The Apex Was Early

The past week has been something different.

Last weekend was, for the most part, pleasant. I hung out with some friends friday and saturday night, we went to eat, played games, had coffee, talked about stuff, and so on. Was cool. Sunday was just “blah” as almost all my sundays are.

Monday did not start off well. My house server crashed; just completely seized up. This is twice it’s done it in the past 2 months. The last crash completely stopped my personal record “uptime” of 190-odd days. And this time stopped an ongoing 42-day uptime. This was getting to be a hassle, so I knew what I had to do. Most importantly, I rebooted the server, logged in, fought to establish the house’s internet connection, dealt with looking through some of the logs to find nothing logged about the crash, and got up, still groggy and angered, to hurriedly get ready for work. I was late.

After work, I doddled around not doing much of anything outside of wondering what to do for the evening. Some time around 9pm I got hungry for Zen (a local Japanese fast-food chain). Knowing they had wireless, I went with my laptop and ate. Got online and met, in my IRC channel, another person from Austin (finally!). When dinner was done (and Zen was closing), I put my laptop, wireless card and all, in my backpack as I made my way to Bouldin Creek for some coffee and more laptop time. Somehow, the part of my wireless card that sticks out of the card slot got bent and cracked, so when I saw it, I went ahead and completed the damage by pulling the two pieces apart carefully to see what was inside. To my surprise I found that my crappy $50 wireless card HAS AN ANTENNA JACK. I couldn’t believe it. Bonus!

Tuesday, I got the notion to take advantage of the early voting. After work, I cruised by a school near my job thinking it was a polling place. Wouldn’t you know, it wasn’t. The nearest polling place was Highland Mall (how’s that for blurring the line between politics and commerce?). Remembering that I saw a polling place at the Randall’s Grocery on 38th and Kerbey Lane (blurrrr), I drove over, stood in line, showed my id, and cast my ballot on one of the new electronic tablets. I’m not pleased that Travis County is using them, but I still have faith that due process, and governmentally-minded diligence, will keep the ballot records faithful and true. I picked up an “I Voted” sticker and went my merry way with the smugness of being a Citizen of This Great Country(tm).

Later that night, I reconfigured my wireless router, which normally has the minor task of bridging wireless devices to the house network, to be the router, gateway, and dhcp server for the house while I shut down the main server for repairs. I pulled some unnecessary peripherals off of the server, like the parallel-port ZIP drive and the external 33.6 data/fax/voice modem (sniff), disconnected the server from its neverending umbilicals, and pulled it out of its cubbyhole in its corner of the living room. After pulling the cover off, I saw what amounted to about a pound of dark brown dust (smokers’ dust!). I took the server outside and attacked every nook and cranny of that thing with a can of compressed air and an old toothbrush. The patio is stained from dust smudges. Heh. Went back inside.

I removed the internal QIC-80 tape backup drive (don’t need it anymore, heh), discovered that the heatsink assembly is permanently fused to the CPU (thanks to the wonder of thermal paste), I rerouted the internal power cables and data ribbons for best airflow, and I built another fresh-air ducting hose (my best duct hose yet) and ran it from the bottom-back of the case to the CPU. With everything clean and reconnected and trimmed down, I put it back in place in the living room, reconfigured the cabling, and powered up. Another hour later I had the automatic network configuration scripts analyzed, debugged, and working flawlessly; it now reboots and connects to the internet automatically and completely hands-free. And I am happy.

So happy, I went to bed late enough to get only 4 hours of sleep. I was late for work the next morning.

Wednesday, the night of the lunar eclipse, was something weird. Really weird. It seemed that all manner of things were finally coming together. After work I drove to Fry’s Electronics to see if I could find an adaptor for my wireless card’s antenna jack. Not surprisingly, none could be found. So about half an hour of digging and another half an hour browsing, I left with a new floppy cable for my server.

I get home and check my voicemail. Nothing important; just a call from a local company, Beneficial, asking me (by name) to call them (I had no clue who this company is; it wasn’t until today, after online research, that I found out they’re a debt consolidation place – bastards). Not the message I was wanting to hear; I wanted to hear, “Hi, this is Waterloo records! Your CD is in!” Well, apparently the lunar eclipse did something strange to all the stuff that’s been building up and not happening, because I check my email and 1) get a message from my webhost saying an issue they’ve been dealing with is finally fixed, and 2) I get an email from a company called Tom Binh saying my hardshell laptop case has finally been shipped to me. In my elation, I grab my stuff and was about to leave the house when the phone rang. I answered, and it was Waterloo Records saying my CD was in. SWEET.

So I leave the house and the moon is just over halfway dark. Soooo incredibly weird and creepy and cool. I cast glances at it while I’m stopped at redlights, and only some of the people in neighboring cars figured out what I was staring at. By the time I reached the CD shop, it was completely covered, and it was too cool. People were outside just chattering and watching. I went in, bought the disc, and made my way out to the coffeeshop. Suddenly sick from the coffee, I make my way home earlier than sensible, picked up some food, and got home in time to see these low, streaked, fast-moving clouds swoop in and completely obscure the sky and the moon which was just uncovering itself. In that brief period, something changed.

