Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Wet Paint

So all the painting I've done over the past 2 weeks can be seen here

It's been busy.

My left eye was beet red yesterday, probably due to lack of sleep. And possibly due to a slightly bad prescription on my glasses.

Been almost a week I know, but more later.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Song of the day:

Good Charlotte, Little Things

I'm sure there's a story behind this one for the band, maybe even
relating to the lyrics. I especially like the talking at the
beginning, it really sets the tone well.

I was thinking about this song last night as I heard it play. (I was
painting the kid's Christmas present) I remember it really
resonating with me at the time, and really was one of my more
favorite songs for a while. It's got some truth to it even though
it's a bit of an angst-ish/dark kind of song. I think just about
everyone has been in the "loser" position in a given situation now
and then. I know I was hurting pretty badly because I was different
than most other kids growing up. Everyone said I was shy and
reserved. I even believed them for a while. Turns out I just don't
talk much, but that doesn't mean that I'm particularly "shy". In
fact, I'm very much involved in the happenings around me,
particularly people. I just don't express it very well. "It"
being... well, much of anything in the way of communication. I
actually consider myself better at expressing my feelings in a medium
such as this rather than face to face with people. Considering I'm
not that great of a writer that can be a scary thought at times.

Here we are, starting with a song and ending up at my writing
skills. Go figure, shows how my train of thought leads me around.
Back to work.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The big day...

So tomorrow I get to present my team's last 9 months or so of work to the owner of the comapny and the tech support staff.

I expect the work itself to be ripped to shreds. That's okay, specs change, priorities change, and we sure don't know everything that neds to happen with this new system. The foundation is solid, I bet the user interface gets revamped a bit though.

I'm a bit more nervous about politics.

When we started this project it was supposed to take maybe 3 months. It had a lot of support and a certain coolness factor. I wasn't real pleased about it but I hadn't been excited about what I had been doing before and it seemed better at the time.

Well, as things do in software projects, we've lost 2 of the 4 people on the team (around august) and the whole thing is terribly more complex than it sounded. We, as a company, bit off more than we could chew.

And I'm afraid my reputation will suffer for the decision to continue and complete this project (not mine). See, this whole project is more of a "port" than a "new feature". There's a good part of a year invested in... not much real change to the end user at all. A little mind you, but not a ton.

A coworker of mine has said that people have quit the company over less nasty projects. Some days I feel like it, even though I have a great working environment. Today is borderline. Here's hoping for a better project in the future.

In other news...

Our girls are getting a wooden kitchen set. We got it second hand, but it's still in good condition. The only trouble is we are painting it. We'll have to paint at least 2 (probably 3) more coats of the base color plus at least 3 clear coats on it... by Christmas. lots of work, hope the kids appreciate it. =)

Do you have all of your Christmas shopping done yet?

Friday, December 16, 2005


So, here's the doomsday post to sum up my latest financial research. Took me 30 mins to read it but it was worth it. Very informative. I must be a masochist, I kind of enjoyed it.


In other news I've told my wife about the blog. Guess I'm gonna keep it. We'll see. Her blog is here. You can see a bit of my MAME machine in her latest post.

Song of the day goes to enya's "A day without rain".

Have a good weekend.



I do a google search for "Middle Class Salary" and rather than finding interesting facts on WHAT middle class is, I find a bunch of disturbing facts about what PROBLEMS face the middle class. Not what I needed right now what with being stressed about money already.

So, where I work at a 15-20 employee company, December brings with it a yearly insurance shuffle. Last year we were more or less forced into paying $150 more for insurance a month to keep what we had. Or moving to a new HSA plan which comes with a $2200 deductible that must be met before ANYTHING is paid by the insurance. We went with the HSA plan. If that wasn't a kick in the pants, this year the dental plan is being relegated to opt-in only and 100% paid for by the employee. This leaves me personally with around $110 more a month to get family coverage that I'm paying out. So in the last 2 years my personal health coverage (well, family, but I'm paying for all of it) has gone up by roughly $2000. If we hit our deductible this next year (very unlikely, only hit it last year by having a kid) we will be looking at $3400 alone, not to mention 50% of any real dental work. Plus glasses probably this next year for myself and my wife, and who knows what else that might be unexpected. And this after I hit my 5 year mark at the company where "Insurance is 100% paid for". I know they are not directly responsible but.... yeesh.

