Almost Crafting

I was pretty mentally drained from work today. I’ve spent most of every day just reading, but I finally started digging into Windows Deployment Services today. As usual, the morning flew by, and the afternoon dragged. Out of nowhere, I answered a call from a lady in Atkins whose husband collects trash. She said he brings home laptops and other goodies that he finds, and she recovered one of our lost Chromebooks. I thanked her for taking the time to call, and Summer should be able to stop by on her way through town tomorrow.

After work, I went home to feed the fish, then ran to Harbor Freight for a drain auger. Summer was off work and not feeling great, but I met her at the Neighborhood Market to pick up groceries. When we got home, she took a bath and I had to figure out dinner. I really wanted some higher quality pizza, so I bit the bullet and spent the money on Papa John’s. While I was waiting, I saw one of my old esports kids and his father, so I chatted with them until my order was done.

Summer and I ate, and then she watched TV while I unpacked the new TV stand we bought. Then she went to bed and I watched some artistic folk on YouTube while I assembled our furniture-in-a-box. Eaddie got home late after spending the evening with Eli, and I lost track of time as I finished up. Without the glass surfaces, the stand is super light. Unfortunately one of the screw holes stripped out completely, so I’ll have to decide whether that’s worth a call to the manufacturer.

Just unlock, dammit.

It’s Electric

The workday went by in a flash. We had a few people in and out of the office, but I mostly kept my head down and read a bunch of Microsoft documentation. Eventually I’ll have to turn that learning into practice, but for now I’m enjoying the peace.

I went straight home after work and unboxed my Onewheel to get it charging before we went to Conway for Eaddie’s concert at UCA. It was a really small crowd in a fairly small auditorium. They didn’t turn the house lights down at all, so everyone just sat there in the bright light the entire time. The music was great though, and the clinician seemed really cool. It was over and done with in no time.

Eaddie rode the bus home since they had already eaten, so Summer and I drove across town to try LongHorn Steakhouse. Their online reservation system said it may be a 45-55 minute wait, but we were queued for about an hour before they called us in. We just sat in the car until then. They were crowded inside, and the hostess that sat us was really awkward. The service was fine, and the food was decent, though a little bland. It would have been a fine meal for no wait, but I couldn’t imagine why anyone would wait more than ten minutes for a table.

We made it back home and I rode the Onewheel around the house for just a couple minutes before everyone went to bed. I was up a while longer just because I kept getting distracted. Hopefully we can get the sink fixed tomorrow.


Holiday Crash

Eaddie nearly stayed up all night, but was probably the most spry of any of us all day. I did my best not to sleep too late, and made Summer a coffee when she got up. They went for a quick shopping trip while I had a shower, and then we all went to my parents’ house to eat some leftovers. Julie and Kevin showed up to do the same, and then we took Eaddie home to rake leaves while Summer and I went to the old house to get my wheelbarrow.

It had a bad tire, so we went to Lowe’s to shop around, and then Harbor Freight to pick up a replacement wheel. It was dark by the time we got back to the house, and we all sat around waiting for my parents to call for dinner. Summer and I watched the first episode of Secret Invasion, and I didn’t much love it, but I think the universe is just getting too big for me to wrap my head around it.

Once my parents had some sweet potato and shrimp ready, we went to eat pretty quickly before coming home to get ready for bed. Eaddie left her purse there, so Dad walked it over to us, and then it was off to sleep before going back to work.

Not completely opposed to the Whataplane.

Won’t Stand for This

I got up really early this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep, so I took my jump start on the day and made steak, eggs, and hashbrowns for breakfast. Eaddie said she really liked it, but I thought the steak was pretty middling. I took a shower, and then we went out to look for a TV stand at several places. We tried West Main Gallery, but they were closed. Then we went to CJ’s Consignment and found one really small one that might work. We went by Stroud’s and Cleo’s again, but they didn’t really have anything we liked. Our last stop was Sofa City before we gave up and went to the old house to load up the last of the speakers.

