completely random! (and I do mean... com-plete-ly!)
I just saw this today and couldn't help but be amazed and somewhat bewildered. It's fun though... in a totally nerdy way.
I was supposed to post a different blog here, but I haven't actually finished it yet. :) I was writing it a couple days ago and I put it aside as I started backing up my computer files and documents to prepare for my big hard drive swap. I went ahead and did something I know I didn't absolutely need to at this point in time, and went out and got myself a hard drive upgrade for my macbook.
My computer has a 250GB and I upgraded only to 320GB. I know that's not much of an upgrade and some people will probably do the 500GB... but I don't need that much space ON my computer, especially since I already have a 250GB external, another 80GB external and with this new install I'm adding another 250GB external. almost 600GB in external HD space.
psh... that's kinda ridiculous, eh?
I think that a lot of people think that "bigger is better" or "more is better" with the HD space. Well, not me. I prefer to keep it as low as possible. Who uses that much space anyway? Well, not me. I use about 2GB of space per year on my drill design... my iTunes folder is the kicker at around 90GB. But music is my life and I stock up on all I can. But past that, a few applications and my web design work - I maybe use about 140GB total at any time. But then I have thousands of photos and videos from my travels and trips around the world. (well, I can't really say "around the world" - just the couple countries I've been to. ) But I would rather not store them on my computer. In 2006, my old Dell Inspiron crashed... I lost everything on it and that included so many albums of photos and videos that to this day, I don't know exactly what was on there. I never really made a big deal out of backing up my data, but from that point on I don't mess around.
Now a days, I'm perhaps overly protective, but that's mostly just for my work related data than anything else. I lost ALL of my 2002-2005 drill files, and that includes some of what I would consider some of my best work. I was fortunate to be able to recover a majority of those files from e-mail attachements when I would send them to Mitch.... but I'm still missing a ton. I don't know if you remember, but back in around 2002-2003, Yahoo mail only allowed something like 4MB of disc space. Around 2004 they upped it to 10MB and them immediately to 100MB a few months later. I forget. But I did not sign up for Gmail until the fall of 2004, but by then I had already had to delete dozens of emails/files to make room in my yahoo mailbox. It never occurred to me to open another yahoo mail account, because I never thought that deleting those e-mails were eventually deleting my only "backup" of them.
Now a days, I have it covered is more ways than I think anyone would care to go through the trouble. First there's my backup externals. I keep a complete archive of all of my drill files from over the years, organized in folders on all of my externals AND on my computer. Not only that, I have an 8GB flash drive that is only for my drill and I keep that in a container on my desk. I keep about 50% of my files/apps and drill on my own website server, which is a great extra benefit to having a website. And then I have Dropbox, where I have 2.5GB of storage and I only keep my current year's drill in that.
If you don't know what Dropbox is, it's an application that allows you to sync a folder online from your computer. That way you can share through the web, or simply log on from another location with your account and access it from that computer. In the event that my computer gets stolen and I lose everything on it, I will have my drill backed up on that account and I can access it from a different computer or location.
I guess using dropbox or my website file manager isn't much of a difference... but again, I've become overly protective about my files and I would rather save it all to more places than less. By this time next week, I will have my entire drill archive backed up on my computer, 3 different external hard drives, a flash drive and a protected folder in my website file manager. All of my photos are backed up on all of my externals and not on my computer anymore. My music will eventually be backed up on my other 250GB once I get it outta my laptop, but right now it's just on my computer and the other 250GB.
One thing I learned over the years, and mostly from my experience in 2006 - you can never be too careful with your computer files, especially if your life and work is on it. I don't particularly prefer to have so much on my computer, which is why I said earlier that I prefer to keep as little as possible on there so it's not a huge loss if something goes kaput! I also do full-system cleaning about 3 times per year (this one is my 2nd in 6 months) and I think it's a heck of a lot easier to worry about 140GB rather than closer to 800GB.
