glennuine draft

#5396 – databases are the new spreadsheets

I haven’t been running the last month or two which isn’t good considering I’m in training for the Marine Corps Marathon in October. I ran my last marathon (Vancouver USA, in Vancouver, Washington) back in June and then pretty much jumped right back into training for the Marine Corps Marathon. Probably wasn’t such a good idea as in the past there’s been a few months of rest after one marathon before I start training for my next and this time there wasn’t really any sort of break at all except for perhaps a week or two of rest. I didn’t start out as strong as I hoped I’d be and figured it was just due to fatigue but things got to be at a point where I’d have to frequently head back early because I was either sore, or not yet used to the heat/humidity, or other such reasons. Then it got to be at a point where my right hip flexor would be bothering me after just a few miles and it would still be bothering me for a few days afterward. I thought that it was just sore from overuse so I rested for a few weeks (perhaps closer to a month) before running again, but even after that break it would start to bother me again after just a few miles. I’m scheduled and determined to run a 10K in about two weeks so I should really get it checked out, but first I need to research someone who can check it out. Physical therapists? Sports medicine types? One of my friends suggested a chiropractor. Maybe? I dunno.

In any case, not being able to run more than a few miles lately means no Marine Corps Marathon for me this year. Bummer. It’s even apparently past the date for options like deferring registration to next year or assigning your bib to another runner, so that’s unfortunate since marathon entry is now on a lottery system.

Still, just because I haven’t been running doesn’t mean that I can’t do running things. I was thinking about incorporating a leaderboard of my races here on the site: partly to learn how to tie PHP and SQL together, partly because I’ve been having trouble remembering some of my personal records, and partly because my race results are scattered across who knows how many websites so I might as well try to get them all in one place. Well, I should say they were scattered across who knows how many websites as now I’ve started work on a basic structure for my database and added in all my race results I could find. Now to see about coding something to access it to highlight my PRs by race type. It used to be that I’d put something like this together in a spreadsheet (as I’d tend to do with any sort of data I want to keep tabs on with such regularity that it’s become a running joke about me with my friends), but now it appears that databases are the new spreadsheets. Maybe when I get this up and working I can get my Nike+ training data in there to analyze, too. It’d be interesting to see what trends I might be able to find.

Originally published at The Glenn Fitzpatrick Times. Please leave any comments there.

glennuine draft

#5395 – Picking up from one place, setting down in another

You might be wondering why this post title begins with “#5395”, and the short answer is that I got into the habit of numbering my journal posts back when I used LiveJournal, and now that I’ve migrated everything over to my own blog I might as well continue the habit. Although, my last post over there was numbered #5354, and this one is 40 posts past that in sequence. I can’t really explain the discrepancy, only that I remember having to do some rough count of my posts back when I originally started numbering them with post #996, and I can’t remember if I didn’t renumber any I later deleted, or if my numbering is off, or what. All I know is, now that I’ve imported all my old journal entries into WordPress and combined them with my existing WordPress posts, WordPress says that I have 5,394 posts in total. Which makes this #5395.

We’ll have to see if other habits make their way over as well. I had the habit of writing all of my posts over there in all lowercase – partly out of laziness, partly because it lent itself to more off-the-cuff writing for me to just get thoughts out of my head and through my fingers and out into the world – but considering how sloppy that feels on a more public-facing site I doubt that’s something I’ll continue.

Anyway. I migrated my journal from there to here, “here” being my old Mac Mini from 2009 that didn’t have a working optical drive or speaker and a hard drive that I upgraded when I replaced the hard drive in my MacBook Pro. I sent it away to macminicolo a few months ago and it’s been working like a champ as my own colocated machine. Originally I set it up using OS X Server to do all of the work, but now the only thing that I specifically use for is for hosting my VPN access and for configuring my DNS records on the machine. Everything else I’ve set up using Homebrew: Apache, PHP, MariaDB, OpenSSL, etc., although it was a bit confusing at first – for some reason, PHP kept downgrading my OpenSSL version when I was installing, and the trick was to use --build-from-source all the time. The nice thing about this setup is that by avoiding the Apple-included versions I don’t have to worry that something they upgrade will break my setup, and all I need to do to keep my stuff up-to-date is to run brew doctor && brew update && brew upgrade. I even had the forethought to create a script that runs the brew doctor and brew update commands once a week and sends me a Boxcar notification as to whether there are any updates or not that week. Migrated my WordPress blog from my previous hosting service (it wasn’t that I had any major complaints with them or anything, but I already had the machine and wanted the experience, and also wanted to actually own my data).

It’s funny, the things you think of when you decide you want to own your data and the server it sits on. Things like the Snowden NSA revelations, that LiveJournal is now owned by a Russian company, that who knows what might happen with the site considering Russia / Ukraine tensions and sanctions, that perhaps because of circumstances such as those and the long-term prospects for data access it just might not be such a hot idea to keep my writings from the past 13 years on servers out of my control. Things like that. But now that I’m responsible for server maintenance, backups, etc., if anything happens to my data, I have only myself to blame which is totally awesome. At least it has me thinking critically about how to fix things if things go bad!

