You've got to give...

I can see that you've got fire in your eyes
And pain inside your heart
So many things have come
and torn your world apart
Oh baby, baby, baby, don't give up, don't give up
don't give up

If you want love
If you want love, you've got to give a little
If you want love
If you want faith, you just believe a little
If you want love
If you want peace, turn your cheek a little
Ohhh, you've got to give, You've got to give
You've got to live

An empty hand reaching out for someone
An empty heart takes so little to fill
It's so much easier to push instead of pull
Oh baby, baby, baby
Don't give up, don't give up, don't give up

If you want love
If you want love, you've got to give a little
If you want love
If you want faith, you just believe a little
If you want love
If you want peace, turn your cheek a little
Ohhh, you've got to give
You've got to give
You've got to live

Each man's a country in his own right
Oh, every body needs a friend
One friend, one God, one country
No man need defend

I believe in fate and destination
But so much of that lies in our own hands
If you know what you want, just go on out and get it
Oh baby, baby
Don't give up, don't give up
Yeah, yeah

If you want love
If you want love, you've got to give a little
If you want love
If you want faith, you just believe a little
If you want love
If you want peace, turn your cheek a little
You want love
You've got to give
If you want love
Give to live
You've got to give to live

--- Sammy Haggar, Give To Live

Life is a lemon (and I want my money back!)

What about your friends? They're defective - all the parts are out of stock
What a joke. I don't have many people I'll bother to call friends anymore. That number got reduced again. I can now easily count my friends on one hand without strainin' my brain.

What about your family? It's defective - all the batteries are shot
Hmph. Why bother? All it does it lead to opening yourself up to bein' stabed in the back and betrayed. Not everyone takes the opportunity to do that - but it sure seems more and more that friends and family are both willing to drive one right between your shoulderblades. Better ta just keep your distance, and your back to the wall.

What about hope? It's defective - it's corroded and decayed
I had hope at one time. The world finally beat me down to the point I don't care anymore. It's time to give up and be yet another drone in life.

What about faith? It's defective - it's tattered and it's frayed
Faith in what? I don't have much faith in anything anymore. I've lost my trust in pretty much everyone.

What about your town? It's defective - it's a dead end street to me
What's left here for me?

What about your work? It's defective - it's a crock and then you die
Yeah... there's a nice subject. Got a job that I don't even know how long it's gonna last anymore. At the moment, it looks like calm seas again. Problem is, the captains of this boat haven't figured out how to navigate, and us oars men get the brunt. And of course, when things look bad, they throw another oarsman overboard and expect better results.

What about your future? It's defective - you can shove it up your ass!
Pretty much my future is worthless. I've got one business venture going, and it's a stunning failure. The other one I'm exploring will probably be the same. In fact, I'm pretty much starting to consider it a dead end already. I'd have to fork out about $20k to get a restaraunt for gamers going, and for what? Just to watch it go down the drain, and take the rest of Heather and I's finances with it? The game company has turned into one hell of a pit anymore - I throw all the time and energy at it that I can, and get near zero returns.

It's all or nothing, and nothing's all I ever get
Everytime I turn it on, I burn it up and burn it out

It's a never ending attack, everything's a lie and that's a fact
Life is a lemon and I want my money back

And we're always slipping through the cracks
Then the movie's over, fade to black
Life is a lemon and I want my money back!

Time to quit the dreams. Time to change - quit swimming upstream, and just follow the current. Be another drone, work until I'm 65, retire, and die at 70. Hopefully I can do that with the ONE bright spot in my life - Heather. That's if people quit trying to tear her down, and explain how she's a bad wife. And if she doesn't finally decide some day that I'm really not worth the love and effort.


When this is all over, I'm going to make a T-Shirt about my experiences. It's going to have a custom made Survivor: Creek Electric, Inc. logo on it, and "I got voted out of the company, and all I got was this %$@#ing T-Shirt.", and present it to Lance (and probably end up with one myself.) My side kick and close friend Lance was laid off today. I'm feeling really guilty about it to be honest. I was the guy who vouched him into the company, and we worked pretty closely over the last 3+ years. And today I had to follow The Proceedure - lock out his accounts, change certain passwords, etc. Though I did leave is email one alone.

