Posts

Showing posts from July, 2005

Some fresh pics

Image
After some not-so-subtle hints from my sweetie:

Our new house, and Sharkey:



Joey's room (2 views)



Awesome radio drama

New organizational tool

Check this out:

TadaList Lets you maintain a very cool web todo list/lists and edit it inline in your browser just like in an app like Lotus Notes, Outlook, or others.

:-) Type C personality, here I come.

The old addage is true...

...no amount of money can make you enjoy a job you don't like.

I've bellyached to everyone that will listen, and they're (apparently) very tired of it. Everybody has problems, and whining about a job that pays you an obscene amount of money to (literally) twiddle your fingers all day doesn't get much traction with most people.

I don't blame them. It is getting kinda sad that no one sympathizes with me in the least...doesn't help the crushing loneliness I feel every night when I go home to my empty house, that's for sure.

Doesn't change the fact that nothing I'm doing these days turns my crank. And I'm currently embroiled in a power struggle in which I'm just a pawn.

I mean, literally, if I worked 10 or 12 hours a day programming, I got some gratification from that. If I work 10 or 12 hours a day as a team lead, I'm doing...what, exactly? Planning schedules for my team? Figuring out whom I should yell at? Writing frickin' EMAIL t…

On being a PL Slut

I confess. I'm a parking lot slut.

Most people park in the same parking place every single day, without fail. Makes them feel comfortable and safe. Not me.

Oh no, some days I'm in the mood to park in the very front, where everyone can see my shiny MINI; other days, I find a spot in the very back of the lot, away from those who would ding the Pup.

Today, I nestled in the gap between a Camry and an Accord, midpack. I'd never parked there before.

I got a thrill.

Nine Princes in Amber

Image
A book on loan from my friend the Mac fiend, this is the first in a series by Roger Zelazny, and it's a quick involving read at only 176 pages. The guy's terse and vivid and the action never stops, but I found the basic premise to be so much Fantasy that the characters were hard to get into.

Basically, the idea is that there's one "true" city (Amber) and that all the other universes and dimensions are "shadows" of that one. Amber's ruled by a central monarchy, and that monarch has died (or...something...). Anyway, the remaining 9 boys and 6 girls of his brood all fight it out to see who can recapture the throne.

It plays-out like a game of poker, crossed with chess, with a dash of "Braveheart" thrown in. Good, but not great.

Did feel good to actually read a book again.

#2 Part Deux

Well, they're going to get rid of 275 of us over the next month. Regular employees only (we're the ones that are ongoing legacy risks--401(k)'s, pensions, healthcare costs) have the option of taking a 4-26 week pay package (based up # of years of service) plus 3 months of health care coverage...

...or you can just wait until Aug 25th and find out if you get the Involuntary Exit Program (i.e. "You're FIRED"). It's unknown if you get the severence pkg with eh IEP

Shit

As part of the company's ongoing optimization of its expense structure, Lexmark also announced today that it will reduce its workforce by approximately 275 employees through the first half of 2006 with a majority of the affected employees exiting in the third quarter of 2005. A majority of the reductions are expected to occur at the Lexington site. However, the number of people employed at the site will remain about the same on a year-over-year basis as a result of R&D hiring this year.

Kings Island.

Image
It sucks to be 36.5" tall. That's what I learned taking Joey and Whitney up to Kings Island on Friday in Sharkey.

Sharkey's our Olds Intrigue. I name my cars...sue me.

Digression...The names of all my cars and those I've been in contact with:

Li'l Green My 1995 Nissan 200SX SE-R. It was Teal, a tint of green, and it saw me through every stupid thing a 16-20 year old can do with a car, including a bad accident with a deer.

The Problem Child 2001 Jetta Wolfsburg edition. I hated that car, and it hated me. I'll never buy German again, and it looks like I got out just at the right time.

Big Red (I) Robin's 1998(?) Taurus SHO. I loved the wheels, but not much else about this contrived ovoid monstrosity from Dearborn by way of Yamaha.

The Pup My MINI. The reason my online handle is miniharryc

Big Red (II) Dad's 2001 Chevy Silverado that I had for 7 months before selling it to buy Thor.

Big Blue Robin's 2003 Honda Accord that she insists upon autocrossin…

Invitations are done!

Image
Shout out to the unloved Lexmark X5150 All-in-One (Scan/Print/Copy/Fax)



Did all 31 sets of invitations, reply cards, reply envelopes, and a mail-merge of different envelopes and everything came out perfectly. We took several days of calligraphy down to 2 hours of Microsoft Word.

Coolest part had to be doing a mail merge from an CSV Excel spreadsheet with the guest list into the envelope screen in Word. I've never done this, and it was a snap. The M$ guys should be proud of how reassuring and robust this process was

summary of events...

