Ask me anything
Nearly five years ago I bought myself a huge rig because I was a semi-hardcore gamer, and my other custom-built box was hitting the end of its life. The novelty of building my own box had long since worn off, so I decided to buy. I wanted something that would last a long while. Eventually I purchased a fat system with all the trimmings and plenty of room for expansion. Also known as Carter (WOO STARGATE REFERENCE!). We got along terrifically.
Late last year one of the two drives in my raid array started to poop. After much agonizing, I settled on a SSD to replace the raid. Performance boost x infinity. Carter was happy.
Then I bought Serious Sam 3. The first time I loaded it up, it HICCUPED. OH NOES. What to do? OMG MOAR RAM. So I maxed out my RAM slots. The Behemoth was really happy.
Of course, when I bought the SSD, I bought a small one. I figured I don't play games much anymore, and I really don't have tons of media or movies. Right. Me, give up games. Two weeks ago the capacity bar on my drive hit the red line, so I bought another SSD. It's currently sitting on my desk waiting for me to perform the delicate surgery of jamming it into the one of eleven million expansion slots in Carter.
I figure the next upgrade is my video card. I have a GeForce 8800 GTX. Very solid card, no real problems with it yet. Still, video cards don't have tremendously long lives when it comes to gaming, so I'm sure the next shiny graphics-heavy game to come along and captivate my attention will result in a new video card. Woo.
I know the popularity of desktops have been edged out by portable shiny laptops, ultrabooks, and netbooks, but Carter functions perfectly for what I need and with a little maintenance I can see getting a few more years out of it. It was a solid investment. Even with the upgrades, I've spent less on her than I would have if I had settled for some tiny, tightly-packed proprietary system. When I'm on the go, I have my phone and iPad, and really, that's more than enough.
All hail Carter.
Yes, but not always.
I grew up in this area - specifically South Lake Tahoe and Gardnerville, NV. After high school I moved to Las Vegas to pursue my music degree (as detailed in another one of my posts). Somehow, I got stuck. After I graduated I was going to move to Oregon, but got married and stayed instead. After I got married, I was supposed to move to Colorado, got divorced instead. A few years after that I made a hard decision to move, and started looking for jobs. Landed a job in Vegas instead. It was like Vegas was the black hole of the universe and I wasn't getting out. Seventeen years (omg wtf) later I finally had a chance to pack up everything and move to the bay area.
So two years ago I hauled both out of Vegas cats and settled into a nice neighborhood in Oakland hills. That lasted exactly one year. I know everybody seems to love it there, but I couldn't stand it. I was a small-town libertarian semi-hick at heart, and I absolutely could not adjust to the dense population, extreme regulation, or way of life there. Almost exactly one year later I decided the bay area was just not for me, and loaded one cat (Chris kept the other one) into my car and booked it back to Gardnerville.
I've been back to my hometown for 11 months. It's not perfect, but it's much closer to the type of I life I have been looking for. I've been away for so long it's all different and new, so I don't feel like I've regressed to high school. Hell, I've only seen a couple of people I went to school with. Overall, it was a good decision, and I'm glad my instinct was to run here when I had no idea where else to go.
Will I stay? I don't know yet. Maybe I'll still be here in a year, maybe I won't. We'll see!
Well, I'm not in the habit of having best friends. I had a couple when I was a kid. Then when I was in college I had three best friends: Justin, Barry, and Rob.
Nowadays, the BFF list is a little short. There's my sister Jen - but she has to like me because we came from the same gene pool.
My sister is the best. She lives right down the street, and I can count on her for anything. She has four kids and she's always running around after them. Despite that, I know I can drop in anytime to rant, drink wine, chat, hug kids, eat dinner, and in general be part of her family. I can tell her anything. She makes sure I'm included in all of her events, she helps me plan any of mine. She sees to it I don't become a total shut in from working at home. We look and sound almost identical, so by proxy I know her friends - I'll be out and about and somebody will say "Hi Jen!" (small town). She lets me borrow her clothes. She lets me change her kids diapers...oh wait...you mean that's not a bonus?
I moved back here to be nearer to her and her family, and I don't regret that choice for a minute. I can't imagine what my life would be like without her, and I hope I never have to.
The closest unrelated friend I have had in recent years is Chris (I can hear him now "psh"), I''m not sure if that counts either because we were together a few years, so he was theoretically supposed to be my best friend (hurr). He knows me very well. I can say anything nerdy to him and he gets it. He knows I'm old, cranky, and eccentric, but deals with me anyway. If I needed help I would call him. Really, what more can you ask from a friend?
I know when we broke up we were supposed to have some great big fight and I was supposed to destroy his Walking Dead blu-ray videos, then take away Salem out of spite. I decided to skip that step and we just sort of stuck as friends. He kept the cat, and whenever I visit the bay area I always come by to see him and pet Salem.