Paul is next on the hit list - and after what he just pulled, I don't feel a bit sorry for him. We had a customer complain about one of his jobs. I didn't know it at the time - was I was asked was to bid what it would cost to build up some drawing books, etc. for a project. Then we added time, and made the process as inefficent as possible. And then added more time. Then da' boss showed me how much time Paul had put into it - over TWICE what we did with our highly pessimistic estimates. Ouch. This has been getting to be more and more representative of his work. For some reason, the higher echleon decided Paul should stay for a while longer during the last layoff round decisions. I still ain't sure why.

Heather and I are investigating a new joint venture between the two of us - a serious adventure. For ages, I've been looking for a viable profit model for a gaming center - a place that gaming groups can come in and do RPG's, war games, etc. I kept thinking about renting out tables, etc., but I could never see it working. Heabo and I were talking about the restaraunt portion of the gaming center, and what would be served, etc., and she triggered an idea - I've been looking at it all wrong for years now. So we've got a possibly viable model for it now. So my next big job is to figure out a full cost listing, and see what it's going to take money wise to do this. We spent most of the weekend finding places that were for rent or sale that fit our needs, including buying out completely stocked restaraunts that were for sale. The biggest problem is the place needs to be possitively HUGE to pull this off. It presents some very interesting problems that most places wouldn't have, but nothing insurmountable.

The interesting part is that gives Midnight Ryder Technologies an official home (besides my house) if I wanted to run consulting and such outta there. We don't have a name for the company that would own the gaming center, or a name for the gaming center yet. Nothing has really germinated for that.

But I'll say this - I'm damned excited about this idea. It's been something I've been puzzling out for years and have yet to make work. This is the first time on paper that I think it could really work out right - of course, reality has a way of getting in the road from time to time ;-)

"The future is wide open..."
-- Tom Petty

Back to Hell III: Again?!

Well, shit. Looks like I have a very short job to do in Tama, IA again. Seems there was a miscommunication between the specs and what the final accepted job was. Unluckly, it was my mistake. Fuck. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's making a friggin' mistake like this. I did a lot of double checking, etc. on this particular job, and somehow I still got screwed on it. Oh well - I only have to terminate 4 fibers (8 total terminations, plus certification) so it's not THAT big of a deal.

Been programming like crazy on various stuff. The BBS is usable now, and I'm putting in all the 'fancy stuff' that belongs in it. It's got a security problem, but it's not that much of an issue (if someone should happen to hijack an account they still can't get to your credit card information, etc. All they can do is pose as you for a short bit.) But it's something that needs to be fixed anyway.

Right now there's not any game modules written for the BBS. It CAN run anything I want it to, using some interesting tricks I developed (the BBS software it's self is a hard-wired proxy server. Neat stuff how it works - only one port is ever needed busted through a firewall, since from there the client is a proxy on the local machine that tunnels to the server, which proxy's for the actual game server. I'm never going to bother explaining exactly how it all works to the end user - just that it works, and what to do ;-)

The BBS software looks REALLY retro BBS style - black background, with standard ANSI display. Thankfully, this is MK I version of the protocols and software involved. In the future, I'll slowly begin replacing it.

It does look like I finally have A Plan when it comes to employment. I'm going to ride out Creek for as long as it lasts, and then go full time Indie game developer. June 3rd or 4th I should know if I'm getting that big ol' game contract for an educational game. Plus if I can get the BBS released, well, I've got continued revenue streams that start immediately. Well, immediately meaning in the next couple o' weeks.

Hopefully, I can get this to all work out perfectly. Otherwise... it's off to job hunting for me ;-)

Choices, Choices...

So, death comes to us all eventually - companies are not excluded from that. Creek Electric, Inc. in now in the Death Spiral race now. The goal is to do anything possible to break that - releasing people from duties doesn't actually prevent the Death Spiral, it's what enables it to continue. You reduce expendatures and release people. But by releasing people, you remove the ability to do certain jobs and continue to bid as broad of a spectrum of jobs, which reduces your playing field. They are dead center of it now - it would take ONE big job to fix the problem, and they could pull out. However, I don't see the call coming anytime soon.

I've been reduced to 3 days a week, and of course that's pretty much unlivable. I'm not sure what I'm going to do at the moment. I've got options:

1) Get a haircut, and get a real job. (Just kidding on the haircut part) There's a couple of openings for some Information Security people at two of the aircraft plants at the moment - Boeing and Raytheon. I'm seriously considering putting in an application at Boeing for the InfoSec position. Granted, that induces a new set of headaches, but, would be a lot of fun IMHO (I like InfoSec stuff - I just don't like the PEOPLE involved with it most of the time. And it pays decently at most places, and there's not a lot of people in Wichita that focus on that position.) There's also a Software Development Manager position at WeatherData, inc. I've been looking at too. I'm not sure if I'm really qualified for an InfoSec position at Boeing, though.

