Thursday, February 25, 2021

Spring Thaw

It's been a rough February, weather-wise.  We got a whole winter's supply of snow in pretty much a two-week period beginning with a Groundhog Day snowstorm.  As soon as that snow was put under wraps, we got several more days of snow which disrupted our normal routine.  As snow does.  In Chicago, and I imagine most big cities, they plow the main arterial roads first, then the side streets.  


Also, the city does not plow alleys.  There are legitimate reasons for this.  If you see an alley plowed, it is what we call an anomaly.  Someone paid a private resource, or is related to the aldercreature, or has pictures of the aldercreature doing weird things to a goat.  


If your brother's girlfriend's, uncle's cousin's, baby momma's doctor who lived next door to an old class mate's mailman says "they use to plow the alleys back in the day," remember THEY use to do a lot of things back in the day that aren't done today.



We are very fortunate to have a driveway that we were able to shovel and keep clear so we could go out that way.  After the first snow event, we were able to come in through the alley and leave through the driveway.  The second time we had to back out of the driveway because the alley was just too high.  Garbage and recycling pickup was skipped last week.  I'm assuming Garbage will be picked up this week but they are skipping recycle (it comes every two weeks).  

 In about 2 1/2 weeks daylight savings time starts – March 14, and less than a week after that is the first official day of spring – March 20 (the equinox)! Yay!

Honestly, like most parents of small ones, I abhor  DTS.  There is really no reason for it.  But we just cannot get rid of something once we invoke it.  Electoral college anyone?


The Job Hunt:  since being let go at Big Audit, I've had about a half dozen interviews or so.  In my industry, the options are law firms, financial firms or consultants.  I have been told by a bunch of incels that I'm not good enough to work with them.  These are the same people who use to come to me for the answers.  The same people who, if I were still working at Big Audit, would be begging me to hire them for our next upgrade project.  

There was one position I probably could have gotten if I had shown more enthusiasm but they were a screaming hot mess and I would be miserable there.  They wanted Associate Director level work at Manager level salary.  That is the reason they were looking in 2019 and their hire only lasted a year.

I'm trying not to get too down about it.  Trying.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

What to do with this space

Every January hundreds if not thousands of bloggers refind their dormant blogs and make a vow to start blogging again.  I base this on the spike in emails I get at the start of the year from bloggers I follow.  Some make a statement post promising to blog more, others just start writing again.  And then they fade away.  Again.

I make no such declarations.  I write when the mood hitting me intersects with the opportunity to sit in front of a keyboard and clack away.  I wrote in a journal from high school until switching to a computer file post-college.  I kept that going until I started my first blog in 2006.  I tried to keep them both up but that was just too much writing.  Then the professional blog over at ChicagoNow came along and I wrote there for many years.



According to Google Analytics, this personal blog got 46 visitors last month.  I'm sure at least half of that was me reading old posts.  The professional blog gets about 1000 hits a month, even though I haven't written there in a long time either.  The benefits of the Chicago Tribune Ecosystem.

I'm not sure what to do with that space either.  it's nice to be able to have a place to vent my spleen and know that more than 46 people are reading it.  But here's the thing.  I am burnt out with the writing thing.  

A long time ago in a bedroom far, far away, I had dreams of being an engineer by day and a writer at night.  unfortunately, I didn't have the right resources to succeed in the engineering world.  And I didn't have the right circumstances to succeed in the world of Journalism.  I probably could have gone to some small town and got a job as a copy editor or Obits writer.  Perhaps worked my way up to the day shift.  

But leaving Chicago after college wasn't an option and besides, I didn't really have the balls to try and start in a new place where I knew no one and didn't have anyone to fall back on.  Hindsight is 20/20 and honestly, I really should have changed majors as an undergrad and either given Mechanical Engineering (instead of Electrical) a chance or gone to Computer Science in the first place.

Back to the blogs.  I do hope to write a little bit more.  This one will probably be a personal Web Log archive to look back on significant life events.  ChicagoNow will be where I vent my spleen and perhaps promote a book if I ever write one.

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Thursday, January 28, 2021

My New ASUS BE24E Business Monitor

 I bought a new monitor.  I just wanted a second monitor, but my MIL bought me and Nightingale each a new monitor for Christmas.  Since we share an office and a desk, it didn't make sense to have three monitors especially since my old monitor had to be turned on using a fickle remote control.



Unfortunately, I sold my old monitor before I realized that the new ones didn't have speakers.  Although they looked like they did and had the appropriate inputs.  I suspect that is because it is easier to use one Form Factor for your monitor design and simply enable/disable at the control board or driver level than to manufacture two completely different monitor housings.  

As usual, I crowdsourced on Facebook and got some advice.  