Originally published at The Glenn Fitzpatrick Times. Please leave any comments there.

quadrophenia: dr jimmy

#5354 - more of the same

lonely. grumpy. dissatisfied. anxious. frustrated.

i feel like if i keep telling myself that something awesome is going to happen to me this week, something awesome will eventually happen.


all i've been doing is going to work, coming home, hunting for jobs, and going to bed. i've slacked on my mid-week running, partly because of weather, partly because of scheduling conflicts, and partly because i'm just not motivated. i need to get out and see people because right now i feel like too much of a hermit, but i'm so frustrated with my work situation that finding a new job is my current priority.

i've applied for several jobs over the past month. i've created a tracker to keep track of each one's status. i don't know why i bothered, it hasn't been much use other than showing me it's been 24 workdays since i applied to the first job since creating the tracker. :P at least it's helped me keep from re-applying to the same jobs over and over again, i guess.

it also doesn't help that even though i'm not hurting for money or anything, i don't really feel i can justify going out and spending money unnecessarily at the moment. i kind of just want to be alone, even though i know that being alone all the time can't be good for me. i feel like the sooner i find a new job, the sooner i'll be in a better situation, and the sooner my mood will improve. i don't know how true that is, though.

i looked at some psychologists and cross-referenced the list of ones close to my zip code with a list of psychologists from the american psychological association, and ended up with a few to check out in more detail. unfortunately the one that i think i'd like the most and had the most information on her website isn't in my insurance plan, so hello $160 first visit and $90 weekly visits. needless to say i've put psychologist searching on hold too until i find a new job. no sense in finding a psychologist covered by my insurance if i get a new job that may not cover my newfound psychologist. (that's another thing about the one i found that i think would be a good fit - she's not in any network, so i could see her and not worry about changing insurance plans, but until i find a better-paying job it's not something i can afford at the moment.)

i also read this book, and it was spot-on. it makes me wonder if i'm withdrawing from people because i don't want to subject them to how i feel.

and do you know how i feel? it feels like everything i'm frustrated about has one thing in common: me.

…it is 12:35 AM, what am i still doing up?
quadrophenia: dr jimmy

#5353 - a lot has happened

a lot has gone on since my last lj post back in… march? has it really been that long since my last update? i guess so.

i adopted a cat from the washington animal rescue league and he is seriously THE BEST CAT EVER. i named him bertie, after p.g. wodehouse's bertie wooster of the "jeeves and wooster" series of stories. (i need to do a post that is just about bertie, he is that awesome of a cat.) my friend jae had a passover seder, but it was actually more of an excuse to eat and hang out. venusglitz and lissylulu came to town on vacation and we had fun going out for dinner with some of their friends that live nearby. i went to the us science & engineering expo where i got to see adam and jamie from mythbusters (what little i could see, anyway), actress/scientist mayim bialik (amy from the big bang theory), and got a glimpse of bill nye as he was walking around the convention center.

i went on a road trip to tennessee to visit feisty_fitz and her husband. met a hot girl who works at a bar down there, got her number, then proceeded to feel like i was robbing the cradle when i discovered she's about 8 or 9 years younger than me. kelly and i went to the grand ol' opry and played tourist around nashville, and i got to see their new house that they just bought as well. i signed up for the dc road runners marathon training group to help me prepare for the marine corps marathon in october.

i went to my first professional basketball game with my friend caryn - she got two tickets from a coworker to see a washington mystics womens' basketball game. saw the doctor about my depression and we think that the meds seem to be helping. next step is to find a psychologist to help me with coping strategies for my anxiety and depression. i don't know how to find a good therapist, especially when there are dozens nearby for me to choose from.

i saw the fourth of july fireworks from the roof of the newseum in dc, and a few days later on july 8 dad and i set out on a father/son cross-country road trip as part of MINI takes the states. we went to chicago, des moines, lincoln, boulder, albuquerque, phoenix, and los angeles. on the way back we went to kingman, az; the grand canyon; mexican hat, ut; durango, co; lamar, co; kansas city; and richmond, in. MINI had events planned for us at each of the stops on the way out west ranging from visits to a zoo to a barbecue to a pool party and so on, but dad and i made a few detours of our own - from chicago we went to milwaukee and saw our old house in waukesha and the house and field from the movie "field of dreams", and from des moines we went to kansas city for the all star game's fan fest.

now i'm back at work. i'm not happy at work, and in general i've been feeling very down about things lately (my medication notwithstanding… i'm sure it helps me, but it's not a magic cure-all in itself). that thing that i was written up about in my last post back in march, it ended up not being as severe as it could have been - i protested the punishment i was given and after reviewing the circumstances further it was decided it wasn't really my fault. still, in the past few weeks i made some mistakes at work before i left for this two-week long roadtrip that were pretty bad, and i almost expected to not have a job when i got back. i talked with my boss the other day about my work concerns, but i don't think it's going to help me much.