Quick note - the new iMacs are friggin' sweet. I want one. But they come with a 1TB hard drive (standard). What would I do with all that space? What does anyone do with 1TB of disc space? How on earth could any casual computing human being honestly fill that disc up with data that isn't 90% illegally downloaded videos or files? How? I would really like to know who's job/work requires THAT much disc space. Not only that, if you did fill it up completely... however the heck that is possible... what would you do to back it all up? What if it crashes? What do you do WHEN it crashes. ;) Obviously, I would never hope for that for anyone... but seriously folks at Apple and the rest of the computing world - take it easy! we don't NEED that much disc space. We just need fast processors, large monitors, mice with multiple programmable buttons and wireless keyboards that have number pads. Lets take a break, because even with my 140GB of disc usage, I have everything on my computer I would ever want or need in my life, and I would have to try very, very hard to fill up the other 110GB on this smaller HD. (I guess this is where someone chimes in with the whole growing popularity of the solid state drives. )
I think I forgot to mention this, but why did I just go on a rant about disc space and not needing a whole lot, yet I'm upgrading to a larger HD? Well, simple. The HD that I use now is something like a standard Mac/Toshiba something-something 5200 RPM stock hard drive. My new HD is the western digital scorpio black 7200 RPM performance hard drive. From all of the benchmarks and reviews I've read and seen over the past several months since I began researching this, it isn't a whole lot different from the western digital scorpio blue (5400) regarding speed. But it is certain that it's a heck of a lot faster than the stock drive I have now. (or so I've read). I don't really know - yet! But I will in a few days. I just need something that will be able to read/write just a bit faster, to help me speed up some save/load times with work stuff and photoshop projects. I know that a lot of what makes the computer faster isn't just one thing, but several including the processor and the RAM. I'm pretty set with a 2.4 C2D and 4GB RAM. Now I get a faster HD (with the added bonus of some extra room) and can hopefully get a better experience out of my everyday work life,whether it be with web/graphic design, or the drill design. :)
I'm looking forward to this new install. I love the feeling of a computer when there's nothing but the bare essentials, and I get to rebuild it with the applications I want and really need. Every year I download a crapload of apps and junk that I install and never use. I eventually delete it, but some of them I have on here and think "oh, I'll use that sometime". Well, now I can just install it whenever I actually wanna use it. Which might be never for some of them.
Okay... I'm just rambling and sounding like a wannabe techie. I really don't know all there is to know about computers, and every time I go to forums discussing this and asking questions, I get replies from the most ridiculously hard core computer gurus who treat me as if I'm an idiot for using "just a laptop" and that I should have a desktop PC, with a full tower and multiple internal HDs. umm... sure!
It really feels good to have a job that relies on the computer and not have to get the biggest and best stuff on the market. I can save my money and buy cooler stuff - like flights to Hawaii or eating out at Cheesecake Factory a couple extra times. Yumm!!
Weird! So, my site was down for about 36 hours... or more... I don't even know. All I know is that I was informed by a friend that it wasn't there. I checked. It was a pic of a cute blonde girl and ads for babies and baby names.
Yeah... awesome. What was that?
I contact my peeps to get the low down on that, and apparently my credit card didn't auto renew. Must have been some millenium bug - but 2K10 style. I had my card on file, same one that's been there since I got it, went to my profile, confirmed it was correct and wrote them back to ask what happened. I never heard back until just this morning, when my site went back up and the e-mail said "we received your payments and everything is fine. Is there anything else we can help you with?". Umm... yeah. How about answering the questions I asked you in the first place?
I believe my e-mail to them looked something like this:
"Hello. I was just informed by your billing dept that my credit card was invalid and the auto renew failed. I did as I was asked and went into my account and checked the info. I confirmed that the CC on file and all of the billing info is correct and it is working. However, since my monthly bill went through on Jan 10th, why was this rejected on Jan 1 as an invalid CC, thus closing my website? I am very concerned about this happening again and I just want to make sure that I have all of the right information in the account...." blah blah blah...
So, I asked about this and kindly asked if I could get some more info regarding what happened or if there's something I need to do to prevent this from happening again, but instead of answering that question, I was greeted with a "everything fine - not sure what the problem is..." kind of reply.
Oh well. :) I have a feeling it was a glitch and they realized it or did something wrong and didn't feel it was necessary to give me the specifics. I don't care that much... everything's here and I'm able to write in my blog again.
In other news, I got my room put together about 50%. It probably looks like more than 50% to the average person, but I have yet to even touch the closet. (I consider the closet about 50% by itself... all my clothes, organizing them, getting bins and making sure there's room for storing stuff, etc.)