I swear, the insurance companies have to be making money hand over fist. I hear they made record profits last year and that in the past few years the rates (each year) have gone up THREE TIMES as much as the standard of living.

This rant all comes from the search above, which comes from a conversation I had with a co-worker today about what is really middle class. Apparently middle class according to "the numbers" is household income between 35,000 a year and 80,000 a year. Give or take a few thousand depending on who you ask. That puts me pretty much just above the middle line. My co-worker on the top end of the first third. And that's a pretty large cross-section. I think the exact middle as like $43,000 and change. It's in the first 2 pages of the search linked above if you don't believe me.

We want my wife to be able to stay at home and raise the kids. I wonder if that will last as long as I'd like. I pray it does.

Here's an article that scares the hell out of me.

And here are a couple of others. One more for punctuation.

It sure would be nice to have a savings account that would get me past a month out of work.

I better go to bed. Bleh.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


So I was rear-ended in my car last wednesday.

The damage was minimal, though the bumper was slightly cracked and the tail light also cracked. My biggest concern is the back panel which crumpled ever so slightly along the trunk line. Doesn't functionally effect anything as far as I know.

I found out today from the insurance company that they are sending me $887.30 for repairs.

Do I repair it all or split it up and do the minimal repairs while pocketing the rest?

Woulda been nice to have the $$ sent to the repair shop so I didn't have to feel like I suddenly have a bunch of money that's really supposed to be for fixing my car. :/

I hate money. I have a good job and with all my "expenses" I have little to no liquid cash funds.

I shouldn't complain, my family has a roof, food to eat, even a few luxuries. Side note... I have a family. A few little girls and a great wife. More on them another day. Anyhow.

$4000 for a pinabll machine may as well be $50,000 for all the closer I'm getting to it in the next few years. We need a real budget.

I now vaguely understand why some men have a mid-life crisis and go out and buy an expensive sports car or some such. =)

In other news...

I'm trying to get my hands on the source code for DaphneX so that I can modify it. (It currently doesn't run on my xbox) Here's a link to the Arcade version. And a link to more information on the emulator, Daphne, if anyone is interested. Kubik, the person who ported this to the xbox, hasn't given out the source code even though it's required by the GPL. Not that he cares. Would be nice though.

Anyone reading this blog yet?

Happy Tuesday.

Friday, December 09, 2005

xbox + hard drive == fun?

Today I installed a 200 meg hard drive in my xbox.

Yeah, it was during work so I'll have to take some vacation. I have
no self control. =)

I should back up a bit though.

Two years ago just before thanksgiving I bought an arcade cabinet.
It was from a local guy who has an arcade route. I tipped him off to
3 pinball machines that were $400.00 each. If I had had any idea how
much pinball machines were worth I'd never have said a word.
(digression ahead) These were Creature From the Black Lagoon,
Terminator 2 and Judge Dredd. Even in so-so condition they are worth
around $1000.00 each. I've kicked myself a number of times for
ignoring these pinball machines since then. Later I have seriously
considered owning my own pinball machine. I wanted one before, but
it was never in my realm of conceivable possibilities to own. I
decided instead that a MAME machine was the closest thing I was going
to get, thus buying the arcade machine. (See arcadecontrols.com
for more on this subject)

Another time on the rest of that. To sum up, I've put an xbox in the
arcade cabinet.

Unfortunately, the xbox only actually sees the hard drive up to 137
gigs. Apparently there are ways around this, but it's more difficult
if you do not have a mod chip. I don't. That will be a project for
another day.

I bought the harddrive for $138 and change yesterday. Merry
Christmas to me!

I also finished a problem I've been working on here at work for the
last 3 days a few minutes ago. BLEH. I hate off by one errors!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Song of the day

I'll probably do this occasionally. This is my theme song of today.

"And I’ve been housing all this doubt and insecurity"...

"I gotta get outta here
I’m stuck inside this rut that I fell into by mistake
I gotta get outta here"...

"I am a hostage to my own humanity
Self detained and forced to live in this mess I’ve made"...

Yadda yadda.

I'm in self pity mode, and kinda pissy. Too bad I have to start this off like this.

Good song though.


A new era is born. The jury's out on if this is a good idea or not. Time will tell.