tl;dr version: though my circumstances in general are awesome, i haven't been feeling awesome lately. i think that finding a new job would help, as my workplace morale is very low, but other than applying for jobs i don't know what else to do (especially since i'm either rejected outright or never hear back from jobs i apply to, and it's difficult for me to find jobs that interest me). it sucks that everything around here seems to require a security clearance (which i don't have), and when you find a rare job that will sponsor someone to get one, it takes several months to a year or more to go through that process.

i feel like lately i'm failing at everything i try to do. i keep making mistakes at work. i go out for a run, and since i wasn't able to exercise regularly on vacation, my few runs since i've returned have felt incredibly difficult. i'm not motivated to do much of anything, really.

i'm trying not to withdraw from people and events, but i'm just mentally and emotionally exhausted and stressed and that just seems like the path of least resistance. i just want to stay home, but even when i just stay home, i'm finding it incredibly difficult to get anything done.

i turn 30 in less than a week.
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#5352 - the meds are working

so, let's see - i last wrote just over a week ago, on march 16. since then:

- i've run my 10k race
- i played board games with bruno_boy and our friend jae at this monthly board-game meetup event we attend
- i met up with whammywah and his girlfriend (along with much of our pub trivia team) for a st. patrick's day party at his girlfriend's place
- my grandmother passed away suddenly
- i came one step closer to being fired from work
- i met up with my doctor for a follow-up appointment to see how i'm doing
- i met up with some of my dc drinkup friends and discovered a live-band rock and roll karaoke group in dc

when i did my 10k race i liked about half of it. i should have guessed, what with it being in prince william forest park, that it would involve trail running. well, about half of it was on trails, and since this was the first time that i've ever really run on trails for any length of time, i didn't care much for trail running since i had to keep an eye out for loose rocks and slippery leaves and mud puddles and so on. the other half of the race was on paved roads throughout the park and that wasn't so bad. the other part that i could have done without was running across a suspension bridge - it was only about 40 feet long or so, but running on that with one or two other people made that a bit more springy than i would have liked. i ended up with a time of 57:33, which was only 1 minute 9 seconds slower than my first (and personal-record) 10K race. but, for running cautiously on the trails, that's still a great time. i still need to use my golden ticket i received so i can register for the marine corps marathon in october.

the st. patrick's day party was great. beth, whammywah's girlfriend, had cooked up corned beef and potatoes and we all relaxed and hung out and made fun of the irish pub down the street that was so full that they had the fire marshal stationed outside all day long to keep an eye on their occupancy, and were charging a $10 cover for people to party in the back parking lot among the dumpsters and port-a-potties. ours was so much better, hahaha.

i had already planned to visit mom and dad and anne on sunday since anne's home from school on break this week, so when bruno_boy called me to see if i was interested in going to hang out with him and zenmetsu that afternoon i declined. i can't remember if it was just before or after his call, but about the same time i got a text from anne and a later text from mom about how grandmother was going in for surgery that day because she lost all circulation to her legs, so that made it even more important for me to go visit mom and dad and anne that day.

i'm not sure how the sequence of events went, but from what i can understand she had some sort of outpatient surgery scheduled and so had to go off her blood thinners. going off blood thinners meant that she had a few blood clots develop, and the blood clots cut off circulation to her legs. i'm not sure if it was before she was admitted to the hospital, but at some point she also had a stroke and a heart attack. so, the surgery that anne and mom texted about was to clear up the blood clots to the legs, but they might need to amputate the legs depending how well the surgery went.

i posted about it to twitter and facebook, and one of my dad's cousins saw it and asked me for more details. dad spent pretty much all day in the hospital on sunday, but he called the house to say that the surgery went better than expected and that they were now getting a pulse in her feet, and that he heard from his cousin and said that i should probably take down my posts to avoid panicking the west-coast relatives at that time. so, from that point on, i became very cryptic about my tweets.

on monday morning i was just about to head out the door to work when dad called me to say that grandmother's condition deteriorated overnight. i went to work since my office is only about 10 miles from the hospital, told my boss what was going on and took the day off, and headed over to the hospital. i got there at about 8:45 and spent some time in the visitor's room for the ICU talking with mom and anne and dad and my two aunts and their husbands. apparently even though they were able to detect a pulse in her feet after the surgery, the loss of circulation might have caused significant organ damage and they were worried about her kidneys and liver since toxins were building up within her body, and then they lost the circulation in her feet later. she also had a do not resuscitate order as well.

at one point dad and his sisters went into the ICU so it was just me and mom and anne and my uncles talking, but then a little after 9:45 dad came running in and said she passed away, so mom and anne and i jumped up to give him a hug while my uncles beat a hasty exit to find my aunts. after a few minutes we went in to the ICU as well to see everyone. apparently the doctor had told grandaddy and dad and my aunts how they might have been able to buy hours or days, but not weeks, and shortly after that she stopped breathing and then shortly after that her heart stopped. when we arrived in the ICU, someone said how grandmother had always prayed to st. joseph for a happy death, and that day was the feast day of st. joseph.

