Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Selling The Drama is a very interesting place. I like to think of it as 'local eBay without paying fees and the ability to see the product before paying.' I've picked up a lot of different things there and sold several. Heck, I got rid of all my sod after converting the lawn with a post minutes after the work was done. Anyhow, I'll be using it for something new this week... a garage sale.

I've never been big on placing ads in the newspaper. I think it comes down to paying someone to list something that may or may not be seen by anyone that day. This will be my first garage sale and of course I'll be placing signs from the major streets heading to my house (don't need too many thankfully) as well as a notice on Craigslist. Nice to be able to put photos up there so someone can see if it is worthwhile to even drive by. Should be holding it on Saturday morning until I start the podcast. If I have a lot left over, Sunday also. This is going to help thin out things here at the house for my next major project which I'll bring up when things fall into place. I took Friday off to go through the house looking for useless stuff to get rid of (including: dining room table, entertainment center, Marantz stereo equipment, bunk bed, computer parts/software and many other things that I haven't even considered yet.)

Anyhow, this should explain a bit of the rushed feeling that I've been experiencing lately. The move to the new computer has gone great. That has been a chore (it took 8 dual layer DVDs to back up my iTunes files and move them to the new computer) and most of it is set up the way that I want to. Small problem with copying photo files from one window to the other but it could be a corrupt file or something. Skype worked well although there was some static at first but that could be because (although they work) there aren't any drivers for my headset (or printer) as of yet. Now I just need to pare down my iTunes tracks so I can update the iPod.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Digital Transfer

It's very easy to say that I've been busy. I've got a lot of projects going on and some just about to start. Today, I decided to talk about one of them -- the computer. I had a lot of issues recently when recording my podcasts. I can't say that technical support has been effective at all. So, I had to step back and think around the issue. This culminated in the purchase of a new computer from Apex Computers.

Before you say "Who?", it might bear explaining that I think that most computers you purchase at the store have too much junk on them. One that has you register separate parts with the company, a program or two that boot up that you know you don't want, e-mails from the company telling you that your trial-software should be upgraded for $29.95... Anyhow, have avoided that for over a decade now by going to the same little store (in Las Vegas) where my friend Tracy used to work. Good people that haven't done me wrong.

So, yesterday before work, I picked up my new monster. Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 processor, 2GB memory, two 320GB Western Digital hard drives, a DVD drive, a DVD burner, an Nvidia 8500 video card, card reader, sleek black case and... Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 64-Bit. That latter part is rather interesting as you will want the more processor-heavy programs to take full advantage of the faster bus speed but some of those programs are only 32-Bit. I'm sure they'll get with the program sooner or later though. I was up until 10am installing software. I'm impressed so far but then again, new computers always run really fast for a month or two.

Should be interesting to see how recording the show works this week. But for now, I'll be going between my computers with a 4GB USB card moving files over. I have a ton of media files on the other hard drives (150GB and 250GB.) My external 250GB hard drive has issues also as it hasn't been working for the last few weeks. It'd be a lot easier just using that as a medium. (Which reminds me that the previous computer is having issues with burning DVDs as I need 14 to back up my iTunes.) This will be a headache but I can see a lot of good in the future. I've already had my first errors as I move files from the card to the new drives. It pretty much fails here and there putting files across mentioning an error code that the Vista website doesn't recognize. Brilliant. It's just going to take adjustment. My fingers are crossed though.

I also have a few other projects in the works. I need to hold a garage sale next weekend (30th/1st). No computers are going but I need to run around the house and really unclutter some things. Charity already got the shirts from RockStar. Other projects include 'the wall' which I'll explain in detail soon and storing some of the household items that I don't use to unclutter the house.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Reno Education

I previously mixed a post about Information Society with one about driving to win back the girl. I'm finally going to end that story. I was in my first apartment, a little heartbreak with a girl that ran off to school in Reno to her boyfriend after I drove off to try to change her mind in Arizona (my first solo road trip.) I had then sold my car, lost my job and had a flood in the apartment which damaged all my furniture and anything near the floor -- forcing me to move somewhere else or pay damages to the management company. The story continues...