2) Screw it all, and concentrate on nothing but the Game Company. Heabo keeps somewhat proding me in this direction. I dunno... that's risky, IMHO. Though I do feel a little better about the idea because I just got the contract from eGames, Inc. for distribution of Tile Panic! - it will be on shelves in Sept. unless something goes wrong. Flip Panic! is going to be hitting Beta today. However, I might get some better results from it than TP! for a couple of reasons (this game is easy as hell to learn - but, the rules change as you get deeper and deeper into the game, making stuff VERY interesting and challenging. It's also my most 'professional' looking title to date.) Trajectory Zone now has 3 publishers waiting for a demo. I've also got this NASCAR educational game contract (~$20k) that I'm waiting on to show up sometime soon.

In other words, I'm on the edge with the game company. I've got products and stuff, and more and more contacts. I just worry - will that be enough? I mean, $20k is a good hunk o' change. The first puzzle game will net around $5k for the lifetime of the product inside of a collection (2 years is the life expectancy) It would take A LOT of puzzle games to make up $42k / year salary. But... it seems to doable now. Just out of reach, but I can bloody well see it!

So here I stand at the cross-roads. And the minute I wrote that, a poem poped in my head (Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken") Hmmmm... that makes me think even harder about going with the game company idea. But I'm gonna require some serious strategizing about getting the company working.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Back to Hell...

Haven't updated in a while... sheesh, need to get back in the habit of writing my mini-novel journal entries ;-)

When I left Tama, IA, the job wasn't done yet - they didn't have everything in place for me to complete the job. This is on top of all the other things that went wrong (being over re-enforced, manpower problems, technical issues, parts missing, etc., etc., etc.) I hoped they WOULDN'T accept the change order for demob / remobilization of workers to get the job done (funny - they didn't want to pay for us to stay there all that time, but, they didn't want to pay the demob/remob costs either!) That place is FUCKED UP. $60k for a network that could have been properly designed and installed for a little over $20k.

Anyway, the reason it's relevant - they finally accepted the change order (and threw it on a new PO, making things slightly more complicated of course) and I'm going back. I'm shooting for heading up there the 21st, coming back the 25th or 26th. I can already feel all the stress of that particular job rushing back into my body. Not a good thing. But I will survive - heck, I'll break a pretty good profit off of this job for that matter. Of course, there are already problems, and I'm not on site yet - the 16th they finally will have my boxes installed. The 16th Bill Wiley will be in town, and I'm doing some consulting, and the 19th is a Pampered Chef party that Heabo and I are hosting. They want me on site ASAP, but, I'm not going up there until the 21st unless I've got a "Do-It-Or-Else" ultimatum - and even then, I may consider the "Or Else" portion of it. ;-)

Honestly, I don't think this trip up there will be nearly as stressful - most of the really nasty work has already been done. This is this 'final leg' portion of it, and they have shaved off some of the work for me already (it's supposed to be 14 four-fiber bundles, but, I'm only going to have to install 11 of them now - the rest were canceled when things got restructered just a little bit. And I don't even have to pay them back for 'em ;-) I've got a pretty good grasp on how things are gonna have to go for me to get it done on time an under budget.

Funny part was, last night I was having problems getting to sleep - I have a cold, so that didn't help, but, my mind started wanding into Tama, IA, and I was pre-planning how to pull off a couple of things (thier design sucks. I mean, REALLY sucks. They missed a couple o' things, IMHO, so I'm compensating for that). I guess that was a sign :-P

Heabo and I are having a baby. Well, actually, we're in the pre-planning stages. This all re-enforces what I've been thinking before - I can't have a job that has my current travel requirements, and still have a family. It's bad enough bein' separated from Heabo, but when I have a kid, it's just gonna get worse. See, I'm not going to have much problems with Heabo going off to school - that's going to be a 'norm' for the situation, not a barely scheduled thing like work does to me. Sure, I'll go to a conference every once in a while, but, those are scheduled months in advance, not days. Just up and randomly leaving like this would probably be too damned much stress for me.