mom and my aunts and uncles set about calling different relatives to let them know. i wasn't sure if it had really sunk in with grandaddy at one point because when i looked over at him he was just reading the front of the wall street times as if nothing had happened. once the relatives were informed, and since grandaddy still hadn't had anything to eat for breakfast, my aunts and uncles decided to take him down to the cafeteria, but that was closed from 10 - 11:30. we all went out in search of brunch and ended up up at a nearby bagel bakery, and then afterwards i drove mom and anne home while dad went with my aunts and uncles and grandaddy back to grandaddy's apartment and later to the funeral home to make plans.

at work we get 3 days of bereavement leave, and while i could have probably gone back to work since i was surprised at how well i was taking it (the way i figured, even though it was sudden and a surprise, if you've got a do not resuscitate order and your organs start failing and you end up dying at 88 years old on the feast day of st. joseph when you've prayed to him all your life, your number was probably up and that's the way you would have wanted to go), i stayed around the house just in case mom or dad needed me for anything. feisty_fitz was on leave from her boat until friday, so when she first heard about grandmother being in the hospital she scheduled a flight home and arrived monday night. dad said he was alright as long as he didn't think too much about it, and mom liked having us all there at that time.

the viewing was on wednesday, the funeral was on thursday. grandmother's grave site is only about a few hundred yards away from grandma and pap-pap's in the same cemetery.

grandaddy is going to turn 90 years old in july, and plans were already underway for a combination birthday party for him and grandmother. half of the invitations were already sent. grandmother made grandaddy promise that no matter what happens, don't cancel the birthday party. and, for the west-coast relatives, if they can only make it to one event (funeral, or birthday party), they should go to the party. she was very adamant about that when she was in the hospital, apparently.

i went back to work for a half-day on friday morning. i had a doctor's appointment already scheduled for that afternoon and had the afternoon off. it was uneventful, but when i had my one-on-one meeting with my boss (that should have taken place earlier in the week), she said that this was bad timing because she had to write me up. about a year ago i made a dumb mistake when calculating a payment and that put me on some sort of probation. well, apparently with one of the payments that they had me write a query for, the query leaves out a bunch of lines that should be included, and when they asked me why i said how that was what i was told to do. (with this customer, we pay on any new lines that fall under this agreement, and any existing lines once they are migrated to this new agreement, and my query wasn't picking up some of these migrated lines because apparently i had one understanding of the migration process that doesn't jive with others' understanding.) my boss thinks it's stupid that she has to write me up for this, but this is coming from her boss, and it's because this slip-up meant we underpaid a contract and might be considered in default of the contract terms. i told my boss that it's ridiculous that i'm expected to be the absolute go-to expert for several issues and support other teams, with no additional compensation or anything, when i'm given insufficient resources to do my job, etc., etc. my boss agrees with me and i haven't signed the writeup paper yet so i can write a summary of what happened and my side of events. so, basically, i can't post for any other jobs in the company for the next six months (not like there were any jobs being made available anyway), but i don't know what would happen to me if they find another mistake. if i find a mistake on my own, i don't know if i bring it to their attention if they'll hold that against me or what. but, whatever, i was very transparent about this query that i was writing and have comments throughout the query to show exactly what each step does, so anybody else could have seen what it does and said something, and look where being transparent gets me. almost fired, that's where it gets me.

so, tl;dr: i'm close to being fired because of some ol' bull-shit. time to step up the job search in dc even more. if i made a flowchart of things i want to improve in my life (save more money, go on dates / find a ladyfriend, replace my busted laptop, etc.), the root would be "need to find a new job" so i can "get more money" and then "do stuff i want to do".

i also heard back about a position i applied for with the state department; i qualify, but i don't qualify enough to be passed to the hiring manager. sigh.

when i got home from work there was a fedex delivery slip on my door - apparently someone tried to send me a package that requires my signature. i'm not expecting anything, so my first reaction was "it's a bomb!" :P i looked up the tracking number and it was sent by one of the HR managers from work, but it also says "health and fitness". so, i'm guessing it's going to be a prize for the company's health and fitness program where we track how many miles / minutes we exercise and get swag at different levels. but, when you just got written up at work, seeing a fedex package from HR is the last thing you want to see. :P

after work i went to my doctor's office and had my re-evaluation. while i scored a 10 on my original depression test, this time i scored a 1, and even that was kind of a stretch (i'm feeling tired and lethargic, yes, but that's also because the weather's heating up and i want to nap). follow-up appointment in 12 weeks and another blood test to see how my vitamin d is doing. my meds are still working. hooray!

i also went to mini of annapolis. i don't know what caused it, but while i get FM stations in fine, i don't hear any AM stations at all. scheduled an appointment for next month so they can take a look at it as they're backlogged until then with recall repairs on water pumps.

went to the dc drinkup some of my friends organize last night. the original plan was to go back to the spinny bar but they charge a $10 cover on fridays, so we went to a restaurant nearby for dinner and drinks. afterwards i went with a few of the folks that were there to a bar over in clarendon to see the harikaraoke band, a live band that plays songs as you sing karaoke, just like metalsome monday does in atlanta. metalsome monday was better - much larger song selection and stage vibe - but these guys weren't bad, and these guys are much closer than atlanta too, haha. unfortunately 2/3 of our group didn't get to sing before their show ended, oh well.

