Events, Family, Games, Personal, Thoughts, Vacations

Who’s Gonna Work for the Working Man?

What an exciting last few weeks. I am falling into a routine that means a lot fewer depressing couch and beer marathon weekends.

I sold my old POS Chrysler Sebring convertible (aka Big Red). After owning both an American car, and a Japanese car its pretty clear to me why we lost that race. Its also clear to me why the Chrysler company is just treading water. They are going to have to start subletting the Chrysler building at this rate. In my experiences, there is just very little quality in their products. Next we are selling the wifes truck, and getting a nice compact SUV. We have already been sneaking peaks at the Mazda CX9, and the Toyota RAV4 and 4Runner, and surprisingly the Scion. What a beautiful bastard that car is.

On a related note, we are ditching State Farm. I think their new slogan should be “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there…to collect your premiums”. Then its back into the darkness. Insurance is getting out out of control. My accident has been resolved, and the strongest statement I can make is to drop them.

Kristin has gotten me hooked on the Harry Potter series – which has become my reading of choice on the Red Line. Like many other things including Legos and video games, I don’t feel like I should be enjoying these books as much as I do as an adult. I am almost finished with the “Goblet of Fire“, and it definitely has taken a darker turn. Kristin says that the book series was meant to mature with the kids that were reading them. True or not, its an entertaining read for anyone sitting on the fence about it. No one has even beaten me up, or given me an atomic wedgie for reading it on the train!

When I am not reading, I am putting some time in on the PS3. I just beat Drakes Uncharted (the first one), and it was excellent. I enjoyed it as much as Uncharted 2. I popped in God of War 2 next, and I was immediately sucked in by the epicness of it all. Once I finish this, then I can see what the world is talking about with God of War 3. Final Fantasy XI?? is on its way. Some Uncharted 2 co-op with Mr. Templeman to be announced, and some Alien Breed with my brother should satisfy my gaming needs. One of my co-workers has given me a tough decision of whether to buy a PSP for $50. There are some really cool games on it, and it would be a nice train companion. The question is do I really need to play more games?

Fall semester resumes with my enrollment in four more classes at Clayton State. The graduation countdown should begin next semester. I was on track to graduate in the Fall until the move to Boston happened. That’s life I guess. You can either give up, or you can get back up. Economics with LaBreque should be awesome. Our textbook is “Freakonomics“. He really does have a lot to contribute to teaching. Why can’t he teach all our courses? It sure would have made Biology more fun.

Speaking of Clayton State, I will be joining some folks from the ol’ HUB in Las Vegas to celebrate with them what is sure to be an awesome bachelor party. You only live once, but my budget for the trip is $1000. Let’s see how much fun I can have with that. Also from Clayton State’s world-renowned help desk, Brian Hursey is coming up to Boston for some job training. He will be one of the few to see our new house in Braintree. Knowing his photography skills, perhaps he can share with folks some of the beautiful sites from our new home. Look forward to seeing you Brian!

Work continues to improve. I have been allocated to another project on a different contract. This means a big change in the work. I am working with different people, and I get a wider range of things to contribute to. I get to put my CSS hat back on for a while, and do some design work. Its a fun challenge to take a composition and turn it into a mirror image in HTML/CSS – its an art to do it in Internet Explorer (die, die die!). This new project is also a lot less mature than the project I was working on. It is nice to see the projects evolve from the lessons learned on the older codebases. I  strong-armed some of my co-workers to take a nice lunch this Friday instead of inhaling our food over our nasty keyboards in silence. We went to Pizza Dough’s in Harvard Square. Its always fun to go up there and hipster-watch.

Kristin and I went to the Gillette stadium last night and watch Bon Jovi through the bars of the venue gates. The view wasn’t bad considering we didn’t pay anything for it. I revisited my arch nemesis “Red Robin” and got the burger burned to hell this time. It was decent, but not as good as I remember. Its hard to ignore the fries, and skip the beers because of the diet. I have lost a few pounds, but nothing major yet. I seem to be hovering at 186, despite religiously sticking to my 1600 calories / day diet plan. I suppose I need to just work out harder and keep that cardio up to burn the love handles I am holding onto. I have also “tweaked” my left shoulder and am unable to look over my left shoulder without some pain. I guess I am getting old.

Finally, I am looking for a new DNS name for my blog. Ideas welcome.