There's still SO much in there that needs to get thrown out, donated or boxed up for storage. I can't wait until we get enough stuff boxed up so we can finally get that storage facility and move things over there. I can't believe how much stuff is in this house. And about 80% of it, I look at it, scratch my head and ask myself "why do we have this?" I guess we'll never know.
Well, I'm gonna make a fruit smoothie and chill for a bit. long night last night and maybe I'll sleep some tonight. Have to find some more shelves and hopefully get to hit up IKEA later today or tomorrow.
It's friggin' cold in my house right now... so cold, in fact, that I am now wrapped up in a comforter and wearing sweats, head to toe. I could turn up the heat, but the last time I set the temp above 70, my brother had a conniption!
I am almost positive there has to be some draft of freezing cold air that has made its way through whatever crevice and straight towards my work station. Now I know why my dad always had a space heater at his feet when he worked on his computer years ago.
Well, I have to say that work could not be going any worse for me at the moment, but that's mostly my fault. I put some of this off while trying to take care of, what I considered, more important house-related stuff, but now I'm under lots of pressure to get this done. One thing I learned a couple years ago is that we all need breaks. That's why I'm writing this. This is my break. Once I get done it's back to the grind... but for these 5 minutes, I just needed to vent about how much I hate the cold. I don't enjoy being a complainer... but I just need to do it once or twice to get it outta my system. After that, I'll be quiet, suck it up and move on.
Okay... back to the drill!
So, I'm officially booked for the convention and for the first time in about 5 years, I'm completely stress-free about the trip.
For the past few years, I was either working a booth or under pressure to find a ride, worried about my car surviving the trip, trying to figure out where I'm staying or who to stay with, figuring out how much I need to pay whoever for the hotel stay, etc. Too many things to list, but none of that is the case this year. I am sure something weird will come up on the trip anyway, but the important thing is that 90% of the issues I've had to deal with in the past aren't an issue this year. The fun part is finding out what issues I will run into later though.
I decided to book a room at the Marriott Rivercenter, which is about 20
yards feet from the convention. After my experience at BOA in 2004 and booking a room at the Hyatt Regency? (attached to the RCA dome), nothing really beats the convenience of staying in a hotel right next to where you are going. And I'm not talking a block or two away... but right there!
When I went to BOA in 2003, I booked a room at the La Quinta? located just outside of Indianapolis, and I rented a car to drive back and forth to the stadium and back to the airport. The rental, plus the hotel with gas, parking fees (which were outrageous!), insurance and taxes totalled close to $210/day. I weighed the differences in 2004 and ultimately decided on the more expensive hotel room, at whatever rate it was per night which was close to $180/night. Yeah, sounds like a LOT for a night in a hotel - but not having to pay for the rental, gas, insurance and parking fees... I ended up saving money on the trip. Yet, some of my friends had a hard time looking past the higher cost for the hotel room and questioned my judgment and financial planning for that trip. Trust me - I'm good at math and I saved a bit of money that way.
So, I chose to do something like that this year. I'm not really all about spoiling myself every time I go on a trip like this, but it was called for on this occasion. I crunched the numbers, compared all different options on the expenses and made sure it was worth it before booking. I put into consideration all of the past experiences I've had going to San Antonio for TMEA/TBA, the parking which is ALWAYS an issue and the costs to take a taxi, rental car and all that good stuff before making this decision. The higher cost of the hotel for a couple nights will actually work out to be a bit cheaper than had I stayed at some cheaper hotel outside the Riverwalk area, rented a car and drove into town, paid for parking (even at the hotel, which is like $30/day at some places) and had to worry about making sure I fill up the tank. Screw that. I have more important things to spend my time thinking about - like seeing my friends and colleagues at the convention, meeting some directors and hopefully getting a few new clients and making new friends in the process.
I'm really excited about the trip... and even more excited to see a lot of my Texas friends, who I haven't seen in far too long.
On a separate note - I bought a new mouse!