i should really start getting ready. at 4 pm i'm going to see the mythbusters live stage show - i asked for a ticket for christmas, and received a pair of tickets so i could bring a date. no date, but i asked jae yesterday if she'd want to go since it seems like something she'd be interested in. apparently two friends of ours are going to be there too - should be fun!
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me: chibi

#5351 - recline to incline

i ran a few errands after work today, and got back home too early to go to bed but too late to do much other than import some albums into itunes and write this here journal entry, so here i am!

i haven't been to pub trivia since my last update because none of my friends would have been able to make it there and i learned my lesson about going alone. :P since that guy sent me that email after midnight, it was actually on february 29 when he propositioned me, and later on the 29th i was reading how february 29 is unofficially "sadie hawkins day". that explains things, i guess, hahahah. i ended up getting a text later that day from lovethiscaryn since she wanted to get out of the house for dinner and be social, and i hadn't seen her in a while, so we ended up going to a duclaw over by her house for dinner and she ended up picking up my dinner tab, thus providing more evidence that february 29 is indeed sadie hawkins day.

i took off of work on march 2 so i could get my blood drawn at the lab as part of my physical and so i could pick my car up from the body shop. usually when i get my blood drawn (well, the past three times i could remember getting my blood drawn over the last 12 years or so) i didn't do so well - i always felt very faint and almost passed out. the first time i can remember getting my blood drawn was when i had mono, so that could have explained why i didn't do so well. the second time, my office had a lab come in and we could have our blood tested to see our cholesterol levels and so on, and i felt faint and had to put my head between my legs for a bit. the third time we again had a lab come into my office, and this time i kind of expected to feel faint, and they got me an apple to eat while i put my head between my legs to bring my blood sugar up. so, when my doctor said that i needed to get my blood drawn, he said i could have my blood drawn while i was laying down.

so, i went home to mom and dad's place on march 1 so i could fast and go to the lab early the next morning. when i asked if i could be laying down for the blood test they put me on a chair that reclined all the way back so my head was actually the lowest point, and afterwards i took it slow in getting up and getting ready to go, but this time went so well compared to the other three times that i don't know what i was getting all worked up about the night before. it was a piece of cake!

i also told mom and dad when i was home on march 1 how i was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and to my surprise they actually didn't seem that surprised about it at all! they said that it was good that i was getting treated for it, and mom said how a few of my aunts and uncles had expressed their concerns to her privately about how the tone of my posts on facebook and so on had changed over the past several months, suggesting to her "you should invite glenn over for dinner or something! he seems to be having a rough time!" i told some other friends about it after i had been taking my medicine for about a week and they said how they could see a difference. my medication is going well - i'm feeling much much better now. :) the only side effect i regularly experience is that i generally feel a little bloated, but i haven't really had any dizziness or nausea or anything like when i first started to take it. it's just something i'll have to get used to, i guess.

speaking of my medication, i tried to transfer my prescription to my health plan's mail-order pharmacy, but they need my doctor to send them a written prescription first. when i checked their website, though, it said how there wasn't a generic version of lexapro available and that it would be about $100-something for a 90-day supply. well, a funny thing happened the other day: the mail-order pharmacy called to go over my benefits and to help me transfer my prescription, and they said that a generic version of lexapro was available. i was confused since i specifically read online how no generic version existed, but when i did a google search i found out that apparently the FDA had just approved a generic version for distribution earlier that day. if nothing else, my mail-order pharmacy is efficient! the price dropped, too: it's down to something like $60-something for a 90-day supply of the name-brand, or somewhere around $20-30 for a 90-day supply of the generic version.

i hoped to pick my car up on march 2, but due to some slowness with a balance transfer to take advantage of a 0% interest promotion with my credit union not freeing up other funds in a timely manner, i wasn't able to pick up my car that day. thankfully i was able to pick it up that following monday as i was getting pretty sick of that rental car and wanted my MINI back. it looks like nothing ever happened to my car, and it's all oil changed and brake padded and air filtered and so on now, too.

i had planned in the beginning of may to go to MINIs on the dragon, a huge gathering of MINI owners in the great smoky mountains, but even though i have the time off of work already i doubt i'll go - all the cabins are booked up, and it sounds like campgrounds are hard to come by too. i'm probably going to see about driving out to tennessee to visit feisty_fitz and jamie instead.

i also told mom and dad too about how i might be doing MINI takes the states this year, the coast-to-coast road trip organized by MINI USA. i drove on the first one in 2006, couldn't make the 2008 or 2010 ones, but i'm hoping to do this one for 2012: it starts in new york city on the 4th of july, swings by DC, and goes all the way out to los angeles over the course of that week. when i told mom and dad about the trip, dad was extremely interested, and we were saying how he and i don't usually get a chance to do things and he wants to go on an adventure, so it looks like he and i are going to make MINI takes the states a father-son road trip out to los angeles and then find our own route back home the following week. of course, this is all going to depend on what the price of gas is like this summer. :P

if we do decide to do this trip, we won't be able to start until the 7th since the 4th of july is grandaddy's 90th birthday, and so my relatives are throwing a big combination birthday party for grandmother and grandaddy on saturday, july 7. so, our first stop will be to try to meet up with the other MINIs in chicago on the 8th, or in des moines on the 9th.

