I’m not entirely certain what would inspire me to take a 7-month hiatus from my blog. I think Facebook may be partially to blame. When you can express yourself a little bit each day with status updates that could be read by as many as 400 people, there isn’t much of a need to comment at length in a forum read by (maybe) a few dozen. Or I could just be that lazy. :)

My return to blogging today is inspired largely by the calendar. If one were to look back in the archives, one would realize that today is my blog’s 5th birthday. Hard to believe that I posted 10 times in Octboer 2004 (starting with the 13th, so barely more than half the month.) My last 10 posts before this one took almost a year and a half to be made, heh.

So, other than noticing the date, what’s brought me back here again? My brain has been feeling particularly full of late, and it’s time I allowed myself the opportunity to type it all out again, so that it can act as its own form of therapy. No word on what sort of therapy will be required later for those crazy enough to read through this. :)

That last entry I made (March 4, 2009) promised more details on things that I only took time to briefly summarize:

* The reference to home appliances referred to the washer and dryer I had just bought myself at the time. Now, 7+ months later, I’m still really happy about that purchase. No more carrying my laundry places and/or scrounging for quarters for me.

* DVR’s do indeed rule. I had just switched to AT&T U-Verse at the time, and I’m still using them now. It costs roughly the same price I was paying to Time Warner, but I get more channels, and I have the DVR. Ok, it DID cost roughly the same, until I let them add on HBO for free for a couple of months, and then never bothered to cancel it. I’m thinking about getting rid of HBO now (approximately $15/month savings) and then put that money towards a Netflix subscription, which would let me pick movies, rather than having HBO show me the same six movies over and over.

* To tie in the with the Message To The Field in Dallas at that time, SWA held a Guitar Hero competition here at headquarters at the end of February. People walked in to qualify over most of a week, and when the dust settled, I had the highest overall qualifying score, yay. The top five people advanced to play on-site the day of the Message, along with a sixth person who qualified on-site that day. The finals consisted of three rounds, with everyone playing on the Hard difficulty setting. In the first round, all six of us played “Barracuda” by Heart, and the two lowest scores were dropped (I finished with the top score here.) The second round had four of us playing “Even Flow” by Pearl Jam. I was lagging behind in third after a bad start, but came charging back and finished second. With the two lowest scores being dropped again, the last round was a head-to-head contest. They tried to have us play “Through The Fire And Flames” by Dragonforce (i.e. hardest song in Guitar Hero 3.) The song is (for me) unplayable on Expert, but I can usually slop through it on Hard. In this case, though, the screens we were playing on weren’t calibrated very well, and both of us failed out pretty fast. So, they decided to have us play “Prayer of the Refugee” by Rise Against, and I ultimately came out on top by about 40K points or so. Woohoo!

The summer was pretty good. We got (most of) the old high school gang back together in early June for a picnic/BBQ gathering. Much fun was had by all. Got to float a bit on the Guadalupe later in the month, though that wasn’t as great as it has been in some years, partly because it tried to rain on us a lot, partly because of ants showing up while we were trying to sleep, and partly because I’m too fat to float in a tube, heh.

I spent a rather ridiculous amount of money on the way to Austin for the 4th of July, and the result was that we had a rather large amount of very nifty fireworks to shoot off. I’ve really enjoyed doing that for everyone the last couple of years, but I’m going to have to start doing a better job of passing the hat….I dropped over $250 this last time. :o

At the end of July, I made it back to the EAA Airventure air show in Oshkosh, WI. I missed it in 2008 after attending it for the first time the previous year. That trip is definitely a lot of fun, and I hope I can continue to attend each year.

Right after that, of course, was QuakeCon, which I attended for the eighth time, and volunteered at for the seventh time. We wound up back at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine this year, and I think it was one of the best QuakeCons in years. I took along my newly-built PC, which was a Core i7 beast with 6gb of RAM and a Radeon 4890 1GB video card. I’m still trying to get that thing paid for, but it is FAST. Whooosh!