Okay Facebook hive, crowdsourcing time.   I need a new monitor for my computer.  I don’t need state-of-the-art, but I do want as much future proof as possible.  I’m thinking built in speakers and webcam.  Is wanting touch screen too much?

Anyone recently buy a monitor they are happy with, or have some thoughts on this?

My usual experience when I Crowd Source Question is that many of my friends can ask their FB collective for advice and get legit, sound recommendations.  Whenever I do it, I get people working on their Second City Comedy routine, snark, and maybe one useful comment in the bunch.  This time around, I got mostly post focused responses.

The summary is that many pointed out that touch screens are nonessential and you can get better speaker and webcam addons than built-in.  

Most of the advice came from people my age who are established and have enough disposable income to buy a kickass multipurpose monitor.  I could do that too, even though I'm unemployed at the moment.  

Ultimately I decided to buck my usual future proof algorithm and went with the monitor I need today instead of the monitor I might need tomorrow.  I did forgo the touch screen but did get a monitor with a built-in webcam and speakers.  To be fair, it's hard to find all of these in one monitor with the appropriate inputs for an older computer desktop.  

The ASUS BE24E suits my needs for the moment.  I wish the camera was adjustable but the monitor itself is so perhaps that is all I will need.  Perhaps by the time I'm employed again and/or we are in a new house, technology will make a leap and I can have a wall-sized monitor that works as a work screen, TV, and communications source.  


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Thursday, December 3, 2020

The House Across the Street

I’ve always wondered what was the story with the house across the street from us.  Like us, they have a driveway but also a wider lot than ours.   In many ways it’s a better home except it seems to need some upkeep. 

 


On X they had a crew come in and chop down a lot of their trees.  Being opportunistic, I asked the crew how much to trim a few of our problem branches.  I was thinking in the $100 range but they came with $250.  I didn’t blink and said fine. 

 


Money.  Well spent.  They got all the dead and problematic branches and removed them from the property.  Our grass should have no issues next spring. 

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Thursday, November 19, 2020

MarketPlace Garage Upgrades

 A couple of weeks ago, I lucked upon someone giving away a slew of cabinets.  By the time I was able to get someone to watch my kids (my mom finally came back after one of her "I'm just gonna run a quick errand" trips) most of them were gone.  I was able to snag these two wall cabinets, along with a couple of matching base cabinets, one of which I kept.



A week or two later someone else was giving away more cabinets but the catch was you had to come and uninstall them.  I spent two hours getting as many as I could and filled the minivan up.  I ended up only needing these two that are hung, plus the one base with drawers.  I could have squeezed another smaller wall cabinet but decided instead to list everything I didn't need for $10 per cabinet on Marketplace and I got fast responses. A dude from Indiana came and bought them all up.



I'm really proud of my decision to get rid of those shelves.  The space is now more open and with this free table I found, it really looks like a tradesman's workspace.  There is still a pile of junk on the floor that I need to deal with, but it is still much more open than before.  If we are here for more than one more year, I may invest in an outdoor storage shed for the bikes. Having them outside but secure would free up some valuable wall space.  



Now I just have to figure out what to do with the opposite wall.  I hS an idea but the person selling her IKEA CD shelves not only didn't respond to me, but she removed the post.  It serves me right.  Earlier this week I offered to give a dresser to someone on Portage Park Freebox.  But then people started answering my listing.  I selfishly decided that $30 is better than charity.  I guess I got what I deserved.

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Thursday, November 5, 2020

Helping out with the cooking

 I came across these recipes and decided to give them a try.   This is my second attempt   They are each meant to be a main dish but I felt they complemented one another so I made them for the same meal, but more interestingly, at the same time. 


 My first attempt I tried switching back and forth.   On the second attempt, I realized that it’s easier to focus on searing the chicken first, while the pasta water boils.  If you time it right (I was slightly off) you finish searing the chicken, start the sauce while the pasta boils, and start the penne base.   In theory, you finish the penne base just in time to add the pasta.  And you can add the chicken into its sauce and let it simmer. 



 The interesting thing about cooking, especially Italian dishes is that you can make substitutions.  Which is a nice way to say “damn I forgot to get x, will y work..” Usually, it does.  For instance, no one can ducking tell if you used a shallot instead of an onion. 



 Bon App├ętit 


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Friday, October 23, 2020

sold some shelving units

 After I removed everything from the garage, I had the thought that I would see if I could sell some of the shelving units, specifically the Craftsman Corner shelf.  This is a solid item but a bit bulky and won't travel well if we move anyway.  


got $50 (I think I paid $100)
 

Surprisingly, this shelf that sold first and got a lot more responses was this one.

$30


I probably listed too low for it had quick moments of seller's remorse on both units.  But as I think about it, the garage workroom space isn't that big and it doubles as storage so I need to optimize the space.  That means finding some cabinets that I can mount on the walls to give it a cleaner look.

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