Image
i bought a car, a 2001 Olds Intrigue. It's sweet and navy blue.

I went to Kings Island with Joey and Whitney. It was fun. I laughed, I cried, i got mad.

I bought some tires for the MINI yesterday before we went to PKI, Bridgestone Potenza G009's



195/60R15, mounted on my regular MINI wheels. The budget didn't quite allow for the 15x7 Kosei's that I wanted, but this is a decent compromise.

I washed three vehicles today and I'm pretty tired, so I don't know if I'll make the autocross tomorrow or not.

Google map of my parents' farm

>>sigh<< it's really for sale, now

Anybody wanna Buy a GTO

Troubling news...

The guy who was running the Body Shop at frank shoop got fired. Eeek...my poor GTO.

On the bright side, it should be done today. :D

Ah, if I'd only had this 10 years ago...

Susan came to town and complained that I post too much car crap on my blog.

Yeah, and??? :-)

Check THIS out. In my never-ending quest for the sweetheart car that's been babied since day one, I was cruising 502StreetScene.com and happened upon this jewel.

This is a 'Classic' Sentra SE-R, with the original 140hp engine swapped for a Japanese SR20VE pushing at least 190 hp, probably more. Black and very clean, this thing could probably go for years, if we could keep the rust away.

$2600...mmm....

We've all been there...

Image
From PostSecret

don't laugh...

Image
My friend scott has a '92 Honda Accord wagon for sale, with only 41k original miles, from one owner (his grandfather)

Pics:





Told my mechanic about it, and he said: "92 w/41k miles? buy it."

The weekend that was...

I learned this weekend that Carfax is your friend but it's not your priest, Rasslin' is a religion, and autocross can be boring.

First, yes, we're still car shopping. We stopped-in with Johnathan at Toyota South and we discovered a few things. First, their new/gently used lot is full of nice folks. Their $9995 or less lot (at their old location) has standard used cars salesmen.

Still, we looked at a 99 Avalon, an 01 Altima, and an 02 Olds Intrigue; while the intrigue and altima were tired auction items, the 99 Avalon looks like a real find. It's a boat, but it's a Lexus for under 10 grand. Carfax gave its blessing to these three, but we found on closer examination that at least the Altima had been wrecked + repainted. In the end, Carfax is a good way to thin the herd of potentials, but not a great way to ensure a car is sound. Nothing beats a good mechanic.

Rasslin. WWE Raw. Andy and Jamie had ringside seats 6 rows back. I wish I had the words to describe th…

MINI upgrades

Image
Bella reports that the MINI's current tires are about worn-out (well, the 3 that are original...had to buy a new one when I took it to Cincy a few weeks ago), so I'm looking around.

Rather than buy another set for the 15x5.5" rims I've got on the car, I can do this:

Get a set of Kosei K1 Racing wheels, 15x7"



And the wrap them with a set of Kumho Ecsta 711's in 215/55R15:



Pkg is about $600 and they'd just bolt right on.

Then I'd have THREE sets of wheels/tires:

- Set of Snow tires
- Set of Set of racing slicks
- Set of sweet, painted wheels for everyday use. :D

Coffee is such a good thing

Yes, it stains your teeth and addicts you, but man, my synapses are firing this morning.

Brought the Palm Zire back from the dead. I'm working on a wedding, a rally, a honeymoon, two projects at work, housework, yardwork, buying food for the house, and looking for a car for W. My brain asploded a week ago, and I need help. It's sitting on the charger right now.

Speaking of organizing...check out this site. Can't wait to look @ it tonight.

I'm helping to plan the Dog Days Rally, which will start in Georgetown on August 13th at 8:15 am. We'll be doing an easy TSD rally through the countryside, with a break in the middle. Just had a meeting last night with Lo & Phil, our rallymeisters, and they gave me lots of tips about planning the route. I need to get the route planned and flyers designed by Sunday. Yikes.

Other than that, God has turned on the soaker hose for Central Kentucky. The dying remnants of Dennis spin atop Owensboro, misting the earth and causing…

Rental Car review: Toyota Echo

Image
Ah, the unloved Toyota Echo:



Basically, this is the car that spawned Scion. Styled by Toyota's California design center as the replacement for the utilitarian Tercel, this bug-eyed, misproportioned design is the camel of the automotive world: Better in most respects than competitors, but it's UGLY!

And so it is...these same underpinnings form the chassis of the Scion Xa and Xb.

It has tiny wheels, but since it only weighs 2000lbs, the 108hp engine feels powerful.

The other thing: This car has 50k miles on it, all in Rental Fleets, but it's still tight. No squeaks, rattles, or wobbles even at highway speeds.

Impressive engineering, even in this little bug-eyed auto.