Not much to report since then. I made it to a few Rangers games before their season ended, and currently have tickets to five Stars upcoming Stars games (after having attended twice last spring) but I’ve mostly been laying low, trying to recover from all those expenses. I haven’t been helping my cause much recently, thanks to a speeding ticket (f.u. Irving!) and now, car troubles. My beloved Firebird has been having some sort of problem recently, and I suspect it might be the transmission. Talk about an expense that I do NOT need right now…..

Since discussions of my (inconsistent) health and my (non-existent) love life could each easily take up entire posts of their own, I’ll stay off of those topics tonight. But I’ll be back soon. I think I may throw in more discussion of the world around me, too, since talking about myself all the time gets a little boring. :)

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Yes, I haven’t been blogging. This is due to apathy more than anything else. But things have been happening. To wit:

1. Work is good, as always.

2. I just bought home appliances.

3. I’m not losing much weight, despite having resolved to try again.

4. DVR’s rule.

5. I beat my whole company at Guitar Hero.

That’s the summary. I will attempt to explain further when my weekend (i.e. Friday-Saturday) rolls around this week. Stay tuned.

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Disclaimer That I’m Apparently Required To Put On Here Now: All thoughts and opinions on my blog are mine and not those of Southwest Airlines Officers, Directors, or Employees. And if you thought otherwise, you’re an idiot. Thank you.

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I can’t believe the “twenty aught” decade (you know, 2000-2009) is nearly over. I also can’t believe I had to go look up the word “aught” so I could remember how to spell it.

2008  was, on the whole, a relatively unremarkable year, which might explain why so little of it was detailed in this blog. The first 4-5 months definitely were more interesting than usual (thanks to a certain hot blonde I know ;) ) and there was a fair bit of travelling and mayhem (much of it involving Las Vegas) but the year mostly passed by in a haze of work and long vacations. “Twenty Aught Eight” was an improvement in most ways from the year before, and for that, I am thankful.

With so many parts of my life heading in the right direction, I remember saying here that my health would be the primary focus. That essentially didn’t happen, as most of those issues got the back burner treatment. However, I’m pretty sure that things will take a negative turn if I continue to put things off in 2009 the way I did in 2008, so it’s time for progress to be made. More on that in the coming days.

The holidays were mostly successful….I didn’t get caught up on all the things that I wanted to do around the apartment, but I did get to spend plenty of time with family and friends, and I did go back to work today feeling rejuvenated, so no complaints here.  I had some folks over here on the 30th, and we experienced the joys of bad singing, bad drumming, and (my) excellent guitar playing on Guitar Hero: World Tour.  :^D  I definitely cringed a bit when shelling out $190 for that game, but it’s been every bit as enjoyable a party game as I had hoped. I brought the game along on NYE as well, and rang in 2009 in the company of some of my oldest and closest friends. The feeling that night was a bit mixed, since everyone would be heading back home and/or back to work right after. For me, it marked the end of 16 very short days off of work.

Today marked my second anniversary at Southwest. I almost can’t believe that it’s been two years, or that I’m still totally happy to be there…..two years at most jobs would have had me running for the exits. And though things aren’t always 100% perfect at SWA, it’s still the best place I’ve ever worked, and I can’t imagine that changing anytime soon.

Happy New Year to all. I’m heading back to bed now as I attempt to reset my sleep schedule after 16 days of not really having one. :^)

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After writing a post, in October, that talks about how I completely skipped the month of September, I promptly proceed to allow November to pass me by without finding something to say. Actually, that’s not quite true….I attempted to post here a few weeks back, when I was visiting my grandparents in Illinois, but their ancient computer and dial-up internet access made it so difficult that I finally gave up.

So, you might be asking (assuming that you even still look here) what’s up with me? I always seem to enjoy making lists, so here are a few numbered items to catch us all up:

1. Just about a month ago, this country elected a new president. Sadly, it was not the one I voted for, and I’m a little disturbed that a candidate with so little experience who was more or less manufactured by the Chicago political machine could rise to the top so easily, but people are easily fooled. I sincerely hope that I turn out to be completely wrong, and that he does the country some good, but I won’t be holding my breath or anything.