I'm pretty happy and excited about the whole thing - kids are great!!! I've been wanting to have kids for some time now, but, the timing has never been right. Heabo deciding 'screw it, lets have kids anyway' was a bit of a shocker, but, handling the kids for a couple o' years while she's at med school isn't a horrible thing - I'll do fine I'm sure :-) I'd have rather waited until after she's back from med school, but, the updated plan has many advantages - foremost, we start having kids sooner ;-)

Ok, stepped away from the LiveJournal a bit, and got some other stuff done. Having problems with some hardware we put in at Boeing (to replace some hardware that was already having problems there), and got everything organized for Tama, IA. Looks like I'll be leaving here on the 21st, coming back the 25th. Talked with the job superintendent for Creek Electric who's out on the job, and got a lot of information outta him (including the fact that he doesn't THINK they will really have the boxes set the 16th - the plant is setting them, and apparently they don't move very fast. WONDERFUL. But, we also hit upon an agreement for labor (I'll take some of his guys) which means I've saved myself some money alredy by not having to actually PAY the demob/remob costs for two extra workers! Bonus! Plus, part of the project may be completed before I get on site - he has problems with work being slow at the moment, so, he can shift some guys over to my project, and have them installing conduit and flex before I ever get onsite. Double Bonus! :-) (It's great because it helps him out, and helps me out on getting the piping portion of the job done before I show up.) I may still pull this job off. Still some variables up in the air at the moment, but, that's ok - I'll handle 'em as I go.

Things for the game company are going very slowly at the moment, with some bright points. TZ work is going slow at the moment (bug whacking is the major compoent, and implementing a few last features for multi-player. Three new weapons should probably be thrown in there too - tractor beam, repulsor beam, and a laser, the latter capable of trick shots, the former designed to play pool with the items and other players. Nasty when you throw a prox mine in the mix!) For the BBS, things are going even slower - Lance and I work off and on for the new MUD editor that makes things reasonable to work with. But lots of other things concerning the BBS are still up in the air.

Also been exploring the option of opening up a game shop - IE, come in and play games, be it role playing stuff or video games, what have you. So far, I'm not finding a model that strikes that ballance between resonable cost, and profits. Profit is a bit of a problem ;-) I'll keep hackin' at it, and one of these days I'll figure something out.

Heabo and I have also been working on the house - this time, in the front yard. We're ALMOST done with it - I need to replace a valve, then plant my grass seed. It's wonderful - it requires almost zero human intervention, so, it's most likely to succeed of any plan we've had yet :-) Just what little we have done so far has made a tremendouse difference on the looks of the front of the house. Now if I can just get a nice green lawn.... :-)

Tama, IA

"Who are all these people?"
"We've been re-enforced, sir."
--(Loosely from Starship Troopers)

So, I get on site finally, after two minor mis-adventures in navigation (one mine, one caused by a mis-conception when someone gave me directions - they assumed I knew the 'efficent' route to the job. Oh well.), and things have changed. I am not running a crew of 4.

Instead, I was given 4 more guys to go on my job, making 8 grand total. Parts weren't all there (including the all-important 7' tall rack that everything routes to!) THIS turned my day upside down quickly - I had already mapped out what I was going to do with 4 guys. Lance and I work as a team, and the two extras do pipe and wire. Easy stuff. First part of the day was going to be getting everything together, and getting the parts for pipe and wire.

Except NOW I've got 4 people that would be standing around doin' nothing waiting on parts (charging labor to my job - something I'm trying very hard to make a very profitable job). Plus I've got parts missing, so I have to track them down, yadayadayada, blahblahblah. A shitload to do at once.

In a moment of clarity, I suddenly understood management a bit better (and why people take up drinking ;-). I was starting to work with Lance and a couple o' guys to get them started, and had that epiffany... I looked at Lance, and basically said handle it. He knew most of what had to happen - any questions he had, he'd come back and ask. He's not stupid at all. Did that, moved to the next crew, looked at one of the extras, had them call for parts (and sent them on a two-hour run to pick up parts.) After that, I totally changed what I was doing - instead of DOING the work, I started managing people.

Go fig, that works much better ;-) However, I did finally get things lined out to the point where I had the opportunity to strap on my stilts, and do real work - running cable across the drop in ceiling.

The day sort of sucked, but ya know what? That little lession on understanding management better was all worth it. Tomarrow will be better, since I'll go into it with a better understanding of how to face the situation.