I'd expound on the virtues of knowing Chris as well as I do, but I think you all see plenty through his Formspring posts. He is as hilarious in person. He does like dinosaurs, cats, and punk as much as his posts let on. He does come up with crazy stories out of nowhere. He only eats fruit, pizza, burgers (plain, ketchup only), cereal (dear God, the boxes of cereal in our house), and Chicken Masala + Naan. And as much as he complained about my cat Spot, I think he actually secretly liked him.
Point is, he still makes me laugh and I can count on him, so I consider him one of my best friends.
Compared to some developer desks I've seen, you're good.
I remember this event at my old job: one day in the middle of summer I headed further into the recesses of the developer area to drop something off to another lead. When I rounded the corner there they were: Two dirty sweaty socks draped over the monitors of one of the developers, with the developer sitting there obliviously typing away. Me, having no filters, announced loudly "What the fuck is that?" and the guy said "It's hot outside, my socks need to dry out."
After I was done mentally gagging, I ratted him out to the manager, then headed back to my desk grateful for the fact I only had to put up with Will and Matt.
@stephans and @chrisbarmonde can regale you with more stories about Sock Boy aka Darth Helmet the Furry.
Actually, I would say nothing says "well crap, nothing better to do" than showing up for a date.
That's usually my train of thought. Probably why I don't get many dates.
That picture is my oboe and my army of reed making tools.
When I was 8 years old I read a story about a little girl who played the violin. I was so enthralled with the idea of playing a violin, I marched myself home and announced to my parents I wanted to learn to play. Despite our awesome musical last name (Tune), there are no other musicians in my family, so suffice it to say it was a surprise. But my parents humored me and got me a violin, and off to orchestra I went.
When I was 10 we moved to Nevada, and I was enrolled in a school district with no orchestra, only a band. My band director told me I had to pick another instrument if I still wanted to play. So I thought about it a bit and said "I want to play an instrument with a reed!" My band director took one look at me and said "why don't you try the oboe, it has TWO reeds!" So I happily got myself an oboe and under his tutelage began learning to play, completely oblivious to how difficult it actually was. He later told me he figured if I could handle the violin, the oboe would be easy for me to pick up.
Thus began my long career as a musician. I played all the way through middle school and high school, only detouring to flute and piccolo for the inevitable marching band season. I made honor band, all-state band, and eventually music consumed my life. When it came time for college I only saw one option: a music degree.
I eventually went to college on a full ride in Las Vegas. While I would have preferred to go to a conservatory or other high-powered music school, it was out of the question because I could not afford to pay for it (I had to pay for college myself). Still, I had a brilliant oboe professor at UNLV, and for several years I immersed myself in playing. I did all sorts of gigs around town. I got hired to play in the orchestra when Pavarotti came to Vegas.
And then in the latter half of my junior year, the luster of music wore off. I can't really explain what happened to me. I began to regard playing as a chore. I lost interest in my music classes. I no longer felt that burning desire to play the oboe forever. I still practiced. I improved by leaps and bounds. I excelled in my classes. Yet I was looking around at the world and wondering what I was missing with my head buried in a sheet of music.
By the time I graduated, I had completely burnt out.
I played another year or so locally after graduation. Then I put my oboe away and didn't look at it for two years. It sat in a closet, collecting dust. One day I pulled it out and played, just for fun. Then I played again. Then I found myself dragging it out a couple of times a month to run scales, play through some concertos, and work on reeds. Suddenly it became fun again.
So I spent the last 7 years or so a closet oboe player. Never playing for anyone. Only playing for myself. Not practicing regularly, but practicing enough to keep my skills from completely going to hell. A couple of weeks ago my former oboe professor rolled into town and outed me to the local music community as an oboe player, so suddenly I'm back playing in orchestras. And I'm ok with it.
I don't regret a single moment of the time I spent with the oboe, nor do I regret walking away from it. It fit my life, it suited me, and it's a skill that not many can claim to have.
Sort of. I do live in close quarters with them - we live in a duplex, so they're literally on the other side of the wall. The father is an EMT, and knows another friend of mine who's a captain for the local fire department. The mother is a teacher. As far as interaction, we say hello occasionally, but the most talking I do is to their 4 year old - she has a sandbox right next to my patio, so when she's playing in there and she sees me, she sticks her eye up to a hole in the fence and says "HELLO NEIGHBOR!", then begins chattering about her toys or sandbox or something her baby brother did.
The house behind me, though, is an entirely different story. Their yard is full of junk. They occasionally play awful loud house music. To top off the trashiness, one of the occupants decided to staple gun a dog food cardboard box over their window because t's that time of the year when the sun hits it. CLASSY.
The icing on the cake is their rottweilers - two very large, very mean dogs. We used to have a tree at the fence line, but between the dogs wriggling through the fence (had to call animal control twice) and the fact it was raising the driveway, the new owners of my place had it cut down and the fence replaced. I've attached a pic of said evil dog the first day he decided to attempt to eat me. ;(
Yes it does. Specifically, beautiful weather.