After a few calls, I had reconnected with M.B. (names abbreviated to protect the unaware) and she planned to stop back in Vegas during her break. She had dismissed the boyfriend and wanted me in her life. I had just recovered from some financial issues. I was living with Mom and had been saving money that I was making at a steak house (they had the best cream of chicken soup.) I had also purchased a nice used 1988 Toyota pickup. M.B. was heading back to Reno for classes and I was really tempted to follow her. I did. Well, at first it was a short stay during her birthday. But in the back of my head, I knew that I'd be up there soon. I saved a few thousand dollars and found out from M.B. that my former roommate/co-worker D.G. was heading up there for school also. So we wound up loading his things in the truck as well as mine for the drive north.

It was spring and cooler than Vegas. M.B. and I decided that I needed a place as her parents would probably yank her college funding if a guy was living with her. D.G. already had a place that he was going to stay. I went for what I could, a small little trailer that someone was renting a room out of. I gave him my deposit and had remorse about the deal later, giving up the deposit. I made a deal with D.G. to split rent and would sleep on the sofa bed.

This worked well for awhile. D.G. worked for the photo company we both did in Vegas at the Reno location. I held down a few part-time jobs (K-Mart dock worker, change person at Fitzgeralds, valet person at a downtown hotel and runner/detailer at a rent-a-car company.) Dad was nice enough to help me with tuition for my first classes. D.G. was going to UNR with M.B. while I went down the road to TMCC. We split the bills evenly and had some good times. I tried to give M.B. a little room to study as she had quite a workload at that time.

Things started going bad when D.G. stopped working. After going through his bank account, he sold some rare coins left to him and made calls to his parents for money when needed. Needless to say, things started getting lopsided. He had more free time with some bills getting paid late while I was working and going to classes. In one of my dumbest moves ever, I agreed when he said, "They are going to shut off the phone and power. Why don't we put them in your name instead so we can keep them on?" Heck, we did that with the apartment too. D.G.'s car was uninsured and unregistered now while parked in front of our apartment.

Things weren't going so well with M.B. I was busy and some classes had ended so she had some free time. She and Dave would go off for walks near the botanical park. I chalked that up to him needing someone to talk to as he was financially falling apart and probably not going to be able to continue school. He obviously wasn't going to tell me that himself. It was shortly after that M.B. and I had a little talk about where things were between us and ended it.

I was still working and had only a few months left to finish my classes. Sure, my reason for being in Reno was lost but I knew that I could still accomplish my goal. I just wasn't as aware of how bad D.G.'s financial situation was getting (no work, no income...) I had several of the same friends as M.B. and D.G. up there. L and L were very good friends of mine that worked with her at our former job and lived not too far away. I'd see them every week or so. Her roommate K.R. graduated with me (as did D.G.) and shared a lot of musical interests notably Depeche Mode. She and another girl that I remembered from school had a few friends that they'd get together here and there.

I was over at a birthday party with those friends when K.R. came in and needed to talk. Essentially, she walked into the house and heard the bath running and figured that M.B. was home early. Then she heard a second voice... D.G.'s. Many things went through my head. Of course, I was disturbed by this but heck D.G. had a lot of free time and I didn't. By the time I got back to the apartment (M.B. and K.R. lived in the same complex), M.B. wanted to talk. That was the last thing that I wanted to do. Of course she was worried about D.G. I made that pretty easy as I moved out after finding a place that I could pay weekly.

The last time that I would see D.G. was on my drive back to Vegas. He needed a ride. I never discussed the topic during the hours in the car. It was between M.B. and myself. Sure, my respect had slowly diminished for him (monetary) and disappeared after the other incident. Years later, I left a letter at his parents house just to let him know that all is well. I never heard from either of them again. Knowing they are alive and well would be nice.