I do have some problems with the competency of two of the workers assigned to me, but, I think I may have a way of bypassing part of that problem. Tryin' to decide if swaping some members around would work, or, just giving the most unimportant tasks to the crappy slow workers would be best. *SHRUG*

And IF you ever find yourself crusin' down I80 an hour past Des Moines, IA - find a town called Monotor, and go eat at Rubes SteakHouse (Best Lil' Steakhouse in Monotor!, they claim ;-). It's a bit expensive, but, I just ate the most tender, delicious fliet minon I've ever had. And get this.. you just go pick out your steak, and cook it yourself! So, it's always done perfectly :-) GREAT STUFF!

off ta' bed - need to rest my frazzled mind.

It's Professional, Part II

"I'm not a violent man, but I may have to kill someone."
-- Patrick Stewart, Masterminds

OK, it's been a while since I've updated my journal. Sheesh - I need ta' get back ta' doing this.

The quote above is very relevant. Ya see, someone tried to fuck me out of some of my money. I turned in my timesheet, and put 5 days (instead of 4) on my timesheet, and overtime for the work that I'm going to be doing at Tama, IA starting tomarrow morning (we'll be working 10 hour days, minimum). However, suddenly this causes a major hubub - Galen (one of the VP's) comes over and tells da' boss that I can't do that, AND that I can't have my overtime. WHAT?! My father spent 15 minutes tryin' to calm me down as I screamed, ranted, raved, and yelled at him, COMPLETELY PISSED OFF. That was the final straw.

Now, there's some things goin' on at Creek that haven't been mentioned to the rest of the world yet - shares have traded hands, etc. I know who's pretty much really in charge of the company now. The person who caused this ISN'T the one in charge ;-) Da' boss goes over, and has a little conversation with the person that now holds the most control of the company. Guess what? He had nothing to do with it, and got a little hot under the collar over the whole deal too - HE thought it was bullshit.

So, I'm seriously thinkin' the days of 4 days a week may become somewhat more 'optional' in the near future - if we've got unstopable work going on, then we'll not have to work 4 days a week. However, I fully intend to collect on the 4 days off that I've NOT taken (but put on my paycheck) because of this. After Tama, IA is done (and probably a *HUGE* panel that Lance is working on - he's going with me, so, his project may fall behind a bit. I really doubt it, but, I'll be workin' with him to make sure it's done on time, just in case.) I'm taking my week off, with pay.

But now I know where it's all commin' from - I've got a definied enemy ;-)

My little sis was here today during my father's discussion with Perry about my pay. So, I got to watch her for a bit - she's FINALLY acting like she's getting acclimated to me. Finally :-)

BadMotherFucker is having to be striped to bare metal software wise, and bein' reinstalled. Something destabalized it so bad that development work was almost outta the question. It's setting beside me here at work, re-installing now. With the re-install, it's now lightning fast again. MUCH better :-) I'll take it with me to Tama, IA while I'm there for my 7 - 10 day stint. I'll work on Trajectory Zone while I'm there - should help me keep my sanity a while longer ;-)

Speaking of TZ... it's getting closer and closer to done. Feature freeze is in place, so it's only cleanup and implementation of pre-planned features right now. Here's the cool part... I've got a publisher for the Linux version setup already. Not a done deal, of course - the have seen the current screenshots, etc. along with the writeup on the game. That pretty much sold them already, but, I'll ship them a full demo as soon as I hit wide beta with it. As soon as I take my week straight off, I'll have all gameplay elements, sound, etc. completed and in the game (however, the sound guy wants to redo the alien 'voices' - he didn't like his work on 'em, so, he's planning on doing something different possibly.) It's great to have all the introduction sounds, etc! The announcers sound great, and have a lot of variety to them - it's awsome! The aliens in the single-player / multiplayer bot version 'talk back' in thier strange language, which is kinda neat. Overall, I'm getting more and more impressed with this piece of work.

The BBS WAS moving along smoothly, but, I put a halt to part of the development, to explore a different idea - instead of just supporting Windows, setting it up so I can support ANY platform. Heabo has a Mac, I've got Linux installs, etc., so there's no excuse not to do it. However, the language in question I'm workin' with is rather interesting - I'm looking at using Python with it. Yet another new language to play with, but, looks pretty logical.

In general, life has been pretty good lately. It's not perfect, but good - as expected, I could use more money, etc.