I work from home. Right next to my desk is a giant sliding glass door going out to my patio. When the sun is out, the breeze is cool, and the birds are chirping, I have THE WORST time focusing on work for two reasons: My brain is telling me "OMG WANT TO GO OUTSIDE", and Spot is standing at the door howling "OMG WANT TO GO OUTSIDE".
Working from home is a blessing and a curse.
I will follow you until I see:
2) More than 10 photos of drinks in a row
3) Picture of @chrisbarmonde
That said, if you follow me back you'll get cat pictures, so I suppose there's balance in the universe.
It's been a while since I've had a crush, but I am willing to admit that they still occur, even at my advanced age of 37.
I don't have much luck, either. Last one turned out to be a completely poor choice - he knew I liked him and took advantage of it. Go get xyz for you? NO PROB. Stop by and check on your place when you're out of town? SURE! Come pick me up from the airport? ON IT! Drop me off at the girlfriend's house I totally didn't tell you about? WHAT???
I think they're fun - they kind of get you all spun up and excited, and you pretty much will run the gamut of emotions while you have one. On the other hand, I'm prone to blindness when I have one, so every single damn time I get bit in the ass by it.
Despite all of that, it's exciting and fun to feel that strongly about someone - even if you're only feeling for an idealized image of the person. I figure if I get lucky enough, one of them will actually turn out right.
It's funny you mention that, @horseebooks. I am in the market for a new one. My old standby favorite has been the Rigoutat - I've rarely met a Rigoutat I didn't like. But I got to spend some time with my former oboe prof last night, and he has highly recommended the Buffet Greenline - mostly because it uses as grenadilla composite and is more eco-friendly, as far as building oboes goes. AND it's less prone to cracking (my existing oboe cracked four times here in Nevada).
So I think I'll give that a try - I'll keep you posted.
I'm not a girly girl, and I have zero patience for makeup, hair, and clothes. When I was in college I had a roommate, Amy, who was the complete opposite of me.
Me: Morbid goth with skull and monster candle holders w/black candles.
Amy: Cheerleader, blonde, chipper
When: Dorms, senior year of college (eleventy billion years ago)
Amy and I were thrown together via random selection. Complete opposites. Despite that, we somehow hit it off and became BFFs.
As per college life, we were forced to find part-time jobs to help sustain our alcohol (and food, I guess) consumption. I was mostly surviving off of oboe gigs, and she landed a job at Victoria's Secret. When I hit a point where i needed more money than random oboe playing was providing, I decided to find a job. Amy talked to her boss and told her about me, and her boss said for me to come on in and apply (WHAT?). So I did, and I was hired to work in perfume/cosmetics (mostly because I balked at the idea of measuring boobs all day).
I had no idea what I was getting into.
This was in the late 90s, so the things all the rage where:
* Fruity smelly sprays and lotions
* Lotion with glitter
* Roll-on pheromones
I was allergic to half of the perfume, so I had to go in loaded up on antihistamines. When customers asked me about my favorites, my answer was generally "I dunno, they smell the same."
One customer asked me if there was a glitter lotion that was more moisturizing, and I said "If you are smearing glitter on yourself, you are in effect cutting up your skin, so I'd suggest sticking with Jergens if you don't want it to dry out."
As far as the pheromones, the sales manager gave me the whole pitch about how pheromones attract men, and smearing them on yourself made you more attractive, blah blah. Of course, I was dubious about the idea, so I did some research and discovered they were cow pheromones. Worst trouble I got into there was when another salesgirl overheard the following.
Customer: Do these pheromones work?
Me: Only if you want to be trampled by a stampede of bulls.
On top of all that, I was working in an environment surrounded by women who believed everything Victoria's secret was preaching. I recall one lady there telling me how her date didn't go perfectly because she ran out of pheromones. Then there was the other who told me the glitter lotion made her irresistible to her boyfriend, and without it he didn't find her attractive. In their defense, they *were* getting dates. Me, on the other hand, not so much. Still, the endless conversations about hair/makeup, latest VC product was aggravating. I had almost nothing to talk to them about, so I spent most of my time dusting shelves and unpacking merchandise.
The only upside to the whole gig was I got to wear all black (yay). With a pink doctor-like coat over it (boo).
After about a month, I had enough and I quit. My manager was a really nice lady, so she was very understanding about my not fitting in, and she said she was sad to see me go because I was "really organized" and the "shelves look fantastic". I did wind up going back to work there for an additional month - holiday season started a month later, and she asked me to come back just to keep shelves stocked and ring up purchases.
I suppose this wasn't a horrible job - I think it was mostly funny because I was completely unsuited for that type of work. I'm terrible at sales and I had the completely wrong attitude. Goths should not sell perfume.
That would explain how he has the energy to whine nonstop for pets and attention.