speaking of birthday parties, this past sunday was a surprise birthday party for one of my aunts who was turning 60 - several of my aunts and uncles and a few of my cousins met up at a restaurant in baltimore and had a good brunch with her.

i got the results of my blood test in the mail just a few days ago - everything in my blood is pretty much normal except i had low levels of vitamin D, so i'm now taking vitamin D supplements. i should see about getting a different type of vitamin D because the supplements i have start to dissolve just as they hit the tongue and they taste AWFUL. blech. :P i have my followup appointment with my doctor next week to go over my blood test and to see how i'm doing on lexapro, and it looks like i'll have to get another blood test in another 8-12 weeks to check my vitamin D levels.

i'm scheduled to run a 10K race (the "irish sprint 10K") this saturday. packet pickup is today, tomorrow, and before the race, but to skip the crowds and to have the widest selection of shirt sizes they recommended showing up early. i went straight to the pickup location from work since they'd be open until 7 and it's about an hour away from my office. well, with rush-hour traffic around DC, that hour-long drive turned into almost 2 hours and i got to the pickup location with about 15 minutes to spare. i didn't realize how close to the IKEA location in woodbridge this place was, and since i was complaining earlier today about how my neck has been hurting and wondered if maybe my pillows were to blame, and one of my friends suggested checking out the pillows at IKEA, i went over there for dinner and some shopping. this must be some bizarro-IKEA since it was not only practically empty by IKEA-standards, but all the kids that i saw there were extremely well-behaved. crazy!!

by running the irish sprint 10K i'll be able to enter the marine corps marathon in october even though it's already sold out. i'm hoping if i'm paying my own money to register (instead of getting in because my company sponsors the race), it'll help encourage me to keep up with my training even when i don't want to. i might also see about joining the DC road runners since i joined the annapolis striders running club just before i moved to DC, and it couldn't hurt to meet other runners in the area.

i've been looking at trying yoga, too. i got a beginner's yoga dvd from netflix that got great reviews, but i'm thinking about trying a beginner's class or two - miming a dvd is nice and all, but i'd like feedback as to whether i'm getting positions correct or not. i was looking yesterday at a local yoga studio (i found out they had a workshop specifically about yoga for runners, but that had already passed), and i thought this part i emphasized in their policy for fees related to their unlimited-class pass was pretty amusing:

Cancel anytime with one month’s written notice. We do ask for at least a 2 month commitment, and it requires $100 initiation fee if you’re not a student, nonprofit worker, vegetarian, or someone who can demonstrate financial need and fill out our Initiation Fee Waiver Form.

apparently if you claim the vegetarian exemption you have to provide a "statement of ethics and one reference and your word", hahaha. how stereotypical yoga!

work's been going well. my boss' boss (my manager) pretty much dropped something in my lap, though. we have this process that's extremely manual, takes forever to do, and because of contractual requirements we need a tracking system in place, so my manager gave me the task of developing this new system. i was annoyed about it for the first week or two since jobs like this are usually given to people in higher positions (who also make more money than i do :P), but now i'm looking at it as more of a challenge than anything else, and it's better than sitting around doing more of the same stuff every day. i think my manager also knows that project management is something i'm interested in. it also helps that one of my resources wants this to be a real feather in my cap, so even though i'm going to be getting some help if/when i get stuck since i'm not as familiar with some of these development systems, it's still going to be practically all my doing. even when i was in school i never led any of our team projects, so it feels a little weird and pretty awesome to have created a work schedule for this project and put "project manager" next to my name. :)

my ipod classic bit the dust several months or perhaps a year ago. it could play what was already on it, but it refused to sync any new songs. i tried replacing the hard drive in it with the SSD from my broken macbook air, but all that did was leave me with both a broken macbook air and a broken ipod classic. well, even though i can't listen to music at work anymore, i went ahead and bought myself a new ipod classic this week. i missed having all my music in one place and got tired of trying to keep a fresh collection of songs synced to my iphone. plus, i figure with these road trips i'll probably be doing this year (boston in april to visit my cousin and his wife and gaiadea and to visit the MIT flea market, tennessee in may, los angeles in july), i'll want to have a big collection of music to listen to in the car again.
blues brothers: elwood what.

#5350 - aaaaaaaaaa wtf

well, that's a first! O_O the moral of the story, don't get all chummy and give your email address to guys who you create a pub trivia team with who are business men on a business trip who says their wife doesn't know that they're gay.