The Beast has been having some problems - the carb seems to be untuned now. So far no amount of tweaking has gotten it 'just right', but we also discovered the throttle cable is so damned loose now it's amazing you can get much of anything out of it. I was just gonna cheat the tune problem (The Beast runs just fine on the road, just stalls out at a stop light) and tighten the throttle cable a bit... except it's not possible with the current setup - it's hardwired. Sheesh. I'll have ta' fix it when I get back (or Heabo will do it before I get home.)

Looks like Pop is going to be busy - CodeRed II just resurfaced with a new version (Code.Red.F). Oh joys. Of course, I don't have a single IIS server left, so, doesn't affect me much ;-)

I'm pissed - and this time, it's Professional ;-)

Freedom is just another word for nothin' left to loose...
(Janice Joplin, of course)

Well, the upside is I'm not laid off. Only one person in our section was laid off. The downside is an economic hit - we will only be working 4 days a week from here on out. Ouch. That's $500+ a month GONE.

However, I'll cancel my 401k investment - that will offset part of it. That will reduce my lost income to just over $400. Slightly better. If I were REALLY ballsy, I could cancle my work insurance - that would give us more available cash. However, that's a bit risky. Life without heatht insurance is almost unthinkable to me these days - I've had it for almost 10 years now.

To me, the current situation has The End written all over it. It's possible CEI will recover - all it would take is one or two large jobs. However, most of the big things they have been bidding are off in the future, around 4 months away. That would be a problem for the short term.

The problem as I see it, though, is that they will end up spending themselves into the ground. Even large layoffs now are a bit late - they should have started things like canceling matching 401k 4 - 6 months ago, when there was a serious dry spell on the horizion (and it was pretty visible - things 'wound down' over time, not all at once.)

Anyway - that's the status of my job. Oddly enough, Lance will end up a little better off than I will in some ways. They threw him out in the field for a bit. He's freezing his ass off, but, if he's out in the field he gets 5 days a week, plus potentially overtime. But did I mention that freezing part?

Right now I'm setting at home, stuck. My truck will not start - put the key in the ignition, and turn... and the key don't go nowhere. Seems like some ice must be stuck in the cylnder. I've got a heater in there now. Just checked it, no dice. Looks like something has gone south with the ignition lock. When Heabo gets home, we'll make a run to autozone, get a new one.

Called the office, told 'em I'd be stayin' home today because of this. No problem - time to catch up on some game programming. I just stuck a bottle of Bawls in the freezer to cool - time to become Hyper-Caffinated Programmer Man :-)

After the scare yesterday, I went back and assesed the condition of a couple o' the games that have been setting in my dev. directory. Gremlin Panic! has been mainly just waiting on a title character for ages now. Dumped the title character idea, changed the name, and increased the difficulty (the title character was what made the game harder.) Recorded 50% of the sound files for the game last night, and have it up and running. There's not too many hours of work that have ta' be done on it, so, I'll start turning that one into cash.

To be quite honest, it's THE most professional looking game I've done yet (not including Trajectory Zone). It's slick, the SF/X sound good (instead of the various breaking sound and hitting things I recorded for BP!, or the various percussion instruments I used for TP!.), and it's pretty unique - the rules chance continuously in the game. Something kinda different.

I already set up with my side kick, Eric, to get some serious work done on getting games out the door fast. After I complete this, my next task will be to complete the first BBS game, whatever it's supposed to be called (the replacement for BlackNova Traders.) It's already got a shitload of work completed on it, and mostly needs the client for it written. David "RM" Michael and I are working out terms for licensing Artifiact for the BBS, and I'm lookin' for all sorts of Open Source games that could be used on the BBS.

Oddly enough, I'll be getting access to a T1. We're getting a 'radio T1' at work - basically a Radio link with slightly better than T1 speeds. Part of the BBS hardware will be running from there. I've got MOST of the BBS in place, except the chat module - now that I have someplace for a non WWW server, putting the chatter module online won't be as much of a problem.

So, even if CEI does recover, I'm outta here. I keep making moves towards my own destiny, but, keep letting myself get hung up. No more - I'm tired of it. Two (completely different) songs are my current mantra...