Once we got the speakers into the house, we went back out to try Hilltop Mall, but they didn’t have anything either. There was a new name attached to the old Bargain Barn, so we stopped there on the way to Walmart and found nothing. We made it into a busy Walmart and found one that might work, but we had to judge based on a tiny picture on the box because they didn’t have one out on display.

Summer got back to town, so we went and saw her at the wash. She reminded us about River Valley Furniture, so we checked them out and were subsequently directed to the old Staples building where they had a warehouse of furniture to sell. They didn’t have a single thing that would fit my receiver, so we finally just went back to my house to get my old TV stand. That didn’t really take as long as I thought it would, and we made it home so I could start cooking some beef tacos in the Instant Pot.

Once the food was started, I took Summer back out to the Neighborhood Market to do her grocery shopping. Then we went to Kroger for some fire wood before going to my parents’ house to pick up what groceries they got for Summer. Finally we made it home, and Eaddie and I ate while Summer boiled eggs.

I ended the night by assembling the home theater, and was disappointed to see that one of my subwoofers wouldn’t power on. It worked the last time I used them, so I don’t know if I broke something in moving, or if it got hit by lightning, or if it was just dumb luck to go through another subwoofer. I got the amp out of it, and maybe Dad will be able to find the bad part.


Let’s Table That

We woke up reasonably early today, but it took us a little bit to get started. Summer went to the gym while I messed with things around the house. After she got back, we met Julie and Kevin at my old house to get the dining room table and futon. For some reason I thought he had a short truck bed, but everything fit perfectly and we got it all set up at home.

Eaddie made it home, but then left to spend the day with friends. Summer and I went to Ridgewood Brothers to try their baked potato, and Grant made us some extra special ones. He seemed a little off, so I invited him to the house after work. At first he said he couldn’t, but on the way out he asked if I was off tomorrow, so hopefully he comes around.

After that, we went to Lowe’s to exchange the toilet seat we got yesterday. We compared it with another new one in the box, and it was painfully obvious that the one we got yesterday was a return. From there, we picked up a couple things I forgot from the old house, and then made it home where I spent the rest of the evening casually cleaning, organizing, fixing, and generally trying to stay productive. Summer didn’t feel well, so she did a puzzle and watched TV all evening until bed. My big accomplishment was doing a deep clean on the washing machine, because it was smelling pretty bad. I don’t think the girls had ever cleaned it, so it was very mildewy.

I’m going to make this place into a home, one light bulb at a time.

Boxed Whine

I made it to my usual breakfast place at my usual time for my usual seat at the bar. It’s almost been disappointing to have a different server every time, but I guess that’s staffing? Today I had the shrimp and grits with a Vietnamese coffee, and both were great as expected.

When I got to the Embassy, the parking lot was full and I couldn’t find a place to charge, so I just parked in the very back. Ben was walking to the building just as I was getting my things collected, so I followed him around for a while. Classes weren’t bad, but having a live barista helped. I even got a little heart in my latte. I was a little lost because there were so many sessions that I just wanted to attend, so hopefully the recordings will come in good quality. I really don’t know how they expect the microphones to work on those little tablets in the back of the room.

Lunch was better than yesterday, with fried chicken and some kind of fried steak patty. I ate at a huge round table with Ben and a bunch of strangers. Thomas brought Zach and Ryan just for the day, but I didn’t see them a whole lot. I did talk with Zach more than I really have since I’ve been gone from Russellville.

The afternoon dragged a little bit, but I liked the presentation with Amanda’s brother, Josh. As the conference wound down for the day, it had started to rain pretty hard. I circled through the exhibition hall, but didn’t get a single piece of swag apart from the Fortinet backpack I collected from trivia the night before. I couldn’t find anyone to hang around either, so I headed back to the hotel to clean up a little bit.