2. Texas let Texas Tech sneak by them at the beginning of November, but otherwise went undefeated. Just a couple of days ago, they got completely hosed by the BCS, and will be sitting at home watching two teams they beat play for the Big 12 Championship. They might still have a shot at the National Championship, however, if Oklahoma loses. Go Missouri.

3. There have been a couple of birthdays since my last post. This blog turned four on October 13th, and I hit 33 one day later. While the former went mostly unnoticed, the latter was a multi-stage celebration, since I was out of town on my actual birthday. There was celebrating with the grandparents on the birthday, having it acknowledged at work the following Monday, and then a quick celebration with the parents (who were out of town themselves when I came back into town) on Thanksgiving Day. I think I’m going to leave town on my birthday more often. :D

4. Speaking of being out of town, I was off from work for 12 straight days in November, doing one of my patented Illinois-Indiana runs. While in Illinois, I visited with my grandparents and celebrated the Big Double 3′s. Next door in Indiana, I spent a weekend in the company of some people named Richard and Davis, and there was much catching up, enjoying watching all three kids (two Richards and one Davis) act like kids, and so on. For the guys, there was even a trip to the new Lucas Oil Stadium to witness the Bands of America Grand National Championships. We watched the semifinals, and got to see our old alma mater (L.D. Bell HS) perform. They came in second in the finals that night (after winning the whole thing last year) and it never ceases to amaze me how good they really are now.

5. Speaking of kids, I’ve learned something about myself when it comes to little girls: I’m a big softie. Any little girl who makes any effort at all can have me wrapped right around her little finger in about two seconds. Little Erin Richard got me wondering about that when I was in Indy earlier in November. This past weekend, a certain ex-girlfriend of mine brought her daughter to work with her one day. I had spent a fair amount of time around Felicia’s kids while we were dating, but this was the first time I’d really talked to Jasmine (her 11-year-old daughter) since we had broken up. Jasmine chatted me up most of the afternoon, and I think she spent more time sitting by me that she did with her mom. And I totally ate it up. I doubt that it’s a coincidence that I still have a little picture on my refrigerator that Jasmine drew for me while I was dating her mom. If I eventually have any daughters, I’m doomed. I suspect that I won’t mind it too much, though. ;)

6. Nothing much to report about work, other than it continues to go well, and I’m still happy to be there. I’m kind of quietly hoping to earn a promotion when the reviews come around at the beginning of next year, but I know better than to get my hopes up too much. Sometimes it seems like you can be doing enough to earn one (and I feel like I am, though I can always do better) but the powers that be will try to find any reason at all not to hand them out. We’ll see how that goes.

7. December is upon us again, and the little brass group at work that played during the holidays last year is getting ready to crank it up again. I stopped typing in the middle of the previous paragraph when I realized that the first rehearsal is today, and that I hadn’t pulled my tuba out yet. It’s now laying over by the door, so I won’t forget it. I should probably take a few minutes before getting ready for work to actually check and make sure everything’s still working, that I still know how to buzz on the mouthpiece, and all that. I think back to my school days sometimes, and remember how much I loved to play, and find myself missing it. But I’m comfortable these days in the knowledge that music would not have been the right career choice for me. I need to find a way to bring it back as a hobby that I engage in more than just once a year, though.

I fell asleep on the couch last night for about the umpteenth time (why did I buy a bed again?) and woke up a bit earlier than usual this morning, but that extra morning time is running out, so I suppose that I can type no longer. I should have free time to post again soon….I’m off tomorrow, for one, and will be off work for 16 straight days soon (12/17-1/1) so maybe I won’t allow the dust to collect on the blog quite so much this time. Stay tuned.

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So, for the first time in the nearly four years I’ve had this blog, I allowed an entire calendar month to go by without posting. I guess my life hasn’t really been that exciting. I haven’t gone anywhere since Vegas in August. I’ve mostly just gone to work. Not much to write about there.