I got the MX Performance mouse, by Logitech. A much better mouse than my previous MX Revolution, however not as many customizable buttons. I got a mean sale on it and paid less than expected, but it's the new hottness out there and I got a great deal. So far it fits very well in my hand, tracking is smooth and I haven't had any issues with getting used to the feel and functionality of it with my programs. Pyware is a completely different story though. I have to modify a LOT of what I became accustomed to over the past 3 years but it shouldn't set me back at all. Just a few adjustments here and there and all will be set for the spring and summer of writing.
my mouse just broke.... and I'm kinda pissed about it right now. I'm working with a "backup" mouse, and the mouse I was using, which is probably the best mouse I've ever owned, is now almost $50 more expensive than when I bought it 3 years ago.
This also happened with my old microsoft trackball mouse. It worked wonderfully, until the day I was a complete moron and plugged in my USB hub to the wrong power cable and shorted out my mouse. Now, it is discontinued and you can't get it anymore. ha! oh well. I needed a new mouse anyway. As crappy of a thing this is at first, it's always exciting to shop for new toys.
I'm working a lot today... back and forth with drill and website layouts and design. I guess it's all the same ol' same ol, huh?
Not much time for a real blog. I have a lot I'd like to write about but it'll have to wait until I actually have time free. Or I need to make time. I'll do my best to blog more often. Mostly for me because I think I need it.
I'm also going to be looking at a few other themes for wordpress. my current "green" theme is ok, I guess... maybe I'll make my own theme with what I want in it.
...another list of resolutions.
This is just a simple blog about my three resolutions for a better and healthier life.
First and foremost, I have done this a few times in the past, but I still think the whole idea is somewhat odd considering much of what I decide to do is actually something I can/should do anyway, anytime of the year. But I guess we all do it right at the turn of the new year because it's a hot topic and everyone's doing it anyway.
I decided not to make any resolutions the past couple years but it didn't really help or hurt me. I've eaten a bit less healthy and procrastinated some with things that were important at the time. Nothing major, though... just things like getting my car fixed (which I never did but instead bought a new TV and couch set) and would have rather played call of duty 4 than hang out with friends. But when it comes to the video games, that's becoming more common than I would have ever expected.
It's kinda funny hearing my friends (who are my age) talk about getting a Wii or a PS3 for Christmas and how they're enjoying it immensely. I don't know what it is, but video games of today are definitely attracting more "adults" than when I was younger. I mean, I never saw my parents play video games, but with game franchises like the Wii Sports, LEGO franchise and Guitar Hero and Rock Band games - those are pretty much guaranteed fun for ANY age. I can't believe how fun and enjoyable Guitar Hero is for me. I played video games as a kid, but not for hours and hours like this. It's true that I do have much more time than when I was younger, but it's genuine enjoyment - not necessarily a gaming addiction, which I know some people have.
So, I'll start with my first resolution:
1) Play less games and spend more time with friends.
This is important for me because I literally lived in a cave the past 18+ months when I was in Houston. I busted my tail on drill for the past couple years and did a lot of extra "hobby" work on the side with my own website and little Pyware things for people - none of which were a problem or really that much work for me... just filling in gaps when I was able to. But the rest of the time, literally on my ass in front of my new TV and playing games until I couldn't keep my eyes open any more. I know I was good about playing games only when I didn't have work to do - but I treated it as if I was being rewarded for my efforts and made the most of it.
You could say that for yourself or most other people too, right? Well, I guess the only difference for me was the fact that I would get up from my desk, walk to the kitchen and get food, turn on the PS3 and play until I was too tired, fall asleep on my couch, wake up and go back to my desk and work.
That cycle would repeat on a regular basis, with the exception of a few trips to starbucks. But even while I was at starbucks, I was working. Somehow I seemed to convince myself that I needed to be doing something during every moment I was awake. If it's not writing drill at my computer, I'm on the PS3. If not the PS3, it's my ipod touch and playing with games/apps. If not the ipod touch, it's web design/photoshop ideas. If not web design, it's more drill writing but experimental ideas using old shows I've written. If not any of those things, then I'm sleeping because it's the end of the day.
I think there has to be some time in there where I'm doing absolutely nothing, and I know it would be healthier for me to make room for more mental breaks so I can recharge more regularly.
I ran into a situation in 2008 where I literally fell into a writer's block funk that seemed to last an eternity, and I believe it was because I didn't give myself enough breaks. I'm not talking about breaks from writing drill, but giving my brain a rest from doing anything.