Computers, Events, Family, Personal, Thoughts

Further Observations on these Northerners

Each day that goes by is getting a little bit easier – thats a good sign that I am going to live to see 2011 after all!

The highlights first. I turned 26 this year! I’ve left the Spring of my life and moved into it’s Summer. For my birthday we went to Moe’s Southwestern Grill in Hanover. After gorging ourselves on queso, we went to see Get Him to the Greek in theaters. The movie was a riot and had me laughing so hard I was crying. Afterwards, we finished the evening off at the Cheesecake Factory at the South Shore Plaza mall (location of Mall Cop). After writing it off because of the name Kristin is now pumped to go back. Good news for me since I love this place (how can you not?)

I got a new netbook computer for my birthday present. The computer is an ASUS eee, model 1005HAB. I love it for what it does. I can sit outside on our nice patio set and listen to nature while surfing the Internet. I miss my old laptop, but I don’t miss its bulk, its pitiful battery or its weight. Ubuntu Linux has also made it wickedly easy to just install and go. We picked it up in Boston’s North Shore after a Craigslist tip, and what a cool area! We will be scheduling a trip back minus the car. This place is the “gold coast” of Boston, and it is so packed with shops it reminded me of Paris, France.

I also picked up God of War: III, which I can’t play yet, because I haven’t beaten God of War: II. I’ll get to them soon I hope. I heard its fantastic, and I will probably bring it in to work for all the 360 folks to check out (then cry over).

Our heatwave has finally broken, with pleasant afternoon temperatures hanging around 70 the last few days. You don’t really need air conditioning up here, save for a few days like we have had lately. When I walk down the street to get my morning coffee from Dunkin Donuts (more on that in a second), I see one house in four with an AC unit. One of my coworkers just moved into a new apartment, and he said that he has lived in a place without AC his whole life. Amazing!

We have added to our lists of places to go for food. We are both pretty tired of pizza and sub shops, which seems to dot the restaurant landscape as abundantly as weeds. In addition to Vinny Ts, and JJ Mulligans (a local pub), the Cheesecake Factory, and Redbones (BBQ place in Somerville) have made the list. Dunkin Donuts has taken a stranglehold on the coffee and donut market here. They probably outnumber Starbucks 10 to 1. Makes since being that this is where they started. I prefer them anyways – and they are winning Kristin over with their frozen coffee.

The wife and I are still adjusting to our jobs. Its all part of the experience of moving I suppose. We miss our old employers. One of my coworkers brought in a CO2 “rig” for carbonating our drinks. I have had so much carbonated water lately that I think my bladder and kidneys are shutting down. I carbonated some lemonade yesterday, and I am looking for other things to try next. I wonder what sweet tea would taste like? Drinking a freshly carbonated drink means swallowing a lot of CO2, which can make you feel giddy for a second or two. I think that is part of the appeal.

I am getting adjusted to my train ride into work. It has certainty solidified my nerves, since I now have to deal with “strange” people steadily. Instead of fearing the worst, I now just accept they are there, and try to ignore them. Its an improvement for me. I am so comfortable that some days I have drifted off to sleep on the train when I am not engaged in a good book. Doing this has made me end up heading to Ashmont because I missed the transfer at JFK U. Mass. I have gotten a lot of time to read lately. I just finished Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, Zig Ziggler’s See You at the Top (thanks Joyce!), and I am working on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban now.

Kristin and I are continuing our gardening experiment. Our peas are pushing four feet tall, and our tomatoes and cucumber have started to aggressively grow, but they are still tiny – just a few inches tall. The herbs have been a failure, and the green onion has been met with limited success so far. Its something fun to do though. It is satisfying to see something so tall that you started from a tiny seed. Probably the simple version of having a kid I suppose. We have been exploring local parks with the canines which we all enjoy. It really is beautiful up here, and the weather invites you to come outside rather than hitting you with an invisible wave of heat when you open the door.

And now the best news for last, you loyal readers. I will be flying back to Atlanta the morning of July 2nd to see all of you wonderful people. I can’t wait to see my family, my ex-co-workers, friends, babies, and critters! It has really picked my mood since I booked the flight. Hopefully there are some folks staying in town for the holiday weekend. If you are, lets catch up! Give me a ring, or shoot an email to me! See you all soon!