From: Glenn Fitzpatrick <>
Date: February 28, 2012 11:45:37 PM EST
To: Dave Maddux <>

Lololol nobody [from our usual group] was at pub trivia tonight so I sat at the bar and these two guys from Philadelphia were like " you can sit here if you join our team" and so I got to drink all night on their tab, I'm pretty drunken right now bahahahahaha I think one of them was trying to pick me up though wtf since he was saying how his wife doesnzmt know he's gay wtf wtf time for a quick exit from the Stetson after 3 or 4 beers on their tab bahahahah

Sent from my iPhone



From: "" <>
Date: February 29, 2012 12:13:32 AM EST
Subject: Hey sweetheart

Not sure if I was crossing signals or if you weren't interested, but I'd love to see you again tomorrow... Call if you want....610xxxxxx... Craig ;-)

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone


i'm flattered and all but AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA WTF
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#5349 - day 2 quickie update

slight dizziness this morning (but that could also be because i didn't as much sleep as i should and was super-drowsy when i woke up and was stumbling around), but that's about it… no other side effects today. not sure if it's just a placebo effect - i'll have to see how i still feel over the next few weeks - but i'm already feeling like i'm finally able to concentrate in a way that i haven't been able to for a while, which is good. :)
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    King Kong - 'Tis The Season To Be Jelly - Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention
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quadrophenia: can you see the real me?

#5348 - not a robot

tuesday was errand day.

originally i took the second half of the day off so i could go to work in the morning and then go to my doctor's appointment in the afternoon, but when my car gave me an error message on friday on my way home from work, i figured i might as well just get the car checked out by GEICO's insurance adjuster and bring the car to my dealer so i could get the scheduled maintenance taken care of and the body work done all at once. it turned out that the error message was just a warning that my brake pads were pretty much worn out and needed replacing, but there was also an open recall on my car for the water pump that they could fix as well. you might remember that i had stopped at the dealership a few months ago to see about getting the scheduled maintenance taken care of, but since it was a bit pricey i figured i'd hold off until i could get the cash together. i ended up springing for the extended maintenance package (this maintenance would have cost about $1100-1200, and i'm only 8000 miles away from my next maintenance), so my car is now covered until i reach 100k or 6 years. considering i've had it for about 2 1/2 years already and 45,000 miles, yeah, that's going to come in handy.

since my car was going to be in the shop for about a week, GEICO had me set up with a rental from enterprise. i have to say you can't make renting a car a glamorous task, but it was nice to have a cute girl pick me up to take me to the enterprise office to get the car. it's a chrysler 200, but originally when the dealership called enterprise to have them come get me enterprise only had a pickup truck available, and considering even just this car feels like a boat compared to my MINI, i don't know how i would have handled driving a pickup truck for a week. :P

so, car was dropped off at the dealership, maintenance scheduled, rental car acquired. i drove back to the dealership to fill out some other paperwork for the body shop to let them go to work on my car. the GEICO adjuster quoted about $500 less than the MINI body shop did, but they didn't include a new windshield (apparently they're not always able to take them out and put them back in one piece all the time, so perhaps it was just estimating the worst-case scenario, but they had also spotted a small chip in my windshield as well).

i picked up some stuff at mom and dad's. very random collection of stuff: a round table i had from IKEA, a golf putter, my running shoes, some small bottles of rum i bought in the virgin islands, replacement air filters and brushes for my roomba, and my wii balance board.

and then i went to the Collapse )
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    Not a Robot, But a Ghost - Noble Beast - Andrew Bird
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blues brothers: cowboy hat

#5347 - tales of the unexpected shipping pallets

woah, so the past few weeks have been CRAZY. all sorts of weird and fun and unexpected stuff has been happening!

when festive lost her job at the beginning of the month i took her out drinking, and since she lives not too far away from my office (maybe about 10 minutes or so), she crashed at my place and i drove her back home the next morning. we didn't count on a truck out delivering kitchen appliances to suddenly have a SHIPPING PALLET catch the wind and pop up like a jack-in-the-box from the center of the truck's flatbed, hit the roof of my car while i was driving next to the truck, slide across my sunroof, and leave a dent on the back of my roof. it all sounds much worse than it actually is - the biggest damage was the dent, and that's about the diameter of a quarter, but rather shallow - but it's still crazy. i drove next to the truck to try to get the driver's attention but i don't think he noticed me at all. michelle was able to get the truck's license plate, and when we got off at the exit for her place we were able to see the company's details on the side of the truck. when i got to work that morning i placed my auto insurance claim and later that day GEICO called me back to discuss my options - they recommended getting a police report, and so after work i went to the state police barrack (and the officer didn't seem too pleased that i didn't think of calling it in when it happened that morning… i can't help it, i wasn't thinking straight because i was just attacked by a shipping pallet and was on my way to work!) where they took my report and gave me the insurance information for the delivery company. since then i've had my car's repairs appraised by the collision center at my MINI dealership (funny thing, too, receiving an email with their current promotions the day before this happened!), the other insurance company has had their claims adjuster look at my car and quote an estimate about $900 less than what the MINI collision center estimated, and the other insurance company has denied my claim categorizing it as "road hazard". i called GEICO back today about that so they're going to see what they can do to fight the other insurance company about it, but at least if i have to file a claim with GEICO myself at least it's only a $50 deductible for me.