Doc B would remind me to take power naps... and to do so without music/TV on in the background, which I admit is one of those things I usually do habitually - mostly my ipod and listening to my sports podcasts. But after maybe one time doing it, I would start taking "breaks" from work by turning on the PS3 and jamming away on guitar hero for about 45 minutes, rather than power nap. I suppose I wouldn't evenneed to do a power nap, but something away from work that isn't "work" for my brain. That would be a much healthier thing for me and I think will help prevent those issues from happening over again.
So, this isn't gonna be something where I have to put the system away in the closet and hide it from myself, but with my schedule the way it is and with all of the little projects I'm going to need to organize and arrange, I MUST take actual breaks from doing anything with my brain or I may have issues once again. (and this also means that I can't say I'm taking a "break" when I lay in bed and play Sudoku or solitaire for an hour on my ipod touch.)
Better health... better time management for work and video games.... better overall experience with everything. And even though I didn't mention it a whole lot - I need to see my friends. As I said, I lived a fairly closed-off life for way too long and thankfully I've been able to reconnect with many old friends from HS and college that are still around in MI and I look forward to seeing them and spending time catching up and spending time with them and in a galaxy far, far away from my damn computer and PS3.
In the summer of 2005, I had one of the coolest roommates on the planet - Andy R - and though our stint together as roomies only lasted a few months, the guy introduced me to his passion which is beer! I'm a beer guy, honestly, but I'm not really one to experiment or venture too far from the few I like. I like a good beer now and then and usually it's only during social events that I would have a couple.
That summer, Andy introduced me to the fantastic arrangement that St. Arnold's Brewery has on Saturday afternoons. We went several times, and I took some friends on a few weekends that Andy didn't go. Up to that point, I never really drank beer… nor do I have any issues with drinking. Nothing like that. I was never a guy to buy beer and keep it in my apt, except when there were social events. But during this time I lost track of how much beer I was drinking and it didn't become apparent until my clothes weren't fitting me for the first time… well, ever! Up to that point in my life, I grew, developed… but never had trouble fitting into my jeans. I didn't make a big deal about it though - it happens. But what was I going to do about it?
I talked with my girlfriend at the time about it and it was just a good idea to just give up beer. I ultimately decided that for my new years resolution 2006 to not drink ANY alcoholic beverages for the entire year. I know that there's not much weight gain with many liquors… I just don't do hard liquor or mixed drinks that often. I like a few, but meh… expensive and I'd rather spend that money on something I need. call me "no fun" if you wanna… that's just me.
I also gave up all caffeine drinks - so no Dr. Pepper and no coffee.
People would always ask if I got headaches from not having caffeine. ??? I don't know who made that up, but I don't get it. no headaches… in fact, never really craved much all year. except around christmas when I finally had a dr. pepper 6-pack in my fridge waiting for me to open on new years.
But going back, in the year 2006 I didn't drink an ounce of alcohol nor did I have any caffeinated beverage and by that alone, and not going to the gym more than maybe 4 times, I lost just over 20 lbs with a bit of running on my own, teaching band and some other outdoorsy activities that kept me moving around.
The past few years I haven't really done the beer thing that much or that often, but Ihave done a LOT of the starbucks, pepsi, dr. pepper and cherry coke zero thing. That is definitely something that needs to change, no matter what. Not just for the reason that I'm gaining a bit of extra weight, but because I'm getting older and after my most recent trip to the dentist, it's verrrrryyyyyy bad for my teeth! I like my teeth and so far we're ok. But it's time to start thinking more long term here.
So, my next resolution and possibly the one that will be the most difficult to control:
2) No alcoholic drinks. No soda drinks. No caffeinated drinks.
I was able to do it for the entire year of 2006, so I know I can do it again. It's no big deal anyway since I know it's better for me. It's better for anyone. We just all need to control how much we take in… I'm just gonna cut it off completely. But there will be only two things I will keep in my diet - my non-caffeinated drinks from starbucks and red wine. Only a glass of red every now and then with dinner or before bed will be my extent of alcohol and I think that's a fair compromise, considering I've been told that it's good for the heart to drink a glass of red every day. I don't think I'll have a glass every day, but that will be whatever it ends up being.