Summer texted, so I called and talked to her for a little while before heading back out. Howard had their dinner party at The Butcher Shop, so I met Ben there after charging briefly at the Embassy. Brody didn’t make it, so it was just Ben and me talking through dinner until we left. From there, it was back to the hotel until I heard from Brody at the CDW party at Hibernia Irish Tavern. We were just there long enough to win the raffle where I got a box of ready-to-drink margarita. Brody left first, and then I ended up chatting a bit longer with Charlie and Kristina before heading back to the hotel to crash for the night.

Guess lower!

EAT Conference

I went to Big Bad Breakfast again this morning because the Old Mill Bread Bakery & Cafe was closed, in spite of their Google Maps listing to the contrary. This time I had the shrimp po’boy, which was both an interesting breakfast choice, and also delicious. It was served with fries, which were piping hot and seasoned well. It didn’t even take long for them to prepare, which was incredible based on how busy they were in comparison to yesterday.

I made it to the conference in time to park up front and charge, which was good because I didn’t have a key card to get into the garage. Overall the sessions were a bust. The first couple hours was the state CISO basically just telling us the schools needed stronger passwords. Strangely enough, that’s what we’ve been telling them for years. The time after the morning break would have been a little better because some districts who had been compromised got up to talk about their experiences, but I was stuck in the hallway for that part.

Lunch wasn’t great, and afterward Ryan told us about seeing one of the employees leave the bathroom after doing some business, skip washing his hands, and then immediately grab some cake from the dessert table. The bathroom itself just got worse and worse, and looked like it hadn’t been cleaned since last Thursday. It has gotten progressively worse every single time I’ve been in there.

The afternoon wasn’t much better. I went to one session with a really sharp guy, but he was all excitement and no real education. He just talked about smart things for a bit, scared everyone, and then it was over. Then I heard from a legislative auditor, which was expectedly boring. Finally I went to a class with one of the DIS guys that I would’ve liked to chat to, but I didn’t get much out of that either.

The highlight of the day was scoring ninth in a post-session trivia game with over 60 other people. Cory was right behind me to win the last prize for the day. I let him pick first, so I was left with an IOU for a swag bag from Fortinet. I didn’t really want the $75 worth of gift cards anyway.

I hung out by myself in the lobby for a bit, unable to decide where to eat for the sake of eating on someone else’s dime. Then I went back to my hotel for a quick breather before going to Tokyo House. Eating a buffet by myself was a bit surreal, and I don’t think I’ll do that again. When I finished, I headed back to the Embassy to hang out for Casino Night.

A girl named Kristina walked up and introduced herself to me out of the blue, and we talked for a bit. She was actually the tech for Deer and Mt. Judea after Andrew left, so it was funny to make that connection. Brody eventually came along and joined the conversation, followed by Cory. Then she left and Steven walked by, and I took the opportunity to introduce myself to him. The group of us chatted for a while before eventually splitting off to our rooms for the night.

We’ve got a breacher!

Surrounded by Giants

I got out of the hotel this morning and went to a place called Big Bad Breakfast to eat. They had pretty good reviews, but I didn’t really expect it to be quite so “upscale.” I sat at the bar, turned down a mimosa, and had a Creole omelet with some fresh-squeezed, ruby red grapefruit instead. The juice was a bit more bitter than I expected, but the omelet was delicious. The andouille sausage and shrimp were unusual for breakfast, but great.

After breakfast, I headed to the Embassy and got checked into the conference by Darrel himself. Just after I got through, I caught Gary and Ryan coming in. Then Derrick snuck up behind me and said my name, and I chatted with him for just a moment. He was only there by happenstance, and wasn’t even aware of the conference.

I eventually made my way back to the classroom where we got things started. Brody showed up late, but he didn’t seem terribly interested in most of what they had to say anyway. I really don’t have a clue what he does in Clarksville, but I wish I had his job at that salary. The unbelievable luck of that kid is astounding to me.

Lunch at the hotel was pretty good, but awkwardly placed. They had different stuff for tacos, but it was arranged in a poor order for assembling, so I ended up with a huge plate of mush that I just sort of mixed together and ate with cold, crumbly tortillas.