But I learned a lot in Reno. Life lessons. You can't run from your problems and have to own them. Trust is earned and can be destroyed easily. I accrued a lot of debt and bad credit. You didn't think that the rent, power or phone were paid after I left, did you? I remember trying to purchase a house several years later and finding a laundry list of debts that needed to be paid. I'm better off for it as getting the house at that time would have been a mistake. Anyhow, I don't hold myself blameless for Reno and my relationships at the time. I'm sure that I had to have done or not done something to lead to some of these issues. I do think that this is probably one of those reasons that I think going to college out-of-state can be a good chance to learn about yourself.

Otherwise, Reno was a beautiful city. Oddly enough, Las Vegas started building a 215 years later and it reminded me of McCarran which is a street that circles Reno. It made a lot of sense there. Ice on the roads freaked me out a little. I'm a warm climate person. When I smell pine, I still think of nearby Incline Village.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Life Update - 060107

A lot has been going on with a feeling of being backlogged mounting (some of them don't really deserve their own post anyhow.) So, that means it's time for an update. But, I'll be asking a question at the end, so feel free to help me with what goes in my next post.

  • Grandpa is doing amazingly well after everything. I think the only thing that has changed is his hearing has gotten a bit worse. He and Grandma have a thing for bingo and happen to be pretty lucky in the game recently.
  • I've come to the decision that I need to have a garage sale in the next month or so. I have a lot of junk that can easily go and they only clutter the house right now. Probably on a Sunday and maybe a Saturday (if I can work around the podcast.)
  • I've discovered that I really enjoy the interviews that I do during the podcast but they take a lot of work. There are some possible ones coming but technical difficulties with Skype have me weary. Those listening to the little link to the podcast on the left side of the blog will notice that I sound like a little odd sometimes. (No, I haven't been bitten by a radioactive chipmunk.) It seems to be an issue with the Flash player. I've recently picked up a book, Television & Radio Announcing, to try to help me get better with presentation.
  • It seems that Connor and Olivia do rather well in these pageants. Here's an article about them with a photo of Connor #4. Although they were runners up last year (as mentioned in the article), Olivia wound up winning this year.
  • I will be keeping a longer list of the books that I am reading and have read on the blog. I mean, it's a good way to feel like I'm accomplishing more than clearing off my shelf. Almost through the books that Lloyd and Teri gave me for my birthday last year (they were all very good and deserve separate reviews.) The 'to read' shelf is packed and I don't know how I'll fit more up there.
  • Speaking of reading, I've created a small unorganized reading group at work. It is essentially me handing books out to people after I've read them. In doing so, I'm thinking of picking up book plates (little stickers that go in books) and buying a stamp that says "On loan from the Hennessy library." Makes me feel special.
  • I really need to work on the yard. When you convert to desert landscape, there is still maintenance. Pine needles and leaves need to be blown off the rocks as well as weeds and crabgrass need to be yanked out of areas they are spreading. If I did that one morning, I'd be done for the year... it's just doing it.
  • Mom looks amazingly better. It's still going to take some time for her to recover all of her motion range without soreness. But, it's almost like the light behind her eyes is that much brighter and 10 years of life have been injected into her. It is amazing how pain can age someone and now it's been removed after the surgery.
  • After reading several articles on sodium benzoate (like this one), I have been cutting back on my carbonated beverage drinking. I've also been wondering why they haven't tested potassium benzoate as both can form the carcinogen benzene when combined with ascorbic acid. The one in question seems to be in most drinks so going cold turkey isn't an great option but I'll keep looking at labels.
  • I've become extremely lazy when it comes to cleaning around the house. I think that I'm just getting sick of putting trash in bags and taking them out. I never get up early enough to catch the garbage truck. If I leave it outside overnight, someone either parks in front of the garbage can (so the driver doesn't see it) or someone knocks it over. Losing proposition, I think. I just need to get into a cleaning frenzy but that is something I'll have to explain later.
  • Lastly.... I have said things like "I'll explain that later" or "I'll post about that later" and now is your turn tell me off for it. Let me know what topic that I left you hanging on and I'll post about them in order of most votes.