I’ve been enjoying the 9:30-6 schedule, even though there are mornings (i.e. Saturday and Sunday) when I sometimes don’t feel much like getting up before noon. What I’ve enjoyed more lately is the stability of my schedule. Over the last four weeks, my schedule was completely unaltered–no extra days, no extra days off, nothing. I’ve worked the same shift every day, and I’ve been off every Wednesday and Thursday. October will be a different story, as I will start picking up more shifts (and having a couple of random Saturdays off) in order to prepare for the long vacations I have planned in November and December.

On the medical front, I have a toothache, which is forcing me to end my long sabbatical from dentist visits on Wednesday. And my weight has increased rather dramatically over the last several months. I had planned to start recording it here every month, as I did a couple of years ago, but I’m not even sure I can bring myself to put it in print. I think I still will crank up the monthly reports for 2009, but first I’m going to spend a few months getting that number moving in the right direction.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled internet. I will attempt to come around a little more often than I have been. :^)

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  1. I went back to work after my long vacation. I was about as excited as you might expect, but thankfully, it didn’t take nearly as long for me to remember how to do my job this year as it did last year, yay for one more year of experience.
  2. I went to Vegas again this week, just long enough to bid a final(?) farewell to Star Trek: The Experience. I still can’t believe it took me so long to finally go there, though I’ve made up for it with three visits in about six months.
  3. The ‘?’ after “final” in the above item indicates that I’m toying with the idea of sneaking back out there on Labor Day to join in the celebration/mourning as The Experience opens and closes for the last time.
  4. The optimism I felt when I mentioned a “pleasant surprise” in the previous post turns out to have been justified. You might say that there has been significant improvement in that area.
  5. I could have taken the schedule with weekends off on the next schedule bid at work, because it turns out that I would have gotten all the holidays off anyway. I’m slightly annoyed about that. Surprisingly, I would have gotten the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s off, had I tried for it. Go figure.
  6. There is no #6.
  7. For the record, Facebook rules. I’m absolutely astonished by the number of people I know or have known in my life that I have found and reconnected with to some degree on there.

That’s all for now. More details as they develop and/or become more interesting. :)

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I mentioned in the previous post that I was in the middle of a 15-day vacation from work.

Well, today is Day 15. Ugh.

It’s been a good vacation overall, even if the furthest I travelled during that time was Dallas. QuakeCon wrapped up and was overall a good time. There was something missing from this year’s edition, and I haven’t really been able to put my finger on it. A number of other people (mostly people who have been attending for a long time) mentioned the same thing. Perhaps QuakeCon has lost some of its mystique, or perhaps I’m just getting older and it’s finally passing me by. I don’t know.

Yesterday, I attended a new event in town called ROGCon. It’s a Friday-to-Sunday event, and I could be over there right now, but after not showing up until late Saturday morning, I decided to just pack my computer up and bring it back again late last night. The BYOC at this event had capacity for 700, but probably never had more than 250. Attendance was very sparse, and althought that meant that there would be more free stuff for fewer people, I didn’t seem to profit much from that, hence my lack of enthusiasm about going back over there today. And with so few people (and even less gaming) in the BYOC, it wasn’t worth leaving my computer there overnight. But this ROGCon is just the first, and wasn’t well-advertised, and was a bit too close to QuakeCon to be successful. I definitely think that it has a bright future, if handled properly.

Yesterday did bring one very pleasant surprise. The certain someone that I mentioned last time whose presence I worked to ignore throughout QuakeCon actually spoke to me yesterday when she came to check out ROGCon. Not much was said beyond hello, but it was said without any appearance of hard feeling on either side. I had pretty much given that friendship up as being dead and buried, but for the first time in a year, I actually feel a little optimistic about the possibility that it might not be after all. We’ll see what happens, I guess.