Thursday, among my emails, I get one from a man I have not seen nor heard from in 6 years. He is one of the people I’ve listed on my Canonical List of Memorable Ouachita People(tm). He found me by googling his own name (as was my plan), found my site, located the journal entry from May 2004, and proceeded to email me. It is a surprise to see a plan like that work that well. So far, that makes 3 people who have found me. I will write him soon. There is so much to catch up on.

Well, earlier that Thursday I get a tip from a friend of mine that there indeed are halloween party plans for the weekend, and we set forth brainstorming costume ideas. I settled on an idea and ran with it. Later that night I went to a big-box store, browsed for stuff for the costume, ended up buying some necessary clothing like jeans, t-shirts, and bought a toy gun for the costume. My idea was to go dressed as Kurt Cobain. I had almost everything I needed; all that was left was a gun, a pair of black square-framed glasses, and a cardigan sweater. Well, I had the gun thing right, but it was wrong – he was killed by a shotgun, not a revolver; an easy exchange. So, friday, I went to another big-box and found the cardigan, and elsewhere found the glasses. Success. Things were looking up.

That night, as I went to have coffee at the usual friday-night hangout, I found some old friends from Mojo’s who, just like me, had exhiled themselves elsewhere. It was good to hang out with them. Got caught up on things, but the conversations went south and things descended into the very same places they would go back when I still hung out at Mojo’s. It’s like nothing changed. My usual bunch didn’t show up at all, and instead I got The Replacements. I don’t want to look at it like that, but that’s how it felt. (Hope you understand.) Loaded up on 3 mugs of iced tea and a lungfull of other people’s smoke, I headed home at closing time, prodded at the internet, and went to sleep.

Saturday, I felt like hell. Absolute hell. I knew I had the party to go to that night, but to be honest I didn’t feel like meeting new people, didn’t want to dress up, didn’t want to go with a plan that was, at best, tenuously made. I had made all these plans on the thin thread that a friend of mine’s girlfriend’s coworker was throwing it. I’d never met this person, didn’t know where she lived, and felt it best if I only went escorted by my friend and his girlfriend.

Well, after some dinner late in the day, I had considered it, and decided that whatever the plans were, if I was going to go out, to the party, to the 6th Street thing, or to a bar, having a toy popgun would have been a hazardous proposition at best. So I returned to the big-box and got a refund on the toy. I later contacted my friend and found out that he and his Other were not going to make the party. They backed out, so I felt kind of relieved and bummed at the same time.

I returned the reading glasses I had bought, got my money back (I’m not returning the cardigan – I’m planning on wearing it still). They announced that they were instead going to the coffeeshop they were going to visit friday night, so I met up with them and just, i dunno, hung out. I didn’t speak much to anyone, and I apologize if I came off distant, aloof, and bored. I was there in body, but my mind was just, I dunno, clicked off. I was still nursing the same all-day headache and the caffeine hangover from the night before, and I was around more smoking again. So when everyone made plans to disperse and watch movies, I shook my hands to the negative and went home. Spent a short time online, then went to bed just as the time changed from 1:59am to 1:00am.

Today, I got up after 7 or 8 broken hours of sleep. Bummed around, chatting online, listening to music, trying to intake some caffeine and a pop tart, and around 3 hours after I woke up I went down for a 40-minute nap. Finally got up when the album I was listening to was finished, cleaned myself up, took a shower, and pulled all the dirty clothes and linens together. Left the house.

Got a sandwich from Thundercloud (the guy got my order wrong and made the wrong sandwich, but fixed it at no charge). As I ate, an accident happened at the intersection right outside the restaurant; the small truck looked ok, the big suburban looked all bent-up bad. As I left, I saw this hot girl who works there (and who, I’m sure, would never give me any time of day). Made my way to one of the smaller laundromats to discover NO parking spaces left, so I went to my usual and braced for the crowds and prices. Did laundry, came back home, unpacked, remade my bed, and frumped online.

Finally left again. As I went to Bouldin Creek, where their wireless is STILL fubarred, I almost got into a wreck with this bitch driving a minivan who thought that using signals was something other people did; she didn’t see me as she swerved into my lane to avoid rear-ending this line of cars stopped in her lane — luckily she missed all of us. So, after a longer-than-necessary drive, I got there, got a coffee, got some code to poke at, got my head good and twisted around this one set of technical problems, got sick at the coffee again and got annoyed by this (apparently) mentally-handicapped person with a political grudge, so I got up and left at 9pm (!!) for home. Got food, came home (almost got into another wreck because of a stupid college jock asshole who forgot courtesy), ate, and now I’m here, writing a journal entry.

It’s been a weird week. And I’m just not happy. Some things are finally working out, stuff is moving, but I’m just not happy. I feel nothing but caffeine addiction, loss of sleep, and no joy in my job, my social life, my lack of interaction, nor my place in this town or this world. I just, bleh.

Damn these public journals.

Published by Shawn

He's just this guy, you know?