Finally, since we're on the subject of health and being somewhat picky about what to drink, it wouldn't work without watching the food I eat.
I didn't tell many people about this, but I voluntarily became a vegetarian starting around September 10th this past fall. Not sure why - figured it may be a good direction to go, health-wise. I was eating too much steak and grilling burgers a bit more often than I should have. Also, I perfected the right crispiness of bacon and with the right amount of chew… however that took way more attempts than it should have.
With the vegetarian diet, I did honestly feel a bit refreshed after about a month of doing it, but it wasn't really what I needed. I researched the whole idea of becoming a vegetarian starting back in 2007 while I was in Japan. Several people I met were vegetarians and they introduced me to all different kinds of food and recipes that were non-meat and non-fish that were absolutely delicious! I can't eat fish/seafood, so it it works either way.
The problem with this diet for me was that I started getting lazy with it. I stopped buying all the right groceries and I stopped caring about the proper portions. This resulted into many trips to IHOP, Panda Express or Subway and filling up on loads of "vegetarian" junk. I don't think Subway is that bad at all, but I can only do sandwiches so often, ya know.
The vegetarian diet is something that takes a LOT of discipline for someone converting. I learned that one pretty quickly. I didn't crave meat or wish I could have it. But what I lacked was discipline to always make sure I had the right ingredients or stocked up on the right portions. And when I got to a meal when I realized I didn't have what I needed, I went to starbucks and filled up on a couple pastries or went to IHOP and had their veggie omlette with hash browns and toast. Um… yeah, I guess that's still "vegetarian" but not really healthy.
And that brings me to my final resolution:
3) No fast food or filling up on pastries to replace meals.
Well, obviously eliminating the latter is a must. That was just me being stupid and lazy. I shouldn't have a problem getting rid of the "fast food" but I know there will be times I drive past sonic and wanna have their breakfast burrito. I just have to forget about that and move on. Just like eliminating the beer/soda from my diet helped in 2006, doing this will be a much healthier direction for me.
As far as the vegetarian thing, I'll just say this… I'm not going to do it anymore, but I will be eating healthier and making more of an effort to add some of the amazing veggie dishes to my diet. Along with this, I have decided that I will eliminate ALL fast food and not eat out at any of the normal places unless it's something that is actually healthy and isn't one of those "I shouldn't be eating this but I'm going to anyway" kinds of meals. No more guilt… No more fast food - period.
I think I have a very good plan in place from this past summer/fall with a mix of protein shakes and fruit smoothies, grains/breads, pastas and salads (and pasta salad.. mmmm), and the occasional rice and veggie stir fry dishes I have become very good at making, and I'll add some chicken and beef here and there where it fits. I'm sticking to a good 5 meals per day and going to be drinking more juices, more milk and more water.
So, that's my list of resolutions… but… there's one more thing I would like to add to this long note.
I prayed for a better year in 2009 because the year 2008 for me wasn't really one that I enjoyed. Although it ended VERY well, the first 3/4 of it was kind of blah. I was a new person after returning home from Japan in Dec '07 and kind of finding myself all over again. But 2008 never really got great for me until I stepped foot back into the dome house on October 7. The year 2009 started off very well and went quite well all the way up until November and I don't think there's really a whole lot I can say about that which hasn't been said already. So I'll just say this…
My list of resolutions on this note and what I do is a permanent list. Not just for 2010, but for as long as I am here. It's not like I'll miss out on anything or any "fun" because I won't have a beer when I go to watch the wings game at buffalo wild wings or anything like that. And if I ever get married - yeah, you can bet I will be drinking wine/champagne at my reception. But the overall impact these things will have on my life will be nothing but positive and as I stated in the beginning, it's all for a better and healthier life.
I could have added more to this list and say I'll go to the gym more often… which I should but honestly don't want to. I've been a paying member at Bally's since 2003, yet I haven't been there in a couple years… not since spring 2008. I will probably add that to the list, but I'm starting small and will add as time goes by. Another thing I need to add is doing a better job at rescheduling my dentist appointments. You don't even wanna know how long it was between my last 2 appointments. My dentist knew right away.
Well… That's a wrap!
Happy 2010 everyone.