have also had the chance to see the funky cicada bugs & go to a kick ass horse race.  There are many other memories that I have had here, but rather than reiterate, I’ll just let you discover them through this blog…


I had originally intended to move to the twin cities, but something else came my way.  I was contacted by Dave Lillie about an opportunity that he had available.  I’ll be working for Edstrom Industries, Inc. as an Asp.Net/C# developer.  The clincher that sucked me in is the opportunity to work for Dave, again, as well as work with Jayme and another person.  Name is being withheld on purpose, for now… To work with those people and help guide/start a software development group will be an excellent experience, I’m sure.


So if this website goes down for a little while towards the end of July, you know why… rest assured, I enjoy blogging, so the site will resume and I’ll continue to spout useless information.


Also, if I had a chance to be in Chicago this coming weekend, you can be sure that I would be going to see Souad Massi.


Phishing over the weekend

This past weekend, I went to Alpine Valley to see Phish.  I saw them Saturday night (6/26/04)… It is supposed to be their last show at Alpine, and from the looks of the crowd, people believed it.  I haven’t seen lines of cars waiting to pull into the lots like that before.  They were about a mile or more long (in both directions) on highway 43, near Bowers road.  So, rather than sit in line like chumps… we figured that we would find a “shortcut.”  Basically, this involved us taking some back roads, weaving underneath the highway…. and ultimately we came out at the intersection of bowers road and the road to the parking lots.. we probably saved about two or more hours of waiting in line.


I sort of knew it was a bad sign when I saw people looking for tickets along the highway.  Getting into the parking lot showed similar results… many many people with their fingers in the air, looking for tickets.  When we pulled into our “spot,” the attendant mentioned that there were 36,000 people who attended the previous night’s performance and that there were already that many people in the lots.  Not including the numbers still waiting in their car lines…  Also, the attendants gave up on attempting to park the cars in the normal rows (with big distances between cars) and instead just parked the cars tightly together.  So… I spent a good portion of the day walking around looking for a ticket.  Heh… Kristina, Ryan’s girlfriend, was even offering rim jobs for a ticket 😉  I was ready to sit in the parking lot for the entire show when all of a sudden one of the guys I was with offered his ticket from the night before…


I went to the show with a friend and some people that he knew.  There were two people (Brandon and Scottie) from Colorado who Ryan (the friend I knew) met the night before.  Apparently the needed a place to stay Friday night and Ryan or one of the guys (his neighbors) he was with offered a spot in their place.  So Brandon and Scottie drove with us to the show on Saturday.  Anyway… Scottie found his ticket (printed from the web) from the night before and said that it was worth a shot.


I took the ticket to the first gate that we came to, and was promptly turned away… they used scanning machines to verify the ticket, and noticed that it was for the previous day.  So naturally, I turned around and went to another gate.  This time, the corrals were pretty much empty, so I had my pick of who I wanted to turn me away.  I decided to go with the guy with the mustache, for some reason.  I walked up to him, not paying attention to the ground, and handed him my ticket.  As he scanned my ticket, he noticed that I was wearing sandals and advised me not to step in the glass beneath my feet… meanwhile, the machine probably told him that it was a Friday ticket, but out of luck, he was pre-occupied telling me about the glass and didn’t look at the machine.  So, he said “have a good show” and I pretty much floated beyond him into the venue.  I was able to find Ryan, and the other people we came with, right away and we found our spot just before the show started…   


I’ll omit the exact details of that kickass show, but if you’re interested in the setlist, head here.  Otherwise, go grab the soundboards


Taxi politics

I found out that running a taxi isn’t as easy as it looks.  Apparently, there is corruption amongst the cab drivers and dispatch.  I was talking with a driver who didn’t seem to work for the company that I called but was more of a contracted driver… he managed to get to where I was waiting within 10 minutes… and that was from across town, or so he said.  He was saying that dispatch gives out the high profile fares ($80 or more) to their own company’s cars.  Meanwhile, he gets shit fares for less than $20, usually…


Apparently cab drivers need to pay “rent” to the company.  The company owns a license allowing the drivers to operate.  In order to legally operate, cab drivers either need to have their own license or be affiliated with a company that owns a license.  I was told that a license typically costs around $100k, so the typical cab driver can’t just go solo and purchase one.  In fact, the guy that I talked to had a partner so that their car is driven 24 hours… He said that rent is costing his car around $600 a month right now, but he thinks that the owner of the cab company is attempting a cab company monopoly… so he figures that once the guy gets that, rent will be $1000 or more…


Now, this is where the interesting part comes in… I didn’t tell the company where I was going, so after about $10 accumulated, the driver made it look as though he dropped me off, via the computer.  He had a modification done to his car that disconnects the central computer from the fare meter, at the flip of a switch.  So, he flicked the switch (allowing the meter to continue to run) while dispatch thought that he dropped me off… At this point, negotiations started and the “flat-rate” could be worked out.  Since I was paying in cash, everything worked out and I’m sure he pocketed the majority of the fare. 


So, back to how the owner of the cab company (American cabs, I think) is attempting a cab company monopoly in Milwaukee.  The guy started a company called Yellow Cab of Milwaukee.  This competes directly with Yellow Cab (a different company based in Milwaukee).  The ad is on the same page as the original Yellow Cab ad, but it is above it and twice as big.  Basically, he’s hoping that people looking for Yellow Cab will pick his (out of confusion) over the other one.  I did…  Now the cabbie that I rode with figures that eventually the owner of the cab company will be able to just buy out Yellow Cab… At that point, the competition in the city is pretty much gone…


Interestingly enough… because of this, I will hopefully never see the driver again.  I will continue to support Yellow Cab instead of this new conglomerate wanna be.