Can blogging be a hobby?

I was recently filling out a registration for Hi5, which seems nothing short of a pyramid scheme to me, and one of the fields there was 'hobbies'

I entered the standard--autocross, photography, computers--but I thought, you know I blog an awful lot. Seems like I can't go a day or two without spewing my inner Harold all over this forum (Still militantly devoid of comments...you wanna debate me, email me. These are my own thoughts, damnit!)

So, is blogging a hobby? Def:

An activity or interest pursued outside one's regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.

This is definitely outside my normal occupation, though it involves the same medium (computers) that is my occupation. I do it mainly to maintain my own sanity. No one cares what I think (ultimately), but having a record of loves and races lost and won, of hellish and not-so-bad days under the corporate bootheel, and pictures I can share is soothing.

For some, blogging is a shortcut to getting publishe…

The car business...part deux

Shout out to Jack Kain Ford, they gave me my money back with no questions asked.

Back on the grid: I have a landline...

My new house is back on the old copper wire, suckling at the teat of BellSouth.

570-8486

the saga of the wayward oldsmobile

I'll give you the short version:

On friday, I came to terms with a dealer on a 2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue with 44k miles. I picked up the car Saturday after waiting THREE HOURS for the F&I guy to get his crap together.

I took the car to Mike Jansen and he said it was..umm..okay. It'd been in a front end and rear end collision, including replacement of the a/c condenser and the radiator. Also, the driver's side front suspension had a bad ball-joint.

Whtiney wasn't thrilled with this, so I'm off tomorrow morning to exercise Jack Kain Ford's 3 day/150 mile return policy.

* * *

I feel like a fool, and it'd definitely taught me a lesson. The car would most likely have been okay after some repairs, but I don't want to mess around with my family's car for the next 5-10 years.

A morning prayer...

Lord, I hate everything about being awake and being at work right now. Give me the strength to persevere the grandstanding, the prima donnas, the power hungry, the reluctant, and my own ego until 5 pm. Amen.

Firsts

Image
After a rather disgusting first a moment ago, I want to reflect upon the "firsts" I've had in my new house.


First time mowing my own lawn. I don't despise it (yet), but we'll see how the newness wears off
First time weed-whacking my own place. I still don't like this, but I did get a pretty neat trimmer:


First prayer said around my dinner table. This was an AWESOME moment.
First two cockroaches around my garbage in my garage. Welcome to home ownership
First leaky faucet. Drip. Drip. Drip.
First door that doesn't quite shut right
this 'first' edited for content...hehehe

What a week it's been! I'm truly blessed

Quote for the day

"Harold, Did you get dressed in the dark?"

Man, I wish my fridays were like this:

The Car Lounge: What are your friday's like?

Basically, Fridays at LXK are the "nothing can get done today" day. We don't believe in having reasonable backups in place for people on vacation,, so summer days are nuts.

a magnificent weekend

All is well, the sun lowers, and my sprinkler tries to water my scorched lawn as I contemplate a wonderous weekend of rest, re-centering, and accustoming myself to my new house.

Last night, I really felt awesome as I watched a thunderstorm to our east from my back porch, clicking away my Voigtlander on the tripod, trying to catch that elusive lightning shot with the shutter held open on 'Bulb'.

I finally have most everything where it goes, minus the stuff I intend to sell anyway (extra chair, some bric-a-brac, random garage stuff). The living room has taken shape, and feels spacious and homey, if bare on the walls. Whitney was a great help, advising and encouraging,even setting up my books for me in the living room.

Our family day today was a great success, with Stu, Cathy, and Rachel having lunch with Joey, Whitney, and myself. I stuffed myself on sammiches and chips, with a great salad. The afternoon saw the Brentzels depart and our little family off to the park to exercise…

Amazing film: "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"

Just watched Jack Nicholson's opus One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and I'm moved by how big this "little" film was. Nicholson playes R.P McMurphy ("Murph"), a petty con-man who talked his way from a chain gang into the insane asylum. The supporting cast is a who's-who of character actors: Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd, Scatman Crothers, etc.

On a level, it's the same plot as "Cool Hand Luke": Wiseguy gets into trouble, imprisoned by some sadist, and yet he finds a way to separate himself and enjoy his incarceration, all the while plotting his escape. It's the same anti-establishment, anti-hero role, and it has the same tragic denoument. Also like "Luke", this film's hero is not the protagonist, because ultimately he's the same static character, the catalyst for the other actors.

Example: In the opening scene, we find the other patients meekly in line before the Sadistic Nurse Ratched in various states of cata…

how to know you're really home

A house just isn't a house until you find your TV remotes.

Opinions on this matter differ, though :-)

Trad's Birthday

Image
somebody turned 30...

Yay...this will be me in 3.4 short years: