Old News

Archived news items from July 2005
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Saturday, 30 July 2005 [17:37 CDT]

Compared to the last month, this week has been positively sluggish. Mostly I've just stayed up late, slept late, and spent most of the day on the computer. I'm now completely moved in, at least.

I'm also completely moved out of my apartment, and have turned in my keys. I'm waiting to find out how much of my deposit they'll be keeping. When I first moved in three years ago, I'd put down a $300 regular deposit, and a $200 pet deposit. I also forgot to ever deduct my $250 "finder's fee" from my rent for referring a friend to Red Stone Ranch. And they are three months behind with my $50 gift cards, so that's another $150 outstanding.

All in all, this means that upon move-out, my apartment complex owes me just over $900. Which is pretty cool, actually. Now, my cats had destroyed five of the six venetian blinds in the place, so I'll be out $25 a pop for those. And the carpret is stained enough that it'll need to be replaced, which is probably another $150 out of my deposit. I should still be getting around $600 back from them, though. I haven't spent any of that (potential) money yet, however. Something about counting your pre-chickens comes to mind.

Once all is made right, I should have enough to pick up a decent chest-of-drawers at least without having to resort to Ikea. And I haven't spent any of my Fry's gift certificate from the church, either.

Anyway, update your address books with my new location. I'm sad to report that my subdivision is new enough that Google Maps doesn't yet know about it. The "standard format" as the postal service would have you do it reads thusly:

LEANDER TX 78641-2093

I must say that our living room, with Monday's and my combined furniture, makes a pretty impressive movie-watching venue. Not so much because of the enormity of the television, which is a reasonable 32", but because of the ample seating. Observe my living room, as viewed from the upstairs den (a.k.a. my recording studio):

sectional couch from above

That thing seats six pretty comfortably, and everyone can see the television well. But wait, that's not all! In case of a larger crowd, there's an emergency backup couch:

the other couch

The E.B.C. allows us to seat three more in relative comfort, and still with a pretty good view of the boob tube. This came in handy last night. Our small group (which Monday and I both attend) normally meets on Friday nights, but every couple of months we have an "outing" instead. This time we'd talked about going out for a movie, but I convinced everyone to crash our new pad instead. We watched Spiderman 2, which everyone seemed to enjoy.

In fact, we're having the small group here again next week, too, but this time for a regular Bible study. So the room will be rearranged to better facilitate talking to each other rather than watching TV.

Some of you may have noticed the change in font on these pages. I had been using "Times New Roman" for the main body font, but I've decided that serif fonts just aren't good for viewing on the web. I switched to a sans-serif font: "Trebuchet MS" if you have it, or something more pedestrian like Arial or Helvetica otherwise. And I like it. It's a little larger on my setup and much easier to read overall, I think.

I have to report back to school on August 9, which is a mere week and a half away. And thus will end my rock-and-roll lifestyle for another year.

Monday, 25 July 2005 [21:24 CDT]

Having Internet access allows me to get some things done on my home machine that have needed doing for a while.

I upgraded to Fedora Core 4. Actually, I did this last Wednesday night, in an attempt to get linux to automatically detect my wireless network card. It ultimately didn't help, but needed doing anyway.

Now, Fedora Core 3 had had a bug that prevented certain brands of PDAs (such as my Clie) from communicating with "KPilot", and I couldn't get on the Internet to download the bugfix. So that's working again, I can now install new applications on the thing. Which is helpful.

I also spent the rest of the day getting SharpMusique to work. This is much, much more difficult than you'd think. Anyway, it's finally working, and so I was able to create an account with the iTunes Music Store and purchase (for 99¢) a song. I downloaded the song, and SharpMusique was kind enough to remove the DRM for me so that I can listen to the file in Linux or decode it to a WAV or generally just do whatever I like with it. That's called "fair use", by the way.

I'm a music junkie, and I spent over $250 on CDs in the last twelve months. It remains to be seen, then, whether having the ability to so effortlessly purchase single tracks at 99¢ a pop is a good idea.

Monday, 25 July 2005 [15:17 CDT]

Well, there are only about three weeks left in my summer, and I'm about to start gearing up for school again. However, things have been pretty hectic since my last update.

Two weeks ago, I got a call on Sunday night asking if I could fill in as an emergency chaperone for the youth trip to Dallas. They had been planning for months to go to camp at Centrifuge in Panama City, Florida, but Hurricane Dennis hit about a day before they were scheduled to leave, and the camp was cancelled.

So, I went for it. We drove up to Dallas on Tuesday morning and spend several hours the first day in a huge arcade at Grapevine Mills Mall. And just for the record, it's amazing how many different versions of "shoot the screen with a gun" or "ride on a vehicle" the game industry has come up with, and further how few other types of games are in your average arcade these days.

Tuesday evening we checked into the hotel and swam in their nice pool. Wednesday we spent all day at "Hurricane Harbor", the water park formerly known as Wet & Wild. That evening we went to hear a speaker at a nearby church. Thursday morning we went again to the same church to hear a different speaker, and then headed to Six Flags for the day. And boys, was it hot!

We left around 4pm to get some dinner, and then returned for a Christian concert blowout featuring TobyMac, Kutless, Pillar, Grits and Stellar Kart. The show was very good, especially TobyMac. Then back to the hotel for a few hours sleep, leaving for Austin Friday morning.

I was wiped out. I'd driven to and from Dallas and all around within the city, as well as getting less sleep than the kids, usually. I slept it off Saturday and Sunday, as much as possible.

Then, starting Monday morning, I began packing up my apartment to move to Monday's house. I had a friend willing to lend me a Tahoe with a trailer to move the furniture and some volunteers from my small group at church to do some lifting, but that was for Saturday morning only.

So, I took my eleven Rubbermaid tubs, packed them full of stuff, loaded up my car, drove the seven miles to the house, unloaded the car, unpacked the tubs, putting things away as much as possible, and then drove back to the apartment to do it all again.

By Friday night, I had brought thirteen full car loads over, and everything that 1) I could lift by myself and 2) that could fit in my car had already been moved. Saturday morning about a half dozen people showed up, and we got everything left out of the apartment and into the trailer in about 40 minutes, and then unloaded on the other end a little more quickly. All in all, it only took us about two hours to get it all done.

Again, after some sleep-deprived nights on the floor in my sleeping bag (when all my toiletries and food was at the house already, but my bed was still in the apartment), and after having spent a week carrying a hundred tubs up and down stairs in the Texas summer sun, I was wiped.

This morning I've spent the whole time trying to get my Netgear WG311v2 802.11g wireless network card working under Linux so I could access the Internet from my main computer without having to string a 50' CAT-5 cable downstairs and into Monday's room. It took quite a while, but I was finally successful.

This means that I now have home Internet access for the first time since I cut it off as an experiment over a year ago. And I'm glad to have it back, honestly.

I've still got to get the apartment cleaned up a bit for check-out before August 1, and there are other things on my TODO list that have been postponed for the past several weeks, so it looks like my relaxing summer is pretty much over.

Wednesday, 6 July 2005 [21:45 CDT]

It's been a busy couple of weeks. I've been riding my bike a ton, and I haven't missed a day in a while. In fact, I'm currently a little sunburned because I rode a little too far yesterday without sunscreen. What would Vonnegut say?

Anyway, the week of June 20-24, my brother and I led worship for the Impact 2005 teen camp at the Jan-Kay Ranch outside of Detroit, TX. It was a lot of fun, and a good experience for the kids, too. Julie (my sister-in-law) was pretty tired after having to chase the two boys (now two and-a-half and one and-a-half years old) around the 800+ acres by herself while we olda boys made music.

Paul got some decent recordings of us and the camp's speaker off the soundboard, and he's still working on chopping those up and uploading them somewhere with his blazing 28.8 kbps Internet connection.

We then went to a family reunion that following Saturday. Most important events: me getting a speeding ticket on the way there and discussing how awesome Napoleon Dynamite was, once there. Oh, and it was good to see everybody, too.

This past week was Vacation Bible School up at Lakeline. We had lots of kids in attendance, and over 40 volunteers helped out in some form or fashion. I was in the band, as you'd expect. So, between camp and VBS, I did fifteen music performances in the past two weeks. And, boy, are my arms tired!

This week has been more laid back other than the cycling. I finally finished Majora's Mask, and have now begun on The Wind Waker, the newest major-platform Legend of Zelda game. Hopefully I'll finish it before the new one comes out.

The church also surprised me with a $250 gift certificate to Fry's Electronics, which I'll be figuring out how to spend in short order. (Oh, I guess I had a birthday in there, somewhere.) And Mom got me the first season of The Kids in the Hall on DVD. I'd already gotten my real present back a couple of months ago, my new car stereo system and CD/MP3 player.

Too bad Fry's doesn't sell the amazing EVA Solo CafeSolo "coffee maker", which just won a 2005 IDEA Gold award for excellence in consumer products design. All you need is coffee grounds, boiling water, and five minutes. Very cool.

I did finally manage to get a successful burn of the Fedora Core 4 discs using a cool command-line CD-burning utility for Windows XP I dug up. And that about catches us up to the present, I think.

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