Runnin' out of self-control
Gettin' close to an overload
Up against a no win situation
Shoulder to shoulder, push and shove
I'm hangin' up my boxin' gloves
I'm ready for a long vacation
When you can't give no more
They want it all but you gotta say no
I'm turnin' off the noise that makes me crazy
Lookin' back with no regrets
To forgive is to forget
I want a little piece of mind to turn to

- Journey, Be Good To Yourself

If you think I'll sit around while you chip away my brain
Listen I ain't foolin' and you'd better think again
Out there is a fortune waitin' to be had
You think I'll let it go you're mad
You got another thing comin

- Judas Priest, You Got Another Thing Commin'

(no subject)

They call me Cuban Pete
I'm the King of the Rumba beat
When I play the marracas
I go chick-chicky-boom

(Cuban Pete, by Desi Arnaz originaly I believe)

Cuban Pete is the enemy at the moment. That statement alone should explain the depths of insanity that I've fallen to. I'll get into that after a bit... ;-)

Just got contacted by a company wanting to do some visualization stuff for real estate. They are sending me a 'house' they build in full 3D, and I'll import it into Torque, and create a quick demo (a day or so job) and send it back for them to experement with and see if it fits thier needs or not. Mo money, if they buy it - a good thing ;-) The best part is, of course, that it's thier idea, not mine, so they are much more likely to buy the idea since it's thiers.

Had an interesting experience that kinda reminds me that sometimes how you act really is noticed by others. Went to the courthouse to pay property taxes today. I treat the people who work behind the counters with the maximum amount of kindness - these are people who get verbally abused from time to time, people hate 'em about half the time (they are collecting fees from taxes, and also do double duty as the place you pay state and county court fees and fines), and generally get treated like shit. So, I treat them well - it's not thier fault I have to pay taxes. They don't make the rules, they are just there to make sure someone takes my money, and it gets processed right. (Actually, I've gotten to the point I treat everyone but phone solicitors that way. The later get a whole different attitude ;-)

Anyway, I step up, tell her who I am and why I'm there, and chat with her for a minute while she looks up my info.

Then she turns and asks "What do you do for a living?" That caught me off guard, and I told her "computer programmer, system administrator, and I own my own game company on the side." She didn't take any notes, so, I waited a moment, and asked her "Why do you ask?" She said "Well, you have such a positive and friendly... (shrugs) outlook I guess. I just don't see that very often." I explained that I try and be friendly to just about everyone anymore, and try and make people smile. We chatted a bit about it, and she basically patted me on the back for the way I treat people.

I think that's the first time that's ever happened. Interesting - and kind of cool.

I have a new toy - two Dance Dance Revolution pads. Imagine a dance version of karaoke. Instead of singing to the music based on the lyrics that show up on the screen, you dance to it, on top of these pressure sensitive pads, and they show what steps you need to take. (NOTE: If you try and dance like this at a club, someone is bound to laugh at you. This is not graceful - but it does have rythm. It's a game, not real dancing.) It's fun and highly addicitive. Oh, and a hell of a workout.

We started with one working pad on Friday, and last night I added a second pad and a new controller, etc., making it all work perfectly. Took some hardware hacking on my part with a soldering iron - complete with my wife mocking me a good amount of the time after I burned myself. What she didn't realize was *HOW* I burned myself - the iron slipped, and instead of letting it hit the pad and melt a $19.95 pad, I grabbed the iron in the air, and burned two fingers. I can't figure out why I didn't get damaged worse than I did, to tell you the truth - I grabbed it with two fingers in air, and it made that wonderful 'sizzle' noise as I transfered my grip. I have one blister - my thumb didn't blister, and the skin on it is really thin. Got lucky :-)

The game is even more fun with two players - Heabo and I started playing after I got the pads working, and we had a blast. Oddly enough, I do better with her playing with me - I had one song that I had a AA rating on. (Performance rating for a song goes from F to A, AA, and AAA.)

Then I had to try something new - Dual Mode. This is where ONE player plays on both bads, trying to coordinate moves between the two pads. Very... interesting. Not sure if I like it, but, it's a hell of a work out trying to keep up.

As for the comment about Cuban Pete. One of the songs I have in Step Mania (the DDR program I use) is Cuban Pete, performed by Jim Carey in The Mask. This is A BITCH to try and pull off - I don't think I've managed to finish the song once without it failing me yet. The steps for it have a lot of change ups, and double hits, etc. Very complicated, but, I'm determined that eventually I'll pass it, and finally get an 'A' rating for it.

The DDR pads (and machine) are confirmed to go to Meredith's NYE party, and will probably also be goin' up to Colorado to show off also and provide amusement factor ;-)