i met the producer of the "girl with the dragon tattoo" films at an event at the swedish embassy. apparently he produced both the swedish movie trilogy, as well as the american version of the film, and apparently the original plan (this is common in sweden) was to film the first as a feature film, and then the other two as made-for-tv films, but it was so popular they decided to make all three feature films. they did a question and answer session with him after his presentation and i had the opportunity to ask how the planned tv versions differed from the feature films they ended up making: the budget for the first film was only about $5 million as well, and the budget for the made-for-tv versions was only $2 million each… in comparison, the american film's hollywood budget is about $90 million dollars. it sounded like they actually filmed a substantial bit of the tv versions as well. so, i can cross "have an international film producer answer a question of mine" off my imaginary bucket-list.

i helped to fund the hi-definition version of "manos - hands of fate"… my name's going to be on the final version as a sponsor, hahaha.

clary, the photography intern with metro collective (the photojournalists i help out) sent me a message online about a week ago how for her birthday she'd like it if i came to her get-together at this bar in dc. i ended up at the bar for about an hour before she and her friends showed up, but when the ratio of cute girls that just walked in the door to glenns is 5:1 you won't get much complaining out of me that you were running late, haha. besides, i had a nice little chat with the bartender (i'm starting to think that every female bartender in dc is very attractive, and they get only more attractive as you drink :P). anyway, i got clary's number and we were saying how we need to hang out more often since we were getting along so well. she actually called me at lunch today to ask me some questions about photographing / videotaping roller derby since she knew i'd done that as a project before (a group she's in for one of her classes is going to use that for a group project with the dc roller girls) and said how she flickr-stalked my roller derby photos and complimented me on my work. she called me back this evening to talk about it some more, and we might be doing karaoke with some of her friends this weekend. awesome. :)

i went to an event for fashion bloggers called "cocktails, fancy skirts & fitted shirts"… apparently the dc fashion blogger scene tends to have a lack of guys at events, and so to encourage the boyfriends and husbands of the female fashion bloggers they put on this event at a shirtmaker in dc called "hugh & crye". i had heard about hugh & crye some months ago and how they basically make shirts that are easy to fit on athletically-built guys, and since this event was free (i had heard about the event from someone retweeting it on twitter) i figured why not go. it was a little hard to find, and once i got there it was hard to figure out who worked there and who didn't since there were just a lot of people mingling around and drinking beer from a heineken mini-keg, but once i saw where people were going to try on shirts i grabbed a shirt i was interested in and headed back. turns out they don't even have changing rooms as their store is more of a showroom attached to a storeroom (most of their sales are mail-order; when i bought my shirt they didn't even have registers or anything, i had to use a laptop they had to create an online account and place my order for "in-store pickup" even though i was in the store and already wearing the shirt i was going to take home, haha). there were some pretty fashionable-looking people there… i'm going to have to step up my game if i want to look good in this town, and not look like a guy wandering around wearing a barrel with suspenders. i think the next time i go to one of these events i should bring my camera like some of these people did.

this past saturday, bruno_boy and his girlfriend's friend jae and i went to another one of these board game meetups at a public library in northern virginia. we played settlers of catan ourselves, and then some other people joined us for a bit of monopoly before we had to call it quits and go to dave's girlfriend's place for a party. there were about 20 or so people there in her efficiency apartment, the party was pot-luck style (i brought homemade donuts), and we all played rock band. i'm still not sure if there's anything happening between me and jae (don't get me wrong, we had a fun time playing board games and chatting and all that), but i'm just taking things easy.

valentine's day was ok. i made some more homemade donuts and brought them home to mom and dad; we had dinner, watched another episode of "jeeves & wooster", and i cuddled with the cats and ate hershey kisses. not a bad way to spend the evening! one of my coworkers got engaged on valentine's day - some of my coworkers who are close friends with her knew the news already and were really excited for her when she arrived a bit later than usual today. she said how she had been up late and drank too much wine so "don't expect too much" from her, so later i joked with whammywah that after hearing her say that i was trying to see if she seemed to be walking funny, bahahaha. :P

i got a postcard in the mail from dc today saying how the ticket i got for removing the inspection sticker from my car was dismissed, so hooray, that's $50 i won't have to pay!

i just did my taxes tonight: i owe federal, but i get back ALL of my maryland income tax withheld (if you live in maryland for 183+ days you're considered a maryland resident, and i moved out of the state after living in maryland for only 180 days, so for income tax purposes i was a nonresident. and, since i live in dc - or if i lived in pennsylvania or virginia - i'm exempt from all my maryland tax withheld unlike nonresidents who live in other states), and i get back a little from dc as well. altogether i come out ahead about $1,700! methinks i might use that to get myself a new laptop a bit earlier than i planned!

my throat's been bothering me today, and i've just felt this general slight illness for the past week or two. it's not enough to bother calling out of work for since even if i just stay home it won't make me feel any better, but it's just enough to make me feel miserable with sneezing and coughing and runny noses and so on and so forth. i originally was going to go to the arlington cinema drafthouse tonight for their comedy film bucket list showing of "fletch", but i figured that since it's been a few days since i've really stayed in and had a nice, quiet evening, i might as well stay in tonight, and then when clary called me this afternoon to say she wanted to talk with me this evening, that settled it. so, quiet evening in, good chat on the phone, $1700 richer, not a bad night. now to get ready for bed so i can get a good night's rest, hopefully i'll feel better tomorrow.