I thought our session was great, and got a ton of useful information out of it even though we ended a bit early. I even joked that we had paid for the full session, and asked for a refund for the unused time. I caught up with Gary out in the lobby while he was waiting for Ryan, and ended up spending the rest of the evening with them.

We went up to Gary’s room for a little bit and chatted some more there while Brody went to the gym. Then we met him at Genghis Grill for dinner, but he was late to that too. The food was pretty good, but I had forgotten just how expensive that place was. When we got back to the hotel, I used Gary’s key card to get into the garage to charge. Then we hung out in the atrium where they had a band cranked up way too loud for being in the middle of an open area in a hotel with rooms facing inward. We could barely hear ourselves think, much less hear each other without absolutely screaming at each other. We could have easily cut the volume in half and been better off.

I was the last one out, and played on my phone in the car for a little while until I finished charging. Then it was back to the hotel to wind down and sleep before a day of cybersecurity.

No fair.

Country Roads

I was mostly packed up, but getting last-minute things together meant I ran a little late for work. Summer felt like she was getting sick, so she stayed home. Kim was back at work, and there wasn’t a whole lot going on there. I got fairly frustrated that she spent so much time talking and didn’t actually seem to close any new work orders, but we’ll see how she does while I’m gone this week.

I brought some leftovers to eat since the “pizza crunchers” didn’t sound too good. Then at quitting time, I headed through Plainview to get to Little Rock. I don’t think I’d ever been back that direction before, and it was a beautiful drive for as long as the sun was up. I got into the city well after dark, and my car routed me to the wrong hotel, so I had to turn around.

Check-in was fast for me after the guy ahead of me finally finished his business. I got settled in, and then drove across the street to charge at the Wingate while I walked down to eat at a place called Cheba Hut. I let the guy surprise me, and I ended up with a fancy BLT that I thought needed about six times more bacon. The sauces on the sandwich were amazing though. The flavor was there, but after an eight-inch sub, I was still super hungry.

I hung out and tinkered on my phone for a while just so I could get some more charge, and then headed back to the Hilton Garden Inn, where they lacked both EV charging and convenient parking. I’ll never make the mistake of registering late for a conference again. Once I got back to the room, I wound down and did my best to ignore the dog barking next door, and went to bed.

They’re a little too proud of those two free water bottles in the room.


Today started out really quiet because they were doing some testing. I dug back into my domain controller replication issue and enjoyed the efficiency of being alone. Once testing was over, my office was a parade of people. That was on top of screaming kids right outside my door. I started to get a little snippy about the situation, and judging from how ultra-sweet Denice started talking to me, I think she might have figured out how I felt about our new arrangement.

The good news was that I finally got replication going again, and my Group Policy configurations started expressing themselves as expected. Hopefully after a few reboots, the rest of the computers in the district will start acting a little more normally. I think the next big project has to be imaging, and I shouldn’t be far off from having that functional. I just need to focus, and time to focus comes at a premium these days.

Earnie called me in the afternoon after a few beers. He had apparently had a bad day and wanted to vent a little bit. I didn’t have the time to talk then, so I called him back on the drive home and we talked for just a little bit. Once I got back into town, I stopped to feed the fish, changed clothes, got a car wash, and then stopped at Ridgewood to try their new Mohawk Sandwich. I talked to Kyler and Grant for a bit, and then headed to the house to eat with Summer.

After dinner, I spent the rest of the night working on the office. Eaddie and I decided the desk would be better situated in the back corner, and though I may miss facing the TV that will eventually be mounted behind me, I think it does open up the room quite a bit. I spent all night getting everything just right, but I’ll still need to come back with a better solution for my monitor. The alternative would be to somehow mount the giant center channel speaker above it, and that might look a little silly. At least it sounds good.

I don’t need a whole lots of money. I don’t need a big fine car. I got everything that a man could want. I got more than I could ask for. And I don’t have to run around. I don’t have to stay out all night. ‘Cause I got me a sweet, a sweet computer, and it keeps me up past my bedtime.