While I’ve been away from work, the time arrived to pick new schedules for the third and final bid of 2008, and I got that call Friday evening. I had an unprecedented eleven schedules to pick from this time, and TWO of them (not one, but two) featured Saturday and Sunday off. One of them started at 5:30 pm, which is later than even my night-owl-ish self wants to work. But the other was 9-5:30. A schedule a normal person might work! Yay! But there’s one catch……this bid includes Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, all three of which fall on Thursday this year. Picking that nifty schedule would likely mean working on those days, because I’m still just a little bit too low in seniority to have a realistic chance of getting them off. So, after an evening of pondering and deliberation, I finally went with the only schedule available (minus a couple of undesirable early-morning options) with Thursdays off: 9:30-6:00 with Wednesday and Thursday off. That’s actually a schedule I’ve almost picked several times before, but would then end up unexpectedly having a better option. But it should suit my needs for the rest of this year. I can tell you this right now though: when we pick for the first bid of 2009, I will not be bypassing any desirable schedules with Sat-Sun off.

Assuming that I don’t find the motivation to go back over to Dallas for the last day of ROGCon, today will mostly consist of (some long overdue) cleaning up around the apartment and other mundane things, such as laundry. Speaking of the apartment, I have officially decided to sign another lease here. My rent will go up slightly, but not enough to be concerned about, and I have no real reason to put myself through the hassle of moving. And this place has been more than satisfactory so far. Hopefully, things will stay that way for a while.

And now, it’s time to do some cleaning, a bit more relaxing, and then hope like heck that I still remember how to do my job when I go back tomorrow. :^)

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I guess I’ve continued to be pretty silent on here lately…..nothing since late June, I see. July has been a very fun and busy month. I was down near Austin for the July 4th weekend, and I can now tell you that you should never put a $40 pack of mid-grade rockets on top of anything it might fall off of……fireworks shooting sideways 5 feet off the ground when they’re meant to go straight up can cause the following:

  1. Drunk people scattering in every direction, and much more quickly than drunk people should.
  2. Someone to get pegged on the ankle.
  3. Me to run for my life, only to have fireworks shoot straight in front of me so that I have to turn and run the other direction (yelling all the while) like something out of a badly-written comedy movie.
  4. Small grass fires.

Needless to say, it was a highly successful 4th of July weekend.

Ok, one part wasn’t too successful, other than the sinus/inner-ear problems I’ve been dealing with off and on for a few months. I finally went to the doctor for the first time in about eight years, and I seem to have it under control now. Oh, and my stomach was in an uproar that weekend. I went through most of a bottle of pink stuff in like 36 hours. Ugh.

On a happier note, I’m currently on Day 5 of FIFTEEN IN A ROW that I have off work. And where am I now? QuakeCon!!!!!!!!!!!!! After two very exhausting days of setup, I am now sitting at my computer, gaming on the LAN, eating and drinking things that are bad for me, catching up with people I haven’t seen in a  year, meeting some people for the first time that I’ve talked to and/or gamed with for years, and just generally enjoying myself.

Things aren’t absolutely perfect….my feet and legs are still sore from the amount of time I spent standing/walking on Tuesday (i.e. nearly the entire day) and I’m having to make a concentrated effort to ignore the presence of a certain someone who still won’t talk to me (though I find I have zero desire to talk to her anymore, so maybe that’s not a bad thing after all)…..but honestly, this beats the hell out of going to work every day.

Not really sure what I’m going to do next week. Once QuakeCon wraps on Sunday, I’ll probably go home and pass out, and there’s another LAN that I was going to go to the following Friday-Sunday, but I still haven’t decided what to do in between. I suspect that I’ll wind up being at home, cleaning and organizing things a bit. Since my first lease is nearly up at my apartment (and since I’m staying) I figure it’s about time I got fully moved in and settled, hehe.

And now, back to the gaming madness.

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So yeah. I spruce the blog up all nice, and then let it get buried beneath a layer of dust.

I promise I’m still alive. And that I even have things to talk about. My health has been a bit unstable of late. Work has been going really well. A number of fun things I’m doing this summer are coming up soon.

But I won’t be gabbing much tonight. I just got through working 10 days straight, and honestly, I’m kind of tired. Thankfully, I have the next two days off, so it’s time for me to get caught up on a few things (sleeping is high on the list, but posting is in there too, I swear.)

Stay tuned.

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